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Half a Glass

 
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
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Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject: Half a Glass Reply with quote

I finally did it. I posted my answer the the GHF/HE question. You can find it on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_half_full_or_half_empty.

For completeness' sake, I post it here also:
=====================================
As it happens, a very small group of people have been convinced during the last ten years that there is a simple, objective answer to this question that does not directly refer to whether the answerer is optimistic or pessimistic.

The simple, confident expression that there is an objective answer has, on occasion, been enough to trigger, koan-like, a sudden insight into this question. If you wish to have that opportunity, I recommend you stop reading now.

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Or you can read another expression of the problem: GHF/HE
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The simple answer to the question of whether the glass is half full or half empty is: it depends on how it got that way.

If there is a half of a glass of water, and it got that way by being filled, then it is half-full. If it got that way by being consumed or poured out, then it is half-empty. Half-filled, or half-emptied.

The most remarkable thing about this answer is that it is not widely known.

There is one other factor at play for this question: how you feel about what is in the glass. If the glass contained poison, for instance, it would be half full even though you were forced to drink the first half.

The question comes back to subjective questions, but they aren't whether one is an optimist or a pessimist, but whether one is consuming more than one is replenishing, and how one feels about what is in the glass.

Halffull-halfempty (talk) 05:50, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, wikipedia did not retain my definition.

I'm totally new to this. I didn't get any message saying
why the definition was reverted.

What should I conclude? Should I try again?
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Joined: 11 Sep 2008
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Location: Vancouver, WA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:03 am    Post subject: Wikipedia Reply with quote

I think your answer makes total sense, I would add that it also depends on what will happen next. Will the glass become fuller? If so, it is half full. Will it become emptier? Then it's half empty. How it got that way is a likely predictor of what will happen next.

An optimist would expect the glass to get fuller, and a pessimist would anticipate it to get emptier, generally, except as you noted, depending on how you feel about what is in the glass.

I would suggest you try again at Wikipedia, being careful to not replace what was there but instead to enhance it, and I would suggest keeping it simpler and leaving out the case where an individual wishes the glass were less full (poison), because if others feel it makes things overly complex they may throw out your improvements.

Perhaps justify it with examples of how it would be referred to in a sentence, such as "I kept sipping at my drink, and when it was half-empty, the waitress refilled it" as compared to "I began by pouring root beer into my glass, and when it was half-full, I added a scoop of ice cream."

You would not say "I poured root beer into my glass until it was half empty" or "I sipped at my drink until it was half full."

Maybe just justify it with an example of how it doesn't sound right when you do it wrong. It's also possible that the group-think of Wikipedia believes the question is not about grammar, but is about optimism and pessimism, a completely different question than whether the barrel is half full / half empty, etc.

Still, for people who like to explore that particular question, knowing the grammatical answer has to have some value as well. For people who have never heard this question before, (ie English as a second language?) knowing that the question is a reference to optimism and pessimism is really the info that they need.
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wiki people are very particular about this definition. If you poke around, you can find a discussion section that outlines a half dozen or so distinctly different takes on this question, including, I'm afraid, answers that run roughly parallel to mine.

The apparent consensus amongst those who manage this page is that no further discussion is of interest - they don't want a debate. They were very dismissive, calling my post "spam" and giving the reason it was deleted as simply "not really" without further elaboration.

Meantime, I like your idea that the past actions can be projected into the future.
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