Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Hello ET Community! We need more articles and writers!!

by whataboutbob Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 09:11:46 AM EST

For those of you who have not been around the European Tribune community for any length of time, it is important you know that ET exists primarily because our larger community chooses to contribute diaries and articles on a wide variety of topics, and then engages together in discussion about the topics presented in the writings. Importantly, the ET community prides itself on having created a safe space for people to explore their ideas and interests, and get feedback and encouragement about these!

So if you enjoy writing ľ we encourage you to contribute! And for our ôregularsö ľ we have noticed that article contributions have slowed down a bit of late ľ so lets hear your latest thoughts, ideas and daydreams, etc. etc.!!

(i.e., We need more diaries!! ;))

Thanks & Cheers! - ET Editorial team


Display:
Of course it must be acknowledged that we are really appreciative of the regulars who have been contributing steadily - we are just trying to encourage others to join in too - THANK YOU VERY MUCH to the regular contributors - You ROCK!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 09:15:00 AM EST
And if you have just been a reader, but would like to write and just don't know how, then go to the User Guide and read through it. and it will tell you how to get started. You can also ask questions in comments. Here is a link to the User Guide:

http://www.eurotrib.com/special/new_user_guide

Anyone else got any suggestions for aspiring writers??

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 09:18:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I have noticed all contributions are in English and I was wondering whether that is official ET policy, or other languages are also tolerated.
The problem with English as I see it is that there might be quite a lot of people that follow the discussions but feel less than proficient enough to contribute to the level they do in their own language. Opening for instance to French would also be a nice attempt at breaking the blogging world language communitarisation (this is most likely not an English word :) )

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 12:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This has been a subject we've talked about since early days at ET. The overall feeling is that having separate language sections would split the community. However, we hope to be able (at some point in the future) to include translation (tools and member help) so that ET becomes multilingual. For the moment, the language of the site is English. This is not because we are not aware of the difficulty for non-native English speakers.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 03:19:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a discussion ongoing at the moment. Translation, even machine assisted, is a formidable amount of work and seems difficult to put in place with any efficiency.

There are also some proposals to linkup with other European group blogs in other languages.

As for now, English is the de facto language that allows all of us to communicate - more or less fluently, but it still spans more people that any other European language - so it's kind of a default setting, so to speak. We're aware it tends to leave interested (and interesting) people on the sidelines, but there's no perfect solution I'm afraid...

by Bernard on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 01:26:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
English is the de-facto language and spanning the most people, obviously - but that may be precisely because there are few Italians or French trusting their English proficiency enough to intervene - it's a vicious circle. I can also put it differently. ET feels very very anglo sometimes. Nothing wrong with that, but this being an open forum, it might be fun to have some more southern prints in it.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 01:56:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET feels very very anglo sometimes

Oh Lord. One of ET's themes (not agreed on by all, it's true, but accepted by most) is the excessive domination of public discourse, ideas, policy prescription, modes of governance, economic and military power, by the "Anglo" world. See this index to articles on the subject.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 03:02:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why it's highly ironic that English is the lingua franca :-P

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with trying to pick through a diary translated by the University of Google, if the alternative is to not have the diary available at all.

Although I do understand the risk that diaries that would otherwise be available in English might only get published in French, Spanish or another language I don't speak... Well, c'est la vie, as you don't say in English...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 03:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know. That was just my (humble) perception, more of a cultural kind rather than political or economical. That's why I said more fun, not more balanced or of better quality. I just luuvvv the idea of foreign contact and the brain-unwashing that sometimes brings along :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 06:26:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
ET feels very very anglo sometimes.

Did you mean a higher proportion of people from English speaking countries? It's inevitable, given the language...

I'm not sure that English proficiency is restraining contributors from France or Italy (make that the whole continent, save the Nordic and the Dutch).

My own suspicion is that people in France, Italy, Germany, etc... are used to discuss on online forums in their own countries and very few will be looking elsewhere. If anything, you'd ask what's wrong with us spending our time in English speaking blogs? :)

That's why I was thinking of linkups with already established forums: we are not going to re-invent places that already exist...

by Bernard on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if a long term objective is to assist in the development of a European Demos, and many people within that demos are not proficient/confident in English, is it not a start to bring such people together into a single forum like ET where some docs may be translated, some conversations take place between people with multi-lingual skills, and where people who re comfortable reading (but not writing) English can congregate and contribute on more equal terms?

I see it as part of a transitionary process.  There is no ideal process/platform/site/collection of sites right now.  We could start the process and gradually build up better tools to support it.  Building a community takes a long time - we have to start from where we are at now rather than waiting for some more ideal future starting point.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:40:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I meant a cultural feeling, just a feeling.

How many French or Italian are contributing here, more or less? I've only seen 2 or 3 of each - knowing that I'm not here all the time. How many Greeks ?
English is more difficult for southerners. On the other hand, I kind of suspect that quite a lot of people understand French here :)

You may be right about people being used to join their own local forums, and Europe is such a Babel tower that any kind of federative idea about the EU is probably doomed for a long time to come. Which is why we desperately need stuff like Arte, Euronews and the likes, and their blogging correspondents.

That said, I appreciated to see quotations from foreign papers accompanied by translation. Those are allowed and I believe well valued. Personal prose accompanied by a translation would be too, I think.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 06:34:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hey valentinD, your sig reminds me of a joke i find amusing. perhaps you will too.

'they're all crazy except you and me, and you've been acting a little weird lately!'

cheers

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 01:55:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There're plenty of variants of that joke including one ending in "sometimes I have my doubts about you".

Point being? :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 02:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"There're plenty of variants of that joke including"

...one more like : "Socrates is dead, Einstein is dead, I'm not feeling that well either lately..." :)


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 02:23:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hellarious!

both variants are instructive, antidote for solipsism.

your sig sounds like a set up line for another variant.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 05:38:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yeah, I'd thought a bit of sarcastic cynicism would go down well with the (overwhelmingly) anglo audience here - just trying to bond, see :P


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 07:09:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that I don't think a place like ET exists in Spanish, for instance.

There are clones of Digg or Del.icio.us, and some personal blogs with a large following, forums and comments on news sites. But I find the content terribly provincial, petty and factional - there is no place where Spain's policy issues are debated, it's all about the politicking.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 04:39:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't thinking of separate language sections, but effectively tolerating people posting in, say, French. The idea is precisely not to keep ET a closed anglophone club, but mix it up. My blogging experience convinced me what a huge difference can make for someone to express in his own native tongue now and then (even if he'd have, courtesy obliging, to provide a translation). Many abstain from commenting from fear of expressing childishly. It would also function as an open minder as to how delicate can be to coin the exact meaning in a foreign language, and how easy it is to misinterpret.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 01:49:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The French speakers would end up discussing with the French speakers, the Italian with Italian, Spanish with Spanish, German with German, etc... which would have the same effect of development of separate sections or "clubs".

The topic really has been greatly discussed, and there's a genuine wish to ease contribution in other languages, but until a working translation system of reasonable quality can be implemented (doubtless not in this version of Scoop), the consensus is that we go on with English as the lingua franca.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 03:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
The French speakers would end up discussing with the French speakers, the Italian with Italian, Spanish with Spanish, German with German, etc... which would have the same effect of development of separate sections or "clubs".

Very probably true, although there would always be some people who could bridge various divides.  But would that be such a disaster if it increased the level of participation and enjoyment on ET as a whole?  Must we have a monolithic or "monophone" community?

Would it be so bad if there were sections where the primary discourse was in different languages and where perhaps only seminal contributions were translated into other languages?

Is not having so many languages in Europe part of what we are, and part of what could make ET unique if it did, successfully, promote more dialogue of within and between different language groups?

I know that an ideal solution (ET 3.0) wouldn't be based on Scoop and would have better translation functionality.  But does making a start on this require an ideal technical solution or could we not facilitate it, as best we could, within the present platform?

Indeed if we do so, even to a small degree, wouldn't that help us to secure funding for producing a genuinely multi-lingual blogging platform and allow us to become one of the leading forums in Europe?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 03:47:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All good questions. As to whether it's acceptable now to have "clubs" with different languages, it seems to me a fair number of people have expressed misgivings or outright opposition in the past. As to whether a start can be made on multilingual blogging (ie with translation) on the present platform, I'm not really the right person technically to reply, but I doubt it (and don't think it will even be an easy thing to implement on the custom-built platform of our dreams).

Otherwise I am in entire agreement, especially with:

Is not having so many languages in Europe part of what we are, and part of what could make ET unique if it did, successfully, promote more dialogue of within and between different language groups?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:13:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well put me down as someone who doesn't have a problem if e.g. French speakers here want to have their own conversations/threads/diaries in French even if that necessarily excludes me for the large part.  (Booman - also scoop) has subtabs for regional conversations about regional topics within the US, so a similar format might work for posts written in other languages).

Of course there could be problems if a flame war breaks out in (e.g.) Gaelic and we don't have anyone who can moderate it or prevent the publication of libellous comments.  So there might have to be certain disclaimers/legal protections, but these may be required in any case as we can't guarantee to spot all potentially libellous comments even in English!

I don't know how some people having a conversation here in French on a particular topic takes away from my ability to enjoy the site, and if it improves other people's blogging experience, what's the harm?

The problem that I would see is that there problem would be very little content/active participation in most languages.  But you have to start somewhere, and even if we had an ideal tech  platform it would take a long time to build up a critical mass of users specific to various languages.

