[Homeroast] The gift giving system on this list.

g paris p pchforever at gmail.com
Mon Dec 20 16:22:05 CST 2010


Jim:

One of my favorite things is/was the gifts/giftgiving. I have enjoyed the
many times I have been able to participate.

warmest regards for the season,love always,

ginny

hey Mike I loved being one of Jim's lab rats!!

On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 4:36 PM, Greg's Gmail Address <olawai at gmail.com>wrote:

> That is awesome.  I hope the findings get published some day.  The world
> needs more of this kind of research.  I am also wondering if any of the 42
> students ended up becoming home roasters as a result of that reading (and
> if
> the ones reading more hateful emails were less likely, etc.).
>
> On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 3:21 PM, Jim Gundlach <pecanjim at bellsouth.net
> >wrote:
>
> > A few, or some would say many, years ago I started an ongoing gift giving
> > system on this coffee list.  The gift I offered was a new set of burs for
> a
> > relatively small coffee grinder that I had bought from SweetMaria's back
> > when they were in one of those states that was to the north and possibly
> a
> > little to the east of me down here in east central Alabama.  I decided
> not
> > to install the new burrs because I had bought a great grinder from a used
> > restaurant supply store in Atlanta and was never going back to that
> little
> > thing.  Now typically I would have put the burrs for the smaller grinder
> up
> > and kept them forever thinking I might find a use for them in the future.
> >  But, I am a social scientist and decided to do something that is
> generally
> > considered immoral these days, conduct an experiment on the members of
> this
> > group.  From my anthropological studies I knew that every one of the so
> > called simple societies had gift giving rituals that required people to
> give
> > gifts to people they tend to be in conflict with, for example their
> spouse's
> > mother.  Now the theory was that this gift giving system was created to
> > reduce personal conflict and help maintain stability in the simple
> > societies.  At that time, this list, like every other email list I had
> > participated in had a relatively high rate of hostile, hateful, mean,
> > vulgar, and even disrespectful email messages posted.  So, to create an
> > ongoing gift giving system among members of this list, I set the
> requirement
> > that the winner of these burrs would have to offer a gift to the list and
> > that the winner of that gift would have to do the same thing and that the
> > winner of every gift offered in succession would be expected to repeat
> the
> > offer of something coffee related.  The winner of the burrs remains a
> member
> > of this list and lived up to the obligation to offer another gift and the
> > ongoing offering of gifts has continued rather irregularly on this list.
> >
> > After the gift exchanging  system was in place, it seemed to me that the
> > hostile email postings had substantially declined.  To collect data to
> > evaluate the hypothesis that a gift giving system reduces conflict, I
> > assigned the students in a social research methods course that I taught a
> > couple of years later to randomly select a hundred postings to this list
> > from the time before the gift exchange system went into place and another
> > hundred from a time at least six months after the gift exchange system
> > started.  These forty-two students read a fairly large number of postings
> on
> > this list and, while I don't remember the exact numbers, I recall that
> the
> > frequency of the hateful emails after gift exchanging was started was
> less
> > than a third of the frequency counted in the earlier emails.
> >
> > I never published these findings because I considered it inappropriate,
> but
> > I do believe list members should know that keeping the gift giving system
> > going is a small price to pay for having this list as pleasant and useful
> as
> > it is.
> >
> >       pecan jim
> >
> > PS:  I wrote this rather quickly and I still don't have all my writing
> > skills I lost in my encephalitis brain infection a little over a year
> ago,
> > so please excuse rough writing.
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
> >
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