I had to explain the nature of online/offline gossip to a man from Saudi Arabia in a group I’m in. His English was basic but he understood me.
He wanted to know how people could gossip when a group was public. Here is what I said:
“If it is online, they could send private messages to each other. Or they could be members of a group that you are not in. If it is in person, they can simply make a look at each other that you don’t understand that means, “What an idiot!” that they understand.
It happens. Also, in public groups, someone can talk “behind your back” publicly by having a kind of ‘code” where they are making fun of someone in a way that the person doesn’t understand, but they do.
The secret is to understand all of the codes, but not let them know that you know the codes. That gives you insight.
I don’t approve of gossip, but it is something that humans do.”
It made sense to him. Communication level: Success.