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Effective communication

psychology

(Michael Hrenka) #1

This thread is for discussing how to improve our communication. Good communication unfortunately is something that members “nerdy” communities usually are not good at. Addressing that potential weakness is really important. Effective communication often determines the difference between massive success and catastrophic failure.


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(Michael Hrenka) #2

Such replies suggest that it might be worth considering increasing your efforts at marketing yourself as a person. Behave in ways that elicit positive emotions. Then you are on the right track. People usually don’t want to deal with persons that make them feel bad.


(Professor J. Moriarty) #3

I just don’t like lying to people. And that’s the only way to avoid negative emotions.


(Professor J. Moriarty) #4

a better solution is to teach people how to stop being insecure. then i wont have to lie to em.


(Michael Hrenka) #5

You don’t need to avoid all negative emotions. A ratio of 3:1 to 12:1 of positive emotions to negative emotions is ok. Everything outside of that range is bad, as a rule of thumb.

And if you think that anything that changes the emotional reactions in other people involves “lying”, then you seriously need to learn how to communicate better. I think there are good books about that, but honestly I haven’t done a lot of research on that topic, either. I’d suggest the “Feeling Good Handbook” by David D. Burns as first start (because I’m familiar with that):

This solution doesn’t scale, if you want to reach a large audience. It’s better and easier to change your own communication style to achieve the effect you want to achieve.


(Michael Hrenka) #6

Here’s an excerpt from the book Producing Open Source Software by Karl Fogel:

http://producingoss.com/en/communications.html#structure-and-formatting

Don’t fall into the trap of writing everything as though it were a cell phone text message. Write in complete sentences, capitalizing the first word of each sentence, and use paragraph breaks where needed. This is most important in emails and other composed writings. In IRC or similarly ephemeral forums, it’s generally okay to leave out capitalization, use compressed forms of common expressions, etc. Just don’t carry those habits over into more formal, persistent forums. Emails, documentation, bug reports, and other pieces of writing that are intended to have a permanent life should be written using standard grammar and spelling, and have a coherent narrative structure. This is not because there’s anything inherently good about following arbitrary rules, but rather that these rules are not arbitrary: they evolved into their present forms because they make text more readable, and you should adhere to them for that reason. Readability is desirable not only because it means more people will understand what you write, but because it makes you look like the sort of person who takes the time to communicate clearly: that is, someone worth paying attention to.


#7

##Why I replied (communication)
I came coming across this type of thinking about communication before with others. It’s long but I feel the title was too hard to grasp exactly enough to be satisfied in writing something shorter. I’ve made sub-titles with paragraph or too so reading is easier and reader can expect what’s coming. It seems you asked for all this :slight_smile: and you are interested in things to getting better in form of conversation…

##Short answer
For communication I think the willingness and flexibility and dealing with the element of assumption and some etiquette’s, work regularly as ‘successful’ or ‘easy going’ communication. Most people on a different level to start with so here is a first problem. Each person also has their own different mood or ideal place to talk and can help steer the ship of conversation well in different ways. To start to tell people these things at the same time as dealing with issues and problem is a something that should be asked (consent) or not expected highly as implementing as you are working on other things we seemingly become slow and heavy, though for those able both can increase progress in both improved communications and the work in hand.

###Individuals and groups steering
Both individuals and groups can help to steer of the ship of conversation and communication. this could be an already an assured perspective that leadership (the captain) is someone they believe capable/trust no matter what (or the group leading the bigger group) or before individually actually wanting to pull the steering wheel or reacting on the direction of ship because process is not reassuring enough.
Summary: Achieving the confidence/less need to take control or drastic measures from unwanted direction, insecurity or some other worry is ideal to communicate, and maybe a style not to focus on that too much and go for processes as what will hold things together.

###Mutual Communication
If communication is kept to something mutual then I feel both will be in for a good time. Always good for some silent observations and said one’s along the way, but if you observe how much is NOT mutual in the world I think it easily can be the reason why people start hating things / leave it.

