Meta Issues

From: Richard Develyn (
Date: Fri 22 May 1998 - 18:08:07 EEST

Peter wrote:

>In which I used your first name in the post, ie not the
>behaviour I was complaining about.

>>It wasn't the first time people have addressed
>>each other just by their surnames, in _that_ way IYSWIM, but it was
>>certainly the first time I saw it happen at subject-line level.

>If it wasn't the first time it happened or only was the first time
>you've seen it happen on the subjectline, then how do you know I
>started the rot?

I think post subject-lines are higher profile than post bodies. When you
used my surname on the subject line of a post you made it more
acceptable to other people to use surname-only-addressing on subject
bodies. This is IMO, of course. I reckon people thought to themselves
"If it's all right to say Develyn's this or Develyn's that in a subject
line, then it's obviously all right to say Metcalfe's this or Metcalfe's
that on a post body." I think this is a shame. I'd far rather we all
went back to calling each other by first names, 'cos it's friendlier.

On past post:

>Mainly because patronizing people about how to prove theories based
>on a paragraph cribbed from Hawking's was not what I considered to
>be polite behaviour. Moreover posting at full speed while not even
>recognizing that the existance of some people were explaining why you
>were wrong was also inflammatory behaviour.

Let's try to patch this up.

If you feel I was either patronising you or ignoring you - I'm sorry. I
wasn't. I accept my part in the mis-communication. However:

I do feel some people here are too quick to infer individual poster's
feelings and motivations from their writings.

You may like me even less, were you to meet me face to face, but for now
please accept that all you know of me is an expression of my personality
through a very clumsy interface.

I have realised, through my experiences on the Internet, that any
paragraph I write can be read back in a dozen different ways. It's led
to my being verbose, as I desperately try to plug every possible gap of
misunderstanding. To someone who understood it the first time, all that
gap plugging seems patronising, and I think that's what you reacted
against. But I wasn't just writing to you - there's over 500 people here
- - and some of them liked the way I was explaining myself.

I feel that the easiest thing for us all to do would be to cut each
other lots of slack and so keep the discussions from getting personal. I
wish more people posted crazy theories up on the digest. Anyone who
wants to be creative is going to start off pretty mad at first, but
they'll get there in the end (with encouragement).

The more creative input we have the better it will be for all of us.


Richard Develyn (


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