[Coral-List] "sarcasm, endless disagreements, personal attacks..."

nicole caesar nixa20 at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 1 12:00:47 EST 2010

Thank you very much for your contribution to the Coral-list thread.  As a somewhat new? member to the thread you have correctly recognized that this "list" has evolved into a discussion thread.  
As someone who works with marine biologists, you may be quite aware of the holistic approach that these researchers tend to apply to their work and research activities.  Linear-thinking will simply not do; researchers operate at community-level scales, and their cohorts in other disciplines often
 integrate their findings into even larger spatial and temporal scales to explain various environmental phenomena.  
Alas, our "list" has suffered a similar fate.  Single threaded, concise announcements/responses, such as information on upcoming events, data, employment opps/resumes, projects, research (is there a paper or research on xyz, if so please share info on subject, etc.), have expanded to include discussion and debate.  The planet's leading ocean researchers (who have invested their lives in the study of their specific area of interest) volley ideas back and forth.  These agreements, disagreements, and suggested amendments serve to unpack research ideas, leading to their re-evaluation and refinement.
You have rightly noted that coral-listers refuse to shy away from the daunting task of ceaseless re-evaluation, discussion, and debate, as we are quite aware that these very same research items will soon educate the wider public and inform policy creation.  As researchers who operate within the natural world, we are always already aware of the complexity and variability of our study areas.  Much like the tree huggers, we are acutely aware of the significance of our actions on the wider system, and the folly of assuming that we have once and for all created a "fix" or solution to be implemented "out there".
  Much like the persons who hug the trees, we are aware that any solution must include a re-evaluation of our personal perspective, and thus, our position within the wider ecosystem.   
As such, we welcome members from other disciplines including the persons who contributed to a lively post BP-spill discussion.  It is clearly beneficial to engage in discussion with persons with varying viewpoints and personal biases, and to be mindful of the complexity of the unique situation at hand.  Evidence suggests that solutions created during bouts of myopia simply produce multiple problems during attempts to solve the first.  
Nicole CaesarPhD CandidateDept of Geo & ESP  
--- On Wed, 12/1/10, Jim Hendee <Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov> wrote:

From: Jim Hendee <Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov>
Subject: [Coral-List] "sarcasm, endless disagreements, personal attacks..."
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 1:44 PM

I usually don't forward messages, rather encourage direct submission,
but this one is special.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:     Re: [Coral-List] More La Ninia
Date:     Wed, 01 Dec 2010 08:13:09 -0500
To:     Jim Hendee <Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov>

Good morning Jim, I assume you are the editor/manager of the list?  I am writing to you directly, not the list.  I am a coastal engineer, also subscriber to the coastal list sponsored by UDEL.  Earlier this year, I joined coral list, as I have become more involved in artificial reef design, am working more closely with marine biologists...Basically I joined coral list hoping to gain insight/knowledge, and to experience the same type benefits demonstrated by the coastal list.

What a stark contrast between the two lists.  Where the coastal list provides single threaded, concise announcements/responses, such as information on upcoming events, data, employment opps/resumes, projects, research (is there a paper or research on xyz, if so please share info on subject, etc.), it is not an open forum for sarcasm,
 endless disagreements, personal attacks, belittling others, questioning their knowledge or lack thereof, questioning the motives of the US Govt in the aftermath of the oil spill, etc.....

My experience with the coral list, unfortunately, has been deeply disappointing and inadvertantly humorous, but in a pitiful way, only a handful of the 20+ daily posts (which I assume are edited for content/appropriateness?) are actually informative (from my perspective).   As an engineer (believe it or not, some of us coastal engineers are also lumped into the tree hugger category), it is precisely this type of preconceived behavior/reputation among environmental professionals that discourages and actually frightens other professionals within the coastal industry of possible project derailment and delays. 

I sincerely hope you will consider re-evaluating the purpose and functions of the list, and encourage those who disagree/insult
 repeatedly to take it up between themselves, off list.  Unless the purpose of the list is in fact this sort of thing (ongoing debates), then I will remove myself from the coral debate list, as I have gained very little insight, a few chuckles, and mostly junk mail.

If you agree with me and wish to post this (which will probably receive the same type of insulting backlash), please do so anonymously, remove my name/email address if it might help you in your efforts to reign in the list.  In my opinion, its in a perpetual state of spirally out of control.

Thanks for listening,


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