Spirited Debate on LO LO6743

Gordon Housworth (ghidra@mail.msen.com)
Wed, 17 Apr 1996 10:55:24 -0400

Replying to LO6641 --

At 14:39 12/04/1996 EDT, you wrote:
>I, for one, agree with this statement. I have been considering leaving
>this list because 1) more message volume than I can process and 2) it is
>too boringly "gentlemanly." I _don't_ mean too polite, we can still be
>polite. But the lack of genuine, "spirited," conflict seems be causing
>a lot of text to be generated, but not too much in the way of really useful
>new ideas. There is not much creative dialectic at work here.

Anglo-Saxon law is moving towards the poster being presumed a publisher
with all the privileges and responsibilities thereof. In other
jurisdictions the poster may be presumed guilty of sedition, full stop,
and one to be placed on immigration watch lists. (Journalists and
reporters who used to venture to RSA must remember how much fun it was to
answer why they were intent on entering RSA and what was their
journalistic slant on things.) So we must first be beware of exporting our
assumptions of the impact of one's posts based upon, say, US/UK law.

Personally, I try, but do not always succeed, to post that which I would
say to the party or subject in person. Perhaps it comes from many years
of sending telex messages to offshore distributors who were behind
barriers of distance, time zones, culture and customs officers. Diplomacy
became an ingrained means of discussing any subject -- and the more
contentious the subject the greater the diplomacy required. My experience
is that many slang, flippant remarks of US/UK/Australian/NZ voices carry
an impression to other cultures which are considered slights, possibly
insults. This produces an unintended impact that authors should keep in

If we are going to enjoy this global playground, let us either be aware of
the impact of our words (beyond the matter of raw content) or we will
suffer the consequences. It is time consuming, I admit, but one can learn
to speak in code, so to speak, that everyone understands but one cannot be
pilloried for its quotation. (It happens all the time with senior
executives in US business circles who need to pass along critical opinions
about other members of their industry but do not wish to be overheard and

Forgive me if I am bringing information already known to listserv
membership, but the anonymity, or relative isolation, of one's posts has
been virtually upended by new search engines such as Alta Vista and
DejaNews. These engines may finally drive home to Net participants that
they have become publishers in every sense of the word (and may slowly
bring about a new level of civility and reduced flaming as the unruly will
come to know that their hasty posts now long outlive the moment of
indiscretion in which they were posted.)

Individuals as well as corporations are now capable of sweeping the Net
for what you write in virtually any venue. I am not alone in already
using these tools to see how potential candidates deport themselves
on-line, how they engage discussion, how their reasoning unfolds, how they
deal with new data, how they handle disagreements, indeed, if they are
even active in the critical listersvs of their discipline. You can bet
that these public records are going to be mined by future employers so I
would vote for the thoughtful approach over the blunt.

I support thoughtful and respectful, but by no means timid, forms of
exchange. The moral here is to be mindful of where, and what, you post as
all listservs are open, unclass sites which the police and military intel
types have been sweeping for ages -- now your potential employer or nosy
colleague can sweep all that you post to the Net. (And BTW, some
listservs "cross-post" to other listservs of which you might not be aware
of, but it will appear to the Alta Vista sweep, or the unskilled person
pulling the sweep, that you made all the posts. Some are calling the Alta
Vista engine an invasion of privacy, but they forget that the listservs
are public domain information.)

[Host's Note: Yes, LO posts appear on the LO web pages which are indexed
by Lycos and AltaVista. Should any author decide later they don't want
their msg to "stick around" on the web pages, please just let me know by
LO### and I'll remove it. ...Rick]

Best regards, Gordon Housworth
Intellectual Capital Group
Tel: 810-626-1310


Gordon Housworth <ghidra@mail.msen.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>