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Ambiguous use of second-person pronouns

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monzac
1252059.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:02 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
monzac wrote:
During and after face to face conversations I do sometimes check in for a recap of what's been said.


Do you really? What do you do - go up to a group of people and say "Excuse me, could you give me a summary of everything that's been said since I last spoke to you"? Unless someone's been sitting there taking notes, that sounds like a bit of a tall order.


It may be remiss of me, but I don't always go through each thread and catch up on what's been posted since the last time I visited. What I do is a little like drifting into a conversation and asking to be brought roughly up to scratch with what is currently being discussed.

I don't mean to go all Godwin on you, but one time when I returned from the bar at the pub and heard the end of a sentence that went something like '... and she said Hitler had done a lot of good things', I just had to ask the people at the table to fill me in on what had been discussed.

 
GuyBarry
1252115.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:21 am Reply with quote

monzac wrote:

It may be remiss of me, but I don't always go through each thread and catch up on what's been posted since the last time I visited.


The trouble is that if you don't, you run the risk of repeating something that's been said previously in the thread, which some people find annoying (and yes, I admit I'm one of them). I can think of a couple of recent occasions where I've started a thread, the discussion has continued in various directions for a while, and then someone has pointed out to me the very thing that I started the thread with. I suppose I shouldn't get annoyed, but it makes me feel as though the conversation is going round in circles.

Quote:
I don't mean to go all Godwin on you, but one time when I returned from the bar at the pub and heard the end of a sentence that went something like '... and she said Hitler had done a lot of good things', I just had to ask the people at the table to fill me in on what had been discussed.


I think I might have preferred to be left in ignorance!

EDIT: Incidentally, when I first made this post I changed the Subject line to "Structure of forum threads". It's still there in the edit window as I re-edit the post, but it doesn't seem to appear anywhere on the forum itself. Is there any way of making the changed Subject line visible?

 
Alfred E Neuman
1252118.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:38 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
I suppose I shouldn't get annoyed, but it makes me feel as though the conversation is going round in circles.


Nothing wrong with getting annoyed - everyone does. The part I battle with is keeping that to myself and not expressing it, especially if it’s not going to make any difference.

 
monzac
1252135.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:29 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry, I've been posting more in the past couple of weeks than I have for the past couple of years. Life is just not long enough to go back through everything that has been said if I feel that I have something to add to a discussion.

I try to make sure that I'm not repeating something that's already been covered, and I'll do a search if I'm intending to add factual info that can be found that way. Often I'm just offering my point of view on the topic, so there's less chance that the same view has been expressed, although that can happen.

I'm sure I've repeated myself on one or two occasions too, usually with some years between sharing the info, so I don't feel too bad about that.

 
PDR
1252137.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:34 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
monzac wrote:

It may be remiss of me, but I don't always go through each thread and catch up on what's been posted since the last time I visited.


The trouble is that if you don't, you run the risk of repeating something that's been said previously in the thread, which some people find annoying (and yes, I admit I'm one of them).


Some of the threads here are dozens (or hundreds) of pages long and even then will only be the most recent dozens/hundreds of pages as the aerlier ones were pruned to liberate space. Are you really saying that you have read every thread you've posted in from the beginning? I put it to you that such a thing would be impractcable and an unreasonable expectation.

PDR

 
PDR
1252139.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:37 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:

EDIT: Incidentally, when I first made this post I changed the Subject line to "Structure of forum threads". It's still there in the edit window as I re-edit the post, but it doesn't seem to appear anywhere on the forum itself. Is there any way of making the changed Subject line visible?


The practical answer is "probably not" because the person who created forum software configuration is no longer here, and the current team only have the ability to do a limited amount of essential maintenance to fix bugs & intrusions. This is a feature we know about and live with.

But why would you want to? If you change the thread totle then it would make posts up to the point of divergence look completely off-topic.

PDR

 
'yorz
1252144.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:58 am Reply with quote

That, and people who want to go back to that thread wouldn't be able to find it as it would have a different name.
I'm glad it can't be done. If there's a really pressing reason, the Mods may (may!) be prepared to do the changing.

 
'yorz
1252145.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:09 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
The trouble is that if you don't [read the whole thread], you run the risk of repeating something that's been said previously in the thread, which some people find annoying (and yes, I admit I'm one of them).


