Author Topic: Should I respond?  (Read 1642 times)

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Cali.in.UK

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Should I respond?
« on: April 03, 2014, 04:18:09 PM »
I'm currently working on my dissertation and I've posted the survey for my research on a couple specific forums that only cater to the people that I need for my study. Most responses have been really great on one forum, but on the other forum a woman wrote "I'm sorry but (topic)?" and then implied "what's the point?" And it's the only comment on the second forum.
Now, I know I will be defending my dissertation topic to many and there will be skeptics and it's my responsibility to respond, however, engaging with someone on the internet can not always go well (they might be a troll), so what should I do?
I considered just ignoring it, but worried that since it's a professional forum maybe it'll make others take it less seriously and have them less likely to participate and I do need more people.
OR
Send her a private message explaining my rationale.
I'm a bit irritated that she wrote that publicly instead of privately to me but I think it would reflect badly on me to delete it.
Anyway, thoughts?

lowspark

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 04:42:56 PM »
I started out thinking, well, you're going to have to defend it to others anyway, right? So why not just assume this person is legit and respond accordingly. But the more I think about it, the more I think it's not so much that she wants you to defend it, it's the way she is saying it.

I mean, she could have questioned your topic by saying, "why did you pick (topic)? Did you consider that (topic) whatever whatever?" In other words, give you reasons why she doesn't like the topic or otherwise present an intelligent question. I think the "I'm sorry but (topic)?" just makes me question her motivation.

Is she trying to help you or is she just trying to make you look bad or make herself look better than you?

I probably would respond with encouragement to ask me more specific questions or let me know if she sees a specific problem with my topic... in other words, I'd try to get a more intelligent comment/question out of her. If she replies well, then continue the conversation. If not, I'd probably just move on.

wolfie

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 05:12:00 PM »
Since noone else answered then i would assume that she isn't the only one thinking that and I would explain why you chose it. If it were me and I agreed with her I wouldn't post anything at all until you answered her and if I was okay with that then I would answer your survey. If you never answer her then I would figure if it isn't important enough for you to explain then it certainly isn't important enough for me to participate. If you delete it then I would think she struck a nerve and that you have no answer and would ignore the survey. So it really is in your best interests to explain briefly why it is important to you and do it publicly.

JoieGirl7

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2014, 05:19:36 PM »
Just delete her comment.

If I understand you correctly, the purpose of posting the survey was to get answers to the survey, not to debate the topic of your dissertation.

If people do want to debate the topic then they should show their seriousness by the tone of their posts.  She sounds like a troll not someone who is serious about engaging in the topic.

Delete it and carry on.

Surianne

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2014, 05:46:16 PM »
Since noone else answered then i would assume that she isn't the only one thinking that and I would explain why you chose it. If it were me and I agreed with her I wouldn't post anything at all until you answered her and if I was okay with that then I would answer your survey. If you never answer her then I would figure if it isn't important enough for you to explain then it certainly isn't important enough for me to participate. If you delete it then I would think she struck a nerve and that you have no answer and would ignore the survey. So it really is in your best interests to explain briefly why it is important to you and do it publicly.

I agree, if you want responses from that forum, I think you probably do need to explain your topic further and then offer to answer more specific questions. 

Her phrasing was weird and it would annoy me too, but there may be other people thinking the same thing and so it would be useful to reply to the content of the question (Why did you choose the topic, and why does the topic matter enough to expect people to spend their time answering your survey?) rather than the obnoxious way she asked it.

If you have enough responses already from the other forum, however, I think you'd be fine to ignore her completely.

Deetee

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2014, 06:05:35 PM »
If I needed or wanted responses from the forum, I would definitely post and explain the topic again in as engaging and friendly a manner as possible. My plan would have nothing to do with Little Miss Sanrky-pants, but I would want to change the tone so that other people would be inclined to join the conversation and contribute to the results.

lilfox

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2014, 07:41:35 PM »
If it were an in-person response - someone sitting in the audience who said "I'm sorry, but <topic>?" I would suggest your response be along the lines of "Could you elaborate?" along with a curious look.  Put the onus of explaining what they mean (or mean to imply) on them.  But I don't think that would work in an online situation because you can't convey the proper tone/look and just responding with the words might come across as terse and therefore defensive.

On a forum...  Back in the bulletin board days, as part of an X class project, I had to find some opinions about a theory, and naively posted a question concerning said theory to an X forum I had just stumbled upon. I was thoroughly flamed for it, people called me out for trolling (apparently it was a very touchy topic to the long-standing X members).  I had no idea.  If the general response had just been "Um, why would you bother asking about that theory?" I could have at least said it's for a class or something to better explain what I intended.

You may have stumbled on one of this group's (or just this person's) touchy topics, so I agree with the advice to provide a simple explanation of your survey and your desire to get responses.

 
If I needed or wanted responses from the forum, I would definitely post and explain the topic again in as engaging and friendly a manner as possible. My plan would have nothing to do with Little Miss Sanrky-pants, but I would want to change the tone so that other people would be inclined to join the conversation and contribute to the results.

This, exactly.

"I'm sorry, but <topic>?"
"Oh yes, I'm very interested in XYZ because: reasons. I'm hoping that my survey will provide useful information about how professionals think about XYZ."

Cali.in.UK

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2014, 03:18:46 AM »
Thank you everyone, there is a minor update as well. Another person from forum #2 had written something negative (but in a constructive way about the survey) so I definitely will take up your advice right now and write a nice and informative response so it doesn't become a long negative thread on the forum. I'll let you know if there are anymore updates.

AvidReader

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2014, 07:45:32 AM »
Lowspark and lilfox touched on something.  Indeed, you will be defending your dissertation.  A defense means that you will be responding to all kinds of questions, those you may anticipate and those that may come at you from left field and leave you scrambling on your feet.  You may even face this very question.  I would be interested to know why this person was skeptical.  Is it just someone bored beyond belief with a know-it-all throw-away line....in which case I'd ignore further comments.  Or is it someone with an insight to the topic that I have yet to consider.

sweetonsno

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Re: Should I respond?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2014, 03:08:14 PM »
My vote is for a short message in response. You don't have to justify or defend your choice of topic, but I do think it would be worthwhile to reiterate what you are trying to find out. I'm just going to make up a topic here, but you can fill in the blanks using your own.

"I am writing my dissertation on the topic of gamification with an emphasis on its effectiveness in different generations. I'm soliciting the opinions of those who supervise workers from different age groups. It is my goal to determine the level of familiarity that supervisors and workers have with the concepts of gamification, how they have incorporated these concepts, and how the different worker populations respond to them."

I definitely think it is worth trying to find out a bit more from this person. You're defending a dissertation on this topic, so I think it is worthwhile to find out why some people don't take it seriously. If your survey doesn't have a place for people who disagree with you (or who don't think the topic is important), solicit the information from her (and consider adding that type of response as an option to your survey).

I hope that response was okay. It's something of a mix between research advice and etiquette advice. It boils down to this: don't ignore the fact that she responded, but do ignore the snarky tone. Focus instead on the part of the information that is useful to you-- she, at least, doesn't think the issue is important. Knowing why can help you improve your dissertation and your research process.