1176: "Those Not Present"

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1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:06 am UTC

Image

Title Text: 'Yeah, that squid's a total asshole.' [scoot scoot]

A giant squid band would be just beyond awesome.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Hybran » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:10 am UTC

Giant Squid would be a good band name. Or giantsquidband dot tumblr dot com.

Is it just me, or is it spelt "Frends" in the top panel?

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby tomemos » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:20 am UTC

This comic struck me as kind of sanctimonious and superior, to be honest. And what is a comic like this one, if not talking bad about people (the anonymous blondes in the first panel) who aren't in the room?

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:31 am UTC

I actually never talk about someone behind their back because there's always the chance that information might be relayed back to them. I'm fairly neutral in most personal affairs anyway, so people seem to use me as their go to guy when they want to vent, because I sit there glazed feigning interest until they're done.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby addams » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:39 am UTC

Do you think Mr. Monroe reads the conversations we have on the forum?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

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Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby algorerhythms » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:43 am UTC

Of course, once he's far enough away, they start talking about him.
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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby mcdigman » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:58 am UTC

Blonde: "Hey, did you see what Randall just did? That guys a little off isn't he?"
Guy: "Yeah, have you seen the things he says are his hobbies? Weird stuff."
Blonde: "No, I can't get past how badly drawn his stick figures are. Guy needs to take an art class to learn how to make a real comic. No pun intended."

. . .

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby gunnervi » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:38 am UTC

Giant Squid would be a good band name

A giant squid band would be just beyond awesome.

So, there is in fact a band called Giant Squid, and they are (imo) quite excellent. You can find them on bandcamp if you so desire.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby jpk » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:41 am UTC

tomemos wrote:This comic struck me as kind of sanctimonious and superior, to be honest.


I suppose then that I'd also strike you the same way, because I'm also uncomfortable when I'm in a group and suddenly someone starts bashing a person who isn't there. And I quite like this solution - both literally and metaphorically.

And what is a comic like this one, if not talking bad about people (the anonymous blondes in the first panel) who aren't in the room?


Well, it could be a work of fiction. I mean, it's one thing to talk shit about people who are actual people, it's something else entirely to tell a story to make a point without making an identifiable reference to any particular person.
If you think RM is making an identifiable reference to some particular person, then you think he's a hypocrite, I suppose, but I see no reason to assume that to be the case.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby San Fran Sam » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:10 am UTC

all that chair scooting must be rough on the floors.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby mtavs » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:29 am UTC

Hybran wrote:Giant Squid would be a good band name. Or giantsquidband dot tumblr dot com.

Is it just me, or is it spelt "Frends" in the top panel?

It may just be that they don't like his choice of headphones...

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Essah » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:04 am UTC

mcdigman wrote:Blonde: "Hey, did you see what Randall just did? That guys a little off isn't he?"
Guy: "Yeah, have you seen the things he says are his hobbies? Weird stuff."
Blonde: "No, I can't get past how badly drawn his stick figures are. Guy needs to take an art class to learn how to make a real comic. No pun intended."

. . .


*Scoot* *Scoot*

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Bromskloss » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:15 am UTC

I suppose one then should do the same when positive things are said about those not present.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Diadem » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:47 am UTC

I didn't like this comic. It's not funny, but rather seems to be trying to point out how superior the author is.

Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole. A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.
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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Sniper_X » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:02 am UTC

Here's a bit of ironic trivia about this comic...

The man that donated the research vessel and the submarine to the group that found the giant squid in the latest Discovery Channel documentary, is also a man who has a very strict policy about talking behind the backs of others in the office.

In fact, you can be fired very quickly doing at the company he owns…

...In Westport Connecticut…

Just found it ironic.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:23 am UTC

Well, as with (mostly) everything, I find the truth is somewhere in the middle. In a company where the main subject is slamming non-present people I would feel awkward and "scootish" too. I'm certainly not in the habit of starting such discussions myself. On the other hand when some of my friends behave in some rather questionable ways and another friend who noticed the same thing I did brings it up, I sure as hell won't pretend we're talking about the weather, or start scooting. I'm definitely not the one who's going to sweep other people's dirt under the rug for them and pretend it doesn't exist, when I'm directly addressed about it; sorry.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Klear » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:37 am UTC

I enjoy talking about people behind their backs when they are present.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Covane » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:55 am UTC

Diadem wrote:I didn't like this comic. It's not funny, but rather seems to be trying to point out how superior the author is.


Criticizing the lack of humor in a strip which gives all indication of not trying to be funny is superfluous.

