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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How do you read questions and details here on Fluther?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30549points) June 9th, 2010

We all have preconceptions, prejudices, likes, dislikes, etc., and we bring those with us when we meet people. Face to face interaction is easier, because we receive visual and verbal clues about the meaning of what someone is saying. Interaction through text such as here on the Internet, even here on Fluther, is trickier. All we have to go on are the words with a few added emotive changes in the font at times to tell us what the writer is getting at.

It seems very easy to misinterpret through the veil of our own experiences on web sites like Fluther. I believe it’s quite easy to miss the point of some questions. When approaching a serious one, I wonder if it’s worthwhile to stop and take a breath and then read it in order to be more thoughtful in responding.

How carefully do you consider the word choices that someone makes when they form questions and details on Fluther before you answer?

How carefully do you choose the wording of your questions and details?

I’m not sure if this is a general or meta question. Moderators, feel free to move it, if necessary.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

16 Answers

augustlan's avatar

I try to be very thorough, both in the reading and writing of questions and their details. While reading, I pay more attention to the details than the title, as they often don’t necessarily agree with each other. If the question seems offensive, I give the asker the benefit of the doubt and try to answer in a non-judgmental way. Until proven otherwise, I assume they are not trying to piss people off.

When writing details, I try to preemptively answer any questions the readers might have for me. I try to give as much information as possible, while also trying not to write a book.

I did move your question to Meta, by the way. :)

anartist's avatar

I am very interested in the wording. Precision of language facilitates communication.
and agree with @augustlan more needed info is in the description than the title. keywords occasionally reveal more about the intent than intended, too.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

If the basic question interests me, I move on to the details. If the details continue to interest me, I’ll write a response. Sometimes the details don’t line up with the question, so I pass. I just recently realized why I was getting so many questions I’m not interested in or qualified to answer; my profile was neither precise nor concise and I failed to use the “not interested” button.

MissA's avatar

I made the mistake of thinking I needed to answer every question I was asked, until recently. It’s good to have the option of saying, “No thanks.”

I read the question…if it piques my interest, I read the explanatory text. Then I decide whether to answer.

ETpro's avatar

Great question. My biggest mistake when first landing here was reading just the bold-faced question, not its details, then firing back an answer. After embarrassing myself several times by answering something completely inappropriate given the details provided, I learned to carefully read both and to spend more time considering, before answering. The “take a deep breath” suggestion is a good one.

I also find that participating in social media like Fluther is slowly making me a more thoughtful, careful writer. Each time I find my words triggering a response that surprises me and that I feel misses the mark of my intended meaning, I ask myself how I might have worded my answer to better avoid confusion. Of course, there are readers with biases so strong there is no way you could say something they disagree with and not touch off a firestorm of protest. But in many cases, a bit of time measuring your words can convey a meaning clear to most, whereas a rushed job will not.

I now find myself not just writing an answer, but rereading and editing it before I submit it. If it is a heated debate, I may even draft a response, not submit it, but go away and read a book for a bit, then come back and read what I have written dispassionately, reviewing what the person I am replying to had said, before I finally submit the answer. This means fewer answers per day, but a lot less acid reflux too. :-)

Pandora's avatar

I find even visual cues can be missed or misinterpreted. Even the tone of someones voice can be misread. If the writer is clear in describing what they mean than it really is the readers mood that will do the interpretation.
The only time I find it can be a problem is that often people may ask a question based on just wanting to look at a situation in an analytical way. Showing no bias in a question that is filled with controversy because they don’t want to sway the answers they recieve one way or the other. Not wanting to offend anyone but rather to go through the answers and maybe get a fresh perspective on the subject.
Sometimes I like to follow that kind of question with a post saying that I do not wish to offend anyone but I am trying to see if I might be overlooking something that may change my view or comfirm what I believe to be true. I’ll often do this if I’m confused by the nature of the subject.
Thanks for your question. It is true that questions can be misinterpreted but by the same token the same can apply with an inappropiate look, or tone of voice. At least writting can sometimes force you to look over your question and reread it before posting it. Where as most people can spill a question verbally and realize later they asked in a manner that was not clear.

partyparty's avatar

If the title of the question takes my interest then I will read the details.
I try to be thorough in my reading of the question, and thorough and sympathetic with my answers.
I answer a question in the same way I would wish to receive an answer to one of my own questions.

BoBo1946's avatar

@hawaii_jake very good question! When I first arrived here, did the same thing that @ETpro did in answering questions. Thusly, did not get much love (lurves) for my answers. Now, do my best to read the question throughly and answer the question and leave off my commentary. This would be for general questons…now, my thing is the social section. There i can express my BS, which i love to do!

CMaz's avatar

I give the answer. Then I read the question.

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChazMaz lmao…........it’s real shame some people don’t appreciate great dry humor!

cookieman's avatar

@ChazMaz: LOLFR. Very funny.

sadly, I’m sure some folks actually do that

zenele's avatar

I think Hawaii is a great place for a vacation. The missus and I spent our honeymoon there. I hope you have a great time and don’t forget to fluther once in a while.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@zenele : Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country, or some such nonsense.

zenele's avatar

;-) But I gave you a GQ!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@zenele : It’s hard to remember to fluther when their are dolphins dancing in the background and fresh lava flowing in a stream just outside the front door of my little grass shack.

zenele's avatar

This question about Hawaii has a very soothing and calming affect on me.

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