Author Topic: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?  (Read 11760 times)

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JoieGirl7

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2007, 12:45:47 AM »
Maybe a good response then would be to ask the person what exactly they're stating that you are assuming?  They would have to think then.

Heather

That might strain them given some of the comments that I have heard people relate.  I think the intent is not so much to get them to think as it is to shut off the communication and deter any further comments.
 
I think it evolved because most of us when faced with an outrageous comment from a stranger will get tongue tied, completely baffled as to how someone could be so rude and then we mutter something nonsensical or even something that invites further comment.
 
So, this gives someone a response to an offensive comment that does not involve physical violence (metaphorically speaking  >:D of course).
 
I guess though considering the context, except for very few cases, it really isn't appropriate on the forum because you do have time to think and formulate a response unlike in real life where it is sometimes hard to think quickly.

I am not to good with the icy stares either.  I am more likely to offer a frozen smile (with my teeth gritted.)
 
If I were more mentally nimble in the moment, I would probably do something else.

Issa

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2007, 01:27:08 AM »
I think that on this forum, we (in general) make quite a few assumptions based on the limited information that we read. Sometimes these assumptions are over the top, sometimes not. I think that's how the line evolved. I really do like this line, but I do agree that it can be used to snarky effect - especially when online.

I will say though - since I am one of the people who said "what an assumption to make" to the OP on another thread, that my intent was not snarky, or to 'use a line'. It was in response to what she wrote, and assumptions that I thought she was making. In rereading that particular post, (miniskirts and grandma) where the OP uses the word "looks" I read it as "is," so perhaps I was a little harsh in my response or misunderstood what she was trying to convey. I certainly was not trying to "misuse or abuse" the line.

However, I will stress that when someone uses the word 'assume', one cannot assume that they are trying to be snarky :)   
« Last Edit: October 03, 2007, 01:28:58 AM by Issa »

Ohmeomy

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2007, 12:51:37 PM »
In the past couple of days, I've seen at least two threads where someone used "the line" simply because they disagreed with something a previous poster said.

There is a difference between an assumption and an opinion.

TAIA is one of the great comeback lines of all time, but it doesn't apply to all circumstances. Using it inappropriately reduces it to a quick, sitcom "zinger" and dilutes it's overall effect. This is especially true on a forum where there is time and space to politely clarify, debate, and express oneself.

Of course, this is just my humble.......opinion.  :)

CRUD MONKEYS! I couldn't agree with you more! I was thinking about starting a thread about this exact same thing as apparently others were too.  Its being way overused and will soon become as meaningless as "whatever".

You might, you may = not an assumption only a statement of possibility
I think, IMHO = only your opinion, you are not stating it as a fact
Its possible = again not an assumption
According to your line of thinking = making an analogy to a previous statement, again not an assumption
Way to act = making a statement of your personal opinion, not an assumption
I will not = a statement of personal belief = not an assumption

You look fatter, you must be pregnant = you can use the line
Your husband flirts too much, he's going to cheat on you = you can use the line
Your child is retarded, his eyes look funny = you can use the line
Your wife is too loud, she's wasted = you can use the line
Your house is too small, no one will come to your parties = you can use the line
You're a nobody if you can't afford a cell phone = you can use the line

See the difference.  Its only an assumption if its a statement presented as being factual.  I don't think nosy questions qualify as assumptions because they are questions and not a statement.  Nosy question askers need to have their shoes squeezed with a puzzled look and a "why do you want to know" asked in return.  Pretend to not understand the question and make them squirm, they will probably stop.

You must be careful in accusing people of making assumptions and be certain that they are indeed assumption, not just something you don't like hearing.  Many, many times I have read that line used here when it makes no sense at all.


Mr. Fed

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2007, 02:37:15 PM »
It's a little complicated.

What about "I have encountered people who like bagels who are racists.  Therefore I think that people who like bagels are often racists."

Even if it's couched in "I think" terms, it's still premised on assumptions, and rude ones at that.

Bob Ducca

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2007, 02:51:45 PM »
Mr. Fed,

I would have to disagree with "I have encountered" being an assumption.  Unless it is your position that the person making the statement is lying about his or her experiences, in which case you are the one making assumptions.

The second part of the phrase is the assumption, but the first is a valid statement based on that person's experience.  I would submit that the better response to the "Therefore" part of your scenario would be, "Perhaps you shouldn't judge all bagel-eaters based on the actions of those few with whom you have personal experience."

What would "the line" accomplish in your scenario, except offend and antagonize the poster?

Mr. Fed

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2007, 02:55:48 PM »
Mr. Fed,

I would have to disagree with "I have encountered" being an assumption.  Unless it is your position that the person making the statement is lying about his or her experiences, in which case you are the one making assumptions.

The second part of the phrase is the assumption, but the first is a valid statement based on that person's experience.  I would submit that the better response to the "Therefore" part of your scenario would be, "Perhaps you shouldn't judge all bagel-eaters based on the actions of those few with whom you have personal experience."

What would "the line" accomplish in your scenario, except offend and antagonize the poster?

I agree that the line is addressed to the second part, not the first part (though the thinking behind the second part calls into question the reliability of the first part).

The same question you pose could be raised about any possible use of the line.  If it is ever permissible, why not here?

