i wish puberty took you to a customize your character screen
do you realize how many people would be dragons
i wish puberty took you to a customize your character screen
do you realize how many people would be dragons
FACEBOOK: Hi, I’m Facebook.
ME: Nice to meet you, I’m Ryan.
FACEBOOK: What’s your last name? Where do you live? When were you born? What’s your phone number? Is that work or mobile? Can I have your work number too?
ME: Facebook, I just met you.
FACEBOOK: This is what friendship is to me.
ME: Hey, you know what’d be lots of fun? If we had a picnic!
FACEBOOK: Hey, you know what’d be lots of fun? If you told me the names of every single person you know!
FACEBOOK: Hey Ryan, do you know this person?
ME: That’s Sarah. I haven’t spoken to her for years.
FACEBOOK: Okay, here’s a shot of her bedroom and some pictures of her children as they sleep.
FACEBOOK: Hey Ryan, do you know this person?
ME: I… maybe? I may have seen him at a party.
FACEBOOK: He likes The Big Bang Theory. You wanna be friends, right?
FACEBOOK: I’ll ask you to be friends with him every time I see you again for the next six months.
FACEBOOK: Your friends went to the beach. Do you have any comments on these pictures of your friends at the beach?
FACEBOOK: I’m showing their swimsuit pictures to everyone. Do you like them? You can tell me if you like them. It’s fine if you like them.
ME: They’re… okay, I guess?
FACEBOOK: Okay, I just told them and everyone they know that you like their swimsuit pictures.
MY FRIEND STEVE: Hey, Facebook just said we’re not friends anymore? What the hell, Ryan?
FACEBOOK: Hah hah hah
NSA: Hey Facebook, what can you tell us about Ryan?
FACEBOOK: Age, interests, relationships, activities, where he was last night, what he looked like while he was there, the last five places he’s lived - what do you want?
NSA: That’ll be great, thanks. Do we need a warrant?
FACEBOOK: Nah, just make a fake account and friend someone who is friends with Ryan. That’s good enough for me!
NSA: Hah hah hah
FACEBOOK: Hey, did you know your aunt is racist?
ME: I… no?
FACEBOOK: Here’s something they wrote about “the foreigners”.
ME: Why would you think I’d want to see this?
FACEBOOK: Do you like what you see? You can tell me if you like it. It’s fine if you like it.
FACEBOOK: Hey, this corporation wants to engage with you.
ME: What? No.
FACEBOOK: They paid me money so you’re going to listen to them whether you want to or not.
CORPORATION: Hi, are you getting married? Do you want to buy diamonds? You mentioned diamonds earlier so you should buy our diamonds.
ME: I was talking about the James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever.
CORPORATION: We can sell you that too.
ME: Wait, how did you know I was talking about that in the first place?
FACEBOOK: Hah hah hah
ME: Facebook, I don’t want to be friends anymore. Forget everything I ever told you about myself.
ME: Facebook, did you delete everything?
FACEBOOK: I did. Sorry to see you go.
ME: …Facebook, if I said I wanted to be friends again, what would you say?
FACEBOOK: Here’s all your old shit again! I never deleted anything!
FACEBOOK: Hah hah hah
Last night my little sister (5th grade) was making an e-mail account
She saw gender and went to click female when she noticed the “other” choice
She looked at me confused and I started to explain that some people don’t think they fit in with strictly male or female
"Oh! You mean like transgender and stuff like that. I was freaked out for a second- I thought they meant robots."
Yet another example the kids are more open-minded than adults
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) culture facilitates abuse in part because NVC culture has very little regard for consent. (I said a little bit about this in my other post on ways NVC hurts people.) They call it nonviolent, but it is often a coercive and emotional violent kind of interaction.
NVC has very different boundaries than are typical in mainstream interactions. Things that would normally be considered boundary violations are an expected and routine part of NVC dialoging.
That can be a good thing, in some contexts. There are settings where it can be very important to have different emotional boundaries than the default. To have intense engagement with people’s emotions. To hear out their emotions and state yours and try to refrain from judgement and just hear each other, and then talk together about what would meet your mutual needs.
