Friday, February 23, 2007

Lack of precision

Okay, it has happened again. Someone has replied to something I wrote and that reply is unreadable in its vagueness. I don't know what he is trying to say, or even whether he is disagreeing with me or is agreeing but makes a few additional points. So what do I do know?

I could ask him what he means, but that can be risky at times, for a couple of reasons: 1. Some people interpret requests for clarifications as an attack, as if one is trying to rip his statements apart under the guise of "innocent questions", which isn't the case. 2. Some people makes the clarifications in a patronizing way (like, "okay, I'll explain it to you again, with simpler words and shorter sentences, let me know if it's still too difficult to you...", as if the reason one didn't understand to begin with is that one is a little slow rather than that the statements in fact were unclear (which they really are in this case). And then one has to decide how one should reply to that patronizing, which itself is kind of annoying.

Another way is to give a general answer (or "answer"). To just talk about the same issue but avoiding direct reference to anything he said. But that's somewhat sneaky and indirect.

I think I'll just ignore his post, but if he did indeed disagreed with me, he may interpret my silence as agreement, as if he made me change my mind (when I didn't even understand what he said).


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