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the joy and beauty of using forums  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I often find myself turning to forums after attempting to have a conversation in person with somebody. It's a lot like the video I made of washing dishes:



That video came from having conversations with people. Or, more accurately, attempting to have a conversation. In one week I was told by five different people that dishwashers use less water than washing dishes by hand. Fact. And I was not allowed to respond. With at least two of those people a hand was literally put up to stop me from saying anything. The video represents what I was about to say using the english language. In fact, there is no real need for the video - just my narration is all that needed to be said.

The whole video is 1 minute and 43 seconds long. And the thing I needed to say could easily fit into less than a minute. But five times in one week I would not be allowed the one minute. The opinion of the other party was presented as "fact" and, therefore, no other position is allowed.



My chicken article came about the same way. People would ask me to praise the way they cared for chickens. Before I could even get a couple of minutes into my alternate philosophies, I would be asked to leave - because they asked for praise and praise is not what was coming.


I think interruption is the standard form of communication of people. Granted, conversation comes from where we say a bit and then the other party says a bit and we go back and forth as long as both parties enjoy it.

At the same time I have heard people refer to the way that "eastern oregon farmers" talk is really slow. I spent a lot of time growing up in eastern oregon and I thought the way the people there talked was normal and perfect.

I do find that when I talk to other people, I have to talk fast, because I am not given more time. And if I don't want to be interrupted, I have to fill spaces with "ummmmmm, um, um ..." or else the other party will sieze that gap to squeeze in their stuff - but I'm not done yet.

I don't like to go to parties or gatherings because you wander around and talk to people one-on-one. And the stuff that people want to talk about seems a lot like "I think red is a much darker shade of pink." Or the weather. Or stuff that just seems painfully boring. Or if they do bring up something that I think is an interesting thing, then most of the time I am not allowed to say my piece. Whichever way this rolls, the experience ends up feeling painfully draining.

But when I write to a forum, I can say my piece. And if my piece is rich, I can say the whole thing. Uninterrupted. And before I hit submit, I can go through what I wrote and check for anything I might want to polish a bit. But even more than that: I can have a beautiful conversation with a thousand people. Most of the threads on permies.com are viewed thousands of times. And it will last for decades. Rather than talking about the same thing over and over, I talk about it once and it lasts.

People think we spend too much time online. They worry that we will sit next to other people and talk to those very same people by typing on our phones. Well, if it is through a forum, then I think that might actually be far superior.


 
Julia Winter
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Very true.

Although, I think this is a celebration of a particular kind of forum, one that is lovingly tended and has a basic rule of "be nice."

I'm a fan of the writer Patrick Rothfuss, and after an interviewer thanked him for his time, he said no, thank you, because this interview can go out there and inform/entertain hundreds or thousands of my fans, whereas if I try to talk to them one at a time after a book signing, I'm there until 3am. (Of course, what he doesn't realize is that the online interviews and podcasts make us love him more and don't really do anything to shorten the lines at the events.) Still, it is one very real power of the internet, the ability to micro-broadcast or even macro-broadcast.
 
Lorenzo Costa
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well I think maybe we do stay to much time online, but sometimes, the truth is, in real world I don't necessarily get choose who sits close to me or who I speak to and so it happens that 90% of the people I have to speak to in one day are annoying, or interrupting, etc., instead when I write on a forum I get to interact mostly with people that maybe interested in what I write or if they aren't not seeing me in the face they don't feel forced to answer back, and maybe they just read two lines of what I write and turn away. So I get to have a long lasting copy of my thoughts online, and don't have to listen necessarily to annoying answers. And if I read something I don't like I don't have to answer too.

So yes we may stay to much online but if its for forums, and like this one, its ok. If I had a nice person close to me I wouldn't write to her/him on a forum I'd speak, a nice person being one that doesn't want to sit on my head, thats for sure, the problem is finding nice people... if I sat at a bus stop and found a fellow permie next to me I guess I'd be very happy and speak.
I'll make a tshirt, with written: I'm a permie if you are too, speak to me otherwise bug off
I guess if I saw a big guy in overalls I'd go and say hi.
Here you get to have a larger view and its easier to bump in someone nice.

but thinking of it, I guess it could be that I find someone interesting on a forum and annoying in true life, who knows I'll see when I meet a fellow permie in true life
 
John Saltveit
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I think you are all making good points. I am also greatly bothered by the frequency and force of interruption. The technology is very useful, as Julia and Lorenzo said as well, because you know that people are interested in that topic.

