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fireside's avatar

Specifically as it relates to the written word, how would you define "rudeness"?

Asked by fireside (12273 points ) April 5th, 2009

In the business world, email is increasingly becoming the primary means of communication. That shift seems to offer some inherent benefits, such as clearly documented conversations, but it also seems to introduce an element of uncertainty in regards to the writer’s intentions or inflections about a given subject.

In an online setting, such as a forum, this also seems to pose some unique challenges.

Some people seem to be offended by others questioning their written thoughts, others seem to be offended by someone even writing a thought that is in contradiction to their own opinion.

Some people think it is rude to write in ALL CAPS since it has come to symbolize shouting in a written form. Other people seem to think it is rude to write in small fonts because it is off-putting.

What do you find to be rude?
Is rudeness something that the writer has to work to mitigate, or is it something that the reader needs to examine before assign fault?

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21 Answers

Linda_Owl's avatar

Rudeness ( as in writing ) is writing an opinion, or statement, or answer, & putting it in words that give no indication that anyone else’s ideas or opinions matter. Words resonate in the mind & in the psyche, words are powerful & should be used with discretion.

Judi's avatar

As in speaking, rudeness is putting it out there without regard for the thoughts or feelings of the other.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I don’t like “Umm…” Maybe it’s a residual bad feeling for it that I picked up whilst on Fametracker back in the day. People would preface a sarcastic, snarky, “I know more than you and you’re WRONG!” post to another forum member with “Umm…”

Harp's avatar

I generally apply a stricter standard to my own writing than I tend to expect from others. I try to hold myself to the “face-to-face” test: would I say this to the person if he/she were right here in front of me? I try to apply the same test to my behavior while driving; if the other driver were someone I knew, would I still blow the horn or give that gesture?

At the same time, I’ve got a really thick skin when I’m dealing with people on line. I give people the benefit of a doubt, knowing that being online does odd things to interpersonal relations. Little format protocols, like the CAPS thing, mean very little to me.

augustlan's avatar

I tend to always give the benefit of the doubt to the writer. Unless it’s an out-and-out attack on someone, I try to read it in as neutral a ‘voice’ as possible. I assume that the writer has good intentions until proven otherwise.

Judi's avatar

@Harp; you’re a nice person

essieness's avatar

I have to agree with @Harp on this issue. I don’t like to hide behind the internet and use it as an excuse to be rude, and I don’t think other people should either. If it’s not something I would say to someone’s face, I’m not going to say it. I also try to spend some time tweaking my questions and answers to make sure the wording is just right. I don’t like for anyone to be confused about my stance, nor do I want to come across as pious or haughty. As far as the formatting, the only thing that really annoys me is txtspeak (or whatever it’s called) and when people alternate between cApiTaLS aNd LoWeRcAsE… blech. But even then, it doesn’t usually bother me enough to bitch about it.

I will say that our group here on Fluther is (generally) of an intellectual level that I admire or strive to match. So, I try to use my “big girl” words and push myself to think and “speak” like an intellectual. The key word is try ;)

Zen's avatar

What @augustlan said. A valuable lesson for us all.

majamin's avatar

It’s all about context. Consider these three groups of people: friends, family, your boss(es).

Example

A particular statement (in writing!) such as, “you have no idea what I’m going through” can be interpreted in different ways by the different groups: in the case of friends, the statement is not rude… it just means that the situation for you is upsetting and you feel helpless (emotion is ok). With family it may or may not be rude, depending on your relationship and what is agreed upon to be welcome interaction. Your boss will probably read this as condescending, because, you are telling her/him what they know to be true and/or feel (emotion-less, matter-of-fact, emotion is not ok). Of course, in this example, most of us could remember a time where this wasn’t the case.

We’ve all written an e-mail with somebody where the meaning or intention has been ambiguous, if not “rude”. Either way, a relationship outside of the restricted world of text-only communication can define the world inside of it. The statements that we write will certainly be interpreted in different ways depending on who our audience is (as in the example).

