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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 162 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Line-by-line replies  (Read 5567 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2002, 08:42:09 PM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
I genuinely wonder if we're all talking about the same thing here. Could Clinton or Ron show us an example of a line-by-line reply, either by linking to a real-life one, or by creating one for us to see. I think it would be helpful.


I was going to try to demonstrate using your post, but I just can't.

I think that this is a matter of the spirit over the letter of the law, you know?

Quickie example: you know that big globe from the World's Fair in NYC that the flying saucer crashed into in MIB? That globe has a big fountain pool around it. There were big signs everywhere that read No Swimming but in the summertime, there were sure a lot of people wading in the water to get cool and the cops didn't even bother. Why? What was going on? The city knew better than to have a nice swimming hole like that and not let people use it in the heat of summer but at the same time they weren't going to shell out for lifeguards and the stuff like that. Swim At Your Own Risk doesn't have the teeth that No Swimming does, you see. This way, if you get hurt, not only can you not sue the city but they could level criminal charges against you.

Here at the Forge, the point is supposed to be for thoughtful, intelligent, constructive, and respective conversation and discussion. I'm pretty sure that Ron and Clinton don't care if you do sylable by sylable quoting and response so long as your adding positively to the discussion. They just don't want negative posts and this is one way some people have done so on different sites. It's just a law on the books.

If someone posts an intelligent post that happens to go line-by-line, I'll bet they'll let it side. If someone post negatively, not adding to the discussion or blantantly disrespectful in a line-by-line response, then they can cite the forum rules of no line-by-line posting.

It's less a matter of what you do than the manner in which you do it IMO.
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2002, 08:43:44 PM »

O.K., I've been reading, and thinking, and I've got some thoughts.

First, the problem isn't whether someone does a line-by-line response to someone else's post, really. It's whether they insist on quoting an entire post, in any form. More than once I've come upon a post that copies an entire post I just read, and then comments on it below, and my impression is, why? Why not just say, "in response to Walt", or even just "Walt:", and let me go back to find Walt's post if I haven't read it recently enough to figure out how your response relates to his statement? Particularly given that you probably really are not responding to the entire fifteen paragraphs you just copied, there's not much point in copying the entire thing.

And this applies if you go line-by-line, too, copying an entire post but breaking it up into bits.  If all you can say about some sentence is "Right", unless there's some particular reason why your agreement with that piece  matters, why is it there? It isn't, in my mind, an issue of whether you have quoted seventeen sections from those fifteen paragraphs and answered them individually, if you've genuinely said something in response to each one and not filled the space with stuff we didn't need to read again; it's if you've repeated a lot of material that isn't really relevant to what you want to say, and then tried to say something about it anyway, saying nothing.

A poster on the CGG list has a sig file that reads, "Your mother called; trim your quotes."

I suggest the policy isn't about line-by-line responses, but about limiting your quotes to material that must be repeated to be answered. I think I was able to write this post and make my points without quoting anyone's previous posts; and I think that I have answered things said in those other posts in a way that is clear enough for anyone who has read the thread sometime this week to understand how what I've said fits.

I say word the policy such that it limits quotes to those necessary for clarity, and mention that both line-by-line responses and quotes of entire posts or lengthy sections are suspect in this regard, as it is commonly the case that such quoting styles are repeating material unnecessarily.

--M. J. Young
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Mark D. Eddy
Member

Posts: 157


« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2002, 12:47:03 PM »

And then Irmo, one of the 'line-by-line' proponents, gives us all a decent example of a line-by-line response. Taking a single sentence out of a post and responding to it with fifteen lines of argument.

Fortunately, he seems to have snagged the thesis sentence from whoever it was (Clinton?), rather than one of the subpoints....
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Mark Eddy
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"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Blake Hutchins
Member

Posts: 614


« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2002, 11:14:01 AM »

FWIW, back in the mists of time I committed an aggressive line-by-line response to some stuff Raven had posted.  At the time, I had taken issue with the logic and some argument-related tactics in Raven's post, so I dissected his post.  He responded in kind, and we went back and forth a little before taking it offline and reaching an accommodation.  It's exactly the kind of tit-for-tat that isn't necessary or productive on these boards.  Mind you, as a recovering attorney, I enjoy nitpicking, especially with sharp, well-written guys like Raven, and it might work just fine as a private conversation lubricated by sophisticated adult beverages, but I was out of line, and I am not ashamed to admit it.  (Raven, I haven't forgotten I owe you a beer whenever we're able to hook up at GenCon, incidentally.)

It's all in the intent, guys.  Quoting for context, especially if you're responding to one point in a long post, is fine by me.  Quoting out of context or with intent to isolate and counter someone's assertion via rhetorical deconstruction, however, that's escalation.  It's a kind of competitive, combative behavior, and while it doesn't exceed the bounds of reasoned debate, it certainly does tend to drive toward a zero-sum result, i.e., it makes the point more about winning or losing, not the win-win of better insight or comprehension.  It  is, for want of a less crass term, dick slinging.

