ONLINE GUIDE TO MEDIATION IS BACK ON LINE: A conflict resolution audio blog, law blogs in the culture wars, and the battle against jargon

Online Guide to Mediation is back online It’s always good to be back (particularly since my business trip’s return flight was booked with Northwest Airlines, now in the sixth day of its mechanics’ strike and experiencing a host of problems since the strike began on Saturday).

Ten days away from my office with only sporadic Internet access in combination with a hectic work schedule meant that I had a bajillion emails and phone calls to return when I got back to Boston—hence my delay in resuming my editorial responsibilities here at Online Guide to Mediation. The demands of work, alas, relentlessly assert themselves.

Thanks to loyal regular readers who continued to stop by and to those who discovered this blog and made themselves at home here while I was away.

Blogging as a pursuit holds many joys for the blogger (which hopefully in the end translates into rewards for the reader as well). One of the greatest of course and most irresistible are the discoveries which researching articles so frequently yields—the Internet scavenger hunts which may lead to the anticipated destination but which often bring us instead to unexpected places.

Here are some web sites for your reading pleasure, one related directly to ADR, one involving the nexus among culture, science, technology, and law, and a related handful of others devoted to the eradication of jargon (a cause which ADR professionals, who promote better communication, would undoubtedly support).

Conflict Resolution Audio blog a ground-breaking first of its kind

In search of inspiration upon my return and as a way to reimmerse myself in ADR blogging, the first web site I stopped by was Bill Warters’ Campus-ADR Tech Blog, one of my personal favorites. Bill, who is always in pursuit of the innovative, particularly at the crossroads of technology, education, and ADR, also produces Conflict Learning Audio, a pioneering audio blog offering podcasts on “conflict resolution, learning objects and information technology”. As the world’s first audio blog devoted to ADR, it represents an important milestone for our field. A recent podcast reviews several ADR blogs, including yours truly (thanks, Bill, for the nice comments about this blog–it’s much appreciated).

A law blog reports from the trenches of the culture wars

One of the topics I report on, usually but not always in conjunction with its connection to ADR, is the law (not surprising, given the fact that I’m an attorney—or used to be in my former professional life). For me as both attorney and blogger one of the more intriguing developments in the legal field has been the rapid and successful development of law blogs as a genre. My sidebar (over there on the right) includes links to a number of law blogs.

One that is worth a regular visit is the provocatively titled Dispatches from the Culture Wars, written by culture war correspondent Ed Brayton. This controversial, take-no-prisoners blog with a pro-science slant serves up plenty of steaming hot argument, debate, and reflection on the “interface of science, religion, law and culture”, as Ed takes on topics ranging from intelligent design to judicial activism.

Visitors will find plenty of feisty and entertaining sparring between Ed and those who visit and leave comments. (Hey, just because I’m a mediator doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good spirited debate.)

(By the way, speaking of intelligent design, for a humorous and utterly sacrilegious parody of intelligent design theory, visit the web site for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.)

Weapons of mass miscommunication: putting an end to jargon

Monica Bay, law blogger extraordinaire and publisher of The Common Scold, has declared war on jargon, targeting the overuse of the word “solutions” in corporate press releases. Scroll down to see the “penalty box” in her right nav bar where Monica names names and displays examples. (I should confess that my company’s name is Partnering Solutions, LLC, for which I hope Monica can find it in her heart to forgive me–after all, I’ve forgiven her for being a Yankees fan. Besides, in the ADR business, solutions are what it’s all about.)

Those of you who are interested in jargon as a corporate phenomenon should drop by Clive Thompson’s Collision Detection which reports on political, technological, cultural, and social anomalies. A recent post about business jargon features links to two diametrically opposed software programs—Bullfighter, which enables users to conduct search-and-destroy missions to remove jargon from documents, and White Smoke, a tool for the verbally challenged which provides “context-related language enrichment” (translation: turns plain English into incomprehensible babble).

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