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07 August 2014 @ 09:07 am
Horrible example inspires thoughts on Ask vs. Guess culture.
Marissa Lingenmrissa on August 7th, 2014 02:08 pm (UTC)
I already said this on Amy's FB: the phrasing of it as Guess skews heavily against that type of culture. It's not Guess culture, it's Observe culture, and one of the problems with a lot of GISHWHES stuff is that it is asking people to presume on situations where there are no relationships preexisting, where no observations can be made of how much of an imposition this is, how the other party will take it, etc.

It doesn't matter how nicely phrased the requests in a DDOS attack are. Enough messages still add up to one.
El Coyote Gordo: thumbsupergee on August 7th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
That's a very good point.
Arthur and Kevin's Nelloratnellorat on August 7th, 2014 08:41 pm (UTC)
You're right about the sheer number of requests outweighing the effects of any or all of them being polite. I still think the advice was wonderful for most other situations, especially that of including a possible turn-down in your request.

I do think "guess" makes the process seem more perilous than it is, but even with observation, just because of people & moods, you can't be 100% sure. My experience is that those cultures tend to have to play it safe; that is, unless I'm 100% sure it's OK, I just won't ask.
houseboatonstyxhouseboatonstyx on August 9th, 2014 06:43 am (UTC)
Her 1) and 5) items, turn it from an Ask situation into an Inform situation. :-)
Stef: practice random intelligence and senselefirecat on August 8th, 2014 04:42 am (UTC)
It's not Guess culture, it's Observe culture

Thank you.
houseboatonstyxhouseboatonstyx on August 9th, 2014 06:49 am (UTC)
I can't access Facebook. What do you mean by 'Observe culture'? I'd say 'Inform culture'; I'll rant about it below.
Marissa Lingenmrissa on August 9th, 2014 12:47 pm (UTC)
I think we're looking at the same phenomenon from opposite roles in each interaction: while one person is Informing, the other person has to be Observing that information, and vice versa.

One of my canonical examples is: say that I am reading in a coffee shop. Another person wants to find out whether I am up for putting down my book and talking to a stranger for a few seconds, getting to know them for the evening, possibly adjourning to another location for a sexual liaison. Where on that spectrum am I?

Most social interactions of this type are based on what I would call making observations and what I think you would call exchanging information--same stuff--in order to start figuring that out long before the crucial Ask. So the person who walks up to my coffee shop table and says, "Hi!" and receives a tight-lipped smile and a "Hi," and my eyes flickering immediately and permanently back to my book is not guessing that I don't want to spend two hours or even five minutes talking and that I certainly am not up for an Ask like, "Your place or mine?" That is not a Guess! That is an observation; that is information exchanged. If I was interested in a social chat, I would be warmer about the greeting, I would put down the book for more than a split second, I would look at the person for more than a split second. This would not tell them that they had already gotten a yes to any proposition, but it's a very different set of social signals to give and receive. And this is why I would perceive someone following up that set of social cues with, "Do you want to have sex with me tonight?" as very rude: because they are ignoring that data and plowing on with what they want out of the interaction anyway.

In the case of the GISHWHES people, I have seen a few small press or short story writers who have been approached by people they know for this favor. This allows them to observe (or be informed!) that the writer finds 140 words a reasonably easy amount, that they are not currently under a difficult deadline, that they are not being inundated by dozens or hundreds of other requests, etc. It would also allow them to observe a couple of things I haven't seen discussed by Gishers anywhere: doing something nice for the person doing them a favor if appropriate, and determining whether their "incentive" is actually a positive.

("It's for charity" seems to be treated as a shield for all ills, making all requests inherently positive, but some charities--including possibly this one--are so incredibly badly managed that they just aren't worth it, and others go counter to a particular person's values. You have to find out whether a particular charity is something the person you're asking a favor of supports! It's not automatic that just because the US government has granted something non-profit status, everyone will love it!)
(Anonymous) on August 10th, 2014 09:53 pm (UTC)
/houseboat here/

Ideally, my Southern version goes something like this.

A - "How y'all doing?"
[ misc chat, both sides circling round what's on their minds today ]
G - "Well, I can't finish plowing till I get a new widget for the tractor [..] can't get away from here to pick it up [....]"
A - "[....] I was going to town till my car wouldn't start. [....] How soon do you need your widget?"
G - "Oh, tomorrow would be fine. How about you take my car and do your stuff and pick up my widget while you'r at it?"

Not that needs always fit together so neatly, or that it has to be quid pro quo. But this shows an equal exchange, with both parties giving Information -- which an Ask person might interpret as hinting.

houseboatonstyxhouseboatonstyx on August 9th, 2014 07:00 am (UTC)
Here's what I just posted at http://practicalfreespirit.com/2014/08/05/gishwhes-harassment-and-ask-vs-guess-culture/

Well, first, the term 'Guess Culture' is offensive. It's a term invented by the other side, describing what they think they have to do when in our Indirect culture, or perhaps what they have to do with certain dysfunctional relationships in their own culture.

A less offensive distinction would be Ask/Hint, which is more nearly parallel: both verbs describe the Speaker's action, rather than both describing the Hearer's action. But it still misses the point; it just tells what the Hearer THINKS the Speaker is doing.

If they want to call their group 'Ask Culture', okay. But a better distinction would be Ask/Inform. This was brought out in one of the wonderful discussions at ozarque.livejournal.com re negotiation.

Looking at some of Amy's recommendations.

1. Phrase your request as clearly as possible. Include relevant details, and communicate which aspects are flexible. [....]
5. Do what you can to make your request as convenient and considerate as possible for the other person. This could include being flexible about timing, for example, or laying out all the details up front so they don’t have to ask many questions just to figure out what’s going on.

In Inform Culture, we exchange all these pieces of information first, so the Requester can tailor their request to what is convenient and considerate for the Giver. Or, if it's not going to be practical at all, the Requester does not waste both their time with an impossible or very troublesome request.

By first finding out what the Giver's circumstances are, we don't have to guess what would be convenient (or even possible) for them.