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[BKARTS] what's happened to this group?

What has happened to this discussion group?
One of the qualities in the discussions that appealed to me when I first subscribed was the attitude of congeniality that prevailed, the willingness to share experiences, master to tyro, that made reading the submissions to the list such a pleasure. For instance, early on I complained about my inability to successfully edge gild books. I had purchased all the necessary equipment and yet turned out one failure after another. I complained to this group, and a very experienced binder who lived in Florida gave me his telephone number and suggested I call him. I did. He asked me to go to my workshop and he walked me through the process. He must have spent two hours with me on the phone. As a result I can now gild books successfully, and I am very grateful for his generosity.
This love of the craft and the excited and generous sharing of knowledge is what for me made this discussion group unique. So much of my craft I owe to the experience of the members of this group.
It was with alarm and sadness that I read some of the replies to the e-mail of Michael Carrosone. It was obvious to me that he is finding his way in the worlds of academia and research, and should have been treated with sensitivity and common courtesy. Instead, he was greeted with patronising lectures on the scientific method; his motives and competence, and even that of his supervisor, were arrogantly called into question. Not just one letter, but letter after letter after letter. The worthlessness of his undertaking and the fatuousness of his political and aesthetic views was detailed again and again.
I can only imagine my reaction when I first joined this discussion group had someone scorned my idiocy because I couldn’t perform the simple task of edge gilding a book.
I confess some of my e-mails to this group have been tinged with asperity, for instance, when encountering what I see as the chemophobia of some of those engaged in book crafts. Michael’s experience has forced me to confront some of my own failings in this regard.
I now ask myself a simple questions: would I be able to communicate to the recipient of an e-mail to this group the contents of the e-mail if I were face to face with that person?
If not, I have forgotten the spirit of collegiality that for me is such an priceless
ingredient of our discussions.

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This page last changed: May 19, 2009