[Smt-talk] "Courteous Professional Discourse"

Seth Monahan seth.monahan at rochester.rr.com
Tue Jul 17 05:50:56 PDT 2012

I’d like to second Dmitri’s concerns (see below). The Society’s website stipulates that posts to this forum should “adhere to standards of courteous professional discourse.” Much of what ends up in my inbox lately falls rather short of this mark: persons insinuating (repeatedly) that anyone who disagrees with them is foolish, incompetent, or unmusical; sneering insults lobbed at entire swathes of the discipline; gratuitous (and often off-topic) negative stereotyping; smug pontification; bombastic axe-grinding; and so on. 

Granted, all this comes from a *vanishingly* small, highly vocal minority. But I find it disconcerting nonetheless. It’s not “courteous,” it’s often only barely “professional” in content, and, in its commitment to provoking dissent only to shout it down, doesn’t strike me as the kind of “discourse” that this list was meant to foster.

Let this count as my vote for more stringent moderation and, if need be, a greater empowering of the moderators. Emails not meeting a basic level of civility should be blocked; posters who use this list as a pulpit for hurling broad, self-aggrandizing disparagements should be banned. Others may disagree, but I do not think we should let bullies rule the roost out of a misplaced fear of curtailing the “open exchange of ideas.” Are we really at the point where someone will have to go to the trouble of creating a parallel list just so colleagues can discuss and debate their ideas in a climate of mutual respect?



Seth Monahan
Assistant Professor of Music Theory
Managing Editor, Theory and Practice
Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs St.
Rochester, NY, 14604
(585) 274-1556
smonahan at esm.rochester.edu

On Jul 15, 2012, at 3:04 PM, smt-talk-request at lists.societymusictheory.org wrote:

> I just want to remind everyone that "Dmitri [Tymoczko]" and "Dimitar [Ninov]" are two entirely separate people -- one at Princeton, one at Texas.
> I haven't been contributing to the list much, recently, because I worry that the level of discussion is deteriorating.  There seems to be a lot more shouting and a lot less scholarship than there was a few years ago.  It's gotten to the point where I've been contemplating starting a new list with a much more rigorous moderation policy.
> DT
> Dmitri Tymoczko
> Professor of Music
> 310 Woolworth Center
> Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
> (609) 258-4255 (ph), (609) 258-6793 (fax)
> http://dmitri.tymoczko.com

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