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PHD-DESIGN  July 2018

PHD-DESIGN July 2018

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Subject:

Re: On Human-centered design

From:

Gunnar Swanson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 23 Jul 2018 15:41:05 -0400

Content-Type:

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Ken said:
> Even after two decades, it is difficult to find an appropriate tone on this list. You saw your comments on Francois Nsenga’s decision to post about Don Norman’s article as moderate. I feel that your comments took a moderate tone, but I disagreed with the substance. Unlike me, many people took your response to Francois and your comments on Don’s article as harsh. Using the phrase “Emperor’s New Clothes” didn’t bother me that much — a debate is a debate. Many people saw this as harsh.


I’ll echo Ken’s anxiety over proper tone. It’s very difficult to know how a blind message to thousands of people will be received. I try to weigh my tone on this list based on both what and who I am responding to. For instance, I was borderline nasty with Don in the discussion about memes because I thought he was both acting as an authority and was (IMHO) wrong, Also, he is Don. I know him to be sturdy and not a guy who gets bullied. He also knows me and knows that I both admire and like him. On the other hand, I don’t know Fernando and did not think he was claiming illegitimate authority. I hope it was clear that I was being snotty about Susan Blackmore and not about Fernando. (Fernando—If that wasn’t clear to you, let me know and I’ll try to be more careful in the future. I hope to hear your voice in the future.)

But I know that many people probably think I am being a bully when I think I am being to-the-point. 

Nigel said:
> Dear Ken,
> 
> I now understand better why many people are apparently intimidated or nervous about posting contributions to this list. They are concerned about the bullying response they may get, like the response you gave to my moderate comments about what might be appropriate topics on the list. You will not see it as bullying, but to me, and I suspect others, it is an example of what is called "jumping down someone's throat" - i.e. someone tries to say something and the bully responds very rapidly, loudly, forcibly and at length, but essentially just saying "Shut up!". It happens often on this list.

I didn’t think Ken had been bullying nor did I think he told Nigel to shut up. Nigel saw his post to Don, etc. as "moderate." I didn’t see the subject matter as immoderate but I thought the tone was hectoring, dismissive, and, frankly, fairly obnoxious. I didn’t respond about that because, I didn’t think Don needed my help.

I didn’t respond to Nigel’s post on substance because I don’t think it matters: No matter why the list was established, the nature of the conversation will be defined by the people conversing. Nigel may or may not be right but it seems unlikely to me that his position will prevail.


I’m always somewhat confused by statements that people are hesitant to post for fear of being bullied. When I was first on this list (about the time this year’s new undergraduates were busy being born), I assumed there was a community that was largely in agreement. It didn’t take me long to figure out just how wrong I was about that. No matter what you post on this list, there will be people who agree with you and people who disagree with you. If one of the latter speaks up (even if in a rude tone), who cares? If you have not been insulted on the internet, you have not been alive in the last couple of decades. It may not always feel like it but the odds are that one of the former group will speak up, too.


Gunnar

Gunnar Swanson
East Carolina University 
graphic design program

http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cfac/soad/graphic/index.cfm
[log in to unmask]

Gunnar Swanson Design Office
1901 East 6th Street
Greenville NC 27858
USA

http://www.gunnarswanson.com
[log in to unmask]
+1 252 258-7006


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