In a NVC interaction, you have to regard your needs and the other person’s needs as equally important, no matter what they are. You have to regard their feelings and emotional reactions as equally valid and worth hearing as yours, no matter what they are. That is a good thing in some contexts, but it’s dangerous and deeply destructive in others.
That kind of interaction can be a good thing. I understand the value. But here’s the problem:
One way NVC can be abusive is that it supports coerced emotional intimacy, and coerced consideration of someone’s feelings even when their expressed feelings are abusive. This isn’t actually a good thing even when someone’s feelings are not problematic in and of themselves. Coerced emotional intimacy is a violation in and of itself, and it’s a violation that leaves people very vulnerable to greater violations.
I recently challenged an NVC advocate to answer this question:Consider this situation:An abuser has an emotional need for respect. He experiences it as deeply hurtful when his partner has conversations with other men. When she talks to other men anyway, he feels betrayed. He says “When you talk to other men, I feel hurt because I need mutual respect.”Using NVC principles, how do you say that what he is doing is wrong?This was their answer:"You’ve described him as "an abuser". Abusing people is wrong because a person with abusive behaviour doesn’t or can’t hold with equal care the needs of others.Is he doing something wrong? Or is he being honest that he feels hurt when his partners talks to other men? His partner can become his ex-partner if she doesn’t agree to what he’s asking for.”
That, in a nutshell, is the problem with NVC philosophy. This abusive partner’s honest expression of his feelings is actually part of how he is abusing his partner. NVC has no way of recognizing the ways in which expression of genuinely felt emotions can be abusive. It also has no recognized way for someone to legitimately say “no, this is not a conversation I want to engage in” or “no, I don’t consider that feeling something I need to respond to or take into consideration.”
Part of what it would take for NVC to stop being an abusive culture it to recognize that NVC-style dialogue and emotional intimacy require consent every single time people interact that way. Like sexual intercourse, this kind of emotional intercourse requires consent, every single time. Having a close relationship is not consent to NVC. Having a conflict is not consent. Anger is not consent. Having found NVC helpful in the past is not consent, either. Consent means that both parties agree to have this kind of interaction *in this specific instance*.
NVC can’t be the only kind of interaction allowed, even between people who are very close to one another. And it’s not ok to coerce people into it.
And yet, NVC culture is not careful about consent at all. NVC tactics are routinely used on people whether or not they agree to have that kind of interaction. (Some NVC advocates may say otherwise, particularly in response to criticism. But actions speak louder than words, and NVC proponents do not act in practice as though consent is important. They are case in point for When Your Right to Say No is Entirely Hypothetical) This is wrong. Emotional intimacy requires consent.
NVC practitioners express deeply felt emotions and needs to non-consenting others. They do this with the implied expectation that the other person experience their expressed feelings as very very important. They also expect that person to respond by expressing their feelings and needs in the same pattern. They also expect that person to refrain from judging the NVC proponent’s expressed feelings and needs. It is not ok to force this pattern on someone. Doing so is an act of emotional violence.
It’s not ok to force someone to be emotionally intimate with you. It is not ok to dump your deep feelings on someone with the expectation that they reciprocate. Other people get to decide what they want to share with you.
An example: White NVC proponents sometimes express feelings about their racist attitudes towards people of color, to people of color who have not consented to listening to this. They do so with the expectation that the person of color will listen non-judgmentally, appreciate the honesty, and share their intimate feelings about their experiences with racism as a person of color. This is a horrible thing to do to someone. It is an act of racist emotional violence.
NVC people also use empathy to violate boundaries. They imagine what someone must be feeling, name that feeling, and express empathy with it. Then they either insert a loaded pause in the conversation, or ask you to confirm or deny the feeling and discuss your actual reactions in detail. These are not really questions. They are demands. They do not take “I don’t want to discuss that” as an ok answer. They keep pushing, and imply that you lack emotional insight and are uninterested in honest communication if you don’t want to share intimate information about your feelings. That is coerced intimacy, and it’s not ok.
