Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby rat4000 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:02 am UTC

I will be kinda laconic and respond to only a couple of things in a long post in a long conversation, so maybe it is appropriate to say that I like what you (Shro) are doing here; for the way it facilitates discussion if for nothing else.

Shro wrote:I will attempt to justify why this is important. Our community's identity is a choice that we've all decided to reinforce.
You seem to be offering a justification for your (educational) posts, but I think Pfhorrest's problem was--I know my problem is--with stuff like Azrael's "calling you out explicitly, shut it" inappropriateness.

It's something that I had to learn, and I am crazy proud of it.
Yeah, and you do have a right to be. But if these things are not a priority for someone else that should be okay also, because making something which is really hard and time-consuming into a requirement for participating in a society does not get you an overly diverse society. It's great to have amazing social skills and it's great to know statistics, and to me valuing diversity means saying that if someone only has the time to get one of these things it should be up to them which one they pick.

Basic social skills, which are fairly easy to learn, I am okay with requiring.

I understand the difficulties of being male
(Note that I take you to mean the difficulties of being a man, even though, as I use the words, that's not what you said.) The way you're pitching this, it seems you're saying that you can empathize with my difficulties, but I'm pretty sure you can't. If understanding my difficulties means that you are able to describe how those difficulties affect my actions, then yeah, that you can do. And that's useful! Also uninspiring.

If it means knowing what it's like to have those difficulties, what it's like to be me, that's just flat-out impossible. What is it like to be in a conversation that involves three men, and no women? I don't think you know, and I don't think I can explain; now if you were a guy, I could at least show you, but you aren't, so I can't. There really are some sorts of understanding that are unavailable to you simply because of your gender identity. (As there are some unavailable to me, because of mine.)

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby K-R » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:37 am UTC

Shro wrote:
K-R wrote:
You don't aggro social interactions, you have to seek them out.

I'm not familiar with "aggro" as a verb.

Stating that you are not familiar with it in that particular state indicates that you are familiar with the word itself. Now verbify it.

I'm familiar with it as an abbreviation of "aggressive", which doesn't verbify. Not in that context, at least.

Yeah, but what about when the newbie comes storming in, wailing about how it's unfair because all of the people that are currently running the dungeon are so much better at it than them and then demands that the higher level players help him out?

Okay, so both outcomes are unfair. Now what?

K-R wrote:
And sometimes you make mistakes and die. But your respawn is literally an apology/atonement away.

This is not a true thing.

I have found this to be true in my own life. If you would like to explore why it might be true in some situations, but not in others, it would be quite enlightening for me.

We've already established that you have above-average social skills. It stands to reason that those with below-average social skills would a) make worse mistakes than you and b) be less able to rectify them. Particularly as doing so usually requires recognising them, which isn't always possible. It gets worse if the indication that you fucked up is temporally removed from the actual fuckup, giving you zero clues to work with.

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Social Literacy Thread

Postby addams » Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:15 am UTC

rat4000 wrote
Basic social skills, which are fairly easy to learn, I am okay with requiring.

What the Hell is a basic social skill?

Low Class American?
Middle Class Japanese?

Wealthy Arab?
Or; Internet?
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Angua » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:25 pm UTC

Ok, so I've tried to split this as fairly as possible to get the differing points about social stuff, and to avoid other stuff that is mainly snark and not much content. If anyone thinks that I should have included x post because otherwise the rest of the conversation doesn't make any sense, pm me and I'll merge them in. This was a lot more tricky than I thought, because the forum-software (or my incompetence) only let me move one page of posts at a time.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Shro » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:31 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Shro wrote:I can understand why the "conform or leave" dynamic can be so anathema to certain demographics, especially ones that feel that they have been excluded from real life social interactions and exposed to bullying, and so on.


Shro wrote:Do we value the diversity of opinions and experiences more than we value our own egos? Do we want to step out of our comfort zones and make mistakes and learn about how we want to interact with the world, or stay in our own little worlds, of our own making, filled with people that are like us and never challenge us in the ways that people who don't know us can? Do you value innovation and new ideas? Because exploring them requires experiencing the pain of leaving old ideas behind. It requires the pain of leaving our very way of thinking of things behind. Are you good at shedding the thoughts that no longer serve you? Or do you hold on to them because they are comfortable?


This is what gets to me. "We value diversity, so either conform or leave!" "Challenge yourself and do things that make you uncomfortable, by not saying things that make me uncomfortable!" It's asking other people to do something so that you don't have to do it as much, and while the clear answer to that apparent hypocrisy is that both parties have to do some of it, it's up for debate how much of that burden falls on each side.

This is not hypocrisy when the intentions are laid out clearly.This particular place values easing the cognitive burden of these minority populations. That has been established. The people who are already here like it that way, and will take steps to ensure the balance remains in this favor. People like you being uncomfortable and thinking and reacting in ways that you are not used to make this place more comfortable and relaxing for me. It is one of the only places on the internet like this for me - I like having a place where I am not consistently thought of as the person who will be the social one, whose skills are the one that keeps the conversation going. While I enjoy working towards a mastery of these skills, sometimes I want to know that someone is going to take care of me, and my emotional needs.

I love diversity, of opinion and otherwise. I also value tact a lot. But the way I see true tact and diversity, that means dealing with other people accidentally making you uncomfortable so long as they're not actively doing anything clearly malicious or negligent, and assuming that there is such diversity already present that it's always plausible that someone has no idea how or why they might have offended you, and that outside of your own personal and social history, such things might not be found offensive at all. For example, if a foreigner from a country with almost no black people and no history of black-white race relations comes to America, meets a black person, and remarks on how very very dark he is (because that is strange and remarkable given his background), we Americans would probably initially be aghast at that because we, with our social knowledge and context, know that that's something likely to cause offense, and would expect that one of our own people doing so would thus be trying to cause offense. But we should, instead of assuming automatically that the foreigner has that same contextual knowledge and is just choosing to violate that taboo, recognize that he probably isn't aware of it at all, and isn't actually doing anything intrinsically offensive, even if we find offense in it because of our cultural history.

It does also mean that if someone politely asks you to avoid something because it makes them uncomfortable, you go along with it so long as it's a reasonable request, as in, with good reason given, not just scorn and disdain and how-dare-you. To revisit the analogy of the overworked IT guy earlier: he comes home from dealing with dumb users all day, and his dumb user family want him to do more work for them for free, so he should tell them "please, I deal with this all day, I don't want to deal with it more now off the clock", and they should be respectful of that request. But his friends shouldn't sigh and glare and "how dare they even ask" at his family in response, and the family would be quite justified in getting defensive at that and demanding that good reason be given why they should carefully sidestep an apparently innocuous request, and asking for that reason should not be seen as further offense. If they, those specific people, keep asking over and over again after being told why they shouldn't, then they are being jerks. But a lot of other people having asked before doesn't make a random new person asking automatically a jerk. (It's still understandable why the overworked IT guy would still be frustrated with it anyway, but that's not the new questioner's fault, and the burden is on IT guy to realize that the new people won't know his history of constantly being asked to fix things and why he would find yet another request so frustrating).

You say that the family would be justified in demanding reasons why they should sidestep these requests when these friends tell them not to, and asking for these reasons should be okay. Say that the the IT lady's friends have asked for help before, and she's pretty comfortable with them, so she lets them know that she's not willing to do all of this work outside of her actual job. She's worried about telling her family this in the same way, because they'll end up trying to guilt trip her into feeling like that her not willing to be helpful somehow reflects badly on her character, and so on . She lets everyone know by trying to mention how unwilling she is to do this things while she's in a large group of her family members, since she doesn't want to repeat herself to every single one since it is a conversation she is dreading having because of the guilt trips she might end up having (she has a very large family). What now?

In the actual events in this thread, I couldn't see any reason to get offended by azule's post, so it seems extremely plausible to me that he also reasonably had no idea why that would possibly be offensive. An explanation was eventually given, but not until after people had said, as gmalivuk paraphrases, "Dude..." a few times, which is not informative at all and I expect (if azule noticed it at all, as the first that I noticed was Azrael's post) was just confusing; and more importantly, the explanation wasn't given until after malicious and as it turns out incorrect assumptions on his character were made. I think a far better response would have been for Shro herself to politely say "I don't want to answer that because [reasons]", the reasons she eventually gave, and for others who were concerned for Shro's sake to say "hey some people don't like being asked questions like that because [reasons]", although in that case it would still be reasonable for azule to wait for Shro herself to confirm that, accepting that as a valid option if she wants to take it and not pushing her to answer anyway, though not necessarily accepting what he did as intrinsically offensive and something he should never do to anyone anywhere. (Something like "Well ok, if she doesn't want to answer that's up to her, but it's just an innocent question from me, and she doesn't need to fear what you say she might fear from me, cause I'm not like that").

