Peter, I do not think it so much that Mr. Wahl posted a view contrary to the list. That could have been done civilly and discussed (perhaps). However, when he says "Dale Brown carped, sanctimoniously" he opened himself up for what he got. He made the discussion one that was not longer about the rule but was ad hominem about the man. So he got what he gave. BTW...No Dale, No List.
Edward Albert Chappaqua, New York, USA
Edward Albert, Ph.D.
Prof. Emeritus, Sociology
>>> Peter Jourdain <firstname.lastname@example.org> 03/18/08 10:34 AM >>> Greetings----
A couple of points here----
Firstly, while I agree with the List policies and always try to abide by the sign-off rules, there is a VAST difference between the amount of information decipherable from somebody who has an uncommon name and lives in a small town such as Whitewater, Wisconsin, than there is from somebody who is named Jack Jones and lives in New York City, so that people from smaller locales are, de facto, providing much more information about themselves than are people from major metropolitan areas, where anonymity reigns. I understand that is perhaps an unavoidable part of the "lay of the land" on the List, and clearly accept that fact, but still insist than not everyone is "exposed" to the same degree in what is, after all, a permanent online archive accessible to the whole wide world.
Secondly, while Charles Wahl might have expressed his thoughts differently, I nevertheless find it disappointing that when someone poses a view contrary to the prevailing List philosophy, so many people, including folks I like and admire, engage in responses that include personal attacks, and innuendo that amounts to the same. Such lopsided assaults turn the List not into a forum for discussion but into something akin to a religious cult where anyone who has the effrontery to express a contrary view is publicly attacked and shunned. I don't think that creating such an "uncivil polity" is the intention or purpose of the List, but I have seen this kind of thing happen a few times this past year.
Yes, one can say, "Well, he brought it on himself," and respond as one may, but when we mete out such severe public punishment it tends to poison the whole welcoming atmosphere of the List. Besides, no matter how large our self-perceived role on the List might be, IT IS NOT UP TO US TO DECIDE WHO BELONGS AND WHO DOES NOT BELONG ON THE LIST. THAT IS A CALL WHICH DALE ALONE IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE. And so to conjure up, by a bombardment of comments, what amounts to a public "loyalty oath," is not our right to do.
Remember that we show our grace and gentlemanliness not when we deal with our close allies, but by the way in which we engage with those with whom we strongly disagree.
I applaud Dale and the great work that he does, and I thank him heartily for this forum.
Peter Jourdain Whitewater, Wisconsin US of A
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