Identical Questions Oppositte Answers?

Updated on April 19, 2013
J.M. asks from Doylestown, PA
19 answers

I saw the question about the gardener boy playing in the yard and also the question about the nieghbor coming into the yard (I'm not giving my opinion on either). Both had the same exact question pretty much but the tone was a little diferent, and even though the questions were identical and had the same general issue (an uninvited guest in their yard) the answers were completely the opposite.

I've wondered before (Jo we;'ve had this talk) If half of the questions on here were asked from a guy if the results would be compltely diferent. Does the poster's tone, gender, who they are on the baord, matter more than the actual question?

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So What Happened?

I still think its very similar, you get your lawn mowed once a week, twice depending on your area, so that kid is playing on her porch, yard and so on 1-2 times a week for hours at a time not J. stopping by,.....the nieghbor stops by 2-3 times a week...relatively close to the same amount of time. One is being overly friendly and the other is letting the kid use her house as a playground even though she pays him for services already yet the answers are completely different

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answers from Kalamazoo on

A child playing in my yard once in a blue moon while his dad works nearby is COMPLETLY different than neighbors welcoming themselves into my yard on a regular basis. The kid wouldn't really infringe on my privacy in the same way as the adult neighbors would.
but, that's J. my opinion.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I think that a lot of people on this board, I try not to be one of them but it does happen, respond a certain way to the question because of who the poster is. You could have two posts completely the same, one asked by a mama who is well known and liked by a majority of the board and the other by a mama who is not so well known or is disliked by a majority of the board... The responses will be very different! The same thing will happen if you get two questions asked by one man and one woman, or two questions asked by a person who is very talented at wording their posts and one who isn't so talented.

It sucks, but it is the way that it is

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbia on

I didn't even pay attention to the gender of the person who asked.

One was a child coming in the yard to play on a play structure, and one was adult neighbors coming up to the windows, sitting on the porch, and using the yard as a thoroughfare.

So...not identical. Not similar enough to have identical answers, in my opinion.

However, I see what you're saying, and now I'm curious about possible gender bias... :-)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I haven't read the other responses so this might be a repeat, but ...

There are two different power differentials going on.

One post is about a gardener and someone who can afford to hire a gardener. These people have vastly different degrees of wealth, power, and (possibly) immigration/citizenship status.

The other post is about two people who live next door to each other. In terms of wealth and power, their status sounds pretty much equal.

I think we all have a responsibility to practice kindness and generosity no matter what the circumstances. Because we're all going to need kindness and generosity sometime down the road. But when the wealth and power differential is greater, the burden of kindness and generosity is greater too.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I have noticed that some responders seem to have a chip on their shoulder if someone says they have something that some others may want. (Gardeners, 5 carat diamond rings, investment properties, house keepers or in the top 1%).
I personally think jealousy is a very ugly thing and am typically very happy for other's successes. Having a service that mows your lawn really does not tell you much of anything of that person's life. Maybe they have a service because they are in a wheel chair or have lupus. Maybe their child is bipolar or has autism and requires extra help or maybe they work hard and it is simply a luxury they pay for. Who cares? Not really my business so I J. try my best to answer the question at hand without reading a whole lot into it.
I also can not tell you how often I think of that saying "if all of our troubles were hung on the line, you would take yours and I would take mine".

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I disagree that they're the same question. One was about otherwise nice adults who don't observe any boundaries whatsoever and are very intrusive. The other is about being unkind toward the hired help's child and trying to mask it through some made-up construct about "concern" over the "safety" of her play structure when really she was J. annoyed that the landscaper didn't ask permission and she didn't know how to have that conversation with him. I don't think I answered either question but that was my take on the two and my answers would have varied strongly.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Yes! I do think this happens sometimes. I also think that sometimes the tone is set by the first 2 or 3 people who answer the question. If they go negative, most of the answers that follow will go negative, until someone jumps in with a positive answer, then it starts to split up. I also think some people "side" with other MP friends who have already answered and try to support that persons view. Some of it is probably done without really thinking about it; J. human nature.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I think how the question is asked and/or the tone can change the answer.

