Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Conversational Terrorism  (Read 6859 times)
61Dynamic
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1442


WWW
« on: February 21, 2006, 12:24:57 PM »
ReplyReply

I came across an interesting article the other day outlining conversational techniques used in an attempt to win discussions. These techniques are generally hostile in nature (thus the title) and the article goes through the different types and provides examples.

Quote
All of the techniques listed in this document have actually been witnessed, told to us by someone else, or dreamed up. They are described in first person for clarity of motive.

The intent of detailing and naming these insidious tactics is so that the reader may AVOID USING THEM, to quickly recognize if someone else is using them, and for fun. There is much humor in the way people (consciously or unconsciously) conversationally cheat.

It is hoped that exposing these tactics will help muzzle the growing abuse in our conversational landscape. Give copies to both perpetrators and victims (only NOT for profit use).

The examples are overblown in an attempt to be both clear and funny. Use your imagination to think of how you (perish the thought) and others have used these techniques in the past.

They have been grouped by major category, with the best (worst!) saved for last.

First, we have the Ad Hominem Variants where you attack the person as a way to avoid truth, science, or logic which might otherwise prove you wrong. Next are the Sleight of Mind Fallacies, which act as "mental magic" to make sure the unwanted subject disappears. Then, we move on to Delay Tactics, which are subtle means to buy time when put on the spot. Then, the ever popular Question as Opportunity ploys, where any question can be deftly averted. Finally, we have the Cheap Shot Tactics and Irritants, which are basically "below the belt" punches.

An example:
Quote
OUT OF CONTEXT:

A twisted version of NIT-PICKING, the technique here is to purposely misunderstand some word, phrase, or analogy and shift the focus to it instead of the subject. This ploy will derail the other person into a defense of the word, phrase, or analogy instead of the case at hand.

"You said 'feel' instead of 'think'. If you are feeling instead of thinking, I won't be able to convince you with reason."
"You said this happened five years before Hitler came to power. Why are you so fascinated with Hitler? Are you anti-Semitic?"

As much as I try not to, I admit I've fallen into a category or two described in the article. I certainly see numerous conversational abuses take place on a regular bases in these forums and others.

It's an entertaining read and I think it should be a prerequisite for anyone posting to a forum in particular.

Conversational Terrorism
« Last Edit: February 21, 2006, 12:25:39 PM by 61Dynamic » Logged
Hank
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 679


« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2006, 01:16:33 PM »
ReplyReply

This is the grist of political debates these days.  It's also prevalent in many web discussions.  

I have a really easy standard:  I won't put up with it in the people around me, so why should I endure it from politicians or online acquaintances?  Practitioners reveal much about themselves in ways that don't lend to their credibility.
Logged
alainbriot
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 669



WWW
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2006, 02:55:44 PM »
ReplyReply

Nothing new here.  Cicero defined an entire rhetorical arsenal in De Oratore (On Oratory and Orators).  A worthwhile read.  One thing worth mentioning is that the variety of our current rhetorical arsenal has been very much reduced compared to what was used by orators of ancient Greece...

ALain
Logged

Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
BernardLanguillier
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7523



WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2006, 03:27:41 PM »
ReplyReply

The difference being that those who were discussing back then mostly knew about these techniques being used against them...

For some reason, our authorities have decided, at least in Europe, to mostly remove the classes devoted to the art of speaking, "the rethoric", from most curriculum. Now that it is most useful than ever...

A fascinating reference in French is "La parole manipulee" from Jacques Breton.

He spends time analyzing a TV debate between Le Pen, an extreme right leader, and journalists... the journalists, supposedely pros trained to these techniques, lose the fight by 10-0, no questions asked...

Regards,
Bernard
Logged

A few images online here!
mikeseb
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 482



WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2006, 08:27:41 PM »
ReplyReply

Since schools don't teach reason, debate, or rhetoric anymore, the ad hominem attack is the only weapon left to the combatants. If you can't fire a rifle, pick up a brick. Television trades in cheap sound bites and thuggish in-your-face posturing, while wisdom and judgment have "fled to brutish beasts | And men have lost their reason."

Reading Churchill's account of his parliamentary experiences, I was thunderstruck that he could speak extemporaneously for hours; and vigorously parry his opponents' rhetorical blows; yet everyone would adjourn to the cloakroom afterward for brandy and cigars.

This personalization of every disagreement is the root failure, I think, traceable to a sad decline in educational standards.

In writing this, I have officially become a curmudgeon.
Logged

michael sebastian
Website  |  Blog
Pelao
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 199



« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2006, 09:00:23 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Since schools don't teach reason, debate, or rhetoric anymore, the ad hominem attack is the only weapon left to the combatants. If you can't fire a rifle, pick up a brick. Television trades in cheap sound bites and thuggish in-your-face posturing, while wisdom and judgment have "fled to brutish beasts | And men have lost their reason."

