Author Topic: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?  (Read 16656 times)

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Softly Spoken

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #75 on: August 29, 2013, 08:33:58 PM »
Now, I think the kid asking for notes may have interpreted "I don't want to be responsible" to mean "I don't want to/not my problem." Which is kind of rude to say.

I'm sorry, but that's not in the least bit rude. There is absolutely no obligation to say "yes" to a request. Someone who feels that they must say "yes" to remain polite is being a doormat -- I've used the term "prisoner of etiquette" for this in the past.

May I remind you that there is a whole section of this forum titled "I'm afraid that won't be possible". The subtitle is 'Variations: "I'm sorry, I cannot accommodate that request," and "No." (It is a complete sentence!)'. "I don't want to be responsible" is just another variation on the same theme.

I'm sorry artk2002 and others who have argued that "I don't want to" is not rude, I am apparently being less articulate today. I may have misused the word "rude." I thought it was an acceptable shorthand for "problematic/not the best etiquette phrase." Next time I'll just say that, because that is what I meant. ;)

I did not mean that the person should say yes. However I have to respectfully disagree that "I don't want to" is a variation on the theme of polite rejection advocated on this forum. I feel it does not work because it is stating a feeling ("don't want"), which I believe qualifies as JADEing. I am not saying rejecting the request is rude, but it isn't really a good idea to say why you are refusing. If "I don't want to" were acceptable, we would not have to have the phrase "Why would I want to do that?" If you say "I don't want to," it is too easy for the asker to respond with "but whyyyyy?" or accuse you of being selfish - and let's face it you are being selfish because you have every right to be - you just don't want to say it out loud.

We say "that won't be possible" out loud while we are thinking "because I don't want to" in our heads.

The person asking doesn't care why we won't give them what they want, and the fact that we don't want to is the lowest possible excuse in their minds because they are focused on what they want.

The student who said they "don't want to be responsible" should have stuck to "no" and not tried to explain why - then they wouldn't have given the asker any ammunition when he became upset at the rejection. They were making a reasonable argument when they shouldn't have been arguing. They used a justifying phrase that, however honest, could be interpreted as "rude," and big surprise it was.
So let me refine my previous statement: IMHO "I don't want to" is not rude, but it does seem like JADEing and can too often be called out as rude by people who are not getting what they want. ::)
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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #76 on: August 29, 2013, 08:54:17 PM »
I just had a thought....if Alex wants someone to take notes for him, does that mean he cannot physically write? If so, how is he going to do all the other hand-written requirements of the course? Two examples - midterm and final exam.

SlitherHiss

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #77 on: August 29, 2013, 08:56:35 PM »
If a person is looking for offense, or operating with an inflated sense of entitlement, pretty much anything "can be interpreted" as rude.


Softly Spoken

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #78 on: August 29, 2013, 09:14:17 PM »
*snip*

Softly Spoken, there's a huge difference between occasionally asking for notes and essentially demanding did he demand in his emails or did he ask? OP didn't include a transcript of the emails so are you assuming he is demanding because of the impolite behavior they described him doing? someone commit to take notes for your for an entire year. That's not "asking for help" that's mooching. Are you basing the label of "mooching" on the length of time (occasionally vs. the whole year) or the assumption of demanding/entitlement? OP didn't say what his disability is, but I am making the reasonable assumption that it is a disability that will last the entire year and therefore he would need help with notes for the entire year.

More to the point, if there's a legitimate need for accommodation, the request for that accommodation really does need to go through the school. Period. Begging one's fellow students and berating them for saying no is not indicative of some poor guy who just didn't know where else to turn. It's indicative of entitlement. Other PPs have stated that some schools have less-than-ideal disability services. Maybe someone at disability services told him to ask his classmates for help. And how did we go from "asking" to "demanding" to "begging"? Yes berating and not taking no for an answer is entitled. It is actually possible to be disabled and entitled at the same time. They aren't mutually exclusive. I don't think speculating on his disabled status and debating what he is or is not entitled to is appropriate and it is beyond the scope of this discussion (and better suited for the non-etiquette folder) - with the information (or lack thereof) we have been given about virtual strangers the scenario may as well be hypothetical.

