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Irony, stupidity and the difficulty in detecting the difference

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posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 05:04 PM
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In the last few months, I've spotted a large increase in certain members posting what appear to be intended as ironic comments in the Aliens & UFOs forum.

Some skeptics have posted comments that seem to be intended to highlight and exaggerate the gullibility in some posts, with some (although I think fewer) believers similarly posting comments appearing to question even the most straightforward statements to exaggerate the skepticism of some members of ATS.

The irony comments are presumably examples of "reduction to the absurd", i.e. where a proposition is attacked by following its implications logically to an absurd consequence.

However, on their face, many of those comments merely appear stupid and result in the thread being derailed when people that have not detected the irony comment upon the stupidity apparent in the ironic post.

It is only from knowing previous posts from some of the members that it is possible to detect the irony in many of the relevant comments. Many people visiting ATS do not, however, have sufficient experience of previous posts by the same members to be able to detect such subtleties.

In Internet discussions it is difficult to tell when a comment is intended seriously or not. Misunderstandings are common-place.

So, I thought I'd quickly post this plea to some of the relevant members (you know who you are...) to consider whether the ironic comments are helping or merely add to the (fairly considerable) problems that exist in debates in this forum.

All the best,

Isaac
edit on 14-2-2011 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 05:06 PM
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Seriously, best post ever.



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 05:11 PM
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Originally posted by iversusvsversusi
Seriously, best post ever.


are you being ironic only its difficult to tell...



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 05:59 PM
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Well, it's inevitable that some people will take every post literally, and unfortunate that people will not often do a sufficient amount of homework attempting to understand the context of a discussion prior to posting, but because some people are irony-impaired, does that mean that we should ban irony? Some people are color-blind and cannot see what we know as purple; it renders as grey. Should we then ban purple and only allow shades of grey? Perhaps we should avoid big words because some people don't know them, or acronyms because they can be confusing. Oxymorons, too, are a problem (Even single word ones: Is there any such thing as "standards"?) We could go after certain unpopular professions next. Oh, let's not go there. We could have lots of fun with this, but it's nothing a restoration of the "Ignore" button wouldn't fix.



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 06:26 PM
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I think sometimes the intended recipient cannot grasp the ironic comment because they may be either really young, or not fully versed in English. If English is a second language, they may miss the innuendo. Conversely they may be intentionally obtuse as a means of firing back. I'm not sure as I don't see the threads where it happens, but I know that I try to leave a little (sarcasm) mark or a (j/k) to end a comment.
edit on 14/2/11 by shadow watcher because: stupid marks screwingthings up all the time grumble grumble



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 09:38 PM
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I like the ironic and sarcastic comments. They can be amusing. However, I don't mind admitting that when I'm in full flow, it's easy to miss the meaning. It really can derail threads at times.

reply to post by Versa
 

Sorry Versa, but will you change your avatar. It's horrible. I don't know why but I don't like it. Put it away!
edit on 14/2/11 by Pimander because: typo



posted on Feb, 15 2011 @ 07:37 AM
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Originally posted by schuyler
because some people are irony-impaired, does that mean that we should ban irony?


I wasn't suggesting banning anything - just asking that people considering posting an ironic post to keep in mind that it can sometimes be difficult to tell for visitors to ATS to tell if someone is being ironic or merely stupid.

Let's take an example: someone responds to a thread on the latest Youtube video by posting "There's no way this can be a hoax. It is clear proof of alien visitors. When are the sheeple going to wake up?????". How can you tell - at least unless you've previously had some experience of the relevant poster - if that was intended as an ironic response (funny or otherwise) or whether it was someone just being, well, less questioning that many members of ATS?



Originally posted by schuyler
perhaps we should avoid big words because some people don't know them, or acronyms because they can be confusing.


If the big words get in the way of efficient and effective communication, then, yes, I would think twice about using them on an Internet forum. What would be the point, other than showing off? I don't think this is actually much of an issue, but the use of acronyms and abbreviations can be more signficant.

The over-use of acronyms and abbreviations on the Internet are a pet hate of mine.

On some forums, certain names come up so often that they are commonly referred to by their initials. But what about the poor newcomer who is trying to get a grip on the topic?

If some scientist with a limited amount of time to spare decides to look into a UFO case or issue, how do you think he is going to respond to encountering a discussion littered with unexplained acronyms and abbreviations?

