tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Feb 15 21:06:57 1994
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A note about the recent flamewars and the function of grammarians
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Elias Israel)
- Subject: A note about the recent flamewars and the function of grammarians
- Date: Wed, 16 Feb 94 09:39:04 -0500
Here are a few items I wanted to cover that arose because of the recent
One of the things that definitely raised the hostility levels all around
was the use of name-calling. Though it was often done in jest, or as a
part of affecting a "klingon character," this practice has great
potential to be misunderstood by other readers, particularly when one
remembers the ever-present potential for erroneous translations that
already make discussions in klingon subject to the rules of the game
Therefore, I would like to ask that people please refrain from any
name-calling. I hope that restraint in this area will diffuse that kind
of misunderstanding. I know that it can seem difficult to resist at times,
especially when affecting a certain stance, but I think we would all reserve
the available bandwidth for discussing klingon and not for beating each
other up. (While that would be an expected klingon activity, one hopes
there are other places for it. :-)
Second point: it appears that some people on the list view the function
of the grammarians as somewhat authoritarian. That was never the intent
of establishing the grammarians, and it is not the intent today. The
grammarians exist to assist the new members of the list with their
errors and to provide corrections, where appropriate, to more
accomplished members of the list. They have neither the obligation nor
the ability to review and correct every posting publicly, nor would
we really want them to. Their primary function is to keep the list
from being bogged down in "you-should-have-said-it-this-way" messages.
In providing corrections, the grammarians necessarily have to stick to an
established set of standards for klingon grammar, but this should not be
misconstrued. The grammarians do not have an authoritarian lock on what
is or isn't grammatical. Their decisions are based on certain objective
principles (conformance with canonical sources being the primary one).
People of good will who disagree with the grammarians about what is or
isn't grammatical are encouraged to discuss it on the list. There is no
"Grammarian Infalibility Doctrine" in place here.
Final point: It also appears to be the case that some people have
perceived me as ruling the list with a mailed fist. In point of fact,
what I sometimes call my real life provides so little time for the list
that it's about all I can do to keep it running day-to-day. As many
here know, it certainly could run a little more smoothly, and I
apologize for that fact.
There are certain things that I am adamant about, but chief among them
is civil behaviour and fair dealings for everyone on the list. I have
tried to run the list in accordance with certain principles of my own:
namely, that people should be given the widest area of freedom to
express themselves as possible, and objective, understandable rules that
govern acceptable behaviour so that everyone is on a level playing
field. I don't like goverments or authorities of any kind; I don't
really want to make myself into one. In the past, I was forced to eject
one person from the list, but I wasn't all that crazy about doing it.
I have no intention of repeating that action anytime soon.
I hope this clears up some misunderstandings. If anyone would like to
discuss any of this further with me, please send mail to me either
at my home address <email@example.com>, or at work <firstname.lastname@example.org>.