All of MonBonify's Comments + Replies

The fallacy of work-life compartmentalization

I still don't understand how a normally smart person's inability to work with a computer is parallel to the way rational people operate irrationally in the work place. The latter, I agree, is an example of compartmentalization, as people prioritize their personal life to the extent that they are willing to rationalize operating in a lousy office environment to support their lifestyle. But I don't think people are compartmentalizing when they can't understand computers--I think they simply aren't familiar with the system. If it was compartmentalization you ... (read more)

7Morendil12yThe idea I'm trying to get at is "failure to apply insight across domains". Scientists, including mathematicians, gain in the domain of science insights such as "formulating experiments that provide evidence for hypotheses", or "observing regularities in behaviour", or "forming conceptual models which explain phenomena". When these scientists, faced with a computer, tell me that they have "tried" various random things and appear unable to express these "tryings" in the language of experimentation and regularities, I come to the conclusion that they are failing to transport these insights from the domain of science into the domain of "dealing with the goddam computer". Hence the quote about people's brains switching off. This generalizes somewhat from trained scientists to "smart" people in general, if you allow that by "smart" we often mean people who use insights of the same sorts that scientists use: logic, deduction, and so on.

"Real users would never do that" is a phrase of art among professional software testers, and they use it with heavy irony. For vastly more values of that than you care to imagine, there are real users who in fact not only do it, but expect it to work.

The fallacy of work-life compartmentalization

So is there hope for corporate culture? I sort of think the ability to articulate your ideas clearly and quickly is the key. It would be interesting to see how corporate culture changes if a company tries to only hire the most articulate people. They could even create an articulation test I bet!

The fallacy of work-life compartmentalization

On another note, I don't think anyone has ever shut down their computer in the hopes that it would help them find a file. That example throws me off for a few reasons actually. I think your thoughts not being true to yourself at work are very valid, but I think the reason it happens is because we're trying to fit within a system (not such an irrational idea in many cases). Learning how that new system operates is key to mastering it--weather it's corporate culture or a new type of computer platform. I would argue that it's a lack of familiarity with a give... (read more)

9hugh12yNot that this matters, but one of my father's friends frequently asks me for computer help. He was rebooting because he was "missing emails". He was also opening the wrong program (he uses webmail in a browser, but was opening outlook express) in order to find them. For some reason, he thought that "they" had changed the interface on him, and didn't realize he was clicking on the wrong icon.
The fallacy of work-life compartmentalization

Teamwork only happens when everyone in the group respects each other. Without respect, people don't try to understand different ways of thinking and communication breaks down. You end up with an environment where everyone has their own agenda, no one speaks the same language or subscribes to the same logic, and junior-level employees are forced to operate within a uniform system to which only small incremental changes can be made. It's so difficult to be understood that a very limiting lexicon of cliches develops to compensate, i.e. "reinvent the whe... (read more)

Yep, good points on teamwork.

I think it's inefficient to try and change corporate culture from the bottom up

The apparent alternative, top-down, doesn't fare much better - I speak from some experience.

Culture change in general is very hard to bring about, because what we think of as "culture" tends to be precisely that which people do without thinking about why. To even describe cultural aspects often requires talking to an outsider: "Sorry about that, I should have explained that we don't greet people with handshakes here."

Priors and Surprise

The new functionality wouldn't allow users to edit the post, but rather alert the author that there is a typo that might need fixing--does that help clarify my previous comment? I agree that allowing users to edit posts without the approval of the author could do more harm than good.

Imagine that there is another link below each post that opens the text of the post in a new window in which you are able to highlight typos (this could be programmed in a variety of ways--I would want to do more research on it to determine the best one). Once submitted, highli... (read more)

1Hook12yThat sounds like a decent solution. I have no idea how hard the little red dot would be to program, but I think it would be distracting for the people who don't care about the typos. The highlighted text from previous typo-alerts makes sure that only the people who care get the information.
Priors and Surprise

Yes, I volunteer myself. I would need feedback on the best solution--as the one I previously outlined was just one way it could be done. Right now, below each post are the following options: Vote up, Vote down, Comments (#), Save, and Report. They could easily add "Mark a typo" or "Report a typo" that could pop out a new window in which you can alert the author of a typo that needs fixing.

In terms of effort vs. gain--you pose an interesting question. I would argue that it is worth the effort. This is a website about rational thought, s... (read more)

4Hook12yYou should consider other solutions, since the first one you think of is unlikely to be the best/cheapest to implement. The "Edit" functionality already exists. Users above a certain karma level could be allowed to edit posts, as in the case of StackOverflow [http://stackoverflow.com/]. The major cost is that there would need to be a way to revert changes to prevent vandalism. Morendil pointed out that DM are a bit harder to send than comments. If desired, that could be fixed cheaply. There are surely other solutions.
Priors and Surprise

I find it distracting when people report typos in the public comments--more distracting than the typos themselves in the actual post. There should be a better interface that: 1) allows users to easily report typos without writing a comment or a direct message 2) drives awareness that the community should help edit posts 3) alerts users that a typo has been reported in a unintrusive way.

Perhaps they can make each line of a post a live link that you can click to view a pop-up box in which you can write an edit. A little red dot in the margin by a line in w... (read more)

-1Larks12yReport a typo, and then reply to your own report. As a footnote to the typo-report, you would ask people to downvote the report so it became hidden, and upvote the daughter-post as a karma-balance. e.g.
0[anonymous]12yReport a typo, and then reply to your own report. As a footnote to the typo-report, you would ask people to downvote the report so it became hidden, and upvote the daughter-post as a karma-balance. e.g.
0[anonymous]12yReport a typo, and then reply to your own report. As a footnote to the typo-report, you would ask people to downvote the report so it became hidden, and upvote the daughter-post as a karma-balance. e.g. Larks
6FAWS12yThat sounds like it would require considerable programming effort without all that much gain. Do you volunteer to do it yourself?
Great Product. Lousy Marketing.

The desire to persuade people isn't necessarily rational, especially when it comes to "enlightening" people on the superiority of rational thought. I think a truly rational person's allegiance should always rest in truth. Truth, in it self, is a very powerful notion that doesn't need the help of manipulative persuasive tactics to inspire people.

I think persuasive techniques can be adapted to help discover the truth, as long as the parties involved completely respect each other and are willing to ask questions that help the other better articulat... (read more)

Things You Can't Countersignal

As far as the Advertising example goes, I think I disagree. Advertising has become less effective because there is so much more of it. There are advertisements in more places than ever and and consumers are so used to seeing it that it's hard to break through that clutter and grab their attention, especially in terms of the interruptive-based advertising model that is used on TV and in banner advertising online.

What might actually illustrate this point is the reason why advertising can be really horrible. It's not that ad specialist have to signal their c... (read more)