For that matter, on some of the relevant Internet discussions I've seen various experienced members clearly talking at cross-purposes because they have different understandings of the abbreviations used by the other. While this can be amusing to those reading the threads that can see the misunderstanding, it must be pretty confusing to others...

While getting away from my initial topic slightly, the basic issue is the same - clear communication which avoids misunderstandings and increasing the (very considerable) amount of time that is wasted when discussing UFOs. (I'm less optimistic than I once was as to whether ALL time spend discussing UFOs is wasted...)

All the best,

Isaac



edit on 15-2-2011 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2011 @ 10:18 AM
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Originally posted by IsaacKoi
(snip)....but the use of acronyms and abbreviations can be more significant.

The over-use of acronyms and abbreviations on the Internet are a pet hate of mine.

On some forums, certain names come up so often that they are commonly referred to by their initials. But what about the poor newcomer who is trying to get a grip on the topic?

If some scientist with a limited amount of time to spare decides to look into a UFO case or issue, how do you think he is going to respond to encountering a discussion littered with unexplained acronyms and abbreviations?
(snip)
... the basic issue is the same - clear communication which avoids misunderstandings and increasing the (very considerable) amount of time that is wasted when discussing UFOs.

edit on 15-2-2011 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)

Emphasis mine.

I can answer that for you. He'd be tempted to walk away.

As a person genuinely interested in the topic and familiar with the internet, I still had problems getting to grips with all the in talk and acronyms. We shouldn't communicate in a difficult to penetrate almost closed shop way.

If I started to talk about PAGE (polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis), rt-PCR (reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reactions) or GPCRs (G-protein coupled receptors) then most of you would probably be completely baffled. That because it's in-talk. Only a molecular biologist, pharmacologist or biochemist is likely to understand me. If I talk about the science, I try to make it understandable to any intelligent layman. Although in the main I have refrained from commenting on my own field as it does seem to be a minefield.

All threads/posts should be presented in a way intelligible to any intelligent layman who can understand English. If this simple rule is followed, we educate and enlighten. If not, we limit accessibility to a subject and promote ignorance.

I seem to remember that in the information given to new members, we are asked not to make excessive use of acronyms, net-speak, text-speak etc. I even have a feeling it was one of the site owners who wrote it. Yet even the site owners do it all the time. It really does put new members off.

Isaac, do you think this view on language is just an English quirk?


edit on 15/2/11 by Pimander because: typo



posted on Feb, 15 2011 @ 10:21 AM
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I completely agree and it's not just limited to the UFO board. For examples of this you can also see any post on religious discussions. Guaranteed somewhere in the post pages 2-3 will be a very helpful person logging a one line post such as "The Bible is made up" or "God and Satan don't exist".



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 12:43 PM
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Originally posted by Pimander
I seem to remember that in the information given to new members, we are asked not to make excessive use of acronyms, net-speak, text-speak etc. I even have a feeling it was one of the site owners who wrote it. Yet even the site owners do it all the time. It really does put new members off.

Isaac, do you think this view on language is just an English quirk?



I don't know, but I fear it is there are at least two universal tendencies at play - a tendency to want to show off knowledge and a tendency to address comments to peers rather than making allowance for outsiders reading material.

All the best,

Isaac



posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 02:05 PM
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The ones that are mostly ironi, if you ask them their age, they will most surely tell you that they are older than they are because they are nothing more than kids trying to be internet trolls because its cool to do that and to talk in memes ... like for example "PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN" ...


I suggest banning or at least some form of punishment for this because these people are the main causes for the majority of thread derailings and off topic discussions ...



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 03:51 PM
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originally posted by: IsaacKoi
In the last few months, I've spotted a large increase in certain members posting what appear to be intended as ironic comments in the Aliens & UFOs forum.

Some skeptics have posted comments that seem to be intended to highlight and exaggerate the gullibility in some posts, with some (although I think fewer) believers similarly posting comments appearing to question even the most straightforward statements to exaggerate the skepticism of some members of ATS.


It turns out that the phenomenon that I was commenting upon in this thread (which I started back in 2011 but applies equally now...) was something that was already the subject of an Internet adage known as "Poe's law" which states that, without a clear indicator of the author's intent, parodies of extreme views will, to some readers, be indistinguishable from sincere expressions of the parodied views.

