why reading is important

[By the way: MUA reportage policy: in all copy-pasted conversations, MUA-names are (further) pseudonymised. Screenshot images remain in a state of nature. With, as previously, the exception of trolls.

This is because
(a) I’m lazy and it’s faster for me to C/P text and invent names;
(b) inventing names is fun;
(c) it reduces the potential for searching, trawling, crawling, etc. collecting data fron raw text. Admittedly, it’s just a slight reduction and making life only very slightly more difficult for The Others, as there’s still text-recognition for images.

Out on a name-spotting excursion for bashing purposes? Go straight to MUA, give them the credit c/o hits… ]

Take the following conversation:

11/29/2011 10:31AM Allie
Just a rave for my new HG product (moderately oily, acne-prone 22 y/o skin) It’s a University Medical product from thier AcneFree line: http://www.acnefree.com/products/moderate/13548.php
I use this foam at night only and followed by moisturizer. It’s gentle IME. I don’t use anything else from thier line. It’s amazing (for me) so thought I’d share. It’s available at Walmart and is only about $7.

11/29/2011 10:34AM Jutta
it has oat and “sea whip” in it, which can cause breakouts for some I always wonder WHY they add this stuff, it’s like they have no clue.
Glad it works for you though!!

11/29/2011 10:37AM Allie
Thanks! Still new to interpreting ingredients. Works great for me (for now)!

11/29/2011 10:44AM Jutta
how long have you been using it?

11/29/2011 10:48AM Kellie
I’m glad this works for you! 😀

11/29/2011 10:51AM Allie

11/29/2011 10:51AM Allie
about 6 weeks or so

11/29/2011 11:01AM Jutta
you’re fine then:)

Well and good.

But then other things happen and the resulting conversation as a whole is this:

Not the easiest thing to read. And it’s continued a bit since. No, I’m not redoing screenshots: what sort of a muppet do you think I am? Oh, a completely anal-retentive one. OK, fair enough. But even I have limits…

Divided up, here’s what happened next:

That Jutta response from 10:34:

it has oat and “sea whip” in it, which can cause breakouts for some I always wonder WHY they add this stuff, it’s like they have no clue.
Glad it works for you though!!

The first part became the topic for ensuing discussion; ignoring “Glad it works for you though!!”

Strand 1 commenting on “oat”:

Strand 2 expands on “sea whip”:

Strand 3 responds to “I always wonder WHY they add this stuff”:

Some time later, strand 4 appears (troublesome elements in bold):

11/29/2011 8:15PM Suzanne
Maybe I can tr to explain. Anytime anybody says “xyz product is awesome and works for me” if it’s not approved by regulars then it still gets criticism for some “clogging” and “irritating” ingredients. Da*m the fact the person is over the moon about it and da*m the fact that we all know everything is YMMV.
What skincare product DOESN’T have clogging or irritating ingredients? Retin A, AHA, BHA, Niacinamide, C…..all holy grail ingredients can cause havoc on skin. And that’s just the beginning….we haven’t even gotten to the fillers. Oils can cause months of clogged skin for some. Don’t we still recommend those?
I am not sure when someone says something worked for them then the first thing to say is, x & y is bad and cloggy and yada yada yada, is the kindest, nicest thing to say. It just isn’t. There is nothing too difficult to fathom about it.
I think a nicer response would be something like, “I am happy it worked for you.” and that’s it! STOP there.
I am sure you are going to think I am just interested in argument so I really shouldn’t have bothered but I did.

Responses to this:

11/30/2011 3:04AM Josette
So, according to you we should only focus on the positive. Did you read Allie’s response further down? Doesn’t seem like she took Jutta’s WARNING as being “unkind” or “not nice” at all. And didn’t Jutta say “Glad it works for you though!!”?
Providing a warning isn’t being unkind at all. All too often we can think a product is HG and can then suffer problems, and sometimes wonder what product/ingredient might have caused them. The warning might well save the poster some confusion if they do indeed begin to suffer those problems and save them time in trying to track down the offending product/ingredient.

11/30/2011 10:20AM Suzanne
Yeah we should focus on the positive FIRST and then give warnings. The right response could have been, “That’s awesome, how long have you been using it?” “6 weeks? Then you are safe.” I’d be eager to warn someone if they are starting/asking about that product and certainly if someone is getting overly excited about OP’s results then I’d warn them about irritating ingredients and advise to patch test.
Look, I wasn’t the only one who frowned on her response. There were many others. I bothered to give an explanation….I do want to explain my POV as anything could be interpreted as an attack.
Look, you guys are immensely knowledgeable people who (together) have experienced more product related nightmares than the rest of the humanity. I know it makes you doubt and question everything. I know every product success seems short-lived and you become more and more cynical. I know anytime something starts working all too well for me, my first thought is “Tell me how you are going to f*ck me? Tell me now!”
But we should just drop that when someone is so excited about their results, take a moment to be happy for the person and certainly warn the ones who are trying to follow. Is that an unfair expectation?
I know you are going to disagree with me and that’s fine. I would rather spend my time with people that I disagree with than the ones that always agree with me.

An innocent gets caught in the cross-fire (blessed be the peace-makers, and a brave try!)

11/30/2011 12:37PM Sansa
I understand what you’re saying. It’s exciting when you find a product which works for you. It may work for someone else, it may not. So I think you can give congratulations and still nicely point out some ingredients which may cause irritation for others who are considering trying it. I think of it as a kinda “buyer beware” warning like in reviews.
Congrats to the poster and thanks for sharing her success story. Besides, I’m old with nothing better to do than post here … lol. ; )

Addressed to Suzanne, though unfortunately it looks like it’s addressed to Sansa (blame the discussion-board software):

11/30/2011 1:01PM Jutta
you certainly didn’t let the betting pool down! and if you had actually bothered to understand the post, it was directed at manufacturers of Acne products that ADD ingredients that are not really serving a purpose, and can cause issues. It had nothing to do with the op, and as Josette pointed out, I did tell her I was glad it was working for her. Thank you as always though, you certainly never miss an opportunity to add your 2 cents when there is the slightest indication of drama.


11/30/2011 1:28PM Isabella
2nd. Oh gosh! Why try to interpret what someone else wrote?

11/30/2011 1:30PM Isabella
It’s not a matter of always agreing or not. Discussion is always open. You have to remember that many of us don’t have the time to extrapolate on a given subject since some of us are at work. Fast & direct answers are often more appreciated than long articles.

11/30/2011 2:47PM Suzanne [addressing Jutta, not Isabella]
Maybe if you could interpret this as I agree with the spirit of the post but not the tone of it? I think I stay away from drama more than most members here. I don’t jump in to 2nd and 3rd and 4th anybody who disagrees with you. How many times of [Isabella] does that for you?
You have to admit the fact that your experience has made you extremely wary and that reflects in your post. God forbid I bothered to explain why your post irked so many people!
And you know the fact that appreciate and admire your help here. You sincerely mean to help and I will never doubt that. I have no vendetta against you. I agree with you on many if not most of the times so it’s unfortunate that you think I WANTED drama. Since when, an honest disagreement is “drama?” Only because I am on the other side??

11/30/2011 3:54PM Gingerrama
errm–peeps? gone off-track, personal, & into board necrophilia?

11/30/2011 4:12PM Isabella
Just so you know, I don’t always agree with Jutta. If you look below on this post, I’m not even there since I have no knowledge on this subject. When I 2nd or 3rd it’s simply because she was faster to answer & that I do agree.
Interesting for someone who *stays away* from drama.
This is all I will say.

Another response, returning the talk, very sensibly, back to “Not sure why your statement has caused such consternation?” from 11/29/2011 4:19PM:

11/30/2011 2:34PM Wanda
neither do i. moseys on out to the sagebrush plains, in virginia…

For the record: just after saying my stuff at 3:54PM, I flagged Suzanne’s comment from 2:47PM. With a full-on all-guns-blazing troll–as in the previous post on this here blog–I would flag overtly and use the t-word out loud and maybe even shout a bit and use some exclamation marks. But I don’t reckon S is a troll, so I just discreetly (silently) flagged that comment and only that comment.



1. As in real life: conversations will often start out on one topic and then either change direction, or split off into sub-conversations and side-conversations as other people join in. Or both.

Unlike real life, there’s a thread to visibly guide conversation; and unlike real life, this is a discussion board with rules inc. staying on topic.

Problem: how to ensure a discussion-board encourages chat, chat in a normal way? All the current forms I’ve seen still look very like old MUDDing and associated chat-rooms from back in the ’90s. It’s the ordered hierarchy that’s the issue, as it doesn’t map onto natural human behavioural and discourse patterns. We need something like a 3D model. I’m thinking something that looks like prezi.com. We also need something that’s more like an actual tree than a simplified tree-diagram: with branches and branches that loop back and networks and tendrils. Not a simple tree: a more realistic, complicated one, organic and all… growing, dying, with roots, touching other trees and vegetation, part of a larger ecosystem, etc.

2. As in real life: if you see a conversation going on and wish to join it, move in but stay quiet until you’ve got the gist of what’s going on.  Listen and think before speaking. Further: It’s a discussion board. Read before writing. Yes, there will still be misunderstandings–such is human nature–but the fact everything’s written down there in front of you gives you less excuse and makes laxness in listening/reading all the worse. (That’s to Suzanne above.)

3. If it’s a longer more complicated conversation, virtual life has the advantage over real life: you can see what the original question was. Then, as in strands 1-3 above, the conversation can go in different directions–mini-conversations, sub-conversations–whilst bearing a central question in mind. Here, a question that had shifted to a first response to it. You can help out a conversation that’s going awry (in whatever way) by moving it back on track, back to the question, create further sub-strands, knit the sub-strands up together, etc. There’s parallels to composition and conducting, but adding in some jazz improvisation.

4. Another advantage: in a virtual conversation, like in other writing, you can reread everything that’s happened (see 2. above). Including time-stamps, so as to see who said what when. Such as replies coinciding in time–like two people speaking at the same time IRL, or a person responding to two others immediately one after the other–ex. 11/29/2011 10:51AM, 4:19PM.

Problem, as with 1. above: conversations don’t go in a straight line. Not linear. See those comparative trees again, too.

5. There’s continuing a conversation and then there’s thread necrophilia. The above is still the former; and you’ll see plenty examples on the Green board of amazingly slow conversations, and on Café of amazingly fast ones.

6. Pulling conversation off in a different direction has its rules (not just MUA what’s allowed rules, but also norma discursive rules). Strands 1-3 above: good. Strand 4: bad:

  • unnecessary, redundant
  • off topic
  • moving to a different sort of topic: interpersonal relations: off the topic of a skincare board, and irrelevant to the original poster (Allie) and her question.

See, strand 4 contains embedded other content under the surface, between the lines: some might call this past history, some might add “let sleeping dogs lie.” Some might see this as borderline bitching / snarkiness / snide; others might see attempts at turning a conversation into some kind of public display, and manœuvring about territory, posturing, and power. Having your voice out there. “Presence” as a name that’s visible, prominent, repeated. Competition to be the authority, to be Top Dog/Bitch. Seeing others as either friends or foes, threats or allies. Seeing all they do as, similarly, in relation to you and your status. Using anything on the SCB as material for creating your drama. Correction: that’s abuse as it’s turning something that’s open and for all into something that’s yours, and as it’s turning others’ words (and their intentions behind their expression) into your materials.

But no: this is a hive-mind community, that deals with/in knowledge. It’s not about authority: if anything, it’s anti-authority and anti-authoritarian. And it’s certainly not about individual authority-figures. Or about their egos. And it’s a (more or less) anarchist collective: thus, adding insult to injury when someone uses, abuses, misuses, appropriates, twists, and perverts others’ materials to her own ends, and to serve herself and her own self-aggrandisement.

