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Opinion meme; analysis thereof - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
September 3rd, 2004
12:33 pm
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Opinion meme; analysis thereof

(from papertygre)

Comment here if you would like me to tell you, without reservation, what I think about you. Then post this meme in your own journal if you wish.

This meme gives the immediate impression of being backwards. “Wouldn't it be more natural for a person to ask others to tell him unreservedly what they think of him?”, I immediately think upon reading it. However, on further thought, I think this backwardness makes it more efficient as a meme. Making a post asking people to tell you about yourself is essentially asking people for a favor without offering anything in return, whereas this meme is making an offer without asking anything in return. Thus, people respond, asking to hear about themselves, because the cost is low (mostly just the risk of hearing something you'd rather not) and then later on feel guilty about “taking advantage of” the original offerer without extending the same offer. (At least, that's how it worked for me.)

Thus, the transaction structure of this meme (note, only direct benefits of a step are listed with that step) is:

  • Initiate / propagate: low-cost (copy the meme to your journal), low benefit to sender, low benefit to recipient
  • Respond: low-cost (post comment asking for opinion), low benefit to sender, low benefit to recipient
  • Follow-up: high-cost (give evaluation), low benefit to sender, high benefit to recipient

I think I prefer the interview meme, where the structure is more like:

  • Propagate (read interview, request interview): low-cost, high benefit to sender (they got to read the other person's interview answers first), low benefit to recipient
  • Respond (send interview questions): medium-cost, low benefit to sender, medium benefit to recipient
  • Follow-up (complete interview, give interviews to others if requested): high-cost, low benefit to sender, high benefit to recipient

Actually, what I find surprising is that the opinion meme seems so well suited to propagation given how little benefit it has to the person who becomes infected by it. Unless they enjoy spreading their opinions more than they value their time. Maybe that's it.

It seems like this type of analysis could be extended. For example, one implicit factor that I could have made explicit is how large of an audience a particular step reaches—many people would value reaching a larger audience with their content, which the opinion meme seems particularly poor at, since in order to even see the results you have to either be the requestor or keep reloading an entry to see what changed.

Anyway, after all that stuff, yes, I am actually participating in the opinion meme, not just propagating it, if you're interested. :-)

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:September 3rd, 2004 10:50 am (UTC)

"I want to know what love is...

I want you to show me."
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Date:September 3rd, 2004 05:22 pm (UTC)

Re: "I want to know what love is...


Laura, the first thing one notices about you is that you are charismatic. And not in a pretentious, “I'm better than you and I know it” way. You certainly seem to have the ability to captivate men (myself not excluded), sometimes in defiance of all logic or reason (I hope I don't fall into that category ;-).

You aren't the most intelligent person I know in terms of processing large amounts of data in a mechanical manner, but you nevertheless have a confidence in your abilities which I find admirable. As far as I can tell you have well-defined but not rigid goals which give lots of room for partial success, particularly as regards your relationship with children. You are absolutely trustworthy, not in the sense that you never hurt anyone but in the sense that you never mean to, and anyone who doesn't think so clearly doesn't know you at all.

(This next part is a little hard to articulate, so I hope it comes out the way I mean it.)

You seem to be damaged, scarred if you will, in a very deep way. But somehow instead of making you weaker, these scars make you far stronger, are in fact the main source of your strength. You go extremely deep, although you don't always (in fact, pretty rarely) expose this depth.

Your strategy for helping people (at least, the one you've used for me) seems to key off of finding out what that person wants, then encouraging him or her to do it and offering concrete steps to move in that direction. This has usually worked well for me, but occasionally it fails when I really don't know what I want to do, and it seems to have problems when a person has deep internal conflicts. Maybe the solution would be to be more tolerant that some people aren't ready to fix their problems yet (even though if they chose to, they could). Then again, maybe it's worth taking the risk that this time, a kick in the butt is just what they need.

Related to this, you can sometimes be unintentionally insensitive. I noticed this a few times with Ratha—you would be your usual bouncy self, or use techniques to attempt to help her that would have worked on me, but for her they only made things worse. Also, being as charismatic as you are, you tend to inspire jealousy and some degree of animosity, particularly among women. This seems like an almost unavoidable result of being widely well-liked for any reason other than abject selflessness, so I'm not sure what you can do about it, or whether you'd want to.

I'm almost certain that you have had the most positive effect on my life per unit of time spent dealing with me of anyone that I've known.

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Date:September 3rd, 2004 02:28 pm (UTC)
Fair's fair. *braces*
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Date:September 4th, 2004 06:16 pm (UTC)

You have a lot of internal conflict. You allow yourself to be swept up by new ideas constantly, even though you find this process very painful and frequently complain about it. You seem to have an incredible case of grass-is-greener syndrome. You have a serious problem with making any judgement stick.

You are extremely intelligent and quite creative (not in the literal sense of creating things—perhaps “artsy” would be a better word, but without the negative connotation). Your actual progress in your endeavors is hampered by your extreme perfectionism, which you seem either unable or unwilling to ignore. You have a great deal of difficulty understanding that sometimes the “wrong way” to do something is also the required way and with getting anything done on time if it requires any decisions. (For example, your perfectionism is not manifested in folding laundry, but it is in writing of any kind, which is where I've mostly observed it.)

