A Suggestion - VERY General - About Posts Responses

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Posted by gary g ( on October 30, 1999 at 01:17:26:

Something I've noticed about the posts that turn out to be VERY controversial:

VERY often a general topical post will draw a lot of angry responses, which actually aren't relevant to what the poster ACTUALLY wrote, but apparently to what people THINK was posted...the READER reveals thru their response that they made one or both of the following errors:

1. read a fairly complex post too quickly, skimming it or "speedreading" it - and missed the point entirely
as a result
OR missed modifying and/or conditional words or phrasing that were VERY important to the whole, but didn't stand out in a skim-through

we've seen a LOT of this, especially when it involves references to gender, or psychological aspects - people tend to go postal at the sight of certain buzzwords without even checking how they are being used

a good example was in the recent explosion over someone's post involving thoughts about women and clusters and the CHMB, with which some of us agreed/expanded in followup posts - -

people started screaming that they'd been grievously injured by the statements that women didn't have clusters -
BUT GUESS WHAT - NOBODY said that to begin with !!!! in fact, each post I read & reread - including my own - was careful to acknowledge that there WERE women CH patients

they say Twain was asked why he was fussy about language and careful reading - his reply was simply:

"consider the difference between lightning and the lightning bug"

2. they read a post that is completely GENERAL, and become enraged if it doesn't fit their individual situation exactly,
and respond as though they had been personally attacked and the CHMB existed soley to cater to their individual case

- there is NO exact cluster headache standard, but there ARE some pretty reliable parameters that define & diagnose CH, within which there ARE individual variations;
on the other hand - the fact that a very common, if not predominant, CH feature isn't present in EVERY SINGLE case, doesn't rule it out as an acceptable component of describing the disease
if a large majority of patients display a particular symptom, then that symptom IS a standard for the disease

What's even funnier (or more disturbing depending on your frame of mind) is how OTHER people then take their cues NOT from the original post, but from the angry responses, and THEY pile on

My suggestion is this:

Before you post a response or protest or objection,
go back & read the post that you are challenging VERY carefully - skipping even single words can sometimes completely reverse the meaning of a statement

If you are "piling on" - go to the original post and do the same before you react to a reaction that had things backasswards to begin with

Unless you are specifically named in a post, or response, stick your ego in your pocket & consider that it may not have anything to do with you anyway

Often a topic thread is opened by one person, and others post to add to the discussion of that topic, but are not necessarily referring back to the prior post specifically

I've OFTEN had people who CLAIM they can "speedread" and get all the info, read aloud off the computer screen - and they not only miss words or entire phrases BUT ACTUALLY "READ" WORDS THAT WEREN'T EVEN THERE - because they were anticipating how a sentence was going to finish and substituted their expected word for the one on the screen
it's a little gimmick we used to use when I was writing/editing program manuals - to demonstrate to folks how VERY critical it was to really FOCUS on what they were reading

TRY THAT with a few people -
it's AMAZING how often it happens that people will look right at something and "see" completely different words than what are on the page

and BTW - about my own posts
if it's about an individual (which they rarely are) there will be NO MISTAKE about it, believe me

otherwise, I'm writing about the TOPIC, not each individual reading my post -
so if what I say sounds like it doesn't apply to you - so what?
it probably doesn't

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