Posted By: jmh Rules of engagement - 05/19/00 08:38 AM
I have noticed a few ruffled feathers and wondered if anyone would like to discuss a few rules of engagement now that we are coming of age as a group.

Here are a few ideas.
(i) Everybody has the right to ask a question, no matter how obvious the answer maybe to anyone else.
(ii) It isn't necessary to pick up on people's grammatical, spelling or typing errors unless it is done in order to help re-state the question in a clearer way. (If you want to sent a "by the way, did you notice" e-mail directly to the person so that they can correct/amend the posting - then on your own head be it).
(iii) Some of the questions posed offer people the opportunity to do some pleasurable research and do not require an immediate answer. We cover a large range of time zones so not everyone gets to see the question, so it may be best to hold back on an answer, so as not to spoil it for others. I've seen cryptic answers and clues used to help the discussion along without taking away other people's rights to find out for themselves.
(iv) That said, if you really do want a quick answer, than say so.
(v) Everyone has a an equal voice, so only speak for yourself.
(vi) If a thread has got a long way from its initial discussion it may be best to start a new thread. This makes it easier for newcomers to find their way around.
(vii) The site should allow for discussion of controversial issues. We probably don't want to have an "eighteen certificate" imposed on us, so care should be taken in the kind of language used. Words can inspire or upset people so try to move controversial discussions to a new thread, so that people can choose to opt in or out.
(viii) This "begs the question" how long should a thread be - I have no views on this subject
(ix) If people use lots of complicated words we don't understand, fine, isn't that part of the fun?
(x) It's fine to disagree and people may even be quite rude to each other from time to time but shouldn't need to be offensive.
(xi) I would hate to see anyone driven away from the site because of their race, creed, gender, disability .... but that doesn't mean that those subjects cannot be discussed in an even handed way.
(xii) Some subject like sport are fair game. If people get upset by sex, religion and politics we have to have something we can be rude about ...

If this differs from how you see the site I know you will add your comments. Feel free to accept/reject any of the above.

From a mere mortal

Posted By: Philip Davis Re: Rules of engagement - 05/19/00 10:19 AM
As a bases for discussion in this area I am posting a copy of my response to a personal email I recieved from tsuwm this morning.
Dear Micheal

> I am not interested in arguing manners with you in public on the web.
That is your privilege. I can choose to construe this as an acknowledgement that you are unable to defend your manners.
> My
> comment about cricket and baseball being different I think you have
> misconstrued.
I may have done but I see no relevance to the point I was making
> I have a friend who often diffused arguments about whether one
> thing one better than another by saying they were simply different. I
> thought it applied here because the two are more different than they are
> alike and it seemed silly (yes, to me) to continue to compare them in that
> manner. This was (and is) my opinion.
This is perfectly acceptable to me. My ire was at your use of the word we rather than I. Had you said 'I' then I would have no complaint. You said 'we', which I have suggested is either a poor use of language or a rude abuse of others personal rights to their own individual opinions

> Which brings me to the comment about
> politics. There are lots of venues to talk about politics and it was (again)
> my opinion that we were talking much more about politics than about words.
> I was just stating my opinion, irrespective of my manners.
Yes and once again I have no problem with you expressing your personal opinion about any matter. I consider it ill manners when you pretend to speak for others.

> Take your ire
> offline in the future and I will have a good bit more respect for it, and
> you.

Because my ire is about your ill manners to all in the BB I posted my comments for all to see.

I certainly think you have no right to tell me what to do with my anger.

I have chosen also to post this email on the BB. Please do not email me directly again.

> regards,
> Michael

Philip Davis


It is not my usual practice to post personal email in a public forum but as this matter is very much about the speaking only for oneself and my opinion that it is very bad manners to speak for others I have decided that if tsuwm is going to try to justify such ill manners he should be compeleded to do so in front of the people for who he is proporting to speak.