Azule knows he's not like that. What evidence do I have that he's not like that? On the internet... none. Sometimes I get scared as fuck talking about my opinions on the internet... who knows when someone decides that they don't like what I have to say enough to try and figure out where I live, or start sending rape threats and death threats or try to swat me? This ends up being a resolution tactic to a frighteningly large amount of people - what guarantees do I have that any one of you reading this is not going to be that person? You all fit into that demographic quite nicely, so if the best way to interact with all of you in a way to protect myself from these threats, is not interacting with any of you at all. If I do end up getting these threats, the response would be somewhat close to "you know better than to interact with those trolls", and telling me to never have started this conversation at all. I am SO incredibly uncomfortable in this situation - I know I have some opinions that can be considered somewhat controversial and could lead to some people who disagree with me and don't have proper conflict resolution skills to feel like their only recourse are these threats. So, weighing the two sides again: Discomfort in trying to improve communication skills to be effective in diverse populations vs. Being scared that someone might end up harassing me with threats.

And I do understand how this behavior can end up hurting - I am stereotyping $population in to having $reaction during $event. I ask people of $population to ensure that they won't have $reaction, and that I won't believe that they won't have $reaction until I am satisfied with their actions until they don't. What makes this different than asking a Muslim to renounce all of the terrorists, or asking a girl random trivia to ensure that that she's a "real" nerd girl? Why does anyone have to prove they belong anywhere by distancing themselves from a small minority of their population that ends up being troubling? How can we make this fairer to people who have associations with a group of people through certain characteristics (through no choice of their own) to not try and paint them with the same brush of the troubling minority that share the same characteristics?

I guess the point I'm driving at is that most things people might take offense to are not objectively, universally offensive, but rather only offensive to some specific person or group of people, sometimes with good reason and sometimes not, so we can't go around crossing off every action that anyone ever found offensive because pretty soon we'll be left with no actions available to us. We should avoid the things that are clearly universally offensive (physical attacks of course, and stuff like direct insults clearly saying "this thing is bad and is true of you"), but we should give everyone the benefit of the doubt that maybe they have no idea why some specific person might find some random thing offensive given their background, give them the reason why that thing is found offensive, and remain open to the possibility that maybe that isn't a good reason. (A quick example of that that comes to mind: religious people might find offense at someone claiming God does not exist, but that doesn't mean that atheists should have to live in the closet... or, while we're on that metaphor, that gay people should have to live in the closet because those same religious people find their love lives offensive). And that a debate might reasonably ensue over whether it is a good reason or not, and that someone isn't some kind of monster for not just immediately kowtowing to any claim that something they did is offensive and shouldn't be done, but instead standing up for themselves and asking that someone show them why the request being made of them is reasonable.

You are discovering the reasons for why we code switch. This term comes from the linguistic context of switching language/slang based on who you're talking to - but it's much broader than that. I am a proud atheist, but I'm not going to say the things I say to my religious friends as I do to my atheist friends. I don't talk to a person I'm just meeting the same way I talk to someone I've known for a decade. I don't talk to my boss the way I talk to my sister. All of these different populations require different interactions... and you have to be adaptable enough to know that different things are acceptable or offensive to different people. We don't have a master list of offensive behaviors to avoid at all times, but functions that tell us when $x and $y are certain values, to not say specific things.

Because the internet is such a diverse place, we cannot assume the same contextual knowledge for everyone, and because of that, tact means having a thick skin, realizing that you are not always in a safe space full of people exactly like you with the exact same history and exact same list of things that have officially been declared offensive because of that history. It does also mean recognizing that other people may have individual histories that cause them to find things offensive that you would never in a million years think could cause offense, and being responsive to their reasonable requests to avoid such offensive. It does not mean automatically apologizing and changing your own behavior just because someone expressed offense without explanation. Instead, it means having a polite discussion about why that thing might be offensive or not, a discussion that does not grant either side the automatic assumption that they are right, a discussion that could turn out either way, as each side tries to defend their position and asks the other person to change their behavior.

That is not how it works. If someone is hurt by something I did or said, I immediately stop those things in the presence of the other person. Offense is usually an emotionally charged response, and I know if I try and ask for a polite, rational discussion, it isn't necessarily going to happen because of how emotions work. That's okay with me. I will find other ways to discuss it, I may wait until I sense an opening for this discussion later on with that person, or I may talk to other people to try and understand why my actions or words were so offensive. "I just want to be polite and rational, so why are you staying offended and not answering my questions?" is not a reasonable reaction. The things that cause offense are generally rooted in an emotional response, so asking for this polite, rational discussion right away is in a way disrespecting the reactions of that person. Offense also doesn't occur serially in the vacuum of isolated social interactions. A day filled with microaggressions can be just as exhausting as one blatantly offensive encounter. This is not my first polite discussion, nor will it be my last. But I can tell you that I have had far more interactions that I just had to dismiss because I just had too much going on in my life to calmly and rationally explain why I was bothered by someone's behavior. Nobody owes you these explanations... I do not owe you this discussion because I was offended. I am offering this discussion because I know people have some difficulty in wrapping their heads around social interactions, and I want to help, because it makes me sad to think that no one ever showed you guys the ropes, and that there really aren't any new player servers around where you can practice without the full weight of the real world consequences of your mistakes. In a sense, I am trying to create it by suppressing my own emotional reactions to you all and not saying what I really want to say, because I value all of your presences, and don't want you to be scared off because the dungeon has some high level monsters, and all you really need is a tank.
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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby Shro » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:53 pm UTC

rat4000 wrote:I will be kinda laconic and respond to only a couple of things in a long post in a long conversation, so maybe it is appropriate to say that I like what you (Shro) are doing here; for the way it facilitates discussion if for nothing else.

This makes you sound kind of jerky. Did you have to add the "if for nothing else"? Facilitating discussion is a valuable skill in and of itself, so what makes you think that that wasn't my intention in the first place that you had to add "if for nothing else" after you already told me what you appreciated about what I am doing? The form you have chosen:"I want you to know I think this is good... but not that great"

Shro wrote:I will attempt to justify why this is important. Our community's identity is a choice that we've all decided to reinforce.
You seem to be offering a justification for your (educational) posts, but I think Pfhorrest's problem was--I know my problem is--with stuff like Azrael's "calling you out explicitly, shut it" inappropriateness.

It's something that I had to learn, and I am crazy proud of it.
Yeah, and you do have a right to be. But if these things are not a priority for someone else that should be okay also, because making something which is really hard and time-consuming into a requirement for participating in a society does not get you an overly diverse society. It's great to have amazing social skills and it's great to know statistics, and to me valuing diversity means saying that if someone only has the time to get one of these things it should be up to them which one they pick.

Basic social skills, which are fairly easy to learn, I am okay with requiring.

What is your idea of what basic social skills are? I think it's important to be able to make other people feel comfortable around you. It's a choice, whether or not you decide you want to level of your CHA. Maybe you think that INT is more important for you, personally. People who undergo this route should understand and be very comfortable with not being understood. If you decide that you are going to try and become really good at statistics, what good is that going to do you if no one else can understand the things that you do? The knowledge is just going to forever live in your brain, and your brain alone? Communication is necessary for getting all of these thoughts and ideas from your brain space into someone else's brain space. But if you are not good at this brain space transfer, you have to depend on the expertise of the people who have spend a lot of time and effort figuring out the most effective ways to communicate - you can't just act like since you have the information, you know the best way to transfer this information. Choices: get better at communication, or accept the expertise from people that are better at you at communicating.

I understand the difficulties of being male
(Note that I take you to mean the difficulties of being a man, even though, as I use the words, that's not what you said.) The way you're pitching this, it seems you're saying that you can empathize with my difficulties, but I'm pretty sure you can't. If understanding my difficulties means that you are able to describe how those difficulties affect my actions, then yeah, that you can do. And that's useful! Also uninspiring.

If it means knowing what it's like to have those difficulties, what it's like to be me, that's just flat-out impossible. What is it like to be in a conversation that involves three men, and no women? I don't think you know, and I don't think I can explain; now if you were a guy, I could at least show you, but you aren't, so I can't. There really are some sorts of understanding that are unavailable to you simply because of your gender identity. (As there are some unavailable to me, because of mine.)

You are aware of the concept of empathy, yes? I do not have to have gone through the exact situation you have to understand what those situations feel like for you. I have been in a situation where I have been in internet conversations will all men when they have not known I was a woman. This gives me a pretty good insight in the situation you brought up. I do not have access to the internal emotional landscape in that particular situation, but I talk to a lot of people, a lot of them men, and a lot of them like to talk to me about how they feel about things. In fact, I would be comfortable in hypothesizing that I have more experience in being emotionally supportive to other men than you do. I am able to be emotionally supportive because I relate others' experiences to my own. Or sometimes, I relate with the emotions themselves, and work backwards to find a situation in my own life that made me feel that way - it might not be exactly the situation that the person I am talking has gone through, but it gives me a powerful platform to think about why I felt that way, and work backwards to relate it to how it made the other person feel.
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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby rat4000 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:48 pm UTC

Shro wrote:This makes you sound kind of jerky. Did you have to add the "if for nothing else"?
Yeah, you're right. The discussion is the only thing here that's of value to me (=that I'm enjoying) and I kinda didn't realize that the sentence would probably be understood as intended to be objective. There's definitely value (period) in your more explanatory posts, too; sorry for not making that clear.

What is your idea of what basic social skills are?
Basic: take a no as a no from someone you're interested in, don't insult people for no reason, have an indoor voice, realize that not everyone is interested in the same things you are interested in.

