The following argue in favour of negating positive words

(e.g. This has not been agreed; allowed; correct; considered.)

to evade single negative but polite words

(e.g. This has been disagreed; rejected; wrong/false; ignored/neglected.):

  1. "5 Tips for Polite and Diplomatic Language" (This website duplicates the content.)

    Avoid negative words - instead use positive words in a negative form

    People react to positive sounding words, even if they are used with a negative auxiliary verb.
    Don't say: I think that's a bad idea.
    Say: I don't think that's such a good idea.

  2. "Meeting Phrases: Disagreeing Politely and Diplomatically".

    Avoiding the negative

    • I don't think that's such a good idea. (NOT It’s a bad idea.)
    • I don't think I can agree with you. (NOT I disagree with you.)
    • I'm not sure it's the best idea. (NOT it's the worst idea!)

But I disagree: the former looks needlessly periphrastic, indirect, circumlocutory); I prefer the latter's concision. Am I wrong? Is the latter really less diplomatic?

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    I believe that the way you phrase it (not its content, or the idea it brings up and can be linked to IP skills) might lead this to DV's and VTC's as unclear. Could you please consider editing the OP so that it actually becomes a question with a goal people around here can answer? – OldPadawan Aug 23 '17 at 7:21
  • But I "disagree". No one says "I dissent" in a Q&A/forum/discussion board, it's usually used with 3rd person singular or plural in reported speech. e.g ‘Seven judges expressed a separate opinion, while two dissented from the majority.’ – user3114 Aug 29 '17 at 6:41
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    You're attempting to be concise in the belief that conciseness shows clarity. But being concise and clear is a skill, sometimes you need to explain using more words because otherwise, people are just going to scratch their heads and turn away. It's not their problem. – user3114 Aug 29 '17 at 6:47
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    I think you will receive better response in English Language & Usage – Vylix Aug 29 '17 at 7:30
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    "Am I wrong" (or "Am I right") are signs of a polling question, which is a type of question that does not suit the Stack Exchange model. Please see: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask While we do welcome some subjective content, this seems very much a matter of opinion. Your question "is this really less diplomatic" is not inviting evidence, it's asking what someone thinks. This seems too subjective, even for us. – Catija Sep 1 '17 at 6:13

I think to a point this is useful. I use it with my kids all the time from tiny ages and find it highly effective when applied correctly. My kids might ask on a given day if we can go to the park. Instead of saying no, which is actually the answer, I will reframe it. If I think we can go next weekend I will simply say we have other things going on today or whatever the case maybe, but then tell them when we can go. In that way they are getting yes, but a delayed yes, versus a no. I do it on smaller things too, like asking for a snack, I may tell them they can have one in 20 mins.

The part I had issue with was that you don't generally have to label things as good or bad anyway. I would say it's more diplomatic to avoid that part if you can. If my son wants to take his new tablet to a friend's house who happens to also have 3 younger siblings that are into everything and I think it's not a good idea to take it there, I don't have to say it is a bad idea or tell him it's not a good idea. I can instead ask him if he has thought about the 3 little ones there and how safe it might be to take something that expensive and fragile into that environment. I might even ask him if he can think of some safer way to show his friend his new gadget. You can do the same with adults. What seems most diplomatic is to assert what your actual concern is and then allow them to expand if they already have accounted for that. I think the moment you say it's not a good idea, you may as well say the idea is garbage for how many will take that. It doesn't inherently fool people based on "positive" wording. They will hear that you have already decided you don't like it. If instead, you resort to explaining what your concern is, then you are now hearing them out without assessing any value to their idea, while offering them a chance to back it up.

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