####Asking or answering examples (healthy, practical tips)

  • “yeah it’s really good you mention that because I feel like that too”
  • “I feel what you’re saying is a bit out of my depth, but maybe if you could take it a little slower we can try a few more minutes…”
  • “what do you mean by this part?” and “What does that word mean?”

##Topic heading I would consider adjusting
Topic heading itself is ok for general hints and tips - but if you were expecting anything more than and not a bunch of people discussing the terms (I feel that’s inevitable) then I think it’s severely limited by the use of easy to reach for words such as ‘good’ and ‘effective’ - opinions and general comments will regularly follow which might seems like good discussion because theirs action but it’s only due to the uncountable ways to use / interpret these words and not actually targetting well. Only the person who used these kinds of word know what they meant to them in saying it and such a general word / umbrella term becomes illusive and without a doubt encourages more running around trying to find things…

###Summary - So I value what you say but title is flawed / undefined

  • let’s get to the nitty gritty / encourage defined and definite subjects and replies, then pin it to the floor, deal with it and move on when happy it’s good enough depth.
  • I think as generations have passed we got used to these words and heard it… what’s good or better for me is something different to what’s good or better for you (tell that to your mum and dad!). This is relevant in almost every environment and action I feel and what people come across / suffer from every day I’m sure, because it’s hard to avoid directly or indirectly…
  • To have a title with more measurable words - a sub-set of good and effective would be my ideal and clearer I think
    ###Another way of saying some of the points above:
  • It’s initial combination of words is an attempt to answer some vast unspecific thing (which might have been the temptation of writing it the first place - a holy grail of sorts)
  • it also has the starting assumption that you might know a bit about what good communication is but could have invested more energy in clarifying it to a level more deeper than ‘good’.
  • It’s coming from you so I would ask you to define it:fearful: and so begins the answering of it too. Maybe one can to avoid endless variation and interpretations and can expect it without more certain words.
  • Re-working the title may = less energy needed to discuss and solve that first ! :)grin:
  • Two or more unknown variables or combinations of many attributes of those variables… cause the discussion of more and more - and perhaps forgets that maybe each one of those variables and attributes are more human (have different style of each value and interfaces) often unknown to themselves (!)
  • What might be actually measurable to help your intention for better/good/effective conversation is replacing all opinionated words that could (or need) to be more specific, and honed, and made more accurate for purposes of solving your objective(s) <— can be more than 1.

###Flexibility is the answer?

  • So it doesn’t seem like we’re trying to lean towards finding our own personality matches or only those we see in ourselves I think flexibility is key.
  • Also If we only allow more space to those that follow/stay passive and allow others to dominate conversation (by speaking less or only reinforcing what you say).

###Honouring the Individual is the answer?
Different ‘nerds’ as you say may still be seen as individuals, even when part of as a group, and have different requirements although are perhaps seldom explored / revealed / given chance.

Summary:

  • Even just 2 of the same ‘terrible’ types of people can produce a positive / successful result and it could just be about 2 or more people just fitting together well.**

  • Different place and time maybe not. So I think overall there isn’t one way or completely one ‘terrible’ way either, and you could end up looking at everything and still not have it…

##Alternative words or phrases for ‘good communication’ - an attempt (not perfect)

  • ‘The ability to adapt to the other type of person without major loss of one’s own honesty, one’s own integrity intact… one’s self-etc’. So if you can be flexible, then you are able for more conversation and this is maybe a good / optimal outcome that I’d shoot for if someone wrote it for me no matter what my stand point.
  • ‘adaptability’ and ‘wide-range of interests’ could be added (choose what you like)…
  • conversation awareness like ‘being aware of when one falls into monologue-mode’ or ‘checking yourself about how long one has been talking for’. Over 10 minutes = less of score.

Different situations, personalities etc make what you’re looking for endlessly tricky it seems.

##“On-line” type of Communication & Interaction:
A lot of interaction is on-line nowadays too so maybe this topic title could be amended or sub-devided because I feel there quite a difference to techniques involved and tips users could provide. This may be more comprehensive as you would like and hence the problem I think, it won’t be so useful / clear / organised and just chat that is among the other chat.