When we speak to somebody in person, there are many channels of interpretation that we do not have access to when we write. In most cases, it’s as if this kind of communication is easier then text-only! (specifically because, ambiguity is rampant in emails, etc.).

3or4monsters's avatar

Condescension, be it blatant like a bull in a china shop, or subtle, like a person telling another what emotions they should/should not be feeling/doing or what their personal agendas are. I’m sure I’m guilty of it sometimes, too.

YARNLADY's avatar

A direct attack, like saying “You’re out of your mind” or even an indirect “anyone who believes this is crazy” are rude. Many people are offended by direct answers which are not rude, simply because they have a low self-esteem, so we can’t always be responsible for their reaction, but it pays to be as polite as possible.

Some people apparently expect you to start every opinion comment with “In my opinion…” but I think that can be understood in most cases.

wundayatta's avatar

Any ad hominem attack is rude, in my book. Sometimes such things don’t appear to be rude, because you can pass them off as sarcasm, or as a tone that came through that you didn’t mean to be there.

The example @3or4monsters gave, condescension, is interesting for me. I’ve been accused of it on more than one occasion, and I hadn’t intended it at all.

Still, when these things are directed at me, I don’t mind so much. I feel like I can handle myself in a sniping battle. Sometimes, I don’t mind being attacked at all, because I’ve found some fairly effective tactics to respond with.

A snappy little fight can be fun. It’s particularly easy to make someone who is insulting you look stupid. You need only point out that they aren’t talking about issues any more.

So, I’m prepared to be rude, or to deal with rudeness. Sometimes my tolerance of what I think is idiocy is pretty low. I generally try to make fun of such questions, rather than to directly attack them. It is somewhat rude to make fun of things, but, I’m sorry, I can’t resist all the time.

kevinhardy's avatar

when people put you down all the time no matter what you do or try to do.

by always i mean always putting you down after telling them to stop

cak's avatar

I can’t stand when people capitalize during a sentence, to emphasis a word. Especially on Fluther. Example: When I BUY my clothes, I ONLY buy them at CERTAIN places. The sentence clearly isn’t the idea; however, there are a few that insist on emphasizing like that, versus using the markups.

We have markups for a reason!

I’m off my soapbox now! :)

Dutchess12's avatar

I think it is rude to send a flag, “Deleted without being read” to someone who has written you a personal e’mail just because…you’re miffed. I’m not talking about a stalker. I’m talking about…just being a brat. It’s like you’re trying to talk to someone and they do that “Talk to the hand!” thang and walk out on you.

cak's avatar

@Dutchess12 – Holy cow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do that! How rude!

Dutchess12's avatar

@cak Yeah…it is awful, especially when it’s on a personal level and you’re trying to mend fences….you send personal letters and pics of your kids and stuff and get back, “Deleted without being read,” over and over. And you know that THEY know you’re getting that message. Makes you pretty much give up after a while.

fireside's avatar

@Dutchess12 – That’s pretty unusual for a personal relationship, but I have heard of that in the business world due to legal constraints.

Sounds like a tough situation, I hope you find a way to move past it!

Dutchess12's avatar

@fireside Well, but…the thing is, they still CAN and ARE read. You can even open attachments. You just have to use the message preview thing. So you can get the entire message, even copy and paste it somewhere, AND the attachments via the preview, which you can copy and paste somewhere, but as long as you haven’t actually double clicked on the message and opened it, you can do all that and then delete the message and send out that auto response. So I don’t think it would be admissible in a legal sense. With one exception, I only got those when I sent a very low priority message to a beleaguered boss or coworker, who saw it a month later after it was a non issue, and they were just desperately cleaning out their inbox.
O, sadly, I moved passed it….

fireside's avatar

@Dutchess12 – yeah, I’ve had a few fences that I haven’t been able to mend because of the concrete wall the other person put up. That’s okay, it just means it is time to move on.

proXXi's avatar

If Hannibal Lechter wants to kill you over it, it’s rudeness.

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