"The Authorship Debate". The word "debate" (speaking only for myself) casts a rather long shadow. I'm thrust back to high school and college debates where we were taught how to listen to one another, and refute what they had to say with Latin terms. If we perceived someone saying something like, "But we have always done it this way" (an argument appealing to antiquity or tradition), we might refute whatever premise they were making by first saying: "argumentum ad antiquitatem", followed by our disagreement; or if the opposing debater makes some sweeping generalization we first say "dicto simpliciter". Not that this is not a great teaching device, but "debate", for me, has somewhat the spectre, the shadow, of argument for its own sake--the assumption that one must disagree (and concentrate on how this is so), rather than seek to understand an opposing point of view, and fine tune what points of view may have in common, and discard disagreements when analyzed and found to be deficient.
The point? So often, an open discussion turns contentious because someone attacks a person rather than an argument ("ad hominem"). The chain of comments then turn to ridicule, and so forth on down the line. This is so counterproductive. Not so, some may say? Okay, pick out a thread in the forum, and see how this happens--over and over again.
I could be mistaken, but it appears to me, when it comes to the case of ciphers, encryptions, cryptoanalysis, encoding, decoding, deciphering, etc., that what one is saying about them is often not really understood, or is not very well stated or defined--and, as it is with human nature, comments quickly become arguments "against the person (man)"--the ad hominem approach. This discourages many from participating. They just don't want the grief, the struggle just to be heard--which, I believe, is all we have. Forget trying to get more "people" on your side. It is enough, perhaps more desirable, just to understand the questions better. Make people less reticent to join in the discussion.
So, here is what I propose: that differing points of view (again, "points of view", not people) be what this new thread be all about. Look at some of the threads here at SFF--dozens, hundreds, some in the thousands of views--but very few responses. I think it may be that many feel they don't feel welcome because they are not Shakespeare scholars, and that because they are not, they will be personally attacked and ridiculed--and just give up. The ratio of response-to-post is numerically small. Perhaps curious readers are just that--they want to know what all the commotion is about. And this is fine, too.
I say, come one, come all. We are not in class, here. There should be no ridiculous questions or responses. Join in. Working with ciphers is fun!--Even though the ciphers, the hidden messages, are considered "alleged". So, ask questions, see if they can be answered. This is what all of this is about anyway: a public forum, not just a club for members.
I will gradually add some, if not all, of my previous postings to get the ball going.
Oh--I'll finish this post with my favorite quote as it relates to offering one's opinion:
"All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." (underlining, mine) (Schopenhauer)