Subject: Re: Understanding Erik Naggum
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 06 Oct 2002 16:41:38 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erik Naggum
| Because even though people may feel better and rate something very
| effective, a person who feels less well and rates it ineffective may in
| fact have done better according to more objective measures.  This is
| actually fairly obvious if you think about it.

* Pascal Costanza
| No, I don't think it's obvious.  Actually I have a hard time to follow
| your line of reasoning.

  Perhaps things will improve if you /think/ about it.  This really is so
  obvious that researchers who want to get useful data from people have to
  get rid of how good they feel about the topic.  I guess you may have
  heard of the placebo effect.  "Placebo" actually means "I shall please".

| Obviously, we both have a very different background of experiences - I
| think it's interesting to sort these differences out.  At least I have
| the feeling that I would learn something from this discussion.

  And I have the exasperated feeling of telling a stubborn and not very
  bright child that not everyone is just like himself.

* Erik Naggum
| If I am responding technically and to the point but use a
| "cold" language, some people only feel the "cold" and go bananas without
| even seeing the technical contents.

* Pascal Costanza
| I don't get this. Do you _intentionally_ use a "cold" language?

  Yes.  It is called technical writing, objective communication, impersonal
  reporting, etc.  Most publishers want their writers to engage in as few
  personal and emotional issues as possible, because their readers should
  be able to read the material /without/ having to empathize with the
  author and his plight.  Unlike you, some people actually write about more
  than they personally "think and feel".  I should have learned a lesson.
  People who think that everything is a personal opinion are nuts.

| What would be the price to pay for using a "warmer" language?

  That would be condescending to the adult readers.

* Erik Naggum
| Please note that how much emotion we can handle and still keep thinking
| straight varies dramatically from person to person.

* Pascal Costanza
| My conclusion would be to take this into account and acknowledge people's
| feelings upfront.

  Look, is this so fantastically hard to grasp?  I use an emotion-free and
  impersonal language when I answer people on technical counts because I do
  not want them to "share my feelings", but actually find needful things to
  learn in what I write.  When people do not want to learn, but feel good,
  and attack me because there were no emotions their simple minds could
  attach to, yes, I do get quite hostile towards such touchy-feely people.
  And they have intentionally wanted to hurt my feelings for not having
  /pleased/ them.  Please try to understand this.

| Again, I think this can be accomplished by some simple rhetoric tricks,
| so it actually wouldn't take too much effort. (And I am not specifically
| suggesting this to you, but also to everyone else, of course.)

  It would only make people appear, and often be, condescending because
  they would feel, and rightly so, that their readers would not be able to
  deal with reality unfiltered.  As Vassil Nikolov said, "sugar-coating".
  This is just plain /wrong/ in a technical forum, but perfectly reasonable
  in a support group.  I really suggest people go create
  if they want a newsgroup for this kind of bullshit.

* Erik Naggum
| The task of becoming able to function under the influence of emotions
| rests heavily upon all of us.  All but a small percentage of the adult
| population can handle it and are fully able to function and reason well
| whether they feel excellent, good, bad, or terrible.  People lose their
| parents, their jobs, their homes, and still function, often well.  People
| pull themselves together and act professionally in the face of the direst
| of straits.

* Pascal Costanza
| I am aware of the fact that people are able to make considerable personal
| improvements when faced with loss or other traumatic experiences.
| However, I think that these situations are exceptional cases, and should
| be.  Do you suggest to intentionally create stressful situations in order
| to "help" people improve their personality?  I think this is a weird
| strategy.

  Fuck you.

| This section seems to support the notion that you suggest to
| intentionally create stressful situations for people that need to learn
| something.  Do I understand you correctly?

  I am glad that we have now seen that there is something seriously wrong
  with you.  The becoming calmer from not watching TV thing should have
  told me not to respond any further to you.

| Back to my question on measures: I don't think you need a
| measure. Qualitative assessments are sufficient, in my opinion.

  Of course you think so.  You would be proven wrong if you went about what
  you suggest scientifically to actually collect useful information about it.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.