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Re: my apoligies (was Re: Telemetry on by default kitty)

From: Leo Prikler
Subject: Re: my apoligies (was Re: Telemetry on by default kitty)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2021 20:27:50 +0200
User-agent: Evolution 3.34.2

Hello Giovanni,

Am Mittwoch, den 16.06.2021, 19:32 +0200 schrieb Giovanni Biscuolo:
> Dear Leo F. and Leo P.
> Leo Famulari <> writes:
> > On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 11:39:59PM +0200, Leo Prikler wrote:
> > > Am Dienstag, den 15.06.2021, 19:24 +0200 schrieb Giovanni
> > > Biscuolo:
> > > > I'm sorry you don't see the point, but 
> > 
> > Good grief...
> > 
> > > Might be just me, but this phrasing appears a little aggressive
> > > given the overall tone of the message being… a little less so.
> > 
> > Yeah, indeed.
> In my sentence:
> > > > I'm sorry you don't see the point, but please remember that
> > > > [...]
> I was just repeating a few words from this sentence by Leo F.:
> > > > > [...] I don't personally see the point of treating telemetry
> > > > > as a
> > > > > special case in terms of trust or consent.
> Please can you (both) explain me what's aggressive in my above
> phrasing?
I'm not going to argue as Leo F. did, that they in fact did see the
point when they claimed differently.  If that discussion has any value,
it should be done under Mark's reply.

I simply want to draw your attention to the phrasing "I'm sorry you
VERB/ACTION".  This phrasing can be used to deliberately provoke, but
it's more commonly used when
- people are forced to apologize out of social pressure without
actually understanding what they are apologizing for
- people generally have troubles expressing themselves in English.
This is something, that English native speakers grasp intuitively, but
can be a bit alien towards non-native speakers.

Consider the following dialogue:

Bob: *says something misogynistic*
Alice: I feel offended by that.
Bob: I'm sorry you feel offended.

Here, Bob is not apologizing for the fact, that he hurt Alice through
his misogynistic statement, but rather for the fact, that Alice felt
hurt.  It is a subtle difference, that shows how Bob does not see the
error of his way.  Note, that I'm using male-on-female verbal
aggression here as an example, but it's by far not the only one.

In your case, this general negative connotation of the phrasing "I'm
sorry you X" is amplified by you having stated it when joining the
conversation, i.e. without even having done anything any of us could
feel offended by.  This proactive use of "I'm sorry you X" can be
argued to be even more aggressive.

Imagine instead of typing out a detailed reply explaining why people
read your message as somehow containing anger, I said something along
the lines of "I'm sorry your English is not as good as mine". Not only
would this make me appear extremely pompous to any third party
observing, but more importantly you as my conversation partner would be
attacked for your lack in skill, empathy, …, pick something you like. 
This is somewhat comparable to how people will misread your reply when
condensed to that one line.

Going back to the full quote:
> > > Might be just me, but this phrasing appears a little aggressive
> > > given the overall tone of the message being… a little less so.
I singled out this very phrase, because it appears to be in stark
contrast to the rest of your message.  I also voiced my agreement with
the statement that followed, so it's really just a minor complaint
about this particular part that makes up a minor portion of your reply.

Do not under any circumstances take this as somehow invalidating your
whole point. It doesn't. It's just a tiny case of bad optics.

> I'm not a native speaker and I'm pretty sure my english needs much
> improvement, so I'll appreciate I you explain me what I did wrong and
> why you are calling my sentence "grief".
Leo F. is not labelling your sentence grief, it is rather an expression
of dismay.  It may alternatively (in different contexts) also be
surprise, shock or disgust and probably other things Wiktionary doesn't
tell you about.  There is no direct Italian equivalent here – the
translation depends on context.

You may take all of the above with a grain of salt, as I too am not a
native English speaker.  In some sense, I am projecting a German view
of language (as that's my native tongue) onto English, as the same
applies here to "Tut mir leid, dass du …", but I believe those two
languages are close enough for that inference to be made.  There might
perhaps also be cultural differences in English as a first language
within the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, not to mention English as
a second language in various parts of the world, including Italy.  In
any case, there are contexts in which the thing you've written appears
rather aggressive and you might want to learn how to pick up such

I hope this clears up the point I was trying to make.
Regards, Leo P.

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