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Re: jvoste #3 (8/10)
UC> I suggested the change not to be fair but to avoid pissing off
UC> potential adherents.
I've become convinced that there is no way to handle this issue that won't
piss off someone, and at this point I think that anyone who would become
pissed off about this issue to the extent that it would affect their
decision to learn the language is probably not that likely to learn the
language anyway. It just ain't that important, and there is no culturally
neutral way to solve the problem without a) pissing someone off or b)
hobbling the language with too many words, or too few for expressing some
frequently used concepts.
UC> > It just isn't important enough to hold up the language for,
UC> > and we don't have any reason to believe that a consensus is even poss
UC> > the gismu minimalists, the fans of culture words like me, and the nat
UC> > who may or may not wish to see their country or culture represented t
UC> > way they want.
UC> I don't think the debate was sufficiently organized to say there was
UC> no consensus. Several proposals were discussed, and not surprisingly
UC> different people preferred different ones. But had the possibilities
UC> been whittled down by eliminating the least-favoured solutions a
UC> consensus might well have emerged. By the your reasoning change
UC> will only occur if everyone spontaneously agrees on a specific
No. But there can be no consensus when one group's principles are the
contradictory negation of anothers. The gismu minimalists are opposed to
addding ANY gismu. Not a single one. For any reason. We should drop
some. People in my position are opposed to dropping cultural gismu that
we feel are useful and necessary. Another camp I am allied with are opposed
to any sdeletions because the gismu list is baselined and some people have
learned them. Put the latter together with the minimalists and you can
neither add nor delete unless you can come up with an argument that is so
compelling that it will change the moinds of an entire camp.
The possible adding of a few gismu to make a set that would have the strong
benefit of self-consistency with some arbitrary standard was the only sugges-
tion that even addressed both camps, and it was responded to with a mixture
of 50% either 'OK' or "we'll accept it as good enough" and 50% as "I'm not
convinced that issue is important enough to make a change", with probably the
slight edge to the latter in numbers. I saw no argument to answer the latter,
and we simply don't have time for a full argument and polling of the issue via
JL; I cannot override our standards of baselining lightly. I have a large
camp of people who feel that any attempt to make the language more
'perfect' is in itself wrong if it delays the books any longer, and I will
not let the dictionary go to press with an issue affecting as many words
as the cultural gismu 'up in the air'. So I have had to decide that there
was no consensus achieved, and none was likely in the timeframe available.
This is what happens with most discussions on the List: most proposals fail
for lack of a clear, oppositioonless consensus behind them.
As for organized or spontaneous discuusion, this was one of the more
organized ones that we've had on Lojban List. I didn;t just pose a question
and say 'how do we solve it',. I posed a question and gave the data and what
I saw would be the range of possible answers that was salable. I did not
even get much response on where in that range the answer should be - instead
the answers ranged from trying to select actual words - which was NOT the issue,
to arguments on including gismu for Irish, English of England proper, and
combined north/South America, of which only the former could be construed
as relating to my proposal - but it raised a much nastier counter issue - that
of counting people of an ethnic identity rather than people of a linguistic
The issue was NEVER a wide open debate on what to do about cultural gismu.
It was decided long ago that we would have them, and to some extent was
decided by JCB in the basic language design. The question was where to draw
the line, or even more simply, whether any reason at this point could justify
moving the line from where it had apparently been arbitrarily drawn.
The people who posted most loudly seemed to assume tacitly that moving the
line was a given, which it was not under our baseline policy. When I
'called the question', several people who had been silent almost unanimously
said "we aren;t convinced that any change at all is necessary", and even
John Cowan who had argued FOR the change at the LogFest meeting and in postings
on the list, was tepid in support for change when there was such opposition.
Thus the discussion was rather structured, with a proposal, a discussion
period, a call for votes, a vote, and a collapse of argument on the proponents
for change side. This doesn't mean that side agreed with the consensus of no
change, but rather they were unable to break the assumed consensus AGAINST
change that is fundamental to a baseline system.
Using your wording, we eliminated the least favored alternatives, i.e. all of
the change proposals, since none attracted more than a couple of people in
I will agree that in general change in Lojban is only possible if someone
believes in aproposal enough to frame it and shepherd it through debate
in a structured but forceful and active manner to encourage people to adopt
the proposal. Such a person has to be willing to make changes in the proposal
being shepherded, but must be enough of a believer that they keepthe idea
going against inertia. This takes a lot of work if there is no immediate
consensus. Nick has won a default consensus on his lujvo place structure
proposals by doing an immnense amount of work, enough that I, as an opponent
of early dictation of lujvo place struture patterns in stead of letting them
be 'discovered' for a few years, could only stand aside. His ideas may still
not be accepted, but his writing of a detailed paper supporting his proposal
and analyzing the entire set of lujvo means that counterproposals must
be either a) equally comprehensive, or b) piecemeal showing that individual
words can't work like he has proposed and then getting enough of these
individuals to show that the imposed standard isn't good enough to enforce
even as only a default. I think the latter may indeed happen, but it will
take a long time to build the langauge experience to make such a case.
It woill similarly take a long time and a bit of actual experience using the
language to resolve the culture words question. If actual usage shows that
the status quo is a problem, than it is reasonable to assume that the
language users will propose a change, simply adopt such a change without
bothering with a proposal, or otherwise express their sentiment clearly.
But that won't happen till we have a dictionary.