FOM: take it outside, boys

Harvey Friedman friedman at
Mon Mar 23 19:15:00 EST 1998

One of the most valuable things about the fom is that we get to meet and
perhaps trade ideas with people we might not otherwise get to do this with.
Many of us have continuing e-mail correspondence off the fom that came out
of these fom

At some point, some of the threads get so detailed and have such a long
history that onlookers and newcomers cannot readily relate to the

I think this has happened with the huge thread "social construction." I
know that there is a large volume of fom postings that many people are not
reading and that this is having an adverse effect on the e-mail list.

I have not participated in this thread, although I do take a peek at it. By
merely taking a peek, I cannot make much sense of it.

I have a suggestion. I would like to see each of the principals of this
thread write a single last (perhaps longish) original essay from scratch
(i.e., without copying from previous writings by themselves or others),
summarizing their main arguments, that can be easily digested by people
like me who have only been at most peeking at the thread. Please write in
such a way that your adversaries will not feel required to continue the
argument on the fom. And then take any further discussion of this thread
into private e-mail, off of the fom.

Having suggested this, I now feel obligated more than ever to fulfill
various pledges to open up new matters on the fom. I hope that many of you
will also be doing this.

Thus to use an old American phrase - "take it outside, boys."

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