Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Answer Police

Okay, Todd Gardiners of the world, quit fucking with me & everyone else on the interwebs, for the love of Elvis Presley's mother. This may or may not be amusing enough for a blog post, but I'm posting it anyway because I kinda liked how I looked when I got angry.

The first bit here is my answer to the Quora question: "What is the average distance between stops for Metro buses in Seattle?"

Educated guess & taking all road circumstances [that I could think of - Ed.] under consideration (except freeway): three blocks-ish. Express buses skip several stops per route.
A certain fellow Seattleite, who has taken it upon himself to sweep up around the immaculate halls of Quora, offered a thought. I saw his point & replied:

Todd Gardiner
A "block" is not a good unit of measurement. They vary in size quite a bit
Catherine Thatch
You're right, I agree.

Although in defense of my (very general guess of an) answer:

A) Metro does use one end, the other, or (more rarely) the middle of 'blocks', regardless of length, to situate their bus stops, without very strict metric consideration. I believe they consider pedestrian/rider traffic habits overall, and are prudent & practical (and human) in using common 'block' references rather than an arithmetical meter.

B) I'd think people [Quora readers seeing my answer - Ed.] would generally 'get' terms set in numbers of blocks (regardless of length) rather than, say, fractions of a mile, when it comes to such things as distances between bus stops, when their intents & purposes are general & practical.

Mr. Gardiner continues:
 Todd Gardiner The biggest problem is that in many neighborhoods blocks are rectangles, not squares. They might extend 200 feet N-S, but be 500 feet E-W.

Also, "blocks" has no meaning at all to Europeans or Asians, since the term is very American (as I discovered when I lived in London and got strange looks when I used this "measurement".) Directions are commonly given in how many streets you cross, which inherently says this is landmark-based directions, not distance-based directions.
And, after taking a moment to consider counterpoints, then rolling my eyes at the thought of bothering, I find myself a touch exasperated:

I'll bother noting that I at least took care to disclaim my answer as general & as a guess.

Perhaps I should also have addressed all Earthlings & pointed out that I'd be using the local Seattle vernacular/thinking/measures, being as that the question is about Seattle. Or offered a guide to understanding the concept of 'block' and its variations on all counts not only in Seattle but in a robust sample of cities from around the world for comparison. Perhaps I should have ignored the general nature of the question and declined to reply because I do not have the time or resources to procure a WolframAlfa style answer.

Perhaps I should have done any number of things, but certainly now I will hesitate to offer my thoughts in this forum knowing that they may result in my being lectured on thoughtlessness & lack of consideration by the Answer Police.

The End, although who knows, maybe he'll reply to that. If so, & it's worth an update, I'll do that.


I see i have offended you. That was not my intent. Brevity runs that risk, but is required for communication via phone-typing in the app.

I apologize for having overstepped your limits for criticism and repeat that my comments are suggestions, not requirements or critical faults you should address.

I'm sure it is frustrating for me to repeat my query of "how far would you guess a 'block' to be?" in response to your responses.

I appreciate and respect your apology; thank you.

There are a lot of internet 'police' these days - the "Grammar Police", etc., and I understand why they are hammered by people when they step in unbidden. Utterly unsolicited advice is generally unwelcome by adults. There are lots of exceptions ("Psst, you're fly's down!", etc.), but I'd sooner let what I perceive as a flaw or error stand, and remain on the side of kindness, minding my own business, and the spirit of letting things & people alone unless/until my intervention is requested, rather than risk committing the disrespect inherent in barging in.

So yes, I'm sensitive to being barged in upon. But you are who YOU are, and I understand & realize you are well-intentioned. Who knows, maybe others less sensitive than myself will appreciate your input; keep doing what you feel is the right thing. Just, at least in the case of me, please wait until I have asked for advice before you offer it. Thank you. :)

The End (for reals this time, I'm pretty sure).