Reading Churchill's account of his parliamentary experiences, I was thunderstruck that he could speak extemporaneously for hours; and vigorously parry his opponents' rhetorical blows; yet everyone would adjourn to the cloakroom afterward for brandy and cigars.

This personalization of every disagreement is the root failure, I think, traceable to a sad decline in educational standards.

In writing this, I have officially become a curmudgeon.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58768\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I am happy to advise that my daughter's high school  does teach some of the items you mention, though not nearly to the depth I would like.

In observing my teenager I have noticed that the common use of onlime messaging and text  results in short, blunt sentences and, often, the complete misuse of words. This happens even though my youngster is partiucularly well read. I also notice that electronic messaging is much less personal than, say, letters. It is of course much more interactive. I have seen that this reduces inhibitions and often results in 'conversations' in which there must be a winner, and therefore a loser.

I have noticed this rapid escalation to harsh 'must win' language in forums too. I have become aware of it in my own posts. The most common thing I see is when someone states something that is considered incorrect by another party. The responses look more like attacks, as if some deep offense has been committed. It seems in the brief space of a post we are tempted to state a person is wrong and rub their nose in it a bit too.

I caught myself at this a few days ago during an increasingly heated forum debate. I tempered my language and took the time to convince rather than lecture. The responses were also softer in tone.

We have to work at this. To quote The Economist style guide " Do not be hectoring or arrogant. Those who disagree with you are not necessarily stupid or insane. Nobody needs to be described as silly: let your analysis prove that he is."

This takes longer, but is somewhat more civilized.

So there.
Logged
alainbriot
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 669



WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2006, 10:21:48 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
The difference being that those who were discussing back then mostly knew about these techniques being used against them...

For some reason, our authorities have decided, at least in Europe, to mostly remove the classes devoted to the art of speaking, "the rethoric", from most curriculum. Now that it is most useful than ever...
Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58734\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree 100%.  I am fortunate to have done a PhD in rhetoric, in addition to my artistic studies. I use both daily. Rhetoric is the art of language, any language, be it spoken, written, photographic, etc.  

My advice: read Cicero.  It is in the public domain, and I am sure it is available for free on the net.

Also note that one of the greatest rhetoricians is American: Kenneth Burke. Worth reading and comparing to Cicero.

Alain
Logged

Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8812


« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2006, 10:25:31 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
I caught myself at this a few days ago during an increasingly heated forum debate. I tempered my language and took the time to convince rather than lecture. The responses were also softer in tone.

We have to work at this. To quote The Economist style guide " Do not be hectoring or arrogant. Those who disagree with you are not necessarily stupid or insane. Nobody needs to be described as silly: let your analysis prove that he is."


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58775\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Good point, Pelao. However, we live in a world where there are always winners and losers. It really boils down to whether or not you are going to win by fair tactics. I would never like to win an argument by stating or even implying my opponent is stupid, but sometimes the emotional heat of the game gets the better of one, and one makes mistakes, and sometimes unavoidably the argument of the opposing view really does appear to be the argument of a stupid person, in which case we say the argument is 'stupid' (not the person) but the person making the argument is not so stupid as to realise that it is he/she who is really being described as stupid.

Of course, one could take the view there are no stupid people, period. Anyone have this view?  
« Last Edit: February 21, 2006, 10:34:08 PM by Ray » Logged
DiaAzul
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 777



WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2006, 12:46:44 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
I agree 100%.  I am fortunate to have done a PhD in rhetoric, in addition to my artistic studies. I use both daily. Rhetoric is the art of language, any language, be it spoken, written, photographic, etc. 

My advice: read Cicero.  It is in the public domain, and I am sure it is available for free on the net.

Also note that one of the greatest rhetoricians is American: Kenneth Burke. Worth reading and comparing to Cicero.

Alain
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58780\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The only problem with great rehotiricians is that they are so imbued with a sense of language and quite often self importance that they fail to get swiftly and quickly to the point. On one side rhetoric is great for opening up and discussing a subject - which can be important - but in the Anglo-saxon model where time is money we don't have the time to read long winded text of fatuous bumpf, when we could get all the inormation we want (though not necessarily need) in two short paragraphs. Otherwise, how else are we to find the time to watch the Simpsons?

I think the point about people taking things personally is valid - mostly because written commuication (email, texting, forums) lacks the non-verbal and tonal hints which are so essential in face to face communication. Some attempt has been made to introduce inflection into the written word using emoticons, but it does not make up for the full range of modifiers that can be infered when seeing or hearing someone.

Going for a discussion of beer to one of rhetoric - methinks the manufacturers need to think up some new products, the user base is getting bored and intellectualising.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2006, 12:48:02 AM by DiaAzul » Logged

David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
Hank
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 679


« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2006, 10:02:00 AM »
ReplyReply

Excellent points about written comms, DiaAzul.  Wired Magazine Online has an interesting piece on the general topic.  Here's a bit of what it says:


"Don't work too hard," wrote a colleague in an e-mail today. Was she sincere or sarcastic? I think I know (sarcastic), but I'm probably wrong.

