Forums > Social Discussion > Jumping to conclusions vs. asking for clarification

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:It seems to me that all internet discussions seem to have a similar flaw. Since there are only a finite number of words within a post, people will tend to put words in them that are not there. I'm finding a bit of an epidemic recently in both bulletin boards as well as email conversations.

I'm not talking of any particular moments, people, or situations. It just seems that people are more interested in throwing knockout punches than understanding who or what they're fighting.

People tend to react emotionally (as is being discussed in Ben's thread) but also, people are reacting to nonexistent assumptions.

It seems that all too often, a statement like:
"I like apples."

Is being met with:
"What's wrong with oranges?"
or
"You have no proof that apples are any better than any other fruit unless you can site proven research posted elsewhere on the internet."
or
"My grandmother died 13 months after eating an apple you [censored]."
or
"Since apples are the only thing you like you must live in a very lonely hollow world."
or
"You are brainwashed by the apple industry and I pity your ignorance of the way things really work."
or
"Your constant fascist anti-pear propaganda makes you worse than Hitler."
{OK, I'm exaggerating a bit... but I think some of these may sound more familiar than we'd like to admit. wink }

Rather than:
"How do you feel about oranges?"
"What makes you like apples?"
"I've never really liked apples, can you explain what context you've enjoyed apples the most so that I may understand?"

If there is a grey area, people tend to fill it in with whatever fills their personal or political agenda rather than asking followup questions to clarify the grey. It's way easier to ask a simple clarifying question than spending pages attacking only to find that you never really understood the person's point in the first place.

The most dangerous and irresponsible words to add to someone ELSE'S argument are words like "always" "never" "worst" "best" if they were not originally there. It's not only annoying, it's unethical.

And it's certainly rude and infuriating to purposely change someone else's argument just to prove your own. Obviously, misunderstandings will occur, but when they do, it's best to clarify first rather than just punch your way out. If I find someone's argument interesting but unclear in the future, I'll try to get clarification from them before jumping to conclusions.

I hope that others will do the same.


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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: coleman

nyc - you said in your first post "it seems to me that all internet discussions seem to have a similar flaw. since there are only a finite number of words within a post, people will tend to put words in them that are not there."
this is not a flaw of internet discussion boards exclusively - it is a consequence of the use of written language and further, all communication through the use of a language.




I think the internet is specifically susceptable to misunderstandings due to the lack of immidiate feedback and absence of context. Obviously, verbal communication is much easier to include nonverbal assists. Also, when you say something out loud, you hear it which incorporates a different section of the brain that can check what you just said. Often times we say something and then realize what we said and immidiately ammend or correct ourselves before the listener has a chance to react to our mistake.

The fact that most posts are a paragraph or two is just enough to allow a point to be made, but not enough to provide context to support it.

If you read a BOOK on (what I'm reading now) Attention Deficit Disorder, by the end, you've got a pretty good idea of what the author feels and also have been presented with chapters of support for his arguement. If you asked the same author to summarize his point in a paragraph and post it on HoP I think you'd have a sea of controversy and misunderstandings.

And if you sat with him for 3 hours and discussed it, I think you'd have a good sense of clarity as well.


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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:ubblol so we've both been trying to say the same thing from different angles?!!??

just goes to show how difficult clear, unambiguous communication truly is hug

i thought that's what i had been describing too - that both sides are responsible for 1. trying not to post ambiguous opinions (notice no split infinitive in that sentence fairy! i learned biggrin) and 2. trying to be aware of the difference between possible implied meanings and to not jump to conclusions/'read too far into' when reading other peoples' opinions.

i was adding to this the observation that often, we see these two things happening precisely because it is not natural for us to analyse what we read and write to such a degree.

i think i was trying to get across too much in one go.

one point at a time for me in future methinks... wink


cole. x


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: coleman

ubblol so we've both been trying to say the same thing from different angles?!!??

just goes to show how difficult clear, unambiguous communication truly is hug



That's actually funny because I knew we were agreeing. I just thought you were having fun adding more to my arguement.

I heard a few lines in the new Beanie Sigel song that made me think of this...
(Had to work in hip hop somewhere... this is one of my jams of the month.)

