Hello and welcome!
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this post.
I mean that sincerely.
I'm replying with this post because something about your comment seems to have triggered my Hesitation Reaction.
Explaining what that means requires too much nuance to write it out every time. But I think I miss out on a lot of good conversations because of this Hesitation Reaction, which is essentially one of self-protection.
So I created this post to explain my Hestitation Reaction in case you find it helpful in engaging with me differently, hopefully in ways we both prefer, in our original thread of conversation.
My Hesitation Reaction, in brief
To start, these are my own emotions, which are my responsibility, not yours. The point of articulating them isn't to blame you for them!!!
The point is that your comment may have had the (non-blameworthy) side effect of bringing these emotions up in me, and that it will for practical purposes be difficult for me to continue having the interesting discussion we might both like to have as a result, without some sort of hopefully minor adjustment to get us back on track.
My hope is that exposing these facts about my emotions in this level of depth will facilitate us mutually and collaboratively figuring out some productive next steps. That's not on you to sort out on your own. I'm up for my half of the bargain too.
On an emotional level, my Hesitation Reaction is often a combination of:
- Kind of a chilled emotional feeling, a sort of pulling back. It's the reaction you have when somebody is noticeably less warm or interested or generous about something you're excited about than you had anticipated or hoped for.
- Anxiety that I'm being either trolled or drawn into a contest over status, expertise or authority.
- Frustration that my goals in posting feel like they're not being recognized.
- A feeling as though I'm being singled out as less worthy, implicitly excluded or marginalized somehow.
Here is another picture of an elephant seal to lighten the mood:
Making me Hesitate is not a crime
Look, I really get it! It's tough to judge how much effort to put in, what needs to be said, who the heck the person you're talking to is and what their motivations are. Sometimes, we all leave comments that make the other person Hesitate, when we didn't mean to. And that's not necessarily a sign that we did anything wrong at all.
In fact, the main reason I wrote this is because I suspect I'm leaving a lot of value on the table by having low-grade negative reactions to Hestitation-provoking comments that actually could have been the start of a really interesting conversation.
So please don't take the fact that I linked you to this post as a criticism of you, or of your comment. This is the most important thing I want you to take away from this post. Instead, I linked you here because, through no fault of your own, your comment provoked my Hestitation Reaction. Assuming good faith, I want to highlight some reasons why that might have been, and invite you to take whatever steps you like to address that reaction, very much including nothing at all!
I hope you and anybody else who sees the link will perceive this post as my best attempt to expose a part of my perhaps neurotic psychology for your direct inspection, not as a criticism or as a status move.
Common drivers of my Hesitation Reaction.
Note that these are all my subjective perceptions, which don't necessarily reflect your intentions, how other people would see the situation, or the facts of the matter. Almost certainly only a small subset of these apply in this specific case.
- Overemphasizing a genuine problem in my post that I don't consider to be among the highest-priority problems with it.
- Getting too "big picture." For example, let's say I write a post of detailed technical analysis about a specific company and publish it as investment advice (unlikely!). If you respond that the Efficient Market Hypothesis means my advice is probably worthless, that's an example of "too big picture." The very fact that I decided to write a post of investment advice about a specific company means that I've implicitly decided to not deal with that objection in the context of that post, so bringing it up there is distracting. That's not to say it's irrelevant, just that you should find a different space for your thoughts.
- Not showing a clear understanding of what I'm trying to accomplish with my post
- Making a request that would be a lot of work for me, without reassuring me that my efforts will be appreciated or lead to a useful outcome.
- Critiquing my post in a way that feels disengaged and shallow, as if you're available to point out problems but not interested in helping me make the post into a useful product.
- Critiques that essentially boil down to "this post isn't as good as it could be." "This post isn't good enough for reasons X, Y and Z" are totally fine, and if you made a comment like that and I linked you to this post, please correct me.
- Assuming that my decision to leave something out was forgetful rather than deliberate. I may well have forgotten it, but start by asking!
Suggested next steps
Acknowledge: Don't apologize - you really don't need to! Just give a sort of "message received" acknowledgement and, if you want to figure out how to proceed with a more in-depth conversation, let me know about that fact. If anybody picked on you because I linked you to this post, I'd have your back :P
Consider: Spend a moment to hypothesize about what might have provoked my Hesitation Reaction, perhaps using the suggestions above.
Adjust: The point isn't to make up for anything, because you did nothing wrong. I just need you to make a hopefully minor adjustment that will help me let my guard down, so we can enjoy the rest of our conversation together.
It is also fine if you simply don't want to continue the conversation or make any adjustments!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
Hmm. I kind of understand, but I think this is a bit weak of a response in many cases. It's not a "hesitation reaction", it's an actual decision not to respond. More importantly, you're framing it as "this is my reaction and I own it", but you're also recommending that the recipient think about and make some changes. That contradiction removes 95% of the value of this post. Be firmer - your comment was unhelpful to me in the current context, and I'm not planning to respond unless you clarify or refocus it.
Or maybe I fully misunderstand what you're trying to convey. I'll laugh a lot if you link this post as your reply to this comment (but I probably won't try again).
Your reply doesn't provoke my HR :) It conveys enough effort to frame your own thoughts, and enough generosity and warmth, that I feel engaged to reply.
This is my main point of disagreement. There are two main areas where I expect that linking this post will lead to better outcomes than I'm experiencing currently.
First, it's a better alternative to literally leaving no response at all. I also expect it will be more informative and less hurtful than silently downvoting.
Second, it's a better alternative to responding in a curmugeonly or defensive manner. I suspect that when I press on with debate despite this HR, it affects the way I carry on a conversation. I think it leads to frustrating, time-consuming, energy-sapping, relationship-degrading conversations that I feel bad about after. Instead of barrelling on ahead, I can link to this, see if they 'get it', and we can both figure out how to reorient.
Some people will probably agree with you on this, and for that cohort, linking to this post probably won't be helpful, as you say. This post is written for everybody else ;D
I've tried this, but in my experience, firmness is better for banishing trolls, not for promoting a rejuvenation of conversation. End of the day, there's an element of personal style or aesthetic to this post, and it reflects an approach to navigating conflict that suits me. To each their own!
But that's the most interesting cohort your not aiming for!
The rest of the stuff on LW nowadays is too mixed up in tedious signalling games, either intentionally or being hard to distinguish, to be of much value.
interesting! now i think about how my own version of this post will look like - and what those differences tell me about myself. i think that if different people will write their own versions (i count Duncan's rules of discussion as his own version, despite the different format) it will give interesting information about how people are different, and how to pass their ITT. i may try to write my own version of such post as an exercise in "know thyself".
small upvoted for water doggy
Isn't referring to things obliquely due to status considerations itself?
I think a post on "Here's Why I'm Meta-Hesitant To Respond In More Depth" would be even more interesting.