So why not start (in a very small way) now?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:34:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because many past discussions have reached (temporary) stalemate on the matter. There is no consensus on it, a considerable number of people being opposed.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:37:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So if someone started posting diaries in (say) German and only responded to comments in German, what would happen?  Would they be banned?  Would their diaries be deleted?  Would they be censored/warned/ignored/ostracised?  Do the people who disagree with posting in German have the right to stop someone who only feels comfortable posting in German from doing so?  What is ET policy on this?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Non-English language comments and even diaries are welcome.

But people should not be surprised if (i) few people participate and (ii) those that do participate respond in English.

I do post comments in French every now and then, when I can't translate stuff into English, but it's not gone beyond that.

I'd say that our experience is that non-English language posts were not numerous enough to ttract external readers, but did exclude big parts of the existing community (who could not understand them), so they did not get much of an impact.

We've tried to do bilingual diaries more regularly, but it's a lot of work for those that do them (and as you know, we're already overextended).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:49:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It can be hard enough to generate dialogue in English! But I do think your pragmatic policy is best and maybe a statement of what you just said in the new user guide* would be helpful in preventing non-proficient english writers from feeling excluded as a matter of policy rather than just limited by virtue of our technology and current membership and resources.  We have to start somewhere if our ultimate aim is to be as inclusive as possible...

*(if it's not already there).

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 06:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And also, it may be more productive to establish cooperation & exchange with already established forums in other languages rather than trying to offspring them from ET.

Translating the content is cool and all but unless machine translation makes enormous progress, translating ET diaries and comments on a regular basis will remain a Herculean task right off the bat. The few bilingual columns I have tired here have given me tremendous respect for the professional translators.

by Bernard on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:39:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The few bilingual columns I have tried here". Freudian slip, sorry :)
by Bernard on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:41:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't notice the exchanges with forums in other languages, would you have a link or other kind of pointer? That could be highly interesting.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 06:44:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't find it 'cause it's not there.

At most, some ET'ers do cross-posts or bring up an interesting post in the Salon, but there is little in the way of organised effort.

Of course, any such organised effort would take manpower. As with any volunteer organisation, those who feel that it would be worthwhile to expend resources on will be the ones who get to spearhead the initiative.

In Danish we call that "democracy of the active" :-P

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 06:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certain frontpagers (and former frontpagers) might consider that certain behaviours are not exactly inviting of regular contributions.

Some of us have precious little time of late to contribute, and in my case, I am less than thrilled with some of the reactions on recent diaries. Given I tend to write more in my own field (Finance and Economics) and still find the reception often hautaine and unnecessarily contentious, I can only imagine what the more casual blogger within limited time to commit might imagine as a barrier to blogging entry.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 10:20:03 AM EST
I can't see what you're complaining about. Your last two or three diaries on finance and economics don't contain any bad or condescending reception that I can see. In fact, the last two were promoted to the front page. The last one, Parasites earned you 14 4s in the seed comment.

You're running ET down with this kind of comment. What on earth for?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 03:37:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Redstar: "Certain frontpagers (and former frontpagers) might consider that certain behaviours are not exactly inviting of regular contributions."

FPer: "You're running ET down with this kind of comment"

Bwahahaha!!!

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 04:06:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. For reasons I explained, redstar's recent diaries were in fact extremely well received, while he says they weren't. I'm pointing out to him that he's giving ET a bad rap for no apparent good cause.

Glad to see youre getting a laugh out of it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 04:13:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's fine, and I understand what you are saying.

I will say this: there is a certain segment of the audience which is a bit over-enamored by phd-level esoterica hijacking the threads.

There is also a segment of the front-page (not you) which rarely contributed to such threads but is more than happy to get into the downrating game (in my sincere opinion very inappropriately).

You want regular people contributing, instead of encouraging tendentioud pedantry by current phd students wishing to impress rather than communicate, you'd call such behavior what it is.

Just my two cents.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 04:32:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, now I understand you better. My only problem there is that I don't think it's a matter of "encouraging" what you call PhD level esoterica. At least, I'm not aware of any policy to do that ;). I missed the discussion you're referring to, and now I can't get back to it because it's deleted. I wish it wasn't.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 04:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I deleted the one that really pissed me off.

The whole thing happened without comment.

You had also passed it over to the front page.it was on end of primacy of USD as reserve currency, and what the post-USD world was likely to look like (esp. As regards euro and yuan.)

It turned into a phd thesis on us monetary policy. Not mine.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 04:11:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should not have deleted it. Deletion makes the whole thing disappear for good.

Sorry, if you're showing up now to complain about what you yourself have made disappear, you're seriously wasting your, my, and everyone's time.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 04:15:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I recall, I contributed to that Diary - hopefully in a reasonable if not very expert way.  It would be a pity if I couldn't refer back to that conversation if I was ever moved to write on that topic myself.  I don't recall any contentions comments on the thread I commented on, but of course that may have happened after I left the conversation.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 03:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BruceMcF got professoral and rubbed redstar the wrong way, is all.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 06:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am appalled at your incivility in deleting other people's content.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:58:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
I deleted the one that really pissed me off.
European Tribune - Frontpager Duties

Diary deletion

Sometimes users may feel strongly offended by a discussion on ET, or have second thoughts about posting a diary after a controversy developed in its comment threads. It has happened that in the heat of anger, a user has deleted his/her own diary.

However, by deleting a diary, the diarist doesn't just delete her/his own content: the comments of the diary will be lost, too. To prevent the deletion of more diaries along with the respective comment threads, any frontpager at hand can intervene to withdraw that diarist's right to delete own diaries. This measure only intends to protect others' comments, no negative repercussions follow to the diary-deleting user.

For the record, thus far there have been only two users who had to be stopped deleting own diaries.

Make that three users.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 04:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is a variable for everyone. I don't think whataboutbob meant to imply that every regular reader here is to write regularly all the time. If you mean with "some of us" yourself, I fully understand.

I don't write finance and economics and thus I'm not one to judge. However, I am surprised to read that you feel the reactions you've received don't agree with you.

It's undeniable true that in general debate is fierce. But dismissive of what you bring to the party? Really?

by Nomad on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 03:57:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could not possibly agree more.

But would be happy to read more from redstar too. :)

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 04:05:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As for me, I certainly appreciated your recent diaries. And I'm no PHD student in finance nor (gasp!) an economist.

When we post something, it is for opening it up for discussion by everyone interested, specialist of the matter in question or not - even PHD students. OK, it can become wonkish at times, but hey I tend to be quite tolerant :)

Please, reconsider your intention to pack up camp; the reception is not necessarily what you'd expect, but then again, is it ever?

One of the good things in ET is that the discussion can take unexpected - and I mean really unexpected - turns. And we are all better off for it...

by Bernard on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 01:40:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How disappointing to see another strange discussion emerging (hopefully only emerging) in a diary attempting to get more people to write here.

From this blogging idiot's perspective, missing is a basic understanding of what this media actually does and how it works.  We write and comment here because we wish to make our views known, and hopefully accepted and supported.

But that doesn't mean because we write it, it will be accepted and understood.  Our views can even be ignored, or worse, hijacked.  If you write seeking approval, or consensus, you are set up for disappointment.

This medium is far more immediate than other writing worlds, for example, when a novelist's latest work is skewered by the critics.  We interact in near-real time.  Psychological and political biases come right to the front.

if one posts a diary about a particular and well-thought view on the current economic travesty, and i decide to answer by discussing the football fortunes of Ukrainian teams owned by criminals who purchase influence, that's your tough luck.  You have the right to ignore me.

If one posts a diary and the discussion takes another direction, it generally means that the "interested" part of this ET population has decided to discuss in that direction.  It doesn't mean one's points are wrong at all.

If one writes here hoping for affirmation of one's beliefs, theses, or writing skills, you are set up for a fall.  if one writes here to stimulate discussion, one will let it flow where it goes.

The expectations one brings to the table determine one's reaction to how the material is received.

ET is an opportunity to write something which is immediately either read or not, agreed with or not, by an undefined but generally progressive population.  If one's point hits home here, fine, but  if one writes with the expectation of wowing the critics or turning the masses in a new direction or understanding, then one must take the lumps with the sugar.

It is a privilege to have a site where one can write what one wants.  It is not a privilege to expect support or agreement, especially the acknowledgment of how brilliant one is.

Writers used to have to be fearless.  With thick skins.

This is not child's play here.

(Disclaimer, period.  I am not referring to any of the commenters here, i am referring to the site in general.  There are too many with thin skins... which hopefully will evolve because of the interaction here.)

This is a place to try your skills, and even hone them.  A rare opportunity.  Just don't forget that some comments here come from people who have spent hours thinking about the issue, or are typing drunk.  And all of it unedited, subject to later revision in further comments.

I respect the opportunity here, but also respect the responsibility for the set and setting of one's own words, how one approaches posting here.  What more could a fledgling writer, or even a real writer, hope for?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:07:48 PM EST
And now you all know that the writer who thinks of himself as the Global Village Idiot (from an unpublished novel i wrote way back) is sitting in front of his screen on a warm saturday! nite in Bremen, deciding to put some energy here instead of dancing.

I wish Henry Miller was an ETer.

