Kind Words of Caution


Before we begin to retire into the slow holiday mode of operation,
I would like to offer this simple thought as a word of caution
for those engaged in internetworking discussions.

Last week, someone asked a valid question about pending and potential
problems with aggregation and address space portability issues. The
initial response was a statement validating that concern with hopes
of a developing a fruit bearing discussion on this very controversial
" in the closet " topic. The public process then followed the common
disturbing direction that always clouds the issues (especially on the
potential non-technical problems of aggregation) and effectively
destroyed any prospect of meaningful interchange.

I kindly caution many on this list, as internetworking topics are discussed
related to Internet operations, *not* to be seduced by those skillful
at pedantic discussions that obfuscate any controversial position
that they disagree. Especially on the Internet, many are seduced by
those who obfuscate the facts by pedantic side discussions and this
important list is no exception.

For those of you who are not familar with the English word "pedant"
I kindly include a short blurb from Websters dictionary.

pedant, n. 1. a person who makes an excessive or inappropriate show of
              learning. 2. a person who overemphasizes rules or minor

I kindly caution those unfamiliar with pedantic postings and the use
of pedanticism on mailing lists to understand when to recognize these
email postings and responses that tend to be pedantic in nature.
Pedanticism can be used very effectively to seduce the public into
refocusing the discussion from a logical argument that cannot be won nor
argued convincingly, to one that is tangential to the topic. Often
these pedantic responses clearly and effectively allow the poster
to change the subject and then demonstrate their "knowledge" in a
tangential or related subject area which they are well versed. As you
can see, this clearly obfuscates the original concerns and issues.

As we approach 1996, I only caution out of kind regard for tangible
progress in building internet services to practice recognizing
when 'hawks and eagles' and other high flying posters enjoy easily
seducing the general audience with pedanticism, either intentional
or unintenional.

Practicing, in your own mind, to discern and recognize pedantic email
discussions helps all of us who care about enjoying 'meaningful,
tangible discussions' to think with clear comprehension. It is very
well documented in civilized history that pure intellect and logic
without attempting to include elements of patience and kindness,
is *not* wisdom. Wisdom is the pursuit and practice of intellect
with patience and understanding of others. For all of us, especially
me, the pursuit of changing raw technical excellence to refined
wisdom is a very challenging life pursuit. I work daily to improve my
self-awarenedd in this area because, as an electrical engineer, I once
believed that the 'intellect of building systems' was more important
than the 'less intelligent ' society we engineer systems to benefit.

This manner of thinking is clearly flawed and those, including myself,
who are attracted to 'higher education' and intellectual pursuits
have a nature human tendency to be seduced by this incomplete position.
What is less common is to find those same individuals who recognize
this and tend to pursuit wisdom as well as intellect.

Kind Regards,


PS: Please enjoy safe travel during the holiday weekend. I'm heading
    out to stay with family in Tennessee and face a long 10 hour
    drive as well.

ped.ant \'ped-*nt\ \p*-'dant-ik\ \-i-k(*-)le-\ n [MF, fr. It pedante] 1:
someone who makes finer grained distinctions you don't care about.