Men Behaving Badly on Listservs

Why is it that male academics spend endless hours pontificating about their rights to free speech, then when a dissenting female decides to raise her voice, tell her to shut up? Don’t believe me? Here’s the latest reply I received to my discussion of IRBs on the Cheiron listserv:

“Heather: In all due respect, I think you have said quite enough on the
topic. I have now several cases attesting to the unconstitutionality of
the IRBs.”

To which I replied, “sorry, didn’t realize there was a limit to how often one could post on the same topic.”

I’m not the only one who has challenged the status quo on this issue — yet somehow the guys get a pass. I thought I was overreacting, but a buddy of mine from my Cornell graduate days confirmed that this bloke’s comments were not only ironic but amazingly rude. She admired my restraint. [“must control fist of death” is my mantra!]

This issue has come up on my campus as well. A group of us are drafting a listserv etiquette guide — probably won’t do any good because the worst offenders will either ignore it and/or continue to protest their right to be as obnoxious as possible.

[addendum, here’s a private message from the same fellow mentioned above:

Dr. Prescott: You just don’t get it on IRBs and probably never will. So
just go on dominating the Cheiron list with your less than enlightening
communication. ]

This is what I get for writing a nice review of his book years ago!

4 thoughts on “Men Behaving Badly on Listservs

  1. I would likely resist adopting any guide related to civility, primarily because it’s hard imagine one that wouldn’t chill, not just uncivil style, but certain thoughts.

    At least in the local context, I’m slightly baffled–one can improve the signal/noise ration significantly by adding between 2 and 5 names to one’s spam filter. Rather than restrict speech, why not simply educate people on the use of spam filters and encourage diverse participation?

  2. (1) Which post would you like to submit for the Disability Blog Carnival, themed “my favorite things”?

    (2) I think you would get a real kick out of this Web site:
    By the way, Flame Warriors is a significantly entertaining time-waster — don’t even THINK of trying to peruse it five minutes before you need to leave for somewhere else!


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