From: david gobel <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> Date: 13 January 1999 17:00
>As I read the various threads, I am struck by one thing - the written word,
>english, human language is very hard pressed to convey sufficiently
>and precise meanings. It's as though the "computer" is barred by the
>imprecision of its own language. Its like seeing the OZ of language hiding
>behind the curtain and he's having a devil of a time keeping up with you
>Many of the conversations go thru an evolution of : an idea, assertion, or
>announcement, followed by simple interesting reactions/coments, followed by
>secondary reaction/beliefs, followed by rebuttal, then semi-personal
>then fracturing of the subject, then attenuation of interest. Very much
>convection currents rising and falling.
>- just what can I mean? -
This sort of problem tends to be caused by the fact that we are tring to convey internal meanings to toerh people through a bastardised language that has it's roots in varioujs other languages and has words added willy nilly from all over the place. What a word means to me, it frequently doesn't mean to other people. I've noticed that many arguments on usenet end when someone says "so by X you actually meant Y! Now I agree with your point."
As soon as there's scope for confusion, even more people get upset than might otherwise. Add to this that some of the topics have been things that people hold very dear (like morality and social structures) and you're asking for a flame war. This discussion forum is actually a lot better than some I've been in (Philosophy newsgroups tend to be amongst the worst, but even theyaren't as bad as Mac/PC advocacy newsgroups).
Of course, the second that people get upset, they tend to say irrational things.
I say X.
Someone else thinks that I mean Y (like X, only not quite) which logically entails that I enjoy pulling the heads off of children. They call me a child-killer, because I think Y is true I get upset and respond to their criticism of Y and try to defend it, because I've forgotten that I originally said X, and not Y at all. Six weeks later, nobody is talking to anyone else and I've found myself defending pulling the heads off of children as 'a good way to pass the time.' when I never meant to talk about that at all.
Isn't the net great?