the mighty word

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the mighty word

Postby Dana Sheets » Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:44 pm

The medium of these forums is mostly words. Sometimes pictures, sometimes videos, but most of the information exchange happens with typed words with a limited amount of accents (bold face, italics, color, underline, size, capitalization)

However most people write in a conversational rather than academic tone. But you can't really hear the intonations, read the body language, see the gestures and facial expressions that you usually would with a conversation.

There's no pacing of expression, pausing for effect, there's nothing other than my words. Which means there's a -- v a s t -- divide between what I've intended when I write and what you infer from my writings.

hmmm....that was personal...could have been said:

there's vast difference between what an author intends with his/her writings and what the reader infers from writing.

Even that language gives us a model. The author puts in meaning then the read must decode and extract meaning. And somewhere in that process good things and bad things seem to happen. The vast majority of the discussion that goes on these boards is good, thoughful, informative, fun, repartee. A very little bit is misunderstood, mean-spirited, and the kind of thing I think folks should talk about one on one before they post it in open forum.

That's my opinion and folks can and will differ with me. However I am constantly...surprised...shocked...dismayed...by the level of emotional highjacking that seems to happen with just words.

Just words.

I guess my question is: why isn't more effort made to request clarification of someone's meaning before strong language is introduced. Why not just ask first instead of assuming that your inference is 100% correctly in line with what the author intended?
Last edited by Dana Sheets on Sat May 14, 2005 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Redbeard » Sat May 14, 2005 4:28 am

Dana,
This is an interesting subject to me. In the Air Force, I had to take a class on how to write email in a way not to offend the person on the other end. It is very easy to send the wrong message when the other person can't hear your voice and read your body language.
I took a very interesting course on Hermenuetics in College. It is the art of interpretation, and actually is a pretty involved science that goes very in-depth. A good subject to study for those who are interested.
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Postby jorvik » Sat May 14, 2005 7:42 pm

I think that the problem is to do with language and inferance :D ...I personally find it very different talking on a basically American website, being English..there is not the same sense of humour or irreverance ( the English/British are very irreverent and will skit/joke about/put down just about everything they can) Americans can't joke about themselves as a nation :lol: :lol: ....also words are used differently we say "lose" when we lost something and a "loser" is someone who has lost something or who is not a winner.but we don't call them "loosers"......."loose" is when you've lost weight and your pants don't fit.
Inferance is even more difficult....when we infer something from what somebody says :roll: :roll: ..as an example if I say that parents should be "God Fearing", it infers that I have taken a stance based upon certain beliefs that I have.then we can infer what those beliefs are.and from that come to all sorts of conclussions based on what we think "God Fearing " means and again there is language and nuance, what about "Buddha fearing" :lol: :lol: ..nothing to infer there ..but from the Afore mentined we can assume person has a fairly strong religious sense, and based on other factors ( he is using a computer so he isn't Amish :D :D ) just exactly what they entail.or infer what they entail...causes problems again, because we make assumtions based upon that........and being Hi-jacked well I guess everybody can be , you just need to touch the right buttons.and very often we do but by accident :wink:
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Postby Redbeard » Sat May 14, 2005 8:13 pm

Good observations Jorvik. We all sometimes jump to conclusions about others based on the steriotypes we have in our own minds. Our own past experiances too often dictate the way we act or respond when we come accross someone new.
Cultural barriers can be a big stumbling block as well. Even from state to state, city to city sometimes.
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