Responses to Posts
I'm also interested in that business of why some posts are
You think that we are free on the net to speak our minds (I know that's a euphemism) without fear of real life retaliation. I beg to differ. For anyone with a finger file, a fair amount of whois information, or an edu address, it is not difficult to locate that person's work or home address. From there it is only a short step away to a nasty letter on attorney's stationary in the mailbox, a long distance phone call to the sysadmin, a call to that person's boss, not to mention law suits, breaking legs, and other more severe forms of retribution. Of course we are all too civilized for that sort of thing, but no one is invulnerable.
The main sanction a group like this has for enforcing its norms is the conventry sanction, so getting ignored too much starts to feel like being punished for doing something wrong. Excluded. Outside.
No, I'm not asking for a bunch of "me too" messages. Just pointing up a difference between typical list conventions and typical f2f conventions for "polite" discussion. And suggesting that this difference may have psychodynamic (netdynamic) import.
I can also own (up to) "bid for power" in my funk about being ignored.
Silence in groups is hard to take. Brings up anxieties. (Feels like death.) Individual silence doesn't matter. Unless someone notices, and feels the group is threatened by it. ("Why aren't you participating? Are you trying to kill us? Put us to sleep?") (The fight/flight group popping up.)
After I sent the note about the Medline search yesterday I realized through the evening that nobody was writing to the list, on anything. So with a self-referential pang I respond to Fred on the basis of him also referring to me, and with a sense of relief that, relatively speaking, he's gone easy on me.
Personally, I notice that I sometimes (like this time) feel it's appropriate to directly address the person to whose post I'm responding. My response is for all to read (not private); it just feels more personal, or more polite. And sometimes it feels more right to just address the group as a whole.
Are people whose messages are responded to by others less likely to unsubscribe than those who get no response? (I sometimes feel like withdrawing when I get no response. Does anybody else?)
The general feeling when I post any nobody answers is, "What I said was either really stupid, or so far off topic that I think I should just go away now and hide under the bed".
I think some of the posts we get here are so astonshingly good that members are rendered speechless.
And I think it's mostly mind-fucking we do here. (Contact requires such an effort, doesn't it? And without another's gaze it feels so alone.) So we each rant on. Try to make contact. Get response. Or get ignored. And then fade away again. Persistent contact is difficult enough in vivo. Here . . .
Ahhhhhhhh....... someone who understands...... but I'm struggling! I'm gonna pull through! I know I can, I know I can, I know I....
There is a remark Bion made that is important and we all know this, although it is no doubt verifiable...if your contributions are appreciated by others you will continue to make them...it is simple morale.
I had a response -- not so much a flame as a tedious and tendentious argument
However, on the list, because I must type and because of the structure, I always "rehearse" -- that is say to myself what I will say to others before I say it to them -- a process which tests my communication on myself. For example, I might write something that when tested on me, evokes a feeling of comraderie with the group. I then post. That message, however, may not evoke the same emotion in a reader. A reader writes back and calls me an idiot. In a face to face conversation, not being particularly thin skinned, I would write it off and move on considering the whole thing simply a glitch in the social dance we do. However, on the list, the failure of my words to carry the meaning I intended (meaning being judged by the reaction of others), relects as well a failure of the rehearsal process I went through before posting. The hurt, maybe lasts longer, and the urge to retaliate may be stronger, not only because I have failed to evoke the response I hoped for, but because it tells me that my preparatory processes are ineffective.
I am rather inclined to view rehearsal as the cognitive process
by which I simulate solutions to problematic situations. When the solution
I finally choose results in unexpected and dissappointing responses and the
problem fails to resolve, I lose confidence in my own intelligence. This
loss is difficult for me to address, however, blaming you for misunderstanding
or turning the situation advesarial works fairly well as a replacement.
With very little behavioral reinforcement via reply messages, it's not easy to sustain a behavior such as devoting time and thought to posting to an email list.
Internal questions I've wrestled with:
"Does anyone really give a shit what I have to say?"
"Do I understand this message thread well enough to comment?"
"How can I say this so it doesn't sound combative?"
"Is anyone really reading these words I'm sweating
unlike, F2F interaction, the email world brings very little reward for the amount of time and effort we may put into make coherent posts to a to a public list.
social status and reward are allocated differently here. Lots of one page posts containing a concise single point make one known and respected. Longer performances may be appreciated, but there is no applause here, and I like others often tend to read them, digest, and say nothing. In the F2F world there would at least be some smiles or frowns--recognition that what was said had been heard--and usually the listener would respond. Here there is often nothing. I suspect that frustration with this state of affairs sometimes causes people to boil over, demand that they and their concerns be recognized. One proven way of doing that is to flame.
Jill (not one of the in group) posted a terribly intereresting post about F2F meetings, and got only one comment, from another outsider: me. Her fine, on-topic, interesting post went utterly with out comment. I wonder why? My commentary on that post went unnoticed, as did her reply, declining more information. My impression is that of a snub.
The National Institute of Snubbery released figures today that email snubbing is on the rise. The director states "the more folks that come, the more get snubbed!" Emailers are urged to respond to every message.
The only conscious principles of selection I think I use are, first, 'don't just drop out of an on-going conversation,' and second, 'try to reply to people who speak to me.'
Messages often evoke a response. I post them particularly for that purpose. Many times the response I get to something I post is not the one I expected. When I am tired and hungry, I will sometimes take the responder to task for "not understanding." On a more practical level, however, I do better to examine the nature of what I posted to see what I might do differently to elicit responses more pleasing to me.
My attention span is not very long these days. I have a tendency to scan the long ones but actually read the shorter ones.
It has seemed so clear to me that much of what goes on here has to do with unacknowledged emotional responses. This can easily be tracked by increases/decreases in number and intensity and subject matter of subsequent posts. Early on I wrote a small essay about this, which was posted and almost totally ignored.
You mention once again that your posts get ignored. Although you are not alone, I wonder if you do not more than others, blame the audience for its response. I cannot understand this. The messages you post are real. They can be saved and reread, if need be. If you are not getting the responses you desire, the answer is probably right in front of you. Emotion and typing come to most of us fairly easily. Communication can be hard work.
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