Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Forum Format

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 18 Feb 2008

I wasn't to add anything further to this "discussion," but since Mark mentioned me by name and referenced my own contribution to the thread as an example of being "anything but friendly or appreciative" to him, I feel compelled to respond.

So here goes.


I have a few suggestions for you:

1. If you're going to insist that it's a great idea to do X, Y, or Z to this group, and then further concede any of these suggestions will entail significant amounts of work which you then make a point of saying you yourself are not interested in doing, don't be too surprised at the tepid response you'll receive.

2. If you insist on going forward with number 1, and someone makes a joke about something being "Orwellian," might I recommend you not automatically assume malice on the part of the person making the comment, so much as amusement at the thought of someone like our own resident acquired taste, Mr. Doherty being able not only to re-state their original case ad nauseum, but to also edit it in order to realign it with their updated stance on said topic ad infinitum (I know Doherty has a sense of humor, but let me be clear here, this is merely an illustration. I have no doubt that *I* would be far more tempted to go back and repeatedly edit my own posts for intellectual "purity" than Jim Doherty would, hence my reluctance to entertain that sort of temptation, and my further amusement at the prospect of having that opportunity available to me).

3. At the risk of coming off as "defensive" (I can assure you, I'm not), let me hasten to point out that I didn't make personal statements about you, I didn't make fun of the way you dress, or your punctuation. Come to think of it, aside from pointing out the fact that you had promised to stop proseletyzing, and then further posted something along the lines of four additional ancillary postings to the same thread (you know, holding your words up next to your actions and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions) I barely referenced you at all. In fact, I took issue directly with what you've claimed you wanted addressed in this discussion: your idea.

How is that being "unfriendly," or "unappreciative" toward you personally? Would you have reacted differently had I included LOLs or smiley faces?

The questions above are largely rhetorical, because the last thing we need here is further dialogue on this already shop-worn topic. With that in mind, I'm going to promise to get off of the soapbox, and stay off (for this topic, at least), because Charles Ardai was absolutely correct in his analysis of this tempest in a teapot, and rather than give a poor recitation of what he's already masterfully express, I'll just add a "Yeah, what Charles Ardai said."

I hope you'll take comfort in the assurance that taking issue with your proposal had nothing to do with taking issue with you personally.

All the Best-


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Mark R. Harris
  Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 12:29 PM
  Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Forum Format


  Thanks for your comments. If the group is not collectively interested in
  making a change, they aren't -- I can accept that. I have real frustrations
  with the current set-up myself, but maybe I'm an isolated case.

  That said, I think many of the responses were anything but friendly or
  appreciative to me, and I will remember that. I don't mind the idea itself
  being rejected or argued down, but responses like Brian Thornton's will make
  me think long and hard about posting in the group again. You've been through
  a similar period of reaction yourself, as I recall, so I imagine you might
  be able to relate to this.


  On 2/18/08, JIM DOHERTY <> wrote:
> Mark,
> Re your comment below:
> "I'm not disputing the success or value of the group
> -- clearly not, or why would I bother making an
> intended-to-be-productive suggestion? It wasn't
> intended to provoke the defensiveness that it seems to
> have."
> I'm sorry if anything I said sounded defensive. If
> the format changes, I'll go along with it. And,
> whether most members agreed with you or not, I'm sure
> they appreciated that your suggestions were meant, not
> as a criticism of the group, but as a way of improving
> the group.
> That said, the reason I don't get a sense that people
> are dissatisfied with keeping the status more or less
> quo is because all the responses your suggestion
> generated were unenthusiastic, and it's reasonable to
> presume that anyone who failed to offer an opinion
> either generally likes the current system, or at least
> doesn't dislike it enough to regard a major change as
> being warranted.
> __________________________________________________________
> Be a better friend, newshound, and
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  Mark R. Harris
  2122 W. Russet Court #8
  Appleton WI 54914
  (920) 470-9855

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