There are, of course, times when you may want to challenge the logic of someone's assertions.  I think you can do that without having to use the text scalpel.  I find the non-line-by-line requirement more challenging; it's forced me to think beyond knee-jerk attorney mode and made my few sputtering insights better ones for the effort.

Best,

Blake
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Irmo
Member

Posts: 258


« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2002, 04:02:41 PM »

Quote from: Blake Hutchins

It's all in the intent, guys.  Quoting for context, especially if you're responding to one point in a long post, is fine by me.  Quoting out of context or with intent to isolate and counter someone's assertion via rhetorical deconstruction, however, that's escalation.  It's a kind of competitive, combative behavior, and while it doesn't exceed the bounds of reasoned debate, it certainly does tend to drive toward a zero-sum result, i.e., it makes the point more about winning or losing, not the win-win of better insight or comprehension.  It  is, for want of a less crass term, dick slinging.


But:

Quote
IV. Other forum policies

B. Reporting a belligerent poster

If you have a problem with someone that is posting here because of issues on The Forge, please let Ron or Clinton know privately. Do not engage the poster yourself, and do not reprimand him, no matter how long you have been on The Forge.


together with

Quote

III. Posting  
D. "Flaming"

The Forge has its own standards for what constitutes a "flame." They are strict - including any dismissal of another's point without fair consideration, any expression of hostility even in response to perceived hostility, or even multiply posting to someone before they have a chance to get back to you, and anything similar. In other words, politeness and rudeness at the Forge follow the rules of conversation, not the general standards of the Internet.

If you are perceived as "flaming" someone, the following things will occur:

- You will be contacted via private message or e-mail and reminded of this guideline. We will ask you to make a follow-up post or (rarely) to edit your earlier post. You may argue your point with us privately. We are generally an understanding bunch, and will talk to you. Also, if the situation warrants it, an administrator will post in the relevant thread, letting everyone know that the topic has been taken to private discussion.
- If you do not respond within 48 hours, however, the administrators will post a note in the relevant thread detailing this.


already describe how combattive, i.e. belligerent behavior is being dealt with. So why an extra policy that in fact is only a special case of the other, and is apparently misunderstood even by people who have been here for a while like Jake, given that, if it is indeed a misinterpretation, it still discourages context-related quoting?
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Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2002, 06:48:01 AM »

Irmo, seriously, let it go.

The policy has always been a part of the Forge.
It has NEVER EVER discouraged context related quoting.  Go through the old posts and see that for yourself.  Your fear simply has not been bourne out by experience at this site.

Here's a rule.  If your post contains more than two seperate quotes and the majority of those quotes consist of only a single line or sentence, than you are posting line by line.  If not...your not.  There is not now, nor has there ever been a problem with quoting a paragraph at a time.  For some long essay-like articles breaking up responses into half a dozen seperate quotes is the only way to respond adequately.  This is perfectly acceptable as long as the quotes are a paragraph or two long and contain complete thoughts.

Line by line replies make it too easy to simply zero in on one ill written sentence and derail an entire valid discussion into an arguement over 1 sentence.  This is undesired.

But the bottom line, if you still don't understand or agree with this, is, quite frankly, you don't need to.  This is a moderated forum, and the moderators will make and enforce as necessary their moderator decisions.  Its good to once in a while challenge an existing policy to see if the assumptions behind it are still valid.  And you've done so.  But the moderators have made their decision and its time to move on.
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Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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Posts: 16490


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« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2002, 08:53:39 AM »

Hello,

Ralph has stated things fairly, I think, except for one small thing: the moderators (me and Clinton) haven't made that final decision. I've been intending to provide links to "good" and "bad" threads to satisfy Irmo's urge for an example, but various things (e.g. U.S. holiday, Thanksgiving) are keeping me busy until Monday.

Best,
Ron
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Blake Hutchins
Member

Posts: 614


« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2002, 10:42:05 PM »

Hi Irmo,

The policies you cite come about as reactions after the fact, whereas the warning policy constitutes notice of proscribed behavior.  They're different beasts.  Personally, I prefer having someone point out potential faux pas ahead of time, thereby giving me the option of avoiding censure and (potentially) resultant mild embarrassment.

I think line-by-line per se isn't invalid or rude, except when used in an aggressively deconstructive manner, in which case it risks achieving argument for the sake of argument.

Hope that helps clarify things.

Best,

Blake
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2002, 11:05:37 AM »

I was once asked not to employ line by line replies, which I objected to the time.  I too regard the notional problem as spurious; frankly I regard quoting a whole paragraph as bad etiquette, but perhaps thats just a hangup from old slow modems.  If you really wish me to post whole paragraphs instead of a specific statement, fine: but as a thread has just been locked on this ridiculous basis I have to say I really don't think that my citing whole paragraphs would really have changed the reaction.
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Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2002, 12:00:36 PM »

Hello,

People persist in missing the point. The issue is not, "Ack, you quoted a single line, you bad man," but rather, "You have responded to this person's post line by line." A bunch of lines, one after the other, each receiving its own response. That is the problem - it structurally contributes to poor discourse.

Best,
Ron
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