> It is obvious that one can imagine lots of examples in which being
> courteous would maximize the speaker's self interests,...
> More generally, I think I can make the stronger case that this doesn't
> just happen in rare instances. By and large, WHENEVER you're trying to
> convince someone that something is true, *whenever* you make a statement
> in the simple indicative mood, you're almost certain to be more convincing
> to a person if you don't call them an idiot...
I agree--there are certainly times when courtesy is in one's interest,
and I am capable of it at those times. I suppose the "disease" is not
so much courtesy itself as the _expectation_ of it in others. That's
where the real problems come from.
There is also the unstated assumption in your statement there that
the purpose of communicating an idea is to convince the person you're
talking to that the idea has merit. In person, that's usually the
case. In person, there's also the survival value previously mentioned
that lack of courtesy can get your nose broken. That's why I'm a
generally quiet fellow in person. But neither of those arguments
holds up to mailing list discussion: I am in no danger of a bloody
nose, and the person I'm replying to is an insignificant part of the
audience of each message.
-- Lee Daniel Crocker <firstname.lastname@example.org> <http://www.piclab.com/lcrocker.html> "All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past, are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC
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