## On intentionality and more

• 7.5k
Having spent a good 10 years on online forums, I find a glaring issue that grips any online forum or conversation for the matter. Namely, it is the intent of the speaker. The issue is manifest in online discourse where anonymity is affirmed and lack of knowledge about the speaker or his or her intent in discussing a topic. The people I speak of are trolls, shills, internet bullies, and in the more abstract "sophists". These people exploit their anonymity and lack of discernable intent to promote ideas that can either be dangerous or downright stupid.

How does one resolve this issue of lack of discernable intent from discourse?

In ordinary conversations with a person in real life we are able to see for ourselves what a person intends by their behavior, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues; but, on the internet, we don't have access to this prominent feature of human interaction.

So extreme can this become an issue, that one forms an attitude of insincerity or downright ignorance about the other speaker given this epistemic lack in discerning intent.

In my other thread 'On Psychologizing', I mention the issue of exploiting psychology as a means towards some unknown end. The interlocutor is trapped in an accusation (or a type of ad hominem) that the discussion digresses into a type of pissing contest (if males are involved).

Now, from a female perspective, given that males are around and about on the internet professing their inadequacies in the form of bullying or projection or shitposting or trolling, how does a female find any desire to engage in online discourse?
• 895
Now, from a female perspective, given that males are around and about on the internet professing their inadequacies in the form of bullying or projection or ****** or trolling, how does a female find any desire to engage in online discourse?

Personally, I engage with individuals up until the point that they can no longer be respectful. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I'm often proven wrong.

I'm just stubborn I guess? Plus, I really, really like philosophy.
• 7.5k
I'm often proven wrong.NKBJ

How does that make you feel if I am so bold in asking?
• 895
How does that make you feel if I am so bold in asking?

Misanthropic.
But I do trust that the mods will back me up if someone becomes actually belligerent.

I honestly don't take nastiness from internet strangers personally. I think it's a reflection on them, not me. That being said, I don't feel the need to serve as their personal punching bag because they have psychological issues.
• 7.5k
Misanthropic.NKBJ

Hmm, that sure is a theme that gets recycled around here a lot.

Sorry you feel that way. :worry:
• 772
Perhaps some people (myself on past occasions) get a type of high or adrenaline rush from confrontational posts. I would feel the blood pumping when someone in my perception would be belligerent or rude. I’ll show them... blah, blah, blah. An hour later, nobody cared. Least of all me. Maybe it beats TV, yet not as dangerous as death sports.

Now, I try to give much more attention to intelligent, funny, honest, or helpful posts. Usually the way I respond to annoying ones is by talking to myself what i feel like saying. Then just type “lol” or something pacifying. But darn... the obnoxious things always grab the attention. Like loud radio ads. If it bleeds, it leads, as the saying goes.
• 7.5k
Usually the way I respond to annoying ones is by talking to myself what i feel like saying. Then just type “lol” or something pacifying.

How about some healthy wallowing? Yes, I am becoming evangelical.

But darn... the obnoxious things always grab the attention. Like loud radio ads. If it bleeds, it leads, as the saying goes.

Just turn off the TV. I haven't watched TV in a long time.

Perhaps some people (myself on past occasions) get a type of high or adrenaline rush from confrontational posts.

Yes, that can be true.

What makes you tick?
• 1.4k
I would say that intent is actually irrelevant entirely. Authorial intent (intended meaning) can be important, but the intended ramifications of statements has no bearing on whether or not they are true.

Ideas and arguments must stand or fall on their own merit, not the merits of the speaker, or the merits of their intentions.

If people are sharing pointless or irrelevant ideas and arguments which happen to be technically true in some respect, just ignore them as irrelevant and pointless to interact with.
• 7.5k
I would say that intent is actually irrelevant entirely.

This is hard to fathom. I mean, if we were just talking in formal languages, then your statement and the rest would follow. But, having spent time here and seeing that conversations are actually about (well actually mostly about to put it lightly) normative matters, then intentionality is of great importance.

Not sure if that made sense or not.
• 772
How about some healthy wallowing? Yes, I am becoming evangelical.
Have you made any “wallowing” t-shirts? It might spread the word. I’ve seen worse ideas on GoFundMe and such. The world could use some mindful wallowing. Maybe other names were used for it. Lao Tsu did it. Henry David Thoreau. Emily Dickenson. John Lennon and Yoko bedding for peace. Moses wallowed in the desert for years. Probably all the well known philosophers.
• 1.4k
People are saying things in an attempt to persuade the other to change their positions (moral suasion), right? (the intent of persuasion itself matters to us as individuals).

While this is true to us as individuals with the subjective opinion that we are more correct than others, philosophy has demanding standards about the method of persuasion it prefers to use. It requires that something be persuasive for rational, logical, or otherwise evidence based reasons (we want/pray/wish that truth is more persuasive than falsehood).

There's a whole world of sophistry out there whose only utility is that it is highly persuasive, and people appeal to them every day (more and more in the quick-rhetoric-slinging world of online media). But as philosophers, we're supposed to recognize them as fallacious appeals and seek more reliable arguments and conclusions.

