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SmashTheState's avatar

Are people who don't read other answers egocentric?

Asked by SmashTheState (9636 points ) April 19th, 2012

Many, many times on Fluther, I have witnessed people who give answers which have already either been given by someone else or, worse yet, given, discussed, and dismissed. Sometimes, it will be clear from reading other answers that the question has changed direction as a result of answers already given – and then in the middle of this new discussion, someone pops in and posts an answer relating only to the original question.

My personal experience is that these drive-by answers are usually the least useful ones, consisting either of chatty “me too” small talk or completely uninformed Dunning-Kruger commentary by someone whose sole qualification is possessing an opinion. I’ve noticed they rarely bother to revisit the question to see whether anyone might have objected to their answer, which leads me to believe their only interest is in making everyone around them aware of their personal opinions.

It seems to me that this obsessive need for people to stick their spoon in the pot and give it a stir regardless of their knowledge of the recipe or whether they even know what’s being cooked is a symptom of the celebration of anti-intellectualism, where not only is expertise not appreciated, but it’s actually resented and held in suspicion.

Is anyone else as annoyed by this phenomenon as I am?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

38 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

I do find it a little annoying, but I’ve discovered in my time here that there are many less unsavory reasons than you describe for why some people do this. Some actually prefer not to be influenced by previous answers, and so don’t read the other posts until after they’ve posted their own. I’m not sure I get that, but, hey, that’s their call. Others may not have time to read through a long thread, and just want to put in their two cents while they have a second. But there are no doubt cases where the poster just really doesn’t give a shit what the others have to say. I prefer to give folks the benefit of a doubt.

I asked a question about this not long ago, if you want to see some of the responses.

SmashTheState's avatar

@thorninmud At least one person who responded your question essentially answered, “Cuz TLDR, tee hee.” I suspect that this represents the most accurate motivation for people who fling two cents at a question as they speed by in a pink convertible with a chihuahua in their lap.

Math is hard!

Kayak8's avatar

I find it incredibly annoying to the extent that it may well be the final straw in my decision to give up on Fluther altogether. This really bothers me on questions of a medical nature that have been answered by individuals with real medical knowledge and then an un/ill-informed person does a drive-by and offers an opinion that is based on absolutely nothing. This is of particular concern when the person asking the question may not be able to discern the accurate information from the absolute garbage.

Kayak8's avatar

It is possible to write an uninfluenced response and then to go read the other posts before hitting the answer button.

Judi's avatar

I don’t mind.

thorninmud's avatar

I would just add that, as a reeeeaaaaly slooooow composer myself, I’ve often found that between the time I start an answer and the time I hit send, several others have posted. It happens at times that they’ve said pretty much the same thing as I did.

In dealing with stuff like this, I figure that I have a choice: I can get pissed off and assume the worst motives, or I can shrug and suppose that I don’t always know why people do what they do. I’ve too often made the mistake of honking at someone being an ass in traffic, only to see a few seconds later that they had a very good reason for doing what they did. I’d rather not get riled unnecessarily.

rooeytoo's avatar

I’m on the fence about this. I think it depends on whether you consider fluther an arena for debates or a place to give your opinion. I personally am put off when I give an opinion and am confronted with what appears to me to be the alumni of the high school debating team who want to argue just because. When I give an opinion it is often based simply on my life experience and I don’t have a wikipedia link to substantiate it. It is just the way I see things. And I assume people view it as such. An old friend had a crude way of seeing it, he always said opinions are like rectums, everyone (well almost everyone) has one.

But I think that diverges from your actual question, yes I to think there are people posting on this site who stop in once a week or so and go through and write one line responses sometimes including a link, then disappear into cyberspace to not be heard from until the next pass through. I don’t find that particularly helpful. When I ask a question, I am usually looking for experience based opinions. If I want wiki’s input on a subject, I can google it all by myself.

Jeruba's avatar

In a question that is essentially a survey, I don’t think it matters. You can answer “What’s your favorite muffin?” without reading all the other answers. To me those are pretty much pointless exercises all the way.

When a question actually asks for information or meaningful discussion, yes, it irritates me quite a lot because I consider it rude and discourteous: “You should listen to me, but I don’t have to listen to you.” For some reason it bugs me even more if one user writes a clear, thoughtful reply, and then five posts down someone else offers essentially the same opinion, in a graceless, typo-ridden one-liner devoid of supporting data, and the short kneejerk response garners the GA’s.

bkcunningham's avatar

Egocentric? I dunno. Maybe just stupid or in a hurry and want to get their two cents in before they go do something else. What annoys me more than drive-by posters who don’t read through the discussion are posters who don’t read the original post and important linked material. It amazes me how an entire discussion gets rolling full steam ahead and the people expressing heated opinions haven’t read the links.

Kayak8's avatar

@Jeruba If I could have given you 10 great answers I would have! I completely agree with your assessment!

jrpowell's avatar

JERUBA IS TALKING ABOUT ME!!!

tinyfaery's avatar

We are all egocentric. In this thread the most egocentric attitude is assuming someone knows anything about the actions and sentiments of another user.

It’s the Internet

Coloma's avatar

I parrot @thorninmud almost exactly, minus the slow composistion. haha
I just don’t assume the worst about every little thing. It is what it is, I don’t sweat the small stuff.

wundayatta's avatar

I have not read anyone else’s answers. Deliberately.

