Splain it to Me
January 14, 2016 5:46 PM Subscribe
MetaFilter is long familiar with the dichotomy between Ask Culture and Guess Culture. Alice Maz, a programmer writing for the new group blog Status 451, has described another common dichotomy between “harmonious emotional experience” and “information sharing”, and what happens when the two meet. (In short: “Harsh words may be exchanged, and everyone exits the encounter thinking the other person was monumentally rude for no reason.”)
Two particular exchanges stick out in my mind, both “corrections” in response to a series of tweets of mine on esoteric Unix history. One of these replies was simply wrong, while the other assumed I was mistaken about something that I actually knew but had glossed over. I responded to both with information of my own that demonstrated this, and both people acknowledged that I was right. I thought they were attacking my credibility and that I’d defeated their attacks and won the status game. Except: both of them were happy I corrected them. This seemed bizarre to me at the time, and the only explanation I could come up with was that they must be attempting to save face. But, now that I realize they likely weren’t attempting to play the status game at all, their responses make perfect sense. All they saw was that I had accepted their gift and given them yet another.
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