Recent firing?

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Re: The state of Foundation-l (again) was: Recent firing?

Thomas Dalton
2009/11/8 William Pietri <[hidden email]>:

> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>> Ignoring emails *is* easy. Anyone that says otherwise is wrong. I do
>> not subscribe to this "everyone's opinion is equally valid" nonsense -
>> sometimes people are just plain wrong.
>>
>
> I am definitely not suggesting that all opinions are equally valid. But
> personally I decline to accept as proof your assertion that your view is
> correct. In my line of work, we prove these things with data.
>
> If you wanted to demonstrate that ignoring emails is indeed easy for all
> people, using all email readers, and for all purposes with which people
> approach their email reading, you would have a lot of research ahead of
> you. You might start with Kuniavsky's book "Observing the User
> Experience". My guess is that you'd find that it is easy for a
> relatively small percentage of people.

If someone gave a reason for it being difficult, then they might
convince me. So far, no-one has tried. I think the burden of proof is
on those say it is hard since, on the face of it, not doing something
(in this case, reading an email) seems like an easy thing to do.

>> Of course not sending emails is easy. There is more to something being
>> burdensome than it being difficult. Not sending an email is
>> sacrificing your freedom of expression for someone else - that is a
>> definite burden. It is burden that is it sometimes appropriate to take
>> on, but this isn't such a time.
>>
>
> It's not clear to me that freedom of expression is a useful term here,
> in that I see no government involvement. Could we instead look at is as
> your desire, and perhaps the desire of others, to say something to this
> group? If so, what do you think motivates that desire?

I support the project and want to improve it. That's what motivates
pretty much everything I do with respect to Wikimedia. (There is a
secondary motivation - I enjoy doing it.)

> And obviously, other people have different desires for the use of this
> list. What do you think their motivations are?

I'm not going to guess. It is up to them to tell me.

>>> Part of the problem may be that people often don't like other people
>>> imposing burdens on them. It's often read as an attempt of social
>>> dominance, or as rude or contemptuous. So your unilateral placing of
>>> burden may be interfering with your desire to move the conversation forward.
>>>
>>
>> People telling me not to send the emails I want to is them
>> unilaterally imposing a burden on me. How is that different?
>>
>
> Yes, that was my point. You and a few others don't like others asking
> for a change in behavior, so I was hoping you'd have some sympathy for
> them. But as far as I know, they aren't actually imposing anything, in
> that nobody is actually stopping the posts in question. So if there's
> actual imposing going on, it's on the part of the posters.

I'm not asking anyone to change their behaviour. I'm asking them to
either put up with things as they are, or change their behaviour. It
is their choice.

>>> If you wanted to know, you could start by asking them.
>>
>> When I make a point during an argument I am always implicitly asking
>> people that disagree to make a counter-point. That is how arguments
>> work.
>>
>
> Well, that's how you want them to work. That used to be how I approached
> them, too. But that's now how they work for a lot of people. And some
> people would rather not have arguments at all, favoring discussions instead.

"Argument" and "discussion" are largely synonymous. A lot of people
have got it into their heads that arguments have to involve people
shouting at each other - that isn't the case. Perhaps I should say
"debate" instead?

> I tried to change my approach because I got feedback from friends that I
> was coming across as "an annoying, argumentative jerk", lacking in
> consideration for my conversational partners. That wasn't what was going
> on in my head, but that was what plenty of people were perceiving.
> Eventually I decided I was more interested in being effective than in
> keeping my old behaviors.

I've gone through those thought processes too, but in my experience
the alternative isn't more effective. The alternative involves never
actually putting across your point of view so you'll never convince
anyone. There is a compromise position - you argue about things that
really matter to you and shut up the rest of the time (the "pick your
battles" approach). That is my choice, the challenge comes in working
out where to draw the line.

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Re: The state of Foundation-l (again) was: Recent firing?

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by William Pietri
2009/11/8 William Pietri <[hidden email]>:
> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>> So people would rather I decided what they are and aren't interested
>> in? Surprising... most people I know like to make their own decisions
>> about things like that...
>
> My guess is that people here want what pretty much anybody in a shared
> context wants: consideration and respect for their experiences.

People talk about "consideration and respect". What they usually mean
is "agreeing with me". Disagreeing with someone is not being
inconsiderate or disrespectful.

> You
> don't have to unilaterally decide what interests people; if you're
> unsure, you can just ask.

It is hardly practical to hold a vote before sending an email - that
would take up even more of people's time. Anyway, what proportion
would I need being interested in what I have to say before I say it?

> Elsewhere on the Internet I moderate a couple of mailing lists, and I
> frequently get questions like these:
>
>    * I'm new to the group, and wondered if it would be ok to ask about X.
>    * Have I been talking too much about Y? People seem interested, but
>      it's a little off topic.
>    * I'm worried that thread Z has gone too long. Am I beating a dead
>      horse?

