Dealing with flames

A departed friend of mine had a quote that he used quite often.. but I never wrote down until it was too late. It went something like this:

It is not what you say in the conversation that matters, it is what people hear.

Most of the time, we write things on mailing lists and everyone else hears something completely different. This is probably what causes the worst suffering of the readers and writers. Having started to post some stuff today, I realized I was approaching things all wrong... that what was irking me wasn't what the person wrote but what I read and thought they meant. So the rest of this post is mainly for myself to point to when I fail to do this:

  1. If I feels angry after reading a post, the first thing I should ask is Why? What made me angry, what triggered this feeling. Then instead of writing what I am feeling I should just take that part and respond with:

    I am not sure I understand what you meant here. Can you please elaborate?

    I need to find the root cause of both my anger for as much as I would like to think that my anger is righteous, it mainly out of some fear. And until I confront that fear, there can be no conversation.
  2. If I post something and all I receive back is angry responses I need to ask stop because there isn't going to be any conversation. If they ask me why I can try to better explain, but don't try to explain to someone who doesn't want to know. It just makes things worse.
  3. I say a lot of stupid things at times trying to make people laugh. It doesn't help :).

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