Subject: Re: Seismic Upgrade ..... Appeal to those who created the code
From: Charles Greenlaw <cgreenlaw(--nospam--at)speedlink.com>
Date: Tue, 04 May 1999 16:12:10 -0700
At 08:15 AM 5/3/99 -0600, Barry H. Welliver wrote, in reply to:
> Another player of residential code change hardball back then has since moved
> on to NEHRP and on to the CalTech/CUREe project direction. This person's
> presence there is in my mind cause for lack of confidence in the objectivity
> of that entire program, sorry to say. And SEAOC need not bother any longer;
> what dissent did happen was enough for the real action to be taken out of
> range and into other outfits even further removed from actual residential
> engineering practitioners.
This concerns me Charles. You've dropped a little bomb. I value your
opinion, yet I can't support your concerns because I don't know why you hold
this viewpoint. I realize it is difficult to "characterize" discontent
without stepping on toes, but honestly (and I may have missed some previous
thread on this issue), I'd rather have a basis for my questioning of motives.
Yes, Barry, I intentionally left out everything that would allow for anyone
to weigh the facts and see if they agree with what I said. But not all is lost.
Here is what to do: Assume hypothetically that such a person exists, and
assume that my misgivings about this person's role in the project are
well-founded according to my own perspectives. In other words, assume there
are objectivity concerns alleged, but not proven to you. IF these concerns
WERE satisfactorily proven, would there be a situation showing that warrants
taking action to correct, mitigate, or otherwise compensate for, or to guard
against in the future? (Same for SEAOC's residential specialist minority
losing a forum, as I alleged.) If the answer is no, then there is no need
to inquire further, and no need for names to be named.
My intent was to be provocative. I want readers to consider what MAY be
happening, and to consider whether they care about it, and whether to be
alert to the possibility of like occurrences, from their own perspective. I
want to seed doubts, but not raise and harvest them.
Let's look at code change criticism at four levels: Nearly all of us are
willing to debate the code change language itself. A few are willing to
criticize the process. Very few, so far, are willing to question human
factors like motives and egos, and allege that many participants play at
code changing like kids play at castles in a sandbox, for the pleasure of it
more than for any need of new sand castles. And last is "outing" and blaming
participants by name, for their personal aims and fervor. This last stage is
too far; it goes at the person, not the result, and would rightfully disgust
decent people, and be counterproductive.
Backing up, I do wish more of us were less reverent, less deferential, and
more skeptical, and as to a much broader range of code formulation concerns
than is customary. Hemingway said that every good writer needs "A built-in,
shockproof crap detector." So do we engineers.
Plus, the nerve to use it.
Charles O. Greenlaw SE Sacramento CA