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re: Midwinter madness (Audi nil)

Mike Del Tergo said:

>Phil Rose said, <An intemperate, unsolicited  e-mail deserves no
>inherent special protection>
>I couldn't disagree more with Phil (Rose) here.  "special protection"
>no, normal Consideration, yes.  Anything I receive that involves
>personal observations or business conflicts re: other listers, I treat
>as private and expect others to do the same.  Public praises and support

So a personal, rude verbal attack by A on B is to be regarded  by B as a
_confidential_, rude verbal attack? Surely only if _both_ parties would be
discomfitted by some more-public disclosure.

Seems to me that one of the things that helps maintain moderation in
personal (especially written) discourse is the assumption of
accountability. Although when _third_ parties are involved, a different set
of rules would apply. So, if A says to B, "I think C is a jerk", it would
be "bad form" for B to quote this.

>>The term "private" is used rather commonly (but incorrectly) ... the
>>more appropriate term would be "personal". Thus, while an e-mail may be
>>a "personal",...it is surely _not_ necessarily "private" >

>Personal, From Webster's 9th Collegiate
>1) of, relating to, or affecting a person: PRIVATE (caps by Webster!)

Yes, most dictionaries today yield (sadly) to documenting what appears to
be in common use. And I didn't deny that "personal" and "private" _are_
commonly regarded as synonyms. However "private" (according to my Webster)
carries the sense of "secret and confidential", which are not explicitly
given in the nuances of meaning for "personal". Surely, meeting someone
personally is quite distinct from meeting privately. But this is a
digression, I admit.

Rather than the dichotomy between personal/private, the more pertinent
issue is  whether or not the contents of e-mail (or a letter delivered in
an envelope) are to be regarded as inherently unsuitable for sharing with a
wider audience. Again, I assert that this depends upon the content of the
message and the relationship that previously exists between sender and

If the Qlist guidelines were to state that any personal communications
(i.e. offlist) are not suitable for _direct_, attributed quotation--except
with permission, then the matter is settled without need for ethical
disputation. I don't believe that this guideline is stated. Perhaps it is
in the list of general rules of Netiquette?

>In my field, personal & confidential are irrevocably intertwined.

A useful, time-honored standard for clergyman, physician or lawyer. For the
rest of us, the concepts of personal and confidential are more tenuously

>>But the tone of Eric's message seemed to me to fall beyond what is
>>normally protected by that custom.>

>By definition, the posted "offending", snippet was taken out of context
>& and represents an unsuitable basis for representation of action or
>intent (prima facie) by the reposter or the wider audience.

That's certainly a matter that bears careful scrutiny. I didn't recall that
the quotation was edited, or if so, done in a way that misrepresented the
tone or intent of the message. But if Phil (a snip in time...) Payne is
guilty of felonius snippetry, it would be most ironic. He could easily
rectify that.

Phil Rose

         *  Phil & Judy Rose     E-mail:              *
         *                       pjrose@servtech.com  *