And how do you answer them? Based on your experience of what is
usually accepted on the list in question? Who should I ask that has
more experience of these lists than I do?

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Re: The state of Foundation-l (again) was: Recent firing?

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Birgitte_sb
In a message dated 11/7/2009 8:54:55 PM Pacific Standard Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> But as far as I know, they aren't actually imposing anything, in
> that nobody is actually stopping the posts in question. So if there's
> actual imposing going on, it's on the part of the posters.>>
>

That statement is false.
If I impose on you to hear, and you impose on me to shut up, that is
imposition on both sides.  A gag in my mouth is just as much an imposition as
making you wear earmuffs.

Will

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Re: The state of Foundation-l (again) was: Recent firing?

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Birgitte_sb
In a message dated 11/7/2009 9:13:01 PM Pacific Standard Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> And how do you answer them? Based on your experience of what is
> usually accepted on the list in question? Who should I ask that has
> more experience of these lists than I do?>>

Ok I will begrudgingly accept the position of Supreme Knower of the Minds
of List Participants.  It's a difficult position, but I psychically feel my
public clamoring for my expertise.  So henceforth all list posters, must
submit to me first, their postings and I will decide what's of interest to all,
and what's not and act accordingly.

There is no need to thank me for my magnaminity.

P.S. I cannot help that some will read this message with "tone", where no
such tone is implied or intended.

Will Johnson
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Re: The state of Foundation-l (again) was: Recent firing?

phoebe ayers-3
On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 10:27 PM,  <[hidden email]> wrote:
> In a message dated 11/7/2009 9:13:01 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> [hidden email] writes:

Dudes. This thread. Case in point. (As I suppose it was fated to be, sigh).

Yes, I am reading it, because I care about this issue. I posted a few
months ago when it came up, I edited the meta page on the subject, and
I posted (I admit, with some frustration), in response to Birgitte's
initial post in this thread.

In the three days since then, there's been 33 messages; 16 of them are
from Thomas Dalton and Will Johnson. Many of these emails have a bit
of a hostile tone (my original post included, mea culpa), and include
sentences like "Anyone that says otherwise is wrong", "That statement
is false" and "Get over it."

Despite the fact that such language is upsetting -- each time I read
such a message I get a little defensive, and feel a little hostile
myself, and then a little upset at having such a reaction -- I have
read (or at least skimmed past) all these messages, because I care
about this thread, and this issue, and I can't easily ignore
individual emails with Gmail's threading feature. And I'm quite happy
that people are participating in discussion on a topic I care about;
that's great.

But I have to wonder -- what point did you have to make about the
future of the mailing list that needed eight emails to make instead
of, say, one or two?

As far as I can tell everyone still has the same opinion they came to
the discussion with, which is the same opinion that everyone who
participated had a few weeks ago, and so this back and forth isn't
really getting us anywhere. Which means that some of you posting out
there must enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing.

So I think the main issue here is that some people enjoy back and
forth chatter more than others; some participants find it perfectly
tolerable and others find it migraine-inducing. So maybe we need one
foundation list with posting limits and another for free-form
discussion? The former could be like the announcements list previously
suggested but with a bit more (but not much more) leeway for
discussion. Or perhaps as has been suggested in the past (because this
issue has been coming up at least since 2004, according to the
archives) a Wikimedia-social list that could absorb people's desire
for conversation and argument?

And yes, in the meantime, I will keep reading -- even though at least
one of you is no doubt poised and ready to tell me to grow a thicker
skin, or to shut up myself, or how it's your given right to respond as
much as you want to every one-line half-hearted argument that gets
made on Foundation-l and I must hate personal freedom to even think
about any alternative mode of dialog, or to give me advice on how to
read email (I've been using it for 15 years), or to tell me to set up
email filters already (I don't, because of LSS) -- despite this, I
will keep reading, because as I said originally this is the main place
to discuss the Foundation and the projects, and that's something I
care about.

regards,
-- phoebe

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Re: The state of Foundation-l (again) was: Recent firing?

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Birgitte_sb
In a message dated 11/8/2009 12:12:51 AM Pacific Standard Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> Many of these emails have a bit
> of a hostile tone (my original post included, mea culpa), and include
> sentences like "Anyone that says otherwise is wrong", "That statement
> is false" and "Get over it.">>

"That statement is false" is not hostile.  It's a direct factual statement
imho.  That you read it as hostile is the issue.  Read each email as if
spoken by a robot with no emotions whatsoever.  Then you won't feel defensive.

Will

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Re: The state of Foundation-l (again) was: Recent firing?

David Gerard-2
This thread should be an illustrative example in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect .


- d.

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