Indology constraints

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Tue Jul 6 23:09:16 UTC 1999

Today's message by Sujatha Stephens leads me to discuss the recent limits
imposed on enthusiastic participation in the Indology  list.

The size and number constraints that have been imposed look reasonable on the
surface, but looked at carefully, one can see how easily one can run afoul of
these rules. The size and number rules are not independent of each other.
Consider the case of a list member on travel for sometime. When he gets back,
the number of messages that would have accumulated in that time could easily
include four to which the member may be in a position to respond. If the
member does that in one sitting, then he/she would face a warning because of
posting more than the allowed number of messages/day.

Take the case of total number of messages or size of the individual messages.
The more interesting and wide-ranging a discussion is, the more the number of
points one will have to address. In that case, one can do one of the
1. Deliberately withhold information which may be of use to the list.
2. Post a message longer than the limit of 2000 typed in characters.
3. Split the message into many  smaller ones that satisfy the size
constraint, but over a month leading to possible violation of the 15-message

Item one does not benefit Indology. One should remember what Prof. Aklujkar
wrote in Indology on 3/28/99. "It is such exchange of information across the
divides which the early Indologists' taxonomies and the linguistic
reorganization of India have created and accentuated that I consider one of
the most important contributions the INDOLOGY list is making. The overarching
capabilities that great scholars like S. Kuppuswami Sastri, V. Raghavan and
K.A. Nilakanta Sastri had can now be realised in Indology, it seems, only
through sharing of information that occurs on INDOLOGY."

Items 2 and 3 end up penalizing the member for doing what the list is all
about. In my view, the problem is not one of a few members posting many
sub-standard messages. But it is one of many serious scholars not
participating in the discussions at all. The list suffers from a lack of
participation of scholars in the field of religion, history, archaeology,
linguistics, etc.  Has the intellectual curiosity of the serious scholars
died out in the last three years? I think not. (Keeping within the 2k limit,
more in the next message)

S. Palaniappan

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