Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-04 > 1019554091

From: (Reedpcgen)
Subject: Re: On Douglas Richardson's new books [very OT]
Date: 23 Apr 2002 09:28:11 GMT
References: <>

[quotes from Ken interspersed below:]
<<We need to be clear, folks. Douglas Richardson is attempting some superhuman
tasks here and devoting day and night -- not to mention the majority of his
precious lifespan -- on attempting to revise and publish data that can benefit
us all.>>

Doug is not the only human being in our field attempting this. We all build on
each other, and some of us spend a great deal of time at it.

<<Have you all considered that Richardson is putting these ideas and findings
up for comments so that his book can be as accurate as he can make it?>>

So he is using the corrections? Have you considered that it does not on the
surface appear he is properly crediting what he has taken from this group?

There were a great many people who were involved in the threads and discoveries
concerning the identity of Countess Ida, Chaumont, William Longespee, etc. For
instance, even in determining William Longespee's birthdate, we had to
discredit information in DNB, find documentation that did not appear elsewhere
in print, and then draw proper conclusions from the evidence.

My complaint about Doug posting that this was 'his' 'great new discovery' which
would eventually correct DNB, CP, Encyclopedia Brittanica, etc., was not that
he was stealing credit from me, but from all of us (it was a collaborative
effort). He seems so bent on making these 'new discoveries' that he seems to
have lost all sense of true collegiality. Does not true collegiality foster
cooperaton and proper credit? Read the long lists of thanks in any preface of
any respectable history and you will see them rife with thanks to others.

<<Lately many senior members of this forum -- whose works have formerly seemed
to be an aid to us -- all seem to be dipping him in vitriolic acids of insult
and contempt.>>

How do you decide who is a 'senior' member? I think the criticism is for acts
and behavior which does not seem to further the level of scholarship in
anyone's work, rather than being personal. You seem to paint those who do not
praise him, those who criticize him, as being rather illogical, irrational
beings bent on destruction. This has been a fallacy raised in the past which
just in not true. I think scholarship is the main concern.

<<These stones are being thrown by the very people who have not admitted to
their own shortcomings. These remarks say more about the originators that they
do about the subject. >>

Likewise your remarks. What are the shortcomings that should be admitted?

<<We can be assured that Douglas Richardson's new books will be torn apart and
ridiculed on this forum.>>

I thought you stated above that Doug was posting to have things examined and
corrected by members of this forum (which would seem a helpful thing), yet now
you say the forum will do its best to tear it apart? I somehow suspect that no
one will tear apart anything that is correct, or grounded in logic and sound
reasoning. Is not scholarship and accuracy what we are really about? Is this
not a good thing?

<<That being said, I am sure that it is time for Douglas to simply finish the
book and let the chips fall where they may. Too much more additional research
on the myriad of data entries can detract from the finishing of the whole. >>

Are you being an apologist for him, and has he cleared this post with you
before you published it? Or do you command his actions for publication?

David Faris did an excellent job at keeping things clean and being accurate,
and waiting until things were presentable before he went to press. The only
thing that would foul PA up is the addition of many new theoretical connections
(without proper warning to the readers) that may not be sound. I remember Gary
Boyd Roberts complaining to me how many lines he had to drop from his
manuscript and rearrange when a certain Holand connection had to be dropped.

It would be better to put speculative, still-to-be-tested connections and
additions in an appendix and leave the tested part as a whole. That way people
would know what is provisional. Does that make sense?

Accuracy is the goal. It is not a difficult thing to explain, where something
is not explicitly stated in documentation, why a certain connection or
conclusion has been made. And accuracy is always a good thing, is it not? If
a great number of 'new discoveries' are published which later prove incorrect,
they will already replicate on the Internet far beyond what an addendum could

The above is just my opinion, and meant as advice, not the law.


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