For instance, an NVC advocate with power over someone might say in response to a conflict with that person: I can see that this interaction is very difficult for you. I’m sensing a lot of anger. I’m saddened that your experiences with authority figures have been so negative. (Expectant pause). I think you are experiencing a lot of anger right now, is that right?
That is not ok. When you have power over someone, it is abusive to pressure them to discuss their intimate feelings rather than the thing they object to in your behavior towards them. Emotional intimacy requires consent; it is not ok to force it on someone as a way of deflecting conflict. And when you have a lot of power over someone and they aren’t in a position to assert a boundary unilaterally, you have a much greater obligation to be careful about consent.
NVC advocates may tell you that they are just trying to have an honest conversation, with the implication that if you want ordinary emotional boundaries, you are being dishonest and refusing to communicate. They are not right about this.
You do not have to be emotionally intimate with someone to listen to them, or to have an honest conversation. It is ok to have boundaries. It is ok to have boundaries that the person you’re talking with doesn’t want you to have. Not all interactions have to or should involve the level of intimacy that NVC demands. It is never ok for anyone to coerce you into emotional intimacy. Using NVC-style dialogue tactics on someone who does not consent is an act of emotional violence.
Commander Vimes didn’t like the phrase ‘The innocent have nothing to fear’, believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like ‘The innocent have nothing to fear’.
— Terry Pratchett (via beornwulf)
Anonymous said: I don't like you
I don’t usually post anon hate, but this was so tepid that it’s sort of charming. It’s anon dislike.
I don’t like you either, anon! That’s okay! Not everyone has to like everyone else! We can live our separate lives!
Anonymous said: What aspects of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis do you disagree with? Because there is totally experimental evidence for some weaker versions of the hypothesis. (Namely, the grammatical structure of one's language does seem to have some effect on how one perceives the world. I can send you references if you're interested.)
Yes, I’ve seen those, but AFAIK strong Sapir-Whorf has been pretty conclusively shown not to be true. Definitely not strongly enough to suggest that the etymology of a word has influence on our thinking.
The thing is, weak Sapir-Whorf (“language influences thought”) is almost certainly true but the strong Sapir-Whorf (“thought is constrained by language”) is demonstrably false.
Languages may lack the capability to express certain things. It has been witnessed that if need arises, languages change and develop that capability. This can happen almost literally overnight. For example, not all languages have numerals, and many that have them have gained them relatively recently. Usually they are either borrowed from an influencing language or piggybacked on some existing structure in the language. The first implementation may be rather clumsy, but if the word class is used long enough, it drifts towards efficiency. The native speakers may have hard time understanding numerals first, but if they need them in their daily life (for example to use money) they’ll learn very quickly.
I’ve had a lot of good experiences on the net, and I really think it’s a new culture of its own. ☯93NOV
“Guess Culture people are passive-aggressive and set unfair standards.”
One of the core theses of this blog is that, most of the time, when people are being assholes, it is because they are incentivized to be assholes, and that most of the time people hurt you, it is because they don’t realize it. Well, post high school anyways.
This really clashes with the whole “anger at oppressors is inherently legitimate” thing we have around here, which has sparked a fight or two. But the quote isn’t even about “evil people oppress me because they are trying to maximize evil.” This is about the sort of reaction that ends up with “evil because evil”. We observe bad outcomes, we think that it must be because they are bad people. This is fundamental attribution bias. It can be weakened by someone explaining carefully why they act as they do, and that is part of the purpose of this essay.
I live in guess culture. Except to the extent that I am with close friends or people who are intentionally rejecting default culture on this subject, I am stuck here. I make an effort to operate within the rules of the system. I can’t change everything, I expect the amount of my life that is spent in guess-culture-heavy places (because it is most certainly a spectrum) to decline because of both selection and sorting faster than I expect it to change as a result of modification of general viewpoints, and sometimes I am going to need to operate in guess culture anyways.
So, I am one of those “Guest Culture People”, at least for a significant fraction of the time. I think that Ask v Guess is about trying to find the highest utility curve given two costs.*
Ask culture minimizes missed opportunities.
- Not getting to cuddle.
- Getting someone the wrong gift.
- Simplifying and speeding up communication.