From the OP:
Quote
Alex sent back a reply saying that he found note wanting to be responsible "rude beyond belief" and other  similar sentiments

I have to say I'm puzzled by your assertion that it's okay for him to "rely on the goodwill of others"; it has an air of abdicating personal responsibility, and makes it sound like anyone who says no is devoid of goodwill and probably not a very nice person. This perception is reinforced by your choice to call it "sad" that he "didn't get the help he needed". It's not "sad" that he got shot down. It's just not. No one was being mean to him, or misanthropic. They just said no. If you have or know someone who has a disability, you would know that at some point a disabled person reaches the limits of their "personal responsibility" and needs to ask for help. I am sorry you interpreted my use of the word "goodwill" the way you did, but the fact remains that if I am short and I can't reach something in the store and I don't have a stool or grabber, I need to ask someone to help me reach and hope they feel like being helpful. If they say no that's fine but I am still relying on their willingness and not their obligation - hence their goodwill. I don't think the not helping means the absence of goodwill, it just...means not helping. It is what it is. I would be entitled to expect them to help me when they have no obligation to but I don't expect - I hope and I ask and they do or they don't. Helping makes them helpful, not helping just means they aren't able to help.
I am not telling you to feel sad, and I don't care if you don't think it's sad. I am saying I feel sad about the thought that he really needs help and isn't getting it. I can empathize with that frustration. I can also understand why his classmates don't want to help him. I feel sorry about the situation because this guy is alienating his classmates.

You seem to be operating on the assumption that Alex is not really disabled and simply lazy/entitled. I am choosing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he does need help taking notes, and is simply going about getting that help in the worst possible way. FWIW, I don't think we actually disagree on the etiquette of the issue. ;D
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SlitherHiss

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #79 on: August 29, 2013, 09:21:33 PM »
*snip*

Softly Spoken, there's a huge difference between occasionally asking for notes and essentially demanding did he demand in his emails or did he ask? OP didn't include a transcript of the emails so are you assuming he is demanding because of the impolite behavior they described him doing? someone commit to take notes for your for an entire year. That's not "asking for help" that's mooching. Are you basing the label of "mooching" on the length of time (occasionally vs. the whole year) or the assumption of demanding/entitlement? OP didn't say what his disability is, but I am making the reasonable assumption that it is a disability that will last the entire year and therefore he would need help with notes for the entire year.

More to the point, if there's a legitimate need for accommodation, the request for that accommodation really does need to go through the school. Period. Begging one's fellow students and berating them for saying no is not indicative of some poor guy who just didn't know where else to turn. It's indicative of entitlement. Other PPs have stated that some schools have less-than-ideal disability services. Maybe someone at disability services told him to ask his classmates for help. And how did we go from "asking" to "demanding" to "begging"? Yes berating and not taking no for an answer is entitled. It is actually possible to be disabled and entitled at the same time. They aren't mutually exclusive. I don't think speculating on his disabled status and debating what he is or is not entitled to is appropriate and it is beyond the scope of this discussion (and better suited for the non-etiquette folder) - with the information (or lack thereof) we have been given about virtual strangers the scenario may as well be hypothetical.

From the OP:
Quote
Alex sent back a reply saying that he found note wanting to be responsible "rude beyond belief" and other  similar sentiments