I believe you'll find most of those who read today's xkcd will appreciate Randall's take on gossip. Those groups of people who are bereft any subject of discussion other than making negative remarks on peers not present are undesirables. Their words do nothing to edifying the behavior of the subject (whom will often exhibit equal scorn on those speaking disdainfully of him,) and leads to their own cognitive degradation. I know I would rather talk about giant squids than the fashion decisions or "poor" musical skills of people.

Diadem wrote:Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole.


This is a statement which is of extraordinary ease to refute. The most powerful individuals in the world are with only rare deviation "assholes." The most wealthy individuals in the world are with only rare deviation "assholes." The most prominent targets of celebrity are almost universally "assholes." Humans are, if anything, vastly more directed toward narcissism in this day.

Diadem wrote:A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.


Even supposing the state of the world was not as I detailed in the above, this would still be an idea without basis. "A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line," meaning that gossip is the stick used by society as disincentive to poor social behavior. You then immediately say that those who break social standards "can be dealt with in some way." Gossip is your impotent stick.

And what are we using a stick on, exactly? Trying to start a band? Having a "weird" sister? In this progressive age we may only oppose behavior which gives tangible negative effect toward others or society. If not then any gossip of their behavior is coming from a position of assumed superiority, and I would be right to exhibit contempt at such a belief.

I do so here- I hold contempt over your entire post. 1, that Randall is attempting to praise himself rather than praising the value of upbuilding and enlightening discourse, 2, that gossip is some sort of "social evolution," and 3, that gossip can be used to minimize "socially unacceptable" behavior.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Istaro » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:25 am UTC

Covane wrote:Criticizing the lack of humor in a strip which gives all indication of not trying to be funny is superfluous.


Really? I thought that at least half the point of the comic was setting up the title text joke.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Klear » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:19 am UTC

Covane wrote:
Diadem wrote:Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole.


This is a statement which is of extraordinary ease to refute. The most powerful individuals in the world are with only rare deviation "assholes." The most wealthy individuals in the world are with only rare deviation "assholes." The most prominent targets of celebrity are almost universally "assholes." Humans are, if anything, vastly more directed toward narcissism in this day.

Diadem wrote:A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.


Even supposing the state of the world was not as I detailed in the above, this would still be an idea without basis. "A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line," meaning that gossip is the stick used by society as disincentive to poor social behavior. You then immediately say that those who break social standards "can be dealt with in some way." Gossip is your impotent stick.

And what are we using a stick on, exactly? Trying to start a band? Having a "weird" sister? In this progressive age we may only oppose behavior which gives tangible negative effect toward others or society. If not then any gossip of their behavior is coming from a position of assumed superiority, and I would be right to exhibit contempt at such a belief.

I do so here- I hold contempt over your entire post. 1, that Randall is attempting to praise himself rather than praising the value of upbuilding and enlightening discourse, 2, that gossip is some sort of "social evolution," and 3, that gossip can be used to minimize "socially unacceptable" behavior.


The tendency to gossip about celebrities and other prominent people comes from the fact that people consider important those, whose faces they can recognize and whose names they know. Ages ago that was a good way to know that somebody is close enough for you to care about stuff they do. Such info about people you will never meet is useless, but we still tend to gossip about celebrities.

In any case, the comic is dealing with talking behind the backs of friends, in which case gossip is still as useful as ever. If someone has a tendency to be an asshole but it's not obvious, it's valuable to hear about it from others. On the other hand, if this asshole gets confronted about it by someone based on this gossip, or perhaps sees the nonverbal cues of people who now know he's an asshole, he'd be motivated to stop being an asshole.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:30 am UTC

The biggest thing getting together to say negative things about other people does is demonstrate how much of an asshole you are. I'm comfortable with passing on general items of interest about someone, some of which happen to be negative, but when priority is given to making other people look bad (and yourselves look good by comparison) then it's not about dissemination of relevant and/or useful information; it's about ego-building by picking on someone else.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Red Hal » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:38 am UTC

gunnervi wrote:
Giant Squid would be a good band name

A giant squid band would be just beyond awesome.

So, there is in fact a band called Giant Squid, and they are (imo) quite excellent. You can find them on bandcamp if you so desire.
Well, there was this one time on bandcamp....
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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:44 am UTC

What kind of sanctimonious jerks sit on the floor talking about giant squid? And, what, does their king get to sit on a comfy throne with a hipster béret for a crown?

Oh crap. They can't hear me, can they?

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby funnyav » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:01 pm UTC

I wanted to say, "Why is he hanging out with people like that?" but I think the scooting solves that problem automatically.

I like how the text gets smaller when he's further away.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby peewee_RotA » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:12 pm UTC

Yeah but sid the squid killed batman!



