In defense of civil discussion which include youth and adults in an online setting in ancient times: (1991)
Me at age 19. History: Before Matt + Matt started NYRA, before they met on Y-RIGHTS, I hadn’t yet made Y-RIGHTS and it was just a list of addresses I forwarded messages to.
I started child @ hampvms on Sept 9, 1991 and got the word out to everywhere I could online. (this is pre www).
13 days later (it was up to 100+ by then and included a middle school class, some high schoolers and a lot of college students and professors as well as international children’s rights organizations), a member wanted to leave and left a VERY nasty message that I felt was disrespectful and I was having none of that. Here’s what I wrote:
I am very new at running a list. I do not know what people want from this list. I need feedback. You say that you don’t care for the “innane chat” that is going on here. What would you like to see?
One of the most important aspects of this list is that no one, except possibly the malicious few, is excluded from here. This very pointed view that you seem to take of undergraduate students upsets me greatly. By joining this list, you claim to care about the rights of children and adolescents, and for the improvement of their conditions. But, at the same time, you belittle the views, ideas and writing styles of the undergraduates. You also are belittling me, for I too am an undergraduate, even though I am part of many different professional circles, including children’s rights.
And where, might I ask is the innane chat? It seems to me that there is a discussion going on about home schooling vs. public schooling. This may not seem like an issue that belongs here, but it does, in many ways. Since education, in the United States, is compulsory up to the age of 16, it is a part of the lives of children that they cannot escape. Therefore the method of that education is a worthy topic. Also, it is a topic that engages those that speak of it. Even though being engaged (read: emotionally attached) into a topic may NOT be professional, it still doesn’t make the opinions and ideas any less worthy than your own, or of anyone of your caliber.
I would prefer it if you would stay and possibly help me with your ideas and viewpoints and how they can fit in with the list. However, if you leave, it will be your choice, although I feel that, by doing that, we Both will lose something valuable.