Gaslighting discussion (split from: Justin’s Miscellaneous Posts)

Looking for Social Meanness & Gaslighting - Part 1


I’m going to look for social meanness in my replies in order to try to build up an understanding of what I may have done wrong in the discussion. The goal is to figure out if I engaged in gaslighting and reach mutual understanding on that point. I suspect Part I may be longer cuz it’s setting up some discussion context but hopefully the rest won’t be as long on the Context part. If you’ve got a good command of what’s said in the discussion, you can try skimming the context and skip to the analysis. There is also a very short conclusion at the end.


So anonymous33 gave a big hint about where the problem is or where it started, including saying what was going on. I read this as saying that ignoring the point of what Elliot said was part of the social meanness.

So I think looking for the social meanness and seeing if I can see it for myself will be fruitful.

So Elliot, in post 7, said:

So Elliot criticized my post attempting to discuss DisplayLink as being unclear and lacking relevant information or useful links.

I replied with a big post that I’ll call J’s Info Dump, and this was where a dispute over the timing of the edits led to the whole gaslighting discussion. And so Elliot replied to J’s Info Dump in post 9:

Finally, I defended my info dump in post 10:



In J’s Info Dump, I thought I was resolving the issue of not having addressed “what DisplayLink is or why it matters”, which I apparently thought was central. In post 9, Elliot said I didn’t directly engage with what he said, and linked the Question-Ignoring Discussion Pattern article. We didn’t resolve that branch of the discussion because the gaslighting issue took over the topic.

So what’s going on here? Well, I think I focused heavily on the point “You have not explained what DisplayLink is or why it matters.” that Elliot raised in post 7. But in that post, he also complained about not comparing it to alternatives, about not emphasizing the background info I linked, and about the link being a crappy summary. So those are a few different complaints, and I responded with a wall of text that was initially unlabeled. And looking back at it now, with the benefit of hindsight, it is an info dump. So Elliot’s criticisms in his reply to the info dump - about length, not engaging with what he said, and (at least initially) not highlighting key points - were reasonable. However, I did not respond reasonably. In post 10, I used selective quoting (!) in a biased way in order to defend the appropriateness of my reply (despite quoting the rest of the relevant quotation at the top of the same post, which is bizarre). I think that’s worth special attention, because that’s the sort of thing I would normally call out and be opposed to as biased bad scholarship. Elliot wrote more than one sentence and more than one complaint, but I acted as if my citation of one sentence was sufficient justification for my entire reply. I also then proceeded to bring up my emotional state, which seems notable because I’d forgotten about this instance of doing so and the same issue came up later.

So, bringing this analysis home - I think my initial response, the info dump, was not a competent reply that was engaging effectively with the post that preceded it, and that Elliot’s complaints about it were reasonable. But even at that point I think things were okay-ish. I think the real problems started in my reply to that reply, where I was trying to defend my first reply as adequate. And bringing up my emotional state was kind of weird and is another bad indicator. So post 10 may be the first socially mean reply of mine to Elliot in the thread - where I’m contradicting him with an inadequate response and possibly blaming him for me feeling upset.

So what happened on my end? Well, I thought my info dump reply was great and put some effort into it. So I was really surprised when Elliot criticized it, which is why I think I felt the need to defend it. That seems pretty dumb, because it’s not like I spent a huge amount of time writing it, so I’m not sure why I would have been so attached to something that was quickly summarizing a bunch of info I found online, but I think that was part of what was going on.


Was there gaslighting in my reply defending my info dump (post 10)? I don’t know if I understand the topic of gaslighting well enough to answer. I don’t know that merely being like “nah my reply was totes adequate as this selective quote proves” quite rises to the level of gaslighting. I’m honestly not sure though, but my suspicion is that the gaslighting part comes later (assuming it occurs, which I still haven’t seen for myself).


Post 8 in this thread was an incompetent reply. Post 10 was a bad and socially mean reply. Apologies to @Elliot for post 10.