Luke Stirling
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
paralipsis wrote:
This gets back to what triggered the debate Patrick got caught up in. Namely that "totally" cannot be used to contrast things in the same category. My point is that given those categories are themselves idiosyncratic, that doesn't make any sense. It presumes an authority over those categories where none exist.
The way comparative discussions work is that someone puts forth two or more things--specific things or categories of things--and invites others to compare and contrast.

If specific, concrete things are being compared, there's rarely any procedural problem. But if the things in question are categories or abstractions, it's fair for someone to say, "I don't classify things that way" or "The things in question aren't concrete enough for me."

It would not be fair, IMO, for someone to say, "It's stupid to put A and B in the same category, since they're totally different things." That's kinda hitting below the belt. Obviously they're not two totally different things to the person who put them into the same category.

When anyone poses a comparative question, that person does have "authority over those categories." If it's my question, I'll damned well ask it my own way and set any categories I want to. Your choice is to go along with me or not go along with me. When it's your turn to ask a question, you have authority over the categories.
But you were, and still are, arguing that the other speaker was wrong on semantic grounds. That's you trying to claim ownership over the meaning of things.

If you want to know how to avoid this in the future, as you suggested in your reply to Jack, it might be worth considering a different kind of response when your semantic Spidey senses go a-tinglin'. You could ask someone to clarify on their own terms. "Why do you think of those things as games, but also totally different?" Rather than stake a position in opposition to someone else holding a view, you allow them to elaborate and you can take it from there. One approach is antagonistic, and borderline passive-aggressive. And the other is attempting to build upon one another's knowledge. Both approaches have their time and place. Some people thrive in an adversarial position. But it is generally good manners not assume that with strangers. Just like you wouldn't take someone into your BDSM dungeon on a first date without first determining whether they are into that kind of thing.
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p55carroll
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"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
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"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
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paralipsis wrote:
But you were, and still are, arguing that the other speaker was wrong on semantic grounds. That's you trying to claim ownership over the meaning of things.
Uh, here's how it actually went:

Quote:
xethair wrote:
My favorite area of gaming is probably RPGing, but I don't really support ranking totally different things.
No argument, but I don't really support the hyperbole of calling two kinds of gaming "totally different." To me, it's impossible to name any two games that are totally different; if they're both games, they have something in common.

You've got me thinking, though. ...
I started with "No argument," added "to me," and then said, "You've got me thinking." How is that "claim[ing] ownership over the meaning of things"? As far as I can see, I only claimed ownership over my own understanding of a term.

Could I have been more circumspect about it? Sure. Could I have skipped the sarcasm? Yep. Could I have been more curious about Robert's point of view and asked a question instead of making a statement? Yeah. In hindsight, I wish I'd done all of those things.

But I don't see that what I actually did was so terribly offensive. Of course, I still apologize for it, since it evidently did ruffle some feathers. And in the future, I'll probably be more likely to take a different tack. But I don't see anything in what I said that might prompt anyone to click the red X button.

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Luke Stirling
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
But I don't see anything in what I said that might prompt anyone to click the red X button.
Nor did I. Like everything else we're discussing, it's a continuum. Provoking someone into a passionate defence of their position because they feel backed into a corner is not the same as being abusive or even rude, just that it creates a tone of discourse that tends to go a certain way with many people.
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