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parallaxicality
2012-Aug-19, 07:33 AM
It's known by many names. Wikipedia calls it the "Online Disinhibition Effect", but its older and more mythic title is the GIFT, or "Greater Internet <redacted> Theory".

The theorem can be expressed as a simple equation: N + A1 + A2 = F

Where N = Normal Person, A1 = Anonymity, A2 = Audience and F = Total <redacted>

You could argue, indeed, that the strenuous efforts to expel and discipline users on this forum are, essentially, responses to the GIFT.

Recently the GIFT has come under scrutiny by the media, though seldom by name, in its manifestation as rampant misogyny directed at female bloggers and columnists. Cyber-bullying, racism and even hacking are, in their own ways, simply differing manifestations of the GIFT.

It raises some perplexing problems:

First, are human beings genuinely so vile that the simple removal of learned social constraints is enough to turn them into ravening monsters? I think so, but then, unlike many on this forum, I have no faith in human nature.

Second, Can anything really be done to constrain it? The internet was designed specifically to limit control, but this means, effectively, that natural selection takes over. The loudest, strongest and most intimidating voices rule, while the weak are cowed into silence

Finally, do we really have the right, as this forum assumes, to so utterly crush the GIFT that those who indulge in it are banned or stripped of their privileges? Is that not, in its own way, just as crushing of dissent as the law of the jungle?

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-19, 08:58 AM
The internet strips people of most social clues that they're interacting with other human beings, which means the learned constraints are not applied.

The GIFT is something to be suppressed at all times, though the method I really want to use, i.e. a real physical cluebat liberally applied to the real physical bodies of the GIFT'ed probably wouldn't be a good idea in the real world.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-19, 09:22 AM
Reading a random sample of stuff on the internet, it's difficult not to have the impression that human beings are genuinely vile. Any woman who is not anorexic is called fat; any woman over 25 is called ugly (actually a worse word than "ugly" which I won't use here), and anybody with a slightly different opinion of a TV series is called various other bad names.

Then again, text interaction with people you know nothing about (apart from what they choose to tell you) is inevitably problematic. There are several regulars on here who don't even reveal their gender or location, which is of course their right, but it sometimes makes it hard to know where they're coming from.

I have a friend who is very loyal, decent, patient, funny... and happens to have different political views to my own. The latter is trivial, because we know each other well enough to realise we have similar morality and simply have different approaches to how to bring about the greater good. But if I interact with someone on the internet, I don't know that they are loyal, decent, patient and funny, I just know they have different political views, which kind of slews the relationship somewhat. Hence I think it is a wonderful thing to have a place where you can talk about astronomy but not politics.

As to the "right" to "crush" the "GIFT" - it's not exactly global, is it?

Selfsim
2012-Aug-19, 10:13 AM
Then again, text interaction with people you know nothing about (apart from what they choose to tell you) is inevitably problematic. There are several regulars on here who don't even reveal their gender or location, which is of course their right, but it sometimes makes it hard to know where they're coming from.

... But if I interact with someone on the internet, I don't know that they are loyal, decent, patient and funny, I just know they have different political views, which kind of slews the relationship somewhat. This comment intrigues me ... (and that's coming form one of those annoying anonymous-types :) ).

Surely the words someone writes defines who they are, at the precise moment those words are written .. (??)
Isn't that all one needs, if one is prepared to accept others for what they say, rather than for who we think they are, where they come from, what sex they might be, age, etc?

There's a concept in communications called an "already always way of listening". What this amounts to is that we all carry with us, preconceived prejudices which inhibit our abilities to listen for purely what someone else is saying .. we then add our own meaning to what we think they are saying ... a meaning which, usually, has nothing to do with what they are actually saying (and thinking). We should seize the opportunity of leaving behind this burdensome way of listening, no ?

We should all enjoy the privilege of encountering the pure thoughts of others, (fairly logically constrained on this site, I might add), and enjoy what rolls of the ends of their finger-tips ... regardless of what they might physically look like, what sex or age they may be, or what their past histories might be (??)

Even if they might exercise the 'thread topic', does it really surprise us ? After all, its still quite a simple matter of just walking away from the keyboard, isn't it ??

Regards

Perikles
2012-Aug-19, 11:14 AM
Surely the words someone writes defines who they are, at the precise moment those words are written .. (??)
Isn't that all one needs, if one is prepared to accept others for what they say, rather than for who we think they are, where they come from, what sex they might be, age, etc?To be honest, this sounds to me like a massive simplification. What somebody writes is never quite what they mean, and is never read as they intended. We have evolved to listen to face-to-face communication where what is said is taken in a context of who says it, the manner in which they say it, their body language, their tone of voice, their history, a whole mass of information which is absent from the written word. I don't think that what anybody says can be extracted from whom they are, such as age and sex, and treated in isolation, without the danger of misunderstandings. As @Paul B said, the only real chance of on-line dialogue is when topics are kept to the rational and scientific, avoiding emotional issues.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-19, 11:25 AM
Thing is, I don't think people "listen" to what others actually "say" on the internet any more than they do face to face. If anything, the either/or polarity seems heightened (you either agree with everything I say or none of it).

Offhand, I cannot think of many arguments in which the speaker's background isn't significantly relevant. If you express an opinion about life on Mars, it would be useful to know what you know about biology and the surface conditions of the planet. If you express a view on the funding of schools, it would be useful if you could back it up with your experience and/or perspective as a teacher or a parent or whatever.

Selfsim
2012-Aug-19, 12:07 PM
To be honest, this sounds to me like a massive simplification. What somebody writes is never quite what they mean,I find that to be a very broad generalisation ... Whilst I accept that written things may not always be particularly well-considered or well-articulated, I find that mostly in the instant, people mean what they write ...
Anyway, a simple question directed at the writer, can answer the question of whether they meant what they wrote, can't it ?


and is never read as they intended.Well, that's kind of what I was getting at with the "already always way of listening" .. and that's got nothing to do with the writer ... that's a function of the baggage brought in to the conversation by the reader ...
Also, as I said .. just ask the writer whether they meant what came across ... and that problem disappears in an instant, doesn't it ?


We have evolved to listen to face-to-face communication where what is said is taken in a context of who says it, the manner in which they say it, their body language, their tone of voice, their history, a whole mass of information which is absent from the written word. I agree that much is also lost by not having the 'visuals', but I think the written word in this medium (for example) adds a lot more clarity because it (usually) requires focus in thinking. After all, why does the law prefer written contracts ? Why is complex engineering always written in the form of specifications? (I'm sure there are many other examples of where writing is used to clarify meaning)...


I don't think that what anybody says can be extracted from whom they are, such as age and sex, and treated in isolation,But why should their background matter when all one has to go on, is what that person has written (or said)? If we don't know their details, then all we can do is interpret what they've put out there. We have no choice other that to separate what they are, from what they've written (using this place, as an example).
Also, (another example), does it really matter if a qualified scientist wrote the paper I just read .. or is what they wrote more important?
without the danger of misunderstandings. Misunderstandings happen in verbal and visual communications as well ...
As @Paul B said, the only real chance of on-line dialogue is when topics are kept to the rational and scientific, avoiding emotional issues.I definitely agree that this keeps up the focus and the quality ... leading towards more effective communications.

Regards

Selfsim
2012-Aug-19, 12:15 PM
Thing is, I don't think people "listen" to what others actually "say" on the internet any more than they do face to face. If anything, the either/or polarity seems heightened (you either agree with everything I say or none of it).Yep ... I think I'd have to concur with that, too !


Offhand, I cannot think of many arguments in which the speaker's background isn't significantly relevant. If you express an opinion about life on Mars, it would be useful to know what you know about biology and the surface conditions of the planet. If you express a view on the funding of schools, it would be useful if you could back it up with your experience and/or perspective as a teacher or a parent or whatever.Well, I personally find that experience comes across very quickly in a good conversation. It doesn't take too long to sense experience with a familiar field. Perhaps that's got some label like 'intuition', (which is actually perception, underpinned by a bunch of acquired knowledge .... which also amounts to wisdom, come to think of it ... )

Regards

Swift
2012-Aug-19, 12:50 PM
It's known by many names. Wikipedia calls it the "Online Disinhibition Effect", but its older and more mythic title is the GIFT, or "Greater Internet <redacted> Theory".

From Rule 3:

Attempts to express bad words or phrases in messages or screen names, by any means such as (but not limited to): replacing key letters with different characters, misspellings homonyms, sound-alikes, abbreviations, or any other trick will not be tolerated.
Any more examples of this in this thread will be infracted.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-19, 05:15 PM
I find that to be a very broad generalisation ... Whilst I accept that written things may not always be particularly well-considered or well-articulated, I find that mostly in the instant, people mean what they write ...
Anyway, a simple question directed at the writer, can answer the question of whether they meant what they wrote, can't it ?
Experience from this board show that it's entirely possible for the question to be misunderstood and thus the answer be to a question not asked. This answer is then understood as if it was intended for the question asked at which time serious side discussions happen.
That some people apparently believe that discussion is best done by attacking the literal meaning of
what's written, often by interpreting individual words through dictionary definitions, isn't helping either.

Perikles
2012-Aug-19, 05:35 PM
I But why should their background matter when all one has to go on, is what that person has written (or said)? If we don't know their details, then all we can do is interpret what they've put out there. We have no choice other that to separate what they are, from what they've written (using this place, as an example). ?Because ultimately you can't separate what has been said from who said it. I know this is a generalization and there are times when what has been said has a face value and is unambiguous, but this is rare unless you restrict yourself to 'scientific' assertions. A simple random example. The imperative "Get thee to a nunnery! What does this mean? It depends on who says it, in what context, and who is reading it.

Also, (another example), does it really matter if a qualified scientist wrote the paper I just read .. or is what they wrote more important?In a perfect world, no it wouldn't matter. But time is limited and the information out there is almost infinite. Realistically, you are only going to pay attention to something which is likely to have value. So I am far more likely to pay attention to a paper written by a known expert in that field than a paper written by a teenager who hasn't a clue. I find myself doing this on this forum, by the way. When I don't understand something in an argument, I take into consideration the (perceived) background of the writer before making a guess whether what has been said is nonsense or something I just don't understand. Not, I hasten to add, that I automatically believe something somebody said just because of his credentials (magister dixit), nor dismiss something because I know the person to be uninformed.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-19, 05:41 PM
When someone who is supposedly going to overturn our understanding of the universe begins with, "Admittedly I am no physicist or mathematician..." I usually do not read any further.

There's a lot to be said for this approach. Among other things, it means you don't get to the bit where he says, "After all, Einstein didn't know any mathematics."

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-19, 06:46 PM
Surely the words someone writes defines who they are, at the precise moment those words are written .. (??)On the contrary, most words are not deliberate but immediate emotional responses. Internet comments are often more akin in timing, frequency and forethought to verbal speech than to essays.


Isn't that all one needs, if one is prepared to accept others for what they say, rather than for who we think they are, where they come from, what sex they might be, age, etc?Hardly! First of all, no that's not all one needs: there is a great deal more to human communications than connotation of words and the ocassional vague denotation of their syntax. Secondly, humans don't accept others for what they say, they do, in fact, accept them for who they are, which due to limitations in physics, actually means who we think they are.


There's a concept in communications called an "already always way of listening". What this amounts to is that we all carry with us, preconceived prejudices which inhibit our abilities to listen for purely what someone else is saying .. we then add our own meaning to what we think they are saying ... a meaning which, usually, has nothing to do with what they are actually saying (and thinking). We should seize the opportunity of leaving behind this burdensome way of listening, no ?That sounds like something my Comms professor called Dialogism and Monoligism. Dialogism accepts that different people's experiences inform the meanings of the words they use, which means no two people's meanings can be precisely alike. Monologism is the belief or desire that a word has or can have a universal meaning devoid of individual subtext. How many times have you seen two people, even talking face to face, get into an argument over what the other just said? Meta-discussions are rampant in real life and give reveal that the idea that people say what they mean is false. More often than not, people intentionally shield their true meaning in ambiguity, which allows a listener to take from the statement whatever meaning they want, as long as it's in a range of meanings the speaker wants to convey. In other words, "do as I mean not as I say".


We should all enjoy the privilege of encountering the pure thoughts of others, (fairly logically constrained on this site, I might add), and enjoy what rolls of the ends of their finger-tips ... regardless of what they might physically look like, what sex or age they may be, or what their past histories might be (??)Again, Hardly. The pure thoughts of others are a jumbled mess. It needs editing.


Even if they might exercise the 'GIFT', does it really surprise us ? After all, its still quite a simple matter of just walking away from the keyboard, isn't it ??It is that simple, not that doesn't mean it's easy. Conversation is a social construct and anyone who has been yelled at for walking away ("Don't walk away when I'm talking to you!") knows the severity of severing that contact and the potential social implications of showing that level of disrespect. Humans are social animals an instinctively try to maintain collaborative stability. Learning to to walk away isn't a very useful social skill, as it means abandoning conflict instead of resolving conflict is preferred. That, however, undoes thousands of years of social evolution.

Selfsim
2012-Aug-19, 09:43 PM
Fascinating .. I'm enjoying this conversation.

I can't say that I disagree too much with anything anyone has said over the last few posts. I wouldn't describe my own life experiences as 'naive' in the slightest, so I can certainly relate to the specific situations folk seem to have described, when they speak of the necessity of establishing where a poster is generally coming from, (in life), before interpreting what they have written.

That folk seem to actually embrace the dire need for knowing someone's background, in order to interpret what they are saying however, I find to be perplexing.

For me, it seems that outright rejection of the concept of even making the attempt of leaving one's own baggage out of the interpretation loop (in general), merely speaks in support of close-mindedness (??) (Not that I've seen anyone doing this in this conversation .. to be clear).

Surely a common interest we all share here, is a desire to pursue (mostly scientific) knowledge ? If this is the case, then how are we able to do this if we, by default, take the position of superior knowledge, specifically through interpretation via a set of purely 'intuitive filters', where the writer is coming from ? How can this approach support the goal of acquiring new knowledge, when entering a conversation with unfamiliar folk ? Is everything unfamiliar folk have to say of such little value ?

One form of prejudice which I kind of find amusing, is the individual 'post count' statistic. Over the years of posting on boards around the traps, I find that this statistic sets up an instantaneous bias in listening before a 'newbie' has even cranked out their first 'Reply to thread' response. It seems that the ambiguity we all start out with, courtesy of how the board software functions, is immediately replaced with a new piece of irrelevant information, which seems to then be used as a way of continuing our need for a biased listening perspective. It then seems to progress unchecked ... right up to the mythical, and seemingly highly revered: 'Order of Kilopi' levels ! (Quite bizarre really).

I have a feeling that many of these deliberately biased listening perspectives may well be what provokes the ultimate 'thread topic' response. It may be that these subtleties may be the cause, even though we seem to remain in denial of it, and I suspect, we would probably even embrace the retention of them, if so challenged (??)

Regards
PS: Comments on this are welcome .. I'm not totally convinced of these ideas … just yet … its something I play around with, as 'unexplored territory'.

Regards

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-20, 12:32 AM
Fascinating .. I'm enjoying this conversation.

I can't say that I disagree too much with anything anyone has said over the last few posts. I wouldn't describe my own life experiences as 'naive' in the slightest, so I can certainly relate to the specific situations folk seem to have described, when they speak of the necessity of establishing where a poster is generally coming from, (in life), before interpreting what they have written.

That folk seem to actually embrace the dire need for knowing someone's background, in order to interpret what they are saying however, I find to be perplexing.

For me, it seems that outright rejection of the concept of even making the attempt of leaving one's own baggage out of the interpretation loop (in general), merely speaks in support of close-mindedness (??) (Not that I've seen anyone doing this in this conversation .. to be clear).

Surely a common interest we all share here, is a desire to pursue (mostly scientific) knowledge ? If this is the case, then how are we able to do this if we, by default, take the position of superior knowledge, specifically through interpretation via a set of purely 'intuitive filters', where the writer is coming from ? How can this approach support the goal of acquiring new knowledge, when entering a conversation with unfamiliar folk ? Is everything unfamiliar folk have to say of such little value ?

One form of prejudice which I kind of find amusing, is the individual 'post count' statistic. Over the years of posting on boards around the traps, I find that this statistic sets up an instantaneous bias in listening before a 'newbie' has even cranked out their first 'Reply to thread' response. It seems that the ambiguity we all start out with, courtesy of how the board software functions, is immediately replaced with a new piece of irrelevant information, which seems to then be used as a way of continuing our need for a biased listening perspective. It then seems to progress unchecked ... right up to the mythical, and seemingly highly revered: 'Order of Kilopi' levels ! (Quite bizarre really).

I have a feeling that many of these deliberately biased listening perspectives may well be what provokes the ultimate 'GIFT' response. It may be that these subtleties may be the cause, even though we seem to remain in denial of it, and I suspect, we would probably even embrace the retention of them, if so challenged (??)

Regards
PS: Comments on this are welcome .. I'm not totally convinced of these ideas … just yet … its something I play around with, as 'unexplored territory'.

Regards

There's a couple issues here. Humans are social and social behavior is described well by group dynamics, which goes through multiple phases with the general result being to establish a norm, that is a rule of conduct and general consensus on various social actions and even shared perceptions about reality inside and outside of the group. Thus, whether it is on this site, or others in cyberspace or in meatspace, consensus is of paramount importance to the group's foundation. That being said, groups may or may not be open to new ideas, but even those that are tend to have established methods or protocols for submitting new information or membership. It may be a formal process or it may be informal.

This all leads towards the second issue: I can't recall where I read it but some researches have suggested that most human communication is not, in fact, about gaining new information but is about supporting ideas they already subscribe to. In other words, confirmation bias is our standard operating procedure. But I suspect it's more important socially than in private research because we have more at stake socially whereas if we make a mistake in private no one needs to know.

This is true in religion, science and politics and how revolutions in them occur. All it takes is for a person to convince enough key people of a new idea and then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. This is even more successful if people who had contrary ideas change their mind because we automatically give someone who is motivated to act against their own interest more credibility. And another key part of that is giving people the ability to save face. If someone has something to gain by agreeing with you without appearing to be a sellout, then they are more likely to do so, but if you back them into a corner in a join-me-or-fight-me conflict, then you're likely to get conflict.

This really isn't bizzare. It's the way things have worked for tens of thousands of years.

Selfsim
2012-Aug-20, 02:44 AM
I can't recall where I read it but some researches have suggested that most human communication is not, in fact, about gaining new information but is about supporting ideas they already subscribe to. In other words, confirmation bias is our standard operating procedure. But I suspect it's more important socially than in private research because we have more at stake socially whereas if we make a mistake in private no one needs to know.And what of discussions centred around a point of Science ? (I guess this could be classified as 'private research', but in a public forum setting about Science, both modes would seem to be in play, and yet somehow, perhaps at odds with eachother (?)).

Ie: Science is mostly counterintuitive … being prepared to release one's intuitively motivated beliefs, is a prerequisite. If one isn't prepared to do this, or is unaware that inherited intuitive biases exist in the first place .. (like the somewhat optional' bias of needing to know the speaker's background or, the 'number of posts/join date' rankings), then almost by definition, interchange and perhaps learning something new about science, is usually curtailed. This would be the cost, which also comes with a commensurate benefit of some kind of emotional gratification for those whose primary motivation is remaining as 'one of the group'.

