-->Hey, how come Ian Roderick's letter is so easy to understand?
I'll venture a hypothesis, aside from the possibility of by-committee CFP
composition, and it's based on something I've noticed in writing on the
net: The difference between conversation and announcement.
It's a difference in rhetorical stance toward audience. I was going to
say it was a matter of the degree of familiarity with the people of an
audience, but Ian just joined up & doesn't yet know us much better than he
knows anyone who may have received the CFP (though Ian may correct me on
that--perhaps perusing the web archives of the discussion proved to
compensate? maybe he felt connected to this community before venturing to
enter the discussion?).
It may be, though, that 'announcement' is a form that nudges us toward
broader sweeps, more formal language, less emotional (whether friendly or
contentious) tone. It's like writing one of those damned application form
essays (why-I-want-to-go-to-med-school, etc.) in which you feel compelled
to please and impress an audience you don't know and can't really get a
sense for because its authority is to some degree dependent upon its
So Ian, seems to me, quite naturally expresses the same basic thoughts
differently when he's walked into this virtual room and is talking
directly to some real people who he knows are quite interested in what
he's got to say than when he's slinging a formal announcement out to the
aloof and faceless mass audience.
Whatcha think? How's this strike you, Ian?