Humane Communication in Modern Media
Author *Unknown* — edited by

When involved in communications, especially text chat, awareness of certain concepts make the activity more fun for everyone. Two main concepts stand out, primarily because people tend to react to negative messages with negative responses.

1. Impersonal responses to personal attacks:

Computer communications are almost always written. Due to the fact that words carry only limited information, the noise to information ratio can become very dense, with a sentence the sender considered very mild becoming a hurricane of emotion in the mind of the receiver. Therefore try to keep personal nouns and pronouns, like "you" and "your" out of any message that may cause disagreement among other members of the chat. To express disagreement with a conceptual thought without triggering an emotional defense use impersonal terms:

Bad response:

"I think you are stupid to think computers should just be thrown away rather than fixed." This message may well cause the receiver to respond with some nasty reply, clogging the net with negative personal argument.

Better response:

"I have always found that computers could be fixed." This presents an opposite view, but the receiver will less likely consider it a personal attack.

If someone disagrees with you personally, or even attacks you viciously, you can simply ignore them or respond in an impersonal but polite way, not letting the attack affect you.

2. Understanding the Twit:

Occasionally, someone joins chat with only one interest, to cause as much uproar as possible. They may simply personally attack every person on the chat, or sometimes they attack every idea or subject thread they find, for the same purpose. They are often racist, sexist, nationist, or just plain stupid. If the rest of the members refuse to communicate with the twit, S/he will usually lose interest and stop posting.

Sometimes normally reasonable people become twits without realizing it, taking some argument or disagreement past the point of courtesy and drawing in others. The discipline of electronic communication really requires a more detached viewpoint than normal in other communication media because the usual subliminal undercurrents of communication one receives in other two-way mediums do not exist. Sarcasm and humor can easily become misunderstood and cause unintended ill feelings.

In electronic mediums, honesty, tact, and straightforwardness are of great significance. Without them, communication can stop cold. With these few hints, communication over computers can become a true joy instead of a cold hassle.

Adapted from nicecomm.txt