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tom_g's avatar

Is the "____ is crafting a response" message a tool designed to teach patience?

Asked by tom_g (16635points) April 13th, 2012

First of all, I love the fact that people take their time and come up with thoughtful responses to the questions here. But sometimes I can’t imagine what’s going on. I see this message and it’s someone I respect and can’t wait to get the response, but it will go on forever.

If you are guilty of this, what keeps you in the answer box so long before pulling the trigger? Are you crafting an answer and doing research? Are you typing really slowly? Did you decide you need a nap?

I’m going to use this as an opportunity to practice my patience. I am curious though – how do you commonly approach answering questions?

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69 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Oh, usually I’ve been interrupted. I’ll be in the middle of a response, and a client shows up unexpectedly, or my kid needs homework help and then dinner needs making, and next thing I know it’s hours gone by before I can get back to the answer.

Other than that, even my long answers generally don’t take more than ten to fifteen minutes to compose. I probably write faster than almost everyone else around.

tom_g's avatar

@wundayatta – Your longish delays are certainly understandable (and appreciated) since they usually qualify as small books.

Judi's avatar

I remember a thread a few years ago where people were commenting about the brilliant response I must be crafting.
In reality, I had been distracted and didn’t get back to my computer for several hours. I was embarrassed that I didn’t have something more noteworthy to say.

picante's avatar

I’ve had occasions (one this week) when I’ve come into the answer box only to be distracted by something. That “something” took a long time to deal with, and I was embarrassed when I returned a half hour later to find two words in the answer box. I wondered if anyone was patiently awaiting the most brilliant response ever ;-) I cursed, blushed and ran.

thorninmud's avatar

I am an incredibly slow typist, but that’s just part of it. I also frequently start answers over from scratch—sometimes more than once—because it occurs to me that there’s a better way to approach it. There are quite a few comments that I’ve posted to Fluther that I wish I’d worded differently, or not at all.It pains me that they’re lurking out there as monuments to my ignorance. I try really hard not to create any more of those, so I tend to belabor my answers quite a bit.

wundayatta's avatar

See, @thorninmud, if you typed faster, you wouldn’t have to think about what you write, the way I do… or don’t. I just toss it out there and press answer and I almost never read it over again (hence the typos). I do that deliberately, though. I feel that if I revised, I would pull most of it back and not say it at all. It’s important to me that I speak from my emotions, even if it gets me in trouble. The nice thing about this place, is that I don’t actually have to go back to see if people have jumped on me. Even better, I am learning to accept peoples approbation with less anxiety, over time. It’s a practice.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’ve got other things going on in the house and I get distracted.

Happens all the time with me.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What initially comes out quickly lapses into stream-of-consciousness. It needs proofing to cut back on the verbal vomit. I also try to remember to go back and read the OP to make sure the answer makes an honest attempt to answer the real question. If new answers pop up before mine is posted, I read those to make sure mine isn’t duplication, unless applicable. Occasionally, I step away from it to clear my head. Then it’s one final proof before hitting the Answer button.

thorninmud's avatar

@wundayatta I’ve said it before, but I honestly marvel at the fluency of your answers. I have a much less easy relationship with words. On a deep level, I mistrust them. They rarely get at the truth of the matter, and far more often detract from it. When I use words publicly, I feel a little like I’m doing surgery with a hatchet. The very real possibility of misleading or otherwise harming is always there for me. I agonize over what effect my words may have had.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I think then edit, then think, then edit, then think, then edit, until I’m satisfied with what I’ve written. Maybe I’m crazy…

wundayatta's avatar

@thorninmud Over the years, I’ve tried to train myself to talk. One of the most important lessons I learned came from a story-telling class. The teacher told us to see the story as if it were a movie playing out on the screen and they to describe what we see on the screen, like a kind of play-by-play description.

When I do that (and when others do it, too) what tends to happen is that one part of your mind keeps the movie running, leaving your conscious mind free to do the description. It’s great because you no longer have to take responsibility for making anything happen. It just happens, as if it’s not you doing it.

