This is a historical item. Back in the days when there was much discussion in the wood, and before the original database was hacked and destroyed:
Your contribution to discussion is greatly appreciated here. This is true even when your contribution is not charitable or humble. However, if your contribution is not charitable or humble, it will need some unambiguous manifestation of the other encouraged traits, which include the following:
1. Assumes the reality of truth.
Your writing should assume that there is an important difference between linguistic falsehood and truth, that there is a real possibility within a particular social situation of getting something more or less right or more or less wrong. Unfortunately, I think this is an important guideline given the current cultural climate. I noticed a number of different blogging sub-cultures a few years back that enjoyed immature and self-absorbed expression; when these blogging sub-cultures did meet serious minded writing, they mocked it.
2. Aims at truth.
Your writing should be your own pursuit of truth.
3. Aims at agreement.
Your writing should be a communal pursuit of truth. In his book The Assault of Reason (2007) Al Gore noted that the “accepted rules of discourse” of our nation’s past marketplace of ideas “presumed that the participants were all governed by the unspoken duty to search for general agreement” (13). Thankfully, this is not a classroom where each student must spout out opinions simply to register the fact that they are paying attention and desire a good grade. This is a place where we are all freed from the stifling conventions, shunning, manipulation, and bullshit that surrounds us so that we can pursue and enjoy truth, goodness, and beauty together. Flattering yourself or a theoretical friend perched on your shoulder is discouraged here in the Wood. Give a try writing for the purpose of trying to convince a discussion partner here; if nothing else, write as if you are trying to convince me about a disputed point. Once you get to know me, you will realize that this is not an impossible task!
4. Attached to a real identity.
Anonymity is a significant problem for the internet. I will be addressing this issue in the near future. For now: you may remain anonymous in the Wood, but under normal circumstances, I will require that you do not remain anonymous to me. However, if there is a reason you wish to remain anonymous even to me, then please explain to me off-line why this is important and I will consider each request on a case by case basis.
Granting these guidelines for the less humble minded, write whatever you want. Parables, narrative, and metaphor are always welcomed. An argument is best. Unless length is necessary to make a point, try to keep comments under approximately 500 words.
(comments are always open on the posts, but closed on these Pages)
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