GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1999-08 > 0935717206
From: Renia Simmonds <>
Subject: Re: About This Newsgroup.
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 01:26:46 +0000
D. Spencer Hines wrote:
> Well stated. This newsgroup is not a casual conversational medium,
> but a written medium with a permanent record --- an archive, which can
> be consulted by anyone, and reputations can be made and unmade in a
Fair enough, if this newsgroup truly is a public arena for scholarly
discussion, as opposed to being a public arena for general discussion, in
which case, the aim of the newsgroup should be publicly aired by the
owner, and a demand made for us all to conform to scholarly methods at all
> "Chat groups" are for casual, episodic conversation. This is not a
> "chat group."
> Some here would prefer to treat the newsgroup as an electronic party
> line, where they are not sure what they think, until they've heard
> what they have to say. That often produces gibberish, flimflam and
Maybe, but what of the newcomer to medieval history and genealogy? Someone
who hasn't any real knowledge, has stumbled upon us, but who wants to
learn? Even someone who is not particularly highly educated, and who
perhaps cannot express themselves very well, or very clearly, but has an
embryonic interest? Are we to exclude such people? Are we to frighten them
away to another newsgroup (soc.ignoramus.medieval.stuff, perhaps?)
> Many of our ancestors, who were in significant ways more cultured than
> we, wrote letters to each other. Skill in writing a good letter used
> to be one of the salient and essential marks of an educated person.
> They exercised due care and diligence to be clear, responsive and
> precise. A premium was placed upon clarity, cogency, coherency and
This was the ideal, but there were more of our ancestors who could not
write, than who could. And the great preponderance of our ancestors spoke
in the colloquial language of their locality. This argument doesn't stand
up, ideal though its scenario may be.
> We are relearning the genuine values of that sort of written
> communication, but in a dynamic modern medium, which is still
> developing its sea legs.
I was taught, at university, never to use cliches and jargon in academic
discourse. What about you? (Sea legs, my foot.) More comments below.
> D. Spencer Hines
> Lux et Veritas
> Fortem Posce Animum
> D. Spencer Hines --- Sol Remedium Optimum Est. Peccatoris
> Justificatio Absque Paenitentia, Legem Destruit Moralem.
> Chris Price <> wrote in message
> > Renia Simmonds a écrit:
> > >
> > <snip>
> > > if amongst us, there are those who type at 70 wpm without
> > > spellchecking (I have only just discovered that I have one on my
> > > email!) or grammar checking, then, surely, the majority of the rest
> > > of the readers can appreciate the content, without having each
> > > full-stop individually explained when errors of English usage
> > > unintentionally appear?
> > <snip>
> As I tried to explain before, my objection is not to incorrect spelling
> or bad grammar in itself. but to the fact that - certainly in my own
> posts - they are usually an indication that I have dashed off a comment
> without thinking about it. Thus the meaning is likely to be woolly,
> unclear, and badly expressed. This, in turn, means either that I make a
> fool of myself by posting a stupid error, or that readers are likely
> to respond (usually critically) to meanings I did not intend, which in
> turn involves me in further posts while I try to explain what I did
I appreciate this, but there is a difference between a fairly concise and
well-writtenpiece with the odd spelling error and misplaced apostrophe,
and some of the garbage that appears, without punctuation, captial
letters, or an indication of where one paragraph might begin, and another
might end. And, of course, the great splatterings of aberrant
apostrophe's. (oop's! There goe's another one.) Most posts come under the
former, and it is plain to see, that the authors are generally
well-educated, thoughtful people making the odd slip, rather than the
brainless idiots they are often described as, by certain posters, in which
case, there is no real, useful need for the diatribes complained about.
> In addition, surely it is rather arrogant to say "surely, the majority
> of the rest of the readers can appreciate the content". Possibly they
> can, but why should the 2, or 20, or 200 people who read your posts have
> to make the effort? If I invite people - relative strangers - to my home
> for a drink I don't say "Here's the corkscreww, and the glasses are in
> the kitchen if you care to wash them up".
Of course not. But we are talking of different things. What would you
think, if every well-educated poster on this newsgroup took it upon him or
herself, to publicly proof-read every post that comes through here? We
wuld be inundated with self-opnionated error-checking posts.
> > Thus - as is often the case - self-interest and politeness go
> > hand-in-hand. Would that I always practice what I preach.
Too true. I get your point, but I would hope that you could also see mine!
> > Chris Price
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