According to Wikipedia:



"Poe's law" was originally written by Nathan Poe in 2005, in a post on christianforums.com, an Internet forum about Christianity. The post was written in the context of a debate about creationism, where a previous poster had remarked to another user "Good thing you included the winky. Otherwise people might think you are serious."[4] Poe then replied, "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is uttrerly [sic] impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won't mistake for the genuine article." The original statement of Poe's law referred specifically to creationism, but it has since been generalized to apply to any kind of fundamentalism or extremism.

In part, Poe's post reiterated advice often posted on internet forums, about the need to clearly mark sarcasm and parody (e.g. with a smiling emoticon) to avoid confusion. As early as 1983, Jerry Schwarz, in a post on Usenet, wrote: "Avoid sarcasm and facetious remarks. Without the voice inflection and body language of personal communication these are easily misinterpreted. A sideways smile, :-), has become widely accepted on the net as an indication that "I'm only kidding". If you submit a satiric item without this symbol, no matter how obvious the satire is to you, do not be surprised if people take it seriously."



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 04:12 PM
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a reply to: IsaacKoi

I guess it all depends on the intent of your post.

Some [like the OP] are used to reading aloud to an audience, while others are directing their posts towards those involved in the discussion at hand, where there's a reasonable expectation that any irony will be detected and the reference understood.
In such an environment irony is a valid and economical form of communication.

If I get the sense there is a language barrier or genuine lack of understanding I will explain such references. It happens.



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 06:48 PM
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a reply to: draknoir2

If I get the sense there is a language barrier or genuine lack of understanding I will explain such references. It happens.

When you say "Bigfoot is real", are you being serious? Because I really think bigfoot is a real alien hybrid... made from possum tails. I mean, come on, bigfoot is real. Right?
a reply to: IsaacKoi

However, on their face, many of those comments merely appear stupid

OK, that's just mean.



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 06:54 PM
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a reply to: IsaacKoi

Regarding "Poe's Law", whether in writing or face to face, it's how close one can get to that line of ambiguity and still have the subtext reach the intended mark that defines the effacacy of the sarcasm. Once you draw attention to it with emoticons wielding signs that read "SARCASM" it ceases to be that. It gives the impression of "dumbing down" for the masses while less blatant alerts, such as winking smilies, can be construed as condescension. I'm not a fan of emoticons.



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: ZetaRediculian

I think Bigfoot is real. I also think stating this matter-of-factly, without any supporting evidence whatsoever, in a thread where I've called others out for the same lack of evidence is amusing.



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 07:04 PM
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originally posted by: ZetaRediculian
a reply to: draknoir2

If I get the sense there is a language barrier or genuine lack of understanding I will explain such references. It happens.

When you say "Bigfoot is real", are you being serious? Because I really think bigfoot is a real alien hybrid... made from possum tails. I mean, come on, bigfoot is real. Right?



Wait... Were you being sarcastic?



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 07:21 PM
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originally posted by: draknoir2
a reply to: ZetaRediculian

I think Bigfoot is real. I also think stating this matter-of-factly, without any supporting evidence whatsoever, in a thread where I've called others out for the same lack of evidence is amusing.

There is a mountain of evidence for bigfoot. Here, checkout www.bigfotisrealnomatterwhat.com Besides, its totally up to someone else to prove bigfoot is not real. Maybe you think everyone is a hallucinating, delusional moe.ron...?



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 07:26 PM
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originally posted by: draknoir2

originally posted by: ZetaRediculian
a reply to: draknoir2

If I get the sense there is a language barrier or genuine lack of understanding I will explain such references. It happens.

When you say "Bigfoot is real", are you being serious? Because I really think bigfoot is a real alien hybrid... made from possum tails. I mean, come on, bigfoot is real. Right?



Wait... Were you being sarcastic?

Huh? Were you being serious? Hold on, I lost track. Which post?



posted on Oct, 31 2015 @ 04:42 PM
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Here's my take.

You all know what they say about males with big feet so...

Since all the pics and films we have of bigfoot show him nude, and there's no evidence of the concomitant appendage that goes along with big feet, ipso facto, e pluribus unum and cogito ergo sum, they are all fakes.

Harte



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