I really can't be arsed enough to spell check this so if there are any spelling errors in it I'm sure someone will be petty enough to point them out. (this is me be petulant, it 's not funny and I'm not pretending it's a joke)

Posted By: Jackie Re: Rules of engagement - 05/19/00 01:21 PM
You-all know what? All of this underscores, heavily, the
obvious fact that people are all different. I personally
feel that I can't stand arguments--but on the other hand,
I can't stand it when people say things that are not correct. SO--if my husband says, for example, that
something happened at 3:00 and I say no, 4:00, HIS view of
that is that I am arguing with him. So in that sense, we
argue about what an argument is!
Each person has different "sore spots" and tolerance
levels. Some people do not mind being corrected in a very
forceful manner; others read more into the slightest hint
than was intended. I must reluctantly ackowledge also that
sometimes people deliberately try to cause hurt. This is
where each individual's ability must stand on its own, and
be able to decide: not to respond, to respond in kind, or
to respond at a higher level of civility.
Sometimes the recipient can be harmed when none was
intended. This also presents a choice: whether to let
their hurt be known, and in what manner. AND--whether the
hurt was intentional or not, if the person causing it
knows of the harm, one would hope a non-hurtful explanation
and apology would be forthcoming. Sometimes a simple,
"Oh, no, that wasn't what I meant at all" can work wonders.
There are also times when I have said, "If this upsets you,
I'm sorry, but the fact remains that...".
I guess my primary concern about arguments arises when
there are harsh feelings caused unnecessarily. If there
is a possibility of resolution, or near-resolution, I say
that it is worth working through hurt feelings in most cases. But arguing on and on about something that is not
going to be resolved, ever (ex.--if someone tried to argue
that I should get interested in politics!), is to me not only a thorough waste of time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere, but actually detrimental, and
should cease as soon as possible.
That said, I will add that I agree strongly with Jo, in
that it is extremely difficult to interpret a speaker's
intentions from printed words alone. The :-) faces can
help, but there just aren't the cues we get from seeing/hearing the other. I hope we can all allow for the
possibility that we may not be getting the writer's true meaning.
I would ask that everyone just do their best at not being antagonistic, and take into consideration the
importance/relevance(y?) of each situation. I myself
happen to be a good speller, and always notice if something is mis-spelled. But here, I see no point in commenting on this as long as I understand the meaning--I make the decision each time that considering the other's feelings has a higher priority than my discontent. If I see a mis-spelling on a store sign, I tell them. Different setting, different relevance, different response.
Peace, y'all! (She said in Atlantan.)

Posted By: tsuwm Re: Rules of engagement - 05/19/00 02:16 PM
gosh, Jackie, I was just about to post something like this:

maybe we should all just agree that Philip and I are different (but that's my own opinion). [note use of pleonasm with "my own"}

...but you got here first and said it better, so I'll restrain myself.

Posted By: Philip Davis Re: Rules of engagement - 05/19/00 05:00 PM
I was and am angry. I've not had my anger reduced in anyway by suggestions that I am different from others. I understand that all people are individuals. Some of my annoyance is about an individual using language form appropriate only for groups or group leaders.

My anger would be satisfied by an apology to me for the upset caused to me by the marked, public, petty correction of a simple spelling mistake and by a commitment to speak only for oneself in future.

Posted By: Jackie Re: Rules of engagement - 05/19/00 09:58 PM
Thank you for the compliment, Michael, and for the restraint. (I think.) I agree with your own opinion, and
will reiterate my own opinion that each of us is different
from the other. You and I are different. For example, I
have used some take-offs (aside--what's the word for that?)
of your acronym. This was my way of showing that I liked/
appreciated what you wrote. Since you have never given any
indication that you did not mind that, I now assume that you
DID, and will (probably) cease! You certainly have the
right not to want your hard-earned title corrupted, and I do
appreciate your restraint in not telling me off!
I hereby offer a challenge to one and all, as a
demonstration of how different I am: if there is anyone
reading this who likes peanut butter and tomato sandwiches
with mayonnaise, post that fact and I'll eat one in
your honor!

Posted By: tsuwm Re: Rules of engagement - 05/19/00 10:21 PM
>I now assume that you DID

Why would you ass/u/me that? (It's assumptions that generally get us into trouble, as they have gotten me of late.)

BTW, I do not like peanut butter and tomato sandwiches as I suffer from arachibutyrophobia (the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of my mouth).

Posted By: David108 Re: Rules of engagement - 05/20/00 01:34 AM
I posted this under Wordplay and Fun > Crosswords. I think it appropriate to put it here as well.