"I read between tha lines of ya eyes to ya brows
Ya handshake aint matchin ya smile
Ill holla, you n*ggas foul
...
I hear this voice in tha back of my mind like mack tighten up ya circle
Before they hurt you
Read they body language
85% communication non-verbal, 85% swear they know you
10% you know they soft, man tha other 5..time to show you"

I guess that's more of a "People purposely being misleading because they're actually trying to kill you"... which is even more rude than just being misleading. ubblol


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fluffy napalm fairy
fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land
Member Since: 12th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3638
Posted:Indeed ubblol

Incidentally, now that you've learned not to split infinitives ( biggrin ) are you ready for grammar lesson 2? Compared 'to' should actually read compared 'with' ............... I'm not about to go into why biggrin - I think you compare something 'to' something else, but it is 'compared with'.... . Feel free to throw stuff at me now biggrin


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:The internet says you're wrong: (But what do they know wink )



Compared with versus Compared to.

Similar orders of things are compared with one another; different orders of things are compared to one another: "Let me not compare thee with previous lovers I have had; rather, let me compare thee to a summer's day." "Mischel's articles are often compared with Bandura's articles; Bem's articles are often compared to Mozart's sonatas."



"To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances, between objects regarded as essentially of different order; to compare with is mainly to point out differences, between objects regarded as essentially of the same order. Thus life has been compared to a pilgrimage, to a drama, to a battle; Congress may be compared with the British Parliament. Paris has been compared to ancient Athens; it may be compared with modern London."



hug

EDITED_BY: NYC (1116343277)


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fluffy napalm fairy
fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land
Member Since: 12th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3638
Posted:ok that makes more sense biggrin Thank you / wink (cos it's totally off topic... )

hug


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:*throws an nyc at the fairy*



didn't expect that did ya? ubblol



it turns out i was right cos the two presuppositions that i was comparing are of a different order (one is very obvious where the other is extremely subtle).



and to think i was just about to take your word for it that i was wrong again... wink





cole. x



*...backs away from the semantics...*


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy
fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land
Member Since: 12th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3638
Posted:ubblol ubblol ubblol

*hides under desk til it's stopped raining NYC's*


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: coleman

it turns out i was right



See, and if we all just presupposed that Cole was always right we'd never have any misunderstandings again. wink


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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:amen to that wink


cole. x


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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polythene
veteran
Location: London/ Surrey
Member Since: 15th May 2003
Total posts: 1359
Posted:A lot of people will ask you to 'compare', when they mean 'compare and contrast' (NOT saying anyone in this thread's gotten it wrong)... I thought that to compare was to examine similarities and differences in order to liken one thing to another, where contrast focused on highlighting the differences. (I believe certain universities (mine!) had trouble with this in the past when disgruntled students filed complaints regarding the phrasing of exam questions.)

I could be completely wrong though, 'cos I also thought it was 'compared with' or 'comparable to' smile


The optimist claims that we are living in the best of all possible worlds.
The pessimist fears this is true.

Always make time to play in the snow.

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fluffy napalm fairy
fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land
Member Since: 12th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3638
Posted:Poly - see NYC's post above for when to use 'Compared with' and 'Compared to' smile

Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:isn't that
'compered by' ?

wink


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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fluffy napalm fairy
fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land
Member Since: 12th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3638
Posted:tongue

Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:ubbangel

Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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fluffy napalm fairy
fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land
Member Since: 12th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3638
Posted:that's not going to work with me young mog..........

Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:hey! offtopic

ubbangel


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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KaelGotRice
KaelGotRice

Basu gasu bakuhatsu - because sometimes buses explode
Location: Angel's Landing, USA
Member Since: 21st Jul 2003
Total posts: 1584
Posted:*pokes all the little NYCs to see if they jump to conclusions.

wink


To do: More Firedrums 08 video?
Wildfire/US East coast fire footage
LA/EDC glow/fire footage
Fresno fire

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ubbrollsmile.gif" alt="" />

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:JumpJumpJump bounce bounce2 bounce

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Yes, let's go.
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