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(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  
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3448 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Nov 2012 at 11:25 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-07 11:02:01 AM  

tommyl66: 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!"


Sun rises in the East, sets in the West. From that it's trivial to find North and South. So, unless it's exactly Noon/Midnight and your memory of where the sun rose/set is erased, YES, you are dumb if you can't figure out the cardinal directions. Sorry.
 
2012-11-07 11:05:58 AM  

fredklein: tommyl66: 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!"

Sun rises in the East, sets in the West. From that it's trivial to find North and South. So, unless it's exactly Noon/Midnight and your memory of where the sun rose/set is erased, YES, you are dumb if you can't figure out the cardinal directions. Sorry.


Or Cloudy days and rainstorms. Or night in general because you can't see the sun, or places where people call Old Route 120 a North/South road despite the fact that it runs East West where you are because for 90% of the 12 miles you won't be driving on it's North/South. Or that it's NNE and they're calling it East. Or the road has 2 option, a slight right and an overly sharp right and they tell you to turn East. WTF? How do I know what the fark you meant. Just say turn the fark right or turn the fark left.
 
2012-11-07 11:35:17 AM  
re: landmarks
What surprises me is how many people can drive over or under a bridge, and still not notice it.

/my favorite guy, if I tell him 'under the bridge and turn to the right', will always miss it.
//always noticed overpasses when I had my old dog - she'd duck her head every time we drove under one
///also, its amazing how many people find out 'bridge may freeze before road' the hard way...
 
2012-11-07 11:38:01 AM  

AbbeySomeone: Better question - Why is it so difficult for men to ask for or follow them?


Study was done on this and showed that in childhood, male children were encouraged to explore more on their own while female children were carted from point a to point b. Bottom line: men don't consider themselves lost because they are still in their exploration comfort zone, women tend to get alarmed if they aren't on the path.
 
2012-11-07 12:02:48 PM  

Mayhem of the Black Underclass: fredklein: tommyl66: 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!"

Sun rises in the East, sets in the West. From that it's trivial to find North and South. So, unless it's exactly Noon/Midnight and your memory of where the sun rose/set is erased, YES, you are dumb if you can't figure out the cardinal directions. Sorry.

Or Cloudy days and rainstorms. Or night in general because you can't see the sun, or places where people call Old Route 120 a North/South road despite the fact that it runs East West where you are because for 90% of the 12 miles you won't be driving on it's North/South. Or that it's NNE and they're calling it East. Or the road has 2 option, a slight right and an overly sharp right and they tell you to turn East. WTF? How do I know what the fark you meant. Just say turn the fark right or turn the fark left.


Or what if the road curves for a while?

Gramma: 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.


At least they didn't say "drive 10 minutes until you get to the next stop sign." Nothing like trying to determine whether you are traveling faster or slower than anticipated, along with determining which stop signs "count" when someone leaves out minor stop signs.
 
2012-11-07 12:02:49 PM  

Mayhem of the Black Underclass: Or Cloudy days and rainstorms.


You can often still see where the sun is through the clouds.

Or night in general because you can't see the sun

The moon follows the same line as the sun.

or places where people call Old Route 120 a North/South road despite the fact that it runs East West where you are because for 90% of the 12 miles you won't be driving on it's North/South.

So .they should say 'turn East onto 120 North". I don't see the problem.

Or that it's NNE and they're calling it East. Or the road has 2 option, a slight right and an overly sharp right and they tell you to turn East.

Those are just plain errors. Oh, and the same thing would happen if they told you to 'turn Right' in thast situation.

Just say turn the fark right or turn the fark left.

Maybe I should take your hand and lead you there....
 
2012-11-07 12:10:10 PM  

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.


2. THIS THIS THIS. Look, I know that you know all of Ms. Todd's Shortcuts. But PLEASE, give directions that are harder to screw up, despite being slightly longer. Old Mapquest directions used to do this, maybe they still do, where you have the shortest route, as determined by switching back and forth on various back roads when the easiest directions are "get on the interstate at exit 15. follow that until exit 22. Get off then turn right, drive that way until you see your destination on the right." Also never preference with "well, the easiest route is...but you don't want to do that, then mention 3 other routes you could take." A person asking for directions cares little for that; they will interrupt if the directions you give them sound difficult. Then you can mention the other possible routes.

4. I don't know how many times I've tried to reverse directions that are impossible to reverse. Most daunting is when you walk out of what you were doing at the destination, then look from your car to realize there is no easy way to get back to step one due to roundabouts or one way streets that don't have a convenient opposite analogue
 
2012-11-07 12:43:18 PM  

fredklein: Mayhem of the Black Underclass: Or Cloudy days and rainstorms.

You can often still see where the sun is through the clouds.

Or night in general because you can't see the sun

The moon follows the same line as the sun.

or places where people call Old Route 120 a North/South road despite the fact that it runs East West where you are because for 90% of the 12 miles you won't be driving on it's North/South.

So .they should say 'turn East onto 120 North". I don't see the problem.

Or that it's NNE and they're calling it East. Or the road has 2 option, a slight right and an overly sharp right and they tell you to turn East.

Those are just plain errors. Oh, and the same thing would happen if they told you to 'turn Right' in thast situation.

Just say turn the fark right or turn the fark left.

Maybe I should take your hand and lead you there....