According to recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, I've only a 50-50 chance of ascertaining the tone of any e-mail message. The study also shows that people think they've correctly interpreted the tone of e-mails they receive 90 percent of the time.

"That's how flame wars get started," says psychologist Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago, who conducted the research with Justin Kruger of New York University. "People in our study were convinced they've accurately understood the tone of an e-mail message when in fact their odds are no better than chance," says Epley.

The researchers took 30 pairs of undergraduate students and gave each one a list of 20 statements about topics like campus food or the weather. Assuming either a serious or sarcastic tone, one member of each pair e-mailed the statements to his or her partner. The partners then guessed the intended tone and indicated how confident they were in their answers.

Those who sent the messages predicted that nearly 80 percent of the time their partners would correctly interpret the tone. In fact the recipients got it right just over 50 percent of the time.

"People often think the tone or emotion in their messages is obvious because they 'hear' the tone they intend in their head as they write," Epley explains.

At the same time, those reading messages unconsciously interpret them based on their current mood, stereotypes and expectations. Despite this, the research subjects thought they accurately interpreted the messages nine out of 10 times.

The reason for this is egocentrism, or the difficulty some people have detaching themselves from their own perspective, says Epley. In other words, people aren't that good at imagining how a message might be understood from another person's perspective.

"E-mail is very easy to misinterpret, which not only triggers flame wars but lots of litigation," says Nancy Flynn, executive director of the e-Policy Institute and author of guidebooks E-Mail Rules and Instant Messaging Rules. Many companies battle workplace lawsuits triggered by employee e-mail, according to Flynn.

People write absolutely, incredibly stupid things in company e-mails," said Flynn.
Logged
Craig Arnold
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 219


WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2006, 03:50:20 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Of course, one could take the view there are no stupid people, period. Anyone have this view? 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58781\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I thought that was practically the definition of what we now call a "liberal".  

Certainly the departments of education seem to believe it with fanatical fervour. "No child left behind", anyone?

Aren't all children are above average? Why should we not expect all children to  become "proficient" at things we only used to expect the top 20% to be able to achieve.

Of course in practice we have managed this by re-defining the standards for proficiency and making sure that gifted students are ignored and hamstrung. If no child gets ahead then we are making sure that no child is left behind.

When recruiting for computer science graduates even 10 years ago my short list weren't generally educated in China or India. Now it seems that they are. They comprise fewer than 10% of the applicants and about 90% of the shortlist.

I think this is called "progress".
Logged

Utah
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 12


« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2006, 07:31:08 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Nothing new here.  Cicero defined an entire rhetorical arsenal in De Oratore (On Oratory and Orators).  A worthwhile read.  One thing worth mentioning is that the variety of our current rhetorical arsenal has been very much reduced compared to what was used by orators of ancient Greece...

ALain
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58732\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I have it first hand that Cicero was a fan of Guiness Stout (anyway, with a name like Cicero....you know.)
Logged
BernardLanguillier
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7523



WWW
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2006, 05:10:25 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Certainly the departments of education seem to believe it with fanatical fervour. "No child left behind", anyone?

Aren't all children are above average? Why should we not expect all children to  become "proficient" at things we only used to expect the top 20% to be able to achieve.

Of course in practice we have managed this by re-defining the standards for proficiency and making sure that gifted students are ignored and hamstrung. If no child gets ahead then we are making sure that no child is left behind.

When recruiting for computer science graduates even 10 years ago my short list weren't generally educated in China or India. Now it seems that they are. They comprise fewer than 10% of the applicants and about 90% of the shortlist.

I think this is called "progress".
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58898\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

And how exactly do you explain that in countries like Japan or Korea, that are assessed every year to offer the highest level of high school education in the World, more than 90% of the student manage to go through very high level and tough curicullums?

The no children left behind philosophy is absolutely not responsible for the current decline of US education, it has just come way too late, and with far too little budgets. The idea is great, the implementation is poor. More than a cynical person around says that it is meant to be this way... but I won't go into that...

Regards,
Bernard
Logged

A few images online here!
Craig Arnold
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 219


WWW
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2006, 07:53:26 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
And how exactly do you explain that in countries like Japan or Korea, that are assessed every year to offer the highest level of high school education in the World, more than 90% of the student manage to go through very high level and tough curicullums?

The no children left behind philosophy is absolutely not responsible for the current decline of US education, it has just come way too late, and with far too little budgets. The idea is great, the implementation is poor. More than a cynical person around says that it is meant to be this way... but I won't go into that...

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=60319\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

On reflection I regret my post. Hardly the sort of conversation to have on a photography forum.  

Quite happy to carry on the discussion in a PM if you like.
Logged

Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad