Re: Use of email (Jasen Robillard)
From: Jasen Robillard (
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2014 07:42:16 -0800 (PST)
Does anyone else find it ironic that this rich and fruitful discussion is
happening over an email listserv?

As a writer and introvert, it may not be surprising that I find myself
sharing similar views to Sharon and Philip. In the forming community I'm
part of (where there is even less opportunity for face-to-face
interaction), we have had numerous reminders to not have "discussions"
online via email, particularly on "potentially controversial matters". As a
result, the effectiveness of that channel of communication is now somewhat
compromised. After all, what is controversial is in the eye of the
beholder. As such, some feel that it is best not to have any conversations
via email.

Our email list is now mainly used for bulletin board type announcements.
Only some members of the community now feel comfortable bringing up issues
for discussion via email. Those of us who prefer writing and feel like
bumbling idiots when speaking, now feel relegated to not speaking, or
speaking privately 1-on-1 and then having others speak on their behalf
(which is a landmine of its own). So while no one has actually said "shut
up, I don't want to hear what you have to say", the simplified outcome is
that we only hear from those who speak in public.

*Jasen Robillard*
*Dragonfly Cohousing - Calgary*

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 9:06 AM, Sharon Villines wrote:

> On Feb 10, 2014, at 6:50 PM, Philip Dowds <rphilipdowds [at]> wrote:
> > So here's my question:  Why is the Internet regarded as such a
> high-risk, >error-prone, annoying and alienating vehicle for cohousing
> communities?  Why >are e-mails seen as the problem, and meetings as the
> solution?  More >generally:  Why is our professional experience irrelevant
> for doing business in a >residential setting?
> I'm with Philip on this. The contradictions in arguments from people who
> advocate face-to-face over email are so numerous that I find the whole
> argument specious. The most insulting and hurtful and vicious interactions
> with people I've had or witnessed were face-to-face and in meetings. Many
> of the most intimate, enriching, and/or intelligent considered interactions
> have been on email -- and daily. Many of my most important relationships
> are maintained by email. Email opens an international platform for
> friendship and exploration of ideas.
> I do not find that people who advocate face-to-face as the cure for
> conflicts are more willing to engage with conflict in person. I think they
> just find it easier to avoid conflict in person. They control the meeting
> by conveying their anxiety.
> The advantage of email goes to the writer and to the introvert who thinks
> better when alone.
> The advantage of meetings goes to extroverts and people who like to
> shmoose.
> Email is inclusive and a written message can be more specific and complete.
> Face to face is exclusive. Only those who happen to bump into each other
> daily, immediate neighbors, find it as easy as email. Only those who can
> attend another meeting can participate in meetings. Minutes rarely convey
> all the points discussed so the meeting people form their own culture.
> Cohousing is supposed to be inclusive, a cooperative effort.
> To say "we can't discuss this on email" is like saying you shut up because
> I don't want to hear it. Do any of us have that right?
> Sharon

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