I have to say I'm puzzled by your assertion that it's okay for him to "rely on the goodwill of others"; it has an air of abdicating personal responsibility, and makes it sound like anyone who says no is devoid of goodwill and probably not a very nice person. This perception is reinforced by your choice to call it "sad" that he "didn't get the help he needed". It's not "sad" that he got shot down. It's just not. No one was being mean to him, or misanthropic. They just said no. If you have or know someone who has a disability, you would know that at some point a disabled person reaches the limits of their "personal responsibility" and needs to ask for help. I am sorry you interpreted my use of the word "goodwill" the way you did, but the fact remains that if I am short and I can't reach something in the store and I don't have a stool or grabber, I need to ask someone to help me reach and hope they feel like being helpful. If they say no that's fine but I am still relying on their willingness and not their obligation - hence their goodwill. I don't think the not helping means the absence of goodwill, it just...means not helping. It is what it is. I would be entitled to expect them to help me when they have no obligation to but I don't expect - I hope and I ask and they do or they don't. Helping makes them helpful, not helping just means they aren't able to help.
I am not telling you to feel sad, and I don't care if you don't think it's sad. I am saying I feel sad about the thought that he really needs help and isn't getting it. I can empathize with that frustration. I can also understand why his classmates don't want to help him. I feel sorry about the situation because this guy is alienating his classmates.

You seem to be operating on the assumption that Alex is not really disabled and simply lazy/entitled. I am choosing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he does need help taking notes, and is simply going about getting that help in the worst possible way. FWIW, I don't think we actually disagree on the etiquette of the issue. ;D

Nope, I'm operating on the assumption that it matters not even a little whether he's actually disabled or not.

jedikaiti

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #80 on: August 29, 2013, 09:43:44 PM »
I'm on the list of people who is raising an eyebrow at him having access to all the emails--usually 'group discussion" in our classes is done via programs (like blackboard/webassign/other programs I've forgotten the names of)--which doesn't give the students access to e/o's full first and last names.  I'm relatively sure my boss would consider it a possible FERPA violation for a student to be handed that class-list (which is, essentially, what the email list is)

"I don't want to be responsible" seems like a very polite way of saying "you are asking for to much"--But I"m not sure how anyone can 'make' this student see that.

I was imagining that he'd been given a list of the "school" email addresses associated with each student. I would find it almost unbelievable for him to have been given students' personal emails.

Or a little sleuthing... if there is a course website with the students' names on it, a simple search on the schools' website could provide an email address for each one. At my university, email addresses are public unless someone requests otherwise.
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Amara

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #81 on: August 29, 2013, 09:52:59 PM »
Whether he's disabled or not is a red herring here. The fact is that he asked for someone to commit to taking notes for him for a long period of time. The student who responded made only one mistake: he JADE'd his answer. If he had stuck to "No" would he be considered rude? Not here, but probably by the moocher asker.

shhh its me

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #82 on: August 29, 2013, 10:02:31 PM »
Now, I think the kid asking for notes may have interpreted "I don't want to be responsible" to mean "I don't want to/not my problem." Which is kind of rude to say.

I'm sorry, but that's not in the least bit rude. There is absolutely no obligation to say "yes" to a request. Someone who feels that they must say "yes" to remain polite is being a doormat -- I've used the term "prisoner of etiquette" for this in the past.

May I remind you that there is a whole section of this forum titled "I'm afraid that won't be possible". The subtitle is 'Variations: "I'm sorry, I cannot accommodate that request," and "No." (It is a complete sentence!)'. "I don't want to be responsible" is just another variation on the same theme.

I'm sorry artk2002 and others who have argued that "I don't want to" is not rude, I am apparently being less articulate today. I may have misused the word "rude." I thought it was an acceptable shorthand for "problematic/not the best etiquette phrase." Next time I'll just say that, because that is what I meant. ;)

I did not mean that the person should say yes. However I have to respectfully disagree that "I don't want to" is a variation on the theme of polite rejection advocated on this forum. I feel it does not work because it is stating a feeling ("don't want"), which I believe qualifies as JADEing. I am not saying rejecting the request is rude, but it isn't really a good idea to say why you are refusing. If "I don't want to" were acceptable, we would not have to have the phrase "Why would I want to do that?" If you say "I don't want to," it is too easy for the asker to respond with "but whyyyyy?" or accuse you of being selfish - and let's face it you are being selfish because you have every right to be - you just don't want to say it out loud.

We say "that won't be possible" out loud while we are thinking "because I don't want to" in our heads.

The person asking doesn't care why we won't give them what they want, and the fact that we don't want to is the lowest possible excuse in their minds because they are focused on what they want.

