Subject: Re: ADMIN: FYI
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2000 19:28:18 -0800 (PST)

"Tom Murrell" wrote ...

> Maybe, maybe not. I won't judge whether David does a good job for his
> clients or not. But I think that if someone is consistently uncivil in
> posts directed at their professional peers, it is reasonable to wonder
> how civil that person...or company...will be toward my client. If I
> thought hiring a particular writer that I felt might be a good would
> imperil my good relationship with a client, I could very well
> understand not hiring that writer in favor of an inferior writer who
> would get along with my client. Relatively speaking, writers are a dime
> a dozen; clients are important.

I agree. If I thought an employee or potential employee posed a threat to a
client I too would not want them working at my firm as well. I have fired a
fair number of recruiters, programmers, and writers for inappropriate behavior
in front of a client. However, until you're actually confronted with that
situation it is *real easy* to make shallow platitudes about how Writer A is
less civil than Writer B.

And that is where I trip on this concept. The notion of "civil". I have found
that no matter what you write in a public forum, there are ALWAYS people who
consistently cannot discern the difference between opposing opinion and
"uncivil". It is unfortunate that people cannot grasp the notion that not
everybody agrees or expresses themselves in a way that is 100% acceptable 100%
of the time.

> You know what. Some writers evaluate potential employers based on how
> they express themselves in internet messages, too. There are some
> employers who post on this list that I might consider working for.
> There are others I would definitely NOT work for if they had the only
> job open. (I suspect the feeling is mutual, but I could be wrong.)

I don't feel this way. There are days I want to drop an A-bomb on some list
members for their arguments against me or my ideas. But some of those same
people are fantastic writers whom I would jump at a chance to work with. The
fact is, I don't need to agree with somebody to respect their skills and

My point - given all the factors that surround choosing companies or employees,
resorting to one flimsy source (like Internet postings) seems extreme. Yes, if
somebody is a permanent prick in public, it probably isn't a swell idea to hire
them. But, that hasn't stopped me. :-)

> It seems to me that there are two issues here. One is whether or not
> one should be civil in one's emails on this, or any, list. Obviously,
> each writer evaluates the importance of civility differently. I thought
> Eric's plea to consider being more civil to each other was a reasonable
> one. I find it interesting that those who favor incivility cite both
> their right to freedom of expression while at the same time decrying
> the notion that someone else would hold it against them for being
> uncivil.

"Favor incivility?" I don't think anybody here, especially myself, is
demanding we condone uncivilly. One of my points earlier was that "civility"
is a very subjective concept. Your version of civility does not likely match
everybody else's.

With any public forum where people disagree, there is always the "turf" issue.
People see their turf as "proper, respectful, correct, and enlightened" while
the opposing turf is inherently "improper, disrespectful, incorrect, and
ignorant." Therefore, no matter how nice, sweet, and honest one side is,
people view the opposition as inhuman scum who don't know how, as Judge Smells
might say, "to abide by the rules of decent society." (Caddyshack, 1979). You
can't get around this problem. It is wired into our brains to mistrust and
loathe the opposition and use whatever means we have to discredit their ideas.

This is why we have people like Katherine Harris (Secretary of State of
Florida, Bush Co-Campaign Chair)telling us why she can't count votes. She is
indoctrinated to think the opposition is fundamentally flawed, wrong, and needs
to be stopped.

Hence, my point (and that of others is) respect goes all directions. Just
because you don't like what somebody says something does not grant you the
unchecked right to silence that idea under a banner of "civility".

Andrew Plato

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