Less basic: know when to talk and when to listen in the context of comforting someone, have some way of defusing fights with your friends and lovers, match the explanation of a complicated concept to the listener.

Advanced: navigate the minefield Pfhorrest mentioned the way you do.

As a reply to the rest of the paragraph whose first sentence I quoted: there's more to a society than communication; you don't have to be able to talk to everyone in order to be useful. Friendless productive people exist, and that's okay. As to the accepting expertise thing: yeah, absolutely! You should generally accept that there are people who are better than you at things. But social skills have to be learned by doing: by carefully applying things in communicative situations all day long, by deliberately exposing oneself to people whose situations are different from one's own. That's hard work, and my contention is merely that, in a diverse society, it would be okay not to do that work if one decided that somethng else is more important.

In fact, I would be comfortable in hypothesizing that I have more experience in being emotionally supportive to other men than you do.
With reason: you're almost certainly right. I was talking about the internal emotional landscape thing. You are better at supporting men than I am, but there's a sense of "understand" according to which I understand at least some of them (those who have a race and culture and stuff similar to mine) better than you do; that's all I wanted to say, and I think we actually agree on it.

Later edited to add: the reason for the above paragraph is not that I really wanted to make a point which is ultimately kind of minor and self-evident; it's mostly the emotional reaction I had to your original statement. I always feel like comfort and support from people who have not been in a relevantly similar situation rings hollow somehow, understand me in all other ways though they might; I am pretty annoyed in general when people claim to understand me in ways that they don't. And there's an issue of gender dynamics here... Like, I think the feminine standpoint is better for a lot of kinds of knowledge that I want to have, but, well, I think it's worse for this one! Putting all these things together, I got an impression of presumptiousness from your post; I wanted to dispel it, and that's what led to this exchange.
Last edited by rat4000 on Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:34 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:30 am UTC

K-R wrote:
Shro wrote:
K-R wrote:
You don't aggro social interactions, you have to seek them out.

I'm not familiar with "aggro" as a verb.

Stating that you are not familiar with it in that particular state indicates that you are familiar with the word itself. Now verbify it.

I'm familiar with it as an abbreviation of "aggressive", which doesn't verbify. Not in that context, at least.

It's a game term. In that context, it refers to the aggression levels of non-friendly non-player characters. When used as a verb, it basically means to gain their attention, which usually results in them attacking you.
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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby AngrySquirrel » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:36 am UTC

rat4000 wrote:As a reply to the rest of the paragraph whose first sentence I quoted: there's more to a society than communication; you don't have to be able to talk to everyone in order to be useful. Friendless productive people exist, and that's okay. As to the accepting expertise thing: yeah, absolutely! You should generally accept that there are people who are better than you at things. But social skills have to be learned by doing: by carefully applying things in communicative situations all day long, by deliberately exposing oneself to people whose situations are different from one's own. That's hard work, and my contention is merely that, in a diverse society, it would be okay not to do that work if one decided that somethng else is more important.

I am unsure if I understand your point here.

If you (a general you) can't be bothered to learn how to do basic communication with people, how do you expect them to somehow magically understand where you're coming from? Why am I obliged to accommodate and play nice when you can't be bothered to learn how to communicate with me in a non-derogatory manner? Why do I, when you initiate a social interaction in my generally direction, have to give you the benefit of the doubt (which I have be taught on numerous occasions puts me at risk) or expand my emotional/intellectual energy to make it easier for you when you aren't interested in doing the same for me?

Yes, learning social skills is hard, and there are numerous things I want to prioritize harder, but social skills and communication is not something you learn primarily for the sake of others, it's something you learn to make your own life easier.
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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby Quercus » Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:17 am UTC

rat4000 wrote:As a reply to the rest of the paragraph whose first sentence I quoted: there's more to a society than communication; you don't have to be able to talk to everyone in order to be useful. Friendless productive people exist, and that's okay. As to the accepting expertise thing: yeah, absolutely! You should generally accept that there are people who are better than you at things. But social skills have to be learned by doing: by carefully applying things in communicative situations all day long, by deliberately exposing oneself to people whose situations are different from one's own. That's hard work, and my contention is merely that, in a diverse society, it would be okay not to do that work if one decided that somethng else is more important.


I have a slightly different perspective on this (not that I think AngrySquirrel's persepctive is invalid). I think this approach is fine only if you are genuinely happy not to have meaningful social interactions with other people. Very few people fit into that category though, for most people there are various people at various times whom they care about. If you aren't socially literate you are far more likely to end up hurting one or more of those people, not out of malice but out of ignorance. That's what motivates me most to develop my social skills - because if I don't I'm in danger of inadvertently hurting people, of making them feel betrayed, threatened or unsafe, and personally I don't find that acceptable (in me).

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby rat4000 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:31 am UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:I am unsure if I understand your point here.
I don't think you do. (Meaning: I failed to communicate it.)

I read Shro here (the "I am really good at..." and "Do we value..." paragraphs, mainly) as saying that a society in which everyone has the social skills that she has is, simply in virtue of that fact, a more diverse society. I am saying that a society in which everyone has the social skills she has is a less diverse society, because having the social skills she has takes heaps of time and effort, and if everyone has to spend that time and effort on social skills, then everyone is spending heaps of time and effort on the same thing. This does not lead to diversity.

Now in the society that I am imagining people are very good at all sorts of things, but most of them do not have the social skills Shro has, and many of them have bad social skills. Those of them who have bad social skills will definitely have days that involve shouting and misunderstandings, and they'll probably have less friends. This is what they chose, so they should take the bad along with the good, and accept that--as you say--no one has to give them the benefit of the doubt, or otherwise coddle them. But it's what they chose and that's okay, because in the society I'm imagining, diversity is a value.

Like... I am fine with saying "if you want to be understood often and offend people rarely, you should work on social skills." I am not fine with saying "you should work on social skills." The first statement says that social skills are what you need for a particular goal, and the second says that social skills as such are valuable.

You can be shouting at someone who can't make herself understood and still think that she isn't obliged to be able to make herself understood.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Quercus » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:49 am UTC

rat4000 wrote:
AngrySquirrel wrote:I am unsure if I understand your point here.
I don't think you do. (Meaning: I failed to communicate it.)

I read Shro here (the "I am really good at..." and "Do we value..." paragraphs, mainly) as saying that a society in which everyone has the social skills that she has is, simply in virtue of that fact, a more diverse society. I am saying that a society in which everyone has the social skills she has is a less diverse society, because having the social skills she has takes heaps of time and effort, and if everyone has to spend that time and effort on social skills, then everyone is spending heaps of time and effort on the same thing. This does not lead to diversity.

Now in the society that I am imagining people are very good at all sorts of things, but most of them do not have the social skills Shro has, and many of them have bad social skills. Those of them who have bad social skills will definitely have days that involve shouting and misunderstandings, and they'll probably have less friends. This is what they chose, so they should take the bad along with the good, and accept that--as you say--no one has to give them the benefit of the doubt, or otherwise coddle them. But it's what they chose and that's okay, because in the society I'm imagining, diversity is a value.

Like... I am fine with saying "if you want to be understood often and offend people rarely, you should work on social skills." I am not fine with saying "you should work on social skills." The first statement says that social skills are what you need for a particular goal, and the second says that social skills as such are valuable.

You can be shouting at someone who can't make herself understood and still think that she isn't obliged to be able to make herself understood.


Part of your argument seems to be that those who spend time and effort on social skills are necessarily neglecting some other skill due to the fact that time and effort is finite. I don't think that holds, because it's not a zero-sum game. Being able to learn effectively from others, to elicit different viewpoints, to debate rigorously without people feeling attacked and to work effectively in a team are skill multipliers which make you more effective at pretty much any field of human endeavour.

I think that your point about diversity being an axiomatic virtue in all dimensions is also difficult to defend - I would hold that a society in which most people have reasonably good (actual reading-and-writing) literacy and reasonably good numeracy is a better society than one in which that isn't the case; even though such as society has reduced diversity in reading, writing and mathematical ability. I can see no reason why the same isn't true for a society in which most people have reasonably good social skills.

Slight digression:
Spoiler:
One thing which occurs to me is that one does have to be careful when talking about the value of social skills not to become exclusionary to people who are on the autistic spectrum. My response to this is that that is really a fundamentally different case, and furthermore, in the context of my points above, if more neurotypical people have genuinely good social skills that means they should be better able to adapt themselves to communicate effectively with non-neurotypical people.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby chridd » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:18 pm UTC

Shro wrote:[...]People get "jumped on" for seemingly (to some people) innocuous behaviors because this is the millionth time we've had to deal with it.[...]
...what about the people where the thing they've had to deal with a million times is people enforcing rules that they couldn't have known ahead of time (without giving a warning the first time), socially jumping on them an calling them a jerk, interpreting anything ambiguous in the worst way, and making assumptions that their motives are worse than they actually are?

Re: social skills and diversity
There's also tolerance and preferences regarding social interaction; some people have a preference against and/or low tolerance for an environment where there's a lot of conflict and people calling each other out, even if they have the skills to deal with it and avoid being the target of it.
(I find that the way people call each other out on this forum makes me annoyed and angry and uncomfortable, even though I'm not usually the one being called out here and I often agree with the person calling the other person out.)