The student who said they "don't want to be responsible" should have stuck to "no" and not tried to explain why - then they wouldn't have given the asker any ammunition when he became upset at the rejection. They were making a reasonable argument when they shouldn't have been arguing. They used a justifying phrase that, however honest, could be interpreted as "rude," and big surprise it was.
So let me refine my previous statement: IMHO "I don't want to" is not rude, but it does seem like JADEing and can too often be called out as rude by people who are not getting what they want. ::)

I don't want the be responsible is a reasonable alternative to "that's not possible" , "I don't want" is not something a person can argue with. It's like arguing if someone likes the color blue.

JADEing it not a opening for people to call" rude".  Pushy people making completely unreasonable demands just defeated the most reasonable justifications " I cant take notes because I may not be there" , "ohhh I'm sure you will be there , you paid a lot for this class I'm sure you wont miss.  I get a friend to drive you on a snow day."  In a healthy relationship a justified "no" is often a kindness and good communication. 

If someone called you rude for saying " I can not because I wont be there" they would be wrong.


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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #83 on: August 29, 2013, 10:07:55 PM »
I don't think anyone is obligated to help the note-asker, but he was as free to ask as they were free to refuse and I don't really get the animosity towards him and the questioning of his need.
I agree with you.  It can't be easy to get through college with a disability that affects note-taking.  (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt on his disability.)  It may be his university doesn't offer much or anything in the way of assistance, so that he had no choice but to ask for help.

Asking for help doesn't make someone a "moocher."

blarg314

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #84 on: August 29, 2013, 10:54:57 PM »

Saying "I don't want to" would be a pretty abrupt response the first time you are politely asked for a favour - usually, we'd use more tactful language to say essentially the same thing. Or, in the case of a mass email request, simply ignore it.

Saying "I don't want to" after the *sixth* time someone asks the same favour of you, when you haven't said yes the first five times - that strikes me as pretty reasonable.

I definitely wouldn't have any problem with someone asking for something like note-taking from a fellow student when there was a need. But - what he's asking for is not a trivial favour, it's a fairly major undertaking. And it's something that not everyone *can* do. My notes are not legible enough for someone else to use, so me being a note-taker would result in either me spending more time on my handwriting, and none on paying attention to the content of the lecture, or having me recopy the material afterwards (a major time commitment). Either of these, done without compensation, would hurt my own performance.  That's why universities often offer a stipend to cover this - it makes it worth while for some students to commit to doing this.

Then, when he didn't get a response, he proceeded to spam his entire class repeatedly. When someone outright said "No, I can't do that" he then got horribly offended, and called the person "rude beyond belief".  The problem here isn't that he's disabled and needs help. The problem being discussed here is that he's repeatedly demanding a large favour from people, and attacking them if they say no.

A polite way - send a politely worded email to the class list explaining your problem and asking for help. If appropriate, any incentive (like a stipend) could be mentioned.  If you wait a while, and there is no response, then a second follow up would be okay - in this one you could clarify that the occasional missed class, or idiosyncratic notes, are okay, and basically say pretty please. 

If there is still no response, then it's time to go back to your university's disability services/ombudsman to discuss option, or to make alternate plans. Talk to the professor and see if it's okay to bring in a small recorder, so you can play back the lecture. Ask if it's okay to take a discrete cell-phone photo of the whiteboard/blackboard at intervals, to aid your retention of the material if you can't write it down yourself.


CuriousParty

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #85 on: August 29, 2013, 11:04:29 PM »
Recording a lecture is actually much more complicated than you'd think, between technical issues (background noise) and legal issues (some lecturers copyright their work and will not permit recording).

You know what I can't figure out? Isn't there someone in the class who takes notes by computer? Then it's a simple process of sending an email.  Of course, if people really still don't want to do it at all that's their prerogative but I used to re-type my notes for my own sake (legibility) and it was no big deal to shoot off an email to a classmate who was missing.  These days with most lectures using PowerPoint and uploaded to websites in advance, I have to think many of the students use laptops for note-taking.