I think it is that process that helps with the fluency. However, with answers here, I’m not necessarily telling stories. It’s more… (the dots indicate a pause while I think) ... abstract. So I don’t see pictures so much as see the words as a kind of picture. I feel like I’m watching my brain, as if watching one of those lottery games on TV. You’ve got the ping pong balls floating around in there, and every once in a while, one pops up, and then I report which one it is. In other words, there is this separation between the reporter me and the thinker/imagineer me.

Sometimes, though, there is this internal organization to what I write—a kind of beginnning somewhere and an ending elsewhere as if I knew at the beginning where I was going to end and how I was going to get there and I assure you it is not that at all. I use this process of writing to find out what I think. Since I don’t know in advance, I really have no clue where I’m going to end up. It’s almost always a surprise to me.

So how does that work? How can I end up in a satisfying place even if I have no idea where I’m going?

For one thing, (and I have 3 in mind, all of a sudden, as soon as I pose the question to myself, although I might not remember them all), I am not prejudiced about where I go. I don’t feel I have to go anywhere. So anywhere I go is all right, so long as it is a place.

Second, I have trained myself over the years to recognize a place when I get there. It’s really quite magical. I often tell instant stories at my dance group, and it just shocks me how I’ll be talking along and all of a sudden I’ll find myself in a beautiful ending that I had no plan of at all. The words are sharp and poignant and great images. I just have to talk along until those few words appear, and my only job is to recognize them and stop when they fly out of my mouth. I have to realize I don’t need to go further, even if I had more I wanted to say.

The third thing I do (and I am amazed I remember the third) is to summarize. At a certain point, typing along, I find I want to stop and so I have to wrap things up. With this intention in mind, I will think through what I’ve written (as I am still writing) and think about what it all amounts to. Then I’ll let that become my final paragraph. Sometimes it’s just a matter of repeating key points. Sometimes it is summarizing things and adding a final idea.

It’s a process that works for me, and I wonder if it would work for others (which is why I lay it down here). I think I have a kind of watchfulness as if I am editing and writing as I go along, but more, I think it is what I think of as a zen approach: a kind of non-judgmentalism of the words. It is an improvisational approach. It relies on getting out of my own way, and because I have years of training in improvisation in other types of creative endeavor, I think that helps me employ it in this context as well. That’s how it works, I think, and thank you very much for the kind feedback.

tom_g's avatar

Holy sh*t, @wundayatta – this is exactly what awes many of us. Could you please provide a table of contents in your next comment? Chapters? Thanks.

Mariah's avatar

Sometimes I’m tapping out an answer on my phone, and that’s slow going.

Aethelwine's avatar

My internet just went out for 20 minutes. There’s another reason. Wildblue doesn’t like thunderstorms

FutureMemory's avatar

I am constantly interrupted. Sometimes I’ll “craft a message” for hours that’s only 1 or 2 paragraphs long.

ucme's avatar

I pay little or no attention to it, I just like the pencil.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Things that happen whilst I’m crafting a response:

- The door needs answering.
– Phone’s ringing
– One of the cats used the facilities
– One or more of the dogs need to go outside (one of them taps my leg or begins circling my chair)
– I realize I didn’t use the restroom prior to sitting at my desk.
– An animal is about to puke…gotta get to ‘em quick!
– My son asks for a snack (even though I just fed him…as I usually come to the computer after I feed him a meal).
– I suddenly need to clean up a surprise mess
– Whoops! I forgot to change the laundry
– My son has a homework question…back to homeschooling I go
– Someone came home unexpectedly and needs my assistance or just wants to chat
– The mail gets delivered to the door and I notice an important package or bill has arrived so I take care of it right away.
– I deal with my ebay store (customer needs help/postage printing in process-etc).
– I get an important email or message that needs urgent attention
– I’ve typed a looooong response and either Fluther kicks me out, or a back arrow gets hit accidentally or some other bizarre techno-glich occurs
– Someone just discovered a plumbing emergency (I’m the family plumber)
– I know I have an article pertinent to a thread, but for the life of me can’t figure out where I have it (Facebook, an email folder, Word?? Where’d I put that thing? Where’d I read it?)

