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A justifiation for improving the quality of listserv arguments
- To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: A justifiation for improving the quality of listserv arguments
- From: Glenn Ellingson <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 30 Jun 1996 21:37:41 -0500
I (Glenn Ellingson) wrote:
>>I'm not interested in this sort of namecalling. I would hope that you can
>>find your way past the ad-homs to debate the resolutions on the ballot.
David Klein responded:
>perm: do both
First of all, I grant that this is 3 words with little context. However,
I think the sentiment expressed here is representative of the attitudes
of many: as I paraphrase it, "if you don't like me, delete me, but I'm
going to do whatever I want."
I strongly disagree with this sentiment, as I understand it. From my
perspective, poor argumentation, personal attacks, posts made in anger,
posturing for personal benefit, and many other forms of L-behavior do
have real disadvantages. No, small children probably won't die. But I
don't want to "do both", in Klein's language.
Let me be clear: I'm not against people having some fun, even though I
don't follow basketball :). However, I think that when we are discussing
issues facing the forensic community, we would do well to choose our
arguments carefully and to hold ourselves to the issues at hand. I
believe that we should strive to make our L-discussions examples of good
argumentation. While I freely admit that "good" is a term that lacks a
great deal in precision, I think that there are standards of
argumentation that most if not all of us participating here are familiar
with and would grant some credence to.
Here are my arguments against Klein's perm, and in favor of adding a bit
more professional character to our L-discussions:
1) Our L arguments serve as models for students on how to argue & resolve
disputes. Shouldn't we provide our students with models that we would
like to see them emulate?
2) Our L arguments can and will be read by people who do and will have
impact on the overall health of the community -- Deans and future deans,
people considering entering or leaving CEDA, coaches who are currently
and will later be forced to balance committment to this community with
other professional obligations, and others. We should put our best face
foward in this public forum.
3) People have noted the low student participation on the L. A skill and
a willingness to participate in on-line repartee should not be a barrier
to participation on the L. Especially for people who are already in a
1-down power position. But any student who reads the L for a month and
doesn't think they risk flames if they contribute is brain-dead. We
should welcome students not just by empty promises, but through our
actions -- we can create a much more welcoming environment if we choose
to do so.
4) Less virtiolic L arguments would help our community. I'm just
*ecstatically* looking forward to talking with David Klein, and I'm sure
he & Tuna are sharing a particularly close bonding experience as well
:-). While I think we can all take a lot of this with a grain of salt,
etc., why should we have to? I think it is especially important for us to
maintain a separation between people and their ideas, and to refuse to
attribute motivations to people whose motivations we cannot know
(basically, anyone but ourselves).
5) Everyone who does not have a bandwidth problem, please raise your
hand. Thought so. Time is a limited resource, especially (I'd wager) for
the people on this list. Coaching, researching, publishing, teaching,
taking classes, practice, parties, pleasure reading, friends, family,
golf, mountain-climbing, sleep,.... Reducing the "signal-to-noise" ration
of the L helps everyone to be more productive.
6) More focused and higher quality argumentation should also produce
"better" results. I applaud David Klein's post on the difficulty of
defining "deep eco" and difficulties inherent in the "ecological
narrative". His post should be the beginning of 2 productive discussions.
I think that is most likely to occur if everyone remains civil and
focused on the task at hand.
Nearly everyone who posts on the L had or is having a successful debate
career. As the activity is structured, to have such a career all but
requires one to be a bit thick-skinned; to be skilled in confrontational
communication; to expect challenges to one's ideas and to react strongly
to defend oneself; to be verbally combative; to have a fairly respectable
ego. These qualities are admirable, for the most part. But they shouldn't
be prerequisites for membership and participation in the community, and
they are certainly not an exhaustive list of beneficial qualitites :-).
I want to be clear:I don't mean to place myself "above" anyone else. I
was a debater too, and I've been told my ego might not fit in just any
breadbox. I've done my share of posturing as well, here and elsewhere.
However, I don't think my lack of perfection should stand in the way of
my working to improve. I hope y'all agree.
In addition, I don't mean to malign anyone -- most of our list discussion
is productive, professional, and persuasive. I'm guessing our L would
compare favorably with many others.
Lastly, I am strongly opposed to any form of censorship other than
self-censorship. I don't want a moderated list, and I'm certainly not
trying to shut down any individuals, debate perspectives, etc. I'm
offering suggestions with a justification, not rules to be enforced under
penalty of silencing. Again, just trying to be clear.
>From now on (at least for a while) I'll try and respond to extraneous
arguments via personal email rather than on the L (a good technique in
general for electronic bulletin boards), instead of dumping another long
diatribe like this in everyone's box. But, I wanted to put these ideas
out for consideration.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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