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From: Duncan <1i5t5.duncan@...>
Subject: Re: Tone in Gentoo
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 05:47:51 +0000 (UTC)
Sebastian Pipping posted on Thu, 17 Jun 2010 00:33:25 +0200 as excerpted:

> On 06/16/10 21:40, Roy Bamford wrote:
>> As a native English speaker (from England) I view Jers reply as terse
>> and to the point, completely lacking in tone.
> interesting.  Looking at the sentence
>   "When did you point this out to devrel?"
> I would like to say that while it's not impolite per se it's implicitly
> saying "You _have to_ point this out to dev rel" in my ears. [...]
> In contrast asking
>   "Have you pointed this out to DevRel?  What was their reaction?"
> does not seem to have this mis-hearing problem, at least not to me.

Thanks for the concrete example, and yes, I agree.

I've become aware of two issues I personally have, in this regard.

1) I (normally) instinctively interpret statements in the positive, 
subconsciously rewriting statements of the first form into the second as I 
read them, because I assume people have the best intentions until it is 
demonstrated otherwise.  Yet this process is not without cost in 
subconscious processing time and thus in stress, and while I couldn't 
point out why without deliberately deconstructing the post as you did, I'm 
left with a vague unease about the post, which only becomes apparent when 
pointed out, as here, or over time, as other posts accumulate and I 
evaluate the poster as less friendly than I might, still without 
consciously understanding why.

You explain my unease.  If I assume others are like me, perhaps I've 
pointed out why they too, wouldn't have pointed to this post as 
unfriendly, yet agree with your point now that you have.

2) I often overcompensate in an attempt to make my point clear, with 
"verbiage out the yin-yang", but in reality, often obscuring it due to 
simple "verbiage overgrowth".  (Point 1 shrunk by more than half after 
four rewrites.)  This exasperates some to the point of killfiling, tho 
I've enough "thanks for the explanation" replies from others over the 
years to know "it's what works" for others.

Some seem to have an instinctive fear of verbiage, contracting 
communications to their most precise possible while retaining literal 
meaning, without understanding the effect this has on implied meaning.  
Thus, example #2 gets contracted into #1, and the more sensitive read into 
it an offense when none was intended.

> I remember a guy of the German Unix User Group (GUUG) saying something
> like
>   "Communication is always oriented at the receiver".

Wise man.

> Applying that to tone and avoiding mis-interpretation the sender has the
> power (and arguably the responsiblity) to sounds as friendly as needed
> to be sure it will not be understood as unfriendly.  In a way there's
> always a way to be friendlier - _without_ faking anything.

But that takes three times the effort and twice the words.  Example #2 
above is, after all, almost twice the size of #1.

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

Re: Re: Tone in Gentoo
-- Roy Bamford
Re: Re: Tone in Gentoo
-- Sebastian Pipping
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