Guess culture minimizes basilisks.#
- "I will never wear this hand-knit sweater that you made me Grammy."
- The messenger gets shot. This isn’t a cultural thing, this is a “does your friend coming to talk to you make you feel bad even though you benefit from it long-term?” thing. Very instinctive emotional connections that see a cause and an immediate effect, and miss the longer term benefits, means that nobody wants to personally deliver bad news, and for good reasons.
- Empathy means that if I think you are sad, I will be sad. You telling me that your day has been good means that I am not sad.
- Information about my thoughts may be hazardous to my social status, especially my lizard-social-status calculator. What if I am wrong?
Also, ask culture misses out on a lot of fun. Figuring out the perfect gift for someone can be joyful experience that celebrates your taste, ability and knowledge of them that is rather diminished by selecting off of a list. I have found joy in deliberately and intentionally playing social games with specific individuals, because I am pushing my mind and my skills to my limit, instead of the simple “do you want to X?” “Yes”. These may not be true for everyone, and I don’t generally enjoy such games, but I think it is important to recognize that some people do.
Clearly, increased communication skill can decrease both costs. Some people may be, through whatever set of circumstances, better suited for one or the other. But as someone who tries to code-switch, they both have benefits.
Recent example: I saw what I was fairly confident was an error in a friend’s blog post. Guess culture, at maximum and perfectly played, would have me send an email to my friend talking about the article, and subtly draw their attention to the error without making it obvious or certain that I had even noticed it myself. They would interpret it perfectly, correct the error, and the change would be made. Alternatively, if I was wrong, they might have sent an email back with an additional bit of explanation about the bit in question. Tell culture, at maximum, would have me leave a comment saying “I think that this is wrong, and this is why.” The maximum guess culture one is obviously much less risky in terms of social status, avoids my friend associating me with bad feelings, and leaves deliberate ambiguity as to whether I think that they are wrong so that I am not challenging them excessively. But at the same time, it requires skill, energy and time. You have to put more effort into both sending and receiving information. My actual solution was to send them a private email pointing out that I think there was an error, and explaining why I thought that such an error existed. Despite the fact that this was a private email, and I have known the person in question for five years now, I still felt an urge to artificially downgrade my confidence rating of my challenge to be less confrontational about it and more respectful.
But how does this translate into passive-aggression? Well, if I say to someone “you used up the last of the water, go refill it” I am ordering them around, not respecting their ability to pick up on cues of basic decency, etc. If I mention that the water container is empty, we can collectively pretend that I am treating them as an independent individual. This isn’t necessary with perfectly rational agents, but human brains aren’t quite so good. However, this seems like passive-aggression, and, to a certain extent, it is. But this is, in guess culture, felt to be superior to actual aggression. Would you rather an anonymous angry note or a screaming fight? More importantly, would you rather leave an anonymous note or have a screaming fight? In this way, guess culture can actually reduce the cost of acquiring information.
Are these standards unfair? They reward being socially adept, I suspect, more than ask-culture standards do. So, to that extent, they may be unfair. There is more emphasis on respecting social hierarchy, I think. That might be called unfair.
So it seems like guess culture is optimized for situations where it is inexpensive to be wrong, expensive to be rude, hierarchies are important, and you have a leisure class that can afford to learn these skills. This matches nicely with my intuition that the greatest level of guest culture observed is the western stereotype of Imperial Japan during the Edo period. Things are pretty stable, so it is hard to be very wrong about something important. You have an economic base that can support people being really really inefficient, largely because Imperial Japan isn’t doing too much fighting with outsiders and a lot of the conflicts are internal, so if all samurai have less time to fight and cause trouble, the island as a whole benefits. Look at the wikipedia timeline from 1641 to 1841. Very few new things that require actually being right.
Ask culture is then optimized for the opposite. It is most attractive to people with poor social skills, who are hurt more in guess culture. Being right is important, formal hierarchy would be minimal and informal hierarchy would be relatively weak, and there is believed to be relatively little time and energy to spare on the positional good of being polite in guess culture. I would expect ask culture to predominate in
collections of people trying very hard to solve a problem and selected for poor social skillsstartups, groups with a nigh-obsessive focus on truthLess Wrong, and autistic spaces, where I would expect empathy costs of unhappy information to be lower. We observe exactly what we expect for the first two, and I don’t know about the third.