Just while typing this response I:
– Filled the dog water bowl
– Stopped my kitten from general naugthiness not once, but twice.
– Chatted with my son.
– Got a snack
– My son, out of the blue, decided he’d dust. ”Can you tell me where the tall duster is?….Moments later…Can you help me get this to reach the top of the furniture?

The list could go on infinitely.
This is why I tend to come in here, follow a Q and answer it later. ;)
I think it took me 20mins before I hit enter. It probably took me 3 mins to type ;)

tranquilsea's avatar

What ^^ @SpatzieLover ^^ said.

The only thing I can add is my head injured sister who asks me the same 8 questions 10 times a day.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Sometimes I’m in the middle of responding when the phone rings or someone knocks on the door or my kids are trying to maim each other…

lillycoyote's avatar

I guess I do this sometimes. Sometimes it’s because I actually am “crafting an answer” and I’m doing a lot of tweaking and editing trying to get it the way I want it and sometimes it’s, as most people have already mentioned, because I get distracted and forget I’m in the middle of commenting. Most of the time though, I compose my answers in textedit and then paste them into the comment box. There have been too many comments that I have put some effort into only do have them eaten and “disappeared” by the comment box because of… whatever, sometimes I’m not even sure what happens. Something on my computer flips out, maybe it’s me and my twitchy mouse, sends me off the page and my comment is gone. That is extremely frustrating.

Aethelwine's avatar

I can’t believe no one has started a response and left it hanging for several hours. That was my first thought when I noticed this question. You guys are no fun! :P

Bellatrix's avatar

I think given the number of typos I make I should spend hours crafting my responses. I rarely do though. When I see the “is crafting thing” and it is there for ages it makes me giggle sometimes imagining the person typing something, scratching it out, pondering, typing some more, changing it… going for a walk… coming back and rearranging their response again.

In truth they probably just went off and made a cup of tea and forgot about the amazing answer we are all now waiting with baited breath for.

gasman's avatar

Some time is spent copying and pasting URLs for links or formatting pasted excerpts.

Being a fast typist I can instantly turn thought-up sentences into text, but unfortunately my brain doesn’t think them up that quickly. I write in fits and starts, editing at the word, phrase, or sentence level, constantly tinkering with wording, recasting sentences & paragraphs. It’s more obsessive than compulsive, I suppose, with a high percentage of responses ultimately earning Perfecto-Fishes because I continue to tinker after the first posting. 15 minutes (or whatever it is) just doesn’t always suffice – how about 1 hour to edit an answer?

Anyhow, the irony is that better writers seem to express their thoughts effortlessly, in one quick take, while still achieving greater clarity than I could hope for. For me writing takes time.

augustlan's avatar

I do a lot of editing as I’m writing, and sometimes I’m looking for the right link.

A couple of years ago, @JohnPowell was crafting an answer for hours, and we were all speculating that he’d passed out on his keyboard. Turned out he’d gone out for the night, forgetting he’d left us hanging.

@SavoirFaire I see what you’re doing there. :p

Bellatrix's avatar

@SavoirFaire is such a perfectionist. He is writing an essay tonight for us. Funny man that he is.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Come on people! We need someone to click on Meta and see “20 people crafting a response…” lol.

tom_g's avatar

Nice work everyone.

[staring at all of the “is crafting a response” messages, tom_g sits burmese style on zafu, letting go…]

Keep_on_running's avatar

I’m more than willing to see this gag through until the internet apocalypse… or at least until tomorrow when I reboot my computer. j/s

Coloma's avatar

I don’t experience feeling impatient, I just wait or move on to another Q. while someone else is responding. As far as getting distracted or leaving an answer unfinished for minutes or hours, never happens.
When I am here it is because I can give my full attention to the moment.

bkcunningham's avatar

@FutureMemory must have gotten distracted by jesus made out of a dog’s ass. ROFLMA when I saw that.

Berserker's avatar

Fixing up spelling, looking up information, links or sources to provide. Sometimes I get interrupted, sometimes I have to go murder somebody, and need to leave in order to do so.

