It is my thesis that biggest challenge faced by humanity is our failure to communicate. I say something, and you hear something else. What you like or dislike is not what I said, but what you heard.
It is our job, to be as unambiguous as possible.
One easy way to miscommunicate is by using pronouns. Words like he, she, it, must be avoided as much as possible.
I was reading this excellent article on communication:
Async writing is different from chat messages. It lives longer, targets more potential audience and is easy to discover.
To live longer, the text needs to be aware of a larger reader group context. Where chats often consider just one/two readers that have the context to understand what you talk about, the long live text should consider entire group of potential readers. Now, and at some point in the future.
For the text live longer and target wider audience, it needs to assume less pre-existing reader context. Chat messages target one/two readers, at a specific time. So they assume those readers have the current context that will be clear to them specifically.
Async writing don’t assume a specific person context nor does it assume “current” events knowledge. Surprisingly, that doesn’t necessarily make the text longer or harder to write.
As an example, we consider a scenario where we have a DB issue in our team in which the MySQL instance fails occasionally due to out-of-memory errors. Writing just for your team, they know what is the issue now and what DB it is. Others, might not know which DB have the issue (say you also use mongodb somewhere) not they know what the issue is.
A message sufficient for chat context that will not live long might be: “I’ll fix the DB today”. Async text equivalent will be to log the issue in a system, mark it as “working on it” for today with the text “MySQL out of memory issue”.
The text is not longer, yet it has all the context any outsider might need to understand what is going on without the need to contact anyone asking “What DB we have issue on?” “What is the issue?” “Since when do we know about it?” “Who’s on it?” etc’ etc’.
Beyond pronouns, as the above demonstrates, common nouns, eg “issue” or “the issue” is also ambiguous.
Another way to solve/mitigate the pronoun problem, at least in written communication, could be better writing tool, where you continue to use common nouns and pronouns, but only after internally linking to actual subject.
So instead of writing, “the author is making a strong point”, say, where its not obvious if I am talking about the author as myself, or the author of the text I just quoted, you can write “[the author][the blog post writer] is making a strong [point][@the_point: that async communication is better than sync communication]”.
The stuff in second square bracket will be hidden and is context, which will provide disambiguation hint. The hint can have an id, so all references to terms with that id can be highlighted simultaneously when the user hovers our any of them. In the example above, [point][@the_point: …], the_point is the id. Along with the id, there can be some text, which can provide some more context.