Spoiler:
Quercus wrote:if more neurotypical people have genuinely good social skills that means they should be better able to adapt themselves to communicate effectively with non-neurotypical people.
I'm not sure it actually works this way... it wouldn't surprise me (though I have nowhere near enough confidence to state outright that this is true) if it turns out that autistic lack of social skills is actually everyone lacking social skills when dealing with other neurotypes.
(...though this does not mean that I think neurotypical people shouldn't try to accommodate autistic people.)
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mittfh wrote:I wish this post was very quotable...

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby K-R » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:23 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:
K-R wrote:I'm familiar with it as an abbreviation of "aggressive", which doesn't verbify. Not in that context, at least.

It's a game term. In that context, it refers to the aggression levels of non-friendly non-player characters. When used as a verb, it basically means to gain their attention, which usually results in them attacking you.

I still don't see how that fits back into Shro's original sentence. Not being much of a gamer, there may be some aspect of the metaphor I'm missing.



Quercus wrote:One thing which occurs to me is that one does have to be careful when talking about the value of social skills not to become exclusionary to people who are on the autistic spectrum. My response to this is that that is really a fundamentally different case

Is it? That requires drawing a pretty hard line somewhere.

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby chridd » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:41 pm UTC

K-R wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:
K-R wrote:I'm familiar with it as an abbreviation of "aggressive", which doesn't verbify. Not in that context, at least.

It's a game term. In that context, it refers to the aggression levels of non-friendly non-player characters. When used as a verb, it basically means to gain their attention, which usually results in them attacking you.

I still don't see how that fits back into Shro's original sentence. Not being much of a gamer, there may be some aspect of the metaphor I'm missing.
(original sentence for reference) wrote:You don't aggro social interactions, you have to seek them out.
I think she's saying that you have to seek out social interactions, they don't come to you; aggroing an enemy would be getting their attention (possibly unintentionally) so that they come to you and initiate a fight instead of you having to go to them.
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mittfh wrote:I wish this post was very quotable...

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby K-R » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:51 pm UTC

Ah. The initial explanation made the attention-getting seem intentional, which is essentially "seeking out".

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby Quercus » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:24 pm UTC

K-R wrote:
Quercus wrote:One thing which occurs to me is that one does have to be careful when talking about the value of social skills not to become exclusionary to people who are on the autistic spectrum. My response to this is that that is really a fundamentally different case

Is it? That requires drawing a pretty hard line somewhere.


I suppose a fundamentally different component would be a better way of putting it - I think what I'm trying to get at is that people who put the same effort into developing social skills won't all get the same level of social skills out - most people will get a societally acceptable level of social skills out of a reasonable amount of effort, but some people won't, and that's different to not having social skills because you have made a conscious decision not to put any effort into developing them.

If we draw an analogy with physical abilities I would say that the difference is like that between being asked to make special accommodations for someone because they find it physically difficult to walk, which most people would see as reasonable, versus making special accommodations for someone because they can't be bothered to walk even though they are perfectly able to, which most people would see as unreasonable. How much special accommodation is reasonable depends on how much difficulty someone has, so there's no hard line.

TBH I'm not actually certain how right I am on this, so would appreciate any input.


I've kept this next bit spoilered because I'm not sure about unspoilering etiquette - anyone else, feel free to unspoiler replies.
Spoiler:
chridd wrote:
Quercus wrote:if more neurotypical people have genuinely good social skills that means they should be better able to adapt themselves to communicate effectively with non-neurotypical people.
I'm not sure it actually works this way... it wouldn't surprise me (though I have nowhere near enough confidence to state outright that this is true) if it turns out that autistic lack of social skills is actually everyone lacking social skills when dealing with other neurotypes.
(...though this does not mean that I think neurotypical people shouldn't try to accommodate autistic people.)


Oh, now that's an interesting way of looking at it. This question probably does little but reveal my own lack of knowledge, but do people on the autistic spectrum generally interact well with other people at a similar place on the spectrum (if that's even a thing)?

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby ObsessoMom » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:40 pm UTC

I agree with your basic premise, Quercus...although the tricky bit is that social anxiety and other disabilities are often invisible to others. A helpful illustration: http://news.distractify.com/pinar/social-anxiety-world/ (I particularly love the third example)

When my daughter was waiting for a transplant at UCLA, she fatigued easily and we needed a disabled parking placard. However, because there had earlier been a major scandal about UCLA football players using such placards for their own personal convenience, and since handicapped-parking fraud is just about the jerkiest crime imaginable to many people, we were occasionally challenged by well-meaning citizens who made comments like, "You don't look handicapped to me."

The same sort of judgment goes on with regard to social ineptitude, too. Every few years I hear someone say something like, "Some people think So-and-So has Asperger's, but I think he's just a self-absorbed asshole who can't be bothered to ask me how *I* am after I've said 'How are you?' to him," etc.

That said, is it reasonable to expect people to make allowances for disabilities they can't see or otherwise don't understand? Probably not.

I have no solution to propose, other than that maybe we should all try to cut each other a little more slack, all the time, before we take offense.

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby Quercus » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:34 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:I agree with your basic premise, Quercus...although the tricky bit is that social anxiety and other disabilities are often invisible to others. A helpful illustration: http://news.distractify.com/pinar/social-anxiety-world/ (I particularly love the third example)


Yeh, that's a good illustration - I've dealt with anxiety issues in the past (am still dealing with them to some degree), so I can absolutely relate to that, although my anxiety wasn't social in nature. Explaining it to people can be tricky: "Yes, I really was sometimes terrified of checking my emails; no, actually scared, like someone was about to punch me; yes, I know how ridiculous that is, but that fact that I know it's ridiculous doesn't make it go away".

ObsessoMom wrote:When my daughter was waiting for a transplant at UCLA, she fatigued easily and we needed a disabled parking placard. However, because there had earlier been a major scandal about UCLA football players using such placards for their own personal convenience, and since handicapped-parking fraud is just about the jerkiest crime imaginable to many people, we were occasionally challenged by well-meaning citizens who made comments like, "You don't look handicapped to me."


Yeh, it's crappy that people would do that. To me that's actually a demonstration of those people's poor social skills: hey should ideally have been thinking through the consequences of their actions a bit better. Case 1: it's someone abusing a disabled space, in which case they likely don't give too much of a crap about being called out, because they are the sort of person that abuses a disabled space. Case 2: it's someone with one of the myriad of disabilities that aren't immediately obvious, and you've just made a potentially quite vulnerable person feel shitty. Weighing that up that's neutral to mildly positive, against really negative, so they probably shouldn't do it.

The same sort of judgment goes on with regard to social ineptitude, too. Every few years I hear someone say something like, "Some people think So-and-So has Asperger's, but I think he's just a self-absorbed asshole who can't be bothered to ask me how *I* am after I've said 'How are you?' to him," etc.


The same applies here. No-one is under any obligation to interact socially with most people beyond professional interactions, and I get that interacting with socially inept people can be hard work, but it seems reasonable to withhold judgement until you actually know the situation better.

That said, is it reasonable to expect people to make allowances for disabilities they can't see or otherwise don't understand? Probably not.


I think it's reasonable to expect people to act better than in the two examples you have given. A default position of believing someone when they say they have a disability, even if you don't see or understand it, and respecting what they say they need would be a good start. That might just make people feel more able to positively state their needs, which alleviates the problem of invisible disabilities.

ObsessoMom wrote:I have no solution to propose, other than that maybe we should all try to cut each other a little more slack, all the time, before we take offense.

Absolutely, I was primarily talking in the abstract, where everyone has perfect knowledge of the situation. In the real world you're spot on.

P.S. I hope your daughter is doing well now

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:48 am UTC

rat4000 wrote:You seem to be offering a justification for your (educational) posts, but I think Pfhorrest's problem was--I know my problem is--with stuff like Azrael's "calling you out explicitly, shut it" inappropriateness.

That is correct about me. I've had no objections to the form or tone of any of Shro's own posts, even though I obviously disagree with her about some things. The only person who's really seemed out of line to me here was Azrael. Everything else looks to me like reasonable misunderstandings and polite disagreement.

Shro wrote:This particular place values easing the cognitive burden of these minority populations. That has been established. The people who are already here like it that way, and will take steps to ensure the balance remains in this favor.

You speak as though I'm some newcomer here challenging a universal consensus. You've not been here much longer than I have, this thread alone is evidence enough that any such consensus is far from universal, and regardless of that, I think there's always room (or should be, amongst reasonable people) to have a discussion about whether we're doing things the right way or need to change.

People like you being uncomfortable and thinking and reacting in ways that you are not used to make this place more comfortable and relaxing for me.

