(At the request of several readers, I take the liberty of moving this letter back to the top to be sure that our surfing readers may catch the wave at sometime while they’re at the break)


Observations on the  nature of ephblog

I’ve been blogging on ephblog for a year now. Sophmom and I showed up at the same time. We have both become active participants but in different ways. My way is the fast jab or some sophomoric parody. 

Sophmom’s way has been to participate in discussions and to become involved with the very essence of the thread arguments, eloquently stating positions and defending them when rebuttals arise.

Sophmom’s contributions have also offered both support for others and a striving for some sense of positive closure on topics.

Because of these contributions and her involvement and as a representative of two groups thin on the ground and not well represented on ephblog – parents and women- she has been asked to join the board and has accepted.

The question of what is ephblog and what are reasonable expectations is being addressed by the board through soliciting your inputs. Responses to date include more participation by various groups like those represented by Sophmom.

But the same question has arisen in a much uglier form in the recent postings and thread re Phillips Exeter.

Without getting into the particulars of the discussions, I make these personal observations on the nature of ephblog :

1. ephblog is a place for discussions on topics deemed to be appropriate because the writer chooses to bring them up. However, the nature and quality of discussion in too many cases disintegrates into schoolboy taunts and an insistence on proving one’s point ad nauseum because the writer is always ‘right’,

2. ephblog is not in general a place to come for help with particular problems. 

3. ephblog is a platform for exposition on topics that in many instances assume responsibility for functions of the college trustees, administration, faculty, and student government.

4. ephblog is not a place to come for personal gratification or recognition beyond the satisfaction of saying what you have to say and seeing it in virtual reality.

5. ephblog represents whom it represents by self-selection. The tone and content play a role in determining this selection.

6. ephblog’s value in the wider Williams community is also a  function of this same tone and content.

As I am sure you recognize, I am just a jabber not a debater,.

But if any find resonance in the above, what positive might be done to add to ephblog’s presence and mission?

And my thanks to Sophmom for participating so actively and thoughtfully in an atmosphere she must find very difficult. I hope she will continue with us to help ephblog  improve.

My thanks also to the other few parents and women whom I am sure find the air oppressive.

Please help us open some windows.


Dick Swart

Hood River, Oregon

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