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Commenting Without Context
Posted Oct 19, 2009 - 9:19:25

You're an IdiotSo my post on Friday, which I admittedly titled "Your Giant Headphones Look Dumb," raised a bit of discussion - both on itself and on my Facebook page (where these entries appear as "Notes" thanks to the RSS import feature). While the title was a bit inflammatory, anyone who read the full text would have noted:
  • I state that large headphones provide better sound quality
  • Walking around the office wearing ANY headphones is stupid
  • Large Headphones just accentuate the point, and make you look like a jerk
Those three points are very straight forward and exceptionally clear. Oh sure, I included a little stick figure cartoon (which is why I've included another one this time), but it wasn't exactly rocket science.

On proper, the comments were well thought out and written by people who read the full text. On Facebook the story was a tad bit different.

Now, I don't want to be mean to my friends - as these people are - but I have to point out that many comments ignored the three points and just got defensive about using large headphones. It's as if they read the headline and responded without taking in one bit of context. It's exceptionally frustrating, and enough to make me just want to shake my head.

But this isn't exactly anything new - it's really in human nature. The font size on Facebook is actually very tiny too, which I think predisposes people to skimming without thinking about it. Where things get worse is when it comes to other places like Youtube.

Back in July I wrote something about this called "Youtube Comment Insanity," and while I don't want to spend my time completely rehashing that entry, I think it requires further examination. What that entry is about are the insane comments that have appeared on the Youtube version of my video The Tragedy of Willie which I put out many, many years ago. The Tragedy of Willie, for those unaware, is a video where Topher, a few others, and myself took a grocery store purchased Alaskan Salmon and had a fish funeral for it.

Now, the video is CLEARLY about a salmon named Willie, but that doesn't stop people from confusing it with the whale Keiko from "Free Willy." In their defense, I did tag the video with Free Willy, but the opening shot of the video is of the SALMON. At no point do I ever state anything about a whale.

This has not stopped people from telling me that I should kill myself for disrespecting the memory of a deceased Killer Whale.

These are people who do not view the context. They take the title and maybe the first little bit and make up their mind without thinking through. In some respect, most people do this too even if they don't want to admit it. We prejudge without paying attention to the whole story and it's ridiculous. Don't pick and choose a paragraph or two to merely back up your preconceived ideas, but take in the full context to understand the entire point.

People not doing so starts Holy Wars.

Think about it.

In a totally unrelated, self promotional note, you should check out the new Podcast hosted by called "The Earl McCoy Show." It stars "Tall" Katie Hatheway, Matt "Biedermann" Biedermann and Myself, and contrary to expectation it's actually funny. Seriously, go check it out. Dude.
- Traegorn

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This reminds me every time I make threads on Gaia where I start with titles like "What a Shit load of F*ck" or the more controversial "Models are Ugly!" and then throw them off with a different discussion. It's hilarious how people get angry over the titles when I'm discussing about how cool it would be to live in Ireland or something.

Trae Dorn
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