To me, listening is all about recognising which 'filter' we have 'enganged' whilst someone else is speaking. A key part of recognising which particular 'filter' has been put into play by the listener, is for them to realise that we all put 'em, up all the time. Questioning why that particular filter may have been subconsciously put into play, brings us closer to understanding how to remove it in future discussions (should we choose to do so).

As mentioned, the 'thread topic' may simply be a strong reaction by those sensing an unyielding unwillingness of others, to listen to another's contributions. It might be that technical/science wranglin' folks actually give birth to the 'thread topic' … and its proponents !?!


This really isn't bizzare. It's the way things have worked for tens of thousands of years.I concur. Science seems to be encouraging us to migrate away from this inherited attractor however.

In this instance, embracing inherited group behaviours, may not necessarily be supportive of getting to the bottom of some curly counterintuitive scientific point, nor would it necessarily be a particularly effective demonstration of the scientific method(??)

Regards

Gillianren
2012-Aug-20, 03:34 PM
After all, why does the law prefer written contracts ? Why is complex engineering always written in the form of specifications? (I'm sure there are many other examples of where writing is used to clarify meaning)...

Because the record is important. A written contract is preferable not because it's any more or less clear than a verbal one but because it is written. There is a tangible object recording all the pertinent details and marked by both parties to indicate that they agree with it. Those parties can still contest the contract based on what they think the words mean, but neither of them can lie about what the contract actually dictates.

The simplest example of why it matters where a person comes from in what they say is that different words mean different things in different places. There is a word that, in the United States, is an innocuous, even childish, term for the human buttocks. In the United Kingdom, it is a rather rude term for the female genitalia. Not a lot of people from either country, so far as I can tell, know what the people from the other country use that word to mean. There have been fights about that on this very board.

And you know what? To a greater or lesser degree, it does matter what your scientific background is when you make pronouncements about science. You aren't guaranteed to be right, of course, but you are more likely to have the basics down and not be quite as wrong if you are speaking in a field you actually studied seriously.

schlaugh
2012-Aug-20, 04:04 PM
The simplest example of why it matters where a person comes from in what they say is that different words mean different things in different places. There is a word that, in the United States, is an innocuous, even childish, term for the human buttocks. In the United Kingdom, it is a rather rude term for the female genitalia. Not a lot of people from either country, so far as I can tell, know what the people from the other country use that word to mean. There have been fights about that on this very board.
Oh dear. I never knew that and now you have me wondering about countless meetings I had with British colleagues and clients (eek!) in which I may have used that word. Sure, it typically wouldn't come up in business conversation but who knows? I once used the word "slated" in a presentation to show that something was scheduled to happen. Turns out that "slated" has a negative connotation in British usage.

Going back to the OP, I'm of the opinion (and we all know what that's worth) that people do behave differently online than in face-to-face interactions. Case in point; on a message board that I help to moderate we have banned one member at least twice (not counting sock puppets) over the last six years because he could not refrain from making strongly political posts, derailing threads and making somewhat threatening noises in PMs and in posts. Yet to meet this fellow you'd think he was a reasonable, sensible person. But once he gets in front of a keyboard, look out!

Noclevername
2012-Aug-20, 04:12 PM
Yet to meet this fellow you'd think he was a reasonable, sensible person. But once he gets in front of a keyboard, look out!

I'm the opposite way; when I'm typing I have to think about what I'm saying and usually read it over before posting, so (meds and sleep prevailing) I usually self-censor online. In person I fumble and mumble and blurt things out unfiltered.

Perikles
2012-Aug-20, 04:25 PM
I'm the opposite way; when I'm typing I have to think about what I'm saying and usually read it over before posting, so (meds and sleep prevailing) I usually self-censor online. In person I fumble and mumble and blurt things out unfiltered.So this would probably make you a good writer of letters, rather than being good at social intercourse. (Is that word acceptable in this context? I'm getting paranoid.) It's a shame that letter writing has all but died out these days.

Gillianren
2012-Aug-20, 04:52 PM
Oh dear. I never knew that and now you have me wondering about countless meetings I had with British colleagues and clients (eek!) in which I may have used that word. Sure, it typically wouldn't come up in business conversation but who knows? I once used the word "slated" in a presentation to show that something was scheduled to happen. Turns out that "slated" has a negative connotation in British usage.

See, now, I didn't know that!


Going back to the OP, I'm of the opinion (and we all know what that's worth) that people do behave differently online than in face-to-face interactions. Case in point; on a message board that I help to moderate we have banned one member at least twice (not counting sock puppets) over the last six years because he could not refrain from making strongly political posts, derailing threads and making somewhat threatening noises in PMs and in posts. Yet to meet this fellow you'd think he was a reasonable, sensible person. But once he gets in front of a keyboard, look out!

I've known people like that. Of course, one of the only people I've blocked on Facebook is a jerk both ways, so there's that. I have friends who think he's funny, and it only encourages him. But my best friend says she didn't have twelve-year-old friends when she was twelve, so she guesses now is the time.


So this would probably make you a good writer of letters, rather than being good at social intercourse. (Is that word acceptable in this context? I'm getting paranoid.) It's a shame that letter writing has all but died out these days.

I'm really bad at mailing things. I still have the postcards from my trip last month sitting in my bag, waiting to be mailed, in part because I have now mislaid the postcard stamps I bought two days after I got home. I love getting mail, but I'm terrible at sending it.

starcanuck64
2012-Aug-20, 05:40 PM
Finally, do we really have the right, as this forum assumes, to so utterly crush the GIFT that those who indulge in it are banned or stripped of their privileges? Is that not, in its own way, just as crushing of dissent as the law of the jungle?

You can't have a rational discussion if you allow the lowest common denominator to rule which is what the GIFT is really all about.

I don't think most people are vile, I do think there is a small number of people who through physical or developmental impairment lack the ability to feel empathy and that is what comes through most strongly for some when the traditional social constraints of face to face contact is removed. They can significantly poison the forum, whether it's online or off.

Rationality is a relatively rare thing in this world, it's nice to be able to come to a place where people aren't allowed to smear their crazy all over other people.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-20, 05:54 PM
Oh dear. I never knew that and now you have me wondering about countless meetings I had with British colleagues and clients (eek!) in which I may have used that word. Sure, it typically wouldn't come up in business conversation but who knows?

Relax. UK English speakers know the US English meanings of words, and the equivalent words - how can we not, given how many US films and TV shows we get? It's not a taboo word, and its use is more likely to evoke giggles. It's even used as a girl's name, and the name for maiden aunts.



I once used the word "slated" in a presentation to show that something was scheduled to happen. Turns out that "slated" has a negative connotation in British usage.

Again, we know both meanings.

Actually it's a bit like "outstanding". "Jenkins, your essay is outstanding!" "Thank you very much, sir!" "No, you idiot, I mean you haven't submitted it!"

Perikles
2012-Aug-20, 05:59 PM
Again, we know both meanings.Speak for yourself. I've only ever seen the word in the context of newspaper journalism written by morons who don't the the words 'severely criticized'

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-20, 07:06 PM
And what of discussions centred around a point of Science ? (I guess this could be classified as 'private research', but in a public forum setting about Science, both modes would seem to be in play, and yet somehow, perhaps at odds with eachother (?)).

Ie: Science is mostly counterintuitive … being prepared to release one's intuitively motivated beliefs, is a prerequisite. If one isn't prepared to do this, or is unaware that inherited intuitive biases exist in the first place .. (like the somewhat optional' bias of needing to know the speaker's background or, the 'number of posts/join date' rankings), then almost by definition, interchange and perhaps learning something new about science, is usually curtailed. This would be the cost, which also comes with a commensurate benefit of some kind of emotional gratification for those whose primary motivation is remaining as 'one of the group'.Scientists aren't immune from being human. Like any group, they've established behaviors that work for them, so while it may seem different it's mostly just different jargon and rules. As tool users we do want to learn new techniques, but each person wants to learn it their way. People like to learn but don't like to be taught which is a lot like being sold, because it makes them feel like they've been used like a fool and a tool. If you've ever worked in sales, you'll know that people sell themselves. It's up to the seller to give the potential buyer enough information to let them come to their own conclusion. A lot of sales and teaching is done via demonstration, so people can observe and see it for themselves instead of taking it on authority. Recall that at the heart of the scientific method is repeatability, so one scientist (or group of them) doesn't necessarily take another's word for it but verifies it before believing.


To me, listening is all about recognising which 'filter' we have 'enganged' whilst someone else is speaking. A key part of recognising which particular 'filter' has been put into play by the listener, is for them to realise that we all put 'em, up all the time. Questioning why that particular filter may have been subconsciously put into play, brings us closer to understanding how to remove it in future discussions (should we choose to do so).That analogy works. And to add to it, a good speaker knows what filters an audience has put up.


As mentioned, the 'thread topic' may simply be a strong reaction by those sensing an unyielding unwillingness of others, to listen to another's contributions. It might be that technical/science wranglin' folks actually give birth to the 'thread topic' … and its proponents !?!Well, even on a science forum, not everyone is a scientist.


I concur. Science seems to be encouraging us to migrate away from this inherited attractor however.

In this instance, embracing inherited group behaviours, may not necessarily be supportive of getting to the bottom of some curly counterintuitive scientific point, nor would it necessarily be a particularly effective demonstration of the scientific method(??)I think I proved otherwise above.

I don't think it's that big a problem between scientists themselves (getting to the bottom of a "curly counterintuitive scientific point"), but it could be, I suppose. I think the bigger problem is the disconnect between scientists and the public. The use of jargon and different behaviors which can be a source of efficiency in communication between specialists can fall on deaf ears when they speak that way to non-specialists. Some are good at it, some are not, but the art of rhetoric is more about appealing to emotion and using figurative language than mathematics and esoteric formulae.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-20, 10:36 PM
I may be privileged, by having English as a second language, to learn the rude words of all the various English languages, though I fully understand the bit about British English speakers understanding the American English use through exposure.

