[maemo-community] My Perception of the Maemo/MeeGo Community

From: Craig Woodward woody at rochester.rr.com
Date: Wed Aug 17 01:00:32 EEST 2011
There's one small bit I want to clarify.  Something I think needs to be said publicly.  And yes, the rest we've taken off-line to private e-mail. :)

One of the big limitations of e-communication is the lack of emphasis, pitch and gesture, which can be critical in determining the mood and tone of the author.  To replace that when reading, the mind generally uses more subtle cues in the language.  Indeed, those cues are biased not only by personal expectations of the reader, but also by cultural norms.  This is partially why some books are huge hits in one country and bomb in others, even when they share a common language (US/UK, for example).

I think Randall pegged it exactly when saying:

>I do have a tendency to use very stark words when making a point (as I am doing in this reply), and that's solely to be very clear.  Some mistake that for hostile tone...

I think that's exactly what's happened here.  Unless it's prefaced with that intention (as I did when replying to him, and he did in the last reply to me) the default reading of blunt language is generally considered hostile.  At least it is on this side of the pond.  When prefaced correctly, that interpretation of tone can be offset, if not eliminated completely.

I'm not claiming fault, or saying such interpretation is right or wrong. Nor am I saying that it's universally accepted that blunt terms imply a rude tone.  I'm just trying to bring awareness that we need to be cautious when changing our writing style, even when it's for the sake of clarity, to make sure we preface or implicitly set the tone so it's not misinterpreted.  As a reader, we must also accept that differing cultures may have other ways of speaking, which do not properly translate to the tone or mood we may be accustomed to.  So, this does cut both ways.

Just something to keep in mind as you communicate on-line, especially in forums with a wide range of cultures and languages, and a distinct lack of mark-up capability.

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