ANST - Instruction was: To Dennis O' Connor

Michael F. Gunter mfgunter at
Wed Aug 6 12:47:21 PDT 1997

Dear Dennis O'Connor

> Teaching the whole net one-at-a-time is impossible.

This is true, especially when the persons you wish to instruct have been 
turned off to the instructor.  If you do not respect your teacher, or if that
teacher starts off by insulting you I doubt that you will pay close attention
to his lesson.

> Being gracious is not the most important principle
> in my belief system.  


> It may be illuminating for you to know that as far as I can tell,
> you *can't* humiliate someone on the net: only they can do that.
> What you *can* do is point out to them that they have done so.
> This usually pisses people of at first, but in my experience, people
> eventually realize that it  they are mainly pissed off at themselves.

The surface of this statement is correct.  However the net can be one of the
most inflammatory intruments ever created. By not seeing you be sincere or
having a small smile of tease the readers can only fill in their own mental
images.  Many of these images are unflattering.  Unless you stress the fact
that there is no insult intended and extend utmost courtesy, many readers 
will assume for the worse.

> So, I never attempt to humiliate people on the net, because it
> is not possible to do so.  Only the lamest flame-newbie thinks
> otherwise, I believe.

Of which it is obvious you are not.

> BTW, the "too much fun" in part refers to the joy of constructing
> a strong argument, which is similar to the fun one finds in constructing
> a good thorough mathematical proof. (I have a Bachelors in Math, BTW).

Arguments are fun but the opponents must meet upon mutual ground and if it
begins to get nasty then in cyberville as in real life you "take it outside".

> Not at all, I enjoy debating philosophies of instruction as much
> as anything else.  I suspect we hold differences of opinion with
> respect to certain axiomatic aspects, such as when or if it is
> appropriate to use embarrassment as an instructional tool.

Had you maintained this respectful and rational demeanor all along people 
wouldn't be suspecting you of being an arrogant pompous jerk.

> --
> Dennis O'Connor               dmoc at
> All rights reserved. Speaking only for myself, by default.

Gunthar Jonsson

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