Politeness
Posted: 19 April 2008 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This is a difficult medium to carry on conversations with any kind of sarcasm.  “Nonsense is a kind word...” [in the plant names thread] is difficult to read without having access to facial expressions and body language.  I’m sure that this point was not offered with venom, but how do we know that?

I find that I post less and less these days and when I do my posts are always loaded with cautionary language like, “I offer this link without vouching for its accuracy in tone or facticity.” I also re-read my notes endlessly to find possible points of entry for those who would find fault.

I also have a sense that there are too many folks too ready to tear apart an offering, but don’t themselves actually start threads here.  And yet, starting threads is the life-blood of this discussion.  There are a number of folks who ask questions here that could easily be answered by a quick search using the simplest of tools.  But the questions themselves usually lead to a spin that only this discussion can bring to the table.

I would recommend that we be more careful in our dissection of the opening posts whether by old-timers or newcomers.

I think that Dr. T has the right approach, again in the plant-name thread, by begging pardon before offering criticism.  It seems like such a social excess, I suppose (we should all be big people), but such a courtesy guards against taking things the wrong way which is always a danger in on-line conversations as has been pointed out in various web venues for the last decade or more, maybe even from the very infancy of the internet itself.

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Posted: 20 April 2008 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A useful reminder.  Thanks!

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Posted: 21 April 2008 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Oecolampadius - 19 April 2008 06:06 PM

...but how do we know that?

I thought the part about the ancient Romans having “Latin names” for Amazon Basin fish based on the name of their 20th Century cataloguer was somewhat obviously meant as some sort of humor.

The quoted material in question seriously considers whether a Linnean binomial might have influenced the development of the name of a plant in Anglo-Saxon.  It does come to the conclusion that it didn’t, but not due to the reason that Linnean binomials weren’t invented at the time but because the Linnean binomial is “property-based” rather than descriptive like the Anglo-Saxon word.

The material is from an external website not written by ElizaD, therefore I did not assume that she would so personally invested in it as to be offended by someone disagreeing with the material.  There was no announcement of “positive comments only”.

“Nonsense is a kind word...” : if you substituted a rude word for nonsense, that is on you.  It merely means that it is worse that nonsense.

Eliza’s reply that my comment was “not constructive” was not necessary and seemed to me to be personal as I was merely expounding on someone else’s post that the idea was “nonsense”.  And then thanking me for it anyway seemed doubly-damning, but I seem to see sarcasm where others don’t.

I am also not a big fan of thanking people for posting replies in threads that are purely discussion.  If a question was answered or a problem was solved, etc, I can understand it but:
“How’s the weather?”
“It’s a little cloudy”
“Thank you for saying that”
is an awkward conversation, ... in my opinion and I apologize if that offends anyone.

When the original poster makes a post saying “Thank you for your replies.”, I think a lot of people assume that the original poster has gotten whatever they were seeking and is requesting an end to the discussion.

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