Re: GNOME user survey 2011 (v4)

On Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 5:58 PM, Maciej Marcin Piechotka
<uzytkownik2 gmail com> wrote:
> On Fri, 2011-08-19 at 16:08 +0300, Felipe Contreras wrote:
>> >>> Likewise,
>> >>> 'happy' will be thought of differently by different people (a very odd
>> >>> word to include in a questionnaire, if you don't mind me saying):
>> >>
>> >> I think everyone understands the word happy.
>> >
>> > /ME wipes a mouthful of coffee from my monitor
>> >
>> > Then you haven't read enough of the survey research literature.
>> That doesn't change the fact that everyone understands the word "happy".
> Not necessary. Just to give an example - there is strong cultural
> influence how do you respond to simple question 'How are you'. In some
> cultures it is impolite to answer better then 'so so' and the normal
> answer is somehow along lines 'it could be worst, it could be better'.
> On the other hand the correct response in English is usually 'great' or
> 'fine' (to quote my teacher 'even if your house is burnt and your dog is
> terminally ill'). I have been warned to avoid 'standard' 'so so'
> response as I will be perceived as either impolite or after some large
> disaster because what I really meant was 'great'.
> (Somehow less directly related but also illustrates the problem of
> tricky words - in my native language friend means what in English is
> understood by close friend and many people whom I would call in English
> friend I would call in Polish acquaintance. Even though I know the
> difference I am less inclined to call people friends as in my mental
> model they are described by word 'acquaintance').
> Of course this is 'just' cultural bias caused by people not being native
> speakers of English. You need to add individual bias. In each case it
> adds more and more 'noise' to survey.

Yes, words can mean different things depending on the cultural
background, but that's not the case for "happy". In my experience all
cultures know exactly what you mean when you say you are "happy" with
something. If you have evidence to the contrary for this precise word,
please say so, otherwise it's just a faulty generalization.

Felipe Contreras

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