It Takes A Big Man…

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I have the “privledge” of being part of several different list serves. Some professional, some personal, all of them combining elements of both fun AND annoying(hence why “privledge” is in quotes).

Recently, a professional association to which I belong has had some incredible activity on the list serve. Now, the content isn’t incredible, but up until a week ago? I don’t think most folks even knew there WAS a list serve. Well, once a few messages were sent out…WHAM! Everyone who didn’t know they were on the list starts sending messages(to the entire list, mind you) complaining of the flooding of the in box and the request to be removed(guess they weren’t quite bright enough to understand their actions were doing precisely the thing they were unhappy with).

Thus, a quarrel erupted between two or three members. Of course, as idiots will, they subjected everyone else to their spat instead of “taking it outside.” Some of the things being said were just plain childish. One even went so far as to say, “I’m going to go home tonight and say the things you just said to me. I want my children to see what it’s going to be like if they grow up to be jerks, too!” Really, really pathetic.

And, as you’d expect, these comments added fuel to the fire and then it was REALLY on!

I got sick of the stupidity and just started hitting delete anytime the same subject showed up. There were the peacemakers, the sidetakers, the instigators, the spat upon-hey, hey! The whole crowd is here!

Finally, after way too much badmouthing and smack talkin’, the dude who made the comment about the other’s children stepped forward. He admitted he was wrong, gave some reasons why he said the things he did, revealed that he knows there are no excuses for his words and, yes, finally apologized.

I’m not real sure the number of folks on this list. My guess? Several hundred. Maybe up to 500. And the man came forward, hat in hand, and apologized-both to the original person offended AND the entire list. Folks, it takes a big man to do that…a VERY big man.

One of the biggest complaints about the net is anonimity. People can say whatever they want, start whatever rumors they want and, thanks to screen names and passwords, you can slander someone up one side and down the other without ever fearing any type of repurcussion. Lovely, eh?

Also, chances are, if you are a frequent E mailer, you’ve had comments which have been taken in ways other than how they were intended. You’re probably guilty of that crime yourself, too, right? I am. On both counts. Without intonation and context, the most benign comment can be taken as fightin’ words. Next thing ya know, the snowball effect has started and the avalanche has started to fall! And people are making plans to meet by the local freeway later to pummil each other to a bloody pulp. Ridiculous-but part of our electronic world.

Even with all the craziness generated by the net, it was refreshing to see the main offender step forward and apologize. A virtual apology is as meaningful as a verbal apology…at least in the E world!

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