Hello list members,

First and foremost i would like to say that I hope Tim (and others) will
stay involved in the list.

I have been following this thread and, like others, felt it was necessary
to throw in my two cents. Much of what i think and feel has been eloquently
stated by Angelos, but i would like to add to his reply.

Intimidation is a major issue when it comes to contributing to running
conversations. I am surprised to hear not just students but senior
academics express that they find it difficult to interact. This obviously
implies that the culture is less inclusive and more (in the words of a
fellow colleague) 'exclusive to a few grumpy old men'. I dont suppose this
reputation is what subscribers were intending to create. Through the view
that people are inherently good-natured, I published comments and questions
thinking that  the chest keyboard-beating was only between individuals who
had long term relationships in person or on the list. Despite stating quite
directly that i was a new student and had not the knowledge of the senior
academics on the list, i still received a few replies that were hostile and
unnecessarily challenging. Fortunately, I do not take things personally
over the internet, and found the majority understanding and merciful over
my ignorance without being condescending. Whether intentional or not, the
few that prey on the intellectually 'weak' (for use of a better term) are
enough to scare and exclude new members from participating in the list.

I understand that if you have devoted a lifetime to a particular topic or
subject, you may become defensive when met with conflicting arguments. I
like to see the passion in discussions between senior members. But having
more knowledge and experience doesn't give you a license to be
disrespectful towards each other. It disappoints me to see incredibly smart
and wise academics commit the intellectual equivalent of schoolyard
name-calling. This is fundamentally where the list goes wrong.

The medium erodes some of the humanity and empathy that is found when
talking face to face. It also increases sensitivity and runs the risk of
recipients taking things out of context or the wrong way. In my eyes,
heated discussions are not the issue- i do enjoy following threads between
seniors and i suspect most members do too. There is always something to
learn through reading the well crafted, articulate and meticulously
referenced debates. My suggestion is that list members keep in mind that
there is a person on the other side of the 'send' button, and to rekindle
the understanding, sensibility and respect that one would usually portray
in person.

We are all human (even Terry)


*Stefanie Di Russo*

PhD Student
Faculty of Design
Swinburne University
*twitter:* @stefdirusso <!/stefdirusso>
*linkedin: public

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