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When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political.

 
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EarlSlick
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 152
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:47 am    Post subject: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political. Reply with quote

Why is that when people want to have an in depth discussion about engineering or science concepts in regard to a particular commercial product, things always get nasty? It seems the script reads like this:

1. Curious individuals parse a particular claim, and react to it skeptically.
2. Well qualified individuals will play devil's advocate and force every one to consider the other perspective.
3. Some, extremely lesser qualified individuals (in the arena of the technical), will insist skepticism for the claim is unfounded for the lack of what they consider "proof".
4. When plenty of credible evidence is presented, the unqualified individual will then start to demand answers to irrelevant questions.
5. Things get ugly.
6. Thread gets locked.

Some times when the thread gets locked, everyone has said everything that needs to be said. It is unfortunate however, when the original curious group of individuals are then unable to reach closure in regard to their curiosity, all because of anti-intellectual trouble making.

I don't bring this up to rehash old threads, but just to vent.
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willhouk
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 63
Location: Carson City, NV

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject: Re: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political. Reply with quote

I hate to contradict, but let me play devil's advocate for a minute here. Let me show you another perspective...

Just kidding.

I think that is a great summation of many "discussions" on many message boards, and Facebook posts I've seen. My best reasoning of this phenomenon is that while message boards are great resources of information, their one flaw is the mode of communication. When you are not talking to someone face-to-face you are much more likely to come off as condescending, and negative. One has to go to great lengths sometimes to communicate that they are not offended, or upset, or pissed off.

I guess some people are just dicks too. However, I tend to think that I am not a jerk, but I've said some dumb things on message boards many times. So... that leads me to think that this is a mix of personality issues, and communication issues. I think we could all benefit from a big dose of humility.
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EarlSlick
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 152
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:44 pm    Post subject: Re: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political. Reply with quote

What I find particularly discouraging is that this whole situation can basically be viewed as a microcosm of commercial interests steam-rolling the pursuit of accurate information. This is not exclusive to the audio world, but very prevalent within it.

Although it is not necessarily the companies themselves that obfuscate the truth, sometimes their fanboys do this, or a combination of both.
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sessionsatstudiom
gimme a little kick & snare


Joined: 14 Mar 2011
Posts: 93
Location: Near the Salty Water

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject: Re: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political. Reply with quote

EarlSlick wrote:
What I find particularly discouraging is that this whole situation can basically be viewed as a microcosm of commercial interests steam-rolling the pursuit of accurate information. This is not exclusive to the audio world, but very prevalent within it.

Although it is not necessarily the companies themselves that obfuscate the truth, sometimes their fanboys do this, or a combination of both.


I would agree with you about finding the truth or the accurate info. But this world is run by marketing and marketing is about getting you interested in something but not giving the truth.

As to the second part of your statement. Sometimes we all get into a product and can't look past it. I am guilty of this from time to time. But in the end we work in an art and not a science. So even the accurate info is tainted with personal judgement.

Because for me a manufacturer can post the specs of the product and that is fine. But I have to hear it for me to make my own biased opinion on that product.

Kind of random thoughts sorry,

Mike
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leigh
carpal tunnel


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 1632
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political Reply with quote

EarlSlick wrote:
Why is that when people want to have an in depth discussion about engineering or science concepts in regard to a particular commercial product, things always get nasty?

...It is unfortunate however, when the original curious group of individuals are then unable to reach closure in regard to their curiosity, all because of anti-intellectual trouble making.


Yep, no kidding. In those cases where there's no closure, it's pretty frustrating.

And, might I add, it's particularly ironic in those cases where the anti-intellectual troublemaking comes from a representative of the very commercial product being discussed.

Leigh
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Gregg Juke
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 12 Jun 2010
Posts: 3315
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:20 pm    Post subject: Re: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political. Reply with quote

Mike,

At the risk of getting annoying/stalker-ish, check your PM box.

GJ
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dfuruta
re-cappin' neve


Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 697

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:51 pm    Post subject: Re: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political. Reply with quote

Some people don't like the idea that recording involves math and physics, and react negatively when threads seem (to them) to be privileging "science" over "art". That's great when the conversation is about aesthetics but not so good when the discussion is actually technical, e.g. the common topics of sampling theory, dsp, or computer design.

Some people seem to also have vested commercial interests in the companies under investigation...
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Scodiddly
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 10 Dec 2003
Posts: 3369
Location: Mundelein, IL, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:05 pm    Post subject: Re: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political. Reply with quote

I've seen this a couple times before.

One was on a different audio board... a guy showed up who seemed pretty cool, from various responses seemed to know his stuff. Then a real weird one came up - the effect (this was all live sound) of having one speaker cable longer than another. The guy swore up and down that there were audible timing differences between say 25 and 75 feet of speaker cable, and that if the rest of us couldn't hear it we should get into some other line of work.

The thing was, this guy was totally immune to any rational explanations. He'd been backed into a corner, and no way could he admit or even discuss any other possible answer. Same thing happened again on the subject of soldering iron temperatures... he said something totally wrong, and could not back down.

I think it's a small cost to pay for the kind of information we get from the Internet, though.
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leigh
carpal tunnel


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 1632
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:50 am    Post subject: Re: When Technical Discussions Mysteriously Become Political. Reply with quote

Scodiddly wrote:
I think it's a small cost to pay for the kind of information we get from the Internet, though.


Agreed!
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