QUESTIONNAIRE FORM TO KNOW MORE ABOUT EACH OTHER
Mon Sep 20 00:27:30 EDT 1999
Thanks to Valerie for reminding us of the questionnaire. Since it's
vacation here in Japanese academia, that paradoxically means I've been
swamped with work, so I'd unfortunately put that on the back burner.
Valerie has, however, has pressed us to move it forward.
As I said the first time the idea came out, I think it might be good to
include such a questionnaire with the welcome message everyone gets the
first time they join the list, and ask people to fill that out as their
form of self-introduction. I'll talk this over with the other owners.
The problem would be what to do with the 330 of you who already
participate: suddenly having 330 introductions in one week would
overwhelm all of us! Even just having those who haven't introduced
themselves would result in mail in the hundreds (which most would not
read). At least for the time being, I still think it would be best just
to encourage those who haven't introduced themselves to do so, either
using the questionnaire or not.
As Valerie says, knowing more about who the other members are can help us
communicate better, not only by better knowing our audience but also by
reassuring us that not everyone out there has a PhD. However, I do want
to be careful that such information does not serve to "define" the list.
Our hope from the beginning was that KineJapan would be a flexible and
malleable list in which both academics and regular fans could participate.
But as both Valerie and John note, the discussion does tend to be more
academic, a fact which can intimidate some members. That was never the
intention, though the fact that the people who run the list and the
institution that sponsors it (Kinema Club) are made up of academics does
create the tendency for more academic discussions. While I, as the main
list manager, do try to give people lots of info and offer what I
consider non-academic opinions on whether I like a movie or not, the
questions I tend to ask do come from what I am interested in, which may
seem rather academic to some. There's also the unfortunate fact that
academics (who make a profession of spouting on) and professionals like
Stephen (who are often people who are used to dealing with a "public"
audience) are more talkative by character.
I must admit that there are times that I hope the discussion could be
even more academic because that is what interests me, but I also really
do want to know more about events, tape availability, publications,
screenings, and a lot of other points not necessarily academic. I also
sincerely want to hear what others think of Japanese movies, no matter
what perspective they bring to the subject. But since this is a
discussion list, any one who gives an opinion on a film should be
prepared to meet with opposing opinions from people who do not share the
same perspective. When this opposition comes from an "academic," this
can seem intimidating, given the academic pretension of power through
knowledge, but I for one would not like to start reining in what I write
for fear that someone might feel intimidated. Sure we should all be open
minded and considerate of others opinions, but self-censorship would ruin
The issue is thus very complicated. Those who pretend to have specialist
knowledge of Japanese cinema should not go around using it to put down
others, but those who supposedly don't have such "knowledge" should also
have more courage to speak their mind. I think Valerie's solution of
better knowing each other is important, and, while it is something we
have tried from the start, it needs a greater push. But I also think we
have to accept that the list is going to remain complex because it's
membership is so varied. Many of the posts will not interest many of the
members (that's one reason why we accept posts in Japanese--if every
message was supposed to address some common denominator, we'd have to cut
out Japanese posts), and KineJapan will in some ways remain a list where
small groups of different kinds discuss amongst each other while others
less interested watch on. I personally don't think that's bad:
KineJapan's strong point is its ability to acheive variety and
informativeness without losing a certain level of quality (which is not
necessarily defined as academic quality). Some fine tuning is needed,
but not any drastic changes (I hope).
Yokohama National University
KineJapan list owner
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