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Hello dsnw2022,

In this post, you asked a question. I answered it, happy to share my experience as it took me some time to figure these things out. So it is valuable information in my eyes. I see you put a thumbs up and asked a new question. I want to point out that a simple and short "thank you" would have been nice. As we established recently here there is a different between liking the content of a post and expressing gratefulness. So if someone give you something that they themselves consider valuable, if they don't get acknowledgment of the value given, they might feel cheated in the social value exchange and might not want to give again.

As we also talked here: when you do these kind of things you take the risk to frame yourself as a taker. I see your post history and I see you thanked people several times already (including me). So this is an encouragement to continue as you will get more answers to your future posts.



Lucio Buffalmano and Kavalier have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoKavalier

Hey John,

This passage from this entry (and BTW, it was my mistake to ask you to post it in a new thread instead of addressing this bigger point earlier):

Quote from John Freeman on September 8, 2022, 10:14 pm

As you can imagine, any feed-back from you on this would be very helpful for me.

Puts the receiver -me, in this case- in an "damn if you do, damn if you don't" bind.

It's a form of indirect tasking trough emotional power dynamics (a mild form of guilt-tripping).

Damn if I do: disempowered, bad precedent, and new expectations

If I follow up, I'm disempowered as several levels:

  1. I get taksked, I execute
  2. Others can add tasks to my to-do list, hence:
    1. I put myself last, and
    2. My other priorities aren't that important

It's potentially future-disempowering, since if I execute, it sets both a precedent and an expectation.

All that one has to do in the future is to frame their ask as "important for them", and I'll act -and, if I don't, the expectation is thwarted and people will feel like I'm biased or being nasty towards them-.

And I don't want to set up those precedents and expectations: the forum the way I want to live it and use it is not task-based and (emotionally) compelled, but based on freedom and pleasure.

Damn if I don't: I'm an asshole for not helping when it matters the most

The "damn if you don't" part is that if I don't execute, now I'm an asshole because I'm not helping a good person in their time of need.

And I also don't want to be an asshole.

Solution: not setting up double-binds

Ideally, one root cause solution is to not set up those double binds in the first place.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks a lot! I’ll answer later and explain the rationale behind this formulation.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hello Lucio,

First, thank you for the compliment and power protection ("good person").

Second, my apologies to you and to the forum members for this clumsy guilt-tripping. More later.

My intention

Based on this thread about posting strategy, my intention was to increase the likelihood of an answer from forum members.

Specifically this part:

Frame your problem as big: the bigger the problem, the bigger the (emotional) reward to solve it, the bigger the status boost people get in the community, and the bigger incentive for people to help

I did frame my request for feed-back as important as it was to me.

So that was basically the intention behind this formulation. So in my mind, I was asking my friends for help and wanted to emphasize it.

The challenge of asking for help on a forum

I do agree that when you frame an ask as important, it does put pressure on the receiver and it's uncomfortable.

It is also an admission of limitations from the part of the asker and therefore a situation when one is framing others as more powerful than him in this case. Otherwise the person would have solved it on their own.

I hate emotional blackmail and guilt-tripping just as much as you.

On the form: I did not find a better formulation to indicate that I was putting myself in the situation of asking a favour.

On the content: First, I don't want to involve Bel in this as it's my own formulation. However to explain better my reasoning and how I felt, here is a recent example from you:

If you have comments on this, please feel free to share them.

To me, when I read that I read a sense of urgency in it. I read this frame like this: "It's a difficult situation for me, your help would be appreciated" (within the context of the thread). Therefore, I responded quite quickly to the request. Is it indirect tasking here? I don't think so. So these are obviously 2 different situations.

This quote is to illustrate the emotions I read behind the asker (need for help). I felt like this (needing for help). This is my interpretation of his writing of course. Feel free to totally dismiss it as it's coming from my own perspective. This is to take an example of a situation when I felt emotionally compelled to answer quickly, being on the other side. I'm going to reflect on this as well.

Aha. I now can identify the emotion I felt as I write now. It was a feeling of helplessness.

Now, going back to my previous formulation.

As you can imagine, any feed-back from you on this would be very helpful for me.

It's tricky. As I think the problem is that to avoid going into the guilt-tripping/emotional blackmail territory (unintendly of course), one cannot input emotions in it. In this case, emotions of helplessness.

Here's my breakdown:

It's a challenging situation emotionally  for me as you guys can read and I need your help.

This was what I wanted to express. However, it still contains the double-bind.

If I remove the disagreeable emotional part and turn it into the positive:

I'm happy to read your feed-back about this situation. In the meantime I'm going to do something to take my head out of it. (If I still wanted to expresse that I'm concerned but show that I can deal with it and don't put the emotional burden on others)

So I think in my case I wanted to express the feeling of helplessness to be better understood. However:

  1. I don't need help. Meaning: I would like help, I want help, help would be great but I don't need help (self-framing as powerless/helpless).
  2. The double bind automatically follows if I express this emotion of helplessness.
BTW, after a good night of sleep I feel fine and not as anxious/guilty/shameful as before.
Thanks again, Lucio as I could do more self-introspection thanks to your feed-back. I was unaware as you can imagine.
I think that topic of asking for help without guilt-tripping/emotional blackmail deserves its own thread. When I'll encounter this situation again, I'll analyse it here.

I want to apologize to everyone who answered to my recent threads.

First, you helped me a lot so thank you very much for that.

I know you guys answered quickly to my questions so this was very valuable to me. So my apologies for the late answers to your answers.

Unfortunately, this was a crazy week and I want to take the time to answer properly as you guys did, which I'm doing today. Hence the delay.

I'm behind several threads to which I want to contribute, I'm catching up.

I know no one complained or asked me to explain myself. As this is asynchronous communication, I want to clarify as much as possible my context out of respect for you and the help you gave me.

Edit: In my mind, this is not a "I'm busy" power move as I take responsibility and apologize. If you feel it still is so, please explain it to me so I don't do the same mistake again.

Hey John,

here when you write this:

Quote from John Freeman on September 22, 2022, 9:13 pm

I read Bel's answer. However, I would not recommend this road because:

  1. You would answer at the same level he's attacking you (Not so Eagle like)

  2. You risk to go in an escalation (Turkey spiral)

by commenting on my answer and framing the results of applying my idea as not-eagle-like and turkey-spiral-inducing, you basically social climb on my answer, and by association frame me as a turkey and yourself as an eagle exposing the higher-level solution.

I think a better solution would be to just state your take, which of course can be different from mine. Or just mention that you would avoid using that strategy, and then focus on the positives of your suggested solution instead.

leaderoffun has reacted to this post.

Hello Bel,

Thanks for your feed-back. I understand your perspective. To me I’m talking about the solution you propose, not you.

Could you please give an example of another way of expressing the same thing I said in the way you mean so I can better understand?

Thanks to you for your willingness to discuss this. I think a more neutral way of saying the same thing could have been:

The idea of answering back with the same sarcasm could risk triggering an escalation and would stay at the same level of the attacker.

So I suggest this other solution...

Lucio Buffalmano, John Freeman and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanKavalierleaderoffun

Thanks Bel for your answer, it's a great way to put it.

Once again I was talking about your answer, not you. My apologies if you felt hurt, not my intention.

I wish you a good week-end.



There is still one thing not clear to me though: so for you it's not allowed to talk about the "risk of a Turkey spiral" when talking about someone's answer?

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