Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Alicorn comments on Wait vs Interrupt Culture - Less Wrong

72 Post author: Benquo 27 November 2013 03:38PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (69)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Alicorn 24 November 2013 07:58:17AM 10 points [-]

My sympathies are mostly with interrupt culture, because I find it hugely uncomfortable to have confusions or arguable points or whatever just sitting there, in the past, while the conversation meanders away and thoughts on the past topics dissolve - I have zero "trust" of the kind described in the OP. But in groups larger than three, interruption attempts can turn into multiple simultaneous threads of conversation and I don't have the audio processing capacity to manage that on most days. So then I have to ratchet up the interruption and shout over everyone to pare it down to one thread (with some overlap/interruption, but between tracks that respond to each other, not that are carried on independently and adjacently). I did this just a few hours ago with my dinner party guests.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 24 November 2013 04:13:15PM 7 points [-]

Since it seems as though a lot of the people I know have your reflexes (and I might just have some of them myself), I occasionally say something like "I've got something I want to lay out. It will take about five sentences."

Comment author: Benquo 24 November 2013 05:42:35PM *  1 point [-]

That's pretty much the attitude I started with. An upside of this is that you can nail down specific points of agreement and vocabulary and proceed methodically, if you can exert enough dominance over the conversation to pull it off.

A downside is that it precludes dialectic conversation, which depends on allowing certain confusions to sit there for a while or be played with instead of untangled explicitly. The other thing I've learned is that sometimes people may let points I think questionable or arguable go unquestioned because they don't find that direction as interesting as I do.

Recent example from my own life:

I was talking with other people under a strong "wait" norm about the question of whether one can have an ethical relation towards nature, land, or the biome. The methodical way to proceed would have been to narrow down what each of us meant by "ethical relation" and dissolve the question into a bunch of narrower component questions, cutting through the confusion and letting us all clearly state our prior opinions.

What we did instead was to let the term stand undivided, and instead think through examples of what an "ethical" relation to land might be, look at ways where our language or ideas already seemed in harmony with that, explore some hypotheticals where the term seemed a bit of a stretch, and jointly work through what it might mean to have a land ethic. We didn't end with explicit agreement on all the particulars of what is right, but we ended up instead with a new, fleshed-out idea or concept to apply to relationships with things.