Michael B and everyone,

First, you say this list is boringly tame. . I'm sure there are plenty of lists that encourage insults, silly arguments, and pointless controversy. As moderator, I have striven to ensure on this list  that  significant and civil discussion, in which no one feels intimidated, could proceed. Second, you try to justify your charaterization of Carrol on the basis that he should be tough; that misses the point, that I would have thought obvious: Even if someone in private life is your best friend, and you commonly address this person as, say, "you old bastard," and the person doesn't mind, if you do it in a forum such as this, it is still intimidating to others.   One can have intense and worthwhile discussion while remaining civil. Not trying to follow this helps turn any list into a not-very-illuminating boys' club, in my experience.

Third, I have tried to distinguish between characterizations of an argument and characterizations of the person who makes them, the latter being what I think must particularly be avoided. Granted, the distinction may sometimes be fairly artificial, but it does suggest a minimal line not to cross. Of course it would be better to go still further, and I urge everyone to try. If at all possible, do not say an argument is ignorant, arrogant or idiotic, or words to those effects; instead spell out what you see as its faults. Doing that may be tame but is also far  more illuminating than simple labels. But certainly, don't call the arguer names. If either of these cramps you style, I suggest putting your message aside for a  period of hours and then reread it to see f it can be changed or improved in these respects. 

Fourth, please do not resume an old discussion unless you have something you are pretty certain is genuinely new to add to it. And try to keep discussion germane to the list.

Fifth, I definitely do not want to have to moderate more people; nothing could be more tiresome, I assure you. In this role, I have developed some sympathy for at least the more benign of censors. Imagine how many words of no intrinsic interest to them they were forced to wade through.  Please spare me the trouble by moderating your own writing. 

Best,

Michael


On Aug 15, 2010, at 1:50 AM, Michael Balter wrote:

btw, there is a big difference between a discussion list and the pages of Science, at least there should be. If anything, this list is boringly tame; and also, both you and some other list members seem to have a high level of tolerance for the constant ad hominem comments about me (ignorant and arrogant/Larry, ignorant/Carrol, keep on shilling/mart, etc, all in the past several days) and in fact I am the main target of such personal attacks on this list. I have privately pointed out this bias in your moderation of this list many times.

My comment about Carrol was meant to be humorous, and in fact, reading Carrol's posts on Louis Proyect's Marxism list, he might even agree with my characterization--he doesn't think serious social change is likely or possible in our current era nor possible over the past decades.

MB





On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 9:03 AM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Lighten up, Michael, I think Carrol can take it--he's a revolutionary, after all, and should be made of tough stuff.

As you know, if you put me on moderation I will quit the list. That would make some people happy, but not everyone.

MB


On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 12:51 AM, Michael H Goldhaber <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Michael B:

I  have asked you repeatedly to avoid ad hominem comments. You keep doing it, much more than anyone else. Below, you are quite nasty to Carrol. I assume you don't indulge yourself in this way in articles  that you write for Science, so you it seems likely you possess the skills to understand the difference. I am very tired of having to ask over and over not to do this.  If you cannot avoid saying "exactly what  [you] think here" I will reluctantly, at long last, have to put you on moderation, no matter what objection you make.  

Best,
Michael

On Aug 14, 2010, at 2:34 AM, Michael Balter wrote:

I wanted to follow up on this comment by Charlie, which, as I said yesterday, came at an odd moment--when I had posted an article that I think dealt with a serious subject. Perhaps because mart responded to it (also in a serious vein, I think) it reminded Charlie of less interesting repartee between mart, me, and others, and he chose this moment to comment on it.

I think that list members should accept that I will continue to say what I think on this list, mart will continue to express himself in his inimitable way, Robert will continue his campaign against every gene in sight, etc. But this list is what the members make of it, and in fact a lot of the posts, especially from Phil (despite my disagreements with him on many things, his posts are the backbone of the list) and even me who often posts articles without comment, are very useful and relevant. There is nothing to stop Charlie, a hero of the science for the people movement, from posting material of interest including about the struggles he is involved in, and yet we never hear from Charlie except very occasionally to complain about what others are posting; likewise from Carrol, who is just an old sourpuss anyway and unlikely to contribute anything useful it seems. Likewise from others who would have much to say, like Larry, and even the great majority of Herb's posts mainly consist of complaining about what I say on the list, which again is unfortunate as Herb is one of the most sensible and eloquent presences here.

Nearly all of the initial posts on this list come from me, Phil, Sam, Robert, and a couple of others (I'm not counting mart because he mostly responds to what others say.) Perhaps most list members just want a quiet life and just want to read articles or be kept informed thanks to the material posted by us few, but if so then it is inevitable that those who want to express their personal views here, even when they are "provocative" or annoying to many, will dominate. Again, I have no intention of stopping saying exactly what I think here; but I don't want to be one of the very few doing that, and the list would be much more interesting if more people would participate and take initiative.

MB

On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 1:35 AM, Charles Schwartz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
What I see on this list from mart and from Michael (B) is an unending stream of very personal babble. I don't want to deny them their necessary outlets, but I must ask, Why do I bother to read (any of) it?

Charlie

mart wrote:
if one googles 'chris knight' (in wikipedia) he is the founder of a radical anthropology group (and i think also lost his academic position in the uk for some comments and role he had in g20 protests in the UK).  he also has a take on the evolutuion of language which is basically a big critique of chomsky (including chomsky's article with hauser in science).  i find it much more convincing than chomsky's approach (which seems all dressed up in hype with actual little rigor   much less reference to empirical data).  there free journal online has an interview wuith chomsky though i just skimmed it---and they go through their skepticism.
  s bowles (once a 'radical economist') and gintis also have gone through this kind of stuff.

--- On *Thu, 8/12/10, Michael Balter /<[log in to unmask]>/* wrote:


   From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
   Subject: engaged anthropology
   To: [log in to unmask]
   Date: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 2:19 PM

   List members might find this profile of U of Utah anthropologist
   Polly Wiessner of interest. She reflects an increasing trend in
   anthropology, sometimes called engaged anthropology, to become
   more closely involved with research subjects--indeed, to make them
   active collaborators--and to make their welfare paramount. This
   viewpoint, which rejects notions that active involvement with
   subjects compromises scientific objectivity, is also associated
   with an activist and advocacy role for anthropologists. The recent
   revolt in the American Anthropological Association against the use
   of anthropologists in Iraq and Afghanistan is an example of this
   attitude; and it represents, finally, the throwing off of the
   lingering effects of McCarthyism's devastating attack on the
   field. All these issues are discussed, albeit briefly, at the end
   of the piece.

   MB

   --     ******************************************
   Michael Balter
   Contributing Correspondent, Science
   Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
   New York University

   Email:  [log in to unmask]
   <[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">http:[log in to unmask]>
   Web:    michaelbalter.com <http://michaelbalter.com/>    <http://journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/balter.html>

   ******************************************

   "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask
   why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist." -- Hélder
   Pessoa Câmara





--
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/balter.html
******************************************

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist." -- Hélder Pessoa Câmara




--
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/balter.html
******************************************

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist." -- Hélder Pessoa Câmara



--
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/balter.html
******************************************

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist." -- Hélder Pessoa Câmara