I want to be clear that this is not an issue of me dealing with things that I am not used to. I'm actually quite good at navigating the metaphorical social minefield. It's just really, really exhausting, and like you, I get tired of doing it, as it has to be done pretty much everywhere in "real life". Even though I personally am pretty much never on the receiving end of them, people reacting like Azrael did add unnecessary stress to places like this, that are otherwise places I feel like I can relax and not have to be super mindful of what every single person is thinking and feeling about me and my words and behavior, what assumptions they are reading into everything, what impressions I'm unintentionally giving, and whether those things will have a negative effect on me especially if those other people are in or connected to positions of authority over me -- which almost everyone I have to interact with in real life is in some way or another, and which most of the people I'd say are behaving inappropriately on here are, since like Azrael they're usually a special class of user if not outright admins.

It is one of the only places on the internet like this for me - I like having a place where I am not consistently thought of as the person who will be the social one, whose skills are the one that keeps the conversation going. While I enjoy working towards a mastery of these skills, sometimes I want to know that someone is going to take care of me, and my emotional needs.

I'm not asking you, or anyone, to take on a special burden of moderating any discussion and exercising special social skills to make sure it keeps flowing well. Quite the opposite, what I'm asking for in general (what I'd like to ask of everyone everywhere, but good luck with that in the world at large, so at least on the internet in general) is a place where nobody has especially high expectations of special social graces and discursive skills from anyone. Where we're all just basically polite to each other to the minimal extent of not being outright hostile, and beyond that are just forgiving of other people in basically every other way. So nobody has to be doing all this heavy cognitive work of catering the tone and contents of every conversation carefully around everyone who might have the slightest problem with any of it, because everybody's just being relaxed about it all, and if something does really bother them, they just say plainly without any emotional charge what it is that bothers them and why -- and yeah, then the person being asked should generally say sorry and avoid that, assuming we're all being reasonable in the first place and not making unreasonable demands. (To be clear, I think you requesting people not inquiring into your gender, if you had done so, or other people like Azrael noting on your behalf why that might bother you, is perfectly reasonable; in contrast, sorry to repeat an example, someone asking me to keep my atheism or sexuality to myself would not be. There has to be the possibility that a request made will be unreasonable; we cannot demand that everyone immediately prostrate themselves before anyone who dislikes anything they say).

You say that the family would be justified in demanding reasons why they should sidestep these requests when these friends tell them not to, and asking for these reasons should be okay. Say that the the IT lady's friends have asked for help before, and she's pretty comfortable with them, so she lets them know that she's not willing to do all of this work outside of her actual job. She's worried about telling her family this in the same way, because they'll end up trying to guilt trip her into feeling like that her not willing to be helpful somehow reflects badly on her character, and so on . She lets everyone know by trying to mention how unwilling she is to do this things while she's in a large group of her family members, since she doesn't want to repeat herself to every single one since it is a conversation she is dreading having because of the guilt trips she might end up having (she has a very large family). What now?

I'm not sure if you're asking me what the IT person should do next, or what I expect the next events in that scenario would be. I can't answer the latter question without knowing their family and how they would react, but I think that IT person's actions thus far in this scenario have been perfectly fine. Another thing that could happen is their friends, who know this background information already, could help IT person out by explaining to the family why IT person wouldn't want to comply with their requests, just plainly and without emotional charge again. That last bit is the part I'm really most concerned with. Saying, in a neutral matter-of-fact way, that you are (or someone you're concerned about might likely be) bothered by something, and why, is always fine. That's important information to be communicated and omitting it will only make things worse. Lashing out at someone with assumptions of maliciousness and no explanation, either for your own sake or for someone else's, isn't going to help anything and is only going to make the people being lashed out at defensive and less likely to go along with what's being asked of them. Of course, if the neutral matter-of-fact approach continuously fails to work, then maliciousness or at least negligence can reasonably be inferred, and lashing out angrily to underscore the damn point that's not sinking in can then be warranted.

[Edit to add an important "if" missing from that last sentence].

Azule knows he's not like that. What evidence do I have that he's not like that? On the internet... none.

I'm not asking you to take him at his word, and I left open the option for you to simply refuse to answer on the grounds you already gave before, or the grounds you gave in the rest of this paragraph. But for Azule himself to deny such accusations of his character should not put him in even deeper shit. That's something really, really disconcerting to me about a lot of threads in modern culture, a sort of tendency for accusation to be tantamount to guilt and attempts to defend oneself from anything being an even more glaring sign of guilt. It's a tone that demands that everyone feel preemptively guilty about everything anyone else might assume about them -- and then even takes that preemptive guilt as evidence to back up the assumptions.

(My previous girlfriend did something like that, and the impossibility of it drove me mad. She was very skittish and nervous and defensive and afraid of possible threats from men in general, so I went out of my way to not do things that might make her uncomfortable, and that effort in turn looked to her like deceptive behavior just trying to falsely give her the impression that she could be comfortable around me to lull her into vulnerability. Behave naturally, and have my motives for every innocuous thing questioned; behave unnaturally cautiously to avoid doing anything to incite that, and have my motives for that questioned. It's not fair and it's unhealthy both for people like her and for everyone they interact with. I understand what could bring someone to behave that way, having either been hurt before or else just having been spun up by too much talk of threat and danger, but understanding the cause of the unhealthy behavior doesn't suddenly make it healthy).

And I do understand how this behavior can end up hurting - I am stereotyping $population in to having $reaction during $event. I ask people of $population to ensure that they won't have $reaction, and that I won't believe that they won't have $reaction until I am satisfied with their actions until they don't. What makes this different than asking a Muslim to renounce all of the terrorists, or asking a girl random trivia to ensure that that she's a "real" nerd girl? Why does anyone have to prove they belong anywhere by distancing themselves from a small minority of their population that ends up being troubling? How can we make this fairer to people who have associations with a group of people through certain characteristics (through no choice of their own) to not try and paint them with the same brush of the troubling minority that share the same characteristics?

I'm not sure I understand you clearly here. It sounds to me like you are comparing your own behavior to stereotyping all Muslims as terrorists, or to stereotyping all apparent nerd girls as "fake" nerd girls... and then, here's where I'm most unclear, asking how and where to draw the line between the latter behaviors (which I'm assuming we both agree are bad) and your behavior? If so, I don't think there is a line; I think all three behaviors are comparable, and comparably bad. I don't think there is a socially appropriate way to suss out the non-terrorists Muslims from the terrorists, other than waiting for the terrorists to try to do something terroristic and then catching and punishing them appropriately; and to think that there's a need to do that sussing-out in the first place is rightly offensive to Muslims in general. Substitute "men" for "Muslims" and (say) "rapists" for "terrorists" and I'd say the same holds true.

You are discovering the reasons for why we code switch. This term comes from the linguistic context of switching language/slang based on who you're talking to - but it's much broader than that. I am a proud atheist, but I'm not going to say the things I say to my religious friends as I do to my atheist friends. I don't talk to a person I'm just meeting the same way I talk to someone I've known for a decade. I don't talk to my boss the way I talk to my sister. All of these different populations require different interactions... and you have to be adaptable enough to know that different things are acceptable or offensive to different people. We don't have a master list of offensive behaviors to avoid at all times, but functions that tell us when $x and $y are certain values, to not say specific things.


Yeah, I get all that, but on the internet especially or in mixed crowds in general, the question comes up of how to deal with multiple overlapping "codes". Say you're hanging out in person with a bunch of people, mostly strangers, who for all you know are a wide mix of religions and irreligion; should you have to hide your atheism in that crowd just in case some of the people in it might be offended by it? That seems to be the kind of lowest-common-denominator standard you seem to be defending: that we want a mixed crowd here, and so to facilitate that we should avoid saying anything that anybody might not like. But that seems as unreasonable here as it would in the real world, in a literal crowd of people of mixed backgrounds and opinions and such. If you're talking to a particular person in that crowd and they tell you they don't approve of your atheism and don't want to hear more about it, then you can be polite to that person and avoid the subject with them. But they need to ask you first, and they need to ask politely; they or their friends angrily "calling you out" on your "atheistic bullshit" would be completely inappropriate behavior.

(Minor aside, something about your paragraphs above and also below strike me as mildly condescending, though I can't quite place what about them so I'm just going to take my own advice and note it, forgive it, and move on).

That is not how it works. If someone is hurt by something I did or said, I immediately stop those things in the presence of the other person. Offense is usually an emotionally charged response, and I know if I try and ask for a polite, rational discussion, it isn't necessarily going to happen because of how emotions work.

It might not work, because people are emotional and irrational and imperfect, yeah; but to give it the opportunity to work is better than the alternative of just giving in completely to let the discourse be dictated completely by the most irrational reactions.

I'm mostly talking here about how the community in general should view and react to an interaction between two people, one of whom has accidentally offended another, who may or may not be capable of giving a polite reason for why they found it offensive in the first place; not about how the two people in that dispute themselves should behave. What you describe here, "I will find other ways to discuss it, I may wait until I sense an opening for this discussion later on with that person, or I may talk to other people to try and understand why my actions or words were so offensive.", sounds like a good pragmatic way for the offender to diffuse the situation, but is "advanced level social skills" as someone else in this thread said, and not something that should be obligatory and expected, or the lack of which vilified. It's perfectly reasonable to ask for an explanation when someone is asked to change their behavior, and completely unreasonable to expect anyone to do something just because it's angrily demanded of them. It is also perfectly understandable why someone who is emotionally overwrought would be incapable of responding to such a reasonable request reasonably, and it is also laudable to be able to cope with people who are behaving that way in the ways that you describe, but it's at least equally understandable why someone would not be able to cope with that in that way, as it is why that reaction would have occurred in the first place. What I'm concerned about is the surrounding community seeing and treating such disputes as between two people of equal worth having difficulty communicating politely and reasonably, and not treating either of them as a villain who is totally out of line for having an understandable, if not entirely reasonable, response to the other.

