RE: [sc] Civility of discourse in the Safety-Critical Systems Eng ineering Community

RE: [sc] Civility of discourse in the Safety-Critical Systems Eng ineering Community

From: Shore Andy (external) <Andy.Shore_at_xxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 18:51:24 -0000
Message-ID: <8E8D23D235D70840B6582917DF2789800D50F883@xxxxxx>
Hello Nick

Yes, I have a little concern that contribution can feel rather intimidating.

For sure, I don't contribute to the list much because I'm aware there are
contributors who really do know a lot more about anything I may write about
than I do; and it doesn't usually take long to figure out which contributors
they are. Sometimes one can ask questions without risking sounding
incompetent, of course.

And nuance? (Hmm, yes - and nuance used in the advocacy of formality,
perhaps!) Well, it's an English language forum and English is the first
language of Engineering (I state, on the basis of opinion and no evidence
whatsoever). And English is a wonderful language partly because it is so
supportive of nuance. Nuance, good. Nasty nuance, bad.

It's unfortunate if there is disdain, belittlement or point-scoring in the
nuance, of course, but does that happen (too much)?

I'm a bit concerned, though, about ideas of enforced civility. (Is that the
same as politeness? I think so.)

One man's civility may be another man's sterility, just as one man's banter
may be intimidating to another.

And just so I plant my flag firmly... if it smacks of PC, I hate it.

So, yes, a few ground rules for a baseline of civility, and very occasional
private words from a moderator to explain how an individual's post may not
be quite as civil as intended or appropriate. That would probably make the
small improvement that may be justifiable.

Also I'm not over the moon about the re-structuring of the SCML towards
particular topics. Who's going to set the topics? Who's going to say how far
you can go within them before being deemed off-topic? And then what? Who
says the many things we discuss are separable into topics and not
intertwined? Okay, it may be a reasonable idea and certainly worth
consideration, but NOT if this vital (in two senses) open forum is then

I'd have thought, though, that if the SCML members are going to be polled,
the structure of the SCML itself would have been a more essential subject
than a marginal and subjective concern about civility.

But that's just what I think, and I suspect many people who know me will
doubt I know enough about civility to have an opinion on it at all.


-----Original Message-----
From: Nicholas Lusty [mailto:nglusty@xxxxxx]
Sent: 15 December 2009 17:23
To: safety-critical@xxxxxx
Subject: Re: [sc] Civility of discourse in the Safety-Critical Systems
Eng ineering Community

Hi Andy,

I certainly think a bit of post-moderation of the form you described is 
a better than having all posts pre-moderated.
We need to remember that not all members here are native English 
speakers, and even those that are may not be as robust as
some of us, so the free use of highly nuanced language runs the risk of 
putting those that are quieter, or not having such a wide
range of vocabulary to hand at a disadvantage, and potentially lead to 
them feeling bullied, when all the other contributor intended
was a bit of banter. A gentle nudge from the moderators should be more 
than adequate for that task.



Shore Andy (external) wrote:
> Andrew
> ...
> Maybe there could be some clearer house rules about politeness.
> Maybe a moderator might occasionally mail a contributor directly to point
> out breaches of them.
> Maybe kick out someone who refuses to keep to them, but I don't think I've
> ever seen anything on the SCML that should merit that.
> But please don't moderate by censorship.

This email, including any attachment, is a confidential communication
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is
addressed. It contains information which is private and may be proprietary
or covered by legal professional privilege. If you have received this email
in error, please notify the sender upon receipt, and immediately delete it
from your system.

Anything contained in this email that is not connected with the businesses
of this company is neither endorsed by nor is the liability of this company.

Whilst we have taken reasonable precautions to ensure that any attachment to
this email has been swept for viruses, we cannot accept liability for any
damage sustained as a result of software viruses, and would advise that you
carry out your own virus checks before opening any attachment.
Received on Tue 15 Dec 2009 - 18:51:46 GMT