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I very much like Eric's frequent reminder that this group is
much like a conference where we have a forum to present and
discuss ideas, but I think we should remember that most of
the best work at conferences takes place between
presentations, where ideas (even very dumb ideas) are freely
When we begin "peer reviewing" ideas before allowing the
community to see them, we focus the topics into areas with
which we are comfortable, and we purge the "alien." One
need only read any traditional, "peer reviewed" journal to
see that truly new ideas are seldom encouraged.
I belong to lists ranging from the study of rhetoric to the
study of teaching technical writing. Only this one is
really active and alive; the rest are "scholarly." Nobody
says anything unless it is "important," so nobody says
anything. Usually, such scholarly lists simply dry up and
die. I would hate to see something like that happen to this
My motto, "cogito ergo falsus sum," means "I think, therefor
I am wrong." I say it often to remind myself that my
opinions are always suspect; I am unqualified to judge the
ideas and opinions of others. If I am unqualified, as far
as I am concerned, so is anybody else. (That statement is
made with the full knowledge that I am unqualified to make
This is the noisiest group I have seen so far, but it is
also the most robust and alive. I have a delete key and am
prepared to use it if I get tired of a thread. Given
potential alternatives, doesn't that seem the most
reasonable method of censorship?
David E. Hailey, Jr.
Utah State University
fahailey -at- wpo -dot- hass -dot- usu -dot- edu
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