HomeRoast Digest


Topic: The gift giving system on this list. (8 msgs / 124 lines)
1) From: Jim Gundlach
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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2) From: Greg's Gmail Address
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 wrote:
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3) From: Sandy Andina
Jim, you have more verbal skills left post-encephalitis than most of us have at the top of our games.  Interesting theory borne out by your research, and a win-win situation:  reduced hostilities and increased joy in the giving/receiving process!
On Dec 17, 2010, at 5:21 PM, Jim Gundlach wrote:
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Peace & song, 
Sandy 
www.sandyandina.com
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4) From: Robert Yoder
Happy Holidays, Jim,
 
I agree with Sandy and even commented on it quite awhile ago now.  It was very brave of you to continue posting and your recovery was (and is) remarkable!  What a terrible tunnel to come out of!  It's good to have you with us!
 
Happy Roasting,
 
robert yoder
 
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5) From: miKe mcKoffee
Indeed, we were Pecan Jim's witless lab rats for many years!
miKe 
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6) From: Edward Bourgeois
 Thanks Jim for reminding of the original concept again. It goes in
waves of working as it began but continues to come back and best when
done with the original spirit.
On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 8:22 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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-- =
Ed Bourgeois aka farmroast
Amherst MA.http://coffee-roasting.blogspot.com/Homeroast mailing list
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7) From: Greg Hammond
Interestingly, there was research published recently, and featured in the Wall Street Journal, that showed that people who were able to express gratitud--the receiving side of giving--led happier and healthier lives. It was quite interesting. 
On Dec 17, 2010, at 15:36, Greg's Gmail Address  wrote:
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8) From: g paris p
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 wrote:
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