"I just want to be polite and rational, so why are you staying offended and not answering my questions?" is not a reasonable reaction. The things that cause offense are generally rooted in an emotional response, so asking for this polite, rational discussion right away is in a way disrespecting the reactions of that person. Offense also doesn't occur serially in the vacuum of isolated social interactions. A day filled with microaggressions can be just as exhausting as one blatantly offensive encounter. This is not my first polite discussion, nor will it be my last. But I can tell you that I have had far more interactions that I just had to dismiss because I just had too much going on in my life to calmly and rationally explain why I was bothered by someone's behavior. Nobody owes you these explanations... I do not owe you this discussion because I was offended.

I'm not saying anyone owes anyone anything, only that's it's not unreasonable (and should not be itself offensive) to ask politely. It's the difference between (analogously) "excuse me, can I squeeze through here?" and "GET OUT OF MY WAY". Though they have the same pragmatic content (asking someone to make way), the latter is entitled and totally inappropriate, but the former is completely acceptable, even if the answer to it should turn out to be "sorry, no, because...". And conversely, "FUCK OFF" would not be an acceptable substitute for "sorry, no, because..." if the request really was "excuse me...". Now if someone really is bellowing "GET OUT OF MY WAY", then yeah, "FUCK OFF" is a fine response; even though there could probably be better responses still, nobody should be expected to just oblige a "GET OUT OF MY WAY" without question. But conversely, nobody should be expected to just oblige a a "FUCK OFF" without question either.

I am offering this discussion because I know people have some difficulty in wrapping their heads around social interactions, and I want to help, because it makes me sad to think that no one ever showed you guys the ropes, and that there really aren't any new player servers around where you can practice without the full weight of the real world consequences of your mistakes.

Some of the people here sound like they are appreciating this conversation because of their own lack of social skills, but I'm not one of them. I don't generally have difficulty interacting with people and working around their irrational shit all the time; most people who voice any opinion of the matter to me, online or off, usually say laudatory things about me being exceptionally civil and reasonable etc etc, even in the face of people who aren't; I've literally got multiple awards for it on Wikipedia, just for one example. I just get really really tired of doing it; like it sounds like you're tired of doing it too. It's not difficult, it's just tiresome. Just because someone's a really good soldier doesn't mean that they don't mind war zones; they'd still like it if most places would let them lay down their arms without worrying about getting shot as soon as they do. Even if nobody's shooting at them, as I'm generally not on the business end of reactions like Azrael's, the fact that people are still shooting in the general area makes one feel they can't let down their defenses. I guess to complete this analogy, and maybe connect to your own terrorism analogy before: turning the place into a police state in order to crack down on the state of war doesn't especially make for a better state of affairs, as one way or another there's still people with guns who might potentially try to shoot me if I look at them wrong. Which is troublesome even if it doesn't often happen to me personally, and even if I could probably handle it; the prospect of maybe needing to makes it difficult to relax.

chridd wrote:
Shro wrote:[...]People get "jumped on" for seemingly (to some people) innocuous behaviors because this is the millionth time we've had to deal with it.[...]
...what about the people where the thing they've had to deal with a million times is people enforcing rules that they couldn't have known ahead of time (without giving a warning the first time), socially jumping on them an calling them a jerk, interpreting anything ambiguous in the worst way, and making assumptions that their motives are worse than they actually are?

Re: social skills and diversity
There's also tolerance and preferences regarding social interaction; some people have a preference against and/or low tolerance for an environment where there's a lot of conflict and people calling each other out, even if they have the skills to deal with it and avoid being the target of it.
(I find that the way people call each other out on this forum makes me annoyed and angry and uncomfortable, even though I'm not usually the one being called out here and I often agree with the person calling the other person out.)


Yeah, basically what chridd here said.

Quercus wrote:Yeh, it's crappy that people would do that. To me that's actually a demonstration of those people's poor social skills: hey should ideally have been thinking through the consequences of their actions a bit better. Case 1: it's someone abusing a disabled space, in which case they likely don't give too much of a crap about being called out, because they are the sort of person that abuses a disabled space. Case 2: it's someone with one of the myriad of disabilities that aren't immediately obvious, and you've just made a potentially quite vulnerable person feel shitty. Weighing that up that's neutral to mildly positive, against really negative, so they probably shouldn't do it.

I'm not sure if you intended this or not, but I think this makes an excellent analogy for the kind of behavior I'm concerned about here. To be clear: the type of misogynist jerk that Azrael took Azule to be is analogous to the people abusing the disabled spaces, and people unwittingly doing innocuous things that might make someone erroneously think they were a misogynist jerk are analogous to the people with invisible disabilities.
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:40 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby chridd » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:41 am UTC

Quercus wrote:If we draw an analogy with physical abilities I would say that the difference is like that between being asked to make special accommodations for someone because they find it physically difficult to walk, which most people would see as reasonable, versus making special accommodations for someone because they can't be bothered to walk even though they are perfectly able to, which most people would see as unreasonable. How much special accommodation is reasonable depends on how much difficulty someone has, so there's no hard line.

TBH I'm not actually certain how right I am on this, so would appreciate any input.
...on the other hand, if an accommodation for people who find it difficult to walk also helps people who don't want to walk, that's a good thing (this is called the curb cut effect; my favorite example is elevators, which are necessary for people in wheelchairs but lots of people use them who could take stairs).
I think that having a solution like that, that makes social stuff easier for everyone rather than singling out people who need it, is particularly important for accommodating autistic people and similar, partly because of what ObsessoMom said about people not believing, and partly because being autistic is something that people discriminate against, and having to say that one is autistic to get accommodations that one needs (or revealing that one is autistic by using something only intended for autistic people) could cause people to discriminate against the person or make incorrect assumptions based on their stereotypes. (Also, not everyone who is autistic knows they're autistic.)

(Oh, and if they have social anxiety issues and have experience with or have heard about people discriminating against people with social issues, then limiting access to accommodations would be asking them to do something (legitimately) anxiety-inducing to get accommodations for their anxiety issues...)

Spoiler:
Oh, now that's an interesting way of looking at it. This question probably does little but reveal my own lack of knowledge, but do people on the autistic spectrum generally interact well with other people at a similar place on the spectrum (if that's even a thing)?
Unfortunately, I don't know. I haven't interacted with autistic people enough to tell... and I've read things that might possibly suggest this is true, but not enough to have much confidence either way.
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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby Quercus » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:10 am UTC

chridd wrote:
Quercus wrote:If we draw an analogy with physical abilities I would say that the difference is like that between being asked to make special accommodations for someone because they find it physically difficult to walk, which most people would see as reasonable, versus making special accommodations for someone because they can't be bothered to walk even though they are perfectly able to, which most people would see as unreasonable. How much special accommodation is reasonable depends on how much difficulty someone has, so there's no hard line.

TBH I'm not actually certain how right I am on this, so would appreciate any input.
...on the other hand, if an accommodation for people who find it difficult to walk also helps people who don't want to walk, that's a good thing (this is called the curb cut effect; my favorite example is elevators, which are necessary for people in wheelchairs but lots of people use them who could take stairs).
I think that having a solution like that, that makes social stuff easier for everyone rather than singling out people who need it, is particularly important for accommodating autistic people and similar, partly because of what ObsessoMom said about people not believing, and partly because being autistic is something that people discriminate against, and having to say that one is autistic to get accommodations that one needs (or revealing that one is autistic by using something only intended for autistic people) could cause people to discriminate against the person or make incorrect assumptions based on their stereotypes. (Also, not everyone who is autistic knows they're autistic.)

(Oh, and if they have social anxiety issues and have experience with or have heard about people discriminating against people with social issues, then limiting access to accommodations would be asking them to do something (legitimately) anxiety-inducing to get accommodations for their anxiety issues...)

Spoiler:
Oh, now that's an interesting way of looking at it. This question probably does little but reveal my own lack of knowledge, but do people on the autistic spectrum generally interact well with other people at a similar place on the spectrum (if that's even a thing)?
Unfortunately, I don't know. I haven't interacted with autistic people enough to tell... and I've read things that might possibly suggest this is true, but not enough to have much confidence either way.


Okay, I can get behind that, with the caveat that it's not practical to provide some accommodations to everyone (e.g. it's reasonable to let everyone use elevators, but it's not reasonable to provide motorized transportation around airports to everyone).

With that in mind, let's get specific: what social practices would make social interaction easier for people with social issues (social anxiety, autism or others)? Is it possible to implement them while still providing the sort of spaces that people with high-level social skills need (i.e. places where they don't have to shoulder the majority of the social and emotional burden of the interaction)?

I'll kick it off with something I have experienced as an introvert, which although not a social disorder, is at least a social difference from many people.

