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META: Off-topicness (Was: Consonant clusters)

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  • Larry Sulky
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 30, 2012
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      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 because
      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 about
      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@...> wrote:

      > Patrick,
      >
      > 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 time,
      > 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 list),
      > but, well, there it is.
      >
      > Sincerely,
      > J. M. DeSantis
      > Writer - Illustrator
      >
      > Official Website: jmdesantis.com <http://www.jmdesantis.com>
      >
      >
    • J. M. DeSantis
      Larry, 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
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 30, 2012
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        Larry,

        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.

        Sincerely,
        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 because
        > 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 about
        > 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@...> wrote:
        >
        >> Patrick,
        >>
        >> 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 time,
        >> 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 list),
        >> but, well, there it is.
        >>
        >> Sincerely,
        >> J. M. DeSantis
        >> Writer - Illustrator
        >>
        >> Official Website: jmdesantis.com <http://www.jmdesantis.com>
        >>
        >>
        >
        >
      • Larry Sulky
        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
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 30, 2012
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          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
          purpose.

          I hope you're feeling better soon.

          ---larry

          On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM, J. M. DeSantis <jmd@...> wrote:

          > Larry,
          >
          > 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.
          >
          >
          > Sincerely,
          > 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
          >> because
          >> 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
          >> about
          >> 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@...>
          >> wrote:
          >>
          >> Patrick,
          >>>
          >>> 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
          >>> time,
          >>> 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
          >>> list),
          >>> but, well, there it is.
          >>>
          >>> Sincerely,
          >>> 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*
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