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Re: unwritten "messages" was: On debian lists, we cc if asked

Hello MJR, all,

MJR, you asked for more information about what the problem is with your posts, seeing as they are written in what is undeniably clear english. I think that the problem is well illustrated by the language you are using when you post to this list. I believe that you probably don't intend to cause offence, and I also believe that some of the words people are using to refer to your posts/actions also have the potential to cause offence. But regardless of your probably good intent, you are tending to use strong language when describing members of the debian-women comunity, and this is producing a range of reactions that are obviously bothering you.

Here's a summary of potentially offensive words used in the posts on this thread to date (I've ignored a couple of potentially offensive implications that weren't easily summarised in single words and quotes from previously posted emails):

MJR, in 4 emails, refers to people on the debian-women list as:
rude *2
hostile *2

People on the debian-women, in 7 emails, list refer to MJR as:
patronizing *2

Now I don't think any of this language is particularly appropriate, but in any case, it's clearly a bit one sided. On the whole it looks like the people replying to MJR are being comparatively restrained. Thankyou for those who are doing this.

It is a good idea in general to assume that someone did not mean to cause offence by such actions as * forgetting to CC someone who wasn't on the list (they may not be familiar with mailing list ettiquette) * referring to someone in language you find insulting (they may not realise their words are potentially insulting, and cultural differences may make some comments hard to interpret as they were intended)
* etc.
A polite and gentle request to change the behaviour may work wonders in such situations. Actually, I believe that most of us already understand this perfectly well.

In that vein I suggest, as politely and nicely as I can, that people try to refrain from using potentially insulting language to describe other people, both in mailing list posts and on irc. If you can't help it, try to refer to someone's actions rather than someone's person, eg: "I felt offended by your action", rather than the more sweeping "you are offensive". If you absolutely must write to someone in a potentially insulting way, its a good idea to take it off the list, since the rest of the list subscribers are probably not interested in watching people insult each other.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's all be civilised :)


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