Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A misunderstanding

This post documents my view of a misunderstanding that caused another person to block me from Twitter. I would have liked to explain this to the person concerned, however, all attempts to do so have been aggressively rebuffed with insults and threats of public humiliation for my alleged shameful deeds.

I don't plan to identify the correspondent, since I am not interested in embarrassing that person. I don't plan to reproduce the discussion in detail since the topic being discussed was somewhat sensitive and not appropriate for public discussion. So, in the text that follows I will redact some details of the conversation and replace them with salient abstractions.

The situation arose a few days ago when I retweeted a tweet by a correspondent I have corresponded with in the past. The tweet was about a possible political event that might occur in the future. I was concerned about how this event may unfold in light of allegations that had recently been reported in the media. 

When it became apparent that my correspondent was unaware of the allegation, I tried to provide him with a link to the report of the allegation in a newspaper. Again, the purpose of doing this was not to assert the truth of the allegation but to provide some context for my opening remark.

Unfortunately, my correspondent misinterpreted the intent of my DM and apparently concluded that I was trying to enlist him in peddling the allegation itself, something I have no interest in doing. The conversation went something like this.

me: {Y} is no doubt looking to use the {allegation against X} because otherwise he has no fucking hope {of winning a potential political battle) 
correspondent: {i have heard something about X, but no other accusations} 
me: {I tried to provide references to an existing public record of the allegation in order to provide context to my opening remark} 
correspondent: anyway i don't really care you keep your dirty laundry or post it to the public feed
correspondent: but leave me well out of it if you please 
me: hey, I am not saying there is any veracity - I hope there isn't
me: all I am saying is the allegations are out there, potentially {compromising X} 
correspondent: what did i just say? 
me: sorry, {correspondent}, I am not asserting the veracity of the allegations, just pointing out that people are making them
me: please understand the difference 
And so I was blocked without any adequate opportunity to correct what I believed to be a misunderstanding of my intent. This was literally the extent of the conversation.

Having felt slighted by what I felt was his misjudgement of my character  I  naturally wanted an opportunity to correct what I thought was a misunderstanding on his part. However, having made his snap decision to dismiss me, he rather hotly and angrily decided that any further utterance from me was necessarily a hostile act for which blocking was the only suitable punishment.

He didn't ask me to stop DM'ing, he rudely demanded it without giving me the slightest opportunity to clear up the obvious misunderstanding on his part. The possibility that he may have erred did not cross his mind then, or apparently, since.

Attempting to rectify the situation in public wasn't an option because I didn't want to air the sensitive nature of the allegations about X publicly and he had, in any case, blocked me. 

I thought a better option would be to engage a distant acquaintance of mine (and a close friend of his) with a view to asking her to pass on a message to my correspondent and therefore hopefully help my correspondent view our conversation in the light I had intended it. I DM'd her and she agreed to review a transcript of the conversation and my explanation of what I thought had occurred and if she thought it appropriate, forward it onto to my correspondent.  I did not ask her to argue my case, merely to act as a go-between.

After reflection, she did do as I requested.

I seriously thought this was a mature, adult way to resolve the misunderstanding. Unfortunately my correspondent interpreted my actions as an attempt to harass his friend. In response he threatened to publicly humiliate me if I continued such 'harassment'.

Having exhausted every possible, adult way of dealing with the situation, I am left to document it here.

I feel I have been unfairly misjudged by this person who, having made the misjudgment in error, left me with no possible way to defend myself. 

I do not accept that I have done anything in this episode about which I should be ashamed. I never asserted or assumed the truth of the allegations, merely their existence. It is not wrong to (privately) speculate about the potential for political blackmail given such circumstances exist. It is not wrong for me to respond to my correspondents rude and immediate demand that "I leave him out of it", by trying to correct his misunderstanding of my intent. Having so abruptly denied me the possibility to communicate directly with him, it is not wrong for me to try to find another avenue to calmly try to correct his misunderstanding by approaching a disinterested third party who he trusts to act as a mediator.

Admittedly, I do not know this person well, and my attempt to converse with him (in private) about this subject was uninvited. On reflection, it was unwise to have opened the conversation with a supposition about how one party in the political events may have used an allegation about another party for political advantage. Coming out of the blue, it may have looked like I was asserting the truth of the allegation when all I meant to do was assert the existence of the allegation and my opinion of the likelihood of that allegation being used to influence the unfolding of subsequent political events. I can see how this lead to the misunderstanding and I can only apologise for my clumsiness.

My thanks to his friend for agreeing to mediate, and my apologies to her for any embarrassment I may have caused her.