    Side by side with the human race there runs another race of beings, the inhuman ones, the race of artists who, goaded by unknown impulses, take the lifeless mass of humanity and by the fever and ferment with which they imbue it turn this soggy dough into bread and the bread into wine and the wine into song... I see this other race of individuals ransacking the universe, turning everything upside down... A man who belongs to this race must stand up on the high place with gibberish in his mouth and rip out his entrails.
    Henry Miller, the Air-Conditioned Nightmare

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You outdid yourself.
by Nomad on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:27:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
great post, CH, i really like your attitude.

pass the peace pipe...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:22:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have as thick a skin as the next person. The thread to which I refer wasn't so much a disagreement as a us phd student (I assume, given the overly diffivult to approach language used) taking issue with virtually everything said on te thread, even when what was said was simply a variation of what others had said (but perhaps not using the right technical terminology which said learned person set about to "educate the people").

After a few polite attempts at calling the poster on this, explicit uses of words such as pedant (which you would think the thick-skinned to which you refer could stand) drew the typical rebuke of certain current and former frontpagers, as well as others who had previously approved of my having done so. And in the case of the current front-pager, who had hitherto contributed nothing to the conversation, entered in to rebuke as if waiting to do so, something he has done in the past.

It wasn't a thinskin I had there, it was deep disgust. I could care less whatever opproprium certain way have, but when I see cliquish petty. bevahior on the part of editorial staff my desire to participate is quite frankly very much diminished.  

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:27:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, i was not referring to your diary, nor your analysis of FP response.  i am writing about many threads and discussions here, over time, and the thin skins of almost everyone at some time or other, including me.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:45:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
otherwise such unverifiable accusations pollute everything and stain everybody.

This is not helpful, frankly, after deleting the diary.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't name names in my general comment for a specific reason, i wanted to address "theory" regarding blogging.  But then...


Redstar: "Certain frontpagers (and former frontpagers) might consider that certain behaviours are not exactly inviting of regular contributions."
FPer: "You're running ET down with this kind of comment"

Bwahahaha!!!

What kind of discussion is this?  Certain FPers and certain behaviours? Bwahahaha?  I am restraining myself from comment here. Though of course this is a comment.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 06:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The many uncertainities in the prose of a certain poster certainly helped certain other posters to read certain unrelated older issues of their own into it.

What kind of discussion is this?

Pointless.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 01:42:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since we've all got thick skins, the fp'er whose helpful 2's came in once the word pedant was used was a certain hibernian fp'er who always seems to be there to do so. We actually have an fp quality hibernian blogger, I am not refering to him here for the one I have in mind is inexplicably not an fp'er.

The other one is an iberian phd, who enjoys phd level discussions, not always attuned to the relational underneath.

As for the poster who really pissed me off, I think it best to leave that alone so as not to discourage someone who may actually contribute something other than tendentious pedantry in the comments.

As for me, I don't think I'm alone in occasionally feeling both the cliquishness and the tendancy to esoterica not relevant to most, both of which I find highly offputting and which frankly discourage my contributions.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 06:16:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that by deleting your diary, you deleted those comments too, it is hard to judge whether those warnings were justified or not (and whether your characterisation of why you got them is close to the mark or not). At any rate, outrage about uninvited comments in one's diary is a bit too muc from someone who triggered the driving off of another ET member for a year with confrontational comments in his diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 01:37:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another fp'er, right?

Remember back then, the diaries I wrote about the Olympic flame and the scandal around how the whole circus was treated back then in Paris (notably by the Mayor of Paris)?

Being even faintly pro-Beijing got me a piling on that I've rarely seen here on ET. And you were on the front row. In the damn front row. Good lord, read your shit in that thread. Want a link?

But, I suppose I must have a thin skin, because I stuck around.

Is there no self-awareness here among fp'ers?

Of course, if one points out after a series of obsequious essays about the Dalai Lama that these essays have nothing to do at all with Europe and that maybe not all of us are impressed with Tibetan theocracy (even if impressed with the person who is the Dalai Lama), and the writer, single mindedly seeing self-persecution because not all of us want to participate in his theocratic circle jerk...well I guess since it was just me who voiced some opposition while the rest of you were defending him and begging him not to go...well, I know many here like photojournalism from that part of the world but again, someone remind me the connection to Europe?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 03:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, what is it, thick skin or thin skin?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 03:45:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plutôt un vas-te faire foutre.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 03:46:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar, this is enough. I've held back from saying this to you, but you are yourself one of the biggest fight-starters on this blog. Concerning the Beijing Olympics, you have no right to claim that front pagers piled on you - you were yourself belligerent, intolerant, "unnecessarily contentious" on several occasions.

Is there no self-awareness here among fp'ers?

And with you? You seem to always consider yourself wronged, and you don't seem to see how pissy you can be - and how many nasty fights you've got into here, not just with front pagers.

And your whole crappy complaint here is about a diary you deleted. You vandalized an entire discussion, and you have the lack of self-awareness to come insulting people in here about it?

Désolé, mon vieux, parce que je t'aimais bien - mais tu peux aller te faire ce que tu as dit à DoDo.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wonder why the front pager and former front pager who were there when I "vandalized" an entire discussion didn't say anything since. Must not have been that important.

Je t'aimais bien aussi, et t'es pas le seul, mais du reste je n'ai malheureusement rien à foutre. Le vrai combat ne passe guère par ici de toute façon, comme tu dois bien savoir...


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:39:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The (important) vandalism in question is deleting the thread. Something that I, for one, am pretty damn pissed off about. There was stuff there that I would have liked to be able to go over in half a year to see if it made more sense then than it did when I first read it.

And you did that knowing full well that deleting diaries is in direct violation of standing ET policy. For a variety of mostly excellent reasons.

If I were you, I'd keep a rather lower profile about that affair. But of course, that's just me. And, fortunately for my blood pressure, I don't have any official dog in that fight.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 03:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you referring to me? (sorry - absolutely impossible to follow these threads) If so, I've been away from a computer since I posted upthread.  That's why.

What a trip to come back to all of this.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 02:11:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think redstar refers to Migeru there.  There are better threads to spend your time on...
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 03:34:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like this one, for example?

:)  


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 04:29:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 03:20:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar, I have enjoyed your diaries but have, at times, been put off by the contentiousness in the comment threads.  It takes two or more to be contentious, but, from what I recall, you have more than held up your end against all comers.  My own preference is just to let things drop after it becomes apparent that convergence on a common understanding is not likely.  But this would require that many of us modify our approach, certainly not just you.

If mig's surmise that it was Bruce McF's comments that you found to have hijacked your thread are correct I would like you to know that he is in fact a PhD in economics with an interest in macro-economics and a focus on regional development in the US midwest, Ohio in particular.  He is an occasional poster and commenter on ET and I am particularly grateful that he will respond to my questions, deriving as they do from the perspective of one with a background in history and, at best, an interest in economics.

We all have our foibles, and I have found that Bruce will leave out there statements that are, at best, incomplete, unless follow-up questions are asked. My own suspicion is that this is a habit of mind that is encouraged by the current US practice of that discipline.  But I find him to be critical of his own discipline and in ways I appreciate.  I either did not see or do not recall the discussion that so annoyed you.  That said, had I seen him described as pedantic, I probably would have replied with a comment rather than a rating.  He is, after all a pedagogue, toiling as he does in the groves of Academe, but he is also a man of parts and would not like to think of himself as "pedantic."  For some being called pedantic might be worse than being told Va te faire foutre.  And thanks for the French lesson!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 12:58:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our neighbors across the street are dear friends not withstanding fundamental disagreements about religion.  The wife is pretty fundamentalist in her Christian beliefs.  But there is much we agree on in politics.  Of the religious differences she says sweetly:

"We can disagree without being disagreeable."  

If there is one virtue we all should cultivate on ET it would be the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 01:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
when I see cliquish petty. bevahior on the part of editorial staff my desire to participate is quite frankly very much diminished.

it's been so much better lately.

but since the syndrome was not rigorously addressed to the same level of analysis that is the norm for politics outside the blog, it doesn't surprise me at all that people are still tripping over the lumps under the rug.

i got over that same disgust, because i was judging without having walked a mile in any of the FP's moccasins, and because if we can't be honest about that kind of friction in the big wide world, whatever drama-lovin' gremlin would lead me to be so naive as to expect that a blog, no matter how intellectually acute its members, would be any different.

because ideally we'd really, really like ourselves to be better than that?

it's not easy admitting when you're wrong, especially if a whole bunch of people will cover your ass when it happens.

i was bitter till i realised it was about letting go, and digging what there was, not what there wasn't (yet?).

some of my favourite people in meatspace are the most flawed. it's a drag we can't clean up as we go along, (especially when it keeps coming back to bite us in the ass), but hey, we're doing well enough to be worth dedicating a lot of energy to, nobody's purple...

i think there's a bank of aggression that's in all of us, that may even help us get to our goals if channeled well, but is pretty inappropriate on a blog, with the all the possibilities of misunderstanding inherent in the medium. we need to work together if we want to change the world, (yes we can!), and while the spats here have been educational on many levels, fascinating even, as psych studies, i think they're childish, compared with the scale of the issues we are currently facing, and the adult focus and demeanour it's going to take in order to have any chance of creating a better reality, here around jerome's campfire, and beyond its warmth and light into the shadows.

it has been far more encouraging to see the growth and value within these webpages, than it's been dispiriting to see the same snafus entrapping people here as elsewhere, ymmv.

i hope you stick around redstar, your voice is important here.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 06:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy Horse, I think this comment reduces ET to the 'glorious survival of the fittest', --according to those that define themselves so--- to dog-eat-dog competition and other cliches that never breed any new 'thought'.  

The unconscious but anti-social behavior in comments, the derailing of others´ diaries for one´s own protagonism, the editors´ constant refusal to hear the problems and the alienation it causes is  

not child's play, it´s a downright waste of what ET could be if it promoted equality of treatment for everyone and basic social skills.  

