Indology constraints (contd.)

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Thu Jul 8 00:54:08 UTC 1999

I thank Thompson and Cronk for their views. I do share in their desire to see
more thoughtful and reasoned discussions on the list. However, I take a more
benign view of queries from "non-professionals". The reason is that in the
course of trying to answer these queries, I have discovered very valuable
findings. I do find connections between seemingly disparate topics so much so
that I feel one may never realize how or to whom a particular fact may be
useful. Serendipity is a factor in these endeavors. So I have a philosophical
preference for discussing things on the list as opposed to off the list.

I feel that bureaucratic numerical quotas do not belong in intellectual
discussions. They unfairly and unnecessarily penalize intellectual
productivity and curiosity. Take the case of Prof. Cronk. If you look at the
archives, on January 3, 1999, he has posted four messages. Ironically, one of
the messages was to apologize for inadvertently posting many messages. A
bureaucratic application of the 3 messages/day rule would result in a warning
to him. It is because of situations like this, I dislike quotas. There were
some recent messages (such as Witzel's on 7/6/99) which exceeded the 2k
limit. But I found them very informative. Instead of discouraging such
messages, we should worry why other scholars do not participate in such

As for Thompson's question to me as to which conference I would attend, given
his two options, I would certainly prefer the one with specialists. However,
a better analogy is a typical scholarly conference where multiple panel
sessions are held either simultaneously or sequentially. The calibre of panel
members may vary within and between panels. In such cases, one chooses to
attend some sessions and not others. Also, there may not be any upper limit
on panels one participates in as long as what is being presented is of
relevance to the panel. The difference between a panel discussion and a list
discussion is that if an unruly person keeps shouting during a panel
discussion, there is no magic wand to make him/her disappear. But, we do have
one on the list - the delete key. Also, most scholars by now would have
formed their opinions as to who the disruptive persons are. It should be easy
to get rid of their messages.

See Prof. Aklujkar's thoughtful views on this issue in his list message on

S. Palaniappan

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