I want to try something different. I am weary of endless exchanges about things we already all know on the uses and abuses of so-called rules on grammar, punctuation, and style.
I invite others to participate in a discussion group that will attempt to produce a joint statement they can all accept, or at least accept the opinions as reasonable for others to hold.
I believe that is possible. We have many differences of opinion – but we are all intelligent, knowledgeable about writing, and passionate about improving our own writing and helping others improve their writing too.
I'm not sure this is possible, but I will ask Lazeez to temporarily close and later reopen this thread. I do not want to stifle debate in any way, just defer it long enough to test if a consensus is possible before opening it up to all-comers.
These are the steps I propose hoping to achieve that.
The first exchanges must be limited to a small group. I nominate these people: myself, Awnlee Jawking, Crumbly Writer, Dominions Son, and Switch Blayde.
My reasons for selecting those people are:
** Myself – This is my idea. I have already thought about a potential final outcome, and believe I can suggest a suitable starting point
** AJ – He has recently made statements that provoked strong reactions from both me and CW. That is sad, because I have no fundamental disagreements with AJ's opinions, and I doubt CW has any either. I see the underlying problem as there's currently no practical way for AJ to express his opinions without the result of CW and I feeling intimidated about expressing our opinions
** CW – Not just a fine writer, but he always seeks to be constructive, and is very insightful in suggesting new ideas writers might use to improve their writing
** DS – What can I say? He is someone who is never unwilling to express his opinions :-)
** SB – The only one among who is always the voice advocating restraint, reason, and tolerance – and a damn fine writer too.
Some of those I have nominated may not want to be involved. They are free to choose that. Some I have not nominated may want to be involved. In my opinion, they have the right to ask for that.
I have volunteered to do some tasks below. If any in the group want to do those instead of me – they are welcome to them.
*2. I will produce a first draft of the joint statement and post it here.
*3. I will then ask the group to all email me privately with whatever they would prefer was included or excluded from the final version.
*4. I will produce a revised draft, incorporating ideas others have sent to me, and hoping for something that may achieve a consensus. I will then circulate all versions to all within the group.
*5. I expect some rounds of private exchanges seeking a final wording we can all accept. At some point, I may close off that process and decide on the final wording. That would be what I assess as achieving the highest possible level of consensus.
*6. I will then post the final version the thread will then be opened up to all to contribute as they please.
Seriously, if we really want to improve our writing and help others improve theirs, we have to the never-ending nagging stating things we already all know: there are no "rules" of grammar, there is no style guide suitable for writers of fiction, and good fiction writing will always require authors to occasionally disregard any and all conventions.