[OPE] some suggestions

From: GERALD LEVY <gerald_a_levy@msn.com>
Date: Sun Dec 07 2008 - 19:42:02 EST

In this message, I will be wearing my 'coordinator' hat rather than my
'discussant' hat.
I have already addressed a off-list message to Michael W, but
I think a few points should be made to the list.
The following are _suggestions_:
1. It is to be expected that on contemporary political issues -
especially those where people are struggling and dying - that
there will occasionally be some impassioned messages. It always,
though, is important to make an effort to communicate with each
other _respectfully_, to really _listen_ to what other members are
saying, and to _remember_ that when you send a message _everyone_
(except for a handful whose setting is No Mail) will receive a copy
and (most) are reading carefully what you write. It's very easy to
forget that last point since you don't necessarily have first-hand
knowledge about how many subscribers at any given time are
reading posts.
2. No one is so naive on this list to think that all of our theoretical
and political perspectives will disappear as a result of being on
a discussion list, but even where we disagree we can still _learn_
from each other. Even if our perspectives don't change radically,
discussion can allow us to sharpen and clarify our own perspectives
by holding them up to the scrutiny of others. And, it can allow
us to understand more where others are 'coming from'. And, of
course, there is much _information_ that is passed on to us by others
_sharing_ information with us. Surely, that's beneficial for all of us.
I know I've benefited (in non-financial and non-material) ways from being
on the list and I think that's the feeling of others as well: this explains why
we have historically had such a phenomenally low 'turnover rate'.
3. If you are angry, try not to reply right away. Relax. Consider replying
at a later time - for example, the next day. I _know_ this is hard advice to
4. Try to remember that not everyone has the same ability to communicate
their thoughts in English. Recall that the native language of most members is
_not_ English and individuals have a greater or lesser ability to
communicate in English. If in doubt about what the person is trying to say,
try to give her/him the benefit of the doubt and _ask_ in a non-accusatory way
for clarification rather than jumping to any quick conclusions. It's not just a
matter of language either - members come from different cultures and intellectual
traditions and that sometimes can result in misunderstandings.
5. Try to recall that once you join the list we are all 'comrades' (= equals).
There are no benefits that come with seniority - we all have the same rights
and responsibilities. Since we are equals, then, we should talk to each other
and treat each other _as equals_.
6. OPE-L is a "work in progress". We invented ourselves and continually
re-invent ourselves. We can *always* improve! The new Administrative
Committee (I'm sure) and I would welcome suggestions from anyone on the
list about how our discussions can be improved. This is *your* list. If
you think it can be improved, _we want to hear your ideas_. Very soon
the new AC will be formed (3 people have accepted so far, 1 declined, and
we haven't heard yet from 2 others) and can consider your suggestions.
It's worthwhile to recall that the "wisdom of crowds" direct democracy
experiment is really based on the presumption that *we collectively have wisdom*
and can sort out and decide on whatever needs to be sorted out and decided
In solidarity, Jerry

ope mailing list
Received on Sun Dec 7 19:44:54 2008

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