[Air-L] Credentials

Gilbert B. Rodman gbrodman at mindspring.com
Tue Aug 18 21:08:37 PDT 2009


Hi, Rasha (and company) --

Since I was one of those who responded with an objection to your
original request, let me pipe up to say that I appreciate the grace and
courtesy with which you've responded below -- and to assure you that I,
at least, took no offense to said request.  So, IMHO, no apology on your
part is actually necessary.

I'd extend my earlier objection a bit -- in a friendly and respectful
fashion, mind you -- by noting that the specific desire you express
below ("to know more about the people posting messages," which is a
pretty open-ended sort of curiosity) is different from your original
request (wanting people to cite their credentials, which privileges a
fairly narrow range of information about those people) in some pretty
crucial ways.  And I can appreciate the former much more than the
latter.  I certainly can't claim to know you well, but I suspect that I
have a much better sense of who you are from seeing how you respond to
the people who responded to your posts than I do from the fairly cold
and impersonal facts that turn up in your signature.  To be sure, there
are contexts in which those sorts of professional facts will matter a
great deal.  If, for example, I'm trying to convince my department chair
to pay for you to come to my campus and give a talk, for example, the
credentials on your c.v. will matter much more than whether you can
compose witty and charming emails.  But I'm not sure this listserv is
necessarily (or even usually) such a context.

Moreover, what you call "public" settings (and, yes, it's a matter of
debate whether this listserv is truly "public") are arguably *less*
likely to be places where such credentials are routinely shared -- or
where they matter.  On a street corner, in a cafe, on a city bus (etc.),
you're not likely to know the professional credentials (or even the
names) of most of the people with whom you share those spaces.  You can
(and presumably do) still interact with many of those people on a
regular basis -- and if you happen to share professional (or personal)
information with one another, it's presumably only because it somehow
matters to the immediate context of your specific interaction ... but
not because there's some general rule that you can't trust your seatmate
on the bus until you know where they went to school, where they work,
and so on.  If anything, I'd argue that it's actually *private* spaces
where the "right" to have detailed information about other people's
identities and backgrounds is more likely to come into play.  If you
surprise me by showing up unexpectedly in my kitchen, for example, I
don't think I'm out of line to demand to know who you are and why you're
rummaging through my freezer.  But if you surprise me by showing up
unexpectedly (from my perspective, anyway) at the corner of Washington
and Cedar Avenues, I've got no inherent right to demand that you
identify yourself and explain your presence.  :)

cheers
gil




Dr. Rasha Abdulla wrote:
> Ok, folks, you've made your point. I've obviously stumbled on a beehive of
> some sort. All I meant was I'd personally appreciate it if the person
> talking to me (among others, I know) would let me know a little bit about
> who he/she is, if only for the sake of including folks like me who might not
> be lucky enough or experienced enough or have been around enough to know
> most people on the list. I apologize if I have offended anybody, that
> certainly wasn't my intention, but I still stand by my point that,
> personally, I'd like to know more about the people posting messages on a
> "public" listserv, and I don't think that's too much to ask (and yes, Jeff,
> knowing that you're a parachutist bungee jumper is actually interesting and
> gives me more perspective on who you are. At least I'll remember that next
> time you post a message since I haven't had the priviledge of meeting you
> personally yet). Of course we can argue for ages about whether this list is
> public or private, but that's another topic of discussion.
>
> I thank the few who sent me private messages of support, and the many who
> disagreed with me publicly. That's what the list is for, I guess. I'll
> continue to sign my full name and title/link/description/whatever, and I
> appreciate those who do others that courtesy and certainly now understand
> why others who don't don't.
>
> All the best.
> Rasha
>
> On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 5:26 AM, Jeff Jacobsen <cultxpt at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>   
>> I'd rather put my life-experience qualifications.  Doesn't that count?
>>
>> Jeff Jacobsen
>> Mine Explorer
>> Bungee Jumper
>> Parachutist
>> Anti-cult Activist
>>
>> See? Much more interesting...
>>
>> On 8/18/09, Dr. Rasha Abdulla <rasha at aucegypt.edu> wrote:
>>     
>>> Hi all,
>>>
>>> I've been wanting to ask this of the list members for a while, but was
>>> afraid it might be offensive to some. But I'm increasingly convinced that
>>> it's important.
>>>
>>> Could list members please list their full names and titles as a signature
>>>       
>> to
>>     
>>> their messages? It may not make much difference if you're asking a
>>>       
>> question,
>>     
>>> but it certainly does when you're providing an answer or even making a
>>> comment. I think it adds to the credibility of the message, and gives
>>>       
>> other
>>     
>>> list members a chance to assess such credibility.
>>>
>>> Thank you. Take care.
>>> Rasha
>>> --
>>> Rasha A. Abdulla, Ph.D.
>>> Assistant Professor
>>> Journalism and Mass Communication
>>> The American University in Cairo
>>> www.rashaabdulla.com
>>>       
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>
>
>
>   


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