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SCUBA-L  March 2000, Week 1

SCUBA-L March 2000, Week 1

Subject:

Archives and the Open Forum

From:

"Robert F. Ling" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 7 Mar 2000 12:04:12 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (165 lines)

This post is prompted by Jan's post on the Scuba-L archives on
her discovery of this web-based archive:

>http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/scuba-l.html

I posted my appreciation and well-deserved praise of her discovery.

Speaking of archives, I take this opportunity to post an excerpt
from the DEEP archives that few have seen, save Nick and Hugh
not only because of their longevity in Scuba-L (I started to say
"seniority" but was afraid the typo-devil in my keyboard might
change it to "senility" in transmission  :-)), but they were
some of the participants in the flamewars that PROMPTED my post
at the conclusion of one MAJOR flamewar among several discussants,
sort of a modern-day tag-wrestling match.  <BG>

Readers can see the relevance of an ARCHIVE of posts and its
relevance to some of the "guidelines" I have suggested and
discussed in recent posts.

One of the items in that post IS my OWN Guideline and Reminder
EVERY TIME I post.  That is, if I make a fool of myself by
posting foolishness, it'll be in the ARCHIVES for everyone to
see, months and years later!

Below is the vintage post that is certainly applicable TODAY:

>Date:    Thu, 02 Apr 92 10:39 EST
>To:      [log in to unmask]
>From:    Reef Fish (Large Nassau Grouper)     <RFLNG>
>Subject: Open forum: A Matter of Style
>
>An uncensored forum for discussion, at its best, guarantees its
>participants the right to free-speech, and expression and exchange
>of ideas, facts, and and opinions.
>
>One obvious problem of such a forum is that it's subject to abuse by
>some of its participants.  A different form of censorship often
>emerges in this form:  X expresses a view contrary to that of Y.  Y
>is so opposed to the view that s/he attacks X personally for having
>expressed it.

See recent clarifications of this "attack the message" vs "attack
the person" discussion in my reply to Luke on his proposed
guideline item (4).  (See the Scuba-L archives!  :-)))

>The most recent issue (Jan./Feb. 1992) of the Journal of the Triple
>Nine Society (no relation to the Devil's symbol of triple-six  8-) )
>addressed the censorship issue and offered a contrast of some styles
>that readers of SCUBA-L may find pertinent, if not interesting.
>
>In view of the exclusive nature of the TNS (membership about twice
>the size of the number of subscribers to SCUBA-L, world-wide; but
>open only to those with IQ above the 99.9 percentile of general
>population, hence "triple-nine") in a Statement of Editorial Policy,
>the new editor of the Journal promised to publish "everything
>submitted", unedited and uncensored.  (De facto, the SCUBA-L
>policy).  Editor's reason:  "If a writer, who is a paying member of
>this high-IQ society, wants to make a fool out of himself in public
                       ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>view of the entire membership, let it be on his head."
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

>Unlike SCUBA-L, the TNS members do discuss heavy-duty, esoteric,
>controversial issues in all those areas in which you expect to
>find them: religion, society, ..., and even such ideas as favoring
>eugenics over Medicaid.  You get the idea.  Can you imagine what
>"discussions" may be like in that forum?  :-)  :-)  :-(  :-(
>
>Now, look at some STYLES of discussion (in Letters to the Editor) in
>that issue of JTNS and draw your own conclusion, independent of
>mine.  These are actual excerpts:
        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
>SAMPLE 1:
>
>     Your "Editorial and Policy Statement" in ... demonstrates a
>     philosophical naivete that is regretable.  The abuse of the
>     English language ... compounds the embarrassment which all
>     thoughtful readers must feel.  ... I would urge you to ...
>     consider enrolling in a few remedial English courses.  In
>     regard to the substance of your Statement, I am not a private
>     tutor and would advise you to seek instruction elsewhere ...
>
>The writer disliked a published article in the Journal, and favored
>censorship.  An example of a "noisy discussion", not unfamiliar to
>readers of some recent postings in SCUBA-L.
>
>SAMPLE 2:
>
>(a)  (re: Policy Statement) ... My father talked a bit like that,
>     save more graphic.  "If some damn fool wansa make an ass out
>     of 'imself, then let 'im".

That has been my PERSONAL Guideline, not only about my own posting,
but those of others.  Let 'im hang himself in public!  :-)  The
ARCHIVES serves as a deterrent (see rec.scuba example I posted)
if not for "accurate attribution and recollection of posted FACTS).

>(b)  (re: an opposing view) ... With all that said, I am deeply
>     distraught, disturbed, and distressed.   XXXX's reply to my
>     letter was much more exacting and precise than his original
>     letter and, while I do not agree with some of the concepts, I
>     cannot disagree with the presentation.  ...  But having already
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Note that this presumes a valid "presentation" of facts, "opinion"
based on "facts" and accurate attribution in a discussion, or
simply opinions that are not subject to any of the above.  That
is a TALL ORDER.

>     stated and published my disagreements, it would be wasteful to
>     repeat them.   XXXX, defining his statements as "personal",
>     inspires no urgent impulse to leap bodily upon him and beat
>     my truth into his head.
>
>SAMPLE 2(b) is a good way to discontinue any unresolved controversy.
>If a discussant has nothing new to say in substance, then it's time
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>for him/her to shut up, without being told by others.  Repetition
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>(with or without flame) is not an efficacious means to beat any
>truth into anybody's head.

The underscored part about "nothing new to say" (except for
ARGUMENT sake) is one of the most common occurrences on lists
and newsgroups.  A CLASSIC example is the most recent thread
in rec.scuba on "what is an average"!  Read my exchange with
one Law Professor Vince Brannigan on his misuse of the "mean
or average" -- an ERROR which is obvious to everyone (and
Kuty even came on board with a simple numerical example to
make my point -- to no avail to Prof. Brannigan).  He argued
and argued, and argued.  ... Hugh finally pop in to tell him,
rather succinctly and obvious to any reader, but not in these
words, "shut up."   (See my 1992 comment on SAMPLE 2(b)).

The Brannigan on "average" thread can be found in the past
few days from http://www.deja.com/home_ps.shtml

Prolonged ARGUING (usually by repetitive impertinence by ONE
of the discussants -- as in the Vince Brannigan case) is one
of the most common causes (other than what the armies use in
battles from TANKS (not the scuba type)) of flame wars.  :-)

>
>The writer strongly disliked two of the published articles, but
>addressed issues raised rationally and intellectually, adhering
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>strictly to the facts and issues presented.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
>What's all the above got to do with SCUBA-L discussions?
>
>May I suggest a few ideas from personal observations and lessons
>learned:

Rest of post snipped.  They were basically Suggestions and
Guidelines on how to discuss responsibly, not any different in
substance or spirit that those put forth in recent discussions.

This, and the posting in 1992 in question are MY investments
for a better Future in Scuba-L.

-- Bob.

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