Playground monitors: A Researcg Agenda?

Antoinette Errante (aerrante@MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 22:11:29 -0500

Given the recent attempt to discuss anthroological identities, I'll begin
with the warning I do not consider myself one, only one with qualitative
leanings who is interested in keeping my ears open to what's going on
inrelated fields. But I am a comparativist. So here's my
observation/invitation inspired by
the"public-replies-to-private-messages" ethos/thread.

I subscribe to a variety of lists and there's this same kind of "culture"
brewing on all of them. I've already left 3 or 4 lists because of this
phenomenon but not without noticing there are certain cycles of bickering
that go one ((1)innocent post; (2)innocent-with inflammatory overtones
reponse [1&2 may be reversed]; (3) open name-calling; (4) please for sanity
(5) public announcement of unsubscibing - I
usually leave at this point so my observation don't go much farther.

Here's what other people have been bickering about of late on other lists:

Are Lutherans protestant?
Should Catholics be re-baptised in the orthodox church?
Is technology for Africa a good thing?
What constitutes a legitimate request for help to a group of librarians?
What constitues a legitimate technical question on a list about Websites?
Can whites be legitimate africanists?
Should priests be allowed to marry?
Is all aid to Africa racist?

Here's what colleagues on other lists have called/said to each other :

"just how much television do you watch that you'd ask such a question?:"
"quit spouting your drivel"
"traditionalist" (a real heavy one on my theology lists)
"you have just offended half the human race with your uninformed
thoughtless opnions on (subject deleted to protect the innocent)"
and of course, a savory number of
#@*$#+* etc. etc.

Now, I am in the throes of a content analysis I promised to let the list
know about (Ethnograph and Conc) so surfing my many lists gives me some
relief from the tedium.

But it occurred to me that I am finding more and more that the internet has
become the academic's (or at least MY ) version of People magazine or the
Ricky Lake show (Daryl Barnett seems to make a similar argument in an
earlier post).

So, dear Anthro-l colleagues. You are not alone. The hisotirans,
theologians, librarians, africanists are all bickering too. Here's my

Is anyone out there studying the development of internet culture? Is there
something about it that lends to this kind of behavior? I don't mean to
suugest that name-calling/flaming/lost tempers never happen in person
(we've all been to conferences and the like) but is internent behavior more
like driving a car than it is conversing around a roundtable with
colleagues. I must confess I myself rediscover my neopolitan roots
(language and gestures) while driving where I am normally a fairly
civilized and mild-mannered person.

Anyone care to metaflame? =3D)

Antoinette Errante Tel: (614) 292-3609
Assistant. Professor
Educational Policy Fax: (614) 292-7900
& Leadership
Ohio State University
29 W. Woodruff
Columbus, Ohio 43210

=C9 melhor ser alegre que ser triste; alegria =E9 melhor coisa que existe
=C9 assim como a luz no cora=E7=E3o
Mas pr'a fazer o samba com beleza =E9 preciso um bocado de tristeza
Precisa um bocado de tristeza se n=E3o n=E3o se faz o samba n=E3o
- Vin=EDcius de Mor=E3es -