Re: virus: Communication

David McFadzean (
Wed, 15 May 1996 11:12:43 -0600

At 05:33 PM 14/05/96 -0700, Tadeusz Niwinski wrote:
>David McFadzean wrote:
>>If I were you I would take it to mean that he appreciates your sense
>>of humour. Or at least he did :-)
>What if you were yourself?

If I received that message from Richard I would take it to mean that
he appreciates my sense of humour.

>This group is a perfect place to study "human manipulation techniques" known
>here as "memetics". I honestly do not understand what Richard meant and I
>hope he tells me. Now I do not understand why you try to speak for him and
>why you sound sarcastic (this is how I read it).

I spoke for him in an attempt to clear up a misunderstanding. He has since
spoken for himself and it turns out I was right. I wasn't being sarcastic,
and my attempt at humour flagged by the smiley :-) above was just that, an
attempt to defuse an uncomfortable situation.

Though this medium is indeed a good place to study "human manipulation
techniques", I think what we are seeing here is a limitation of ascii
(i.e. textual) communication which is almost completely devoid of
nuance, intonation, gesture and body language. I say "almost" because
this is precisely why the emoticons like the smiley were invented.

It also nicely illustrates the difference between intended meaning and
real meaning. The intended effect of Richard's message to you was
(I believe) appreciation and encouragement. Since you weren't familiar
with the acronym he used (ROFL = rolling on the floor laughing), the
real effect/meaning of the message was confusion and intimidation. I
hope that has since been cleared up. My point is that using the model
of "meaning = effect", we can now define communication as the extent to
which intended meaning/effect approaches actual meaning/effect.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus