If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(BBC-US)   Psychologists attempt to answer the question: Why is it so hard to give good directions? Subby contends the question should be: Why is it so hard for people to follow good directions?   (bbc.com) divider line 119
    More: Interesting, good directions  
•       •       •

3414 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Nov 2012 at 11:25 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



119 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-11-07 05:14:38 AM

Aces and Eights: So far I haven't seen our roads keeping people out though.


Isn't that what the whole suburb thing is for? Impeding traffic so neighborhoods are quiet? I'm just assuming Atlanta was a nice little downtown that ate a bunch of suburbs last century.

//off to read about atlanta
//holy shiat you guys have a subway
 
2012-11-07 05:31:15 AM

moothemagiccow: Aces and Eights: So far I haven't seen our roads keeping people out though.

Isn't that what the whole suburb thing is for? Impeding traffic so neighborhoods are quiet? I'm just assuming Atlanta was a nice little downtown that ate a bunch of suburbs last century.

//off to read about atlanta
//holy shiat you guys have a subway


Ha ha! Indeed we do. But it's completely under-utilized.

And yes Atlanta expanded exponentially, mostly northwards, in the last quarter of the last century. Ate up suburbs, and had to create more suburbs out of rural areas, then ate those up too.
 
2012-11-07 06:18:10 AM

Aces and Eights: Mostly the roads here evolved from the central terminus (railroad crossing) and just kind of grew outward from there.


Well, there was that little disagreement roughly 150 years ago; like the Great London fire, they COULD have fixed the downtown grid but didn't so you have one grid that ran parallel/perpendicular to the railroad, then married it to a north-south grid. And even though we can't directly blame rivers, we can blame water, because they plopped Atlanta down onto a bunch of rolling hills, astride what's left of the Eastern Continental Divide. "We need a road." "Great. Just follow that ridgeline...mostly."

This becomes apparent when you either ride a bicycle in Atlanta, or we have an ice storm.  

I was going to make a Pascual Pérez remark, but he was recently murdered.
 
2012-11-07 06:56:37 AM
Wait....you lost me subby...
 
2012-11-07 07:15:58 AM
Ask a technical writer, subby, because we're the ones who write directions for a living.
 
2012-11-07 07:26:06 AM
I wish I had a nickel for every time someone asked me directions to Bass Pro Shop {the big one}.
/Ozarkian Hillbillyus
 
2012-11-07 07:31:31 AM
What kind of douche gives cardinal directions? "Yeah, just go north on Main Street, then go east on Birch Street. What's that? You're not familiar with the area and don't immediately know which way north is? Oh, you silly fool, you're so much dumber than I am!"

/Ok, its 93 north to 3, but its four traffic lights, you hit a Chevron station, and a little past that there's gonna be a retahded kid selling fireworks. Hang a left by him you're at the Jordan Marsh pal
 
2012-11-07 07:36:48 AM
What the hell are you guys talking about? It's perfectly easy to give directions and perfectly easy to follow them. God I hate stupid people.
 
2012-11-07 07:37:48 AM
Is the sun coming up?! Then put it on the left!

images4.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2012-11-07 07:42:28 AM
1. Ask whether they prefer turn-based or compass-based directions. I prefer turn-based in urban or densely populated areas, but compass-based in rural areas with few landmarks or signs.
2. Do not give "your favorite route," but the route most likely to be travelled by someone going there the first time, if you have a choice.
3. Do not use landmarks that cannot be recognized from a moving vehicle or require local knowledge to recognize. Seriously, if I have to hear another "go north once you cross into Old Man Parson's property" or "take a left at the tree that was struck by lightning about three years ago during the banjo jamboree," I'll throttle you.
4. Try not to give a route that cannot be retraced for the return trip, or at least warn the person receiving the directions that they won't be able to return using that route.
5. Learn to write down directions when received.
 
2012-11-07 07:44:08 AM

Wodan11: Is the sun coming up?! Then put it on the left!

[images4.wikia.nocookie.net image 538x424]


Yeah, I loved that. Works great when the sun's close enough to the horizon to tell. Try doing it at noon.
 
2012-11-07 08:03:00 AM

FormlessOne: Wodan11: Is the sun coming up?! Then put it on the left!

[images4.wikia.nocookie.net image 538x424]

Yeah, I loved that. Works great when the sun's close enough to the horizon to tell. Try doing it at noon.


Is it winter? Noon sun is in the south.
Summer? Yer Farked.

I second the nod to turn base in city, cardinal in rural.

Also, if the roads aren't grid style, feel free to desecrate the graves of the sorry road designers, and short sighted city planners, then learn where the roads go anyway.

If the roads You are directing traffic over are Curvaceous like an alluring Lady, add that detail to your directions. Yes it's important. Also, if while approaching a turn, the street sign marking the intersection is twisted, obstructed, or missing, Say so, and fix it yourself if You can sometime, or, Call, visit, write, and otherwise bother, and harass your department of transportation until they fix it. Here in PA, I have them on speed dial.
 
2012-11-07 08:10:20 AM

TWX: Most people have a hard time understanding that the other party in the conversation does not necessarily possess all of the supporting information. The person on the mentor side assumes that the person on the protege side knows more than they actually do, and since showing weakness can cause problems, frequently the protege side doesn't stop the mentor side and ask for clarification.


This effect is why at least some Fark threads devolve into everyone talking around each other, because everyone is coming in with their own loaded assumptions but not exposing them, frustrating everyone involved, even the audience. Most threads involve at least two people doing this at some point, while political threads are pretty much nothing but.
 
2012-11-07 08:13:29 AM

Unobtanium: Aces and Eights: Mostly the roads here evolved from the central terminus (railroad crossing) and just kind of grew outward from there.

Well, there was that little disagreement roughly 150 years ago; like the Great London fire, they COULD have fixed the downtown grid but didn't so you have one grid that ran parallel/perpendicular to the railroad, then married it to a north-south grid. And even though we can't directly blame rivers, we can blame water, because they plopped Atlanta down onto a bunch of rolling hills, astride what's left of the Eastern Continental Divide. "We need a road." "Great. Just follow that ridgeline...mostly."

This becomes apparent when you either ride a bicycle in Atlanta, or we have an ice storm.  

I was going to make a Pascual Pérez remark, but he was recently murdered.


"That little disagreement." Frankly, that was elegantly understated, my dear.

And if you're riding a bike in Atlanta, you are a brave, brave soul. My cousin commutes 10 miles per day from Decatur to Atlanta and back, ice storm or no. That amazes me.
 
2012-11-07 08:15:06 AM

FormlessOne: 1. Ask whether they prefer turn-based or compass-based directions. I prefer turn-based in urban or densely populated areas, but compass-based in rural areas with few landmarks or signs.
2. Do not give "your favorite route," but the route most likely to be travelled by someone going there the first time, if you have a choice.
3. Do not use landmarks that cannot be recognized from a moving vehicle or require local knowledge to recognize. Seriously, if I have to hear another "go north once you cross into Old Man Parson's property" or "take a left at the tree that was struck by lightning about three years ago during the banjo jamboree," I'll throttle you.
4. Try not to give a route that cannot be retraced for the return trip, or at least warn the person receiving the directions that they won't be able to return using that route.
5. Learn to write down directions when received.


Wait, I missed the banjo jamboree?? Dang.
 
2012-11-07 08:27:58 AM

Aces and Eights: FormlessOne: 1. Ask whether they prefer turn-based or compass-based directions. I prefer turn-based in urban or densely populated areas, but compass-based in rural areas with few landmarks or signs.
2. Do not give "your favorite route," but the route most likely to be travelled by someone going there the first time, if you have a choice.
3. Do not use landmarks that cannot be recognized from a moving vehicle or require local knowledge to recognize. Seriously, if I have to hear another "go north once you cross into Old Man Parson's property" or "take a left at the tree that was struck by lightning about three years ago during the banjo jamboree," I'll throttle you.
4. Try not to give a route that cannot be retraced for the return trip, or at least warn the person receiving the directions that they won't be able to return using that route.
5. Learn to write down directions when received.

Wait, I missed the banjo jamboree?? Dang.


Yeah, the one where they served deep-fried Ho-Hos. Awesome, it was. Awesome.
 
2012-11-07 08:34:14 AM

moothemagiccow: In fairness, cardinal directions are muddled by the farked up highway and street systems employed by moronic cities who let retailers and real estate developers plan their transportation.


Maybe I'm silly, but I prefer roads that actually get you places, instead of roads that exist only because they're near-exact half-mile or mile separations on an arbitrary grid that doesn't even exactly match up with a compass, forcing you to make multiple turns to get to any destination no matter how big.

I grew up in a railroad city, and I live in another one, and the differences are stark: The first one is the confluence of multiple highways all radiating in different directions, pretty much anywhere you want to go outside town there's a direct route. Yeah, it's more complex to learn and roads don't all intersect at right angles, but it's much faster getting places when you need to. North/South is whichever way the main railroad runs. Now Fresno started out that way, but as soon as it grew out of its original square immediately laid a cardinal grid with roads every half mile, and forced the entire rest of the city layout into that with nearly no shortcuts to get places more quickly than braving left turns at many crappy congested lights. Formerly direct roads were even ripped up and rebuilt into a grid as suburbs popped up.

Fortunately, the freeways eventually restored a couple of direct routes, but damn, going any direction other than due N/W/S/E sucks here.
 
2012-11-07 08:44:25 AM
My husband gave me directions like this one time " take hwy 270 to the first light. Turn right at the light. Make a left at the first stop sign...."
He neglected to tell me that it was 11 miles down the road to that first stop sign. I traversed the first 5 miles three times looking for the stop sign. His argument? You should have just done what I told you to do.
 
2012-11-07 08:45:52 AM
Because half of "people" are women.
 
2012-11-07 08:46:45 AM
Be thankful you don't ever have my girlfriend giving you directions...

Me: "So I make the next left?"
Her: "Right."
Me: "Right, as in correct? Or right as in right?"
Her: "Right here you turn left."
 
2012-11-07 08:49:01 AM

TomD9938: FunkOut: Also, not all women love shoe shopping

Amputees.


Thalidomide babies.
 
2012-11-07 08:50:20 AM

Aces and Eights: If they're nice about it, I help them find their way. If they end up cursing the South and the morons who built it, I figure they can find their own way or go back home.


Or just burn it down again and start over.
 
2012-11-07 08:50:54 AM

Kraftwerk Orange: Most people don't understand cardinal directions.


Well, pal, when I can fly like a goddamn bird, then I'll understand their directions. Until that day, tell me which way to go.
 
2012-11-07 08:51:50 AM

TWX: I observed a lady in a convenience store asking the clerk for directions, who honestly, seemed equally lost.

I drive to various sites over an approximately 100 square mile area in a large suburban city, and I did field work in the entire metro area for many years before that. There are some freeways over on the west side that I can't give info on, but those were built after I stopped serving that area and are the better part of fifty miles from where I live and work.

Ask people who drive around for a living. Those people will probably give you the best directions, since they've actually been there, and are there all of the time.


Pizza delivery guys?
 
2012-11-07 08:51:51 AM

Catlike Typist: Kraftwerk Orange: Most people don't understand cardinal directions. I'll sometimes tell someone to go south on a certain road, and they'll ask "Is that left or right..."

THIIIIIS, it makes me foam at the mouth. Can't you tell left from right? How can you not know which way is north?


It's trickier in states like Connecticut, where two northbound routes might be traveling perpendicular to each other.
 
2012-11-07 08:52:19 AM

FormlessOne: 3. Do not use landmarks that cannot be recognized from a moving vehicle or require local knowledge to recognize. Seriously, if I have to hear another "go north once you cross into Old Man Parson's property" or "take a left at the tree that was struck by lightning about three years ago during the banjo jamboree," I'll throttle you.


Heh.

In my former home town there is a modest little ice cream stand/diner at a fork in the road. Something like 30 years ago, it was called "Jim's Lunch", and it is still known as such to the locals even though the name has been changed several times, so if they tell you to turn left at "Jim's Lunch", you had better know what it's called currently, or you'll get lost.
 
2012-11-07 08:52:52 AM
Relevant: Link
 
2012-11-07 08:53:11 AM

This text is now purple: Catlike Typist: Kraftwerk Orange: Most people don't understand cardinal directions. I'll sometimes tell someone to go south on a certain road, and they'll ask "Is that left or right..."

THIIIIIS, it makes me foam at the mouth. Can't you tell left from right? How can you not know which way is north?

It's trickier in states like Connecticut, where two northbound routes might be traveling perpendicular to each other.


The north side of my town faced east, and the east was facing south.
 
2012-11-07 09:01:01 AM
Sometimes it seems it'd be easier to just raze it all and start over.
 
2012-11-07 09:01:25 AM

Kraftwerk Orange: Most people don't understand cardinal directions. I'll sometimes tell someone to go south on a certain road, and they'll ask "Is that left or right..."


img51.imageshack.us
 
2012-11-07 09:02:42 AM

FunkOut: Catlike Typist: Kraftwerk Orange: Most people don't understand cardinal directions. I'll sometimes tell someone to go south on a certain road, and they'll ask "Is that left or right..."

THIIIIIS, it makes me foam at the mouth. Can't you tell left from right? How can you not know which way is north?

I get pretty irritated with that as well. Trying to give directions to someone and then they're like "How do I know which direction west is?" Dammit, you've lived in this area since birth and you couldn't even at least manage to remember that one mountain is north and the other mountain is southeast?


FunkOut: But no, I would assume most people who live in my area would remember where things are in regards to the directions. Mostly because if you head south for about an hour you will be in America and if you head north you will hit the river. The valley is only so big.


Perhaps its possible that the people asking for directions are either new to to your "valley" or aren't from there at all? If so, being obstinate and giving cardinal directions really isn't helping anyone
 
2012-11-07 09:13:03 AM
Wait, I missed the banjo jamboree?? Dang.

Yeah, the one where they served deep-fried Ho-Hos. Awesome, it was. Awesome.


Mmmmmm. Deep fried...........
 
2012-11-07 09:13:10 AM

Aces and Eights: Unobtanium: Aces and Eights: Mostly the roads here evolved from the central terminus (railroad crossing) and just kind of grew outward from there.

Well, there was that little disagreement roughly 150 years ago; like the Great London fire, they COULD have fixed the downtown grid but didn't so you have one grid that ran parallel/perpendicular to the railroad, then married it to a north-south grid. And even though we can't directly blame rivers, we can blame water, because they plopped Atlanta down onto a bunch of rolling hills, astride what's left of the Eastern Continental Divide. "We need a road." "Great. Just follow that ridgeline...mostly."

This becomes apparent when you either ride a bicycle in Atlanta, or we have an ice storm.  

I was going to make a Pascual Pérez remark, but he was recently murdered.

"That little disagreement." Frankly, that was elegantly understated, my dear.

And if you're riding a bike in Atlanta, you are a brave, brave soul. My cousin commutes 10 miles per day from Decatur to Atlanta and back, ice storm or no. That amazes me.


I don't ride anymore. I am not suicidal. I did ride a lot when I lived in Savannah, but it's nice and flat, and in DC, but they had good bike trails.
 
2012-11-07 09:21:18 AM

This text is now purple: Aces and Eights: If they're nice about it, I help them find their way. If they end up cursing the South and the morons who built it, I figure they can find their own way or go back home.

Or just burn it down again and start over.


Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Seriously, though......it would be nice to go back in time and do certain things differently, with the insight that we now have about growth, the environment, social issues, infrastructure, etc. etc. etc. 

But Atlanta does have a proud history of proactive community collaboration that was extraordinary at that time. City too busy to hate, and all that.
 
2012-11-07 09:26:31 AM
The good thing about living near the shore of a huge lake is using that as a source for cardinal directions. That, and the sun of course. It's funny what some people use for landmarks though.

Recently I attended a volleyball game in a town I was somehat familiar with, but the game was at the elementary school, not the high school where I showed up (it was a HS game, so it made sense). I found another parent there and asked her how to get to the elementary school:
Her: It's right down the street from Chili's
Me: Is that by the highway?
Her: What highway?
Me: The very big (and only) one, I-94
Her: No, it's near the Chili's
Me: I have no idea where that is, what street is it on?
Her: You know, by the McDonald's
Me: The only McDonald's I know of is by the highway. So is the school north or south of here? Is closer to the lake?
Her: *glazed look*
Me:*drives to gas station for real directions*

I don't have GPS and there was just one G of data, so maps were taking 5 minutes to download.
 
2012-11-07 09:27:14 AM
And if you're riding a bike in Atlanta, you are a brave, brave soul. My cousin commutes 10 miles per day from Decatur to Atlanta and back, ice storm or no. That amazes me.

I don't ride anymore. I am not suicidal. I did ride a lot when I lived in Savannah, but it's nice and flat, and in DC, but they had good bike trails.


Whew! Thank goodness. I was worried about you.
Savannah is awesome for bike riding. Take my bike to Tybee Island and just cruise.
 
2012-11-07 09:31:20 AM
I give cardinal directions first and then tell them what to look for and whether to go left or right from there.

Also, how is it hard for people to determine which way is east / west?
 
2012-11-07 09:31:59 AM
..."see where it says Rib Tips?"...
 
2012-11-07 09:37:34 AM
Girl Directions

Some NSFW Language.
 
2012-11-07 09:42:24 AM

epyonyx: I give cardinal directions first and then tell them what to look for and whether to go left or right from there.

Also, how is it hard for people to determine which way is east / west?


For most people its about the same difficulty level as finding the higgs boson.
 
2012-11-07 10:01:47 AM
How my wife gives directions:

So you get off the highway at the exit past the one for the town I work int, go up to the first light and go straight through it, go through the next 2 or 3 also. You'll go past the restaurant, you know the one where I go to have lunch with my co-workers. The food is reaaally good. They make the best lobster raviolis. Last time we were there I ordered a salad, because it was after Halloween and I ate SO much candy, but I was still hungry and wished I had ordered the ravioli. We'll have to go sometime. When I got back to the office Marge had a whole bowl of left-over Halloween candy and I ate like half the bowl. I was sick the rest of the day and that's why I couldn't eat dinner. Anyway you go past the restaurant and go a few more lights down to the gas station. I think its and Exxon or maybe a Shell. Not the first one the one after that. Did you know they charge more money if you use a credit card?. Ok so go past the gas station and in a few blocks down you turn onto Davis Street, or Davidson Street, maybe it's avenue. Is it street or avenue? Wait it's boulevard, no street, definitely street. So go about 5 minutes and turn on the street with the tree name. What's a common tree name? Anyway it's the gray house about half way around the street. I think Its gray. Just look for a silver car. Doesn't she drive a silver car? I think It's a Honda, it a small SUV...
 
2012-11-07 10:19:38 AM
I run a motel in the summer.
"How do I get to the Kennedy Compound?"
Left, right, left, straight, straight, straight, bear left, straight, straight, left, straight, right, left, left, right, left. Or take the sightseeing boat and get a better view.

/6 Main Streets in Barnstable, Ma
//enjoy your stay
 
2012-11-07 10:42:29 AM

epyonyx: I give cardinal directions first and then tell them what to look for and whether to go left or right from there.

Also, how is it hard for people to determine which way is east / west?


How about just point and say "Go that way" instead of being a dick with people who don`t have a compass on a cloudy day hundreds of miles from where they live?
 
2012-11-07 10:45:37 AM
Of course, if you think that people should have a basic amount of knowledge to interpret your directions, just give them in binary...

ih3.redbubble.net
This is how to get to the library. What do you mean you don`t understand cardinal directions in binary? 

Idiot.
 
2012-11-07 10:47:16 AM
Men give directions like this:

Go North by North West 1.37 clicks and turn 38 degrees, then proceed another 12.48 clicks along Ventura until you come to a crossroads. Turn East and drive 3.8 clicks.

Women give directions like this:

Take this road until you come to a Starbucks--the one on your left, not the one on your right and turn into the street where you see the Baptist Church. Then drive past the good mall--if you pass the Dirtball Mall you've gone too far. Watch for the store with the sale sign in the window on your right and then turn off to your right three streets on when you see the Palme d'Or restaurant.

Rednecks give directions like this:

Take the Farley Road here about seven country miles. When you come to the Barn that isn't there any more, turn off in the Mapplethorpe Road and drive until you come to the Old Smythe farm (which is now owned by the Bradleys, since 1897) and heave a right down the third dirt road (counting the one they paved last year) to the Hurley Quick Pick general store, which will be closed today because today is the day Hurley takes his Mother-in-Law, Mabel, who was born a Steadfast, to Old Doc Thompkins for her allergy shots. If you see a yellow horse and a cow in a field you've gone down the wrong road, so go back to the the Quick Pick and take the second dirt road on the right through the fields until you come to a field of cow peas, then turn right again at the sorghum and watch for a clump of Indian birch. The Sun should then be on your left if you took exactly 32 minutes to get from Hurley's to there ....

There is only one possible conclusion.

They are all useless.
 
2012-11-07 10:49:56 AM
People give shiatty directions.

"Take the rirst right, then second left, then first left, then the fourth right after the light."

"Turn towards Acredale just after you pass the old Miller place, then head due North."

"Right on Second, left on Onowabee, cross Main and then right at the 24/13 interchange."

I give directions based on landmarks that any non-local would rcognize, i.e. "Left at the McDonald's and then it's acros the street from a Bennigans that's a few miles down the road."

My experience is that most directions are either too specific or require local knowledge or are too lengthy (and easily forgotten). For complicated directions, I usually give a landmark to get them in the general area so they can stop to get further directions "There's a 7-11 there that can give you directions to your destination."
 
2012-11-07 10:52:34 AM
Boston.

You can't give good directions. It's impossible. The aren't signs, the streets have been renamed, or the signs are indicating that 2/5 lanes are something other than what they are.
 
2012-11-07 10:54:36 AM

ShannonKW: "If the boy was smart enough to do what you're telling him, you wouldn't need to tell him." -- my grandfather


A wise man.

"Nothing is impossible to the man that doesn't have to do it himself." -- A. H. Weiler
 
2012-11-07 10:59:50 AM
Does anybody else ever give people directions to a certain point, then tell the person to ask somebody once they get to that point? If somebody is looking for a place three towns over, I can't give them turn-by-turn directions without them falling asleep. So I'll give them directions to a gas station that is on the way and once they get there they can get the details they need. I do that a lot in the city, too. If I'm near South Station and somebody asks how to get to Fenway Park (on foot) I'll send them to the Common or Copley Square and tell them to ask somebody once they get there. No sense overloading them with details they'll forget halfway there.
 
2012-11-07 11:00:01 AM
One of my main reasons for not giving better directions is that I don't drive. People who as for directions are often in cars, so I can't help them much because I don't have any recollection for how to get from one place to another in a car unless I have taken a taxi there from whereever you happen to be when you ask for directions. If you don't ask for directions in front of my building, you are out of luck, Bub.

Another reason is that I tend to navigate like a woman, by concrete landmarks, rather than like a man, by compass points and other abstract concepts. I learn how to go from one place to any other place by many different routes (to vary the walk or make various combinations of stops) and I have a good idea where I am, but when you ask me for directions I need quite a bit of time to think things through, remember the names of each street, etc.

The best I can generally do is point you in the right direction and tell you to ask again. I don't get lost myself, though. I know my neighbourhood very well and can plan a trip well enough, but I'm not as much help to other people as I could be or would like to be.

My mental map is excellent and detailed. I can plan a route to avoid beggers, drunks, loonies, or trouble. I can plot a course that takes me to every bookstore, or avoids crosswalks, heavy foot traffic, smog, or rush hour traffice.

It is a lot like the specialized knowledge of a video gamer in that it is difficult or impossible to verbalize--it is spatial and purpose specific but not meant for the guidance of somebody with other needs.

Also, it is very like looking at a watch. If you look at your watch you are asking it a specific question: what is the exact time? How many minutes do I have? etc. If you look at your watch to see how long you have been waiting for the doctor and somebody asks you the time, you have to look at your watch again. You didn't see the time. You saw how many minutes you have been waiting. It's a difficult problem altogether.

And that's why giving good directions is different from navigation and geography. It is a different problem altogether.

I am a great geographer. I am a lousy pilot. It would be easier for me to lead the person asking directions to the location they want than to tell them how to get there, especially if it's only a couple of minutes away.
 
Displayed 50 of 119 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report