Between Scientists & Citizens

Posts Tagged ‘civility

How to insult

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Judith Curry has recently brought up both the Bard and insults–a thought-provoking intersection.

Once upon Shakespeare’s time, the art of disagreement was pursued with elegance.  Degrees of challenge were measured out by the book, as one of his characters explains:

as thus, sir. I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier’s beard: he sent me word, if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the mind it was: this is called the Retort Courteous.  If I sent him word again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would send me word, he cut it to please himself: this is called the Quip Modest.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he disabled my judgment: this is called the Reply Churlish.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would answer, I spake not true: this is called the Reproof Valiant.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would say I lied: this is called the Counter-cheque Quarrelsome: and so to the Lie Circumstantial and the Lie Direct.

As You Like It V.4

Alas, we’ve mostly lost that art, especially in the blogosphere.  Disagreements proceed pretty quickly to the Lie Direct.  That’s dull!  Let’s review the wisdom of Touchstone the Fool to recover more sophisticated practices.

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Written by jeangoodwin

August 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Some communication principles for an e-salon

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There are going to be a thousand diverse ways to run a worthwhile blog on a controversial topic.  As long as the blog community is willing to try things out, reflect on their experiences and then enforce their own standards through modeling and (civil) correction, I think they’re likely to come up a with their own workable practices.

Judith Curry in 1688?

Still, it’s not like the online world is completely separate from the world of face-to-face communication, and the blogosphere can draw from communication skills already well-developed and understood in “meat-space” contexts.  I’ve done a series of posts, for example, on how debate can work online (here and here).

Similarly, in a very interesting post, Judith Curry has identified her objective on her own blog as translating an old communication activity into a new setting:

I am striving for something different, sort of an e-salon where we discuss interesting topics at the knowledge frontier.

Three hundred plus years ago, another prominent woman wrote extensively about salon communication;  let’s see what we can learn from her.

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Written by jeangoodwin

August 5, 2011 at 11:28 am

Posted in in theory

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A surprising gesture

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Working through the discourse that accumulated while I was reading and listening to what my students had to say, I found a fine post from none other than Steve McIntyre on the Virginia’s ‘fraud investigation’ against Michael Mann, one of his leading adversaries in the Hockey Stick Wars.  McIntyre calls out the publicity stunt for what it is–a “repugnant piece of over-zealousness”:

To the extent that Virginia citizens are concerned about public money being misappropriated, Cuccinelli’s own expenditures on this adventure should be under equal scrutiny. There will be no value for dollar in this enterprise….

To the extent that there are issues with Mann or Jones or any of these guys, they are at most academic misconduct and should be dealt with under those regimes. It is unfortunate that the inquiries at Penn State and UEA have not been even minimally diligent, but complaints on that account rest with the universities or their supervising institutions and the substitution of inappropriate investigations by zealots like Cuccinelli are not an alternative….

I intend to write Cuccinelli expressing my disdain for his actions.

Read on to learn how this relates to the previous post.

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Written by jeangoodwin

June 10, 2010 at 7:00 am

Morano Analysis #1: Civility

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Let’s start by examining how the two debaters interact with each other–how they address each other and how they characterize each other’s speech.  The moral of the story:  Morano, and not Maslin, manages to maintain the appearance of civility necessary for a debate.

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Written by jeangoodwin

March 7, 2010 at 2:49 am

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