I still think the "don't want to be responsible" was a misunderstanding and each person "hearing" the phrase through their own lens, but certainly badgering his classmates is not appropriate behavior.  I hope Alex can get the help he needs, and if this school can't offer that then I hope he finds one that can.

snowdragon

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #86 on: August 29, 2013, 11:38:11 PM »
This is what I found out tonight
This is not a lecture class, it is a research seminar. meaning we all read the same article/book and discusses them.
 we then have to produce a 10-15 research paper on something to do with the topic of the class. Each person picks and researches their own topic. This is turned in with a copy of our notes on our topic.

The notes Alex needs are the notes that would come from his own research. I am not even sure how this would be done. ( I think dragon naturally speaking would be a good bet for this purpose)

I take notes in class by computer, but due to the fact that I have several learning disabilities,,,,most folks would not make heads or tails of even my typed notes for a regular lecture type class.  For this class my notes will appear a my thoughts while reading and eventually, with little editing, will fit together into a full paper.

There is no testing at all

The professor's notes consist of keeping track of who participates and who doesn't. They would not be of any use to anyone ( nor is that any student's business) 20% of our final grade is based on how much we add to the class.

Because talking in class is such a big part of our grades, recording is verboten, unless every person in class gives their permission - and tends to drop participation in discussions as people don't want to be recorded. Most classes on campus are not allowed to be recorded - other than the private lessons  the music majors take, I can not think of one that it would be allowed in. although, most profs have notes to give to a student for lecture type classes. Seminar classes are a horse of a different color tho'.

I am not sure that there is anything we, as students, can do to help Alex,,,this is something he is going to have to figure out for himself...because of the Seminar nature of the class.


Mel the Redcap

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #87 on: August 30, 2013, 07:50:50 AM »
This is what I found out tonight
This is not a lecture class, it is a research seminar. meaning we all read the same article/book and discusses them.
 we then have to produce a 10-15 research paper on something to do with the topic of the class. Each person picks and researches their own topic. This is turned in with a copy of our notes on our topic.

The notes Alex needs are the notes that would come from his own research. **snip**

...Yeah, complete impossibility. Ridiculous of him to have asked, not rude of the other student to have refused, other student's wording also not rude IMO, VERY rude and childish of Alex to have spat the dummy the way he did. I agree with you Snowdragon, he needs to get some sort of transcription program and do it himself! :P
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camlan

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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #88 on: August 30, 2013, 10:24:05 AM »
With the update, it sounds as if Alex wants someone to sit with him while he does the research and do the note-taking? So if the notetaker were a classmate, this would double the amount of time the classmate spends doing research and notetaking, but the classmate would basically get nothing of out it? Totally not cool.

For something like this, Alex needs to figure out a way to take notes himself, or get a paid helper. This is going to take hours and hours and to expect someone to volunteer to do this is ridiculous.

If he can't use dictation software, there are various typing programs out there that make it easier and faster to type for people with disabilities. My nephew is physically disabled and has a speech defect that makes using dictation software very difficult. But they have managed to find software that lets him type faster than just hunting and pecking out every single letter. He can hunt and peck, but he is very, very slow and makes a lot of mistakes. The software has helped immensely. Prior to finding the software, he had to dictate all his papers (he's in middle school) to a scribe.
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Re: "I don't want to be responsible"...rude?
« Reply #89 on: August 30, 2013, 10:51:54 AM »
I think Alex should determine what he hopes to accomplish long term.  What is his goal in attending college? Does he hope to attain a particular job?  Will he be able to perform this job on his own or will his disability prevent him from doing so?  I think it is "reasonable" to ask for "reasonable accomodations."  But from what I understand, Alex is simply not able to do what he needs to do for this class unless someone else essentially does his work along with him, with no benefit to that person, which to me would mean that person should be paid.  Is this a viable long term "reasonable accomodation," especially if his goal is to be in the workplace?  I wonder whether Alex should take a look at what he wants to do career-wise and whether this class is something that will get him there.

As an aside, how was Alex able to send the emails?  Could he use that same method to take his own notes?