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Re: Decorum needs to be raised.

John Summerfield wrote
> Dean S. Messing wrote:
> > Thomas Cameron wrote:
> > : On Thu, 2008-01-03 at 19:18 -0800, Leslie Satenstein wrote:
> > : > I have been in IT for 40 years, and in that time I learned a lesson or
> > : > two.
> > : 
> > : <snip most excellent observations and advice>
> > : 
> > : I don't actually buy into this, but it an interesting take on
> > : communications with really bright people:
> > : 
> > : http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/tact.html
> > : 
> > : Again, I don't think there is any excuse for not at least starting out
> > : being nice - I believe in the whole "do unto others as you'd have them
> > : do unto you" thing.  But it is an interesting point of view.
> > 
> > Thanks for the "tact filter" link!  I think the author his hit on a
> > little piece of wisdom here.
> > 
> > But he may have missed one type of person: the person who (for
> > whatever reason) has no "tact filter" at all.  Thus much of what he
> > says is offensive to normal people (and he has no sense that it is)
> > and much he hears from normal people (no matter how tactfully spoken)
> > is offensive to him.  I known a few people like this.
>  From my reading, that's the nerd.

>From my reading (I just checked again), the nerd has a filter, but
it's backward relative to "normal" people.  He says offensive things
(and has no sense that it's offensive) but he also has thick skin,
taking no offense at others offensive remarks.

The sort of person to which I referred is both offensive and thin
skinned.  You try to sensitively help such a person and he turns
around and calls you a stupid idiot---without any thoguht that he
might offend you!

> I was going to say, "Assume I'm a nerd." Then I decided, in email, it's 
> better to assume everyone's a nerd. You can't hear the inflexion in my 
> voice or see the twinkle in my eye as I say this.

Wisdom incarnate. :-)

> Even worse in international fora such as this, where we come from many 
> different cultures. I offended an American once by describing him as 
> penurious, but an Australian in the same financial position would most 
> certainly have agreed with me.

Well, at least you had the good sense to not call him "niggardly".  He
might have thought you bigoted against black people.  Is "penurious"
not a pejorative in Aussie?

> And all this monkey business in cricket has me completely flummoxed.
> Of course, sometimes people _are_ deliberately offensive but even then 
> it might be no more than an expression of frustration.

And sometimes (many times!) people are deliberately offended!
Professional offendees, I call them.

> And the use of "you" to mean "you the individual" and "the group of 
> people you represent," with no necessary clue as to which is meant does 
> not help.

Having no singular and plural forms for "you" is, indeed, a genuine
shortcoming of Standard English, though regional dialects have found
solutions: "y'all" in Texas, and "yoos guys" in Noo Yawk, for example.


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