label abstinence

Paul Arveson (
Thu, 27 Mar 97 08:52:30 EST

Burgy wrote:

If you call me an "Xist," where "X" is a label I don't accept, for whatever
reason, then I perceive us as being "at war." If I call myself a "Yist,"
where "Y" is a label you cannot accept, for whatever reason, you see me as
arrogant. But if you and I, with opposing positions, no matter how serious,
want to discuss our issues in good faith, it seems to me we ought to begin
by creating labels for each of us that both of us can accept.


That's right, Burgy. There is apparently an inherent hostility created
by labeling -- unless it is self-labeling, such as a political party that
is proud of its labels. But in our context, of what use are labels?
How would you label yourself?

If you can't come up with an immediate, precise answer to that question,
(and I certainly can't) then perhaps you'll agree that we should
dispense with them entirely.

The other problem with labels, which we constantly get here on the list,
is from uninitiated people who don't know what the acronyms mean. So
I suggest that out of *compassion* we reject the ways of the world,
abstain from the nasty habit of acronyms, and "always err on the side
of clarity." I realize this has a cost in terms of keystrokes, but
you'll get your reward in heaven.

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
9500 MacArthur Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20817-5700
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-4511 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)