  • For example
  • is about emails, chatting on forums / IRC / scrolling windows
  • social media
  • SMS, phones included?.. it’s definitely a worthwhile thought as a topic title to include more.

####Overall, laying things out clearly for people to choose what suits them best and knowing why you made the title I think is the key to answering some parts of the general topics.

##'The best way’
People trying to get better and training others… perhaps because they are disenfranchised / disheartened by those around them can lead to suggesting things. It would seems a good idea to better to them… to enhance our own lives and communication. All can be very tempting and many have been taught at an early age not to think and more to point problems out…
Without clear reasoning, perhaps proof and debate, it needs more direction to why it’s being asked. Is it because time has passed, generations evolved, and generally life and it’s direction/objectives have changed. Or something more specific. I mention this as you / others may think there is a ‘best way’, but in what ways and what for I don’t know as it’s always changing. So it may be very important or you / others may have had some situation relative that could generally be explained / dissect / shared for us to learn from that (and then maybe take to a bigger scale from there).

##**Majority / Minority argument and similar generalities **
Examples don’t often help unique situations and people. They digress. They also do well to demote other values / position and people somewhat.
For a small less-serious example (and trying not to fall into my own trap); giving reason that a majority agrees with you without much more explanation other than that can be just a good feeling for larger numbers and good feeling of safety or direction in numbers… more than anything else for those individuals… might just be easier too to go with the wave instead of standing still or going against. This is part of that kind of thinking that I would like in communication sometimes, clarity, regardless of other people’s version of it and then having good ways to break it down for those that question if they are genuinely wanting to listen.
Often it’s impossible to get real proof for some or really applicable practical information to this unique interaction instead of just saying ‘you know they say’ or ‘it was once said’ and even quoting scientists out of context… how we as individuals are showing the internals and working from there can be together **without trying to grab for aids that don’t aid us completely and allow further confusion/distraction…
Summary: Clear focus and reasoning help people.

##Excluded by default
Also by going for some kind of standard or majority route you can ignore the rest in the same move (the minority) and inadvertently drawn the line too high and block people from even joining. If we assume too much and excluded ourselves then it can be uphill from there to convince someone that some part of that way is positive, instead of actually explaining that small part first and avoiding names or grouping…
Summary: Trying not to leave others automatically invalid or illegal, overall values them more rather than less.

##Good = the art of allowing choice / less assumptions ?
So correcting others in some way can be an art form, but what’s more critical is showing (the workings) of how and why it can apply to the them… and then allowing them to make the decision themselves about the next unique conversational situation. Not having to feel justified or value purely by this one instance but the opportunity to try it out themselves sometime.

##Not all I say applies
What I say here may not completely all apply here, but maybe most of it you or I have some experience in some sort of memorable way in terms of communication. If I’m wrong let me know!
I’m the type to find a nice way between people where others would happily avoid them far too easily and wouldn’t try again. There’s plenty of chance and reward with the right key words and even the negative can be seen as good (without pushing someone over the edge purely for reaction).
Summary: Daring yourself can be good :slightly_smiling: so can talking only from your own perspective and not mixing others or their ‘stuff’.

##‘marketing’ triggered a little something
When I came across the the word ‘marketing’ in your comment below I felt I could write more about that part of the interaction. It’s the reply to 'why the fuck would i want to learn to be like you! where you start reply with “Such replies suggest that it might be worth considering increasing your efforts at marketing yourself as a person” and I understand both comment here and don’t think either was bad.

###My interpretation of that…
without saying or adjusting what it really meant for either of you, I think Radvis you could consider not suggesting at this time and answering more the comment before you. Then look at why you make suggest marketing or go with the assumption that this topic looking at communication is people wanting to be like you (or not)… Mention why you might have problem with that… instead of creating another thing like a suggestion, breaking it down a little more in reply.