In theory it is more important that we are correct than it is important we are persuasive, but neither is useful without the other.
• 7.5k
The world could use some mindful wallowing. Maybe other names were used for it. Lao Tsu did it. Henry David Thoreau. Emily Dickenson. John Lennon and Yoko bedding for peace. Moses wallowed in the desert for years. Probably all the well known philosophers.

Oh dear. I'm just a pig, so what do I know? *Goes back to eating some mushrooms*
• 7.5k
People are saying things in an attempt to persuade the other to change their positions (moral suasion), right? (the intent of persuasion itself matters to us as individuals).

Yeah, rhetoric, and all that jazz.

While this is true to us as individuals with the subjective opinion that we are more correct than others, philosophy has demanding standards about the method of persuasion it prefers to use.

There's a whole world of sophistry out there whose only utility is that it is highly persuasive, and people appeal to them every day (more and more in the quick-rhetoric-slinging world of online media).

But as philosophers, we're supposed to recognize them as fallacious appeals and seek more reliable arguments and conclusions.

That's all true; but, we're at square one. Meaning, that some appeal to authority is required, which in my opinion goes against the very ethos of philosophy. And they call economics the dismal science.

In theory it is more important that we are correct than it is important we are persuasive, but neither is useful without the other.

How do you present either of those traits in a post-modern, hyper-normalized world?
• 772
Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore all are habitual wallowers. Eeyore made $40 million last year. Owns an island in the Caribbean. :nerd: About the topic... I think one can kind of “read between the lines” to suss out some kind of intention. It’s my feeling that people really want to be understood, even when they are being sneaky or something. Especially in our current culture, where it seems one has to scream or be on fire to even be noticed for a moment. Subtlety is not in the top 40 list of prized virtues at the moment. • 61 Some people use other people as a means to an end, and good people don't. Good people treat other people as important in of themselves. My professor friend just installed a new thermostat for me, I helped a little bit. He always makes me feel better about myself. It's the easiest thing in the world imo to know another's intent, the problem I have is letting go of negative people. It's like a train wreck, i just have to keep attending. The fault of negative people in my life is all mine. Wishing you the very best! What a great post! • 7.5k Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore all are habitual wallowers. Eeyore made$40 million last year. Owns an island in the Caribbean. :nerd:

Oh, Eeyore. My dear companion and friend. As well as neurotic and anxious Piglet.

About the topic... I think one can kind of “read between the lines” to suss out some kind of intention. It’s my feeling that people really want to be understood, even when they are being sneaky or something. Especially in our current culture, where it seems one has to scream or be on fire to even be noticed for a moment. Subtlety is not in the top 40 list of prized virtues at the moment.

Yes, I hear you. *Said in Piglet's voice*
• 7.5k
Some people use other people as a means to an end, and good people don't. Good people treat other people as important in of themselves.

Right. And, respect too.

My professor friend just installed a new thermostat for me, I helped a little bit. He always makes me feel better about myself. It's the easiest thing in the world imo to know another's intent, the problem I have is letting go of negative people.

Negative and toxic people. Yup, that's the (perceived) population of the internet. Well, it depends on where you spend your time on the webs, that is.

It's like a train wreck, i just have to keep attending. The fault of negative people in my life is all mine.

When in doubt scream and shout?

Wishing you the very best! What a great post!

Thank-you and you too.
• 7.6k
Disclaimer: The following is written with the intent of making vague, positive-sounding non-inferential remarks about a topic of which 9/10ths is floating on the surface as foam. I wish to figuratively dump a couple bucketloads of warm slop on you, in the event that your wallowing hole is cooling off. I don't want you to get a chill.

Communication between people (don't know about other species) has always been difficult because...

Sometimes people have mixed motives. Sometimes people are not clear about their own intent. Other people can be difficult to interpret. The signs and signals of language are not always clear -- even face to face. Sometimes we are not clear receivers of messages. We sometimes harbor suspicions, hopes, fears, doubts, erroneous thinking, and so on, which can make it difficult for us to gauge the intent of an innocuous "Good morning."

Certainly, some people in internet chat or lengthier discussion formats intend to irritate others, write abusive, dismissive, crude comments, and so forth. Stupid people are able to use the internet, their stupidity notwithstanding. Some people are short-fused and explode with little provocation.

Despite all that, most of the time people in a Internet format like TPF manage to communicate in two directions successfully, with a minimum of friction. [The minimum of friction still involves at least some friction.] One of the ways we achieve this smooth, low-friction mode of interaction is through the good offices of our own little gestapito which liquidates offenders swiftly, if sometimes arbitrarily. We have to assume that our gain is other fora's loss. Those expelled from Paradise no doubt migrate to other sites of philosophical interaction where they spray their hot bile all over unsuspecting (but perhaps deserving) subjects.
• 1.4k
Meaning, that some appeal to authority is required, which in my opinion goes against the very ethos of philosophy. And they call economics the dismal science.

