I tried to introspect more on why I’m often reluctant to ask for explanations, and came up with these reasons. (But note some of these might just be rationalizations and not my real reasons.)
I already spent quite some time trying to puzzle out the explanation, and asking is like admitting defeat.
If there is a simple explanation that I reasonably could have figured out without asking, I look bad by asking.
It’s forcing me to publicly signal interest, and maybe I don’t want to do that.
Related to 3, it’s forcing me to raise the status of the person I’m asking, by showing that I’m interested in what they’re saying. (Relatedly, I worry this might cause people to withhold explanations more often than they should.)
If my request is ignored or denied, I would feel bad, perhaps in part because it seems to lower my status.
I feel annoyed that the commenter didn’t value my time enough to preemptively include an explanation, and therefore don’t want to interact further with them.
My comment requesting an explanation is going to read by lots of people for whom it has no value, and I don’t want to impose that cost on them, or make them subconsciously annoyed at me, etc.
ETA: By the time the answer comes, the topic may have left my short term memory, plus I may not be that interested anymore.
All of these make sense. Again, I’m generally pro-more-explanation all things being equal.
The question is what the norm should be when more explanation trades off against “people bothering to write the comment in the first place”. My first comment here was something I easily might have not bothered to write in the first place if I had felt obligated to write up anything more than a quick “hey, your ‘we statement’ here doesn’t apply to everyone.”
In this particular case, it’s possible that it was net negative to write my OC because it was sufficiently unclear that people didn’t even know what part of the text I was referring to. So I’d endorse at least being more clear about what I was objecting to.
But I’m pretty hesitant about norms that say “if you’re going to engage at all, you have to engage a lot.”
(see my reply to Christian for some more context)
I appreciate you writing up your reasons here, sorry for not replying for a few days.
I think I have more thoughts but am trying to focus more on coding right now and may not get back to it another few days.
(people seem split on whether a comment like this is helpful or not, I think ideally if we implemented reacts I’d have just responded with a “thinking about it” react or something)