I don't want sterile little What We Have In Common games; and I'm pretty sick of What We Can Jump On games.

I'd rather listen & understand, myself, than be continually hitting [something] back over the net to someone who isn't listening either or saying all that much worth a more thoughtful response.

How do we get this way? -- What else could we be doing instead? How might we get there from here?

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Hi Forrest, could you be more specific? Is this how you see much of the conversation on QQ?

Adria Gulizia said:

Hi Forrest, could you be more specific? Is this how you see much of the conversation on QQ?

Okay, my first impulse is to take the first handle I find for knocking your reply back across the net. So I've decided to stifle that and try to answer you instead.

Yes, this is how I do see much of the conversation on QQ. Since much of this happens in conversations I start and/or participate in, I likely have something to do with it & could improve matters by taking more care myself.

But overall, aside from my own bad ways, I'd like to see less defending of positions and self-concept, deeper looks at what conversations are supposed to be about. I'm impoverished, and believe that everybody is, when it comes down to defending ones turf rather than exploring the landscape.

Hi Forrest,

Thanks for resisting the impulse to lob my reply back over the net, and actually responding. I just wanted to make sure that I understood you properly and wasn't putting words in your mouth.

I think you are definitely on to something in your diagnosis, and I think a big part of that is that it is very hard to build true affection, trust and understanding via electronic means. Earlier in the life of QQ, I think there was somewhat more of an effort to really connect with folks, but that has faded somewhat. What we are left with is a handful of "super-posters" who have very clear ideas and who disproportionately impact the vibe of the forums. Anyone who is not into that vibe is likely to post less and less frequently, giving the super-posters a greater and greater impact. Additionally, without the empathy, it is easy to get into a dynamic where we are always testing each other.

I think that at various points I may have contributed to this atmosphere, but I have, in recent months, been focusing on expressing concerns about tone and content in private messages and apologizing, praising, and asking authentic questions in public posts. This helps to build a sense of respect and rapport. I think that a big dose of generosity helps  a lot in building a nice atmosphere. I'd be interested to hear more about how you and others think about this issue.

People possessing ideas are interesting; people possessed-by them are impediments -- and you can just about count on people possessed by them ("Do you mean ME?!!!") to disagree about which people that applies to.

We do need to have disagreements, or online conversations go extinct (or might as well.)

Too long a response is likely to become (de facto) unreadable; so the most effective responses are likely to be brief raids on what look to be weak spots. People are then left wondering... "Did he READ that at all?" (This may be a reasonable question, I'm afraid!) So in re-response they send back a long and careful explanation of what they've already, many times, said.

That explanation is not likely to be carefully read; I hope it's forgivable that I myself am very unlikely to do much more than 'skim for points-of-attack.'

And with things you do agree with, ThisFriendspeaksmyminds don't really add that much -- while the lack of them leaves matters dangling.


Okay, I have now copied all discussions-started-by-me to my own computer, from the many discussions where I learned something to those where I was talking to myself to those in which other people were talking to themselves.

There is a lot of very fine material there; I'm assuming this is 'public' but do want to be careful not to rumple anyone in making use of it, whether by failure to attribute or by putting anything from here someplace the author would not consider appropriate.

What would be right?

Phone-book long rambling diversions from either the original subject of a discussion (whether talks or written material) or subsequent comments.

Why do people do this?

Do you ever ask yourself about the druthers of others?  Did they have a choice to play tennis or not, or whatever this "net game" is you speak about (badminton... ping pong)?  Sounds like you're kicked back in some easy chair someplace wishing the remote brought you better stuff on television.  Yeah right, blame the TV.  "Hop to it people, I'm bored!"

You may choose to play Poop-on-the-Court, but that tends to prevent anyone else playing much of anything.

As long as it's not "sticks and stones" (outward weapons) I'm fine with "potty mouth" (name-calling).

Forrest Curo said:

You may choose to play Poop-on-the-Court, but that tends to prevent anyone else playing much of anything.

Tous les genres sont bons, hors le genre ennuyeux.


The Texas thing went well. I filled out a positive review on SurveyMonkey.
We get it, you're bored.  I consider that a relatively high state of mind.

Triage dictates I should work with people worse off than you.

Forrest Curo said:

Tous les genres sont bons, hors le genre ennuyeux.

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