###1 more thing on top of another
The recommendation of increased effort to market one’s self may be another type of expectation and perspective on top of an existing one, thus not making it much clearer how it helps. When I read it I realised saw one thing added on top of another and maybe more resenting your comment more because it didn’t address the reply directly nor clear why you suggested something on top of that. So eventually I wrote more, which I might not have if it was clear…

‘Marketing’ in one of the comments is uncomfortable with me as it seems it’s if you’re trying aim for jumping into someone else’s market and may can leave yourself too far behind… all in exchange for what?.. an unclear/unknown group or etiquette you probably would want to change or have more inclusive… Encouraging that seems a kind of validation that needs not others, at least without the ‘market’ being clearly defined or perhaps being too serious about it (which it seems I am very serious about! :grimacing: :wink:)
If it’s unclear to whom you are speaking to, then how to deal with these situations as individuals, small group or large audiences?
My answer: Just making it clearer in it’s basic form, basic words with main parts broken-down and thus digestible is my answer, keeping true to yourself all the meanwhile. And if people can appreciate you they will and you can’t go wrong much unless you’re trying to be something else for some other perspective you have about others (including etiquette that is seemingly held regularly by others). Keeping sincerity (ones own respect) is far more than trying to earn other peoples respect (what others see) and valaidation. Again maybe you didn’t mean for ‘marketing’ to such a level but when you recommend it I’d suggest breaking it down so you use the component words (like the actions, adjectives) a bit more.
Making intentions clear is always good and writing about it beforehand can clear up any complicated explanation both for one’s self and others (may of whom may try to run with it before they can walk and muse on it). Checking what people mean, using different words, is always ‘good’ / useful / encourages understanding…

People’s expectations can change too on-the-fly…
so it’s a balance of them and you. I think the answer is made up of a both people and although there are some basics that could be also discussed involving the theme. Communication can be surprisingly dynamic.

"No, this is the best way"
I think there is such a fine line between ‘best practices’ and ‘being unique’… this becomes often the tug-of-war in conversation though neither know it until the emotions are running high from one thing the other said (conversational tangent starts)… and then neither can say why they are tugging so hard and in that way or it was one word they said during the flurry of words and banter that triggered the tangent. Everything can change so quickly in this style and doesn’t seem to respect the person and also often seems to assume both can work at high speed without making lots of mistakes / encouraging division… steady speeds can encourage logic and careful analysis about what the other person meant (assumption or asking more) or what to say next instead of something uncontrolled (often emotional reactions, though some perhaps the female type have this as their basis for logic <-- going out on a limb for this and feel it’s less secure saying it!).
Summary: Responses that are too fast and furious could be seen as unwanted and more regularly produce errors / false assumptions from both sides. Not useful in communication perhaps.

##Being careful to not push people whilst learning… (bit off-topic)
Trying to understand or get on with people whilst being careful not to push them into what you think is right or wrong can often be a good / safe move… it allows them to open up… which I see as invaluable / priceless and more neutral in decision making.
People with some sort of fixing agenda (let’s say if you were always talking about communication or on some major quest) I find have some sort of perspective that is too strong in it’s passion to want to try to solve things it in the world and can actually becomes the biggest barrier and limit to them personality or a turn-off for people even with some good situations. It’s immediately noticed by others when it’s too strong and avoided until people are sure they know what it is they are getting into… and if it’s done in the right way… but the world as it is seems to rush things or give itself less time so I apportion this mainly to any lacking in being relaxed, giving free option and opinion etc… and more of conveyor belt or an industrial modern system - “go there and be that” As kids and adults thinking or scoping out the world before making decisions is ‘a waste of time’ and ‘missed opportunity’ and I think they are talking mostly on behalf of business!
So back to trying too hard… It’s heart-breaking for you and/or them if you are not careful being able to show there’s more to you and you are human and not just machine! People can think “oh no, I’m talking to anti-capitalist guy” or communism type which is a mistake by them but helps not to use these words at all in my opinion as it’s gone too far and other perpetuate umbrella terms beyond it’s component parts. (Time to pick up the pieces of our heart and start again!).


