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Re: His Highness's New Clothes

Poster: Mark Schuldenfrei <schuldy@abel.MATH.HARVARD.EDU>

Greetings from Tibor.

Gawain wrote:
  I feel that in this discussion, the main point has either been
  overlooked, missed entirely, or forgotten.  I have no problem correcting
  information, when it is incorrect.  Let's take that as a given for
  everyone here.  We all want the straight poop.  The problem was in the
  WORDING of the responder's message to HRH Logan.  In my opinion, the
  wording was RUDE.  I would consider the wording rude whether the posting
  was to HRH or someone who had been in the SCA for but a day.

Frankly, I don't recall a whole lot that was rude.  Certainly (as I ought to
have made clear in my following post) I intended no rudeness.

A few quick thoughts on rudeness, then.

1. Politeness is not reserved to the Crown.  Be equally polite to everyone,
   except those few you cannot bring yourself to be polite to.  On those
   occasions, it is generally better to be silent.  (Nothing looks more
   infantile than emotional blasting.)

2. Rudeness is almost never intended in email.  While not all are gifted
   writers, most of us are perfectly capable of making rude intentions clear.
   (Sadly, the majority of those use foul language, instead of art, to make
   their foul intentions clear.)  If you think something was rude, you may
   not be giving it a fair hearing.  Don't rush to judgement.

3. If you find something rude, you have a finer chance of getting a correction
   or clarification if you write to someone privately.  It elicits less of
   a defensive response.  If you publically rebuke someone, you are (at best)
   exacerbating the situation.

4. It is kinder to send a clarification of your feelings, than an accusation.
   "I'm afraid I found your tone to be offensive" is a more neutral statement
   than "You are unbelievably rude".  Rudeness ought not beget more rudeness.
   Besides, point two says that, almost certainly, no rudeness was intended.
   One of the best responses I ever got, was when I quoted a note in its
   entirety, and appended "Ouch" to the end.

5. General statements about rudeness, in a public forum, leaves everyone who
   participated in a thread wondering "Was it me"?  That isn't kind.

6. There are many, including myself, that adopt a clinical and analytic style.
   This is not a rude choice, but more of a "public speaking" posting form.
   Again, don't hasten to judgement.

7. The forms of discourse that have evolved on the nets have shown, time and
   again, that the best defense against forms of discourse you do not like,
   is to ignore them.  These are conversational media: if a posting fails
   to garner any responses, the thread dies, and the poster becomes silent.

That last one is important.  The smaller a ripple a posting makes, the quicker
the ripple vanishes.

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