If humans were meant to have thick skin, we would have developed it by now, don´t you think?  If ET really wants more diaries and more comments it´s time it gets off its pedestal and its high horse and make the 5000?? members feel at ease!

It´s not rocket science.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 12:42:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And irony of the situation...those who preach "merit of ideas" and "quality of intellectual intercourse" or whatever buzzword I could come up with to paraphrase, overlooking the obvious relational aspects (which are ostensibly not important at all in such a world of exchange of ideas, right?) to emphasize pure "merit," all the same can be seen to engage in the same cliquish and occasionally spiteful.

These behaviours theoretically to have been relegated to the "purely relational" world, where politeness and awareness of others are overly important because, don't we all know, this is not for the thin-skinned, the faint of heart, bloviating on the web like we all do here...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 03:32:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you talk about relational aspects and write, just above "va te faire foutre"?

One gets from ET what one puts in. I will not apologize for strongly intellectual discourse occasionally veering into "esoteric pedantry". I will not apologize for holding everybody to the same high standards. I will not apologize for not having much patience for people that whine about a clique here. There is no clique - the fp'ers spend as much time sparring with one another on various topics as they spend sparring with others. If you feel hurt by such discussions, remember that it's the same standard for everyone.

(and remember, the fp'ers are in that role basically because they're the most active members on ET - most consistently present, and most consistent providers of content. when there's disputed thread, it's not a surprise that fp'ers are involved - they're involved in most threads. Maybe you don't have the time or the desire to do the same, but please don't see it as a plot.)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:02:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep on keeping on, and good luck with all this.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meta, you may well have valid views on the way you interpret ET, but i'll have to disagree that my comment "reduces ET to the glorious survival of the fittest," or a "dog eat dog conpetition."  I don't see it reading that way, and it certainly wasn't my intent.

i was attempting to address a state of writerly maturity when using a medium such as ET.  In my world view, writers are meant to have thick skins as a state of being, accompanied by a belief in one's writing and underlying viewpoint, which sometimes is fearless.  Accompanied by an acceptance that not everyone shares your take.

I wasn't addressing "unconscious but anti-social behavior" or "derailing of others' diaries for one's own protagonism" at all.  That stuff doesn't belong here, and i share your condemnation of it.  Defining who and what encompasses that is the hard play.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:04:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Say WHAT??? This is NOT group or individual psychotherapy!!

Read the headline Metavision - blogging is not confirmation.

<This is extremely irritating...>

The whole point of this brief article was a sincere attempt on my part to make a friendly request asking and encouraging people in the community to write more articles. Period. Nothing too complicated. A simple request and encouragement

What do I get for the efforts? Redstar crapping on the thread in the 4th comment (basically saying "don't bother writing because people will be mean to you", even though he deleted the offending article so we can't learn what happened)), and then you now jumping in and using the opportunity to run your shtick again about how mean and screwed up we all are, and how victimized you (and everyone else?) is. This is so old and BORING.

You talk about projection? Your comment is  very  antagonistic. I wish you would use "I" statements, rather than hide behind statements that suggest many others feel the same way you do. Let people speak for themselves

Seriously, metavison, while it would be a huge challenge for the most well trained diplomat to make 5000 people at ease in any situation. It may be MORE COMPLICATED than rocket science!! AND YET...I have personally witnessed - over many years - many many committed ET community members that have really tried to do just to supportive and put people at ease. Being positive, encouraging, understanding, trying to reason, and on and on. Sorry, but I just can't disagree with you more vehemently...I see ET as being an incredibly positive place. I don't get your problems with it. What's up? Can't we move on from the old tired complaints?

<aheesh> I guess this is the ET process, but it sometimes gets way too complicated...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:26:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and with all due respect (to yet another front pager, are all of you with exception of Jérôme either from an english speaking country or based in one??!) this is a singularly moronic interpretation of what I said.

For the record, your moderation skills suck. They glorify wonkish descent into PhD bullshit for the sake of sounding like you are PhD's. You will remain irrelevant to most people because of this.

And some of you are quite silly about the way you begin to finally moderate.

No one was mean.

This said, if no one was mean I still think Colman is an ass and Frank should be a front pager.  I don't agree with him all the time (if anyone hadn't noticed) but unlike most his contributions are regular, high quality, involving discussions of European institutions and how they are (or are not relelvant). I know most here are not too concerned with relevancy. But, you should be.

The rest of you are, like me, opinionated. But some of you think you are more objective about those opinions than you really are. What else is new.

But characterising my post as "woe is me, you all are mean"? Bob, that was pretty silly.

Good luck finding diaries though.

 

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:08:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo is Hungarian - having lived in Germany
Fran is Swiss in Switzerland
Mig is Spanish, now in Spain after having been in London
Nanne is Dutch living in Germany.
Nomad is Dutch in the Netherlands after a spell in South Africa

I'm still not sure who pissed you off, but you hit at DoDo above, and seem annoyed at Mig, so it's not the Anglo side that bothers you, is it?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mig is still an FPer?

I should amend my previous statements....I had his as "previous".

Dodo...Hungarian having lived in Germany. Is this another way of averring he now lives in the UK as I indicated?

As for the others, plus you. That makes 4, out of 11, FPers, either based in or from the US or the UK (and yes, this covers Colman, who is also from the UK).

The comment is an accurate one. And what pissed me off is what I said pissed me off.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:21:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
err, DoDo is still in Hungary, as far as I know.
And Colman is Irish, which is not quite the UK.

This is an English language site. Of course we get a predominance of natives amongst people comfortable writing in the language. You're American yourself, for fuck's sake. Does that discredit you in your own eyes? Zeno, meet redstar.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:37:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
_ Dodo...Hungarian having lived in Germany. Is this another way of averring he now lives in the UK as I indicated?_

No, he has lived in Budapest all along...

What are you on about?


The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:51:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh... maybe he missed all my diaries with photos and text indicating on-the-ground experience, and concluded it from my private blogging e-mail address.

The story of which is simply that years ago when I went through the registry process, there was some stupid local interface choice page (advertising the added benefit of local news choice), and the UK was the geographically closest among the then existant choices. Then I found I've got a .uk address with it...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 09:31:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let alone that one can act anglo without exactly being one :)

For instance in the way the Community gathers (gangs)  up to shut someone down, regardless of the balance or truthfulness of their comments. Community punishment is as much an anglo (protestant?) feature as a certain glorification of individualism.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 10:33:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Make a guess how many of the current people are "from an english speaking country or based in one".

THE EDITORIAL TEAM
Front Page Editors
afew
Colman
DoDo
Fran
In Wales
Izzy
Jerome a Paris
Nanne
Nomad
the stormy present
whataboutbob
Community and Site Editors
ARGeezer
ceebs
dvx
linca
marco
Melanchthon
Sassafras
someone
 

by Nomad on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:19:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the FP'ers?

Seven out of eleven are either from or based in the UK or the US.

This is a meta thread and most of us know each other pretty well Nomad.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:23:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you know each other pretty well, then I find it all the more unfathomable why you feel this is the time and place to bring up personal grievances. Particularly as they seem to nucleate from one of your diaries. Note that your complaints now seem to get a more general direction (as in "moderation here sucks").

Though it is said that the better people know each other, the more hurtful they become.

by Nomad on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:37:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was actually thinking I was pretty diplomatic. Not my strong suit, but this is the second funny "meta" post looking for more participation and, if you look at my history, you'll see I have participated quite a lot in the past but I don't anymore.

Again, the theme is, too much esoterica, way too much (metavision aptly calling this out as "protagonism," which I find a very apt term), couple with an observation on very shitty moderation on the part of the "fp" or "editorial staff" or whatever have you. In my view, not terribly controversial. Moderation sucks is another way of saying curious moderation methods, which is what i started with.

Complaints fill themselves out, as I was told to have a thick skin and to provide specifics. Of course, once I respond to these, I get a lot of cute follow-up comments, mostly by fp'ers, often in not so good faith.

Now, seriously, I think it would be wonderful if this place took its smarts and made itself relevant. But, I don't think it can happen. First, that's not the worldview of the core group, which is very detached from, generally speaking, average Europeans and their core concern. And second (and relatedly) the core of Europe is not in the UK or the US, which is where most of the folks providing editorial direction either of from or are based.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:52:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I think it would be wonderful if this place took its smarts and made itself relevant.

If you told me how to do this, or better, if you got the job started, I'd be most grateful.

But of course, everybody loves "the community", and the "great content", but the fpers who provide a large chunk of that content (by spending a lot of time writing stories, or participating to threads) are just engaging in  useless esoterica and brainless moderation.

ET is what people put in it. Nothing more, and nothing less. I can't say it more explicitly. You get what you give. That's true for me, and that's true for you.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 06:09:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
arrogance and the pedantry.

And, it comes back to fp behaviour and moderation. You say they're not important, or their position isn't really one of authority.

But you know that is bullshit.

Now, before you all accuse me of not liking views which are not my own. Remember, this is a blog to build Europe. Not a left blog. I am left, most here are, but that's not the important thing, but the odd thing is there are voices, conservative ones, I've always appreciated here. Frank's is one. Martin's is another.

Now, where the hell did Martin go?

Oh yeah. An FP'er was a bit of a snarky asshole.

Now, I am an anglophone and can see that. If I weren't an Anglophone I think my tolerance would be even lower.