Isn't it odd that a topic that started out as "crosswords" quickly deteriorated into cross words?

Come on, guys, there has to be some disparity, and thank goodness for that. Please let's enjoy the forum for what it is - a place to discuss and appreciate the fun of the language we use. Let's celebrate our differences, and learn from them and leave out the personal barbs.

Let's also accept that our levels of learning differ, and that there will be those whose use of language might not match the expectations of others.

I joined this forum for fun, learning and a means of communicating with others who share my interest in English. Ain't that what it's all about?

I think that the discussion should be closed. Anybody feel otherwise?

That said, I must agree with the "Rules of Engagement" posted by Jo. We should all be adult enough to realise that nobody owns this forum (except possibly Anu), so a modicum of restraint and a good deal of common sense should prevail.
Posted By: Jackie Re: Rules of engagement - 05/20/00 10:08 AM
Best put,
Well said!
The End!

Posted By: Philip Davis Re: Rules of engagement - 05/20/00 03:56 PM
"Blessed are the peace makers"

Well not in my book.I consider I have been attacked in a petty and childish way, the appropriate response to which would be an apology. Instead there have been numerous calls to celebrate differnces which have, by their vagueness implied that I have not done this. I consider that I have done nothing else. I know feel doubly insulted both by Tswum's childish pettiness and the by the implication that because I call him out for it I am as equally petty.
Being even handed might seem fair but it is not just.

Well I am now going to fulfil these expectations and be petty. S o d off the lot of you.

Posted By: Rubrick Re: Rules of engagement - 05/20/00 07:23 PM
Hmmmm...... This all seems quite serious for what is meant to be a high-brow fun web-site. I may be a new boy to this list (and I missed out on the reason for this bickering) but everything seems to have blown out of all proportion.

A few comments - nay, let's say observations.

Firstly, we all seem to have an interest in words or subjects in which the more obscure and interesting words crop up. In this case it is politics and, as boring and time-wasting as it may appear, politics plays a huge part in everybody's life from Foriegn policy through environmental issues right down to local waste disposal. It may not be your favourite topic of discussion but it is a necessary evil to take stock of the way that your lives are being propelled by others especially of those that you think are making a mess of it all.

But back to words. I use computers everyday - it's part of my plan for paying the rent at the end of each month. My university degree also tells me that I am damn good at it (if only my boss shared the same view!). Still, I am human and I do make mistakes at the keyboard. Now, I don't want to go down that road of 'we're all individuals' but some people are new to this computer lark and are prone to making more typos than most - when I write a long email to a friend (sometimes running into thousands of words) you can be sure that it will be peppered with errors and this is not uncommon amongst all my correspondents from whom I receive mail - and there are many. I also type fast and mail messages immediately without spell-checking which I can presume is becoming the norm amongst emailers (and noticeboard posters) so I often misuse a word or my sentence is quite confusing in its structure.

But not one person has ever criticised my style or my typos or my many errors in my many years online, and vice-versa. And I wouldn't expect it from educated, well-meaning and understanding individuals. Nobody likes to be criticised - even for the smallest mistake because it can cause resentment and lasting damage and ill-will (as has sadly happened here). Some people will expect an individual to take criticism and see it as a form of 'character-building' but I say no. Express an opinion on somebody's subject but leave out the 'petty' things. I go with the Rules of engagement (as stated in the first posting) most whole-heartedly.

So far as the confrontation goes I can't comment on the source of the problem. Come on guys - this noticeboard is about words, not confrontations. I've read all your postings and I would find this list a poor place without your valuable contributions (and good humour), but settle your differences - without the interference of others on the noticeboard - and start over. If it takes an apology then so be it. It doesn't take a lot to say you're sorry!

Posted By: juanmaria Re: Rules of engagement - 05/20/00 08:46 PM
First of all. I agree with those rules, only I would name them suggestions, and think I that they express the way that almost everybody here behaves. But speaking about ĎThe lord of the fliesí I must be like one of the littluns because I havenít noticed any angry discussion here. Sadly enough I canít find time to keep on all threads and I must have missed something.
Iím sure that my postings have plenty of mistakes and, though I wouldnít mind a private email correcting them, Iím very grateful not to be publicly pregnant, sorry, embarrassed by them.

