Thanks, J.M. This is a really good post and you've aired some legitimate
concerns. If the side discussion and resulting meta-discussion have no
other effect than to have prompted your post here, and perhaps follow-on
discussion and consideration of it, then they will have served a good
I hope you're feeling better soon.
On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM, J. M. DeSantis <jmd@...> wrote:
> While what you say is true (and no, I am not so rigid as to say topics
> should *never* go off topic, or that they should *immediately* be put under
> a new thread the moment they do--that I think would be counter productive
> to the purpose of the List and do more harm than good), I have found, in
> the past with the List, looking back myself, that the experience has been,
> for the most part, difficult and unfavourable, to say the least. Never once
> have I put a question to the List where it was not picked apart by the vast
> majority or (even worse) completely ignored.
> I am not a linguist by training or schooling. I merely took up conlanging
> as a means to and ends at some point as I began developing my fantasy world
> some ten or more years ago now and after reading Tolkien and seeing how
> much could be added to a world through a functioning language. In fact,
> after reading Tolkien, I became somewhat of a snob on this point, and had
> trouble believing a fantasy world that did not include a solid linguistic
> structure and created names seemingly out of the blue. Language indeed
> seemed quintessential. In the past, I had moved through the process
> somewhat blindly, at one point even taking a long hiatus from developing my
> world, in part, because I was developing headaches from trying to work out
> how to develop a language properly and having to revisit my rules
> constantly, every time I learned something new that contradicted what I was
> doing or added new light to it.
> Two years ago (or more now) I returned again to the work, again being
> reminded of how important it was that I develop these languages once and
> for all and to make some definitive choices to move on with things. That is
> when I read Mark Rosenfelder's book and learned about the Conlang List.
> Even now I still don't quite have the confidence in what I am doing as a
> conlanger, as I never know if I am doing it "right." Again, I've had no
> formal training, and though I had studied Italian for four years (which
> does put me ahead of people who have never studied a language--and I might
> add, sentence structure and conjugations was were I excelled in Italian,
> even if I couldn't always remember the proper words) and know a decent
> amount about Tolkien's Sindarin and Quenya (to be a geek about it), my lack
> of knowledge makes the task burdensome and stressful at times.
> Getting back to my original point, however, though I may have mislabeled
> the "hypmotize" discussion, my questions (as an amateur conlanger) have
> been met with such criticism it has gotten to the point where I just won't
> put a question to the List anymore (the last straw was when I was told by
> someone, I don't recall who anymore, that I wasn't asking the right
> question or not asking it properly--now even the way I'm putting my
> question is going to be analysed?!). And, in the most desperate of
> occasions, if I find I absolutely must ask a question, I type my question,
> hit the send button and literally cringe, knowing that the question will be
> panned, criticised, analysed, picked apart, and all other like responses,
> by a great many people, in order for me to get the one or two responses
> that might actually be helpful to me.
> Though I will append, I do think the last question I asked was actually
> met with a greater amount of helpful information than criticism and had me
> think of the List a little more favourably. But, in general, I have to say
> my experience with the List has not been good. I *would* think, in general
> the List would want to help those less knowledgeable conlangers, if for no
> other reason than to better promote the act of conlanging and to enrich the
> conlangs of those who are on the List.
> That said, again, there are many who my gripes do not apply to, and
> perhaps even more of you who I have never had any dealings with whatsoever.
> Still, to be perfectly honest, if someone were to ask me if I would
> recommend joining the List as a means of helping them learn more about
> conlanging, I might advise them to go elsewhere to learn what they could,
> and only use the List as a last resort, if at all.
> If I seem temperamental in this, or a bit foggy in getting to the point,
> please excuse me. I'm running a 100.2 fever today. Perhaps it's not the
> best time to start a discussion such as this. Still, despite my criticisms,
> I do hope my opinion of the List will change in time. I think it's a
> wonderful thing, in theory, having an active group such as this, for people
> to discuss and share information with each other, and its for that reason,
> if for no other, that I am still on the List.
> I wish you all the best and a very Happy New Year.
> J. M. DeSantis
> Writer - Illustrator
> Official Website: jmdesantis.com <http://www.jmdesantis.com>
> On 12/30/2012 12:13 PM, Larry Sulky wrote:
>> J.M., I started a new thread for your meta-discussion. (At least, I hope
>> so. I've changed the subject of this post on the assumption that that will
>> do the trick.)
>> As I look back through the original thread, I see there was some (as it
>> turned out) side discussion between Patrick and me for a couple of rounds,
>> then Patrick reiterated the main point of his question, after which there
>> were four trailing posts on the side topic before Patrick laid down the
>> law. There were no more off-topic posts from that point on, perhaps
>> someone kindly created a side thread when it was clear that that was
>> Patrick's preference. So trailing on for four short posts after a
>> reiteration of the main point, and zero trailers after a firm
>> clarification, doesn't really seem so bad. It seems to me that that's
>> the way these things should work. And it doesn't seem at all strange to me
>> that threads might go off topic as people analyse (not criticise) the
>> premise of a question.
>> -- larry
>> On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 10:39 AM, J. M. DeSantis <jmd@...>
>>> As Adam and a few others have stated, I do feel bad this question got off
>>> topic. If I had any knowledge on the subject, I would certainly pass it
>>> along your way, without any trouble. And, at risk of adding one more
>>> unrelated message to a topic that has not stayed on topic this whole
>>> I find this is too often the case with the List; people criticising and
>>> analysing your question rather than answering it. Strange for a list that
>>> was, in part, set up to assist people in their linguistic pursuits. This
>>> "hypmotize" thing is one of the worst examples I've seen.
>>> People might not like what I've said, and truly it's not everyone on this
>>> list who is guilty (indeed there are some very helpful people on the
>>> but, well, there it is.
>>> J. M. DeSantis
>>> Writer - Illustrator
>>> Official Website: jmdesantis.com <http://www.jmdesantis.com>
*Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I
can hear her breathing. -- Arundhati Roy*