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[RC] Civility - Joe Long

Why can't we have discussions of policy and programs without getting
personal?  And, why can't we have a reply to someone that says
anything other than "Oh yes, you're so right, what a brilliant
insight" without that person feeling that they've been flamed?

Folks, we are a diverse bunch.  We share a common love of horses and
distance riding, but beyond that we have a LOT of different opinions,
goals, desires, preferences, attitudes, and personalities.  Some
people love weight divisions, others hate them.  Some love one-day
100's, others are happy to ride LD and have no desire to ride longer,
still others live for the multidays.  Some love the competition for
placing, others couldn't care less where they place but just want to
enjoy the trail with their horse and their friends.  That doesn't make
any of us "better" than those "others," or worse.  The important thing
is that we are in this sport together, and should be supportive of all
of our diverse approaches and interests.  We need to respect each
other for our differences as well as our common ground.

During the recent discussions of weight divisions and the National
Championship ride, a prolific poster here sent me a private e-mail
taking me to task for promoting "my" agenda istead of accepting what
"everyone" likes.  By "everyone," of course, he meant what he likes.
More recently I received a private e-mail from a person with great
power and influence in the AERC warning me that I was making a "grave
mistake" by "insulting" him and by calling for changes in weight
divisions and the NC.  It was IMO a blatant attempt at intimidation.
Unfortunately, not the first time intimidation has come into play
where weight divisions are concerned.

One of the things that Internet newsgroups, website discussions and
maillist suffer from is a loss of civility.  It's often been pointed
out that without body-language cues, and without the inhibition of
looking the person you're communicating with in the eye, words come
across more harshly.  Let's at least try to remember this, and to
remember our common interests, and be as civil as we can.  And along
with that, to not be too quick to see insults where none are intended.

Joe Long


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