Some reflections on politeness vs. briefness - diyAudio
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Old 20th June 2003, 10:07 AM   #1
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Sweden
Default Some reflections on politeness vs. briefness

This thread is not prompted by any particular recent events,
but rather something I have been thinking about now and then.
The reason is that I would suppose that people have different
opinions on what is polite, appropriate etc., since we are all
individuals, except Brian (warning, Monty Python reference).

Here I already gave an example. Some people, like me, find
it a good idea with an occasional joke or amusing ornament,
as long as it doesn't take over. I am sure there are others
people who think this is just off-topic and has nothing to do
on the forum.

If discussing with somebody on the forum that one isn't
already familiar with, the ways of addressing this person
differs. For instance, some people adress and refer to Nelson
Pass as Mr Pass or Nelson Pass, while others (most of us,
I think) adress him as Nelson. I have done so from the start,
although it would be ridiculous to think of myself as his peer in
questions related to audio (or wine ). I am sure Nelson
don't mind and rather prefer this, although others may perhaps
find it rude to be addressed by their first name from people
they are not familiar with. The reason I do it this way is that
I am used to this from the academic world where, at least in
computer science, it is common at conferences etc. to adress
each other with first name. It is foremost an american practice,
and some europeans are not quite comfortable with it, but most
of us like this informal style, where it is mostly okay for a fresh
graduate student to approach a well-known authority
addressing him by first name rather than Professor last name.
I do think it varies with discipline, though, and the CS community
is probably one of the most informal.

Although, I have a tendency to write lengthy posts (already
an unecessary comment if you have read this far) I do use a
brief style in the sense that I do not "sign" my posts, like some
do, but have a fixed sig with my user ID. Likewise, if replying to
a post, quoting from it, I usually do not start by adressing the
person, since this persons ID is already included at the beginning
of the quotation. I am sure some people find this unpolite. A
related case is email communication. We who work in computer
science have been used to communicate by email for over twenty
years, often having very interactive discussions this way, why
we tend to keep things brief and informal to speed up the
communication and since we think of it more as a spoken dialogue
than a written letter communication. I have noted, however, that
in email communication with people who have not been used
to communicate by email until it became widely available, these
people often have a tendency to be very formal, like a written
letter, and I often get a feeling some of them find me very
unpolite when answering in my usual brief style that I am used

So why did I write this? Well, as I said, I am sure different
individuals on the forum have different opinions on the
appropriate balance between briefness and politeness,
between formality and informatlity etc. Here I explained my
view, or rather why I do as I do, and I would think that most
forum members have a similar view. I am just as sure that some
don't, so this thread is meant to ventilate different views and
opinions so we understand each other better, and realize that
somebody perhaps isn't as rude/formal as we thought.
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Old 20th June 2003, 04:49 PM   #2
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: piedmont
despite the occasional flame war, usually induced by a combination of ego and misinterpretation, the content level here is extremely high and mature. as a total ignoramus to the world of electronics (and really, audio for that matter), i've learned a whole lot by reading arguments and suggestions posted by the more learned here.

i think brevity - shortness - sometimes just happens. for example i'm at work, and any moment now i'm going to have to stop typing and get back to what i'm supposed to be doing.

the vast majority of people here are very patient with posts that are (too) short, vague, full of typos (in fact i've never seen anyone harp on a poster for having typos, which in itself is remarkable), language-challenged, or just plain clueless.

i think the problem of politeness has maybe less to do with brevity and more to do with attitude. there are ~6000 members registered, representing a pretty broad section of cultures, so most of us who have been here even a little while are pretty cosmopolitan with regard to communication style. the question of rudeness is almost always due to someone having a bad day, a bad week, or (dare i say it) a bad year. it's up to those of us who are not having such a bad day, to defuse the situation as best we can.

but only if we want to.

/andrew - doesn't put bumper stickers on his car either
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Old 20th June 2003, 05:40 PM   #3
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Michigan
There are a few reasons I tend to have brief posts. Here are some of them

My boss just came around the corner
My wife is in the car honking the horn
Dinner’s getting cold
The Sopranos just started
My neck is killin’ me
I can’t keep my eyes open any more
I can’t think of the right words
My brain is currently numb (generally the reason for the above)
A short answer is called for
A long answer is called for, but that’s all I know on the subject.
I’m lazy
Rodd Yamashita
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Old 24th June 2003, 01:20 AM   #4
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Near London. UK
Default Formality, and being decent.

Christer raises interesting points. I'm probably in the "formal" category because I'm European, and not a computer person. More to the point, email is a person to person communication, so you can tailor your formality to suit the recipient. Similarly, if you're sloppy about your spelling or grammar, they know you, and (presumably) don't mind.

Posting on this forum is an entirely different matter. Your post is open to international scrutiny, and will undoubtedly be read by many people for whom English is their second language. If English is your native language, you owe it to these readers to write clearly, grammatically, and without typos or terms that they would find difficult.

I'll probably be flamed for this, but I think it's insult to everyone else to be sloppy in the use of your own native language. Meanwhile, I have the greatest respect (and patience) for those who post on this forum in English when it is not their native language. You are excused all and any mistakes.
The loudspeaker: The only commercial Hi-Fi item where a disproportionate part of the budget isn't spent on the box. And the one where it would make a difference...
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Old 24th June 2003, 01:28 AM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Perth, Australia.
Default Double Dutch.

Your post is open to international scrutiny, and will undoubtedly be read by many people for whom English is their second language.
Yeah, and Greek and German and other languages are foreign to most of us, so when you smarties post in say Greek, how about posting an English translation while you are at it.

I believe not to believe in any fixed belief system.
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Old 24th June 2003, 01:32 AM   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Charlotte, NC - USA
Default True, but. . .

I find proper grammar and spelling to be the most efficient communication between strangers. Long posts can be informative, but they can also ramble from point to point, making it hard to follow. But be wary of condemning those who post in computerese, as they may well have a good question or solution! But be especially aware of those who post using strange film references and older song references, as these are the people who may have a lot to offer!!!

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Old 24th June 2003, 04:36 AM   #7
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Brantford, ON
I just reply to what the heck I like...cause I`m JOE DIRT®!!!...hahaha...I`m not patronising this thread or indivuals....but we all have our ways of responding and posting here...I do have problems interpreting some members but when I do I ask for another way to explain...jeez...we all talk in a mixed tongue here....I almost hear the accents...which is cool in my books

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