A silly thing is that I wouldn't expect 20% of a random selection of Americans to be able to identify which word Gillianren was talking about in this quote, even though I got it mid-second-sentence:

The simplest example of why it matters where a person comes from in what they say is that different words mean different things in different places. There is a word that, in the United States, is an innocuous, even childish, term for the human buttocks. In the United Kingdom, it is a rather rude term for the female genitalia. Not a lot of people from either country, so far as I can tell, know what the people from the other country use that word to mean. There have been fights about that on this very board.

starcanuck64
2012-Aug-20, 10:39 PM
Aren't there English women with that word for a name?

I'm watching New Tricks S6 and I think I just saw an episode where a character had that name.

Strange
2012-Aug-20, 10:53 PM
Aren't there English women with that word for a name?

I'm watching New Tricks S6 and I think I just saw an episode where a character had that name.

Indeed. There was a famous murder of a small child, "sweet Fanny Adams". Her name has now come to be a euphemism for ... erm ... "nothing at all".

ETA: I just checked the etymology and the word comes from the female name, which is a diminutive for Frances.

Now, about the possible names for donkeys ... :)

starcanuck64
2012-Aug-21, 12:29 AM
Now, about the possible names for donkeys ... :)

I'm going to play it safe and stick with Jack and Jill.:)

Selfsim
2012-Aug-21, 03:56 AM
I agree that much is also lost by not having the 'visuals', but I think the written word in this medium (for example) adds a lot more clarity because it (usually) requires focus in thinking. After all, why does the law prefer written contracts ? Why is complex engineering always written in the form of specifications? (I'm sure there are many other examples of where writing is used to clarify meaning)…Because the record is important. A written contract is preferable not because it's any more or less clear than a verbal one but because it is written. There is a tangible object recording all the pertinent details and marked by both parties to indicate that they agree with it. Those parties can still contest the contract based on what they think the words mean, but neither of them can lie about what the contract actually dictates.In my original words above, I was comparing written material to verbal. I would hope that you agree that both written contracts and technical specifications, impose a discipline calling for far greater focus and clarity of thought, than verbal communications do … (and that would be separable from the material's ultimate purpose, which may not be precisely known at the time of speaking/authoring)?


The simplest example of why it matters where a person comes from in what they say is that different words mean different things in different places. There is a word that, in the United States, is an innocuous, even childish, term for the human buttocks. In the United Kingdom, it is a rather rude term for the female genitalia. Not a lot of people from either country, so far as I can tell, know what the people from the other country use that word to mean. There have been fights about that on this very board.Well, maybe there wouldn't have been 'fights', if a simple clarifying question had been posed around the intended meaning of the word in question (?) Mind you, the listening filters would have to be dropped, in order to clearly understand the response. To do that, the listener would have to be aware that they may have subconsciously imposed such a filter in the first place ! (It seems perhaps some folk from the UK may have already mastered awareness of the dual interpretation of the term and are thus are well aware of the existence of the filter).

Such 'filters' are also separable and independent from the medium chosen for comms, as well (ie: verbal, written, visual, etc). They certainly influence interpretation … but they can be imposed on either the spoken or written pathways, equally.


And you know what? To a greater or lesser degree, it does matter what your scientific background is when you make pronouncements about science. You aren't guaranteed to be right, of course, but you are more likely to have the basics down and not be quite as wrong if you are speaking in a field you actually studied seriously.Ok .. so if most of the folk on this board are personally unknown, following such reasoning, how would one know whether what they say is technically valid or not ? If one doesn't know the speaker's background and likely, because of the anonymity factor, one probably never would authentically know their background, one would have to conclude that everything technical, read on a board such as this, is unreliable.

Which begs the question … what is the purpose of engaging in science-based conversations here ?

Does this mean no-one is here to acquire knowledge from those more knowledgable than themselves .. and that those contributing and sharing their knowledge are doing so 'inefficiently' ?

Regards

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 06:03 AM
Well, maybe there wouldn't have been 'fights', if a simple clarifying question had been posed around the intended meaning of the word in question (?) Mind you, the listening filters would have to be dropped, in order to clearly understand the response. To do that, the listener would have to be aware that they may have subconsciously imposed such a filter in the first place ! (It seems perhaps some folk from the UK may have already mastered awareness of the dual interpretation of the term and are thus are well aware of the existence of the filter).

There are fights often not because people think there is a difference in meaning but because they've decided that it's beneficial to them to decided rectro-actively that there was a misunderstanding. Humans aren't computers. Computers aren't deceitful.

Gillianren
2012-Aug-21, 06:33 AM
In my original words above, I was comparing written material to verbal. I would hope that you agree that both written contracts and technical specifications, impose a discipline calling for far greater focus and clarity of thought, than verbal communications do (and that would be separable from the material's ultimate purpose, which may not be precisely known at the time of speaking/authoring)?

Maybe, but it's not entirely related to why contracts are written, not verbal. You can be as clear as you like when speaking, but you're then relying on memory, which is fallible. Vincent Bugliosi quotes a Chinese proverb which says that the palest ink is better than the best memory. Whether writing or speaking is more clear is quite simply not the point when it comes to contracts. What matters is being able to have an unbiased source of what was said.


Well, maybe there wouldn't have been 'fights', if a simple clarifying question had been posed around the intended meaning of the word in question (?) Mind you, the listening filters would have to be dropped, in order to clearly understand the response. To do that, the listener would have to be aware that they may have subconsciously imposed such a filter in the first place ! (It seems perhaps some folk from the UK may have already mastered awareness of the dual interpretation of the term and are thus are well aware of the existence of the filter).

Maybe you should consider asking what, exactly, the fights were about before making that statement. Because the fights were about why that word is allowed through the nanny filters, given that it is obscene in the UK. There have been fights about several words which have different meanings or are of different importance in different countries.


Such 'filters' are also separable and independent from the medium chosen for comms, as well (ie: verbal, written, visual, etc). They certainly influence interpretation but they can be imposed on either the spoken or written pathways, equally.

Which means . . . ?


Ok .. so if most of the folk on this board are personally unknown, following such reasoning, how would one know whether what they say is technically valid or not ? If one doesn't know the speaker's background and likely, because of the anonymity factor, one probably never would authentically know their background, one would have to conclude that everything technical, read on a board such as this, is unreliable.

We don't know, though I put it to you that there are plenty of people around here who aren't exactly anonymous. That's even leaving aside that I spent a very lovely afternoon with one member who doesn't use his real name. However, it is not so much that it is unreliable, because reliability isn't binary. What is said here is less trustworthy than what comes from a known quantity. That doesn't mean it's as unreliable as a source known to be wrong a lot.


Which begs the question what is the purpose of engaging in science-based conversations here ?

The same as having science-based conversations with any group that isn't all scientists.


Does this mean no-one is here to acquire knowledge from those more knowledgable than themselves .. and that those contributing and sharing their knowledge are doing so 'inefficiently' ?

What on Earth did I say that implies that?

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-21, 01:59 PM
Maybe you should consider asking what, exactly, the fights were about before making that statement. Because the fights were about why that word is allowed through the nanny filters, given that it is obscene in the UK. There have been fights about several words which have different meanings or are of different importance in different countries.
I'm not willing to look for it, partly because I don't want to rehash an issue, but there was a good example here a few months ago.
The member was using (what seemed like) a perfectly acceptable term in his country. Here, it's a very demeaning racial reference.
He was questioned about it, but during his explaination and further questioning he kept digging the hole deeper and deeper. Part of the problem was his not realizing how demeaning the word was. He eventually got booted.

(he could have been just a very rude person in disguise, but he seemed somewhat genuine to me.)

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-21, 02:59 PM
given that it is obscene in the UK.

Huh? Which UK is that?

Perikles
2012-Aug-21, 04:47 PM
Because the fights were about why that word is allowed through the nanny filters, given that it is obscene in the UK.


Huh? Which UK is that?It is in the UK I come from, depending on context, of course.

Gillianren
2012-Aug-21, 04:57 PM
I'm just going based on what I've been told. As I said, where I come from, it's almost childish and describes a different part of the body. And, yes, people still name their daughters that occasionally anyway.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 05:16 PM
I'm just going based on what I've been told. As I said, where I come from, it's almost childish and describes a different part of the body. And, yes, people still name their daughters that occasionally anyway.

We even have a government mortgage program with that name.

Strange
2012-Aug-21, 05:16 PM
It is in the UK I come from, depending on context, of course.

It is a sufficiently common name (remember Fanny Cradock (*)) that I don't think the word by itself is offensive. Other words could cause offensive whatever the context. So the context would have to be one where, perhaps, any alternative word would be unacceptable. But perceptions vary.

Changing the subject completely ... I'm amazed no one has complained about the name of that Russian punk band being in the news all the time. Where's Mrs Slocombe when you need her...

(*) In her case, apparently it's short for Phyllis. And, according to wikipedia, she was a trigamist. Who knew.

Sorry, what was this thread about...

Strange
2012-Aug-21, 05:17 PM
We even have a government mortgage program with that name.

And I don't think anyone took offence, or even giggled, when it made the news over here.

Perikles
2012-Aug-21, 05:23 PM
It is a sufficiently common name (remember Fanny Cradock (*)) that I don't think the word by itself is offensive. ..Well, I did say depending on context. In a sexual context, it is most definitely obscene.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 05:39 PM
Well, I did say depending on context. In a sexual context, it is most definitely obscene.

