Author Topic: Why is this YOUR problem?  (Read 15275 times)

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Lynn2000

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Why is this YOUR problem?
« on: June 08, 2011, 05:43:38 PM »
I don't want this to come off as one of those, "I don't like how people are posting so they need to stop it" threads. There is just something I'm genuinely curious and concerned about, and I wondered if anyone else had noticed or had some advice to give me about it.

I've noticed in a couple of threads lately that someone will post something along the lines of, "How is this your business?" or "Why do you care about this?" or "Why is this YOUR problem?" and that is almost the entire content of their post. What with tone being so hard to tell in writing, this can come off as snarky or dismissive to me, especially if the OP or others have already tried to explain why they are upset/annoyed by the issue at hand.

I do think in some cases this can be a good question for the OP to reflect on and try to answer if they haven't already, in the sense of, "This seems like a small matter that bothers you out of proportion to its importance. Could there be something else going on that is really upsetting you?" But, sometimes when it's the only thing in the post, with no qualifying comments or further explanation, it can seem like the poster is chastising the OP--a rhetorical question, basically, meaning "This is none of your business" or "Get over it" or something like that.

I don't mean to "start trouble" or anything like that. I am just curious if anyone else has noticed this, and perhaps has a different take on it than I do. Perhaps I am just misinterpreting what people mean by statements like this, and reading them too negatively. Thoughts?
~Lynn2000

buvezdevin

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 06:07:54 PM »
If such a statement were the sole content of a reply post, it would certainly be difficult to discern tone.  I've not noticed these phrases with any great frequency, but as a devoted though sporadic reader of eHell I may have missed the posts that generated the question. 

That said, I wanted to note I have occassionally seen replies in which "why is this YOUR problem" is offered in a supportive sense, and with more content to the reply.  For example if an OP has brought a question to eHell seeking advice regarding someone in the OP's life who is demanding or difficult, a response may use the phrase as a way of emphasizing that the OP's actions are fine, and the fact that someone else takes issue with OP doesn't automatically mean it's OP's "problem" it may simply be another person's unreasonableness.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 08:05:51 PM »
Yes, I've also seen this phrase used many times in the context of, "Don't make HER issues YOUR issues"--don't let someone get you all worked up about something that doesn't affect you. Like if an adult sister and her mom are arguing about something, the OP should probably just stay out of it and not get sucked into the drama. And sometimes phrasing it as a question--"Why is this YOUR problem?"--makes the issue hit home more than just a statement would--"This is not your problem."

But, as you say, when the entirety of the post is, "Why is this YOUR problem?" it's hard to tell what else the poster meant by that. Maybe I'm just too quick to assign a snide sort of tone to these things--I suppose our assumption should be that the words were well-meant! :)
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bbgirl

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2011, 01:22:17 AM »
I know for myself I tend to use succinct phrases rather than coat the intent of the words with fluff.  But that's the way I am in real life, to the point and direct (most of the time :) ).  So I wouldn't automatically assume a short phrase as you've written is intended to be snarky, just direct.

Lynn2000

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2011, 09:35:37 AM »
And that's a good point: Clearly I am more comfortable with writing longer things, whereas other people are naturally more concise. My concern is just that, if we were talking in real life, I would probably know from your tone of voice, body language, etc. that you were being direct instead of snarky; and that's more difficult to discern when it's just words on a screen. But, I am beginning to feel that it's better to assume the person is being direct, rather than that they're being snarky, and treat their reply as such, perhaps by actually answering the question instead of feeling hurt and ignoring it.
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Lisbeth

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2011, 12:42:19 PM »
I've noticed this too.  It can come off as snarky and/or dismissive, even when the intent is to be helpful-especially when there is nothing else in the post.

I'd respond: "Can you please clarify?"  Then, depending on how the person responds, one can tell what their intent is.  And if it is meant to be harsh, I think it can be reported to the moderators as snark.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 10:05:35 AM »
I've noticed this too.  It can come off as snarky and/or dismissive, even when the intent is to be helpful-especially when there is nothing else in the post.

I'd respond: "Can you please clarify?"  Then, depending on how the person responds, one can tell what their intent is.  And if it is meant to be harsh, I think it can be reported to the moderators as snark.

I think this is a good response, especially if it's a question that has already been answered in the thread--that way you'll know if the poster is honestly asking the question because they missed the previous answer or weren't satisfied with it, or if they are just being snarky.
~Lynn2000

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 10:19:18 AM »
I've noticed this too.  It can come off as snarky and/or dismissive, even when the intent is to be helpful-especially when there is nothing else in the post.

I'd respond: "Can you please clarify?"  Then, depending on how the person responds, one can tell what their intent is.  And if it is meant to be harsh, I think it can be reported to the moderators as snark.

I have notice this a lot also, sometimes they start with "I don't mean to be snarky"  but then that is exactly how it comes across.  If someone posts I don't mean to be snarky are we to accept that they really don't mean to be, even if it seems like they are ?

Lynn2000

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 10:34:55 AM »
I've noticed this too.  It can come off as snarky and/or dismissive, even when the intent is to be helpful-especially when there is nothing else in the post.

I'd respond: "Can you please clarify?"  Then, depending on how the person responds, one can tell what their intent is.  And if it is meant to be harsh, I think it can be reported to the moderators as snark.

