Affrick, I tend to agree with what you've said, with a small proviso
Although I may have missed it in what you posted (and if so, I
apologize), is that in any face to face "snarking" incident there are
generally two (or more) people. That means that there are at least
three places where communication can be corrupted. The first is that
the sender (the snarker) is sending a corrupted message (they are
masturbating their ego putting someone else down, they have poor
communications skills, whatever). The second is that the receiver is
recieving a corrupted message (they are just receiving the message as
sent, they are interpreting it in an overly sensitive way, failure to
interpret it correctly, so on). Finally there is the actual
transmission itself, which can be corrupted by outside influences,
third parties, history, social context, medium of transmission, and
such. It's easy to say that the problem is with the other person, but
it's very hard to really know about other influences.
In an ideal world, when we receive a negative message, we should wait
for verification before ascribing intent or fault. If I walk up to
you and say "that outfit sucks", you would be safe to assume that the
message was fairly clear.
If I came up to you and said (in a condescending tone) "that's wrong",
again you would be justified in assuming there was some problem,
likely that I'm a jerk -- in which case you can either blow me off, or
start looking at past exchanges and/or exchanges with other people.
If those appear to have been fairly positive, then the problem may be
with -your- intereptation of my tone.
In short, in critiquing your garments, I may not be intending to be an
officious arrogant jerk (almost certainly I am not intending that),
although that may be how I come across. OTOH, you may be interpreting
me as such for reasons you are not taking into consideration (you are
having a bad day, you've been abused like this before, I've abused you
like this before..., difference in social rank or degree, what have
In all honesty, I have found through personal experience that most
communication problems can be reduced and analyzed, and generally
there is rarely one single cause (although it can happen). Sometimes
there are overwhelming influences, but usually fault should be avoided
since all too often everyone's got some fault going.
Added to that, in the SCA we (as a culture) teach our new people to
-expect- attacks by the more authentic than thou. And if I am
expecting an attack from you, I think there should be no surprise when
I interpret something that looks something like an attack as an attack
(Again, it may well BE an attack as well as my interpreting it as an
attack, but I could just as easily be interpreting poor social skills
as an attack).