As a final point, somewhat unrelated to the quote but very related to the essay that I have written, the costs of misidentifying culture and acting incorrectly are highest of all. This explains why we might move from one towards the other rather slowly. I think that the Modern Global North would be optimal at a higher level of ask culture than currently exists, because people respond slowly. Technology outstripped the speed of culture, just as culture outstripped the speed of evolution.
Conclusion: both guess and ask culture have problems and benefits, that the world I exist in is mostly more suited to ask culture and things are slowly getting better.Chesterton’s Fence.
*: In this essay I will ignore the difference between ask and tell, as ask is basically a point on the spectrum between guess and tell, but ask is more familiar and most people are still far closer to guess than to either ask or tell. If it helps, feel free to substitute ask/tell whenever I say ask. Do not apply this algorithm repeatedly to the same text.
#: Basilisk = harmful information. I am perhaps using it more broadly, as I am discovering the harms of giving information as well as the harms of recieving information, whereas my understanding of basilisks is that they only aply to the former.
Anonymous said: a bit MRA: why does feminism seem to fail so much on the "what do they want men to do?" aspect. I mean I read feminists on eg) dating, and it seems like the most feminist acceptable course of action would be suicide.
It sounds to me like you probably have some guilt issues related to feminism, and I would advise you to stay away from feminist blogs, particularly those about dating, for a while. It is very unlikely that you will accidentally sexually harass, abuse, or sexually assault someone. The vast majority of people who do those things aren’t making a mistake, they legitimately don’t care. The fact that the prospect upsets you enough to make you have suicidal ideation is a sign that you are not in the high-risk group here.
With that said—
I think that a lot of contradictory feminist writing about dating can be put down to a few different things.
(1) It is often hard to say no to people. It is often really hard to say no to people who want to do something nice for you. It is often really, really hard to say no to people who want to do something nice for you if you have been socialized to not say no to people, which is an experience more common among women than men. Wanting to go out on a date with someone, or talk to them, or give them romantic presents, or cuddle them, or whatever, is a Nice Thing. Therefore, a lot of women develop the coping mechanism of thinking “the person is doing a WRONG THING by wanting this thing, therefore I am justified in saying ‘no’”. This is misguided, of course— you can say ‘no’ to dating someone or talking to someone or having sex with someone even if they haven’t done anything wrong— but it is natural and it legitimately does help people who haven’t gotten to the “you can say no to anything” stage yet.
(2) For many people, including myself, it ranges between annoying and terrifying when people you don’t like hit on you. (Again, even if they aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong— I am scared when people start conversations with me in buses even though it is not wrong to start conversations with people on buses.) Internet feminism, for better or worse, has found itself a place where women can vent about being hit on. Unfortunately, upset people are not really known for their nuance and sensible advice.
(3) Dating advice is remarkably prone to the Typical Mind Fallacy. Many women are like “well, my friends and I are all unhappy when Thing Y happens, therefore all women hate Thing Y, therefore Thing Y is bad and terrible and misogynist.”
(4) A lot of advice about how not to be a creep is sort of terrible. Like, a lot of times it is written by people with 0 previous experience learning social skills and 0 ability to, like, break down “read body language” into a thing a person can actually do. (Also, being able to read body language is not a prerequisite to being an ethical person, Jesus.)
(5) When many feminists give dating advice, they are mentally aiming it at That Guy Who Thought It Was A Good Idea To Spend Fifteen Minutes Lecturing Me That I Was A Bitch Because I Said I Was Reading And Didn’t Want To Talk To Him. The person who actually reads it is some sad guy who is afraid of talking to women and would never in a million years call someone a bitch for not talking to him. It would just not occur to him as a possible course of action. The correct advice for those two audiences is not the same advice!
(6) Probably other things I don’t know about because I haven’t interacted with them
spiders georg comes out of his cave and learns of the statistical debate surrounding his dietary habits. he came out to have a good time but is honestly feeling so attacked right now