Citations, etc.

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Tue, 6 Aug 1996 12:00:49 -0400

In message <Pine.SUN.3.93.960805204121.10602A-100000@equinox> Allen Gardner

> In the case of Kephart replying to Cook even the comment on
> Chomsky seems to be in the form of an opinion or surmise about Chomsky
> without benefit of citation or any direct quote.

It's true that opinions are often expressed on anthro-l without citations or
other evidence to back them up. In my case, I suppose I could have cited
Chomsky's 1995 The Minimalist Program. Problem is, I wonder if doing this all
the time would slow down the flow of what is, primarily, a discussion. In a
discussion ideas are offered and then upheld, refined, or abandoned on the basis
of feedback. It's a messy process sometimes, but along with the messiness come
some very interesting ideas, useful information, and, perhaps most important for
isolated folks like me, the chance to interact with people interested in these
issues. I do agree that judicious references would be helpful at key points,
and I for one will try to do better in this regard.

> Alas, whatever the good points of Anthro-L, it discourages one from expecting
> opinions to be automatically greeted with courtesy.

This is certainly true. Too often people read a message and asssume that it
represents the totality of the sender's thoughts on that topic. It would be
helpful to remember that this is discussion and, because discussions move in
fits and starts, to cut each other a little slack until we're sure they deserve
to be ripped to shreds. The alternative, it seems to me, is to be afraid to say
anything until you've thought through every possible ramification of your
message, including all the potential misreadings.

Ronald Kephart
University of North Florida