So your argument is that rather than just say left or right, I should make a rough guess of where the sun/moon is in the sky based on where the glow through the clouds is strongest (good luck during a storm or on a cloudy night with no moon), then translate that into a compass direction based on the current time of day (of course at night you'll have to know when moonrise was or at least the current phase of the moon, and you'll probably want a sextant around the summer solstice at lower latitudes) while taking into account daylight saving time and maybe even my location within the time zone, so I can then translate that direction into whether I should go left or right. How about you save me all those steps and just farking say left or right, asshole.
 
2012-11-07 01:55:07 PM  
I drew a map for a boss once. She couldn't follow it despite it being one left hand turn and featuring the only landmarks in the area so she could orient herself. She couldn't figure it out because I hadn't named a bus terminal. There was only one bus terminal, and she was not arriving by bus. It was only for reference in relation to the other landmarks. She had to have a women draw a non-"terrible" map without the confusing landmarks.
 
2012-11-07 03:14:01 PM  

LandOfChocolate:
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


No, I've known the people who ask me for directions for awhile. Everyone else gets a thick Scottish accent and the claim "Sorry, ah jus' mooved here, ah dinnah know where anythin' is cept tha liquor store and tha pie shop."
 
2012-11-07 03:28:18 PM  

Lord Huggington: As someone who has a second job at a gas station, I can tell you that most people don't believe your directions. I have to repeat myself at least twice before people actually listen.


THIS!
 
2012-11-07 03:36:47 PM  

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

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


My girlfriend and I were rolling on the floor laughing when that part came up! We even rewound it and watched it again.
 
2012-11-07 03:42:42 PM  

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.


We tried that. It didn't work out so well the first time, and those folks are known for being stubborn...
 
2012-11-07 04:02:37 PM  
And Bushy Baker somewhere in the back woods can't figure out how people don't know where the holler is, or why they have to turn at that ol' hound next to the gas station that shut down years ago.
 
2012-11-07 04:22:13 PM  

Beer It's What's For Dinner: How about you save me all those steps and just farking say left or right, asshole.


How about I don't give you directions at all?

/rude
 
2012-11-07 04:43:47 PM  
I have twice had people get angry with me about "bad" directions when they admitted that they did not follow the directions. In one case I gave particular emphasis on getting in the right land because the road was going to split, repeated it three times, "get in the right lane." She didn't get in the right lane, went left at the split, therefore my directions were awful and she was never going to listen to me again. Okay.

And then there's my aunt "those were terrible directions, you didn't say if the exit was in Maryland or Virginia."
"It doesn't matter, I gave you the exit number and all the words on the sign."
"But I didn't know if I was in Maryland or Virginia." Sigh.
 
2012-11-07 10:07:06 PM  
This will never be uttered again by me on Fark-but I miss Greeley, CO. Streets and Avenues, all numbered-except for the outskirts of town which had resorted to the alphabet system and were somewhat, but not terribly confusing just a little bit baffling at times. Give me an address: 1879 W 31st St. I could actually find it. No problem. Streets ran N and S and Avenues E and W. No sweat, all it was was counting and thankfully I am adequate at math. I lived in Denver both before and after my 7 years in Cowtown and I got lost for a solid hour Monday night in Commerce City, Brighton Blvd, ended up down by Coors Field, had to take the hated Colfax home (once I found it) horrid, upset, car overheating and over 1 hour late. When you don't have a sense of direction life can really suck when you get lost, especially in rush hour traffic and you can't turn on the darned GPS.

/new boss from Cleveland was late today, said she got lost and it took her over an hour. She lives 20 minutes away, I feel her pain 
//and do not get me started on CR and RR crap. They're badly if seldom labeled. Drive towards the mountains! yeah, not so much around here.
 
2012-11-08 09:41:52 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.


This. I grew up in Massachusetts and Connecticut, but lived everywhere from New York, to Nashville, to Seattle. It's why I prefer what I prefer.

As an aside, I finally got my wife to give directions with which I'm comfortable, when she's navigating for long trips. Useful tricks:

- Use "near left", "middle left", or "far left" if you're telling me to "turn left", and I'm staring at three friggin' left lanes, all of which turn onto different roads (or the highway.)
- Use "yep", "yes", "ayuh", "correct", "fine", or "good", not "right", when I'm trying to confirm directions with you.
- If distance between points seems relevant, add that info - if I don't trust your directions, I'll second-guess you, and that's not good if you're navigating. "In about five miles, take a left at the stop sign" tells me when I should start looking for it.
- Give me 1-2 points in advance, even if I ask you to repeat them later (to confirm them before I start taking action.) If I have to whip across four lanes to get from the HOV lane to take the right that's less than a quarter-mile away because you said, "OK, now get off on the next exit" when you saw the exit sign with the friggin' arrow on it, I will beat you to death with a tire iron and bury you in a shallow grave next to the sign as a warning to others.
 
2012-11-08 03:58:31 PM  
In the 7th grade we were tasked with writing our own directions for every day items. The point of the exercise was to show how difficult it is to produce directions. Over the course of my life I have realized how difficult it is to teach and outline tasks.
I've also learned that if your directions are really long, contradicting, and full of obtuse metaphors they are, in practice, useless. For instance, if you are trying to discern the proper directions from a book that is a canonical collection of texts, that comprise anywhere from 66 to 81 books, writen by many generations and authors and then retranslated multiple times, then you are statistically likely to come up with hundreds if not thousands of contradicting views on the directions, and significance of each direction, all of which could not be correct logically speaking.
 
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