The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0063 Monday, 15 January 2001
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Monday, January 15, 2001
Subject: A Plea from the Editor: "Can't we all just get along?"
I have very much enjoyed the past few weeks. My self-imposed exile from
my office and my administrative duties has enabled me to concentrate on
my scholarship, something that I have not been able to pursue since July
because of my inordinate workload, which has been driving me crazy, and
because of a family matter, which has taken me on an emotional roller
coaster for the past fourteen weeks with no resolution in sight. Now, I
am having so much fun that I would like to continue this life forever.
To do so, however, could seemingly only be accomplished by my retiring,
yet I doubt that at fifty-three retirement is a plausible option. So,
for the time being, I imagine I will have to continue doing the work of
two full-time people and getting to my scholarly interests far less
frequently than I would like. Now, to the purpose of this message.
Some of the exchanges on SHAKSPER during the past few months have been
rather hostile, acrimonious, and downright unkind. They have been "not
generous, not gentle, not humble." I have received private messages from
members, the substance of which is well put in the following statement
from a long-time and well-respected member of this conference:
"I'm not one of those 'write to the editor' types, but I'm writing to
ask if you might think about re-posting your note about counting to ten
before posting. I've been disturbed lately by the intermittent
nastiness and cruelty of some of the SHAKSPER posts, which have made me
think more than once about un-subscribing. (Dealing with face-to-face
incivility in the academy is bad enough without subjecting yourself to
This suggestion appears to me an eminently sensible one, so I have
decided to comply with three of my postings from last year.
 SHK 11.0704 Counting to Ten: A Clarification
 SHK 11.0808 Counting to Ten
 SHK 11.2272 Common Threads
Thanks for listening,
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0704 Wednesday, 5 April 2000.
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Wednesday, April 05, 2000
Subject: Counting to Ten: A Clarification
From some of the responses I have gotten to my "A Few Matters Regarding
SHAKSPER" posting of a few days ago, I feel a need to make a bit of a
No one ever need apologize for adding to the work I do with SHAKSPER.
This work is, as Alan Blackman pointed out yesterday, a labor of love,
and I assure everyone that there is no way that while I am its
editor/moderator/owner that SHAKSPER will be anything but edited.
I will return to the matter of moderation in a moment, but now some
words about editing SHAKSPER.
I do indeed love bringing SHAKSPER to the members of this list. The time
that I spend on it is almost the most fun I have when the sun is up. I
also love working on my edition of Shakespeare's POEMS for the Internet
Shakespeare Editions and reading and writing in the Folger Library, and
I am greatly disappointed that my current situation does not allow more
time to direct to these efforts. However, when it comes to SHAKSPER, all
of the time that I spend is much more enjoyable and rewarding than
making budgets, listening to student and faculty complaints, visiting
classrooms, evaluating faculty performance, writing retention reports,
writing assessment reports, writing annual reports, writing any report -
you get the idea. I do love teaching, and I love editing SHAKSPER just
as much, but I do not love the administrative side of my current
Now, when I requested that members count to ten before hitting the reply
key, what I had in mind was that members would initiate a kind of
self-regulation: self-moderation if you will. Is there really a need to
reply to seven out of the ten digests under discussion on a particular
day or to reply four times to the same digest? I strive to maintain
SHAKSPER as an academic discussion list. My preference is for a somewhat
elevated level of discourse without, of course, ruling out occasional
humor or just plain silliness. My point is that I believe that the
membership has as much responsibility as I do in moderating SHAKSPER. At
one time or another, it has been suggested to me that members be allowed
only to post once a day or that postings should not exceed one or two
computer screens. I am not willing to moderate SHAKSPER in this way, but
I do believe that some submissions are frivolous or are not really
necessary or productive. I attribute this attitude to the fact that I am
not a very touchy-feely, warm and cuddly kind of guy.
That's my clarification. I was and am making a plea for self-moderation
on SHAKSPER. That's it. Nothing more.
Now to editing today's digests and packing for Montreal.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0808 Monday, 17 April 2000.
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Monday, April 17, 2000
Subject: Counting to Ten
I have received a number of public and private notes to the effect that
a handful of people seem to be dominating the discussions on SHAKSPER
with contributions whose value is questionable. In the past, I have not
discouraged contributions from anyone, even if I may have considered
them a bit off-the-wall; however, when it gets to the point long-time,
loyal, members of this conference are considering unsubscribing, then I
am compelled to make yet another plea for self-regulation.
I have worked very hard over the years to make SHAKSPER what it is
today. I do not want it to become unregulated nor do I want to lose the
academic focus of the list. My hope is that members will heed my pleas
for self-moderation so that the Advisory Board and I will not need to
develop guidelines about postings.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2272 Friday, 8 December 2000
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Friday, December 08, 2000
Subject: Common Threads
Some members in the past three digests that I have just posted have
expressed concerns about what is proper and improper on SHAKSPER.
Excepting the "authorship" question, I generally err toward the
inclusive. However, my ideal is to keep SHAKSPER as scholarly as
possible with occasional flights of whimsy. The membership is indeed
varied, and its variety contributes to the liveliness of many
When I admonished members "to count to ten," I was in fact trying to
encourage self-restraint. At the time I made this plea, a member sent me
the membership guidelines for a philosophy list. The guidelines
contained excellent suggestions and could be well-adapted to SHAKSPER.
However, for the time being, I would like to continue with primarily
self-moderation and my ongoing behind the scenes minimal moderation.
SHAKSPER is fortunate not to suffer with as many "flame wars" as some
lists. I would like the list to remain that way, so I would encourage
"counting to ten" before flaming and ask that responses that could be
consider flames be sent off-list.
In your debt and service,