Cafeteria Interviews

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Cafeteria Interviews

Postby Nuke » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:05 am

I have just read the interview with r0ml. He is clearly a highly intelligent thinker, but I do not think this "cafeteria" style of interview does anyone justice. I assume that what he said is reported verbatim, but that rarely works well in print. Skilled politicians know this, which is why they tend to reply in prepared and rather stilted soundbytes, but the rest of us tend to sound inarticulate.

I once regularly took minutes. I would tape record the meeting, and playing it back afterwards I'd realise that half the time people were talking at cross-purposes or contradicting themselves - yet clearly no-one had realised it in the meeting itself. I had to put my own interpretation on much of it or it the minutes would have seemed insane. With face-to-face talk we tend to shape what we are hearing into what we expect - like we would not expect a contractor at my meeting to be talking down his price, we would assume we had missed hearing something. But in print that mental filter does not work.

Just take the example of his comment (quoted on the front cover) that "Most people today write more than Charles Dickens in his lifetime". I think this was just meant to be an off-the-cuff hyperbole like "I could eat a horse" or "she's got a backside as big as a house" (but at least those are standard hyperboles we recognise). But unfortunately it gets printed, highlighted, and possibly quoted in future; I think it unfair to rOml.

The notion does not stand examination. I write (postings like this particularly long one, and regular emails to a friend) equivalent to about two pages of Dicken's per week. "Bleak House" has about 1000 pages, so 10 years to level with "Bleak House". Then there are his other 14 novels. Never mind his letters (perhaps I might equal just those). In my circle there is only my daughter's boyfriend who blogs, and I reckon he does about one page of Dickens a week. So "Most people"?! Most people don't come within an order of magnitude; I believe that rOml is thinking only of people in his own intellectual circle - even if it is true for them.
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Postby ChrisThornett » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:44 pm

Believe me, we cut a lot!

We probably need to post the rest on TuxRadar soon, too.

I understand what you're saying, though, and his way of approaching does highlight the weakness in a straight Q&A format sometimes. Fascinating guy. I bet his presentations are fascinating, too.
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Postby towy71 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:03 pm

Nuke you are seriously underestimating the amount that Dickens wrote, he worked as a parliamentary report and in the news and reviews in contemporary magazines, verbose he was, extremely verbose :wink: :wink:
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