----- Original Message -----
From: "Kerrie Kennedy" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: Private message
> I'll admit that I don't think that comments, contributions or even
> corrections should be limited only to the most experienced and fluent. ( I
> know of other instances where people suggesting an answer have been told
> that they aren't fluent enough to offer one) though it is always a huge
> benefit to have their input. It assumes that unless you've reached level
> X that you have nothing of possible value to offer. Less-experienced
> learners may have picked up a valuable nugget of info or two along the way
> either from someone else or from their own deductions. I would hope that
> any list would encourage input from all their subscribers. At the very
> least it's an opportunity to see what info is circulating out there and to
> correct info that might be wrong. How else do people learn?
Firstly, I agree with about 99% of your very thoughtfully and sensitively
written message, a Chiarrai.
I completely agree that people, of all levels, shouldn't be intimidated from
offering assistance; and if you look at the record of Gobnait's stewardship
of the Gaidhlig 4 U list (and mine as well, when I was co-owner of that
list), you'll find that newbies and the less-fluent help each other all the
time there, with encouragement and occasional assistance from the more
The issues which Gob and I bring up don't have to do with non-experts
helping people, although that appears to be what a number of readers of this
thread are inferring. That's incorrect.
My personal beef has to do, firstly, with the sheer *volume* of Fiona's
corrections, and the fact that she's pretty much assigned herself the role
of doing all corrections for all contributors, regardless of their own skill
level and her own skill level. As Gobnait noted, Fiona calls herself
"advanced" -- after six years, calling yourself "advanced" is being, I
think, overly charitable with yourself. I've been learning for nine
years, and I wouldn't go near calling myself "advanced". I'd call
*Cailean Mark* "advanced". Calling yourself advanced when you've had as
little experience in Gaelic as either Fiona or I have had is, I think,
selling people a bill of goods about oneself.
IMO, Fiona's a bad person -- of course she isn't; she seems very nice, and
desirous of being helpful -- I do believe, however, that she doesn't grasp
certain basics of list etiquette and protocol. That when you join a list,
you find your level, and operate from there. As I've noted before, Fiona,
literally since her first post to the list, has taken on the mantle of
teacher to others -- not just certain others, who are demonstrably below her
level -- but to essentially *all* others (excepting the aforementioned
greybeards). Each of us has our own eccentricities of Gaidhlig, and she
has hers. But because of the sheer volume of her corrections, her Gaidhlig
is becoming a default for all of the newbies and people under her, and I'm
not sure that that's entirely a good thing. That puts the rest of us, her
peers, in an awkward position -- because she doesn't have any governors or
sense of proportion to her participation on the list, we, her peers, either
have to start disputing her point-by-point -- which can take up an *awful*
lot of time -- or we try to balance things as much as we can, by posting in
as much volume as she is -- or we just sit silently by while she assumes
control of what the newbies learn.
And I disagree with you that Gobnait's post should have gone to the list
because of the issues it raises -- under NO circumstances should anyone post
anyone else's private message to a mailing list, PERIOD. If Fiona was
curious about the implications Gobnait's message, Fiona could have simply
asked the listmembers if they had any issues similar to what someone from
the list had written to her about privately.
I agree that e-mail is chaotic, and that this sort of thing does happen...
Which is precisely why it's so important that people NOT do what Fiona did,
in posting a private note the whole list. Let me remind, once again, that
if Fiona had not posted Gobnait's message to the list, this entire
argumentative thread would not exist.
So, my complaint is not that Fiona is a bad person, or that she isn't being
helpful -- it's that she's bombed onto the list out of nowhere, immediately
swarmed the list with her corrections and comments, made her Gaidhlig, to a
great extent, the default list Gaelic of the newbies (just by sheer dint of
the number of her posts), and posted a private message which disturbs her to
the list in order to marshal support. This suggests to me, putting it
mildly, a lack of savvy about certain basic list etiquette.
> I still live in hope that the list will encourage more contributions, not
> less, and that all contributions will be treated with respect since they
> are made with the intention of informing and benefitting everyone.
I do too, and I'm ready to let this go any time everyone else is ready to.
Even Fiona herself has been trying to end the thread. But as long as people
continue to write to either defend the posting of Gobnait's private note, or
to jump on Gobnait, I'll keep responding. Gobnait didn't ask for this to
be a public matter -- Fiona made it one. So, it's up to others to decide
if they want to keep it one or not.
Want to signoff for a while?
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