Knee-jerk posting and high traffic topics

From: Olie L (
Date: Sun Jan 08 2006 - 07:42:04 MST

I have a theory...

I've noticed that often when a topic starts to gain a degree of popularity,
I start reacting in certain ways:

I want to be _the first_ to respond in certain ways. This is not good for
mailing lists!

Just say that Poster P has said "X ; Y ; if Y then Z ; therefore Z" .

If these are contentious, I will often want to say, for example: why X is
wrong and why Y doesn't imply Z. It's OK for me to want this.

The trick is, that I generally want to be the first to say "Not X".
Furthermore, if I leave it up to others, I expect that they won't say
everything they could about why X is wrong. So I want to jump in right away
to say my bit.

I previously thought that this was a personality flaw specific to me.
Looking back on some of the recent topics that generated lots of traffic,
I'd say it's possibly a little more common. People were obviously getting
aggravated by the topic continuing to get traffic, and wanted to say
"SHADDUP!" but at the same time still had a strong urge to add " But I just
gotta say this one thing".

Being fixated on having the last word is kinda selfish. I think that's
fairly plain, but that's not my point.

Now, it is my experience that others will generally fail to say why "not X"
in the best way possible. However, many topics don't need everyone shouting
out all the problems right away. What I've come to believe is:

*If the topic is important, it's worth adding an objection at a later date.
If the objection can't wait, it's probably not worth saying*

If one lets Poster Q's immediate, imperfect rebuttal that "Not X", and leave
responding for, say, a week, we are generally in a better position to judge
whether it's worth saying "Not X" in a better way, or whether the only thing
that needs to be said is that "Not Y --> Z".

I've seen people apologise for responding to posts months afterwards. How
does this match our shared objective of high quality discussion? Surely, if
something is relevant now, it will be equally relevant later. I would have
thought the only exception would be if the topic is specific to the
circumstances of the moment.

-- Olie

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:55 MDT