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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Chairing Principles

There are many different theories about how best to chair a session. Disagreement arises in particular when it comes to the principles for determining the order in which people get to speak. Some will simply put people on the list in the order that they see them raise their hand---but remember, seeing is theory-laden. Others will invoke more sophisticated principles, for instance, pick people in the back before picking people in the front or pick people to the left before picking people to the right, and so on. In Arizona Agustin Rayo (aka 'Augustin Reyo') would punish people who raised their hands one second too late (the slow ones didn't get to ask follow-ups, etc.), and Ned Markosian put people whom he thought had already spoken too much in earlier sessions at the end of his list. Both Agustin and Ned were punished for these practices. Here is a picture of Agustin being punished.

And then there is the whole hand vs. hand + finger debate. In Arizona the hand + finger fans were out-voted by the hand fans. Why be a hand + finger fan? Because sometimes people are just dying to jump in in the middle of a discussion. So the hand + finger procedure could save lives. Why be a hand fan? Because the finger procedure can lead to finger-abuse, finger-nails and finger-f ...ing. Finger-abuse is the process of using your finger to ask your real (and completely unrelated) question because you are too impatient to wait your turn. A finger-nail (an expression invented by Dave Chalmers) is a follow-up on a follow-up and is bound to be irrelevant to the original question. And finger-f...ing (a term of art invented by Jonathan Schaffer) is finger-abuse of the most severe kind. Finger-f...ers use their finger so much that it causes others to be pushed off the list because the session runs out of time. We then say that he or she has been finger-f...ed.

2 comments:

Carrie Jenkins said...

Good heavens! I thought this was a family show! :)

Aidan said...

Family first, huh Carrie! Very suspicious indeed.......