[OPE-L:3434] etiquette

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 15:25:06 -0700 (PDT)

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Here I answer Alan's comments in [OPE-L:3431] re Nettiquette and

> "I am going to have to put on my moderator hat: Your
> response to Paul C was way out-of-line."
> I don't think Jerry really was wearing his moderator hat or
> he would have said this when Andrew actually did respond to
> Paul

When listmembers engage in flaming, I ordinarily prefer not to say
anything in the hope that the individual(s) responsible will simmer down
by themselves. I *did* consider responding as moderator to Andrew's post
to Paul, but decided against it for just that reason. When it happened
again, I felt I had to act before the situation got further out-of-hand.

[BTW, I explained all of this and much more to Andrew in a off-list
message on Saturday. Why don't you ask him what his response to me was?].

> My take is that he, Jerry, was offended by Andrew's
> polemical style, which as a listmember he is perfectly
> entitled to say. As a fellow listmember I'd like to discover
> why he was offended. I hope this doesn't turn out too much
> like probing a sore tooth.

That's *part* of it, but I have other concerns as well. What *really*
concerns me is the drop in participation after each outburst. There is
much more that I could say here, but I prefer not to discuss personalities

> I haven't found this debate very productive. I suspect two
> discussions are treading on each other's toes. I feel we
> need a constructive disengagement so that each discussion
> can be held in its own separate space.

Each listmember is free to participate in any thread s/he wishes to. In
general, I prefer that there are several threads happening at once since
that increases the liklihood of participation.

> We're having an intense debate about the critique of Okishio
> with wide and focussed participation.

The participation on that thread is not very "wide", IMHO. Although I
believe it to have been a useful and important thread, it is a *fact* that
less people are participating now than before. The reasons are to be found
on the Okishio thread, not the accumulation thread, IMO.

> This stated, I suspect there is a deeper problem concerning
> the 'relative autonomy' of debates based on differing
> assumptions. Existence is not enough. OPE needs space for
> discussions which *do* adopt simplifying assumptions that
> vary from discussion to discussion and I think it dangerous
> to introduce any principle which might inadvertently limit
> this.

By all means, make any simplifying assumptions that you desire. However,
you should not expect listmembers who object to the relevance and
appropriateness of particular assumptions to remain silent.

> But there is a clear discussion going on between people who
> don't share Jerry's objections. They seem to have reached a
> tentative agreement to discuss on the basis of a number of
> assumptions which include some he objects to.

No one has stopped that discussion from proceeding.

> But it seems to me
> once a discussion is under way on the basis of some general
> limiting assumptions, we should be prudent about disrupting
> this general agreement.

What "general agreement"? There was agreement by some of the major
participants in that thread -- this does not imply general agreement.

> OK those are my concerns: how can we ensure Jerry's concerns
> are met? For me the first step is to establish what they are.
> I can only try and state how I perceive them.

As moderator, I am biting my tongue at this point. I don't want to get
into a discussion on-list of the personalities involved, so I would
suggest instead that you (or anyone else) contact me off-list and I will
be more than willing to tell you my concerns.

> Some brusque
> responses to this idea are only to be expected, especially
> if it comes from the list moderator.

I am both a participant and a moderator. I believe that I have as much
right to participate as anyone else and I also believe that I have
demonstrated -- over and over again -- great toleration.

> Jerry comes across as objecting to this *discussion*. Some
> discussions have to be stopped, but I don't think this is
> one of them.

Neither do I -- and I have *not* objected to the Okishio discussion.

> Please Mister moderator, can we have our discussion back?

No one took it away from you, Alan.

Final thoughts:

(a) In the period dating back to August of last year, no one has objected
to my actions as moderator until Saturday.

(b) Towards the end of last year, Alan told me that his main concern was
that there would be space on OPE-L to develop discussions related to
TSS that he was interested in. *No one* can claim that there has not been
space for our TSS comrades to develop and explain their perspectives

(c) As moderator, I will continue to attempt to diffuse tensions among
listmembers. We should be proud of the fact that flames on OPE-L have been
few and far between and in almost every case the person(s) responsible
apologized to the list shortly thereafter.

(d) If there are any others who believe in Alan's accessment re
moderation, then I would appreciate it if they say so on-list. Others who
disagree with that accessment are also encouraged to state their

In Solidarity,