Dialogue on Metric System Adoption

As comments have come into this blog (and I’ve gotten more than 200 since I began) I determined fairly early on that I should have an approval policy.

Grahams hierarchy of disagreement

Grahams hierarchy of disagreement

I put those thoughts up in February of 2013 in “How I Feel About Comments on My Blog”

In summary, I said:


I get to approve comments for this blog and it will be my policy to approve all of them unless they’re spam, libelous, downright offensive or have some other major issue. Comments don’t have to agree with my perspectives but they need to be courteous.

Within the last week or so, I’ve had some anomalies.

One person submitted a comment but did not want an identifier on it so it went up as “anonymous.” I hesitated to approve it since it seemed kind of weasel-like to me not to take responsibility for one’s thoughts, yet want to share them with the world. (I do see an email and an IP address associated with the comment, by the way but they don’t go up with the comment.)

As what’s below seemed reasonable, I went ahead and approved it without an attribution:

Who cares? The metric system is taught in pretty much every American high school. Any self-respecting American scientist uses metric. The military uses metric. Why is this such a pressing issue?

While I don’t make it a habit to answer all questions posed so as to not get into arguments in my comments section, my point is that we haven’t really looked at metric adoption in about 30 years, so maybe now is the time to revisit this as an issue and figure out where we’ve left ourselves as a country.

Then, on the 14th, a comment came in from someone identified as walterminehart in response to my post on Top 10 reasons the United States Should Use the Metric System (or SI)

 well, your wrong bitch

Since I’d already stated that I won’t approve comments that aren’t courteous, I did not approve that one. (“walterminehart” would have been all that would have gone up on that comment, BTW)

I prefer dialogue to name calling

As I thought about it some more, it seems to me that, regard to that particular individual, I’ve “won” that argument.

In looking at the graph at the top of page, people can disagree at different levels such as by bringing up refuting points or, as you descend to the base of the pyramid, responses without substance, as “walterminehart” did.

The individual sunk right to the bottom of the disagreement hierarchy. Frankly, I would have preferred it if the individual had told me why he thought I was wrong. That would have at least raised the level of discourse but I suspect that anyone who immediately resorts to name calling probably hasn’t given very much thought to their attitudes.

I’ve seen a couple of less than reasoned comments to my work (and thanks to the rest of you for putting some thought into your comments, whether positive or negative) but this was not helpful by any stretch of my imagination.

For those of you who have come to this blog more recently, but you should be aware that the Library of Congress is archiving it within its science section, so if you expect that what’s on these pages will eventually end up in the dregs of the Internet, that’s a lot less likely now. (I’m not saying anyone will eventually care, I’m just saying they should be available.) Under that perspective, people might want to think about the legacy they’re leaving behind on these pages. I know I am.

After mentioning the “bitch” comment to a friend, he proposed that I go ahead and approve it with the response, “That’s metric bitch to you.”

Amusing, but not my style.

As this project moves forward I hope we’ll enter into more of a discussion than a shouting match and that other metric system proponents will join me in taking the verbal high ground.



Graphic: ‘Loudacris’. Modified by Rocket000 (Transferred by Cloudbound/Originally uploaded by Reisio)

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