Banning for meta-discusion [was RE: [uf-discuss] previously non-referenced in the spec"References"]

Breton Slivka zen at
Wed Jan 3 23:25:16 PST 2007

On Jan 3, 2007, at 8:26 PM, Tantek Çelik wrote:

> The big difference here (in contrast to Usenet, other lists etc.)  
> is that
> this community has retained a remarkably positive and inviting tone of
> discussion for quite a long time, much much more so than those  
> other forums,
> and those involved with this community very much value that and  
> have chosen
> to protect that over accommodating individuals whose method/manner of
> communication is harsher, noisier etc., in spite of well- 
> intentions, good
> points, and heck, even positive contributions.

As I read what's been going on in the list, the issue with Andy  
hasn't been so much his tone. This being text only medium, tone is  
very difficult to read into text, and most of the perceived tone of a  
post comes from personal interpretation. I think the reason Andy is  
now rubbing people the wrong way is a matter of the lack of substance  
in his posts. Strip away the emotional appeals, and there's virtually  
nothing left! If an argument can't be reduced to standard form  
(, then there is little  
point to the post, and it becomes like talking to a brick wall.

My suggestion then is that in a list which is primarily an impersonal  
and intellectual discussion on problem solving in a specific domain,  
the judgement call about whether someone is being disruptive should  
be based on whether there's actual (not emotional or personal)  
content in the post. Can the argument be restated in standard form?  
Considering the nature of this list, posts consisting primarily of  
emotional appeals and personal attacks just don't fit, and can easily  
escalate, unless cooler heads prevail. In this case, I think Tantek  
made the right call under these criteria, whether it was done  
knowingly or intuitively. 

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