Comments on Sticks and Stones, by XKCD

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make me think I deserved it.

From a Google+ conversation:
That is completely and absolutely untrue, unless you admit that anyone other than you has control over your feelings. Words have only as much damaging capacity as you want to give them.
Ignacio Torres Masdeu:

 The exchange of power is part of many social contracts. But many times we give other people much more power than they deserve or need. This is specially true when family bonds are involved.
The thing with words is that they’re code to get to feelings. And your feelings, I wish they were just like write/read/execute permissions in a file system. Only not even that works that well.

You want to give people enough to work with —but also to show that you trust them, and because it’s comfier, you give them more than they actually need.
And sometimes, granularity is difficult.
And sometimes, people overstep their boundaries.
And sometimes, boundaries are not set right.
And sometimes, people would try to hack their way into hurting you.
You get stronger security, and you get less user-friendly.
Some would choose verbose mode, some will complain that you talk too much.
Some users will throw errors at you, some will stop responding at all.
Some are poorly documented, and some have crappy customer support.And sometimes… ping! pong! A connection happens.Handshakes. Permissions are requested and granted. Smiles. Information is exchanged. Backup plans work.Happiness gets multiplied. Logs are lovingly kept.And all you exchanged were words.(This goes on on the comments below, just in case Google pulls the plug of yet another service).

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2 junio, 2013

«The thing with words is that they’re code to get to feelings.»

The same exact words have different reactions in different contexts, even when directed to the same person, not to mention how different the effects are with different persons.

Your feelings are a direct consequence of the cognitive filters you apply to your experience, and those filters are under your control, even if you are not aware of this. That is why we can treat depression, anxiety and other stuff like that, because we can teach people to change their filters so words that used to be painful stop doing damage to them, or whatever.

The analogy you use is really nice, but it stems from a very wrong initial axiom.

2 junio, 2013

I agree with 100% of the things you have said, and I still think that the simile works.

Code can also be interpreted differently depending on users, system settings and context.

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