Try not to assume that another persons emotional experience of a situation is the same as your emotional experience of a situation. As an example, many people assume that wanting to be alone is an undesirable situation or sign of distress and that such a person should be encouraged into social situations, whereas for an introvert being alone is something perfectly comfortable and natural and they often need a social balance that includes a lot more time on their own than the average extrovert. Sure, there have been times when I've been alone because I am sad, but I behave differently in lots of other ways at those times. I guess I'm saying: don't rely on individual social cues unless you know a person well, because the same cue have very different meanings for different people.

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Re: Rant Thread : For all your obscenity screaming needs

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:06 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:I'll kick it off with something I have experienced as an introvert, which although not a social disorder, is at least a social difference from many people.

Try not to assume that another persons emotional experience of a situation is the same as your emotional experience of a situation. As an example, many people assume that wanting to be alone is an undesirable situation or sign of distress and that such a person should be encouraged into social situations, whereas for an introvert being alone is something perfectly comfortable and natural and they often need a social balance that includes a lot more time on their own than the average extrovert. Sure, there have been times when I've been alone because I am sad, but I behave differently in lots of other ways at those times. I guess I'm saying: don't rely on individual social cues unless you know a person well, because the same cue have very different meanings for different people.

This is very similar to (maybe a subset of) the kind of thing I'm wanting here, too, a big part of which could possibly be summed up as "don't make so many assumptions". Take things plainly at face value without reading into things. Appreciate that the aspects that are not plainly visible like that may vary wildly from person to person. You don't have to put any special effort in to figure out how each person is different and adapt to them specifically; just, if there is any doubt at all, drop to a default of complete neutrality and straightforwardness.

(A completely out-of-context example of this: back in college, I was friends with some people for whom anything but an A was terrible, and people for whom anything above a C was awesome. I fell into the former group, but had learned before I left high school that assuming a B is as disappointing to everyone as it would be to me could cause some grief with people who worked really damn hard to get that B and were proud of it. So if a college classmate wanted to compare grades and they had a B and it wasn't obvious from tone how they felt about that, I would ask straightforward and neutrally without any judgement either way how that compares to their usual grades, and then when they said so, react accordingly).
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby K-R » Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:50 pm UTC

The one that annoys me is cashiers who insist on making small talk. Which, incidentally, appears to be a case of aggroing a social interaction: I'd much rather avoid them, but it's entirely impossible to do.

I once had one utter bitch of a woman decide that she was going to run through her asinine small-talk script regardless of my involvement, and merely adopted a snarkier tone than normal. Apparently the fact that I have no interest in pretending I'm having a good day, so that she can also pretend she's having a good day and we can both pretend that we give a fuck about any of this makes me an asshole.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Quercus » Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:49 pm UTC

K-R wrote:The one that annoys me is cashiers who insist on making small talk. Which, incidentally, appears to be a case of aggroing a social interaction: I'd much rather avoid them, but it's entirely impossible to do.

I once had one utter bitch of a woman decide that she was going to run through her asinine small-talk script regardless of my involvement, and merely adopted a snarkier tone than normal. Apparently the fact that I have no interest in pretending I'm having a good day, so that she can also pretend she's having a good day and we can both pretend that we give a fuck about any of this makes me an asshole.


The issue with that one is that making small talk is a standard part of the social contract in many cultures, and having someone not make small talk back is just as disturbing to lots of people as having to make small talk is to you. The woman's first thought was probably "wow, what did I do wrong?". I agree that her response was sub-optimal, but calling her an "utter bitch" seems quite extreme.

I've heard several people make the exact opposite complaint - cashiers who "don't even bother to make small talk", so it's clear that not everyone has the same view. I suppose the optimal solution would be for the cashier to read the social cues of customers and make small talk only with those who are responsive to it. It might be different in Australia, but in the UK this is generally what happens - if I'm distracted or otherwise withdrawn I don't get much small talk but If I smile and make eye contact I do get small talk, because I'm indicating that I want it.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby K-R » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:14 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:The woman's first thought was probably "wow, what did I do wrong?". I agree that her response was sub-optimal, but calling her an "utter bitch" seems quite extreme.

Me: *approaches counter, hands item over*
Her: How are you today?
Me: ...
Her: [under her breath] I'm fine, thanks.
*transaction ends*
Her: [seemingly sincere] Thank you!
Me: ... (because seriously, what the fuck is she even thanking me for at this point?)
Her: [condescending, as if trying to extract the appropriate response from a toddler] Thank you.

Yeah, no, I'm happy with "utter bitch". I'm actually pretty sure there was something between the "fine thanks" and "thank you", although I don't recall what.



Quercus wrote:The issue with that one is that making small talk is a standard part of the social contract in many cultures, and having someone not make small talk back is just as disturbing to lots of people as having to make small talk is to you.

Which it shouldn't be, just as people shouldn't be assuming you need to spend more time around people.

It might be different in Australia, but in the UK this is generally what happens - if I'm distracted or otherwise withdrawn I don't get much small talk but If I smile and make eye contact I do get small talk, because I'm indicating that I want it.

I basically never smile or make eye contact with anyone, and not only do I get initial attempts, more often than not they forge on even after getting no response the first time.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:44 pm UTC

K-R wrote:
Quercus wrote:The woman's first thought was probably "wow, what did I do wrong?". I agree that her response was sub-optimal, but calling her an "utter bitch" seems quite extreme.

Me: *approaches counter, hands item over*
Her: How are you today?
Me: ...
Her: [under her breath] I'm fine, thanks.
*transaction ends*
Her: [seemingly sincere] Thank you!
Me: ... (because seriously, what the fuck is she even thanking me for at this point?)
Her: [condescending, as if trying to extract the appropriate response from a toddler] Thank you.

Yeah, no, I'm happy with "utter bitch". I'm actually pretty sure there was something between the "fine thanks" and "thank you", although I don't recall what.


There's a lot of pressure on people who work in customer service type jobs to make small talk and appear polite and friendly, even if you don't want them to be. The company putting pressure on them should be on the recieving end of your griping because it honestly sounds like you've gotten upset with her because she's come off a little snarky.

She probably has to do this to everyone. All day. Every day. You have not been singled out. She is probably having a crappy day, just like you but the difference is that she has to put on a customer service face to deal with it and risks being fired if she's not being seen to be 'happy' enough.
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Felstaff » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:07 pm UTC

K-R wrote:
Quercus wrote:The woman's first thought was probably "wow, what did I do wrong?". I agree that her response was sub-optimal, but calling her an "utter bitch" seems quite extreme.

Me: *approaches counter, hands item over*
Her: How are you today?
Me: ...
Her: [under her breath] I'm fine, thanks.
*transaction ends*
Her: [seemingly sincere] Thank you!
Me: ... (because seriously, what the fuck is she even thanking me for at this point?)
Her: [condescending, as if trying to extract the appropriate response from a toddler] Thank you.

You acted like an asshole.
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby doogly » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:10 pm UTC

Maybe we should re-split the thread into 101 and Remedial.
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:27 pm UTC

K-R wrote:Apparently the fact that I have no interest in pretending I'm having a good day, so that she can also pretend she's having a good day and we can both pretend that we give a fuck about any of this makes me an asshole.
Calling her an utter bitch for doing something she's probably required to do in order to keep her job makes you an asshole, yes.
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:36 pm UTC

The question is whether you can recognize even unintentional fault and seek to rectify it in the future.
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Quercus » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:39 pm UTC

K-R wrote:
Quercus wrote:The issue with that one is that making small talk is a standard part of the social contract in many cultures, and having someone not make small talk back is just as disturbing to lots of people as having to make small talk is to you.

Which it shouldn't be, just as people shouldn't be assuming you need to spend more time around people.


I'm not sure that people actually have control over whether it is or not in this case - in that it's not something they think about, it's an innate and ingrained response by the time they reach adulthood. That, plus the employment obligations that Fractal_Tangent mentioned.

In my case I probably should have been clearer - I'm perfectly fine (more than fine!) with someone asking me if I want to go out and do stuff, and I'm perfectly fine with them assuming initially that I will want to come out. I don't think you can really expect people to change standard social assumptions to that degree, when the assumptions do work for the majority of people, and in any case I often do want to go out. It's when I say "no, sorry, I don't have the energy tonight - maybe we could go on x day", and they respond with "but it's Friday, you must want to go out", or worse try even harder to convince me to go out because I must need "cheering up". I'm basically asking for people to believe me and take me at face value when I tell them something socially unexpected, which is slightly different from expecting people to behave in a particular way when you don't give them any feedback at all.

I do try to go out and socialise whenever I do have enough energy, because I value spending time with my friends (and, as a longer term corollary, having friends), but that's entirely a personal choice rather than any sort of obligation.

I think we draw our lines at different places, for me how I would like it to work is:

  1. Person A interacts with person B according to standard social norms.
  2. Person B indicates, respectfully, that they actually have different needs.
  3. Person A adapts their behaviour accordingly
  4. How much adaptation is reasonable depends on the closeness of the relationship
  5. The adaptation and compromise normally happen more-or-less equally in both directions (with caveats, as I mention below)

In your case a fully automatic and meaningless "fine thanks, and you?" seems to be the solution requiring least total effort all round. There's also the fact that you approached her, in her social domain, therefore her social rules take primacy to a degree (in the same way that if you are a guest in someone's house you should be respectful of the way they do things).

