“Why can’t we get along?” is a question attribute to Rodney King, the dysfunctional fellow who got beat up a few years ago in E. L.A. and the accidental video was broadcast around the world.
I don’t have that extreme a situation, but occasional I experience an interpersonal conflict with someone that can’t be rationally resolved as, the other person (of course it’s usually the “other one”) isn’t (rational).
We know the many times where email has been a source of misunderstanding, as there are no audio or visual cues we use, or even more embarrassing like Reply All by accident. Much like a video in the ease of dissemination, I’ve tried to be careful in netiquette and often insure that potentially con issues be concluded with a smiley face (:-) or a happy “Cheers” or “All the best” at the end.
Still email is a way to communicate common information to a group most efficiently. I think of the many community organization boards I’ve served or am serving on. Often times, I try to fill a typical hole, such as developing a webpage, as orgs don’t have many web savvy directors. Past and present, I’ve done this to fill needs of Alaska Folk Music, contradance, the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Esro Road Association, UAF Staff Council, Unofficial Chena Hot Springs Road Construction Page, Golden Valley Electric Ass’n, etc. The intent is to fill the gap of information, the strategy is to be open about how each organization operates. It is often bucking a tendency in smaller organizations toward cliques and cronyism, inertia of bureaucracy in large ones. At a certain point, I’ll lobby to get more professional or open in the organization’s dealings, then others feel threatened and defensive. Understandable. But if we listened to each other with compassion and respect, couldn’t we just get along? That’s what comity is.