First posted on r/erisology - link.

I tried to come up with a way to detect trolls, realized that actually what I want to achieve is a way to detect conversation that I want to drop. It's hard to define on meta-level because my goals are different in each case. It feels like really basic stuff, but I've failed to find here a discussion of it. Also, this is my first post here, so I'd appreciate any feedback and links to stuff that might be basic.

So, here are some reasons that a discussion might feel hopeless.

  1. The topic is genuinely above our level to comprehend on a level that we're able to discuss or explain it.
    1. It's above the level of our civilization - e.g. cutting-edge math and STEM research, when we aren't sure that there is some truth-verification mechanism.
    2. It's above my personal level, but I still want to participate if the interlocutor can verify and/or explain. E.g. explanations of math paradoxes, feel somewhat hopeless for me.
    3. It's above the level of all participants - when neither I nor my friends understand rocket science or have experience of extreme poverty, but we're sure there are people who do.
  2. Too long inferential distances
    1. About the topic. I don't understand math, talk to an expert, but it just can't be comprehended in one conversation.
    2. About meta-level, like communication. Like, talking to someone who doesn't have an idea that argument can be valid or invalid. Graham Pyramid, Grice’s Cooperative Principles, Conflict/mistake theory, what have you.
  3. Bad environment - too many participants can be as bad as loud noise IRL.
  4. Frame differences - the difference with 2.2 is if noticed, can be relatively easily fixed.
  5. Different goals - can look similar to 4, but the best fix more often is to stop the discussion. I think it's any situation when the goal is not the search for mutual understanding or finding the truth, but it's hard to dissect. I can find only two classes:
    1. Innocent, like a maintenance engineer, who is interested in fixing the problem, talking to a manager who is interested in fixing the reason the problem appeared or firing the guilty.
    2. Malicious - conscious trolling, guilt-tripping, lying, etc.
  6. One of the participants lacks actual intelligence to discuss. The difference with 1 and 2 is that no amount of explanations or no length of discussion will be sufficient to explain it. Hard to detect, not sure how often is actually true.
    1. Any reversible INT debuffs are here too. Being deeply affected by something, whether it's sleep deprivation, shock, or a drug.
  7. Lack of motivation and effort from one of the participants - it basically functions like a mix of 1 and 6, but I wasn't sure whether to put in under one of them or not. It is similar in effect to 6 and 2 but there is a possibility to fix it through "enabling" oneself or making interlocutors interested enough with some effort.

Of course, there may be more than one reason.

I'll appreciate any thoughts on this topic or meta. If you have a knowledge base to search for such topics, like a wiki for erisology - please, share.

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1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:02 AM

This is not really erisology in any way, but I think specific topics of discussion/interactions with specific people may very well become Ugh Fielded if you have an initially bad experience.