If I said "I think people of race X are generally untrustworthy, because I have encountered people of race X that are untrustworthy," would you hesitate to use the line?

Brentwood

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2007, 03:11:27 PM »
TAIA? Someone help me out here, please.

jimithing

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2007, 03:13:21 PM »
TAIA? Someone help me out here, please.

"That's An Interesting Assumption."

Brentwood

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2007, 03:14:59 PM »
TAIA? Someone help me out here, please.

"That's An Interesting Assumption."

Thank you! I should have been able to figure it out, but I was in "what an interesting assumption" mode.

Bob Ducca

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2007, 03:20:29 PM »
Mr. Fed,

I would have to disagree with "I have encountered" being an assumption.  Unless it is your position that the person making the statement is lying about his or her experiences, in which case you are the one making assumptions.

The second part of the phrase is the assumption, but the first is a valid statement based on that person's experience.  I would submit that the better response to the "Therefore" part of your scenario would be, "Perhaps you shouldn't judge all bagel-eaters based on the actions of those few with whom you have personal experience."

What would "the line" accomplish in your scenario, except offend and antagonize the poster?

I agree that the line is addressed to the second part, not the first part (though the thinking behind the second part calls into question the reliability of the first part).

The same question you pose could be raised about any possible use of the line.  If it is ever permissible, why not here?

If I said "I think people of race X are generally untrustworthy, because I have encountered people of race X that are untrustworthy," would you hesitate to use the line?

Yes, I would hesitate, because their "assumption" is the least of the problem.  Again, what are you trying to accomplish by using the line?  Are you attempting to shame the poster, or make them think about what he or she is saying?  I would say, "Perhaps your experiences have been unfortunate, but my experiences with people of that race have been very positive."

I can't tell you how many times I have had people say to me, "You know, Mormons (do this that we absolutely don't do)."  I say, "No, we don't."  They say, "No, really, I knew a Mormon who did that..." and then they go on to tell the story.  They are making an assumption, but it would be a valid one in their view because it is based on experience.  Being snarky and pulling out "the line" wouldn't help to improve their views of Mormons, because now they would simply continue believing what they believed before, plus now that Mormons are rude.

I think if you are going to use the line, you should save it for those statements that are so clearly outrageous assumptions that no other line will do.

"All pregnant women are crazy, of course."

"Hot dogs are made out of alien guts, naturally."

"It's understood that Poodles can speak fluent English when the lights are out," and so on.  I just think that the line is being way overused on the board, that's all.

Hope that's okay, jimithing- I don't want to offend you at all.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 10:54:26 AM by Deb1000faces »

Bob Ducca

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2007, 03:26:02 PM »
Also, I think we are blurring the line between assumption and opinion.  When someone says, "I think," doesn't that make it an opinion?  Is "what an interesting opinion" acceptable?

JordanX

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2007, 03:55:38 PM »
  Is "what an interesting opinion" acceptable?


I think that, in the context of these boards, "what an interesting opinion" still sounds snarky.  It's hard to imagine a context in which the poster doesn't mean something negative (wrongheaded/stupid/ignorant) instead of "interesting."  So, the person stating "WAIO" is trying to shut down another poster without bothering to address the first poster's statements on the merits.

If someone disagrees with my opinion, that's great, and tell me why.  But saying "WAIO" doesn't add anything substantive to the discussion, it just comes across as "your ideas are not worth discussing."  Which is really bad when I'm answering a question that the "WAIO" poster has asked.

I see TAIA to be used when someone is saying something inappropriate and unsolicited.  Because this is a message board designed to encourage discussions and solicit opinions, there are very limited times when TAIA can be used appropriately.

Bob Ducca

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2007, 04:00:04 PM »
I agree with you, JordanX.  I would also find "what an interesting opinion" to be snarky.

illa_nell

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2007, 04:32:58 PM »
I think the trouble with the phrase in the context of this board is that we all have a very specific idea of what triggers the use of it.  That is, "What an interesting assumption" is for use on absolute boors who cannot otherwise be deflected.  While it may simply be a good deflection line in the rest of the world, the meaning with which it has been imbued here turns it into a deadly insult when used on this board.

I have seen it used inappropriately but I have also felt it to be well done at times.  Those times seem to have in common that the other person in the "debate" was being argumentative and had ceased to have a meaningful discussion in favor of picking apart the poster's comments or making personal attacks. 

Dindrane

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Re: Misused and abused: Was it really an assumption?
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2007, 07:23:51 PM »
I think the trouble with the phrase in the context of this board is that we all have a very specific idea of what triggers the use of it.  That is, "What an interesting assumption" is for use on absolute boors who cannot otherwise be deflected.  While it may simply be a good deflection line in the rest of the world, the meaning with which it has been imbued here turns it into a deadly insult when used on this board.

I think that might very well be true of all the "lines" that exist on this board.  As best I can figure, they're all intended for use when someone is being so unspeakably rude that you have to say something, but you would otherwise be tempted to be rude yourself.  Such as when someone makes completely inappropriate assumptions or tries to get information out of you that is none of their business.

But given that everyone on this thread is always working with one-sided information, and incomplete information at that (unless every poster tells her life story in each thread), everybody assumes things.  Unless someone is being outright rude in making assumptions, I agree with everyone else who has said it makes much more sense to correct the assumption, rather than just say "the line".