The Nature of Email and Flame Wars

zodiac zodiac at
Sat Jul 1 19:01:26 MDT 1995

Jerry makes an important observation:

> I did something I rarely do with your post and Chris B's post on mental
> illness -- I printed them and read each more carefully again.
> I believe that you have presented some compelling arguments and have
> posed the possible areas of disagreement in a clear manner.

Email has a _very_ disposable quality to it that, I believe, encourages
us to read it in a similar manner. That is, we don't invest the same time
with it we do printed matter. (Hometown boy Marshall McLuhan would love
me for this, I'm sure.)

I think this goes a long way toward understanding why cyberspace is so
flame fuelled. Quality communications require an investment of thought,
but email, being so fast and relentless, makes it easy to delete that
quality for the flame. (Being able to send stuff before you think about
it also contributes to this.)

I encourage people to print out lengthier missives that interest them --
they might suddenly see posts they shit on or ignore are actually loaded
with insights and inoffensive contributions they originally missed. I
have found this consistently to be true over the years. (And it gives me
reading material superior to most of the analysis in the daily paper.)


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