I think that when there are more than fifteen answers, skipping a few is forgivable. I try to read everything so I know what has been said (present question excepted), but sometimes it is too much.

Of course it is annoying when people say the same thing I just said. Especially if my answer is one or two answers up. It’s kind of funny. There’s one person here who does that regularly. Pretty funny.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Sure. I do this. I’m egocentric. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

zigmund's avatar

OMG! JERUBA IS TALKING ABOUT ME!

blueiiznh's avatar

Holy crap, if I had time to read all the answers, I would have a life. umm I mean I wouldn’t have a life. Ummmm nevermind.

If I don’t read the question and answer does that make me uber egocentric?

funkdaddy's avatar

It used to bother me more than it should, so I try to read everything I can before jumping in with the hope that others do as well. I don’t see there’s much else you can do. I also try to express “me too” with GAs instead of my own quip.

I’ve settled on the conclusion that Fluther isn’t a very good forum for debate but is great to get a variety of opinions or to track down facts that may not be easy to look up. At least this is true for me, others may find debating here very satisfying. That’s not the impression I get though.

It’s hard to build the trust necessary to change someone’s mind via short quips and occasional interaction. People tend to assume the worst about your intentions.

It’s really easy to take a poll though. Who likes ice cream?

augustlan's avatar

The reasons people do it vary, I’m sure. Very occasionally, I do it myself if I’m in a hurry. When I do, I always note that I haven’t read all the answers, and am sorry if I’m repeating something.

cookieman's avatar

Note: I haven’t bothered to read anything above.

Pizza.

Bellatrix's avatar

They may just be busy rather than egocentric. I usually try to at least scan the answers and in most cases I do read through them. There are times when I am busy and just provide a response to the question. On occasions, the question is posed in such a way that I don’t believe reading the previous answers is a requirement.

Personally I don’t let such things bother me. I can understand the frustration of answering a question and then someone coming along later and giving the same response and attracting many more good answers, that is just the nature of Fluther though. Life is much too short to let such things worry me though.

ucme's avatar

I’ve done this, & no, it’s not egocentric, I just know my answer is better than everyone elses, no brainer really.
“Ooh look, he didn’t put a tilde or donote ironic sarcasm in any way shape or form, the arrogant bastard!”

CWOTUS's avatar

Maybe. So what?

I’ll be sure to change my ways, knowing that it annoys you so. You should definitely be on watch for that.

wundayatta's avatar

I have to agree with @cprevite. Especially mushroom pizza.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@johnpowell and @zigmund NO SHE’S NOT!! SHE’S TALKING ABOUT ME!!

Well, I sometimes do that because A) some of the the stuff is REALLY long and I don’t want to read it all and B) Sometimes I can only be here for a few minutes and don’t really have time to read 247 posts.

Pineapple pizza, guys.

Judi's avatar

If I had to read ALL of @wundayatta ‘s answers completely before I answered I would never post anything! ~

Dutchess_III's avatar

And @SmashTheState‘s too! I’d be late for work every Friday, which is the only time I really have to spend here…Friday mornings.

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi Believe me. I understand this! I don’t read long answers, either, usually. I might skim them, but jeez. Give me a break! If you can’t distill it into one paragraph, why should I read it?

What amazes me is that some people do seem to read them. I’m grateful, of course, but really, I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t. Please tell me you read this one. It’s really short!

Judi's avatar

@wUndatatta, read. :-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I read it @wundayatta.
I too have a tendancy to want to write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and And now you’re going to tell me you didn’t even read all of that when I read yours! How rude!

SmashTheState's avatar

How nice. The Fun Brigade has arrived in their pink convertibles with their spray tans and teeny weeny dogs to fling their two cents at we miserable, joyless Morlocks. We are blessed by their ineffable, Wildean wit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I didn’t read that.

Judi's avatar

@SmashTheState; My dog is a big ol Weinhermer, and I’ve never had a spray tan. I drive a 4X4 and my wit is worth at least a dollar.
I’m sorry you’re joyless. I would cast a happy spell on you but your Morlock powers trump my pixie dust every time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Speaking of hallucinogenics ^^^ ....you ought to try some of Judi’s pixie dust sometime!

Hey! I have a German Shepherd and NO tan! I don’t even got good fingernails or a convertible. :(

Keep_on_running's avatar

We are all here for different reasons. One persons idea of an appropriate answer is obviously not the same as someone elses.

rooeytoo's avatar

I thought @SmashTheState was making a joke and it was a good one at that! I laughed and gave him lurve.

Paradox25's avatar

I’ll admit that occasionally I’m guilty of this, usually when I’m in a hurry, not out of spite, and I would hardly consider myself to be apethetic about most topics. I’ve noticed however that many people do this, regardless of website, including even the regulars on here. Many of my own past questions were not answered according to what I’ve written. Even when I’ve debated very strong subject matter it was very obvious that the links and info I’d given to back up my case were not even looked at, ironically by some of the same people who have accused me of doing the same.

I think the author needs to realize something here, most people are laymen, regular people who work for a living, and who have a very limited knowledge about many different subjects which would take many years of college to even basically comprehend. This is why I usually will ask questions in general when I want only knowledgable people about a specific topic to respond, or people who’ll at least take the thread and other people’s responses more seriously. This can be difficult when there are over a hundred responses to a thread as well.

Mariah's avatar

Maybe. Or maybe just busy.

Excuse me if this has already been said. I haven’t read the above responses. ;)

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