I tried scooting my chair back every time I heard you guys talk about the characters in the comic, but then I couldn't reach my keyboard to complain.
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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby peewee_RotA » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:15 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole. A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.


I'm pretty sure that punching folks in the face accomplishes this goal. You appear to be a gossiper that has not yet been punched in the face.
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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Zindaras » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:21 pm UTC

But what then do you do when you are surrounded by gossiping people? There's no scooting out of that one.

Also, I really wish there were more people in this world talking about giant squids.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Klear » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:46 pm UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:
Diadem wrote:Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole. A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.


I'm pretty sure that punching folks in the face accomplishes this goal. You appear to be a gossiper that has not yet been punched in the face.


But how do you know who needs to be punched in the face, huh?

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:57 pm UTC

Zindaras wrote:But what then do you do when you are surrounded by gossiping people? There's no scooting out of that one.


Scoot more - sooner or later you'll find an unlocked door

Klear wrote:
peewee_RotA wrote:
Diadem wrote:Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole. A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.


I'm pretty sure that punching folks in the face accomplishes this goal. You appear to be a gossiper that has not yet been punched in the face.


But how do you know who needs to be punched in the face, huh?


By listening to what they say about other people in your presence?

You definitely don't want to go around punching people just because someone says that those people are malicious gossips - though you may want to punch that person...

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Klear » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:17 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:But how do you know who needs to be punched in the face, huh?


By listening to what they say about other people in your presence?

You definitely don't want to go around punching people just because someone says that those people are malicious gossips - though you may want to punch that person...[/quote]

But what if somebody is a nice guy, and it just happens that when you meet him, he's having a bad day and it irritable and annoying. Thanks to gossip, you can find that out. Punching him in the face or asking him straight "Are you always so irritating?" won't yield good results...

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Red Hal » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

Not to mention that whole "punching-in-the-face" thing being common assault punishable by imprisonment.
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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby C'tol » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:I didn't like this comic. It's not funny, but rather seems to be trying to point out how superior the author is.

Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole. A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.


Well, but what if the one's doing the gossiping are the assholes? Ever thought about that possibility? Probably not... People being different than others is a bad thing in your opinion? Do you know what mobbing is?...

... I'd like to say more, but I'm just sickened by your attitude...


P.S.: In the off chance that I misunderstood you: Sorry. If I didn't...well, see above

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:35 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
But how do you know who needs to be punched in the face, huh?


By listening to what they say about other people in your presence?

You definitely don't want to go around punching people just because someone says that those people are malicious gossips - though you may want to punch that person...


But what if somebody is a nice guy, and it just happens that when you meet him, he's having a bad day and it irritable and annoying. Thanks to gossip, you can find that out. Punching him in the face or asking him straight "Are you always so irritating?" won't yield good results...


The whole idea of punching people is to provide negative reinforcement for unwanted behaviour. If you let people off the consequences of being nasty to you just because they're nice to other people, that encourages them to be nasty in future (or rather doesn't discourage them). The same's true in reverse if you punch someone who is usually a malicious gossip on an occasion when they've been well-behaved - you discourage their good behaviour more than their bad.

Anyway, I don't go around punching people in the first place - the most I do is venture a verbal rebuke.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Zindaras » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:55 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Zindaras wrote:But what then do you do when you are surrounded by gossiping people? There's no scooting out of that one.


Scoot more - sooner or later you'll find an unlocked door


But there are more gossipers outside, forcing you to scoot back in. Truly, it is inescapable.

There was actually a pretty large piece about office politics in a free Dutch newspaper a couple of weeks ago (I'm pretty sure it was written as a kind of ad) which gave advice on how to use gossip to your advantage by getting rid of other people (with the explanation that since everyone else does it, it's necessary).

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby SerMufasa » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:56 pm UTC

I'm just trying to figure out where they are; that's a ridiculously large space to scoot a chair across. The closest thing I can think of is a high school cafeteria that shares space with the auditorium so the tables/chairs are on opposite walls.

It sure ain't a Starbucks.
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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Klear » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

C'tol wrote:
Diadem wrote:I didn't like this comic. It's not funny, but rather seems to be trying to point out how superior the author is.

Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole. A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.


Well, but what if the one's doing the gossiping are the assholes? Ever thought about that possibility? Probably not... People being different than others is a bad thing in your opinion? Do you know what mobbing is?...

... I'd like to say more, but I'm just sickened by your attitude...


P.S.: In the off chance that I misunderstood you: Sorry. If I didn't...well, see above


If someone is fond of malicious gossip and basically just throws dirt on everybody to make themselves took better in comparison, well, sooner or later everybody will know that about them. And do you know why? Because people talk about each other and, yes, gossip. Nobody here's advocating that kind of hateful behaviour, just pointing out that gossip is a useful and normal human activity.


rmsgrey wrote:
Klear wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
But how do you know who needs to be punched in the face, huh?