Again, you confer that status, that's what you get. Now, when you measure FP'ers from whether they come from or are based in Catholic countries, now I think you are at 9 to 2.

Again, where did Martin go?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 06:41:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Martin left because he took criticism of the Pope as a personal insult.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 07:22:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Martin left because he was belittled by you and Colman.

That's pretty obvious.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 07:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thread speaks for itself.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 04:05:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thread does speak for itself. After namecalling Colman, Martin's long, final posts speaks of repeated provocations and attacks related to religion. I had to deal with the same soon a few months ago - and I had not defended any position of the church or some dogma, but had merely said that not all catholic priests are bad, and that people are entitled to respect for their convictions. There are ways (and Colman and others master them well) to provoke and insult people while maintaining the impression that it is not personal.

In short, what redstar and Martin says is eventually true: voices that don't agree with the opinion of the majority - be that the dalai lama, the catholic church, the rightwing (even without being provocative, let alone trollish) are strongly discouraged from contributing by the provocations and the rating system which can extremely easily make the odd-ones-out feel ganged upon (like Jerome aptly put it).

My first Ideology diary's idea was precisely this: how balanced views, calling for the respect and considerations of all angles, get distorted by ideology fanatics. Of course I've been taken for the wolf-in-sheepskin and the comment threads turned into a hunt for my "ideology".

So well, dissenting opinions are actually taken badly, there actually is lack of mutual respect when you're not following the dogma, there actually are provocators, there are thread hijackers, the rating system is used as a weapon (because the confusion is voluntarily made between the "objective quality" of a post and "what I want to hear") and, most of the time, the moderation does side with the majority.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 10:16:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
people are entitled to respect for their convictions

What on earth does this mean? I do indeed respect your right to hold any convictions you wish. I do not however necessarily respect the convictions themselves. I would not respect some hypothetical conviction that the world is run by a conspiracy of midget warlocks in tutus, and I will similarly not respect a variety of religious beliefs, because I find them silly. Now, your right to hold them. No problem, this I respect. Your right to voice them as well. (As long as they are not outrageously offensive, usual restrictions apply, etc) And I respect you as a human person having these right etc. But not necessarily the belief/conviction itself.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 10:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One example: calling names the opposers gay marriage, who can be very respectable people with no particular negative feeling against (or really no feeling about) homosexuals. Another one could be the Pope's recent statements and the reaction to them. Granted, sexuality and religion are extremely sensitive topics, but it's precisely because of that that restrained must be exercised.

Frankly, for a long time I didn't come to Eurotrib despite the high quality of many threads and diaries, because I thought it is a hard-left blog, where the slightest non-left idea will doom the author. Then I saw Frank Schnittger "survive" - but his diplomacy and blogging know-how are well known, while I am a fan of a more confrontational debating style (note: confrontational, as in, confrontation of ideas based on arguments, not trollish behaviour).
There was also someone called TheThirdColumn and few others. And then I also learnt that ET's basis is not just leftwing ideology, but also tolerance, also open discussions about Europe.
But hey, from the principle to the facts, well! As Jerome said, a blog is what you put in it. And I know I wasn't without blame.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 10:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
Another one could be the Pope's recent statements and the reaction to them.
You will notice it was the Pope's critics that provided the link to the Vatican's official transcrips and translations of the Pope's words, and that the said transcripts and translations were not very favourable to the Pope...

People are entitled to their own convictions, but not to their own facts.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 11:01:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do think that the Pope's words were minterpreted, and voluntarily so, by the media, and the elites followed suit, because it's oh so politically incorrect to nuance a statement today. (which makes me conclude that this particular pope is completely out of the water).
But there's no point in going into this again. The idea is that I am quite certain that Martin argued with, well, arguments, and at some point he was met with provocations. He snapped, then explained himself, then was gone.

Again, I'm quite sure the facts were on Martin's side - and I looked at the thread quite attentively, after seeing your exchange with redstar.

I agree with your general statement, but you cannot deny that there are people here strongly anti-church and using a disparaging tone whenever this topic is on, and that this tone is an insult who people that are entitled to their own convictions without being called bigots or whatever, and for whom this is a huge put-off.
So if you tolerate this, you can just as well put on the site's front page or charter, "Atheist, Leftwing, Libertarian" and that's that. Because I, like others here, despite what it might look like sometimes, I do consider myself a progressist, an idealist, and a pro-european, and civil enough to hear and tolerate ideas different from mine.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 09:56:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
I do think that the Pope's words were minterpreted, and voluntarily so, by the media, and the elites followed suit, because it's oh so politically incorrect to nuance a statement today. (which makes me conclude that this particular pope is completely out of the water).
But there's no point in going into this again.
Well, actually, if you're going to claim that,

here is what the Vatican claimed the Pope said:

the Vatican's transcript has edited it in this manner
Si on n'y met pas l'âme, si les Africains n'aident pas [en engageant leur responsabilité personnelle], on ne peut pas résoudre ce fléau par la distribution de préservatifs: au contraire, ils augmentent le problème.
The Vatican transcript doesn't say cela risque d'augmenter le problème but ils augmentent le problème. So no risk there, it is a sure thing that condoms make things worse. And also, the first bit as quoted by Afew is si les Africains ne s'aident pas (if Africans don't help themselves) whereas the Vatican transcript says "si les Africains n'aident pas" (if Africans don't help) and then this is "corrected" by adding a clarification which the Pope didn't utter [en engageant leur responsabilité personnelle] (by engaging their personal responsibility). Because what the pope does say is easily construed as patronising (if not worse)
But you're right, there's no point in going into this again since the evidence from that thread and this one is that Catholics and non-Catholics are able to look at the exact same transcript and conclude that different things were said, and disagree on whether there was distortion and by whom.

So the Pope's words seem to be, like nuclear energy, climate change, the death penalty, abortion, or criminal justice, beyond the realm of rational debate.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 10:07:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a shame, because at least in situations were factual evidence is available, we should be capable at least of discussing the thing.

I think the best was (and this is what I did) to stick to the actual words used during the interview.


Philippe Visseyrias, France 2 : Saint-Père, parmi les nombreux maux dont souffre l’Afrique, il y a en particulier la propagation du sida. La position de l’Eglise catholique sur les moyens de lutter contre le sida est souvent considérée irréaliste et inefficace. Allez-vous aborder ce thème durant votre voyage ?

Benoît XVI : Je dirais le contraire. Je pense que l’entité la plus efficace, la plus présente sur le front de la lutte contre le sida est justement l’Eglise catholique, avec ses mouvements, avec ses réalités diverses. Je pense à la communauté de Sant’Egidio qui fait tellement, de manière visible et aussi invisible, pour la lutte contre le sida, je pense aux Camilliens, à toutes les sœurs qui sont au service des malades… Je dirais que l’on ne peut vaincre ce problème du sida uniquement avec des slogans publicitaires. S’il n’y a pas l’âme, si les Africains ne s’aident pas, on ne peut résoudre ce fléau en distribuant des préservatifs : au contraire, cela risque d’augmenter le problème. On ne peut trouver la solution que dans un double engagement : le premier, une humanisation de la sexualité, c’est à dire un renouveau spirituel et humain qui implique une nouvelle façon de se comporter l’un envers l’autre, et le second, une amitié vraie, surtout envers ceux qui souffrent, la disponibilité à être avec les malades, au prix aussi de sacrifices et de renoncements personnels. Ce sont ces facteurs qui aident et qui portent des progrès visibles. Autrement dit, notre effort est double : d’une part, renouveler l’homme intérieurement, donner une force spirituelle et humaine pour un comportement juste à l’égard de son propre corps et de celui de l’autre ; d’autre part, notre capacité à souffrir avec ceux qui souffrent, à rester présent dans les situations d’épreuve. Il me semble que c’est la réponse juste, l’Eglise agit ainsi et offre par là même une contribution très grande et très importante. Nous remercions tous ceux qui le font.

This is the verbatim transcript of the interview, as available in the journal La Croix, via Wikipedia.
I find this a balanced and nuanced view, I see the word "uniquement" and I see the expression "au contraire, cela risque d’augmenter le problème".

Related to this, Martin pointed out the issue of promiscuity in the old thread, and this is supported by stuff like this :
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/03/aids_expert_who_defended_the_p.html

Edward Green is part of a study group leaning to the left, he speaks about risk compensation, also about Lancet etc.
Anyone reading this and the study behind it (available in a link in Washington Post, if I'm not mistaking) will refrain from making the condom the absolute answer to the AIDS problem.

In short: this is called a debate. Calling the pope a murderer or whatever else of that sort, is not a debate, is a provocation.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
This is the verbatim transcript of the interview, as available in the journal La Croix, via Wikipedia.
Yes, and I posted the link to the Vatican's official transcript, in 5 languages, and compared the various versions to see whether the Vatican has manipulated the words of the Pope, as was claimed by critis such as The Lancet and denied by defenders.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:32:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understood this. This is why I'm discussing his actual words, the actual source of the thunderstorm. I quoted the whole thing because this shows that it was much more about humanism and not saying "condoms are wrong, don't use them". In the end, his position, about morals etc , is that of the church, nothing new there. The really contentious part was about "risking to increase the problem". Or this is defendable, or at least debatable in a rational discussion.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:52:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
debatable in a rational discussion
Except that religious people take criticism of their religions or religious leaders as an insult directed at them personally. While this may be understandable given the role religious belief plays in forming people's self-image, it does mean an initially rational discussion of religion with religious people will eventually descend into a shouting match.

I mean, another valuable user left the site because we refused to ban a casual user and censor his criticism of another religious leader - despite the fact that we pointed out this other person's comment was inflammatory and unsubstantiated and asked for a tone-down and some evidence.

When a topic acquires existential importance it can no longer be debated rationally.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're absolutely right about the "existential importance". But the way of criticizing religion (or ideology) matters a lot. Religious people especially take personally criticism of religion when they feel a personal touch on the other side. One can make criticism look balanced, fair, argumented, not provocative. I made the same mistake here when I spoke about tram-drivers work conditions, without realizing that the way I framed my sentence was provocative and will derail the debate from the original intention of the text.
I saw Colman (not to name him) at work before, and his style is much more provocative than mine when it's about religion. To him we're all a bunch of deluded, and that's that :) I can laugh now, but in a sensitive debate that will push people over the edge.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:29:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But this is not a courtesy we extend to other political cliques pushing policies that are insane on their merits.

You could argue that it should be, but I don't see anybody seriously suggesting that we should avoid speaking ill of Fidel Castro or Augusto Pinochet. On the merits, the Pope and his friends are pushing policies that are at least as destructive and frankly unhinged. So why protect the good name of the Pope and not that of comparable world leaders?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:42:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Related to this, Martin pointed out the issue of promiscuity in the old thread, and this is supported by stuff like this [edited for html]

Of all the mealy-mouthed, disingenuous defences I've ever seen, that probably takes the cake. OK, it doesn't - I've seen professional creationists do worse - but it's certainly in the top two dozen, which is impressive enough in its own right.

I won't call this Green character a crank (although the commenters over there sure seem to think so), because I'm not familiar with his work, and have no time right now to look him up in detail. But the interview raises a number of little red flags, of the kind that piss me off every time a research group (or worse, a University press office) issues a press release about something they have just had published: Exaggerations in the headline compared to the body text, claims that the research in question is a revolutionary new discovery, overall sensationalism and a couple of others that I'll have to go over the text in detail to put my finger on.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 02:55:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I found:

  • He is an expert with a 30-year record.

  • He wrote a book in 2003, with the main theses that a) Uganda's "Abstinence, Be faithful, Condoms" policy worked because of setting the priorities in that order; b) distributing condoms increases the number of sexual partners and thus the risk, hence, the sum effect may be negative.

  • After that, he got on Dubya's advisory board.

  • At least since 2005, we know that a closer look at Uganda actually disproves Green's theses.

  • Yet, Green continues to make the same claims.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:13:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
someone:
some hypothetical conviction that the world is run by a conspiracy of midget warlocks in tutus

you mean it isn't?

another pillar in my belief system shivers...

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:16:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In short, what redstar and Martin says is eventually true: voices that don't agree with the opinion of the majority - be that the dalai lama, the catholic church, the rightwing (even without being provocative, let alone trollish) are strongly discouraged from contributing by the provocations and the rating system which can extremely easily make the odd-ones-out feel ganged upon (like Jerome aptly put it).

Let's be absolutely clear about one thing here, before we go any further down this line of reasoning:

Martin was defending the Catholic Church from charges of homophobia, and making apologies for a policy on reproductive rights that is only barely short of being genocidal.

While I value his contributions, and while I am sad to see him gone, and while I hope he'll reconsider, and while I do think that the thread could have been cut short at an earlier point, the fact remains that he was making apologies for policies that are somewhere to the right of the late, unlamented Jerry Falwell.

I hardly think it is reasonable to blame people for forcefully objecting to that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 27th, 2009 at 07:27:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And dude, I know your social skills suck.

That's why you (and this is true for Colman too) should be the last on the threads telling people how they should behave.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 07:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this is getting far too personal. Redstar, if you've issues to resolve with Migeru, I suggest you contact him by email.
by Nomad on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 02:22:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
dude, I know your social skills suck.
Look who's talking.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 04:01:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This way lies madness.

Step back & breathe.

by Nomad on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 05:07:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the discussion spiralling more and more broader; it is as if I need to "unpack" what is actually driving you.

Because I go from:

I am less than thrilled with some of the reactions on recent diaries.

to reading that part of your reasons is based on the responses to a diary from your hand.

In this thread "relevance" pops up. Is this what you're really driving at? Because until this point I see a lot of venting and personally directed agression.

I've two points:

  1. If there are personal issues remaining, I can't work them out, and I strongly suggest you go work them out personally, and not at a public forum.

  2. I think I'll echo Jerome in this but: ET is self-organising. It's up to you as well. You can choose to stay away (which, this dispute aside, I would find regrettable - as you do belong to the core group of financial diarists.) Or you can decide to take it a more positive side: aim for giving it a new direction - and BTW I think that's exactly what Frank is doing superbly.
by Nomad on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 04:14:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...the first hilarious meta thread started was by Colman, a couple of months ago, asking that we not fall into idées reçues and challenge each other on the ideas.

Coming from him and his usual method of expressing displeasure (a trite yet snarkly comment which provides nothing but disapproval) or a down rating, obviously I found that supremely ironic and funny.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:56:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's 6, not 7, and out of these 6 you have afew, who has lived 30+ years in France, Izzy and stormypresent, who haven't been around much lately, and Colman, who's Irish.

Still, I'm not sure what your point is. I work in finance. As do you. Surely we're even more tainted?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:45:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman's Irish?
Could have sword he move to Ireland from the UK.

Check with him. Not that it matters. He's still an ass.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 05:54:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not a FP'er.

I am not from an "Anglo" country (I just lived for 6 years in the US).

I am not surprised there is a higher proportion of native English speakers on ET, it's inevitable (see above my replies to ValentinD) and yes, I'd gladly see more participants from Germany, Italy etc... but this needs some extra steps

Still, I don't see how it make ET Anglo-centric, even less US centric, even if Jerome cross-posts on DK. As an engineer could I complain it's too finance centric? Or energy centric? (I don't; that'd be ridiculous)

And I don't see calling people names adding anything.

by Bernard on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 06:10:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I personally owe you an apology, redstar?  For being a FPer and for being from the UK?

You have issue with particular comments that individuals have made, some of whom are FPers and some not - and who may or may not deserve the criticism you are throwing.  Yet you swipe at the whole lot of us with the comments you are making here, as though we are all out to persecute you and other non FPers.  

I am sick to death of this.  As I have said in these ridiculous and tedious discussions before, there is no 'consensus', no conspiracy amongst the FPers, we have an extended team of volunteers now which is meant to help keep roles clear and prevent that feeling of FPers 'piling in' as we so often get slammed for...

Can I remind you once more that we are all people, we have our own lives and we volunteer our time here, and reading, commenting, diarying takes a lot of our time and energy - just to get shit thrown at us every time somebody gets pissed off about something. Great.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 07:05:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Wales: "As I have said in these ridiculous and tedious discussions before, there is no 'consensus', no conspiracy amongst the FPers, we have an extended team of volunteers now which is meant to help keep roles clear and prevent that feeling of FPers 'piling in' as we so often get slammed for...

Can I remind you once more that we are all people, we have our own lives and we volunteer our time here, and reading, commenting, diarying takes a lot of our time and energy - just to get shit thrown at us every time somebody gets pissed off about something".

Exactly - thank you In Wales! The editorial team are people volunteering their time,  who by the way rarely get a thank you for their efforts, so it is really quite demoralizing when people trash the efforts of the volunteers to keep the place going, however imperfect these may be.

Sometimes it makes me wonder why, if a person thinks the way things work at ET really sucks so bad, that they don't go start their own blog and do it better? That's a real question. Yea, but its just easier to be disruptive and trash other people's efforts to keep things moving. I tell you what, being a volunteer and having to constantly deal with some people's anti-authoritarian issues is really tiresome and boring. How about trying to contribute something in the positive to the blog, rather than complaints, whining, arguments and personal attacks? It takes a lot more effort to contribute positive material.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 03:14:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bob, I agree with most of what you say, but I must take issue with the idea that only the FPers are volunteers. We are all volunteers - even the lurkers.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 04:04:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, Sven. We are all volunteers. Some people choose to put more time and effort into it, is all, but if they didn't then we would not have this blog. There has to be some direction and guidance, and these things are often done with intuition...with a desire not to be too controling...but when things get contentious then some kind of structures need to be put in place. That is the only time there are any internal discussions. Hopefully, gently, but firmly. Otherwise it is chaos and people trashing the place. I also feel that it is up to the whole community to try and "put the 5000 members at ease" so we all feel safe and included (if that is possible for the 60,000 a month who visit here)...and unfortunately, this thread has put me at a great deal of unease, frankly. But oh well, isn't the first time, won't be the last...such is the nature relationships and communications...I just like to see positive resolutions (whenever possible), and do admit impatience whem people would rather trash than make progress in making the place better...but that's just me. cheers! <end of rant...>

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 05:27:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bob, ET is a microcosm reflecting all the old, tired complaints of the global, economic dis-ease that cannot be resolved if they are not addressed:  

INEQUALITY between the inner sanctum and the rest, who must have the `thick skins' for any treatment, or be scorned, isolated and dismissed as `not good enough' and therefore `expendable'.  Readers that see that, are not willing to bring it on themselves, nor defend anything against a TECHNOCRATIC tank-think, leading to the same fight-or-flight options that suffocate fresh thinking and diversity.  

PROTECTIONISM and knee-jerk defensiveness denotes INSECURITY from the ELITES, that team up as if that proved impeccability.  It's the automatic response pattern here, when anyone questions the status quo.  To call it complaining, griping, whining and repetitive, never addresses the point, but is simplistic myopia and lack of pattern recognition in human behavior, waiting to happen again.  

Your psychology phd-hammer missed the nail when you imply that those who dare speak a problem  need `therapy', but very few readers will confuse simple attacks with `reason' and see that ET's management style, or lack of it, needs preparation and experience.  The lack of sensitivity proves your statement that it's much more complicated than rocket science.  

CONTROL AND HOSTILITY confused with discussion, debate and moderation:  I don't know how many times other members have also written it clearly, at length and much more diplomatically, only to be ignored, or dismissed with flat DENIALISM, over and over, and en masse.  

EXCEPTIONALISM, EliTes do not want to see or hear, for fear of loss:  Even when it comes to asking for writers, the need for Change is denied some more, pointing at others, rather than consider why they don´t flock here effortlessly, when the main content is good.   People may not write more because they have better things to do than go through a `final exam' on ET university, with repeated belittling and harassment from omnipresent interrogators.  We all have plenty of policing and controlling in our lives.  

I know I am no example of patience, or diplomacy, though the big bang knows I try and I would hire Frank if I were rich, but ignoring the perpetual, omniscient and dogmatic commentaries, blurs a lot of valuable content.  Of course, the hostility-creating fp´s have a lot to offer and are obviously needed here --everyone is-- but instead of moderating themselves within their expertise and not interfering, they have been enabled and enthroned way out of their league, at the cost of many participants.  So now fp's complain and whine that they are overworked and have to fill in more space, continuing the VICIOUS CYCLE.  

QUANTITY, NOT QUALITY, or `throwing numbers at the problem':  Multiplying the number of rules and fp's that follow the same, past patterns without factual moderating qualifications, only escalates the problem because the number of rocket scientists is, generally, proportionally opposite to the number of experts in moderation, communication, human relations, etc.  

Every single one of us has good reason to feel sick and tired in our lives, only we don't voluntarily accept a position we are unqualified for because it looks good.  Being `lean and mean', or the enforcer of the toughest blog in the neighborhood, makes most educated and sensible people feel uncomfortable, not welcome.  

Have you all considered that members bring up issues, not because they are weird, but BECAUSE THEY CARE about and want TO IMPROVE ET???  I didn't stay and try because I just `want to run down' ET to build my ego.  I'm not just a paid contributor that went to three ET meet-ups, in Barcelona and Paris, because I have money to throw away; I am around because I care about People and nth possibilities!, so I really wish ET had a professional observer and listener to manage and lead progress.

We are preparing for Change, not for war, we hope, and a great idea like ET has to EVOLVE and change along, to continue being great.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 08:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry metavision, you know I like you but I am really getting fed up and tired of all these accusations towards the so-called "elites" from you and others here. All I can see as one of the elites is work, work, work - and extremely THANKLESS work - as it gets continuesly critised and there is rarely a kind word for all the effort the "elites" put in to make this site possible.

One thing that also is often forgotten that this site existes due to curtesy of Jérôme, who puts in time and also carries the financial load of the site.

There is no monolitic "elite", there are only a group of HUMAN BEINGS, who try as good as they can to be of service to the community. I am fully aware that we have our foibles and weakness, which also goes for all other participants. I am really tired of us being depicted as a power-hungry manipulating group. If this continues I see no further reason to spend so much time in this community and try to be of service - because I can tell you currently there is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to be gained in being part of the elite, no satisfaction nore fun.

by Fran on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we need to introduce impeachment of "elite" members.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 03:37:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually have some sympathy with you position, ie I agree that there is a vicious circle here, and how things can look to you. But will you try to look at it from our side too?

It is true that some of the most frequent commenters can be quite harsh in their tone to others - focusing on content, sometimes in arcane and esoteric ways, rather than on people, and not seeing how that can hurt other people.

But they (we) do this consistently, ie to one another as well, and would see it as an insult to treat some nicer than they treat the others, ie this would mean that we think these people cannot handle facts. Whether this reasoning is correct or not (and I know you don't think it is), it would be helpful if you could at least acknowledge that it's not a conspiracy, and it's not intended to hurt (even though it can do so).

As you know, the community is to a large extent built around technocratic topics. They're not the only ones, thankfully, and there is no policy to exclude others things, and I'm personally grateful that there are other topics, but it is a fact that I'm more interested in these "technocratic" topics and conversations, and this has attracted similarly minded people - and it's not totally surprising that these dominate tend to conversations here, and have tended to fill in the ranks of the fp'ers, out of sheer dedication to the site.

Let's all try to be as diplomatic as we all can be (and that includes you), and about how we can bring other topics on the site (and you'd certainly be in a position to do this yourself, in the OTs or via diaries), but let's please get out of the vicious circle of accusations and hurt.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 05:32:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
INEQUALITY between the inner sanctum and the rest, who must have the `thick skins' for any treatment, or be scorned, isolated and dismissed as `not good enough' and therefore `expendable'.  Readers that see that, are not willing to bring it on themselves, nor defend anything against a TECHNOCRATIC tank-think, leading to the same fight-or-flight options that suffocate fresh thinking and diversity.  

PROTECTIONISM and knee-jerk defensiveness denotes INSECURITY from the ELITES, that team up as if that proved impeccability.  It's the automatic response pattern here, when anyone questions the status quo.  To call it complaining, griping, whining and repetitive, never addresses the point, but is simplistic myopia and lack of pattern recognition in human behavior, waiting to happen again.

These unspecific critiques that pop up in every meta thread are not terribly helpful. May I suggest that you become a slight little bit more concrete?

Pick a post - from anywhere in the past year or so - where you think "an elite," individually or collectively, unduly "scorned, isolated and dismissed" somebody. Preferably in response to the kind of "fresh thinking and diversity" that is being "suffocated."

Then deconstruct it. Pick it apart and show what's wrong with it. Show where it leaves the realm of sound critique and enters the realm of bullying. Be as detailed as possible. If you have the time, try to write a post that expresses the same core idea, but without the stylistic foibles that you consider stifling.

That way, everybody can see in some detail what your critique is about, and compare and contrast your preferred style to the actual record. While I won't presume to speak for anybody else here, I myself have a great deal of respect for data. Vague complaints about having new and wonderful ideas suppressed by The Evil Establishment,TM though... not so much.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:07:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We sometimes had these "away day" team building sessions which some people found intensely annoying, but which others found fun and helpful.  One of the cliches which was thrown about was "nobody's perfect, but a team can be".  The essence of the concept was that we all have our strengths and weaknesses but it was possible to construct teams where people could complement each other and compensate for each others strengths and weaknesses.

Thus some people might have good technical skills, some people have good "people" skills, some people very good conceptual skills etc.  Building a good team wasn't about trying to put square pegs into round holes - and putting (say) good technical people in to people management roles - because that wasn't playing to their strengths and wasn't optimizing organisational effectiveness if you had other people who could play the people management roles better.

Of course, over time, people with one set of skills could also develop others, put the point was that it was not an absolute requirement that they do so - so long as you can find other people in the organisation (or recruit them) who could provide the skills balance/mix that was optimal for the task in hand.

So I don't think Bob's call, positive and constructive as it is, should be read in the context of previous diaries where the subsequent dialogue might have been less than helpful.  People don't leave their personalities at the door when they enter ET, so its probably just better to celebrate and accept each of us for what we are.

When in business you have the right to select, recruit, promote etc. on the basis of what you consider to be the most appropriate skill set for the task in hand.  But ET is a voluntary collective and so within pretty broad parameters of libel and grossly offensive behaviour, we have to accept people for what they are and be thankful that enough people are prepared to put in enough voluntary effort to keep the place going.  

No, its not perfect, and I would personally like to see ET appealing successfully to a broader range of writers and readers.  But it can't meet everybody's needs and the beauty of the WWW is that there are no end of resources and forums where people can go to blog on different topics and in different contexts.  I am personally fascinated by the very different reactions I get to the same diaries published in different fora. But when it comes to discussion, ET is rarely bettered and we shouldn't let a few unhelpful comments obscure that.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 24th, 2009 at 08:12:35 AM EST
I'd like to clear up discussion about having thick skins.  I do not interpret thick skins as the kind of protection offered by a Komodo Lizard, as Metavision says we would have evolved if we were to have thick skins.  Thick skins are a psychological, sociological construct; it probably has evolved in that we are capable of developing mentally.

When i write of thick skins, i use it in the sense of The Great Law of Peace given to the Haudenausaunee by The peacemaker.  (The Great Law is the oldest functioning democracy in the world.)  The Council Chiefs, nominated by the women, are asked to have "skins seven spans thick."

Rather than take my word for it, better a discussion between Huston Smith and Chief Oren Lyons.

Discussion begins here.


   What he actually said was, "You must have skin seven spans thick, like seven spans of a tree, to withstand the abuse that you are going to receive in your position.  You must be tolerant and must not respond in kind, but you must understand and be prepared to absorb all of that because it is not going to be coming from your enemies, it is going to be coming from your friends and your families.  This you can expect."

While this entreaty to the leaders of the Iroquois Confederacy was meant to guide an entire nation, it might have some relevance to bloggers, FPers, and even infrequent commenters.  the seven spans also refers to a similar request to the chiefs, that in every word they utter, they consider the seven generations "in the ground" who have brought them to this point, and the seven generations who will live under these words or this decision.

Redstar may well have some valid complaints, which should not be dismissed out of hand or because he's very direct in spelling them out, and everyone might best step back and figure out better ways to discuss them.  Then again, complaining about a deleted diary goes against my grain given the medium here, as does calling people an ass.

I'm an ass at times too, so???

(Thi comment is an example of someone who "volunteers" to take the time to share thoughts at the cost of the workload facing him on Monday morning, exemplifying the commitment to keep this place flowing.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 05:00:44 AM EST
By the way, if anyone here gets discouraged by the tone of some of this discussion, and wants to simply walk away, think about what Hiawatha, Jigonsahsee and The Peacemaker had to overcome to bring about the Great Law.

A powerful ugly black magician with seven crooks in his back and live snakes as his hair!

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 05:12:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well done again, as usual, CH.  Nobody wins when these conversations spiral.  I think part of the problem may be that people actually look to leaders in general for higher standards of behaviour - even than their own - because they are leaders and thus representing and acting as an example to the rest of the community.  Thus even if a leader engages in nothing more than tit-4-tat behaviour - with insults equally shared - it is the leader who comes in for the harsher criticism.  

There may also be an issue with accountability.  Who is a leader accountable to?  Who sanctions those who have the power to sanction others?  What process is there for moderation/appeal/redress if a member of the community feels they have been less than fairly treated by those in authority?

These are universal issues and by no means restricted to ET, although I would have hoped we would aspire to best practice here on ET for dealing with such issues.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 06:14:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spot on regarding both leaders (held to higher standards) and accountability.  For ET, a never ending process of upleveling one's game.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 06:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I appreciate and now understand what you meant with the background history of the Great Law of Peace, which I didn't know before, but I imagine that was in the context of survival and war, which is not ET's situation.

goes against my grain... , as does calling people an ass.

Colman does it in pairs without consequences:  
Colman to poemless:
"You are being an ass. And so are you metavision."

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:43:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm starting to feel really excluded.  Nobody has given me the keys to the conspiracy cupboard yet.

Redstar-I know this has been said, but I didn't see the argument in question, and it's...well...it's unhelpful...to make allegations based on evidence that you have deleted.

I thought...and I won't speak for the rest of the editorial team, but it's something I believe I learned from observing them...that, except in the most rare and extreme cases, ET moderation policy is applied to behaviour, not censorship of content.  Your own account of the thread seems to me to suggest that this is indeed what happened; the question is whether or not it was justified in context.  A question that can no longer be answered.

I do feel as if I am being asked to moderate/censor content, whether it is "PhD esoterica", or diaries on non-European subjects.  Again, I seem to have a radically different impression of the site, because I thought just about everything, from professorial level comments to low puns and lolcats, was welcome and appreciated.

This thread is starting to take on the characteristics of the most destructive kind of marital row: a cataloguing of old resentments, spiralling into ever more vague and bitter recriminations.  I know it's not always easy, but is it possible for all of us to try to deal with issues singly, as they arise?  We have too much in common to let these things come between us.

by Sassafras on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 07:38:51 AM EST
... around, because I think it's still valid:

I value ET because it is frequented by people with an amazingly diverse and in-depth knowledge base, and I have a rough feel for each contributors area of expertise.

High signal to noise ratio, in other words.

But most importantly, I know the regular contributors here well enough that I can extend the presumption of good faith. While that does not permit one to suspend good sense entirely, it does mean that I do not have to scrutinise each post for ulterior motives, as I would if I were reading - say - the comment thread on a newspaper article. And it permits me to read ambiguous contribution in the more favourable of the possible ways.

I would argue that the mutual presumption of good faith is what defines a "community." And, without wishing to play amateur psychologist, I think that the partial breakdown of this mutual presumption of good faith between the long-time contributors is what makes the flame wars here more painful (and more personal) than what their actual content (usually reasonably polite, by internet standards) would seem to justify on its own.

And I would add that I think that people who find themselves unable to extend the presumption of good faith to the person(s) they are arguing with should seriously consider discontinuing that particular discussion. State your point once, as clearly and concisely as you can, and leave it at that, unless you have absolute trust in the good faith and intellectual integrity of the person you are arguing with. I've found that this technique does wonders for both the signal to noise ratio of the threads I participate in and for my blood pressure.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 04:39:32 PM EST
We can get our recommended weekly dose of flame wars in YouTube comment threads. ET-style flame wars would probably increase their signal to noise ratio anyway...

- Jake

Disclaimer: "Trolls" is used here in the purely subjective sense of "people whose honesty you fail to trust." No reference to the behaviour of anyone - past or present - intended.

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 25th, 2009 at 04:43:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You all are wasting so much time on this redstar dude.  The guy obviously is a whiner who can't take a comment or two.  What are you?  6 years old?  Grow up!  Or go start your own blog.
by BillyBob on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 12:27:19 PM EST
Welcome to ET, BillyBob.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 05:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so sure, not so sure: more or less personal flame wars happen regularly, it seems. I still remember the one in february or so. But what would be life without a bit of distraction. Une longue fleuve tranquille? Pahlease!
:)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue May 26th, 2009 at 07:10:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a severe test of maturity to explore no proof-zones, and yet as you say, a plateau of peace would not be very real, so if you see the blog as an entity in itself, semi-independent, a sum greater than its parts, then it's interesting to observe how after a period where we all direct our daily dose of bile towards some feckless leader and pat ourselves on the back for being so peaceful, the ET thought-form gently tugs us back to an area where our unity is upended and we have to look at ourselves, a much harder task.

we might not come to ET looking for gestalt, for some an adherence to linear concepts is nourishment enough, but i appreciate the ebb and flow here, and would hate it if we discussed spirituality, magic and metaphysics as total menu, just as political commentary and energy and economics analyses alone would be far too dry.

what's so groovy is the mix, the mashup, best encapsulated in the recent comments page, where the comment juxtapositions approach william burrough's level of surreal revelation.

this page more thany any reveals the magnificent breadth of ET's 'group-mind', just as certain diaries revealed a tendency to 'group think' in some, something a bit narrowing, imo.

it's not enviable, being a FPer, for sure you're going to attract a higher level of expectations than plain old joe blogs (!), it sucks, it ain't fair, but you get to choose whether you want the job, and presumably when ET goes galactic, you'll be able to dust off your medals and tell your grandkids how you placed those rivets in the empire state building.

in other words, it's unpaid, it's volunteer, and maybe without you this would be a one-page blog of jerome's with 10 comments a day, just another windy outpost in e-siberia, but it's a conscious, adult investment you choose to make, and like any investment it'll have it's ups and downs.

but there is a gestalt element to any group that meets regularly, whether the overt reasons may be political commentary, or selling tupperware, same difference, it's people warts and all, and what happens when they mingle energies.

so as a non-FP er, i find it a bit pathetic in a heartbreaking way, when there's a 'poor us' quality to some comments, and an uncharacteristic outpouring of frustration, such as Fran's, (when she i very much doubt has ever offended anyone, even metavision (!), yet is obviously unnerved by a sense of belonging to some subgroup that is under attack.

this doesn't feel right or healthy.

you just can't get away from this shit, no matter where you go, it's part of our education as human beings, to learn tolerance and respect for others, and when those who claim high ideals or noble intentions stumble, as we all do as humans, then there's further to fall, as it were.

whenever there's a split in a group, such as the one between FPers and the rest, there's always going to be some projection, some under and over-dogging, it's yooman nature..like it or not.

what matters is how we deal with these times when plateauing has become a 'fleuve tranquille' and the zeitgeist demands we stick our heads into the lions' cage again, to test our intellectual mettle for humility, and lay bare any unconscious aggression, to be supported or decried (or ignored) by the rest of the group.

we're not jugglers, or blacksmiths, but we juggle ideas and theories, and forge new thoughtforms as we share the best we can find in ourselves, practicing the high art of communication, and learning from one another. disagreements are opportunities to be gentlemanly, spats are for learning if and how much we hold grudges, subjects to hard to tame into unanimity show us when we calcify our opinions into thoughtless credos, frictions show us where our assumptions have become identities, and how pride ruins a good discussion.

i came here to get smarter, and you all have given me so much, i don't know where to begin or end in being thankful enough. i apologise for the times i've delighted in provocation, forgetting my higher self and indulging in petty-minded vitriol-splashing, and i learned how embarrassing being an idiot in public can be, (not that i didn't have a clue lol!) the people who pissed me off have seemingly made some big efforts to become less judgemental, and it's great, yet metavision's critique is not entirely dated yet, there's still further to go in reducing male dominance, intellectual pride, and some reflexive paranoia.

i do feel confident that the mix is working for most people most of the time, but i also share some here's beliefs that there's a tone of snobby passive aggression and rarefaction that probably has an affect slightly impeding more people from posting.

on the other hand it may be a good defence against shiploads of tripe, one doesn't really know.

maybe one day i'll have my own blog, and a salon full of talented, funny, perceptive and always polite cyber-friends to be my FPers and all will always be well, even in the sharkiest waters.

hahahaha

meanwhile i'll keep coming here, and learning what there is to learn. (a lot)...

the best thing i learned here was i can be a moron, and ET has helped me work some of that out of my system.

the rest lies ahead!

peace out, smilicons, group hugs, kumbaya, you vicious, elitist, godless thugs are a disaster, but a few more years of my mindgames psychic long-distance massage therapy and you'll all be ready for the nice men in their clean white coats and gleaming machines...

we're coming to take you away, bwa ha ha...

you won't feel a thing, just relax...

contribute to the great adventure of science...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 04:46:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, welcome to ET, BillyBob, even with an uninformed, dogmatic, judgmental start.  

What brought you here?

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 06:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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