Monday, March 15, 2010

Engaging contemporary intellectual culture

Auroman was earnest while responding to Raman. But when Kepler made some suggestions in unambiguous terms, Auroman flippantly tossed them around with circuitous repartee. This is a major flaw in normal online discussion threads. The participant’s mood and motive are crucial to what he would say. Pseudonym permits greater liberty for such frolicking:
  • The most common feature is spread (Joe Perez). Instead of replying to the point, just mention three or four additional facts and figures, every time.
  • Drop an anecdote or recount what you had heard from Mr. so and so. And the aura of authenticity is unmistakable.
  • An apt quotation is like a bomb. Hurl it and the opponent is instantly demolished.
  • Replying to one person but simultaneously targeting several others is economy. Using metonymy comes handy here so also many other slants and codes.
  • A rambling account by giving vent to too many things especially when one is provoked or sulks.
  • Hijack the discussion by introducing more juicy and volatile topics.
  • Delay in responding a query also kills zeal; either a dignified silence or a condescending poise.
In the newly discovered corridors of cyberspace the lure of personal positioning often derails academic discussions. Integrity (Habermas) is essential for making written conversation fruitful. [TNM]

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