By listening to what they say about other people in your presence?

You definitely don't want to go around punching people just because someone says that those people are malicious gossips - though you may want to punch that person...


But what if somebody is a nice guy, and it just happens that when you meet him, he's having a bad day and it irritable and annoying. Thanks to gossip, you can find that out. Punching him in the face or asking him straight "Are you always so irritating?" won't yield good results...


The whole idea of punching people is to provide negative reinforcement for unwanted behaviour. If you let people off the consequences of being nasty to you just because they're nice to other people, that encourages them to be nasty in future (or rather doesn't discourage them). The same's true in reverse if you punch someone who is usually a malicious gossip on an occasion when they've been well-behaved - you discourage their good behaviour more than their bad.

Anyway, I don't go around punching people in the first place - the most I do is venture a verbal rebuke.


What I was getting at was that often people are annoying not because they are assholes, but because they happen to have a bad day or something. Perhaps more importantly, there are people who are genuinely trying to rip you off or hurt you or whatever, but they do their best to stay on your good side and to look as if they have no ill will towards you. That's where gossip can be useful - to uncover these cases. Of course, you need to take it with a grain of salt since the gossipers can also have their agenda, but that's social life for you.

Also I'd like it to be known that whenever I say "punch him in the face", I mean it as a hyperbole. It has more punch than "give them the cold shoulder"/"be more aware when in their presence"/"attack them verbally" etc.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby rv77ax » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:33 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:I didn't like this comic. It's not funny, but rather seems to be trying to point out how superior the author is.

Plus, it's a stupid sentiment anyway. Gossip is essential for the survival of civilization. It no one ever gossiped, there would hardly be any social incentive against acting like an asshole. A community needs gossip to make sure that everybody stays in line, and that those who don't stay in line can be dealt with in some way.


How do you feel when someone talking about you, making fun of you, in your back? If they don't like a person, talk to them face to face, and tell them why you don't like them, instead of talk negative thing about them with other people.

Don't those people, gossiper, have any thing to do?

Remind me one of anonymous quote: "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:44 pm UTC

Zindaras wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Zindaras wrote:But what then do you do when you are surrounded by gossiping people? There's no scooting out of that one.


Scoot more - sooner or later you'll find an unlocked door


But there are more gossipers outside, forcing you to scoot back in. Truly, it is inescapable.


You're not forced to scoot back in - in fact, unless you turn your chair around, "scooting back" would mean continuing in the same direction that got you out of the room in the first place.

Sooner or later (unless you die first), you'll find somewhere where there's no-one gossiping within a reasonable range - 7 billion people evenly spaced around the world would still leave places where the nearest person was 1km away.

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Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Vroomfundel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:08 pm UTC

I personally hate gossiping, especially in the workplace, where people would usually gossip about personal details about coworkers, for which there is simply no justification. I once worked at a small company where everyone except one chap was gossiping. We developed a good personal bond and working relationship as, according to our moral standards, we were the only 'cool' people in the company.
But I understand the social function of gossiping that some are denying - people love praise and dislike criticism, and will usually act to maximize the former and minimize the latter, so gossiping does serve a purpose. If everyone knew word is not going to spread about their misdeeds they will be more prone to committing them.

I'm still immensely bothered by gossipers at work though. These people tend to form cliques and share all those mindless details about other people that they get their hands on (or simply make up) but what strikes me as puzzling is why they talk to me about these since I've never shared anything with them so there's nothing to gain if they let me in on their 'secrets' - all they do is lose credibility in front of me. I however envy them a little bit as these cliques control a lot of important information among them that is often quite necessary for corporate survival and advancement, even mandatory for a successful career in the public sector.


Now on the more interesting topic - squids. I'm puzzled by the lack of discussion about colossal squids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossal_squid). Why concentrate on mere giant squids?

Anyway, if you are still keen to explore giant squids - there is one being displayed in the basement of the Natural History Museum in London, but only after previous day booking as the basement is tiny and they only do tours of 7 people.
I'm keen to go check it out on March 23 (Saturday), so if there any other giant squid fans we can do an xkcd get-together in London, I'd love to see this beast in the company of fellow geeks - my friends can't be bothered to queue to see a mollusc in a jar, no matter the size
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Vroomfundel
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:36 am UTC

Re: 1176: "Those Not Present"

Postby Vroomfundel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:13 pm UTC

Oh, shit, did I just insult my friends behind their backs :-) are they identifiable enough?
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