I wanted to post this thread so that those who are new to this list or who
have been on it for less than a year will understand some very basic
principles dealing with respect.
There are many on the list that can create long debates from topics that
most feel very passionate about. When you have been on the listservice for a
while, you learn a great deal about the people you "debate" for lack of a
better word. There is more to a Listservice like this than most people
understand. Those who participate open themselves to others usually more
than they are capable of doing in social company. Being able to post your
thoughts allows you to tweak them out so that in the end, while most of the
time not perfect, generally leave you without those feelings that we all
have had - 'I should have said this or that'.
People Like Stan Caldwell, Bill Polhemus, Bill Allen (whom we have not heard
from for a long time), Charlie Carter, and many others who are long time
participants are people that I have a tremendous respect for. I don't want
anyone to think that because we have issues which we do not agree, that we
become mortal enemies - we don't. In fact, we become closer friends because
we don't mind the debate and intelligent conversations no matter how
frustrated we might get. When I disagree with these people, I know that I
have to prove my side with strong justification supported by factual
references as they tend to do the same in their argument. Most of the time,
there is no resolution but those who read the arguments from both sides
leave with enough information to make an informed decision on what position
they wish to take.
I think that we need to step back sometimes and think about the people we
have strong disagreement with on any discussion forum. As long as we "try"
not to attack but to support our argument with rational and intelligent
arguments that can be supported by factual information, we offer the rest of
the professional community something the didn't have before the discussion
started - good arguments for both sides of the issue.
I do hope that more people realize that being complacent on issues offers
nothing of value to anyone but is certainly the easiest solution to avoid
confrontation. However, the best test to support your belief is to see if
you can justify it with facts based on those willing to disagree with you.
Rather than complacency, activism helps to promote change as the more who
actively voice their opinions are heard by those who lurk and who may not
participate because they are in a policy-making position which prevents them
from being misinterpreted as a spokesman for the group they participate in.
Many have stated over the years that it is a waste of bandwidth to simply
reiterate the opinions of others just to confirm that you believe that
argument to be true. At first I saw the rationality of the argument, but the
more that non-verbal complacent portion of our profession is interpreted as
an approval for the status-quo rather than a no comment, we must speak up
and voice support for either side so a consensus can be understood by those
who are in policy-making positions but who use the List as a gauge to
support the communities stand on issues.
It's okay not to agree as long as you respect those you disagree with!
Dennis S. Wish, PE
The Structuralist Administrator for:
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax
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