Should be obscene and not heard.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-21, 05:54 PM
We even have a government mortgage program with that name.
Well; there are plenty who think they acted childish or in an obscene way. :whistle:

Gillianren
2012-Aug-21, 07:18 PM
These days, I am having bigger problems with Sallie Mae. And they aren't even my loans.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-21, 08:27 PM
Well, I did say depending on context. In a sexual context, it is most definitely obscene.

The word itself is not obscene. Its presence might well contribute to an obscene descriptive passage, but it's more likely to come across as silly. In fact the male equivalent is "willy", which is also a person's name.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 09:34 PM
The word itself is not obscene. Its presence might well contribute to an obscene descriptive passage, but it's more likely to come across as silly. In fact the male equivalent is "willy", which is also a person's name.

Hey, no politics posts, you know that! ;)

Selfsim
2012-Aug-21, 11:18 PM
Such 'filters' are also separable and independent from the medium chosen for comms, as well (ie: verbal, written, visual, etc). They certainly influence interpretation but they can be imposed on either the spoken or written pathways, equally.Which means . . . ? that the distinction of 'listening filters', is a tool which provides us with insight about how humans communicate. The topic takes us way deeper than discussions about semantics and word usage differences. I'm talking about our fundamental 'operating system' here ..

What motivates the way we speak or listen, starts with our decisions about which of these filters we put in place. It would seem productive to spend some time taking a look into this aspect, wouldn't you think ?



And you know what? To a greater or lesser degree, it does matter what your scientific background is when you make pronouncements about science. You aren't guaranteed to be right, of course, but you are more likely to have the basics down and not be quite as wrong if you are speaking in a field you actually studied seriously.
Ok .. so if most of the folk on this board are personally unknown, following such reasoning, how would one know whether what they say is technically valid or not ? If one doesn't know the speaker's background and likely, because of the anonymity factor, one probably neverwould authentically know their background, one would have to conclude that everything technical, read on a board such as this, is unreliable.

Which begs the question what is the purpose of engaging in science-based conversations here ?

Does this mean no-one is here to acquire knowledge from those more knowledgable than themselves .. and that those contributing and sharing their knowledge are doing so 'inefficiently' ?What on Earth did I say that implies that?The original line of discussion was about how/whether we should listen to someone who's background is unfamiliar to us. Your comment shifted the focus, to address what the speaker draws upon, in order to be 'right' .. which is a fair enough point when taken in isolation .. but it doesn't really address the issue of how the listener accurately assesses the validity of the speaker's content.

In the matter Paul Beardsley originally raised, the implication was that if the speaker doesn't possess formal qualifications/experience in the topic they are asserting from, or if they are personally unknown to us, then seemingly, by default, the listener is at a 'disadvantage'. I don't see how it is a disadvantage if the listener, (or reader), accepts the responsibility for their own listening, applies the appropriate interpretation filters, and uses the conversation to further their own knowledge (??) Where is the disadvantage in that ?

All I can think of is, (and this may sound a little unintentionally harsh ..??), that a 'disadvantage' might result, if the listener is trying to achieve some other purpose/goal .. What that purpose/goal might actually be, kind of escapes me at the moment.. ??

Regards

Gillianren
2012-Aug-21, 11:55 PM
The listener is at a disadvantage because they don't know how much to trust the source. That doesn't mean that reasonable discussion is impossible; at bare minimum, few people here are completely anonymous. The regulars know one another well enough to know who is most trustworthy on various subjects. That's whether we've revealed our real names and credentials or not. It takes more work; you might very well say that it is inefficient. The best way to figure out who to trust is to start with credentials, and we don't do that here. However, we get to the point of reliability eventually. And, indeed, the opposite; there are several people around here I know not to trust on various subjects!

Selfsim
2012-Aug-22, 02:40 AM
Fascinating .. and, by the way. thank you (all) for this most intriguing conversation !

I'm reminded of the 'Clint' westerns, where the only thing a gunslinger trusts, is his own skill with his six-shooter ! (Somehow, I think the characters Clint played, had a bit more in their arsenals than just physical skills, also). :)

That's kind of how I see all this knowing other folk personally would be nice too ... but this certainly isn't mandatory .. And, as a matter of choice, not knowing them, actually stimulates the challenge of discerning fact from fiction.

Interestingly, speaking of fiction, for some reason I find that fiction plays a major influencing role in many of the non-fictional discussions I find myself involved in 'round these parts .. ("Whoa thar fella ! them thar might be fightin' words" ! (just kidding). :)

Regards

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-22, 10:41 AM
It's known by many names. Wikipedia calls it the "Online Disinhibition Effect", but its older and more mythic title is the GIFT, or "Greater Internet <redacted> Theory".

The theorem can be expressed as a simple equation: N + A1 + A2 = F

Where N = Normal Person, A1 = Anonymity, A2 = Audience and F = Total <redacted>

You could argue, indeed, that the strenuous efforts to expel and discipline users on this forum are, essentially, responses to the GIFT.

Recently the GIFT has come under scrutiny by the media, though seldom by name, in its manifestation as rampant misogyny directed at female bloggers and columnists. Cyber-bullying, racism and even hacking are, in their own ways, simply differing manifestations of the GIFT.

It raises some perplexing problems:

First, are human beings genuinely so vile that the simple removal of learned social constraints is enough to turn them into ravening monsters? I think so, but then, unlike many on this forum, I have no faith in human nature.

I see its prevalence as abundantly in abuse of authority as I see it in rampant rantings of those who feel like they're being slighted, which is to say, oddly enough, not all that much. I see it most often in anonymous replies to controversial news stories with wide distribution. Strangely, on forums whose moderators aren't abusing their authority, the rants are almost completely absent, yet order remains, provided that when the need for moderation arises, it's handled in the same or similar fashion as would a wise leader.


Second, Can anything really be done to constrain it?

Certainly, but it requires two things: Maturity and the ability to see one's own faults, particularly if one is the one in authority.


The internet was designed specifically to limit control, but this means, effectively, that natural selection takes over. The loudest, strongest and most intimidating voices rule, while the weak are cowed into silence.

I really don't see the Internet as any different than any other organizational system we've had over the last few millennia. Those who're in control impose that control in one of several ways, most often by leading by example or punishing. Four roads less traveled involve collaboration, collusion, coercion, and cooperation, but none of these methods are mutually exclusive.


Finally, do we really have the right, as this forum assumes, to so utterly crush the GIFT that those who indulge in it are banned or stripped of their privileges? Is that not, in its own way, just as crushing of dissent as the law of the jungle?

Yes, the owners, admins, and moderators of this forum have this right. That's not to say the exercising of such a right is in any manner advantageous or productive, for it's not. If Edison tried that approach everyone in his laboratory would have quit. He was a stickler, make no bones about it, but only for results. He actually encouraged thinking outside the box, as does Google and many other successful companies over the years, including IBM, Apple, and Microsoft. In fact, IBM suffered some setbacks for a while simply because they'd begun resorting to the same attitudes we see here, the attitude that says, "Hey, look - we're on top of that already," when in fact, they weren't nearly as "on top of it" as they'd thought.

Bottom line: Progress isn't measured by adherence to the status quo.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-22, 08:32 PM
Bottom line: Progress isn't measured by adherence to the status quo.

On the contrary, what else would you measure progress in comparison to except the status quo? Are you coming at this as a relativist or an absolutist?

BTW, what are the distinctions you're making between "collaboration, collusion, coercion, and cooperation"?

Selfsim
2012-Aug-22, 10:16 PM
On the contrary, what else would you measure progress in comparison to except the status quo? I read DoggerDan's point as being that: "Progress isn't measured specifically by by adherence to the status quo".
"Adherence" would seem to be the key word (??), although, I would argue that a certain amount of compliance with say, the 'status quo' of the scientific process, definitely results in progress, (albeit perhaps somewhat more slowly).

Regards

slang
2012-Aug-22, 11:19 PM
In my original words above, I was comparing written material to verbal. I would hope that you agree that both written contracts and technical specifications, impose a discipline calling for far greater focus and clarity of thought, than verbal communications do (and that would be separable from the material's ultimate purpose, which may not be precisely known at the time of speaking/authoring)?

Yes... and that makes it so incredibly painful to try to work through technical documentation that was written as if the person was just saying the words to him or herself, with bad punctuation, sentences that somehow change halfway through into new sentences.. stuff where you need to read lines three times, not because the topic is difficult, but because the text is so bad.

In one instance of such a writer, I found myself stopping him in technical verbal communication after one or two sentences, to try to make him think about what he was actually saying (without using vage general buzzwords). The worst of it was that this person could not be convinced that the way he spoke was so imprecise that it was useless to have a technical conversation with him, actually to the point of me avoiding it, and getting my information from someone else, and waiting for his contract to end.

Selfsim
2012-Aug-22, 11:54 PM
Yes... and that makes it so incredibly painful to try to work through technical documentation that was written as if the person was just saying the words to him or herself, with bad punctuation, sentences that somehow change halfway through into new sentences.. stuff where you need to read lines three times, not because the topic is difficult, but because the text is so bad.

In one instance of such a writer, I found myself stopping him in technical verbal communication after one or two sentences, to try to make him think about what he was actually saying (without using vage general buzzwords). The worst of it was that this person could not be convinced that the way he spoke was so imprecise that it was useless to have a technical conversation with him, actually to the point of me avoiding it, and getting my information from someone else, and waiting for his contract to end.Yep .. (well I'd have to admit that the focusing skill, isn't necessarily widely well developed across the general communicating public and, perhaps the better point to be made, is that the focus of thought is the more important aspect (??) ).

However, I find writing imposes a greater degree of focus discipline, (which may be why most of us tend to avoid the written word, also .. ie: because discipline is involved .. and this is usually not particularly intuitive, nor can I think of an instance where discipline is a particularly pleasurable experience, either ?). Jumbled thoughts usually become evident in writing (even if the writer won't publically admit a lack of clarity to others).