Walking out, not answering emails, calling names, assuming we know the complete scenario, uncomfortable situations and less-graceful disconnects happens all too much in my mind (or at least are a big potential for not damaging things more) and working it out is a twice the benefit from leaving it damaged. Not answering emails is quite bad / rife I feel.

PHYSICALLY NOT THERE
On-line communication is maybe more what you mean in your title… you don’t state either.
So it may be easier in some ways to go wrong when people don’t any physical expressions / tone and or other physical signs (conscious/unconscious). ‘Electronic mail’ even saying the term seems so cold. Electonics (other than the adaptor/power-pack) as so cold!
‘On a computer’ it’s not so easy to get people to accept you listen, unless there are like me :smile_cat: (ok I threw this one in there to score on the humour side a little)
People at the keyboard can also go off into their own mind and have other things unconnected (but connect them to you negatively). It’s maybe just another form of themselves… but without the mix of seeing each other we only see this side… Could this be the problem… not enough mix of IRL and AFK?
It’s not nice/appreciated either way when people suddenly physically leave the conversation or don’t give you some hint why to learn from it. At a computer people can already have left and entered different space. And they forget (deliberately and not). Feels bad no?

More Computers…
Being always at the computer can allow one to be very irritable very quickly (do you guys agree and maybe have shouted at your kids/loved one etc?) so that’s another thing, people are dealing with machines at the same time, and might not be encouraged to explore anything else… tell me what you’re actually talking about… is it 1 or 0… or else GET OUT!..“oh sorry I was just focusing on writing something honey” and didn’t tell you I wanted to concentrate on that!
Another similar example is that someone else is writing an SMS to someone and you want their attention in real life. Might be ok the first few times but how to mange someone writing all the time? and getting less and less of you attention in real life? Feels very devaluing I’m sure you’ll agree and machine-like.
The reverse is when you are writing to someone on-line or a long SMS and someone wants you attention suddenly and doesn’t consider you’re in the middle of something, how to articulate that?

##A Solution:
A way that will deal with some of the susceptibility issues / unknown above without being seemingly too defensive or too attacking may be a kind of agreed ladder in conversation, an agreed direction that gradually increases it’s language, terminology and show how it feels… and asking how the other person feels at the end of each part of the ladder or level (and consents or indicates more is ok). So if it’s acceptable, continue, if not consider staying at same level or going back down a bit, changing topics (can be announced) and going up another ladder more preferred for the other person… a kind of game dynamic… “know it’s your turn to choose a conversation point”… so if you care for the person you’re talking to (an audience is tricky but can also be served in the same way) this can seem overkill but incredibly polite. and helps to have a good audience like a conversation partner where it’s not do-or-die in your performance for them when things and people are largely unknown, and/or newly introduced). The next steps in assuming become less falling off the ladder and going ahead gets a kind of all clear enjoyment when it’s know where we both are in conversation and also why… Is it competition or insecurity you ask my credentials or want to keep me pleased if I’m someone important at your party?
Any business like way asking you to lay your credentials or details I think allow people to judge in the wrong way or more accurately don’t state why they are asking… (go ahead and ask people and they will often not know clearly enough) or ask you if “your hiding something” if they get the feeling you won’t give them details after asking them a question first.
Feels quite inhuman at times, though I do see that not all are do it consciously or understand the above situation… some is habit / taught that way… or not even that important to think about why at a party but does help to know why one has asked!!!
And finding out who you’re talking to really does help but maybe not in a business like manner above, unless you possibly ask them fist and explain why (gives them more motivation if you’re honest, show why you want to know someone else’s info /method / business). Consent and feeling is good, in increments on-the-fly I think sounds good in a word or method and then self-evaluation later. That and being more tolerant at the beginning knowing not everyone has read this page or a book and perhaps have read them and they are wrong for them / wrongly applied in that situation!.

###Negotiation and consent on-the-fly:
From my observation and experience communication can avoid these problems and by simply asking along the way (on-the-fly). Examples are

  • is it ok to talk more about this or would you prefer another topic?
  • do you find this topic boring?
  • how does that subject sit with you?
  • do you have a similar experience in this or is it just me?! (help to invite them to talk from their point of view).

