I am truly horrified. The reason I challenged Terry on some of the issues he raised the other day is that early that same day, I received a letter from a distinguished member of this list asking me whether he should bother to continue reading. After Terry wrote his  as I saw it  rude reply about "doing a Ken," I withdrew from the public conversation. I did write to him privately to address these issues, and I mentioned to him that I had had three letters from serious subscribers whose writing I value stating that they might withdraw.

From other sources, I understand there has been a lot of similar off-list conversation. I'm not going to go here into the critique I offered Terry  I withdrew from the thread and that was that.

Now I have read Tim's note and I've had yet another letter from a serious and respected colleagues whose occasional comments to this list are among those I most respect.

I am deeply concerned. If the people I want most to read withdraw from the PhD-Design list, I'll have little reason to remain engaged.

I've always believed that the list benefits from being open to any topic of any member, with the opportunity for people to debate issues in full. This depends on a general kind of responsibility and a bit of sensitivity to whether an issue is appropriate.

Even though some of you may be thinking about leaving the list, I am asking you not to withdraw. Rather, may I ask that you express your concerns  if this requires criticism, please post it: I ask that you be direct, honest, and respectful in doing so.

Warm wishes,


Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | University Distinguished Professor | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia | [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> | Mobile +61 404 830 462 | Home Page<>  Academia Page About Me Page

Guest Professor | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University | Shanghai, China

Tim Smithers wrote:

What kind of discussion list is this?

It's recently been asserted here that ...

"We have a big, pretty messy literature about design
 activities that is pretty much broad brush and guesswork"

The "we" here, I take it, means us; more than 2000 design
research interested people we can, I think, reasonably

However, if this really is a design research discussion list,
assertions like this one would not be posted here.  It's an
assertion made without any pointers to the literature referred
to, and made with no kind of support or justification or
argumentation for how this "big" literature can fairly be
described as mostly "broad brush" and "guesswork."

This kind of assertion has no place in a constructive
discussion of designing and design research, and it is mildly
insulting to those authors who have contributed to the
literature on design activities.

This kind of assertion, and others like it, are Ego Trip
posts.  Is this what PhD-Design list is here for?

I don't think so, but, as many of you know, it takes a great
deal of time and effort to respond in a constructive way to
this kind of post.

Regrettably, very much so, I'm not in a situation in which I
can dedicate this kind of time and effort to this, and I don't
think I'm alone in this.

However, nor can I easily just watch this kind of thing go by,
leaving it's mark on the list, suggesting that this kind of
post is a good example of good design research discussion.

So, this will be my last PhD-Design post, and I won't be here
to see what follows.  I've decided to drop off the list, in
frustration, not in protest.

Best regards,


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