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Re: In defense of flame wars

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 14:18:25 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>
Cc: "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

The big problem with flame wars is that so much time is wasted on
straw men and personal attacks.  I love flames, and I love blasting
stupid ideas.  But when it goes from "blasting stupid ideas" to
"deciding what the other person has said and then blasting it, and
that person too," it becomes unproductive.

The danger with flame wars is that certain types of flames --
personal attacks and straw men -- signify that the participants are
_no longer listening to each other_ and thus can make no noticeable
progress forward.  When that happens, all is lost.  (And this is
why I removed my *plonk* on Joe, even.)

Arguments, even heated ones, where people are responding to what
the other people have said, are great and are often the only way
things can be resolved.  I agree with comments about not wanting to
avoid an argument because it offends 'delicate sensibilities' of
certain readers.  But I do think there is a danger, when you start
labeling, when you start bashing, when you start setting up straw
men -- because that means the argument is no longer productive and
has now become just a mess.

I don't care if we argue or not -- in fact I expect some degree
of argument -- I just hope that we're all productive about it.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Received on Wednesday, 22 August 2001 17:46:13 UTC

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