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I've been following the personal attacks against various list members with disgust. Honest discussion and respectful disagreement, which have been characteristics of this list service since it began, are going by the wayside.

I would like to offer an observation about several of the individuals that have been vilified for their political views and for their opinions on structural matters. 

First, Dennis Wish has been one of the strongest contributors throughout the life of this list server.  While he holds very strong opinions and expresses them forcefully, he has tirelessly worked to improve the codes we design under for residential construction. Agree with him or not, all must recognize how much heart he puts into his posts. The points Dennis has raised have, on many occasions, caused me to think a little harder about various code provisions, what they mean and whether they represent good engineering.  I haven't always agreed with his interpretation, but I believe his value in this forum is huge. I hope he will not go away as some have suggested. in my view, that would be tragic.

Second, Bill Polhemus has numerous times injected politics into his commentary.  While I disagree with much of what he says politically, his technical contributions where he has expertise and his willingness to ask penetrating and clear questions where he does not, have brought a great deal of value to the list.  I'm more than willing to listen to his political diatribes due to the value I believe he brings to the list server with his technical contributions.

Third, Scott Haan makes some pretty outrageous remarks at times.  But look at the numerous contributions he has made toward us all understanding plan checkers better. He has put a human face on plan checkers and brought a perspective many structural engineers have not experienced. I value his contributions and look forward to reading his posts (Usually :<)  )

Is there a pattern here?  I think so.  People who contribute the most do have strong opinions.  I, for one, believe they are all important to the value of the list server.  A little tolerance to opposing views will go a long way to improving this list server.  

Frank discussion produces a stronger profession.  We may not be able to solve all the ills with the various building codes, but, we should not stop talking about issues just because they are not framed in the most politically correct way.

Can we have a little tolerance?

Bill Cain, S.E.
Albany  CA

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