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the one thing i can honestly say i learnt thanks to my university studies that i dont think id have figured out elsewhere 

@garfiald it's a case of what does 'simpler' mean? simplification will always cut out nuance and will always cut out some facts, and how key is a total understanding? at what point does accessibility become a detriment to discourse?

@CornishRepublicanArmy at the point at which one misses out on an appropriately simple semiotic principle. no text is a substitute for another. a simplification is always its own, additional text. any simplification which claims otherwise is inherently ridiculous when it does so

@garfiald this is honestly a issue I don't really know how to face. I obviously simplify so many things when I talk about them here, even in ~25 part threads. I want to teach people, but at some point you're just teaching them half truths are are the same as ignorance as they miss the fucking point

@CornishRepublicanArmy i think when you say "miss the point" your language is betraying the idea that there's a kernel of truth hidden inside complex texts. I think this is a poor defence for their complexity. Because then getting at that kernel, plainly stating "the point" would obviously be preferable to getting it across in a complex text. But Marx, Hegel, Kant *are* the complexity. (cont)

@CornishRepublicanArmy the simplification has a place, and it's an important one. Those who want to dig deeper will reveal themselves soon enough, because they will notice the holes in the simplification, and ask questions. People are given a basic outline of universal gravitation when they are young, and some children will ask questions about it. those children will go on to realise that the outline they were given was in many ways insufficient and wrong. and thats ok

@garfiald mhm, and that's me, I am that person who digs deeper and I am also a person, who you can obviously see, attempts to simplify things to be understandable in simple english and break down hard to understand shit as much as I can with my very limited fragile understanding. but it's the fact that we both know these are simplifications where MANY go on to act as though those simplifications, or even less, are the totality of all they need to know

@CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald That's true to a point, but when we're talking specifically about academia the problem is usually never the concepts themselves, it's academics being encouraged to artificially make their texts harder to read. It's encoded in everything from the specific jargon used right down to the sentence structure. There's an institutional assumption that if just anyone can understand it it's not worth knowing and more confusing is automatically smarter; a lot of academic writing conventions are designed to gatekeep, not to educate, and it works

Basically a lot of it would less like simplification and more like translation imo

@zendthyl @garfiald that's a huge mood there. in the case of Marx, we're talking about some 150 year old German that's been translated into Victorian English and it's just like.... holy shit my dyslexic brain literally can't understand this

@CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald EXACTLY, like a Victorian translation isn't even inherently more accurate to the original text than a modern English version would be? Victorian english isn't somehow closer to german than modern english is, it's literally just an unnecessary stumbling block

Like take a hint from literally the only good idea protestants ever had and translate the holy texts into the vernacular you fucks

@zendthyl @CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald

A lot of students do this too. They write essays using a bunch of archaic words they looked up from the thesaurus that haven't been in common use since the mid 18th century to try to make their essay seem really good.

If I have to reach for a dictionary every two sentences then you should go fuck yourself.

If your audience cannot clearly understand your message then you are not writing well as no communication is taking place.

@Tau_Leonis @zendthyl @garfiald and this is the idea that I have in mind when I write. why say some BS term that doesn't mean shit when I can use plain English?

@CornishRepublicanArmy @Tau_Leonis @zendthyl @garfiald also like. A lot of the times, big convoluted phrases or over simplified (or over condensed!) jargonish words often DONT convey what they mean to convey, BECAUSE its such an archaic use. Like, often times writing will benefit a longer, but clearer explanation, rather than dead words that sound cool

@CornishRepublicanArmy @Tau_Leonis @zendthyl @garfiald i ran out of room, but to me, they kinda stop being words if they dont have meaning anymore. Like, if you have to constantly remind yourself, or even like inject meaning into weird words, do they even count as language anymore? Do they transfer ideas and meaning? Maybe they do, but is it really an efficient way to communicate?

@5000elitedogs @CornishRepublicanArmy @zendthyl @garfiald

It depends on context. Like I think its kind of cool when an author researches how people talked, slang, etc. for the time period and culture in the work. Though an explanation at the beginning or margins may be needed.

@Tau_Leonis @CornishRepublicanArmy @zendthyl @garfiald oh no for sure!!! fuck yeah, thats a part of character/world building to me, esp like a switching of tone? like more idioms and colloquialisms for ppl in a machine shop changing to stifled 'proper english' (if english) language for like, bosses and owners or something. that shits so cool, esp looking at phrases in different languages is fun to me (or how the same concept is expressed)

@zendthyl
Maybe don't apply this too broadly? Some fields *do* have an obscurantist streak, but I can say from experience that is extremely difficult of not impossible to write text about astrophysics that correctly describes what we do and don't know while also being accessible to non-specialists.
@CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald

@zendthyl @CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald
Like, to get a short paper even to the level of accessibility of Nature takes several additional months compared to publishing in a specialist journal. It's just not useful for all astrophysicists to spend that much extra effort on all their papers. Fortunately we have excellent people explaining what we do to the wider public. All of us try sometimes: youtu.be/hc3mrta7J9I

@anne @CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald I'm definitely coming at this from a liberal arts background, so my understanding of the STEM side of academic culture is pretty limited, but yeah I can definitely see how that would be a whole different ball game

I definitely didn't mean to imply that scientists shouldn't be allowed to do anything they can't compress into an r/ELI5 post, I'm sorry if it came across that way; not only do you have a completely different set of obligations wrt this stuff but from my (admittedly limited) experience you lot are waaay better at making good faith outreach efforts than we are

@anne @zendthyl @CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald

Still there is a difference between writing for other experts or students in the field vs. a general audience or someone in an introductory level.

And so if people writing about social issues want to reach out to a general audience they need to adapt their writing styles appropriately.

@Tau_Leonis @anne @CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald ALSO true - honestly I think one of the things the "hard" sciences (I hate that term but you know what I mean) do better is more of an understanding that science education is it's own separate discipline that requires a completely different set of skills than research does.

Like obviously there are english teachers in high schools etc but there's not really a wider field of "humanities education"; people who are good at philosophy are just automatically assumed to also be good at communicating and teaching and tbh that's not always true

@zendthyl @anne @CornishRepublicanArmy @garfiald

amen to that. Math education is its own path at my University since HOW you communicate is critically important while teaching.

Like there are some Mathematicians who are absolutely brilliant but couldn't give coherent instructions on how to make a bowl of cereal.

Math Education is its own beautiful branch of Mathematics.

@CornishRepublicanArmy
would the Feynman Technique be an adequate way of simplifying and identifying nuances?
@garfiald

the one thing i can honestly say i learnt thanks to my university studies that i dont think id have figured out elsewhere 

the one thing i can honestly say i learnt thanks to my university studies that i dont think id have figured out elsewhere 

the one thing i can honestly say i learnt thanks to my university studies that i dont think id have figured out elsewhere 

the one thing i can honestly say i learnt thanks to my university studies that i dont think id have figured out elsewhere 

@Cyborgneticz hmm yeah, some people will readily dig deeper into things and find out just how complicated they are, but there certainly is an art to getting people excited about that complexity

@garfiald Definitely. I have found that by being excited about it, students become interested. I like to give them articles by Wendy Brown, not just because she's my favorite academic rn, but also because she has a way of talking about neoliberalism that is smart, divisive, and bold.

the one thing i can honestly say i learnt thanks to my university studies that i dont think id have figured out elsewhere 

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