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Do you want opinions or do you just want validation?

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Just Lori:
I feel like I'm seeing more and more etiquette questions that are probably just vents.  OPs may ask a question, but if people disagree with their actions, it becomes apparent that they really didn't want dissenting opinions.  They wanted validation.  For instance, someone might say, "Today I refused to tip my waitress because it took her 1.5 minutes to bring my coffee and it usually takes 1 minute.  Was I rude?"  Ten people say well, an extra 30 seconds doesn't seem like a lot, and maybe there was something going on in the kitchen, and maybe the coffee was still brewing, and really, anything under five minutes seems like good service.  The 11th response is, "I don't blame you.  1.5 minutes is .5 minutes too much to wait for coffee!" and the OP will say, "Finally, someone who understands!"  Or, the OP will tell the naysayers that they'll just have to agree to disagree on this topic.

I don't think we're in any danger of becoming a vent board, thanks to our moderators and a healthy degree of self moderation.  And I think it's good and healthy to occasionally say, "I'm having a bad day.  The service at the coffee shop was slow and I just started my day off grumpy.  Can I have a hug?"  But I want to suggest that we be honest with ourselves before posting a question.  Do we really want answers, or do we want to be told that we're right?  Because I think the beauty of this board is it makes us take a good look at ourselves, and if we're not open to considering other answers, what's the point of posting the question?

(And if everyone disagrees with me, I promise I won't come back and say we'll just have to agree to disagree.  ;) )

Dindrane:
What I'd really like to figure out is a good way to question what a poster is actually after when it's unclear, or it seems like they just want validation.  I find myself getting very frustrated with threads at times, when I either can't get a handle on what the poster actually wants, or when the poster doesn't seem to actually want advice.  I've just never come up with a good way of asking about it.

The fact is, I think everyone sometimes gets stuck in their own head and thinks they want advice, even though they really just want someone to agree that they are right.  No matter how good we are at self-regulation, I would guess that people are bound to slip up in a way very similar to what you describe.  For anyone who isn't a repeat offender on that score, I always end up with conflicting emotions--I want to clue them in to the fact that it sounds like a rant or like they are seeking validation, but I don't really want to hurt their feelings.

ch1pch0p:
I have noticed several of these lately, too, and I'm never sure what to say. Sometimes the OP is so convinced that s/he is right, it really doesn't seem like opinions are wanted!

DangerMouth:

--- Quote from: Just Lori on September 20, 2010, 07:29:17 PM ---I feel like I'm seeing more and more etiquette questions that are probably just vents.  OPs may ask a question, but if people disagree with their actions, it becomes apparent that they really didn't want dissenting opinions.  They wanted validation.  For instance, someone might say, "Today I refused to tip my waitress because it took her 1.5 minutes to bring my coffee and it usually takes 1 minute.  Was I rude?"  Ten people say well, an extra 30 seconds doesn't seem like a lot, and maybe there was something going on in the kitchen, and maybe the coffee was still brewing, and really, anything under five minutes seems like good service.  The 11th response is, "I don't blame you.  1.5 minutes is .5 minutes too much to wait for coffee!" and the OP will say, "Finally, someone who understands!"  Or, the OP will tell the naysayers that they'll just have to agree to disagree on this topic.

I don't think we're in any danger of becoming a vent board, thanks to our moderators and a healthy degree of self moderation.  And I think it's good and healthy to occasionally say, "I'm having a bad day.  The service at the coffee shop was slow and I just started my day off grumpy.  Can I have a hug?"  But I want to suggest that we be honest with ourselves before posting a question.  Do we really want answers, or do we want to be told that we're right?  Because I think the beauty of this board is it makes us take a good look at ourselves, and if we're not open to considering other answers, what's the point of posting the question?

(And if everyone disagrees with me, I promise I won't come back and say we'll just have to agree to disagree.  ;) )

--- End quote ---

Hmm, depends... Do you want opinions, or do you just want validation ;D

See, you can think you have a perfectly good reason for posting this, but it really could come across as venting, KWIM?  Try to assume good faith, and let the mods take care of the rest, is my motto (which I admit I don't always live up to ;P)

M-theory:
I think people sometimes get confused about the difference between just wanting validation and rejecting opinions that are patently nonapplicable.

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