Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

On Conversations

I hear a lot about online "conversations". In blogs, in message boards, in email, people seem to want to have a lot of "conversations". Around Foo Camp, there was talk about how to "keep the conversations going". Even faceless corporate entities want to have "conversations" with me.

I do not want "conversations". Conversations are part of the information overload that saps my productivity. I want to engage, communicate, resolve, and move on. If we keep needing to have conversations then we are not communicating or something else is not working.

Exception Family members and friends, this does not apply to you.


Well that's one purpose of having dialogue, to get information so you can move on. Another is to develop ideas together, to entertain ourselves, to learn, to understand other humans, to understand ourselves. You have too narrow a focus on your dismissal of conversations, maybe because as a programmer you constantly harvest the internet for information, but the internet is much more than an encyclopedia, many people value it more for its strengthening of social interactions.
Well, I'm a programmer, and I think conversations are important. I can certainly imagine getting tired of hearing about it, though. Especially if it started to become a corp-speak buzzword.
I'm not sure what the "communicate" in "engage, communicate, resolve, move on" is if it doesn't involve conversation. For a lot of disagreements, it's not clear at the outset what the source of the disagreement is. It might be different goals, different assumptions, different definitions, whatever. It takes some back-and-forth to figure it out.
Or is it just that you don't want to have ongoing conversations? I agree that wanting to "keep the conversation going" is kind of a weird goal, unless it means "have new and interesting conversations on an ongoing basis". That I could get behind.