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Re: META: Off-topicness (Was: Consonant clusters)

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  • 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 1 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

      I hope you're feeling better soon.


      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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