My overall point in all this, is that if the <topic thread> is expressed in writing (under internet anonymity), then it is probably an authentic expression of authentic feelings (of the moment), rather than a work of deception (whether the reader likes what is said, or not). If that is so, then there is some message of value embedded in it, for the reader. Distilling this value, doesn't require any knowledge of the writer's background. Discarding it, is like discarding data which doesn't fit the paradigm .. something is lost when we do this.

Regards

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-23, 03:19 AM
I read DoggerDan's point as being that: "Progress isn't measured specifically by by adherence to the status quo".
"Adherence" would seem to be the key word (??), although, I would argue that a certain amount of compliance with say, the 'status quo' of the scientific process, definitely results in progress, (albeit perhaps somewhat more slowly).

Regards

Thanks, Selfism. That's precisely what I meant. Naturally, one must work within the bounds of science, but by "status quo" I was referring to the "if God had meant for man to fly, he would have given him wings" mindset.

Selfsim
2012-Aug-23, 04:31 AM
Thanks, Selfism. That's precisely what I meant. Naturally, one must work within the bounds of science, but by "status quo" I was referring to the "if God had meant for man to fly, he would have given him wings" mindset.This would have something to do with active, independent thinking .. as distinct from: "I read what a respected scientist wrote ... therefore all of it must be true (and real)" .. (with no further independent analysis, eh ?) ..

If so, then I also have witnessed evidence of this ...

This would be another, (probably unrecognised), downside of actually knowing an author's background (ie: "I can relax .. no need to think in other dimensions other than what that respected scientist wrote .. .. by definition, any alternate interpretation is a direct threat to the author's background/experience and must therefore, be wrong").

(I may be generalising a little more than comfort levels might tolerate on this point I have found that there are grey areas, and extremes of this type of behaviour. Sometimes, the staunch proponents of the 'status quo', doggedly stick to a particular interpretation, purely because of a particular author's reputation .. which then results in overlooking the speculative parts of what they actually wrote).

Cheers

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-23, 08:25 AM
This would have something to do with active, independent thinking .. as distinct from: "I read what a respected scientist wrote ... therefore all of it must be true (and real)" .. (with no further independent analysis, eh ?) ..

If so, then I also have witnessed evidence of this ...

This would be another, (probably unrecognised), downside of actually knowing an author's background (ie: "I can relax .. no need to think in other dimensions other than what that respected scientist wrote .. .. by definition, any alternate interpretation is a direct threat to the author's background/experience and must therefore, be wrong").

(I may be generalising a little more than comfort levels might tolerate on this point … I have found that there are grey areas, and extremes of this type of behaviour. Sometimes, the staunch proponents of the 'status quo', doggedly stick to a particular interpretation, purely because of a particular author's reputation .. which then results in overlooking the speculative parts of what they actually wrote).

Cheers

We are. We're here. We are Americans.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-23, 08:31 AM
Yep .. (well I'd have to admit that the focusing skill, isn't necessarily widely well developed across the general communicating public and, perhaps the better point to be made, is that the focus of thought is the more important aspect (??) ).

However, I find writing imposes a greater degree of focus discipline, (which may be why most of us tend to avoid the written word, also .. ie: because discipline is involved .. and this is usually not particularly intuitive, nor can I think of an instance where discipline is a particularly pleasurable experience, either ?). Jumbled thoughts usually become evident in writing … (even if the writer won't publically admit a lack of clarity to others). <snip>
For communication of anything I prefer writing to spoken word,
I refuse to accept a verbal description of what I'm supposed to do unless it's extremely simple or a repeat of something done previously.
To be honest, that's my main gripe about planning stuff at meetings, even before the meeting's half over, decisions have been filtered through the minutes-taker's understanding of the situation, which will differ from that of anyone else, which means what's going to be implemented isn't going to be what was decided.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-23, 06:02 PM
Yep .. (well I'd have to admit that the focusing skill, isn't necessarily widely well developed across the general communicating public and, perhaps the better point to be made, is that the focus of thought is the more important aspect (??) ).

However, I find writing imposes a greater degree of focus discipline, (which may be why most of us tend to avoid the written word, also .. ie: because discipline is involved .. and this is usually not particularly intuitive, nor can I think of an instance where discipline is a particularly pleasurable experience, either ?). Jumbled thoughts usually become evident in writing … (even if the writer won't publically admit a lack of clarity to others).

My overall point in all this, is that if the <topic thread> is expressed in writing (under internet anonymity), then it is probably an authentic expression of authentic feelings (of the moment), rather than a work of deception … (whether the reader likes what is said, or not). If that is so, then there is some message of value embedded in it, for the reader. Distilling this value, doesn't require any knowledge of the writer's background. Discarding it, is like discarding data which doesn't fit the paradigm .. something is lost when we do this.

I'm not convinced that writing imposes a degree of focus discipline. What it does, is allow people to focus if they want to, by giving them more time to compose and edit what they write. That doesn't normally happen in conversation. On the other hand, people can and do write on the internet in manners reflecting of the way they talk, which can be unfocused, undisciplined and deceitful. Anonymity is not a key to truth, it is as likely to be a key to hyperbole because the writer either uses it as catharsis or as a method of recruiting others to a cause. In other words, propaganda and expressions of frustration tend towards the negative and the hyperbolic. The removal of social conventions (in communications) can result in aberrations in either direction of truth or deceit. Realize also that a lot of useful discussion on the internet is not actually anonymous by peudonymous.


This would be another, (probably unrecognised), downside of actually knowing an author's background (ie: "I can relax .. no need to think in other dimensions other than what that respected scientist wrote .. .. by definition, any alternate interpretation is a direct threat to the author's background/experience and must therefore, be wrong").Not necessarily. A lot of people on the internet do not have the knowledge to evaluate a claim and generally defer to authority. If another person hasn't bothered to jump through the same hoops to get the same or equivalent credentials then why would anyone listen to them if they can't actually judge their words?

But it's interesting that you talk about dismissing experts: My precision in the use of words and concepts and their explanation earlier might have revealed that I've, in fact, studied communications theory in a formal setting. This may put into light the choice to ignore my posts when they lead away from the direction towards the conclusion it seems you want this thread to head.

Hlafordlaes
2012-Aug-23, 09:56 PM
.... First, are human beings genuinely so vile that the simple removal of learned social constraints is enough to turn them into ravening monsters? I think so, but then, unlike many on this forum, I have no faith in human nature.

IOW, is the Lord of the Flies denouement realistic? I think so. As for human nature, IMHO we all carry full Jekyll and complete Hyde genes, so I tend to trust conditionally.


Second, Can anything really be done to constrain it? The internet was designed specifically to limit control, but this means, effectively, that natural selection takes over. The loudest, strongest and most intimidating voices rule, while the weak are cowed into silence.

Hopefully, that's mitigated by board policies and mods, two great things about this place. OTOH, you do seem to be accurately describing many corporate environments I've experienced.


Finally, do we really have the right, as this forum assumes, to so utterly crush the GIFT that those who indulge in it are banned or stripped of their privileges? Is that not, in its own way, just as crushing of dissent as the law of the jungle?

In answer to your first question, yes, on private venues such as this. As for the second, boy are there plenty of alternatives available for noise.

Selfsim
2012-Aug-23, 10:34 PM
Not necessarily. A lot of people on the internet do not have the knowledge to evaluate a claim and generally defer to authority. If another person hasn't bothered to jump through the same hoops to get the same or equivalent credentials then why would anyone listen to them if they can't actually judge their words?1. Why do you imply that it is a mandatory, default position that words must be 'judged' ?
2. Knowledge is there to be acquired. If one doesn't have the knowledge to participate .. it is easily available to be grabbed go for it, I say !
(Take a look at what holds one back from doing this, and one may find that the barriers might just be excuses for avoiding some discomfort (??) and in the long-run, I think most would agree that knowledge acquisition, of the type we are discussing, is actually the fundamental reason for communicating on this particular internet site, in the first place).


But it's interesting that you talk about dismissing experts: My precision in the use of words and concepts and their explanation earlier might have revealed that I've, in fact, studied communications theory in a formal setting. This may put into light the choice to ignore my posts when they lead away from the direction towards the conclusion it seems you want this thread to head.Ara;
Sure .. and in this instance deliberately so.

My choice of not responding to your posts in this particular thread, is mostly because most of your assertions, seemingly support your appeal to authority, (your formal background/training). My points in this thread, on the other hand, are an appeal for others to 'try on' the concepts of listening filters, and to swap a knowledge-based one into place, which allows for the possibility that one doesn't have to know someone's background/qualifications, in order to assess whether what they say is valid (or not). Its not a personal thing .. its just that it would be inconsistent of me to defer to some kind of claimed formal background of authority .. especially as the evidence so far displayed, (if drawn directly from your formal studies), seems to not have to touched on the 'operating system' behind human communications .. which is the part I am addressing). I have not ignored your content either, incidentally.

This time 'round, I'm not in the mode of being pursuaded into paying tribute to a claimed background, as it is irrelevant to the concept of 'trying on' what I say as being perhaps a somewhat valid, and a useful contribution/perspective, which is readily available to all, regardless of their background(s).

I find it quite amazing that I actually have to spell this out, incidentally.

Have we become so enamoured with our approach of 'opinion-based' science, that we must always defer to a background of authority, in order to distill fact from fiction ?

Unfortunately, evidently, it might seem so !

Regards

Gillianren
2012-Aug-24, 06:00 AM
An appeal to authority is not always unjustified.

Selfsim
2012-Aug-24, 06:38 AM
An appeal to authority is not always unjustified.I'd like to agree ...

Neither is it always 'the default' .. (unless one makes it so).

