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Re: small town boards Dr. Bob

Posted by fallsfall on February 11, 2004, at 14:31:42

In reply to Re: small town boards, posted by Dr. Bob on February 11, 2004, at 1:20:35

***Dr. Bob,

***I'm glad that you have responded to so many of the issues that we've raised above. There are some things, though that I'm not clear on, so I'll try to clarify what my confusion is in hopes that you can clarify some of the answers.

> > I find your responses often making me feel incomplete. When you answer a question with a question I feel very no validation at all, because I often feel that you are not understanding the point that the poster is trying to make.
> >
> > It feel that by simply answering with a question that you are avoiding the discussion - trying to diffuse the discussion by spreading out more ideas without tying anything back together. I guess I feel like I hear a lot of the possibilities that must be going on in your head, but I do not have a sense of how you see them tying together.
> >
> > fallsfall
> Well, sometimes it's true, I don't understand the point...

***It could be helpful to us if you could explain a little more about why you are confused.
> I think of asking questions as a way to promote discussion rather than to avoid it. It may spread out more ideas, and it may not be clear how they tie together, but these aren't always simple issues.

***I certainly agree that these aren't simple issues. I often find, though, that the counter-questions that you raise feel almost more like a defense to me than a conversation. Often I agree, saying "well, yes, Dr. Bob is right that it could be seen in a different way" but then there is no DISCUSSION that follows. So whereas before I was considering one possibility (and feeling a little control in the world), now there are two possibilities - but I have no way of comparing them or combining them. The two possibilities just sit there and never come together. I feel like I can't respond when you do that because I feel like you've told me (or whoever the poster was) that I'm wrong - the world isn't as simple as I think, and that I should get my facts straight the next time before I present something. But I can't do that because you don't give me enough information on your philosophies to construct a more durable proposition. Also, many of your counter-questions seem rhetorical to me. Or they indicate that the difference in opinion is like a religious battle - where there is no right or wrong - only opinions. In all of these cases, I end up with two ideas that don't come together, so I get frustrated and give up.
> ----
> > I *think*/I *hope* that you really believe that the idea of 'small town boards' will be beneficial to the well being of many present and future posters to the board. That said, if you do, in fact, believe this ... then perhaps you need to post something a bit more detailed about how this is supposed to work.
> What kinds of details do you mean?

***This is an example of a counter-question that I find irritating. I found the original question fairly clear, myself. So, I am left with the impression that you are avoiding answering the question (saying "OK, Poster, I'll answer your question, but only if you do more work first").

***Details that I would like:
1. Logistical details - how do people sign up for the rooms, what happens if someone stops posting (and for how long) - does their spot get put up for grabs? How do people know there is a spot open and apply for it?
2. Why do you think the smaller rooms will make people feel safer? Is the only factor in safety the number of people who can respond? Isn't the number of people who can read also a factor in feeling safe?
3. The biggest complaint that I hear from new people is that noone responds to their post. Do you think that smaller rooms will help this problem? There will be fewer people who CAN respond, but maybe those people will feel more responsible to respond? My feeling is that new posters will get fewer responses in a smaller room.
4. What problem are you trying to solve with this small town solution? Are you trying to have groups of posters feel closer to each other? More responsible for helping each other? Less likely to be uncivil to each other? Are you trying to start up a set of rooms where new posters could get their feet wet, or where old posters can go to relax? All of these things COULD be results of the small town solution - but my question is "What is it that YOU are hoping to accomplish? What prompted this?"

***Overall, I am assuming that you think that there will be benefits to the small town boards. What ARE those benefits that you are looking for? We've talked a bit about some of the drawbacks, but it's really hard to weigh the sides when we know so little about one of the sides.
> > I must say that I, too, find it annoying when you respond to a question with a question and when you respond with an extremely brief answer that leaves many other questions and possible interpretations. That is a communication problem.
> >
> > Penny
> Sorry about that. If you have other questions, just ask...

***Penny wasn't asking a question. She was stating an opinion. "Sorry about that." does not give her (or me) an indication of whether you understand her point, whether you agree or disagree with her point, or whether you have any intention of changing your communication style.

***Though I will say, that your response makes me think that you have no intention of changing your communication style, since it is in the form that I think she is saying she is annoyed with. If you do not intend to change, then it would be clearer for you to say "I can see why you might be frustrated by the additional questions, but this is the way I work." Then at least we would know that we should give up trying to point things out to you that we think would help the board.
> ----
***This next section got pretty confusing for me, so I went back to see the context of these statements. I think that this exchange helps to illustrate why I find the answering a question with a question confusing.

***********************Jane's post ( ) says:

***> The one [unofficial group] I am most familiar with evolved from the chat room in Open and everyone was welcomed there. Over time some friendships developed there that went beyond the chat room but that chat room stayed open and welcoming.
***Exactly, a friendship could develop on a large board and then move beyond it to a smaller board. While the large board stayed open and welcoming.
***> I wasn't that comfortable mentioning the unofficial groups in the first place and only did it because it's an option available to everyone
***The unofficial groups are available to everyone?

**************[This is the end of the part of Jane's post that I went back to read.]

> > > The unofficial groups are available to everyone?
> >
> > That kind of sounds like "put up or shut up"
> No, I really just wasn't sure what you meant. Did you mean that the chat room is available to everyone? Or that people are free to form their own unofficial groups? Or actually that there's some listing of existing unofficial groups?

***The question "The unoffical groups are available to everyone?" could come across as a challenge - in this case it could be interpretted to mean that you are implying that not everyone has access to unofficial groups, and that this means that they would not be a viable alternative to small town boards.

***Perhaps you could have put your 3 (much clearer) questions in your previous post to Jane so that it would be clear to Jane what your questions were. I always assume that you have something specific in mind when you put in a question like that, but not infrequently I'm not sure what that specific thing is. Is my suggestion clear to you - that perhaps in the future you could be more specific? Is being more specific something that you would see as an improvement?

***This is as much as I have time for right now. I'll try to get the rest of my questions into a post this evening. I do think that it is important for me to understand what this particular post of yours is trying to say.





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