Socially Undermining Reply (was: Lack of CF Sharing/Promoting)

Continuing the discussion from Lack of CF Sharing/Promoting:

Elliot wrote:

Maybe people don’t share/promote CF much b/c they don’t actually want their social circle to read it. for two reasons. 1) for privacy. i make them talk on public forum but they want private forum, so they just don’t tell anyone it exists. then it’s more like private help that most the ppl in their life don’t see, like getting a draft edited in private. or like if they are gonna have any student-type interactions or receive criticism, they don’t want their friends and colleagues to see it. 2) so they can impress ppl by saying sound bites from here. you wouldn’t want to share your source of clever remarks and reveal that you aren’t thinking of them yourself.

not sharing FI is partly a way to get (semi) private help without paying for privacy.

Alan replied:

I have pinned a tweet promoting CF

This is socially undermining because:

  • It doesn’t engage with my analysis, which implies that my analysis is not important or doesn’t merit engagement.
  • It implicitly denies there is any systemic problem by proceeding as if a single concrete action is an appropriate response.
  • It ignores what my goal with my post was (to try to understand something) and proceeds as if my goal was something else (to get a few more social media shares in the short term to tiny followings, almost like I was just asking for a favor and using up social capital for it, which would actually be kinda pathetic given how well it could be expected to work).
  • This post by me – replying to it – is now further distracting discussion away from my original point. (Well it would have but, after writing this, I used “reply as linked topic”.)

It also reminds me of Curiosity – Question-Ignoring Discussion Pattern A more generic version of the pattern is that people often respond at one meta level below what was just said.

The individual action of creating and pinning a tweet is fine. And posting about it here is fine. But going off topic in response to a post, with no framing or acknowledgment of what you’re doing, is misleading.

It’s a little like if someone asks for something, and you reply stating that you did X (where X is 10% of the thing, and you give no acknowledgment that you left anything out) that’s misleading/problematic. Here’s an example of this:

  • I ask my roommate to clean up his stuff in the shared kitchen.
  • Later, he says he cleaned the microwave. He doesn’t acknowledge that I also wanted the dishes, counters and floor cleaned, all of which he’d gotten messy. He presents it like he did what I asked and was being responsive and helpful, when actually he’s dragging his feet. He’s making me ask again, which is a hassle for me (which discourages me from asking for stuff) and which unfairly/misleadingly makes me seem pushier or more demanding.

And then a broader example, more parallel to the original issue, is if he keeps leaving the kitchen dirty and not cleaning up for days. Then I ask why he’s doing that or how we can change it. I bring up the pattern, the systemic issue. So then he goes and cleans up to try to avoid the bigger picture conversation. That’s an attempt to respond at a lower level of abstraction/meta than what was said – kinda like people often seem to try to avoid dealing with global issues by responding about local optimizations.

I will describe my thinking process for making that reply. I read the post and thought that it was possible you were right. It was kinda late at night for me and I didn’t want to have a discussion about the topic because I was tired. I posted the tweet and wrote a post about it in an attempt to show I was willing to promote CF. I should have explained what I was doing better.