Regards

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-24, 11:40 AM
1. Why do you imply that it is a mandatory, default position that words must be 'judged' ?Judgement is part of the process of evaluating words and the concepts they convey. In order for words to convey any meaning at all, they must proceed from concepts with which one is able to extract information. Thus, it is necessary to judge from the context the intended meaning and attempt to extract a larger concept. This is even before we get to judging the content of the communication as to its veracity or applicability within the perceived or proscribed context.

But to bring this back to my point, is the common occurrence where someone reads something that is simply beyond their depth. If I don't know a philodendron from Phyllo dough, then I can't use some sort of "filter" to make any sort of sense out of a statement wherein its used. There's no guarantee that a listener/reader will even understand what's being communicated. How many times have you heard someone say "and then my eyes glazed over" or "and then he lost me"? It generally means that someone tried to "learn" something without the ability to evaluate it and wasn't able to understand it, and no filter change can fix that, it just takes study...that is to say, become more of an authority on the subject.


2. Knowledge is there to be acquired. If one doesn't have the knowledge to participate .. it is easily available to be grabbed go for it, I say !
(Take a look at what holds one back from doing this, and one may find that the barriers might just be excuses for avoiding some discomfort (??) and in the long-run, I think most would agree that knowledge acquisition, of the type we are discussing, is actually the fundamental reason for communicating on this particular internet site, in the first place).Learning takes study, which takes time, which can be hard to come by. As for this site, as a forum it is primarily a social exercise. Some information is exchanged, but most of it is a repeat of what's been said and rehashed multiple times before, a lot of which tends to becomes tangential or a meta-discussion. If you don't want to take it on authority, go ahead and choose a topic and run a search on this forum.


Ara;
Sure .. and in this instance deliberately so.And what of my first paragraph, where I disagree with you. You didn't comment. Does that mean you agree, or is your "filter" fogged up? :)


My choice of not responding to your posts in this particular thread, is mostly because most of your assertions, seemingly support your appeal to authority, (your formal background/training).What Appeal to Authority have I made? The statement of my studies is not, nor has it been used in this thread as an appeal (much less a fallacy). It's more an explanation to a Point of Order.


My points in this thread, on the other hand, are an appeal for others to 'try on' the concepts of listening filters, and to swap a knowledge-based one into place, which allows for the possibility that one doesn't have to know someone's background/qualifications, in order to assess whether what they say is valid (or not).What knowledge-based filter? If they're not judging the speaker then their judging the listener (themselves) to be capable of critically examining and evaluating claims. That model of learning may be even more problematic since studies show that people consistently under-rate their abilities because they often defer to authority (Milgrim's experiments) which they may imagine exists or else they wouldn't defer to the anonymous new data (Cognitive Dissonance). However, some people may find something incorrect in the shared data and conclude that the anonymous source made a mistake and probably made others and isn't worth investing additional effort in reading. Those are two possible results with regard to short communications as found on an internet forum. If you're talking about long scholarly papers, then getting someone to read an author without credentials is another issue.


Its not a personal thing .. its just that it would be inconsistent of me to defer to some kind of claimed formal background of authority .. Is "consistency" one of your filters? And is it internal or external, meaning is it some sort of egalitarian rage against the elite idealism and you don't defer to any authority or that you don't defer to unsubstantiated/undemonstrated claims of authority?


especially as the evidence so far displayed, (if drawn directly from your formal studies), seems to not have to touched on the 'operating system' behind human communications .. which is the part I am addressing). I have not ignored your content either, incidentally.Not responding to it can come across as ignored. So what part of what I've previously said when explaining how humans think and communicate doesn't touch on "the 'operating system' behind human communications"? You know that comes across as an insult, right? After all, you've been talking about filters and so have I, with the exception that I don't think that it's as simple or as removable or remarkable as you seem to think it is. If I'm not touching on the "operating system", then neither are you. Although, to be fair, I have no idea what you mean by "operating system". I recall what others have written that might be that (Kant, Hume, Foucault, Habermas, Jung), but it's not clear if you're referring to philosophy, psychology, physiology or something else.


This time 'round, I'm not in the mode of being pursuaded into paying tribute to a claimed background, as it is irrelevant to the concept of 'trying on' what I say as being perhaps a somewhat valid, and a useful contribution/perspective, which is readily available to all, regardless of their background(s).This also comes across as an insult and as a case of someone unclear on the concept. I made statements of analysis and explanations of theory so that it should be understandable to even non-students of the field, and nowhere did I invoke an Appeal to Authority maneuver (or fallacy). What I did is recognize what you admitted to above, that you've conducted an Avoid an Authority maneuver.


I find it quite amazing that I actually have to spell this out, incidentally.Why? Do you think that group-members were going to automatically understand and agree with you when you confront and criticize them about a shared consensus on in-group social communication norms? This is what meta-discussion is all about, and meta-discussions are at the heart of the problem. Although I think I realize now that you're desire may be to do away with the need for meta-discussion by asking everyone to do something with filters, which makes little sense since people need to conduct meta-discussions to figure out what filters to use. There's really no getting around it.


Have we become so enamoured with our approach of 'opinion-based' science, that we must always defer to a background of authority, in order to distill fact from fiction ?

Unfortunately, evidently, it might seem so !I think this reveals the fundamental disconnect (I would say misunderstanding). You've got it backwards. Authority is a shortcut to evaluating information. Scientific authority is based on established merit in a hierarchy of accomplishment that demonstrates rigor. Asking people to listen without prejudice of the communicator implies post-judging of the the data, which will result in opinion-based personal conclusions each of which may be different according to how the listener understood it. Alternately, the listeners may discuss it and agree to a consensus of understanding and judgement of the claim or data, but that will rely upon the prejudice of the leaders of the discussion. Deference to authority (or appeal to authority) is precisely what people do to avoid "opinion-based" science.

Hlafordlaes
2012-Aug-24, 08:18 PM
@Selfsim and Ara Pacis,

I may have skimmed too quickly, but I the quick impression I get is that you both are making valid points.

Selfsim, if I read correctly, is mostly pointing out that one might choose to come at a written text and take full personal responsibility for all due diligence; i.e., all fact checks etc. The clear advantage to this is that, on occasion, one might discover value (knowledge, information, perspective, shared emotion) in a text otherwise dismissed, perhaps prejudicially. The disadvantage of course is that in setting aside the various short-hand indicators we normally employ to prejudge the potential value of a text and decide to invest time in it or not, we can waste vast amounts of time needlessly.

Ara Pacis seems to be arguing that all of the clues we might use to make a choice of investing in a text are proper and valuable, including such things as expertise, first-hand knowledge, context, and how others are responding. Seems right to me.

In my own doings, I like to "pull a Selfsim" once in a while, especially when a brick wall of some sort has been hit and conventional answers aren't working, but also when in the mood to provoke myself with some challenge. But after reading Ara Pacis' posts, I appreciate a bit more the things I had forgotten I was doing when entering into a forum debate, such as using the venue (expectation that posts on Astronomy are more accurate on CQ than say, the Washington Post), the user name (yes, some handles seem, well, more scholarly than others), the reactions of other posters whose opinions and expertise I know something of, etc. So I am not as "unfiltered" and potentially less receptive and even less objective, than I thought.

My $0.00000000002

Selfsim
2012-Aug-24, 10:31 PM
At this point I'd like to respond Hlafordlaes (not at all intending to insult Ara .. its just that a carefully worded response to Ara would probably take days of my time .. which I don't presently have available).

So, Hlafordlaes thank you for your post .. it is much appreciated. I actually agree with both Ara's points and my own, (of course), and both seem valid from my perspective. I am not looking to be 'absolutely right' about this, and thereby be declared to be some kind of 'winner' .. (which reminds me of another reason I originally chose to not directly engage on Ara's posts). I have no intention of insulting Ara either, I very much respect Ara's views and background experience, and I hope to look forward to more interesting encounters with Ara and the others with whom I have engaged (in this thread).

It seems that my deliberate lack of reliance on unknown backgrounds, (and, in this case, my deliberate lack of deference to self-declared ones), may have been perceived as arrogance ..(?).. which is certainly not the only conclusion which could be formed from such an observation .. and is most definitely not where I'm coming from.

Philosophically, I suppose where I am coming from, is that we are all more than the sum of our accumulated knowledge and educated backgrounds, and it is this I am attempting to address. How and when we invoke that knowledge and background experience, manifests itself in the words we write anyway, and is the topic I'm trying to bring out, (and failing rather miserably at it yet again .. or, so it seems :( ). There is a choice we all have available and in this case, I choose to not make knowledge of folks' background or experience my primary concern. It is secondary to my primary objective of accumulation of quality knowledge.

'Wisdom' might seem to be a useful concept to introduce in this conversation at this point .(?). although, this would surely be the topic of separate thread (?)

Regards

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-25, 02:52 AM
I'm not convinced that writing imposes a degree of focus discipline. What it does, is allow people to focus if they want to, by giving them more time to compose and edit what they write. That doesn't normally happen in conversation. On the other hand, people can and do write on the internet in manners reflecting of the way they talk, which can be unfocused, undisciplined and deceitful. Anonymity is not a key to truth, it is as likely to be a key to hyperbole because the writer either uses it as catharsis or as a method of recruiting others to a cause. In other words, propaganda and expressions of frustration tend towards the negative and the hyperbolic. The removal of social conventions (in communications) can result in aberrations in either direction of truth or deceit. Realize also that a lot of useful discussion on the internet is not actually anonymous by peudonymous.

Ara, whether you and I ever agree or disagree from here on out, I agree with what you just posted 100%. The key, of course, is to ensure our communications are as truthful as possible.

Not necessarily. A lot of people on the internet do not have the knowledge to evaluate a claim and generally defer to authority. If another person hasn't bothered to jump through the same hoops to get the same or equivalent credentials then why would anyone listen to them if they can't actually judge their words?