However, I think we are missing something when we no longer have phone or in person conversations. I think we become better people when we learn to speak well with others. There is a member of my family who will drone on in a monologue for an hour. I think I become a better person when I learn to help by saying, "Oh I just needed a 5 minute answer." I think it helps the other person too. I also think there is a value in seeing our part in a larger whole. One reason I listen to "A Prairie HOme Companion" is because I often think that the people who it is about are people I would never be friends with, but here I am enjoying their company. It feels like I am becoming a better citizen, able to connect with more people. I also like that about church. I would never be friends with the vast majority of these people, but here we have something in common. It's a challenge I need because I have a father in law who is not very easy to connect with. We all have bosses, co workers, friends' girlfriends, etc, who arent' easy to connect with. I think developing that strategy makes us better human beings.

So I think the forums are great and extremely helpful, but I don't want them to be my only social outlet. We have enough autism in the modern world already.
John S
PDX OR
 
Dale Hodgins
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When interrupted, I quickly ask, "Did you think I was done?"

Variations include.

Quiet.

Do you learn anything while you are taking?

What's that noise?

So you're no longer interested.

Stop.

I'm busy pontificating.


 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22493
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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There was a time in my past where I could wait out the interruptions, but .... if you look at the spoon theory thread, this might make more sense: I think in the past I had a huge number of spoons, so it was no big deal. But now I don't get as many spoons each day and my reserve is pretty slight, so I find I need to just walk away.

I think interruption is the standard form of communication of people.


I had another thought along these lines. I like talking to a large audience. A large audience tends to not interrupt. I can take my time and I will get all the opportunity in the world to say my piece.
 
Matthew McCoul
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Location: Southeast Michigan
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I'm pretty fond of "I'm still speaking" with some sarcastic sass.

They usually laugh, which is a moment of vulnerability I use to pounce, going straight back into what i was saying.
They never saw it coming.
 
Matu Collins
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For productive discussion, I also like the aspect of the forums where we can look back at previous posts and quote each other. I find it very frustrating when trying to have a conversation and I try to go back to something that someone said and they deny saying it.

Without the "be nice" part of permies I think I might just stay in my garden and leave the internet alone. The vitriol of the internet is too much for my sensitive self.

My husband is a Quaker. They sit in silence at their worship services on Sunday mornings for twenty, thirty minutes at a stretch. Sometimes the whole hour goes by in silence. The space between is culturally important to them, and it's become more so to me. I'm a Unitarian Universalist, and sometimes I'm a preacher, and even with those talkative folks I get thanks when I leave spaces of silence between ideas.

In conversation it seems that cultural differences vary by geographical area, class, nationality and personality. Some groups talk over each other constantly, some are (maddeningly, to me) slow. The Quakers are slow and value silence. I'm getting used to it. Sometimes I feel like my thought is going to float out the window before I get a chance to say it. Sometimes I'm right. By the time it's my turn to talk it's gone.

The overarching idea that if I'm talking and you start talking over me you must not be listening to me holds water. Sometimes people do go on and on and I stop listening even if I'm not interrupting. There's the manners part, and then there's the meaning behind the manners.

I love permies.
 
Dan Boone
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Matu Collins wrote:
The overarching idea that if I'm talking and you start talking over me you must not be listening to me holds water.


I have some friends who are college professors. They are really the only people in my life with whom I can have in-person conversations about ideas. But they are used to talking about ideas in lecture format. If I didn't interrupt sometimes, the conversation would get pretty one-sided. Likewise, when I'm pontificating I'm babbling a whole rush of ideas; if they didn't interrupt, they might not get a word in edgewise; and what they have to say, I want to hear.

Perhaps we all three of us need a dose of John Stewart's "you go, then I go" philosophy. But for us, a little bit of interrupting is vital; it's how we know the other person in the conversation is engaged with what we are saying and enthusiastic to respond and react.

I imagine like most things in life, it's a balance. No interrupting would suggest the conversationalists are bored with the convo; too much would indeed suggest that each of us is just waiting for our turn to talk and tuning out the others. Sometimes one of us gets the balance wrong; the one woman in the three of us is more sensitive about being talked over because of many years of bad experiences in sexist environments, and I've pushed her buttons there a time or two and had to apologize. But generally it works.
 
Adam Hoar
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Another take on interruption perhaps?
I had heard that interruption is a sign people are engaged in what you are saying, they want to add their own ideas becuase they are actively thinking about what you are saying. When people aren't really thinking about what you are saying then they wont have questions or thought to add to the conversation. If there is a group I could see waiting for questions till the end but if that group is actively taking notes on questions they have to ask then the questions will be forgotten. Also those questions wouldn't be very timely if the talk is longer and the questions had to do with an earlier part of the discussion.

 
allen lumley
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- Everyone is Right ! ( hows that for consensus building )

- Two thoughts to Add - 1) It is important to avoid ''Preaching to the Choir", eventually if you have given " The Talk " enough times you need to

do it again with an unfamiliar audience of 1-3 and allow them to ask questions !


2) - Everyone of near adult years is familiar with the Meme/ Joke of the Master Sargent's lecture on the nomenclature and effective range of the

1957 M1A1 Field can opener !


For the Good of the Craft ! Big AL
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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