i've been reading a bit about communication patterns. humans seem to be pretty bad at it. much worse than a telepathic hive-mind unconstrained by individual preference would be, anyway.
motte and bailey doctrine
the term comes from this paper, which i found from this post by scott alexander. the basic idea is that people will have wrong ideas (the bailey. nice, but unprotected land you'd prefer to spend your time in), and when called on it, they use redefinitions or other trickery to make you look like an ass until you go away (the motte. a fort used to protect the bailey).
it's not a game if you can't lose. this post says that much of the 'trolling' on the internet (and spilling into meat-space) is motte and bailey tactics; the "trolls" have actual shitty opinions, and hide in the motte of "only joking!". they then suggest that the more noble form of trolling is to get someone upset about something that doesn't matter; trolling should be the sport of making people feel like fools, not making them justifiably angry.
sneaking in connotations. people will say something literally true (the motte), with connotations they can easily deny or dodge (the bailey). "gravity is just a theory"
ask and guess culture
this metafilter comment apparently coined the terms "ask culture" and "guess culture" and became internet famous for a while. the basic idea is that "ask people" ask for things when they don't know if they'll get it or not, and "guess people" ask for things only when they're pretty sure they will. also, guess people feel bad about declining requests. guessers tend to think askers are rude.
there are cases where a guess culture makes sense: if the request would reveal sensitive information (if you're trying to find drugs, you'd want to ask the people who seem like they do drugs, and not the people who seem like they're friends with cops). if there's a power difference, there is more pressure to say yes, and a guess culture could offer some resistance against a more powerful person getting everything they want at the expense of others.
that last case ties into this post about communication styles. they break it down into 4 types: paralysis (no request due to fear), rude request, polite request, and abundance (people are jumping to fill the request before it's even asked). people with power think that any kind of asking is rude. it might be better for everyone else that they think that.
i had to