But it's interesting that you talk about dismissing experts: My precision in the use of words and concepts and their explanation earlier might have revealed that I've, in fact, studied communications theory in a formal setting. This may put into light the choice to ignore my posts when they lead away from the direction towards the conclusion it seems you want this thread to head.[/QUOTE]

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-26, 04:18 AM
At this point I'd like to respond Hlafordlaes … (not at all intending to insult Ara .. its just that a carefully worded response to Ara would probably take days of my time .. which I don't presently have available).

So, Hlafordlaes … thank you for your post .. it is much appreciated. I actually agree with both Ara's points and my own, (of course), and both seem valid from my perspective. I am not looking to be 'absolutely right' about this, and thereby be declared to be some kind of 'winner' .. (which reminds me of another reason I originally chose to not directly engage on Ara's posts). I have no intention of insulting Ara either, I very much respect Ara's views and background experience, and I hope to look forward to more interesting encounters with Ara and the others with whom I have engaged (in this thread).

It seems that my deliberate lack of reliance on unknown backgrounds, (and, in this case, my deliberate lack of deference to self-declared ones), may have been perceived as arrogance ..(?).. which is certainly not the only conclusion which could be formed from such an observation .. and is most definitely not where I'm coming from.

Philosophically, I suppose where I am coming from, is that we are all more than the sum of our accumulated knowledge and educated backgrounds, and it is this I am attempting to address. How and when we invoke that knowledge and background experience, manifests itself in the words we write anyway, and is the topic I'm trying to bring out, (and failing rather miserably at it … yet again .. or, so it seems :( ). There is a choice we all have available and in this case, I choose to not make knowledge of folks' background or experience my primary concern. It is secondary to my primary objective of accumulation of quality knowledge.

'Wisdom' might seem to be a useful concept to introduce in this conversation at this point .(?). although, this would surely be the topic of separate thread (?)

Regards

I okay with agreeing to disagree. It just felt like you were dismissing what I said. That, and it also sounded a little like some of the arguments in ATM where proponents of ATM ask people to be open minded, and that's probably why I tried to drive the point home enough to be annoying. It's not that I disagree with your general idea of filters, but that the concept as I seem to perceive it, is already out there in well developed forms and has been for a while, but perhaps your ideas are different from the relativism implicit in many critiques of modernity.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-26, 04:22 AM
Ara, whether you and I ever agree or disagree from here on out, I agree with what you just posted 100%. The key, of course, is to ensure our communications are as truthful as possible.Thanks. Just so ya know, I only disagree with you when I think you're wrong. :)

Selfsim
2012-Aug-26, 05:38 AM
I okay with agreeing to disagree. It just felt like you were dismissing what I said.Not dismissing .. just emphasising, (and maybe wording), some listening concepts differently (??)


That, and it also sounded a little like some of the arguments in ATM where proponents of ATM ask people to be open minded, and that's probably why I tried to drive the point home enough to be annoying.Aha ! Now this is an interesting development ! ..

The ATM forum in this place, seems to shape just about everyone's views, and I think, results in a hyper-sensitivity to anything which may sound like an "ATMer's" tactics … but with no particular ATM content. The 'ATM' judgement, surely lies in the message content of someone's posts .. (??). The appeal for open-mindedness, independently of ATM technical content, is surely a reasonable request ?

The proposition to assess what someone says at face-value, independently of their background qualifications/experience, is surely virtually, a human right ?


It's not that I disagree with your general idea of filters, but that the concept as I seem to perceive it, is already out there in well developed forms and has been for a while, but perhaps your ideas are different from the relativism implicit in many critiques of modernity.I'm sure it is already out there … there's nothing particularly novel I can see in it … so why did it receive such a back-pressure ? Was it purely because it was unexpected, and slightly counterintuitive ?

The active swapping of listening 'filters', is something I've not seen particularly often, (strangely enough). I would have thought it would be a good life-skill, worthy of strengthening (??) I might add I'm pretty woeful at it … but I do try to keep it in mind, when encountering new folk and/or new ideas ..

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-26, 06:26 AM
Aha ! Now this is an interesting development ! ..

The ATM forum in this place, seems to shape just about everyone's views, and I think, results in a hyper-sensitivity to anything which may sound like an "ATMer's" tactics … but with no particular ATM content. The 'ATM' judgement, surely lies in the message content of someone's posts .. (??). The appeal for open-mindedness, independently of ATM technical content, is surely a reasonable request ?

The proposition to assess what someone says at face-value, independently of their background qualifications/experience, is surely virtually, a human right ?Well ,a lot of ATMers have tried to avoid the ATM rules by having turning conversations outside of ATM into either a discussion of their ATM idea or an attack against the ATM rules or the people who enforce those rules or debate them in ATM. If I understand what you're saying, you mean that the defenders of the Mainstream in ATM should be open minded? That's often the claim, but I don't think they can be if they are defending the mainstream. Bias is not just implicit, it's explicit. It's not just asking someone to listen it's about asking someone to ignore or throw away knowledge they already have or think they have. And this all happens without even needing to know someone's background, just from examining their words.


I'm sure it is already out there … there's nothing particularly novel I can see in it … so why did it receive such a back-pressure ? Was it purely because it was unexpected, and slightly counterintuitive ?

The active swapping of listening 'filters', is something I've not seen particularly often, (strangely enough). I would have thought it would be a good life-skill, worthy of strengthening (??) I might add I'm pretty woeful at it … but I do try to keep it in mind, when encountering new folk and/or new ideas ..

I can't speak for anyone else, but it was partly due to the organic nature of the discussion co-evolving from the OP and partly due to the presentation and response. Even if people don't know who you are, generally speaking people tend to pay less attention to what you say and more to how you say it.

Selfsim
2012-Aug-26, 07:42 AM
Well ,a lot of ATMers have tried to avoid the ATM rules by having turning conversations outside of ATM into either a discussion of their ATM idea or an attack against the ATM rules or the people who enforce those rules or debate them in ATM. If I understand what you're saying, you mean that the defenders of the Mainstream in ATM should be open minded? That's often the claim, but I don't think they can be if they are defending the mainstream.I also, have much respect for the 'defenders of mainstream' in the ATM forum. (I've partaken of this practice extensively, in the past). ATM OPs have usually already decided to position their ideas so as to deliberately fly in the face of already established science .. (Otherwise, why else would they deliberately put their post in an ATM forum ?). Perhaps this very penchant, is how they conduct themselves in everyday life, as well (??)
Bias is not just implicit, it's explicit. It's not just asking someone to listen it's about asking someone to ignore or throw away knowledge they already have or think they have. And this all happens without even needing to know someone's background, just from examining their words.Yep (moreso, perhaps, with many ATMers ??). Your point is the same as mine .. it surely depends on the content of what they've said, (at least initially .?.) their background will come out in their words, (for those familiar with the material ... not so, for those unfamiliar with it however) And therein, perhaps, lies one issue as to why there is an ATM forum in the first place, (as well as technically astute moderators), eh ?
All I'm saying is we should focus on the opportunity the ATM forum creates, to pursue one's own learning in the other fora. It sometimes seems that ATMers may have distracted us from that opportunity .. and there also seems to be some kind of dependency on the defenders and their backgrounds, resulting also (??)

I can't speak for anyone else, but it was partly due to the organic nature of the discussion co-evolving from the OP and partly due to the presentation and response. Even if people don't know who you are, generally speaking people tend to pay less attention to what you say and more to how you say it.And how it is listened to, is frequently a function of taking gratification from being 'right'. Whenever a listener or a speaker does this, it makes the other party 'wrong' .. and no-one likes being wrong .. particularly when the speaker's content is not the focus of the listener and the only the delivery, is !

Selfsim
2012-Aug-26, 08:13 AM
Look, I accept that this is a mainstream site, but grey areas of science where speculative interpretation is perfectly legitimate, seem largely either: (a) unrecognised as being open for discussion or; (b) the speculative parts of such topics, are treated in the same way a Physical Law might be (in terms of 'weight'), when it comes to 'debate' or discussion.

This site is somewhat renowned for its handling of ATM but it seems to me, the delicate grey areas of science, (and there are many of them at the research end), are treated in the same way ATM is !

Drawing this to others' attention here, might seem to be a valid overall contribution ?

Regards

Gillianren
2012-Aug-26, 05:27 PM
If people were unaware of it, it might be. Or if you presented your case in clear, concise language, properly punctuated (there is no space between the last word of a sentence and the final punctuation mark, no matter what that punctuation mark is) and so forth. Instead, you are presenting things we've already discussed using the kind of wording that a lot of ATM proponents use when trying to shoehorn their obviously wrong idea into the "grey areas of science." You are also ignoring that they get discussed quite a lot without being completely subject to ATM rules.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-27, 05:07 AM
And how it is listened to, is frequently a function of taking gratification from being 'right'. Whenever a listener or a speaker does this, it makes the other party 'wrong' .. and no-one likes being wrong .. particularly when the speaker's content is not the focus of the listener … and the only the delivery, is !

And being "right" is the natural consequence to gaining new knowledge if that knowledge it determined to be correct, and that is worth taking gratification from.

And I said "partly due to" how you say it, not that I make it an ideological issue. I'm okay with someone ignoring another person if another person happens to tell the truth while acting like a raving lunatic, for example. It's generally considered to be the speaker/writer's responsibility to get someone's attention and respect and keep it in the scenario here where an information-giver is trying to disburse information for their own purposes as opposed to when a listener asks a question and is attentive for an answer from an information-giver. In a group discussion it starts to become more complex with group dynamics theory describing interactions.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-29, 04:29 AM
Thanks. Just so ya know, I only disagree with you when I think you're wrong. :)

Lol, I think that's a better definition of sanity than the one mis-attributed to Einstein!