In these cases: 1. the uninvited guest was an adult who regularlly intrudes on privacy (in the back yard chatting through the doors/windows), steals (flowers), and trespasses (using poster's yard, both front and back, as a through-way) with no sense of boundaries. The poster likes the person but needs to establish personal boundaries for a friendly but clueless neighbor (while retaining a friendly relationship) 2. a child is brought to work with dad and rather than sitting in the truck playing an electronic game, he's utilizing a swing set (not hurting anyone), and doing what kids do...playing. The poster came across as being bothered by the kid playing, concerned for her liability if something happened because the play structure is basically "not to code". She seemed bothered by his forgotten jacket (at least initially it seemed the coat was a huge deal..."Now I have to deal with that all week"). While liability is a real concern (as his dad's lack of supervision if he leaves the child once he moves to the next yard), it really J. seemed like "I don't want THAT kid in my yard/on my structure". The kid wasn't really trespassing or invading privacy (even dad was supposed to be there).

I don't think it matters WHO asks.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Probably not.
I call it as I see it, and always have.
I have "friends" here but I always answer honestly.
I doubt everyone can say that, though.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

honestly although i dont like to say it, it does. Some people have left a bitter taste in my mouth so if I see a question or a response from them its automatically thrown in my dont answer because I know it would be snarky and J. best left ignored. Although with some of them if they were written by a man I would probably give them a little more slack as men are dumb and I could see how the question originated. *teehee I Keed I keed. sorta.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't think they are the first question. One is about a neighbor who does not seem to have a sense of boundaries using the yard. The second is a child care question - can someone who does not have child care bring their kid to work on the odd days the child is out of school.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I have to say I haven't seen both questions.

Still the difference is one we have walked in their shoes the other we have not. You see one only as someone coming onto their property. The other you see as they have this employee that we can't afford and we go all projecting like the great projectors we are!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I don't think the gardener question was that it was an uninvited quest, but rather the concern she had should the child hurt himself. I thought it was legit and I too would be concerned.. OR the idea of someone using your backyard as a thoroughfare I don't think is a great idea either.. To both are different questions and concerns..

I do think tone and how something is relayed definitely might affect how someone responds.. Also, the topic in and of itself .. some get very upset over one thing while others are not bothered.. Therefore, TOPIC seems to be the real trigger for most..

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I don't know about those particular two questions, but I think that it does make a difference. I make a point of not paying attention to who's asking, unless I see 10 questions with the same name attached. In that case, I can't help but notice. Even then, I might not even read every question, so I might not get the pattern. I don't read histories or past posts in order to get an idea of who's talking. I J. answer the question before M. as is.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I didn't read either question, but J. from your explanation, they seem like two completely different issues to M.. And I mean night and day. A neighbor is permanent and the relationship needs to be carefully treated. A gardener is hired help than can be easily replaced if you don't like the way they do things. One is a tag along bring your kid to work, one is an obnoxious neighbor. Not agreeing with your basic premise.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I guess I don't really notice who the poster is, unless I personally know them. Plus so many people have changed their names and/or locations that I really have no idea who is who most of the time anyhow.

I didn't see that second question about the "friendly" neighbor, but I did see the one about the gardener. I have had the experience of having a hired worker bring a child to my home (presumably due to lack of childcare - hey, I've been there too!), and I shared that experience. I can't say I've ever had any overly friendly neighbors, but that would bug the heck out of M.. Here in California, it's a running joke that you can live next door to someone for a decade and never meet them. It would be really strange to M. if I looked up and saw a neighbor in my backyard suddenly. It's one thing for a child to be there with his dad, who I know will be in my yard on a certain day at a certain time. (And actually, sometimes my cleaning lady brings her baby with her, and it makes my entire day. :) It's entirely another to have someone who lives 15 feet away from M. 24/7 to be suddenly standing in my yard. (Creepy!) That's my take on it, not having seen the second question.



answers from Chicago on

So what was the question?



answers from Wausau on

I'm not sure I replied to either thread, but I read them.

The gardener is invited, the neighbor is not. Huge difference in that respect.

The safety/legal issue of the gardener's kid and the neighbor's hanging out is similar, but still not the same. The laws regarding kids make it the homeowner's responsibility because the swing set is considered 'an attractive nuisance'. An adult neighbor that is trespassing involves less homeowner responsibility in terms of potential injury.



answers from Oklahoma City on

The child was playing on her equipment in her back yard unsupervised, his father was at a totally different house working but the boy was in her backyard playing.

Her insurance will go up if he gets hurt in her back yard, his dad is not there to redirect him if he sees him doing something dangerous. So she has every right to ask him to go stay with his dad or to tell him that he can't be there without his dad.

As for the man, he's J. a friendly guy that has no idea of social norms. He seems harmless as far as danger of injury or causing her property damage.

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