I note, in a positive direction (and with a certain personal pride!) that Suzanne seems to have been learning something from her correspondence with moi. At least, to parrot some of my stuff back at people; and to include some argument/reasoning.* It’s OK, there’s plenty more, and different, where that came from; and more conjured up every day. I’m neither short of ideas nor of words. And, being a pro-communication kinda gal, I’d hate to see stuff die and go to waste; I’d much rather see it out in the world, in circulation, alive. Even if that means that the stuff has to be free: no longer mine and under my control, but left to its own devices and left open to the devising of others; for yes, I also know, my stuff’s been recast and appropriated and twisted to other ends. Let’s be fair and give the benefit of the doubt: I shall continue to hope that some learning has taken place… baby steps: we’ll make an upstanding virtual citizen a decent gynanarchist of Suzanne yet.

With a bit of luck, helping out with that rather worrying paranoid streak along the way.

Mind you: I do still think there’s room for improvement on thread-design.


* I feel slightly guilty, because I may be to blame. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery aside. I set a bad example a few hours before, here ():

11/29/2011 2:50PM Andrea
i d try to regulate my acne tendency with avene products. i thoroughly recommend diacneal, a daily moisturiser. a nice decleor oil just before you go to bend especially for normal to dry skin to kind of feed your dry patches and a good eye cream for those lines (it could be dehydration) either by helena rubinstein or guerlain’s success future. if you leave in an area with lots of sunshine, i d use a 20spf (i like the elemis and the clinique city block ones). for extra tlc i d invest in a good but gentle face scrub for the dry areas around nose and chin (weird-is it because the weather is cold?) and a moisturising mask (super aqua by guerlain is lovely).
hope it helps.

3:10PM Jutta
The Decleor is not a good oil for acne prone skin, nor is using a scrub of any kind

4:34PM Andrea
i also have acne prone skin: it is a myth that oil is bad for acne prone skin. you can check major facialists who incorporate the use of oils for dry and oily skins. Decleor has great oils for oily/acne prone skins. and they dry fast, it is like putting oil on your skin. also for dry patches a gentle scrub is needed – and i put emphasis on gentle, since she has dry skin. as mentioned it should be used topically.
[4:35PM] ** it is NOT like putting oil on your skin
[4:39PM] plus all this sacylicic acid recommended for acne prone skin is super drying.

4:49PM Gingerrama
I don’t think that was what was meant.
1. As you’ll see from her posting history, reviews, etc. Jutta is unlikely to state “oil is bad for acne-prone skin” or indeed “oil is bad.”
2. The issue is with Decléor and scrubs. Reasons one might decide to avoid them:
– Decléor: overly fragranced, often with essential oils (as opposed to *carrier* oils) that have a high probability of irritation and/or comedogenicity.
Sure, there will be people out there who can use their stuff; and plenty of people have solid, resilient, tough skin that can handle even the most frequently-irritating EOs (we’re still talking stats and probabilities here, of course–not “these *will* / *must* irritate everyone and that includes *you*”).
I’d add: Decléor are also grotesquely overpriced for what they are (and their marketing seems targeted at people with more money than sense; or no sense at all).
– Scrubs: generally not a good idea on sensitive and/or sensitised skin inc. skin with active acne. For what ought, I would have thought, to be obvious reasons: just like you don’t scrub salt in an open wound (well, unless you’re a profesional torturer). Plus risk of spreading bacteria around the skin, and spreading the acne.
3. Re. “check major facialists”: with all possible due respect, it depends very much on their actual training, and in 99.999% of cases I’d regard someone like my own mother (or, errm, most of MUA) as more authoritative. I’d pay more heed to the advice of an actual medical professional, or a formulating or cosmetic chemist (the kind with postgraduate qualifications and at least some work experience in industry)

Jutta came back (phew!), to rebut Andrea & confirm the above “interpretation,” to use the term chosen by  Suzanne and Isabella in our main conversation. Good term: both the sense of translation & interpreting–from one language to another–and the sense of reading, making sense of, explanation, commentary, exegesis (heh: a.k.a. the day job).

REALLY? Obviously you don’t know I have my own brand of oil for facial use

yup, thank you for making that crystal clear. And yes, “major facialists” (lol) mean zippo. Nada. Nothing.


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