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Thread: up in smoke

  1. #11
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: up in smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidor View Post
    Asking someone to elaborate, complete with the word "please", is disrespectful? What's this forum for?

    I did not say it was disrespectful to ask a question politely (although using polite words is far from being the basis of politeness). What I said was it 'might be interpreted as disrespectful'.

    The implication, when a senior adviser has told you you need to say more, of asking briefly what he means, is 'My time [in framing the question in an answerable fashion, as requested] is more valuable than yours. Go ahead and explain every conceivable nuance; I'm not going to spend any more time on this until you've done some real work.'

    Obviously, the OP didn't mean this - which is why I said it might be seen as disrespectful. I'm sorry if my language was too sophisticated to avoid giving offence.

    b

  2. #12
    Vidor is offline Member
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    Default not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I did not say it was disrespectful to ask a question politely (although using polite words is far from being the basis of politeness). What I said was it 'might be interpreted as disrespectful'.

    The implication, when a senior adviser has told you you need to say more, of asking briefly what he means, is 'My time [in framing the question in an answerable fashion, as requested] is more valuable than yours. Go ahead and explain every conceivable nuance; I'm not going to spend any more time on this until you've done some real work.'

    Obviously, the OP didn't mean this - which is why I said it might be seen as disrespectful. I'm sorry if my language was too sophisticated to avoid giving offence.

    b
    It's a message board. People talk to each other. I remain, to use a British term, gobsmacked that someone could imagine a request to answer at further length to be disrepectful. And to be perfectly candid, you aren't a "senior advisor", you are someone using a message board. This is not a teacher-student setting and the people who come here are not in a subordinate relationship to you. Their time is not more valuable than yours, but it is also not less valuable. I can't begin to imagine how a request to elaborate on a message board posting could ever be interpreted as disrespectful.

    Finally, your language wasn't too precise, and I didn't fail to understand you. I don't agree, which is different.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidor View Post
    And to be perfectly candid, you aren't a "senior advisor", you are someone using a message board. This is not a teacher-student setting and the people who come here are not in a subordinate relationship to you.
    I think that Bob was referring to me when he used the term 'senior adviser'. He was using the word 'senior' not in the sense of 'superior', but in the way it is used in 'senior citizen' - 'older', 'someone who has been around longer'. As, at the time, I had posted over 3,000 answers in this forum, it was not an unreasonable choice of words.

    Had he been referring to himself, I don't think it would be totally inappropriate. He has written over 10,000 posts, and is a moderator.

    This is not just a message board - it is an 'Ask a Teacher' column, and many of those asking questions come to us precisely because we are, or were, teachers. Those of us who spend time answering questions do NOT expect gratitude or deference - we do it because we enjoy it. However, fortunately very rarely, some people phrase their questions in a way that makes it appear as if we were there only to satisfy their demands (I am not talking about probus). We are only human, and we react sometimes.

    I try to accord others respect, and I like to be treated with respect. By that word I mean simply the natural polite behaviour that makes human relationships more civilised. It is indeed possible that Bob and I were a little over-sensitive on the occasion we are talking about - I did say we are only human. However, everything was cleared up quickly, until you chose to express your disapproval of Bob's words - which, of course you are free to do; and I am free to respond.
    Last edited by 5jj; 01-Mar-2011 at 07:54. Reason: typo

  4. #14
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    Default Re: up in smoke

    I was just reading this thread and I found it really interesting. I think this is an excellent example of how language and culture are really inseparable. Not to mention interpretation.

    Am I correct to assume that you are all native English speakers? Personally I find I real life misunderstandings can teach me far more about communication than many textbooks. Needless to say these were really useful posts and funny enough unintentional, eh?

  5. #15
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    Default Re: up in smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by SanMar View Post
    Am I correct to assume that you are all native English speakers?
    If you look above the top right-hand corner of the posts, you will see our home country, native language, and the type of member we claim to be - teacher, academic, etc.
    Last edited by 5jj; 01-Mar-2011 at 13:38. Reason: typo

  6. #16
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    Default Re: up in smoke

    Thanks ...my bad.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidor View Post
    It's a message board. People talk to each other. I remain, to use a British term, gobsmacked that someone could imagine a request to answer at further length to be disrepectful. And to be perfectly candid, you aren't a "senior advisor", you are someone using a message board. This is not a teacher-student setting and the people who come here are not in a subordinate relationship to you. Their time is not more valuable than yours, but it is also not less valuable. I can't begin to imagine how a request to elaborate on a message board posting could ever be interpreted as disrespectful.

    Finally, your language wasn't too precise, and I didn't fail to understand you. I don't agree, which is different.
    Words fail me. This forum is called Ask a Teacher: that context establishes the relative seniority of questioners and teachers. This is where I bow out.

    b

  8. #18
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    Default Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Words fail me. This forum is called Ask a Teacher: that context establishes the relative seniority of questioners and teachers. This is where I bow out.

    b
    It isn't a classroom. These are not your students. This isn't your job. The questioners aren't getting scholastic credit. This is something you and they are doing in your spare time. And this forum isn't called Ask a Teacher; that is a separate subforum. I don't go into Ask a Teacher because I'm not one. The non-native speakers that come here should not be expected to regard themselves in a subordinate relationship with you, because they aren't.

    And with that I bow out as well, because I've said my peace and I don't wish this to become an extended argument.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: up in smoke

    I think you left in the nick of time, Bob.

  10. #20
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: not a teacher

    To get the thread back on track, I hear up in smoke used in British English as an idiom to describe plans, dreams, ambitions, etc, going wrong or disappearing.

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