You seem to find what I would describe as deep relationships uncomfortable and prefer to artificially maintain a certain amount of distance. You are extremely kind and pleasant towards others, but your reasons for being so are divided. On the one hand, you do seem to take genuine delight in others' being happy, and have claimed (I have no reason to dispute this claim, I simply don't have the evidence to support it) that you like to be the cause of their happiness. On the other, your pleasantness is a defense mechanism to keep people from getting too close to you. You have recently received very strong evidence that this strategy is ineffective, but you still seem unwilling to renounce it. Your strategy seems to be to retreat into a small portion of the world where people don't ask for more than you're willing to give, rather than develop a thicker skin and learn to reject requests.

You hold the belief that you might be forced into a situation of material dependence on any person with whom you ever interact, which makes you terrified of displeasing them. This assessment may or may not be accurate, but the results for you are crippling. As much as I find your kindness and pleasantness to be enjoyable qualities, I think they will be an enormous detriment to you until you learn to turn them off when they aren't appropriate. A rule I've found useful is that any proposition which, if accepted, would leave one unable to act, must be rejected regardless of the evidence for it.

You look extremely cute, and you can act extremely cute when you want to. You are a fascinating conversation partner partly because we share many of the same interests (but have different opinions on some of them), but mostly because you are actually interested, whereas most people seem pretty apathetic about abstract, abstruse or overly complex ideas. I've seen you demonstrate an extremely strong will a few times, which I think means that you do have the ability to (painfully, with great difficulty) overcome your problems, if you choose to. You have good taste and a good sense of style.

(In case the last paragraph seems artificial, this is my official acknowledgement that it is. My attitude was biased by the negativity of your post about me and I found it difficult to think about non-negative things about you without forcing myself to do so—but, at the same time, I know this is a temporary distortion of my attitude not directly related to you, so I wanted to try to make my evaluation a little more balanced. I do believe you are a basically good person, and that you have the potential for greatness should you admit and face your problems instead of hiding from or ignoring them. (This description could be applied to me, as well, in my opinion.))

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Date:September 4th, 2004 07:47 pm (UTC)
Date:September 11th, 2004 12:52 pm (UTC)

"Find me sitting by myself, no excuses that I know"

I so comment; do one on me.
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Date:September 12th, 2004 09:45 pm (UTC)

Re: "Find me sitting by myself, no excuses that I know"


Our relationship was hampered by power games which I now realize probably existed almost entirely inside of my head. I tried in fumbling ways to make you aware of them, and I think you may have gotten some small inkling of them towards the end, but I regret that they reduced the degree of transparency between us to the degree that they did.

You hold many views which are controversial to say the least. I find myself in strong agreement with many of them (even, or perhaps especially, some of the more unpopular ones) and in strong disagreement with some of them. You have a certain style in asserting these viewpoints and in confidently fending off any attack on them which I interpreted as an extreme lack of tolerance for dissent, but I now think that that assessment was wrong, or at least very incomplete, as you also have an amazing ability to compartmentalize and not allow your violent disagreement on one subject to affect your opinion of someone on any unrelated subject.

I have often suspected dishonesty or insincerity of you, but every time that I can remember I have found those suspicions to be mistaken. You hold some beliefs that I find it difficult to understand how any sane person could hold, but I find myself compelled by the weight of evidence nonetheless to believe that you do sincerely hold them.

I find you a very admirable person in that you act in a way which is very closely in accordance with your codified values. I think this is likely a result of viewing things atemporally, of a strong will, and of having values which happen to correspond rather closely with what you're inclined to do anyway. In regard to this last factor, you represent sort of a difficult case for me in that it often seems to me that your mind is a magnificent resource which is being largely wasted. I often wish you would be more productive, and especially that you would write more. I think that to some degree this reflects my own insecurity over the disparity between the value I ostensibly place on creation and the amount of it I actually do in my own life, which causes me to try to convince others to create in an attempt to validate my own value system.

I have also appreciated the opportunity (no offense intended) to analyze someone who's fucked up in sort of a similar way to me. Almost everyone is fucked up, it seems, but most of them are fucked up in ways from which I can learn very little about myself.

I think you and I have more in common than I ever suspected. I think I was unable to see this because of my self-denial which resulted in my attempting to mimic you rather than allowing my own personality (which, as it turns out, does ultimately seem to be astonishingly similar to yours) to come out. This denial also resulted in an inability to see those important differences which do exist between us.

You have a certain æsthetic—one of a “very powerful person”—which I like and would like to emulate, and which I think mostly serves you well, although it does also lead to a certain amount of (largely unvoiced, at least in your presence) resentment and jealousy. You have a surprising soft side towards these reactions once in a while, although I've only seen it maybe three or four times. That seems to be a fairly consistent feature of Great people, actually.

I hope that wasn't too focused on me. I haven't been interacting with you a huge amount lately (although more than the time when Ratha and I were living together) and I've been pretty introspective lately.

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