Mailing Lists, Parties and Fear

This blog post is more about my reactions to some posts, and maybe explain why some other people may not feel too happy about the analogy. In the end however, I do think making mailing lists into a more social medium is desired for certain areas.. especially ones designed for collaboration.

When I read through Mairin's post and then Luis's post via LWN, my first gut reaction was the same feeling I had at my High School Prom. The part where a girl asked me to dance, and the next thing I knew it was 10 minutes later and I was driving up the Interstate at 90 mph.

Parties are things I dread. I am socially awkward if not blind.. and never know if I am talking too long or what social gaffe I have enacted this time (that 40 minute monologue on Social Growth of Organizations at FUDcon.. probably way too long.... and the conversation on the bus about why some pictures are art and others demeaning, awkward.)

I have also never understood how do people shut off all the conversations going on? My brain is constantly trying to figure out if people over at the pool really should be talking with the people in the kitchen since they seem to be talking the same things. And how am I supposed to know that even though they agree with each other, they hate each others guts.

Thankfully after walking the dog, I started to think about why I was afraid versus making some angry supposedly "witty" response. Why was I afraid? In the end it is because email and mailing lists make everyone else socially blind like me. Is Jack a jerk, or someone who only knows English from Quentin Tarantino films? On a mailing list, you can not tell and so have to lumber along. The only social ques you get are if people respond to you, and well even if its a long rant about everything you had wrong in your post.. it is a response.

But why should everyone be 'blind' because I am? Being socially 'blind' is rather unfair, but so is making everyone else be that way. Neuro-typical people are built to be social creatures wanting to build tribes, and without various ques will degrade into sociopathic forms as evidenced on Fedora about updates or Ubuntu about where your buttons are.

So the important question is, how can we make this better for people in general? I think that having some sort 'out-of-band' ques will help the majority of neuro-typical people. It might even help me if there is some way that it can give me feedback on how to do better.


Anonymous said...

You're asking how to make people relax when they get stressed in the face of something that's supposed to make them relax.

You spike their drink.

Anonymous said...

"and the conversation on the bus about why some pictures are art and others demeaning, awkward."

That conversation never goes well in any context, from the bar to the New York Times. I advise avoiding it at all costs =)