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Posted by Paul R. Martin on September 25, 2003 00:41:58 UTC

Hi Harv,

"I'm not sure the reason, but there seems to be this proclivity for people to try to figure out someone's identity. Why?"

I'm not sure of the reason either and I'm wondering why you asked me. But since you asked me, I'll tell you why I was mildly interested in the identity of this poster. It seemed to be Bruce to me because of the identical attitudes and similar language structure. Bruce has systematically refused to converse directly with me and instead would simply fire a random ad hominem shot now and then. It is clear to me that Bruce knows a lot more about physics than I do and I would love to get into a substantial dialog with him in which I could learn something. I thought that if this person were Bruce, then this might be such an opportunity. That's the only reason I suggested, by calling him by name, that I thought it was Bruce.

Other than that, I don't think I have a proclivity toward trying to figure out anyone's identity. I don't recall ever posting with that objective. Have I? So I can't speak for those who do and so I can't answer your question.

"This person, whoever they were, was obviously not Bruce (in my opinion)"

Why do you say it is obvious? It wasn't obvious to me, and in my opinion, it was Bruce.

"And, even if was Bruce, who cares?"

Well, you seem to care. And I just told you why I care.

"What difference does identity make?"

I think it makes quite a substantial difference. Communication is difficult enough as we all well know. In attempting to achieve successful communication, we increase our chances the more we know about the person with whom we are trying to communicate. As a trivial example, if we have a choice, we will use a language the other person knows. If we know the level or branch of education the person has, we will choose a vocabulary which we think he will understand. If we know of some emotional hot buttons the person has we might avoid pushing them if that might impede communications. Especially on a forum like this where we do not have the benefit of body language, personal acquaintance, or much knowledge of the person at all, it is easy to miscommunicate. So I think that the more open we are about ourselves on this forum the better we will be able to communicate.

"It only makes a difference for stalkers who generally want to stalk (or consider stalking),"

Whoaa! Where did that come from? That wouldn't have occurred to me as a reason if you hadn't brought it up. I just re-read my paragraph above in which I gave you reasons and they didn't have anything to do with stalking. So I have to disagree with you that stalking is the only reason for wanting to know something about a person.

"which I don't think includes you."

Here is an example of what I was talking about. I'll tell you something about myself that will help you understand me a little better. That is, I am not a stalker. Whew! I feel so naked. Just kidding.

"If someone wants to hide their identity, they probably have good reason to do so, which means, in my mind, that we don't need to be trying. "

I agree, and I generally don't try to pry.

"Btw, your title "Did you say 'Uncle'?" implies to me that you want us to think this individual is crying Uncle"

That was my intent. I think he was.

" that seems beneath you to make this implication"

I wonder why you thought so, Harv. I guess you just don't know me well enough. It seems to me that when a debate ends there should be some sort of declaration of who won and who lost. That might be a concession from one side, or it might be the judgement of some outside judges. But if one side walks away from the discussion not having answered the other's objections nor shown where the other is wrong, it seems appropriate for the former to declare a win for himself. Rather than declare outright that I won, I couched it as a question in my title that he could have responded to. He didn't. So now, I declare that I won.

"Please re-assure me that this is not what you meant."

I cannot tell a lie so I must respectfully refuse your request.

"Also, after being criticized for my 'warm regards' as being insincere (after chewing up the poster's argument), I decided to drop the nicety."

I'm sorry you were criticized if you only chewed up the argument and not the poster. I'm also sorry you decided to drop the nicety.

"I finally agreed that such niceties only come across as pretentious."

I'm sorry you lost that debate since I think the proposition is false. By saying they "only come across as pretentious" you are saying that no one takes them as other than pretentious. To make this false, you only need one counter-example. I am such a counter-example. I always took your "Warm Regards" as serious and sincere. I generally take everyone's closing seriously and sincerely. And I always intend for mine to be taken that way. I have sincere warm regards for all who post here and especially those with whom I converse. I have a rule which I try to follow and that is to comment on the ideas of the posts and not the poster. Or, if I have reason to comment on the poster, I try to make sure it is a positive comment and not a negative one. So, in spite of your agreement, please take my closing as a sincere sentiment.

"Why add salt to a open wound."

There is no good reason so we shouldn't do it. I don't think a sincere sentiment is salt in a wound.

"Just a little advice from your Uncle Harv."

Did you say "Uncle Harv"? I thought that's what you said.

Warm regards, (Sincerely ... I mean it!)


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