If you are annoyed by repeats, then quoting the post right above your own must have irritated the hell out of you. You're a masochist AICMFP. ;-P

 
PDR
1252148.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:18 am Reply with quote

Some forums using similar software manage to have thread sub-titles which can be edited by the poster. Others have the function which responds to title change requests by changing the toitle to something like "Defrosting Watermellons (was Serbocroatian noun classes)", both of which can be useful, but as explained previously I'm not sure it would be possible here.

And I also agree with 'yorz point about it making threads more difficult to find later.

PDR

 
Alfred E Neuman
1252151.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:25 am Reply with quote

monzac wrote:
I'm sure I've repeated myself on one or two occasions too, usually with some years between sharing the info, so I don't feel too bad about that.


Just ask Strawberry, she’ll tell you 😀

 
'yorz
1252177.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:41 am Reply with quote

*snap*!

 
GuyBarry
1252191.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:23 am Reply with quote

monzac wrote:
GuyBarry, I've been posting more in the past couple of weeks than I have for the past couple of years. Life is just not long enough to go back through everything that has been said if I feel that I have something to add to a discussion.


Well, I wouldn't expect anyone to go back through a couple of years' posts. But if you're taking part in the forum from day to day, it seems reasonable to try to catch up each time with what's been posted since last time.

I do so because I don't want to miss any relevant points that have been made in the discussions I'm following. I wouldn't necessarily do it in every thread, purely for reasons of time; but if I'm trying to keep track of a particular discussion on the forum (e.g. the "Brexit" discussion), I think it's important to be aware of what everyone else has said, otherwise my contributions may be inappropriate.

And I think that's one of the inherent problems with a "flat" structure. Some people have a tendency to look at the last post in the thread, or the last few posts, and just comment on those without regard to what's gone before. There might have been quite a complex argument unfolding previously, which the next poster is unaware of. It means that posts can end up getting taken out of context, and misinterpreted. (It happens with "threaded" structures as well, but less often in my experience.)

 
GuyBarry
1252196.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:26 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
Some forums using similar software manage to have thread sub-titles which can be edited by the poster.


Yes, and that's what I assumed would happen here. (I've just put "Changing the subject" in the Subject line, but I doubt whether anyone will see it.)

Quote:
And I also agree with 'yorz point about it making threads more difficult to find later.


Well not really, because it doesn't change the actual thread title; it just changes the sub-title of the posts in that particular sub-thread. I wouldn't want to be able to change the main thread title retrospectively.

 
PDR
1252204.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:54 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:

Well not really, because it doesn't change the actual thread title; it just changes the sub-title of the posts in that particular sub-thread. I wouldn't want to be able to change the main thread title retrospectively.


The thing is that it usually doesn't create a sub-thread. That functionality came in USENET because it was tructured with a message format that included precursor message IDs in the header so that newgroup veiwers like Outlook Express could group, thread & sub-thread messages in specific ways.

This is an internet forum which essentially used BBS constructs rather than USENET constructs, so provision for that functionality doesn't exist in the message header stucture. So you'd end up with the same linear time-based message list, but some would have different sub-titles and some wouldn't. Whether that was helpful would depend partly on how it was implemented, but mainly on what proportion of the contributors could be arsed to use the sub-title thing properly and consistently. And as a minimum you'd have to bin the Quick Reply box to ensure that all posts were contextually linked to an existing post in the thread.

Even if we had the ability do it (which we may not, for reasons I mentioned above) I personally doubt it would get sufficient take-up to gain the critical mass of usage required to be of any value. YMMV.

PDR

 
GuyBarry
1252236.  Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:51 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:

This is an internet forum which essentially used BBS constructs rather than USENET constructs


Exactly. Hence the problem. Most Web forums these days use BBS constructs.

I appreciate that full-fledged "tree" structures can cause all sorts of undesirable problems, but imposing a "flat" structure on everyone isn't the answer in my view. If you had a generally "flat" structure, but allowed individual posters to create a new branch when the topic diverged (or allowed moderators to create one), I think that would solve many of the difficulties that I've been referring to. It's important to allow groups of posters to go off on tangents without interrupting the main flow of the thread, and a "flat" structure simply doesn't allow that.

 

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