On the other hand knowing the other in depth maybe saves a lot of things in the long run… again title doesn’t say what we’re talking about and why… but not knowing can drains energy a lot (especially those who try or have to know things before moving on). It can seem a little un-human extracting this as data rather than conversation, like some kind of extraction process rather than human interaction… I think in the modern day or generally when we’re really lacking in being listened to or finding ways to express ourselves - this kind of shortage can make us that much more desperate or seemingly desperate… and creates agendas that not everyone wants to participate in… or at least wants to know why you’ve been so effected and how you think it’s going to be solved involving them in this way of communication…

##OVERALL
The relaxed way with some mutual fun questions along the way seems to make sense… This way we might be less tempted to fall into closed-loops or circles where it quality or the relaxed state decreases… and think we can achieve ‘more’ by our own definitions rather than blending it with others…

So that’s it, you made it. Happy to make changes with recommendations especially with clear workings if it’s not so simple. Btw If it’s all wrong for you the then I might have to accept you’re a different personality type and it’s not for you (or visa versa!).


(Professor J. Moriarty) #8

hehe. Interesting. We could write whole books on this topic (maybe you just did!). I just scan read it, so i won’t bother replying deeply, only to say that i think i got the gist and mostly agree with your points.

Maybe it would be fun and more relaxing to chat about this in a googlehangout. I could probably easily spend hours chatting around the topic by voice, (which is something I can do in my ‘relaxing/free’ time, so it won’t feel like I’m ‘wasting’ work time on philosophy/less practical work)


#9

Tanks… Do you have an alternative to googhangabouts:grin: ? Something that works About a year ago I tried Jabber and a few other things… none of them really consistent… so I end up with no vid calling.

Also I just realised the name ‘notatroll’ name can be with different names… how does that work?


(Professor J. Moriarty) #10

mumble is very good, but I don’t think it does video. If lots of people are keen I might look into setting up a mumble server.

But for anything that we want random new people to turn up to, it has to be google hangouts, cos that’s the only thing that is easy for everyone to use (based on a lot of experience with doing community video chats). I don’t like Google either, but it’s very hard for any open source project to match it when it comes to ease of use/low techie threshold.

What do you mean? It just a joke cos I was banned from ZeroState for being a ‘troll’.


#11

yes that’s why i left it and not sure how to help there… maybe I would do it all the time…so maybe it’s a good thing for now :]
let me know if you ever find something… any teamspeak experience?
setting up a server and sharing is great idea… I like to think we can all set up umbrella for people to sit under and do nice work…


(Michael Hrenka) #12

So, I actually read your whole post, and I even think that I understood most of it. I found myself often agreeing, and sometimes disagreeing with your point of view. Reading your post felt like actual work, but it was interesting and there were some good points. I am too drained from reading your post and trying to understand to reply to what you’ve written in detail, so let me just write my overall impression.

My overall impression

Observations and paradoxes

It seems that you are quite an observant person, and also highly idealistic. This may cause you to expect a lot from others, even if you write that you shouldn’t really do that. Some of your messages sounded contradictory, like “You should do A”, but then a few paragraphs later “People should never do A”. I’m not sure what’s the reason for those apparent paradoxes.

Definiteness and fuzziness in language

In general, you seem to want as much clarity as possible, even if the high level of clarity and definiteness isn’t necessarily appropriate to what and how people think. This reminds me of my phases when I wanted to create or use artificial languages that allow for greater specificity of what was meant. Only later I realized that this is not how humans regularly think, and that using such an artificial language would be highly unnatural in most contexts. Let’s just say that my conclusion was that our languages are the way they are for solid, albeit very subtle, reasons. This of course often leads to frustration, because more definiteness would feel more useful and workable. Fuzziness is an inherent element of language and the type of communication we are currently capable of. That might change, if we actually become posthuman, but at the moment we are stuck with both not being absolutely clear in our minds and our communication. Nevertheless, being fuzzy is actually appropriate, because the human brain naturally works in an associative way, and not in a formally logical way.