I must admit, I too, often ask myself…what the hell’s taking this person so long, man? But I imagine it’s probably some very normal and mundane reason. I doubt most of us are practicing Tiger Claw Kung Fu while surfing the net. I’m not entirely sure why that feature even exists; letting us know someone’s writing or checking out a thread. It does add that cool community feel though, feels kind of nice. It is annoying though, that my screen goes up and down like a horny couple when I’m trying to write something, and a buncha people are on and off crafting things. It’s happening right now, too! Damnit!

augustlan's avatar

SavoirFaire, you are dedicated, man.

Berserker's avatar

he’s doing it on purpose Seriously though, he’s been crafting something for like…two hours.

Berserker's avatar

Seriously you guys, what the hell?

This has been going on for like 12 hours. O_o

augustlan's avatar

@Symbeline I think SavoirFaire has been hanging there since the question was first asked!

Brian1946's avatar

Brian is crafting a response.

^ The background of this post is green- so I will eventually win the craftathon!

wundayatta's avatar

He’s left it there and is continuing to fluther in a separate tab. Just for a giggle.

Berserker's avatar

That is SO zombie style.

FutureMemory's avatar

It’s funny to me how fascinating you find this, Symb. :)

Plucky's avatar

It depends on the topic and how clear my head is. I edit my comments to an almost insane degree. I find it amazing that I can write so eloquently when it comes to poetry and deep inner feelings. Yet, when it comes to Q&A like Fluther, I often fumble over the words like a newborn calf taking its first steps (on ice).

Berserker's avatar

@FutureMemory It’s just so…weird. He’s been at it since the thread started…and he’s still there!

FutureMemory's avatar

@Symbeline You know it just means his browser has a 2nd tab open with this page, right? :P

Berserker's avatar

@FutureMemory Yeah, but that means he’s left his internet open for like, three days! an award should be created out of this thread

Plucky's avatar

@SavoirFaire Omg, you are still crafting a response.

Brian1946's avatar

Fluther should have a GCAR award, for Great Crafting A Response.

FutureMemory's avatar

OK @SavoirFaire, it was funny at first but this is going a little too far, someone could get hurt fer chris’sakes!

Berserker's avatar

Yeah…like me. My blood vessels are gonna pop the longer this keeps fascinating me.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Symbeline You’re like a deer caught in the headlights…

Mariah's avatar

I hope after a month he posts some one-liner or something.

SpatzieLover's avatar

♫ ♬ Nine Hundred Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall
♫ ♪ Nine Hundred Ninety-nine bottles of beer. ♫ ♬
Take one down, pass it around, Nine Hundred Ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall.

Berserker's avatar

He’s like the Energizer Bunny.

Plucky's avatar

Maybe he’s testing out how long it will take until the page boots him out or Fluther crashes on him…

augustlan's avatar

If I really wanted to be evil, I could kick him out. <insert evil laugh>

Bellatrix's avatar

I think he is going for the Guiness Book of Records record for the longest time on one page on a question and answer site.

Jude's avatar

So, in the meantime, who’s up for an orgy?

augustlan's avatar

I’m in.

Plucky's avatar

I’ll take notes.

Berserker's avatar

I’d be in the orgy, but I’m too fascinated by this. Lookit im go, lookit!

LOOK, DAMNIT. He just won’t stop.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I think SavoirFaire likes the attention…hehe

FutureMemory's avatar

Haha, wow, still crafting after 6–7 days…

SavoirFaire's avatar

“Is the ’ ____ is crafting a response’ message a tool designed to teach patience?”

Yes.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Oh my freakin’ gosh, you finished! That is the most well-earned “yes” I’ve ever seen. :p

You know, you could change your answer…

Berserker's avatar

oh man, now my life doesn’t have a purpose anymore

wundayatta's avatar

@Symbeline Fear not! I can give you a purpose!

Berserker's avatar

do you need me to wash your car? :D

wundayatta's avatar

As it happens….. ;-) Do you own short shorts? I’m just curious, you know. Random question. It’s not like I have any particular agenda item here.

Although I’m only ten points away from my DOM merit badge!

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