How Big of a Problem is Miscommunication on the Internet?

One of the many disagreements between Mitchell and I involves the degree to which miscommunication is a problem….Actually, I’m not even 100% sure this is the case, but let me explain what I sense is an issue we disagree upon. For me, I think people, even very intelligent people, have trouble communicating with each other–either the person expressing their thoughts and feelings or the person receiving them. Think of the telephone game, which provides compelling evidence for this. In my view, I think the communication is even more difficult on the internet, largely because of the nature of the medium (which I won’t go into). Because of this difficulty, I have tried to be more circumspect in my dealings with people–going so far as assuming that when disagreement occurs, some breakdown in communication has likely occurred, rather than actual disagreement. My sense is that Mitchell disagrees with this–that he thinks I’m overstating this problem, and maybe making a big deal of this than it really is. Again, to be clear, I’m not saying my perception is accurate. Indeed, in keeping what I just wrote, it wouldn’t surprise me if my impression is wrong, and a result of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

In any event, I saw an exchange that made me think of this, and I wanted to post it here. Continue reading “How Big of a Problem is Miscommunication on the Internet?”

The Type of Rock Music I’m Looking For

I recently had a conversation with Mitchell wherein I told him how much I liked AC/DC and Van Halen. This is especially true when I’m in the mood for music that really rocks. Later Mitchell asked if I could explain specifics about both groups that appealed to me. I did a cursory listening of various rock groups last night, and while I think my thoughts are still fuzzy, I’m going to offer some thoughts (because I might never get to this if I wait until my thoughts are clearer). To start things off, answering the following question might be helpful: What does it mean for a group to really rock? Here’s a list of things that come to mind: Continue reading “The Type of Rock Music I’m Looking For”

Verdict: Internet is Not a Medium for Thoughtful, Civil Discourse

Civil Beat announced their closing down their comments section. What’s interesting is that they’ve tried different software/methods, but none have really lead to civil place for thoughtful discussion. This jibes with my experience on a variety of different comment sections and discussion boards online over a twenty year period. (The Atlantic also recently shut down their comments section.) To be clear, thoughtful, civil discourse is possible on the internet–I have definitely participated in this–but it is very rare, the exception to the rule. This is really disappointing and sad to me, because I expected that the internet would provide more opportunities for this type of discourse. My sense is that this building a place where this type of discourse is the norm is too costly, and those looking for this type of discourse have to go to places where the majority of conversation turns the site into a cesspool.

(One question. Both Civil Beat and The Atlantic are keeping FB discussions alive. Are discussions more thoughtful and civil there?)