Re: ADMIN: Civility and content

Subject: Re: ADMIN: Civility and content
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 16:37:34 -0700 (PDT)

"Michael West" wrote

> I really haven't seen "ad hominem" attacks here. What I
> have seen is a tendency to deliberately misrepresent
> another's opinion. For example, if A says "Technical
> knowledge doesn't ensure effective communication",
> and B says "What I'm hearing is 'ignorance is an asset',"
> then what has happened is that A's comment has been
> deliberately misrepresented and then attacked in its
> misrepresented form by B.

Nowhere in TECHWR-L rules does it say that "misrepresenting another's opinion"
(a.k.a. "paraphrasing") is inappropriate.

Communication is not an exact science. Persuasion and bias are an integral part
of all communication. As has been said many times here, if you feel somebody
has misunderstood your ideas or paraphrased you incorrectly, then by all means
post a clarification. Explain yourself. Do what a professional communicator
does - communicate.

When you write a document where you describe something incorrectly an editor or
SME corrects the mistake. The editor doesn't call your boss and have you fired
for misrepresenting what the SME told you. The editor works with you to help
you understand the issue and get things explained properly. Likewise, when
somebody paraphrases you incorrectly, consider those words. If you feel they
aren't a good representation of your ideas, then post a clarification. Don't
get personal or nasty, just clarify.

We're all capable of being emotional and defensive. Its natural. My contention
is that with unlimited postings right now, there is too much instantaneous
feedback. There are too many emotional reactions on the list. Limiting posts
would not necessarily stop these outbursts, but it would decrease their

Furthermore, as others have suggested, make liberal use of your delete key and
associated filter rules. If you don't like the opinions of a particular person,
then delete every message sight unseen.

All things being equal, I suspect the mere discussion of this issue has made
some people take pause and reassess their posts.

As for me, I am limiting my posts to just a few here and there with the
eventual goal of fading off TECHWR_L entirely. While TECHWR-L may not have
outlived its usefulness, my presence here has.

Andrew Plato

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