Re: The Whens, Whys and Hows of Grilling/Mockery
I'll agree with Taiaka that there is no protocol to reaction, but there are definitely rules that cannot and should not be broken, the most direct are the forum rules.
On the stake of tall claims, my view, and it has always been my view, that questioning of things is bringing a logical standpoint against a statement that seems to be false because of it. Words are very powerful things, if used correctly they are great, if people are irresponsible with them, they then have no realization of what they are saying along with the small intended claim they make.
Grilling is fine so long as there are no major personal attacks, saying a person is a fluff when you've seen them post something that is largely considered fluffy multiple times on multiple boards and each time having no explanation to it or even ability to discuss the idea, is not personal attacks, concluding that they are psychotic or completely off their rocker or flat out insults... well that is different.
Mockery seems to be mis-termed here. I think the ideal term is satire in this case. Satire is when someone says one thing, and the other says that same thing back in a different way so as to emphasize its logical fallacy or questionable integrity. Usually it is done with a tone of condescension, that's how satire works. There is nothing wrong with satire, because satire cannot work unless there is something in the source statement that can be emphasized in a negative light without completely altering what is said.
One of the main issues that I see however, is the mis-understanding of "you don't have to answer if you don't want to." This does not mean that an individual can make a ridiculous claim, and then say "I don't want to talk about it" or something similar. It means that if you are discussing something and someone is asking a very hard line of questions, "I'm not sure," or "I really can't answer that question at this time" is perfectly acceptable. The other part of the deal is that if you cannot answer it, you try to understand the angle. We're all here to learn and to share information, what good is that if you don't want others to share their insights on your information? It all comes down to pride, I think. I said in the "Hot Seat" thread, it doesn't really help to grill people that aren't adamant in things that are wrong, you can point out fallacies, but to a person that says "yeah, I am exploring those options," you're not really able to "grill" them.
There is also a balance between fluff and logic. Forums go back and forth between these two extremes. When a forum has a lot of fluff, the more logical members become more aggressive in striking it down to restore that balance, and the fluffy members continually post more logical fallacies in order to try and prove their fluff isn't actually fluff. It all ends in tears and a few people who don't understand this balance getting upset and in many cases leaving. When everyone has a grip on reality and is open to questioning and being questioned. Everyone is happy and fine with it and the forum endures.
The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters.