Friday, August 12, 2011

Tone trolling or politeness?

One thing that really struck me reading about Elevator-gate is how people insisted they had the "right" to speak to someone regardless of the circumstance. Points were given for not going to the next level of interaction which would have been physically insisting the person being spoken to went along with  the speaker. Questions were asked about rules for initiating conversation. All through it I thought, how hard is it to check the other person's response and grind your desire to interact to a halt rather than inflict yourself on someone?

I may have to re-evaluate. I was reading an article in the National Post (sorry no link) that was headlined something to the effect of work places getting ruder. Being a article, the comments were full of how other people were rude. For some it was the chatterer who kept talking while the other person itched to get on with their day. For some it was the coworker that didn't engage in conversation. Another mention goes to those wearing earphones to isolate themselves from the world. It was also brought up that it's up to the bosses to set the tone.

Part of the problem is what people consider rude. My M-I-L told us the story of a 3 generational family out for supper in a restaurant. Adults were talking, kids were playing on their handheld gaming unit. Her point was that it was rude for the children to be playing rather than interacting with the adults. We felt the parents were really considerate of other diners by ensuring the kids were entertained while confined in a public space. Keep the forced interaction to more private (or lonely) locations, like home. Wil Wheaton related a story of a family in an airport and felt as my M-I-L did. Sad that everyone in a family was doing solo things rather than interacting as a family. I empathize with the the family since when I travel it's long distances with changes. Stress of finding luggage, gates etc makes me relish the down time when I can just sit and do my own thing (this is why I prefer to travel alone).

I interact a lot of places in RL and on the internet. At work, I try to be aware of when I'm babbling and when others are trying to get tasks done. Most co-workers do the same or I excuse myself. It's not that hard. On line, I tend to hang out where people try to be agreeable or at least don't attack others for comments. An easy example was on Eileen Riviera's thread about the HTC Bliss. Another G+ er and I were talking about how products marketed for girls/women are not just pink but have inferior specs to items targeted to men. Some guy had to defend everyone's choice to be spoken down to. On some some boards that would be a signal for the mansplainer epitaph but for this forum, it was just ignored our of politeness. That's situational awareness that some people (not on the autistic spectrum) are struggling with.

Perhaps Stef McGraw was correct. All the preliminary chat about saying Watson saying she didn't want to be approached isn't necessarily a indication of sexism, it could just be rudeness. I did ask my SO though and he felt the guy was being sexist by my SO is quite polite as well. He was in a no loose situation. If she said yes, he'd know he's changed her mind about what she was intending to do; if she said no, he would have invaded her space. Not being self centered is hard I guess.