Juan Maria.
Posted By: Jackie Re: Rules of engagement - 05/21/00 03:46 AM
I must respond to your post of Sat. May 20th at 11:56.
I have read a number of your posts where you said how much
you enjoy the differences among people, so I knew you did
celebrate them. The very reason I was vague has backfired on me--I was vague deliberately, specifically to AVOID
seeming to think that any one person is more different
than others. That is what my post apparently sounded like, and I am truly sorry to have caused insult--none was intended.
You have my heart's promise on that.

Posted By: jmh Re: Rules of engagement - 05/23/00 08:08 PM
I'm sorry that this has been so unpleasant. I'm also sorry to bring it to the top again. I assume we've all said our "piece".

I'll go along with Juanmaria's "Suggestions" not "rules". Looking at other posts, it looks like we've had an opportunity to look at how we were behaving and we've made some changes. I think some valuable points were made, I'll stick to speaking for myself.

Upwards (not Downwards, Jackie!!) and Onwards.

Posted By: juanmaria Re: Rules of engagement - 05/24/00 03:12 PM
Iíve spent more time that I should reading the conflicting threads and, although a little sorry by the things read, before closing this subject I think you deserve our gratefulness for the work done.

Juan Maria.
Posted By: David108 Re: Rules of engagement - 05/24/00 06:27 PM
>>I think you deserve our gratefulness for the work done<<

Well said, juanmaria!

And I'll add my voice to that sentiment.

Posted By: tsuwm Re: Rules of engagement - 05/24/00 11:59 PM
Now that some time has passed (and this thread has floated back to the top), I have just one thing to say: I am very sorry for the part I played in this churlish display and the upset it has caused those of you who were inadvertently subjected to it.

Posted By: tsuwm Re: Rules of engagement - 05/25/00 12:02 AM
...and to those of you who enjoyed it, :-Ģ

::slap:: [you couldn't just leave it, could you?!]

Posted By: lusy Re: Rules of engagement - 05/25/00 06:33 AM
Well said, tsuwm. I'm sure we all appreciate how you must have felt during that particular exchange. As I have always (well, often, anyway) said: "Least said, tsuwm-est mended." And I am sure it must now be mended and that is surely the end of it. BTW, is there any particular reason why the spelling checker should suggest "tub" for both "tsuwm" and "tsuwm-est" above? Boy, am I enjoying trawling through this spellchecker! I don't even dare look at this last version!

Posted By: lusy Re: Rules of engagement - 05/25/00 06:39 AM
And oh yes, he said, replying to his own post, why was BTW renedered as "bubble" by this anarchic spell checker? Is this some esoteric Seinfeld reference?

Posted By: lusy Re: Rules of engagement - 05/25/00 06:41 AM
That should have been "rendered", of course. But how else do I build my cookie points? Everybody else does it!

Posted By: Rubrick Groan - 05/25/00 07:02 AM
> Well said, tsuwm. I'm sure we all appreciate how you must have felt during that particular exchange. As I have always
(well, often, anyway) said: "Least said, tsuwm-est mended."

Huzzar, tsuwm!! Well, said.

Groans to lusy. It's too early in the morning to digest corn..... ;^)

tub? trawling? Is that deliberate word play??????

Posted By: lusy Re: Groan - 05/25/00 07:29 AM
What do you mean, "corn"? Corn is surely in the ear of the beholder. And it's not too early; in fact it is after my dinner time. Catch you later!

Rgds, lusy

Posted By: Jackie Re: Groan - 05/25/00 11:49 AM
Yes, indeed, this thread is DEFINITELY headed back up the
hill! God preserve (couldn't resist a sly ref. to one of my own posts ) me from any situation that can't be
improved by a little real humor! Thanks, you-all!

Posted By: tsuwm Re: Rules of engagement - 05/25/00 12:53 PM
tsuwm = tub?
well, that's sort of interesting in that tsuwm is also a Hebrew word meaning 'to fast'.
: )

Posted By: jmh Re: Rules of engagement - 05/25/00 01:46 PM
Shall we move on????

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