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Re: Re: Appropriateness

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Dennis Wish  writes:
Nigel, you asked "Are we really all that thin-skinned that we can't ignore a
remark we don't like, or jump into the middle of it to say why we don't? "
Unfortunatly, the answer is yes.
Approximately thirty individuals make up the majority of comments that
proliferate our list. However, the resounding majority of those 150
individuals who responded to my survey felt that they were unable to do any
more than "Lurk" simply because of the strong opinions and fear of being
challenged by others who may not agree.
I, personally, don't feel that the tone or commentary on this list should be
moderated, but I must admit from these many responses that a large group of
professionals, for whatever reason, are reluctant to participate.

My Reply:

Dennis, you truly are a man of compassion.  And I mean that sincerely, not in
jest.  And I appreciate that.  But I have a different opinion on this.  From
my experience, someone who is in a shell, is afraid to participate for
whatever reason in any kind of forum, cannot be pulled out without exerting
extreme effort.  And usually that extreme effort hinders whatever you were
trying to get them involved in.  If someone is "insecure", and I use that for
lack of a better word at this time, about there engineering abilities then we
are not going to be able to get them to participate, because they do not want
to take the risk of exposing themselves.  Let me use myself as an example. 
There are some subjects on this list I will not respond to because I am
"insecure" in my abilities.  I have not, and probably will not, answer a
question regarding seismic design.  I come from an area of the country that
does not require it so I am not that proficient in it.  However, I have
learned invaluable information about it by "lurking" in the background on
this subject.  In areas I feel proficient in I am more than happy to enter
in.  But some people, due to their personality, will never be able to express
themselves.

Dennis Wish  writes:
I like the ablity to debate and express strong opinons. There are times,
such as Bill's recent comments where I half-heartedly commented that I
wouldn't touch the argument with a ten foot pole, and probably, feared
starting a civil war and succumbing  the wrath of the Conservative Right.
Drew's comments were the words of intellegent and professional reason. For
the sake of those who have not had their chance to step upon this public
soapbox, I recommend that we stay away from Politics and Religion for a time
until we build upon a number of contributers that will dilute the arena a
bit.
Rather than focus on Politics, let's start productive questions, albeit
social ones, that drive our profession and encourage new voices to speak.


My Reply:

I agree this listservers main purpose is to serve the engineering community. 
But politics has an influence in many areas of our engineering business.  Are
we not able to express our opinion on government regulations which dictate
what we are to do and what we are liable for just because the politicians
invoked them?  Engineering in general is opinionated.  You design differently
from me because in your opinion it is the best way.  Extending our opinions
beyond engineering is natural.

To be honest, I do not remember what started this thread, not this one
specifically, but the one Bill Allen responded to.  I only save the email I
feel will be beneficial to me in the future and erase the rest so that thread
was recycled into different "zeros and ones".  I do remember Stan "baited"
Bill  :o)  but somehow politics got woven into the original thread.  Hey, it
happens in ever day conversation.  The difficulty is the email is taken out
of context because we can not read the body language behind it.  I'm not sure
I know where I am going here but to summarize, government is part of our
everyday lives, affects us everyday, so why should it be taboo on the list
server.

We cry for tolerance.  What we really cry for is you be tolerant of me, but I
don't want to listen to you.  Bill expressed an "opinion" and he was
criticized as if he were stating a fact.  He was only speculating, like the
rest of us do ever day.

To those lukers in the background, I find this list server to be invaluable. 
I spend about 30 minutes a day reading mail and I believe it is time well
spent.  I learn an awful lot from the people who ask questions and those who
respond.  I benefit also from the response I get to my questions.  I
appreciate all who participate.



__________________________________________________

Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team
rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.