Edit: Also, the degree of interaction she expected from you in that situation barely rises to the level of small talk (I thought you meant chatting about the weather or weekend plans in your original post). The "how are you?", "fine, thanks" interaction is a greeting, not small talk - it's basically shorthand for "we acknowledge each other's existence as human beings, and affirm that we both want an amicable interaction rather than a fight". And as for saying thanks - she provided you with a service, therefore you should thank her.
Last edited by Quercus on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:05 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby addams » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:59 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
K-R wrote:Apparently the fact that I have no interest in pretending I'm having a good day, so that she can also pretend she's having a good day and we can both pretend that we give a fuck about any of this makes me an asshole.
Calling her an utter bitch for doing something she's probably required to do in order to keep her job makes you an asshole, yes.

I'm late to the party.
If the Cashier asks me, "How are you?"
I often give them an 'Out'.

I'll answer a question with a question.
"How are you?"
Truth?

What?
The Truth or the Convenient Lie?

If no one else is in Line, I'll tell 'em.

Dear K-R; That casher is a person.
A real live human being that might want to tell you- the fuck - off.

That real human cashier is a real live human being that is attempting to brighten your other wise dreary day with a standard blessing.

All you can think to think is, "Fuck You." ?
It's a good thing you don't say everything you think.

Ten or twelve people that take a blessing and Fuck It; well...Social lubricants can keep things from heating up.
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You may make the international funny news.
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Sure; She'll lose her job.
What do you care?

Do you know how Bad Pepper Spray Hurts??
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Buddy; Either start caring about other people or develop that Blank Stare.
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Angua » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:29 am UTC

From one of the Bromeliad trilogy:

All the rest of it was just the things humans say to each other to make sure that they're still alive." Of course, Masklin asks him what he means by this, and he is told "Things like 'How are you?' and 'Have a nice day' and 'What do you think of the weather, then?' what these sounds mean is: I am alive and so are you."
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:32 am UTC

Seconding the comment about "how are you?", "fine thanks" being a greeting, not an actual invitation to small talk, but sympathies to K-R for not understanding that (since that is what it's literally saying), and for being bothered by the cashier's response. Of course also sympathies for the cashier who was on the other side of that misunderstanding and probably assumed K-R was mad at her about something, which in this instance I think is a very reasonable assumption as a willingness to communicate at least minimally is a pretty universal human sign of non-hostility.

K-R, while I also don't really like to talk much to the cashiers/etc I have to interact with day to day, in my experience you don't have to lie at all to get out of the apparent invitation to small talk. I find if I respond to a "how are you?" with something like "not so great" or "pretty miserable actually", some quick indication that I'm having a bad day, they will usually respond along the lines of "sorry to hear that" and then drop the topic. They didn't really care to know how my day was going anyway, it's just a rote communicative token opening the channel over which whatever down-to-business communication you actually need to do will occur, so all they're expecting is any acknowledgement at all that they have opened that channel and you are receiving. (Or as others have phrased it in more human terms here, that you've acknowledged them as a human being). In my experience even "I don't really want to talk about it" goes over fine; they will usually assume that's tantamount to "not so great" or "pretty miserable" and wish you a good day in acknowledgement, and that's the end of it.

Which kinda ties back to the same topic I was on about earlier, and similar to what Quercus is saying above about his expected protocol between people with different social expectations. It's fine if you don't want to talk about your day to someone, but you've got to at the very least say that you don't want to talk about your day, and forgive someone for asking without knowing you didn't, rather than getting pissed at them for violating your social expectations that they couldn't've known in advance.
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:18 am UTC

I think there's a difference between not wanting to MAKE small talk, and effectively ignoring someone who is trying to. If someone asks you how you're doing, and you stare at them blankly, or keep your eyes averted and don't put forth anything for them, it's somewhat rude. There are plenty of simple diversions to politely indicate you aren't interested in small talk - though, frankly, occasionally mucking it up isn't really the end of the world, as much as it can feel it.

K-R has filled in his interpretations of the cashiers feelings/sentiments, which I'd take to be an indication that he understands someone was upset with something that he did. The conclusion that they're the person in the wrong, instead of entertaining the notion that there was something he could have improved upon, is a sort of icing on the 'not understanding the social literacy' cake. Which I don't say to be insulting, but if the name of the game is gaining more social literacy, it might be worthwhile, for everyone in the thread, to think about ways they can improve, instead of focusing on ways socialization is sometimes strange.
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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby addams » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:41 am UTC

Snall Talk?
This, again.

Where do we draw The Line?
I don't like Small Talk.
It's Horrible.

Somedays, I just can't do it.
"Hell-o." means, "We are going to interact."

That's not Small Talk.

"Are you ok?" That's a question deserving an answer.
If the answer is, "I'm having a Heart Attack."
I'd like to think someone would know what to do.

That's not Small Talk.

"Jonney of The Jets had a Hemoroid Removed."
I'm sorry for Jonney of The Jets.

That's Small Talk.

I got it Wrong.
Didn't I?

Weather is Not small talk.
The Weather is important news.

Darned Important.
But; Getting out your gun in the Safeway parking lot
to prove a point about Global Warming is a little Too Engaged.

Where is That Happy Middle Ground?
Where is the Place where I yell across the Parking Lot,
"I'm going to Tell Your Mom!"

Then we Race to Mom's House;
In cars. People do stupid shit.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby K-R » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:33 am UTC

Fractal_Tangent wrote:She probably has to do this to everyone. All day. Every day. You have not been singled out. She is probably having a crappy day, just like you but the difference is that she has to put on a customer service face to deal with it and risks being fired if she's not being seen to be 'happy' enough.
gmalivuk wrote:Calling her an utter bitch for doing something she's probably required to do in order to keep her job makes you an asshole, yes.

I'm pretty sure she did the exact opposite of that. "Hi, how are you?" is fairly standard, and potentially mandated, sure. Sarcastically replying to questions that haven't been asked, and re-stating things condescendingly in an effort to get the customer to play along, however, is an entirely different story. Her immediate assumption about my lack of response was that I was being an asshole, and her solution to this problem was to be an asshole back. "Her job mandates that she be nice" does the exact goddamn opposite of defending that. Everyone else manages to either drop it, or work on the assumption that I haven't heard them and simply repeat the question in the same polite tone they used the first time.

And at the very least, if someone has gone through the entire transaction without a single word, you might want to consider the possibility that they're not capable of speech.



Quercus wrote:And as for saying thanks - she provided you with a service, therefore you should thank her.

Arguable (it is, after all, her job...and she was shitty about doing so, in this particular case), but she was the one thanking me. I'm pretty sure a "you're welcome" at that point would've just made things worse.


Izawwlgood wrote:K-R has filled in his interpretations of the cashiers feelings/sentiments, which I'd take to be an indication that he understands someone was upset with something that he did. The conclusion that they're the person in the wrong, instead of entertaining the notion that there was something he could have improved upon

False dichotomy much?

Her response was shitty. That remains true regardless of any argument about what I might have done differently.



Quercus wrote:Also, the degree of interaction she expected from you in that situation barely rises to the level of small talk (I thought you meant chatting about the weather or weekend plans in your original post).

I meant that as well.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby addams » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:50 am UTC

I've known people that go for extended periods of time without using any spoken communication.
I know people do that. I know a little about it.

I did not utter a word for more than a year, one time.
The woman at the Store became almost like a friend.

I never spoke a word.
When I needed something from her, we did a lot of pointing.
oh. I didn't do much smiling, either.

K-R; What is The Point?
You feel that you have endured a social slight?
That's nice.

Each and every one of us has inflicted social wounds.
Each and every one of us have endured social slights.

Now; Lick your wounds and endeavor to be better that she was.
Then, endeavor to be better than you were. Please, Be Better.

No. I did not miss-type.
But, that would be good, too.

Be Sweet.
Don't be Bitter.


Most humans like sweet better than bitter.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Social Literacy Thread (split from Rant)

Postby Quercus » Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:45 am UTC

I don't think anyone is arguing that the cashier wasn't rude - they're saying that she was rude because you were rude first. Ideally she wouldn't have been rude, but people aren't perfect and she might have been having a crappy day. What you did is known as blanking someone, it's widely seen as an aggressive move and it can make people feel intimidated and get defensive. Your original post is the perfect example of the consequences of setting an aggressive tone - if you open by calling someone an "utter bitch", people are going to feel justified in continuing the conversation by calling you an asshole.

I suppose the one exception to this is if someone comes across as being too anxious/nervous to speak - in that situation the cashier is the one badly misreading cues if they respond with social aggression.

If you're incapable of speech there is still non-verbal communication, as addams mentions.

Look, I've blanked people myself, on multiple occasions, mainly from being too distracted, tired or upset to remember how to interact socially. It happens, it's not the end of the world. I think what I'm trying to do in this thread is attempt to understand why people react in the way they do, and think about how both parties can react better, rather than just shifting blame around.


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