Thursday, July 5, 2007

assumptions

Do any of you remember the world right before the World Wide Web burst into prominence? People had modem capability and set up little local communities called BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems). You could dial a local number and hang-out with others doing whatever the topic of the BBS was.

I was a wide-eyed innocent when I joined the Final Frontier BBS almost 14 years ago. It was a fun little BBS where you could download shareware/freeware games (does anybody remember Joust?), probably porn (I was innocent and not looking remember?), and play some in house games.

Final Frontier had a Food Fight you could get involved in. You started with X number of pieces of food and lobbed them at whoever and if you were successful and got more points, you could "buy" more food. So I created a username for myself and started lobbing. What I didn't do was look around the bbs and get to know any of the participants first. I jumped into a private party and acted like a lunatic (to them). I just thought I was being silly. They all turned on me, made fun of my username, told me I was a loser, and pretty much humiliated the innocence right out of a newbie.

Had I been stronger as a person then, I could have turned and told them all to fuck off and not be so stuck up about who they were pasting with cream pies. As it was, I tucked my tail between my legs and left BBSing. I had been humiliated for 13 years in public school and I was god-damned determined not to ever willingly subject myself to that fuckall again.

It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I re-entered the web and joined yahoo groups. I was very careful about posting questions or responses, to the point that I would lurk for at least a month or more and usually read a lot in the archives before my first post.

I was pointed to my very first blog by one of my yahoo groups, having never been to one or even heard of them before. After much reading and much enjoyment and much following around of the links, I created a name for myself and I set up my own blog. I really didn't have a clear picture at the time of what I wanted to do with my blog. I wasn't even really sure what the possibilties were.

Blogging has been my first big adventure where I really put myself out there since that painful experience on Final Frontier. Really exposed myself to potential ridicule and scorn.

The one thing that I learned from Final Frontier, was that text can be very misleading. People read into it what they want to, not necessarily what the other person meant. Where I was typing silly, they were reading bitchy.

Just today, I misunderstood an e-mail from a dear friend. What this person said had been fairly clear, but I jumped to the wrong conclusion and assumed the worst.

Text is a very tricky medium. There are smilies to indicate humor.
:-) There are smilies to indicate anger >:-| Cripes there are whole web pages dedicated to decoding the various smilies. People will capitalize entire words for emphasis to try and prove their point. Remember how fardling annoying dani was always capitalizing the TRUTH that she was trying to get across?

Sometimes people will use italics or sometimes bold to show when they are emphasizing a word in a sentence.

But with all of these clues, it is still not always possible to know entirely what a person is thinking.

A single comment can be taken to mean many different things depending on who is reading it and what they are assuming another person means.

After the Final Frontier Fiasco, I decided to try and always give people the benefit of the doubt. And if I misunderstood what was said, I was very quick to set things straight and recover from whatever I thought the person had said and respond to what they had actually meant. I also try and work hard at making sure I am being clear with what I am trying to communicate.

For example if this comes across as sanctimonious and patronizing, then I have not been clear in what I wrote. For that I apologize.

What I am is monumentally unthrilled with negative assumptions.

12 comments:

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Fiery,

Text is very tricky. Where I used to work as a trainer I had to be very careful wording my emails because people would

a)not read it properly
b)misread and assume
c) read into it the best outcome for themselves

This friend of yours will get over it, she probably already has.

OneEar said...

Your post is sanctimonious and patronizing, but in a cute way.

janice said...

I come here to learn or lurk as you say.

I will comment on non-religious things because I don't believe I'll change anyone and I enjoy my beliefs and have no desire to change myself. Am I put up with or ignored while I'm here? I dunno.

Cameras (I love them), school systems (I've paid tuition), children (raised one), I'll comment on these types of issues and I've never been pounced on or harassed on this site.

Thank you.

janice said...

As far as raising a child, he's a nurse and productive member of society. Never gave me a bit of trouble, even today at 22.

(Just had to spread my momma peacock feathers a bit!)

Fiery Ewok said...

One Ear- Welcome to my blog! And also thank you for the chuckle. :)

Your profile is very intimidating with a twist of "Did you grow up in western Montana?" lol

The reason MT occurred is that I was raised in Montana and the states bordering it always told Montana jokes. My favorite was

Montana....
Where the men are men
the women are men
and the sheep are scared.

Only saw sheep at the fair once per year, so I was never offended by the jokes. People always seemed disappointed by that.

I also enjoyed this quote in your profile
Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is continually growing, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow, interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life that he gives. There are many levels to this one. Seems even relevant to the discussion at hand. (no, not my cuteness or the sheep thing...)
Anyway- welcome again. I look forward to you posting again. :)

Fiery Ewok said...

Janice- :-)

Lurkers are always welcome. As for learning- if I think on that too much I may feel compelled to try and up my standards of posting. Have something worth learning. :D

My favorite time with the learners is when they come out and post and I'm always thrilled when they do.

For if they've been lurking they know who is here and how the game is being played. If they've stuck around they can't hate us too much.

Lurkiing Learners are friends I haven't met yet. :)

As for being "put up with" or "ignored", please set your mind at rest. You are enjoyed as a friend with a different perspective.

You have never come to my blog and started shouting fire and bristone or criticized the choices I've made. You are welcome here friend Janet, please comment when the mood suits!

janice said...

Thank you for the kind words FE, however, PLEASE don't refer to me as Janet. I hate that name.

Speaking of school scars! That name takes me back to my school days when I would ignore teachers, nuns and fellow students when I was called Jan or Janet.

Sorry, I know it was a slip of the keys.

Fiery Ewok said...

YIKES was it ever a slip of the keys. My mom has a friend Janet that I've known since I was a little kid and Mom talks about her a lot. I have no idea why that name slipped into my reply.

Seriously- it was completely unintentional, and I'm sorry it affected what was supposed to be something sweet.

I know what it is to be called by a name you despise. If I could edit that error out I would, but if I delete the comment, then you are left talking to an empty space above you. Not amusing.

:-) Please accept my apologies for getting your name wrong.

Fiery Ewok said...

Sean,

I imagine it is even more important in business communications that people know exactly what you mean.

And my friend was most understanding and was horrified that the message had been misinterpreted and felt bad for writing badly. It was me. I just read it wrong.

SILly Fiery! :-D

janice said...

Again, thank you EF.

I do feel welcome and have never been attacked for my comments. I understand people have different beliefs and can't be or want to change. And that's great.

I don't want to come here and PUSH my beliefs on anyone. I just want to get a better understanding and maybe share the way I feel so others may get a better understanding as well.

BigTex71 said...

That is something that really attracted me to your blog, FE. No one (usually) tries to force an opinion down someone's throat here. We are all decent folk and give proper respect. That really helps make a blog fun to come back to again and again.

Fiery Ewok said...

Well thank you BigTex!!!!! What you describe is one of the things I treasure about my blog. There are a lot of great people commenting here and I love it.

Do you remember the time I called a foul on you for name calling dani. *shaking head* when I think back on that, makes me smile.

Of course, if the fundy then goes on to EARN said name calling- gloves off! ;-)

I think I have a core group of really great readers and I love seeing them comment on my blog. I know there is also a core of lurkers/learners out there who don't comment and that's ok! You guys are welcome too!

*waves hello*

Like I was telling a friend the other day, my blog feels like a group that gets together at a coffee house and I'm in the odd posiiton of being discussion leader.

YEAH THIS BLOG! and more importantly

YEAH READERS AND COMMENTERS!!!!