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No, you've got it all wrong! Geeks aren't socially awkward, they're socially "efficient"

Social conventions aren't established by protocol drafts, they're organic.

Also, people write long replies for a reason. Wording indicates emotional state. If you have trouble reading emotional state, you don't care. If, like most people, you do care, then this proposal is ridiculous.

An example:

"How about we schedule lunch next week? VSRP"

VSRP: "Can't make it, extremely busy. Maybe next month?"

FULL: "Sorry to say, I can't make it. I'd really like to but we're in a crunch right now, and I've got a booked calendar. Perhaps next month when things have died down? I'd really like to catch up but this month is already overwhelming"

I might take the VSRP as a bit of an affront. The full explanation however is quite understandable.




Personally, I find the latter response just disrespectful of my time. If all you want/need to say is you can't make it, don't write a bloody novel! All I need is an answer.

There's a time and place for long communication and it's in person. Not in an email.


That would be a problem between you and...you.

People are more important than "your time", and a failure to realize that is a dehumanization of the other party. The latter response demonstrates emotional sensitivity towards the other person in the conversation. Among most people, that is important. It makes the other party feel good. It reinforces that you do care about the other party enough to ensure that they are not potentially affronted by terse communication. This is why normal people, lacking in the self-absorption your post exudes, do this sort of thing.

And in any case it doesn't take more than a few seconds to write or read; when the hell did four sentences become a "bloody novel"?


>And in any case it doesn't take more than a few seconds to write or read; when the hell did four sentences become a "bloody novel"?

Welcome to the generation of twitter. :)


Thing is, we're not in high school anymore. We're all adults here and we should be able to see the difference between being rude and being terse.

"potentially affronted" is not a thing I particularly care about. If I want to affront you, oh you'll know. Believe me.

More interestingly, the only people I've ever seen write email like in that example are people who send/receive less than about 5 emails a day. The more they have to process daily, the shorter their messages become.


> Thing is, we're not in high school anymore. We're all adults here and we should be able to see the difference between being rude and being terse.

In written contexts, there often isn't. Without what I would call a significant amount of personal history, there isn't enough data and there aren't nonverbal cues to demonstrate terseness versus rudeness. Many people will assume rudeness, because that's what that pattern generally looks like.

Also, there's the nerd stereotype of being a standoffish jerk to consider, which you are doing a bang-up job of reinforcing with crap like this:

> "potentially affronted" is not a thing I particularly care about. If I want to affront you, oh you'll know. Believe me.

This is the sort of thing I would expect a teenager in the throes of self-absorption to say. I say this because I did. Then I grew up.

You're being an asshole. You'll be happier if you stop.


> "You're being an asshole. You'll be happier if you stop."

Not at all. I've noticed a general uptick in happiness since I started taking people at face value and stopped worrying about walking on egg shells for no reason whatsoever.

You know what you get by trying too hard to be polite and making absolutely certain no feelings could possibly get hurt? The language bureaucrats use to say "Your tax basis this year is X" on two A4 pages.

I hate it when people beat around the bush. So I avoid doing it.


I think two key parts of what you said are "most people" and "normal people". This normativity is taken for granted here. Preference for terse messages is ultimately a matter of taste and I've yet to see evidence that one belongs to a clear majority.


It may not be a clear majority of people, but it's pretty obviously a majority of people who set expectations in public discourse. That's why it's normative.


Four sentences constitutes a "novel" now? What is going on in the world that people dont have the time, or worse seem not to care, to communicate in a normal way?


This is strange to me. It was just 3 sentences, and you were the one who asked them for a response.


And I'd find anyone that wrote "VSRE" to be very disrespectful. And since I'm a bit hot headed I'd probably write a big long response, just out of spite. :-)


My understanding was that the whole point of VSRE is to be respectful of your time. The idea is simply to let you know that there's no need to write them a long reply if you don't have the time. You're still welcome to do so if you wish. How is that disrespectful?

Perhaps the acronym should've been something like VSRA (Accepted), or SROK (Short Reply OK) instead.


Or even more inviting: VSRW (Very Short Reply Welcome).


I think there's time and place for both VSRs and long responses.

> Social conventions aren't established by protocol drafts, they're organic.

Organic stuff lends itself better to optimization - by constant feedback.

I often have to write FULL responses like the example you provided and find this incredibly annoying. There are many reasons to that. Sometimes, I just don't have time to craft a nice sounding and formatted answer at the moment (if I'm going FULL, I won't tolerate any spelling mistakes, typos, double spaces, etc. If one commits oneself to quality, it should be 100%).

But sometimes, the crafting of the answer FULL requires too much cognitive power. Quite often in situations similar to your example, my real reaction is a linear combination of things like "I'm not sure if I have time", "I wanted to go to a party on friday", "I'm worried what my girlfriend will think of this", "I really need some rest", "I'm worried we won't have much to talk about and it will feel awkward", "I'd really like to save this money for 3D printer electronics", "goddammit, I'll break my ketosis again if I'll eat a normal lunch with you", etc. It takes a bit of effort to craft a message that is a) nice, b) not an outright lie. A bit of effort I don't always want to make at the very moment.

So yes, I'm all-in for any kind of social protocol that would allow me to decline/postpone requests without having to explain myself to other party just for the message to sound polite.


So, this is an attempt to add something organically. It's optional. If you would find a VSR an affront, don't say VSRE. The whole point is a declaration that the sender won't find it an affront. It says you don't need the emotional state transmitted like that.


No one is required to use it and even when you receive a mail tagged VSRE, you may still decide to write a long reply if you can not communicate your messag in a few words.

The obvious use case is you are communicating with someone for the first time or for not so long, you are fine with a short reply and you know that recipient would like to write a short reply but will not do so in order not to sound impolite.


Sounds like the VSRP would be more like:

"Can't. Next month?"


If we're really going for the gold:

"No. Next month?"


I'm liking

No ++month?

:)


If we're really going for brevity above all else, then I think it can be taken for granted that the answer's 'no' if we suggest moving the month—so the 'no' can be dropped, too. (Alternatively, interpreting the reply as "Yes, how about next month?" seems to work perfectly well, though it's unusual.)


And organic things can be inefficient.


As we are not organic beings, clearly it would be foolish of us to accept such unnecessary inefficiencies.


I agree with the second part of your statement. Why not make things more efficient where we can?


The main reasons are:

1) Because it isn't always worth the cost

2) Because we don't always fully understand the systems we are modifying

Which hearkens back to, "Don't fix it if it ain't broke". Inefficient is not automatically broke.


In this case I don't think that these reasons apply. Introducing a VSRE on the initiator side, or a Short Response, Not An Asshole on the responding side would be a worthwhile change with a manageable side effect.

Don't fix it if it ain't broke seems to run counter to innovation. I'd try for improvement on a functional system if there's a positive expected outcome.


> Short Response, Not An Asshole

Heh. Forget IANAL; we need IANAA.




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