I have notice this a lot also, sometimes they start with "I don't mean to be snarky"  but then that is exactly how it comes across.  If someone posts I don't mean to be snarky are we to accept that they really don't mean to be, even if it seems like they are ?

This is a good question. It's kind of like when someone starts out with, "I don't mean to be rude, but" or "I don't mean to be offensive, but"--sometimes, rude or offensive is EXACTLY what they mean to be. But other times, I think they really DON'T mean to be rude, but they feel something has to be said, and they aren't sure how to say it any nicer. I have used phrases like this both online and IRL, and I try to make it clear that I really DON'T mean to be rude, I'm just confused or curious about something. I probably belabor the point in an effort to assure people I don't mean to be snarky.

But, it's probably obvious to people exactly what I or others are doing when we make an effort to temper our words. If someone says, "I don't mean to be snarky," and their next words are what can only be described as "a zinger," I think it's fair to respond to that--"You said you weren't trying to be snarky, but this still sounds snarky to me. Sorry, I don't mean to look for offense, but could you please clarify?"

Here's a question--if you feel like someone is being snarky in a thread you started, SHOULD you say something to them about it, or should you just ignore them? I'm assuming it's not bad enough that you would feel like reporting it to the mods. But if someone says, "Why is this YOUR problem?" and you feel they're being snarky, do you think it would be rude to just ignore their post, and respond to others instead?
~Lynn2000

O'Dell

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 01:29:42 PM »
I've noticed this too.  It can come off as snarky and/or dismissive, even when the intent is to be helpful-especially when there is nothing else in the post.

I'd respond: "Can you please clarify?"  Then, depending on how the person responds, one can tell what their intent is.  And if it is meant to be harsh, I think it can be reported to the moderators as snark.

I have notice this a lot also, sometimes they start with "I don't mean to be snarky"  but then that is exactly how it comes across.  If someone posts I don't mean to be snarky are we to accept that they really don't mean to be, even if it seems like they are ?

Hmmmm...interesting question. I'm not one that says "I don't mean to be snarky" but I know sometimes that I may ask a forthright question that may come off as snarky so I append "I'm curious" onto the post so that people know I really am asking a question and not being snarky. Was that clear? As mud? :P

So sometimes I have read "I don't mean to be snarky" as literal. But like Lynn2000 says, sometimes it's followed by a zinger. I tend to not read the zinger as being mean-spirited like I do other snark-ish remarks.

In regards to the original concern "Why is this your problem?" That often bothers me too. It's a problem because the OP deems it a problem. If you disapprove of them finding it to be a problem, then why post? Seems like the "Why is this your problem?" can get pointed right back at the people who ask it.
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Redneck Gravy

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 01:50:31 PM »
In regards to the original concern "Why is this your problem?" That often bothers me too. It's a problem because the OP deems it a problem. If you disapprove of them finding it to be a problem, then why post? Seems like the "Why is this your problem?" can get pointed right back at the people who ask it.

Exactly, why post ?  How can that not be construed as being snarky ?

kingsrings

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 07:22:08 PM »
ITA w/Lynn and Redneck Gravy. I really don't see the point in such statements other than to be snarky or personally attacking the poster. Just think to yourself: if it doesn't have something to do with the question or situation asked by the poster, then don't make the comment. If you really want to say something along the lines of, "I can't believe you do such-and-such", for example, then consider sending it in a PM.

FlyingBaconMouse

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2011, 09:08:40 AM »
I suspect that what "Why is this YOUR problem?" means at its best is, "I think you may be so caught up with the people/circumstances here that you're taking too much of it on yourself." But maybe someone's posting from a phone or has to do real-life stuff and shortens their remark.

It's unfortunate that it then becomes indistinguishable from the ones that are intended in a snarky/unhelpful way, because I don't think this is always a bad point to make.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2011, 09:59:19 AM »
I suspect that what "Why is this YOUR problem?" means at its best is, "I think you may be so caught up with the people/circumstances here that you're taking too much of it on yourself." But maybe someone's posting from a phone or has to do real-life stuff and shortens their remark.

It's unfortunate that it then becomes indistinguishable from the ones that are intended in a snarky/unhelpful way, because I don't think this is always a bad point to make.

I do agree that this is often what people mean, or sometimes a more pointed, "And this is your business HOW?" (my co-worker's always late and it doesn't affect me but it makes me mad that he doesn't get into trouble for it). And as I mentioned above, this can be a really good point to bring to the OP's attention. However, as you say, I think phrasing it this way, so brusque and snappy, can often have the effect of putting the OP on the defensive, instead of getting them to really think about the question.

Also, I've seen this question come several PAGES into a thread, when both the OP and other posters have articulated exactly why they feel the issue is a problem. So for someone to JUST post, "Why is this YOUR problem?" with no follow up can just make that poster look silly, like they haven't been paying attention to the rest of the thread. If they really don't understand why people are so worked up about the issue, they should SAY that, and give their own perspective on it to add to the discussion.
~Lynn2000

Bethalize

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Re: Why is this YOUR problem?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2011, 06:01:59 PM »
Here at eHell I assume that all posts are being made with the best of intentions. Therefore if a post hits a hot button I back off and work out the best way it could have been meant. It's a very good way to proceed.

I also think that anyone in a public forum needs to accept the gift of attention given when someone posts a response and not expect more than the absolute core of information and courtesy.