Square one is logic, reason, and evidence in pursuit of truth above persuasiveness. That's the authority it appeals to by definition (or at least under most philosophical roofs).

How do you present either of those traits in a post-modern, hyper-normalized world?

With arguments that are simultaneously persuasive and true.
• 181
In ordinary conversations with a person in real life we are able to see for ourselves what a person intends by their behavior, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues; but, on the internet, we don't have access to this prominent feature of human interaction.

Well easy for the socially adequate to say. I have never felt that people's behavior, facial, expressions, non-verbal cues, etc are anywhere near consistent enough for me to make predictions. If I know a person VERY well, I can know these things based on past experience. Otherwise, I struggle to have any idea what people are thinking/feeling. Fortunately, I am also inherently disinterested in these things.

I think the need to know WHO you are talking to, is part of the problem you are noticing. If I don't care if the person who posted is old, young, male, female, black, white, lgbtq, an alien, or a dog that can type; then ALL I can do is address the content of their post. Now obviously, me being further along the sociopath spectrum and possibly including a pinch of asperger's makes this natural for me, but I often wonder why, on a Philosophy Forum, there is such frequent dismissal of arguments because the person is young, old, female, christian, atheist, etc. I guess our brains can't help but take the shortcuts, and if we know a person is an old female, then we can make all sorts of "accurate" assumptions?
• 9.7k
I think one can kind of “read between the lines” to suss out some kind of intention.

That's what he has objected to expressing either at all, or only unless it meets his approval. (Of course, when he does it, it's okay). It's shut up or sugar coat. That's what I read between the lines, anyway. And don't even think about masturbating in the marketplace!

When someone stands out in a community, and a group within that community disapproves, then we see pressure to conform manifest, sometimes in subtle ways, as in the opening post, which I would say is largely taking aim at me. But if I said that, then I predict it would be met with insinuations that I'm a paranoid egomaniac or some such, so I won't say it.

If you break a taboo, then there are predictable consequences. It's a bit like there being a wolf amongst sheep, but on a much more complex level.

This whole thing is like a game of chess. It is no coincidence that this discussion appeared shortly after he made a comment in his previous discussion, "Pissing contest?".
• 579
The people I speak of are trolls, shills, internet bullies, and in the more abstract "sophists". These people exploit their anonymity and lack of discernable intent to promote ideas that can either be dangerous or downright stupid.

How does one resolve this issue of lack of discernable intent from discourse?

How do you know even know such people exist if you lack the facilities to determine intent?
• 9.7k
How do you know even know such people exist if you lack the facilities to determine intent?

Bullseye! And that whole line of reasoning collapses.
• 9.7k
Oh, Eeyore. My dear companion and friend. As well as neurotic and anxious Piglet.

And Wolfee. Remember him? Loveable little chap. Bit bitey though.
• 7.5k
How do you know even know such people exist if you lack the facilities to determine intent?

So, intent can be discerned. I never said it can't; though it is quite hard on online forums as I described.
• 7.5k
Square one is logic, reason, and evidence in pursuit of truth above persuasiveness. That's the authority it appeals to by definition (or at least under most philosophical roofs).

Then, what's the difference between a good lawyer and a philosopher if I may phrase the question in such a manner?
• 7.5k
I wish to figuratively dump a couple bucketloads of warm slop on you, in the event that your wallowing hole is cooling off. I don't want you to get a chill.

Sexual innuendos aside I slept well and wallowed contently in my bed. It was a healthy wallow, to say the least.
• 617
How does one resolve this issue of lack of discernable intent from discourse? — Wallows

Be honest and forthright with yourself and others. If that doesn’t pan out well just assume the other person might actually be attempting to be honest and forthright themselves.

Stop short of engaging with people whom appear to be talking drivel and/or contradicting themselves. Usually someone else will try to engage and you’ll get a better idea of whether or not it’s worth your effort.

And finally, as you’ve seen me do, if someone says something idiotic don’t be afraid to tell them so for fear of a knee-jerk reaction. We all say idiotic things from time to time and if we do we should be thankful that others can point this out (and then decide if their assessment is at fault or not).
• 7.6k
Sexual innuendos aside

Sexual innuendos? Where! Where!
• 7.5k
Sexual innuendos? Where! Where!

Buckets of warm "stuff" being dropped on me. I don't mind, though.
• 7.6k
I suppose buckets of "warm slop" could be construed as sexual innuendo, though -- just personally -- it wouldn't do much to turn me on. But tastes vary. The intentionality would matter a great deal.

Mostly though, I associate "slop" with hogs wallowing. Nothing sexual, just wallowing, snorting, grunting. What hogs do in wallowing holes.

Have you observed hogs doing their wallowing thing? They take it very seriously. Usually in the summer.

"Slop" is also a verb. "To slop the hogs" is to feed them their daily ration of ground corn mixed with other feeds and water or milk and dumped into troughs, where the hogs act like the pigs swine are.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal