Re: Playground monitors: A Researcg Agenda?

Antoinette Errante (aerrante@MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU)
Tue, 13 Feb 1996 11:27:03 -0500

At 2:27 PM 2/13/96, Laurie Schacherbauer wrote in response to my post :
>Antoinette Errante wrote:
>> 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?>
>I have to say I would rather read posts debating these subjects than
>the ridiculous postings that were present during the "watchdog

In retrospect, after I posted and then looked again at the topics of choice
on Antro-L and compared them with the ones I listed, I must agree with
Laurie, at least in principle. I don't do do justice, however, to how even
important topics such as these can become trivialized when the posting gets
down to name-caling, posturing, and bravado rather than useful exchanges of

Should catholics be baptised in the orthodox church spiralled into an
argument as to whether this was yet another example of of parochialism and
small-mindedness on the part of various theological sectors on the list
(e.g. orthodox v. RC; Protestant v. RC) and the "continued negativity" of
members of the list.

What constitues a legitimate request for a group of librarians started when
the response to someone's query was an accusation of laziness and misuse
of the interne. This spiralled into a discussion (and I use the term
loosely) about the abusive attacks on the abusive attacks which others have
made regarding others' abusive attacks of others.

Can whites be legitimate africanists spiralled into name-calling rather
early on "Stop with your racist assumptions and assuming what you don't
really understand" was followed by "Oh yeah? Well your criticism just
proves my point that you CAN'T be objective!!!!" (expletives deleted all
the way around.

Should priests be allowed to marry became a bitter dispute over which
church was more compassionate and "my-church-is-better-than-yours" and

How's that for useful and productive dialogue on meaningful issues?

What do I call this? The "love-me-love-my-paradigm syndrome". So here's my
question to anthropology: is there anything about the internet space which
fosters this and is there anything that we can do by way of creating an
internet environment more conducive to (a culture?) of meaningful
(whatever that means) dialogue. I think we secretly all fear this would
take the fun out it by eliminating the emotional side of a good old
fashioned dispute, but it doesn't necessarily mean that. Nobody wants
Stepford anthropologists, theologians, historians, librarians. I think of
the "great debates" in history: Croce v. Pirandello on art and science
comes to mind. These guys really got down and dirty about their differences
(OK so they hated each other). But their reparte still managed to address
fundamental issues and they did not allow their differences to obscure the
issues that they raised.

Is Internet not the space for this kind of dialogue? Any takers?

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 -