Marketing and effective communication

You seemed to have issues with me using the word “marketing”. That’s not unexpected. I’m consciously using that rather provocative term, even if it may make some people want to throw up. That’s because I want to stress the necessity of doing a lot of the activities that could be collected under the term “marketing”. Marketing implies being conscious about the fact that human beings are emotional, and that this makes it necessary to consider their emotional reactions, if you want to achieve any definite goal with your communication with them. This ties in with what I mean with “effective communication”: It’s communication that serves a purpose (or more). If your way of communicating empirically serves that purpose, it’s effective (of functional). If your communication fails to achieve what you want, then it’s ineffective (or dysfunctional).

At this point, I’m not judging the intentions of the persons who want to communicate. I just want to find out whether they actually achieve what they want to achieve with their communication efforts. It would seem irrational not to try to improve your communication efforts, so that they become more functional and effective.

Text structure

Your post is very long. That’s not an issue in itself. In fact, it can be very good. Unfortunately, long, and relatively unstructured texts impose high attention costs on readers. These costs can be reduced by structuring your posts better. This can be achieved by using headings (by starting a line with “##”) and subheadings (by starting a line with “###” or “####”). I’ve done that in this reply to demonstrate that principle. This should make it easier to find out what a section is about, and to find, and refer to it with less effort later on.


(Michael Hrenka) #13

We are using Teamspeak for our virtual meetings in the Transhuman Party Germany. It usually works relatively well. But the party doesn’t have its own Teamspeak server. We are using the server of a supportive gaming clan.


#14
  • About text structure I think headings will be quite handy. Will clean it up a little soon.

  • Recommend adding a few examples to the guidelines (what new users on the right will see for first three posts) to help people / have some tips and examples… and so they could try it as they type… the hyphen creating a bullet point is also handy.

  • On my site I have a plugin that takes headers and creates a TOC (Table of Contents)… much like you see here in the centre Wikipedia… Good for long pages whilst reading and people can see what’s in store for them on the page… The writer need not manually create a table of contents / a table for each page.


#15

Yeah reading this again really makes more sense now… although (sorry) this bit quoted below still irks me… even though it may be more likely and even more often true than not

Just to hit the point home, someone unclear / not clear is definitely not the main reasoning I’d use for paying attention… or not. That’s quite a subtle but perhaps an interesting difference, perhaps more for be about trying regardless than perspective of ‘worth’ or other approximation.


(Michael Hrenka) #16

Ultimately, people need to decide somehow whom they grant their attention to. Every day millions of people write stuff on the web and want attention. It’s not easy to get heard by a lot of people. And it’s not easy to decide whom to listen to. Putting more deliberate effort into your writing will make it more appealing, and thus increase the chances that it’s read by more people. There are exceptions to this general rule, but they are few.

Attention economics are important even in a small forum like this one. Not every active user is going to read every post by every other member. It should be assumed that for most members the scarcity of time is a real limiting factor, so making your posts as readable as possible (which should reduce mental strain), while being as comprehensive as necessary and as concise as possible, go a long way.

In an ideal world, every person would listen to everyone else, regardless of the way something is written, but we don’t live in an ideal world. It’s even problematic to implicitly suggest that people should behave more as if we lived in an ideal world. The world is messy, and we all need to deal with that.

If you decide to ignore the writing style of other people, then that’s your personal decision. You shouldn’t expect others to do the same – at least not without some very good justification. I’m not implying that I think you actually do expect that from others, but regardless whether you do it or not, it’s my opinion that it’s better not to, unless you are willing to get into a really long argument.


#17

I agree with you completely. I think I was writing with a very select few circumstances in mind about the potential mistake by any readers who have pre-perceptions already fixed to a level that avoids reading things that might be readable but not on first ‘look’ of it.

For example, a writer gets consistently rejected / ignored by public readers / peers without much of a 2nd look because of the level of standard norm or legibility that may have become a norm and so effectively become some kind of class divide in being heard and a non-try by those more clever.
Probably hardly ever the case.