[an error occurred while processing this directive]
About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Forward one pageLast Page


Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Post 20

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 12:22amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
This site provides us an invaluable means of reaching around the world to discuss the ideas that are and should be of critical importance to rational individuals.  This only works optimally, however, if we choose to act in a civil manner.  Most of us have other professions and many requirements upon our time, which limit the time we can hope to spend identifying all of the problems in our writings here and polishing out every problem.  Ideas are exchanged at a very hot pace here.  This is a great thing for all of us.  Now, if we find something that we think is a problem in someone else's post or article, it is a wonderful thing to point out the problem and help that individual to further develop their understanding of an issue that is obviously of interest to them.  Or, alternatively, this may the opportunity for the critic to learn something from the response.

We ought to try to reach beyond even a rule of civil behavior.  We ought to so greatly appreciate the value of our intellectual exchanges that we show a genuine respect for those who are contributors.  We should respect the value of the many good ideas that come our way.  We should even respect the fact that others are making an effort to think things through, even when they are wrong.  We should remember that the development of a wrong idea may even be a value by showing us that a certain intellectual path leads to a dead-end.

We should also have a high regard for the complexity of reality.  If we are going to be successful in identifying it even locally, it is usually at the expense of making many errors before we refine our understanding to the point that we have it right.  Those who are unwilling to make an error are not free to be a dynamic intellectual explorer.  It is a given in life that we will all err over and over again.  Because this is part of the process of learning, we should not be disrespectful of the fact of another's error.  We should simply point out its nature, so we can move on to trying to understand the next puzzle.  When we do that, we should want all the help we can get.  We should each welcome the opportunity to move ourselves from a state of error to one of knowledge, whether we figured it out by ourselves or with the help of another.  But, why should others want to help us in that never-ending quest if we berate them every time we think they are wrong?  They should not and they will not.  You know this and that is why you are at this site rather than those where intolerance of error is so often rampant.  In fact, errors have a great habit in persisting at those sites because people become afraid or unwilling to point them out.

So, respect the many thinkers here and let's keep working together to try to improve each other's understanding.  Comparing an idea to dung or worse is not useful in achieving the understanding of our very complex world that we are most interested in.  Remember that no one of us is likely to understand enough to slake his thirst for knowledge alone.





Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 21

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 2:18amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Charles,

That was a terrific post, so I sanctioned it. I think, however, that this goes beyond an issue of pointing out a problem. Public embarrassment is only an effective tool against those with low self-esteem. I doubt very much that David Elmore is such a person :-).

Jim




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 22

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 2:23amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
SOLO is a wonderful site and people here have diverse opinions and are generally adults. I have confidence that the parties involved will work this out to their mutual satisfaction. However, given the rough and tumble nature of the site, I think a simple acknowledgement of the need for civil discourse rather than an apology is appropriate. 

Jim

(Edited by James Heaps-Nelson on 6/12, 2:31am)

(Edited by James Heaps-Nelson on 6/12, 2:33am)




Sanction: 21, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 21, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 21, No Sanction: 0
Post 23

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 10:19amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jordan says,
Well, I think it would've been more reasonable had David received fair warning.
I think this is a little absurd. If you were a guest in someones house and you angrily told them that the dinner that they just served you was shit on a shingle, who you whiningly protest, "But you didn't give me warning that that was unacceptable", after they tell you to get your sorry ass the fuck out? We are adults. We all know approximately where the line is. Perhaps borderline transgressions deserve warnings, but I don't think this one was borderline.





Sanction: 21, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 21, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 21, No Sanction: 0
Post 24

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 12:28pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Hi Jeff,

People insult each other all the time in this forum. Few insulters have been reprimanded. To carry on your analogy, if lots of folks trade insults at dinner time, and if the host never (or rarely) reprimands them, then how will the guests know that their privelages are in danger of being revoked? I suspect that David knew he was being offensive, but I doubt he knew he might have his privelages revoked because of it.

-Jordan




Sanction: 13, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 13, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 13, No Sanction: 0
Post 25

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 4:25pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks Jordan. David didn't know he would be moderated. In fact, he didn't even know that Joe Rowlands supported this site financially. Joe doesn't make a production out of that. If he demands special treatment because he is footing the bill, I think he should stop masquerading as just another one of the guys, posting articles, commenting, arguing, and issuing his own insults (http://solohq.com/Forum/ArticleDiscussions/0001_2.shtml#56). Maybe under his name it should say that he is the SOLO Sugardaddy, so don't mouth off.

Not that it matters who pays. When your site promotes totally free expression and tolerates all kinds of insults and incivility and trailer trash behavior and then the owner runs around in the site just like the next guy, he should not expect to be treated better than he allows all his posters to be treated. When the king dresses in pauper's clothes and wanders around Londontown, he shouldn't expect his subjects to kneel.

Kelly


(Edited by Kelly Reynolds Elmore
on 6/12, 4:49pm)




Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 26

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 5:34pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I'm having a hard time reconciling what was said in the linked post above and this situation. 

Joe, I respectfully pose this question to you, as my sense of justice is unbalanced here.  Why is it ok for you to call someone an "asshole" -- directly -- but not ok for someone to use vituperation towards you?  If the person referred to above had called for a public apology, would you have posted one?

I realize you own the place.  I also know you've put a lot of work into SOLO, foot the bill, etc. (and I am certainly appreciative of that).  I'm just wondering if this is the basis upon which the whole situation has been judged, and how SOLO has been/is to be moderated.  I simply would like to understand this better -- not because David is a personal friend, but because my opinion of SOLO rests on the answer.

Thanks,
Jennifer




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 27

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:04pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
My name was also called into David's post. Since I don't have the energy to read back over a hundred threads to get the context of name calling in every situation and who started what and who does what, I'm just going to post an opinion.

There are times for nasty words. I've used them on a few people here. Occasionally I've re-thought and appologised for my use of them. In the end, I try and save them for the worst types who occasionally appear here. SOLO belongs to and is supported by several people who I admire quite a bit. Who they choose to moderate is up to them. In this case I don't agree. I don't like what David said and I think he's wrong in his points about Joe's article. I think he ought to appologise.
In my own opinion...........asking him to appologise before moderating him would have been the way to go...if it were up to me....which it isn't. End of my personal opinion.

Ethan

EDITED to fix my usual poor grammar.

(Edited by Ethan Dawe on 6/12, 6:36pm)




Post 28

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:05pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
And then there was the time ...


Post 10

Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 1:34pmSanction this postReply
Link
Edit
"Sumit Arora" (yeah right) has been banned. No one speaks to Jennifer in that way on my watch & gets away with it.
Linz

And as it turned out, telling Jennifer to sit down and shut up was not out of line, after all.

So, if what we want is perfection, then perhaps we might try Roman Catholicism for our model.  Bear in mind, however, that the Pope is infallible only when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals.  Other than that, even the Pope can make a mistake.  Usually, however, they tend not to admit it, except in the case where they thought they were wrong, but it turns out they were not.






Post 29

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:33pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
LOL...Michael, that situation was actually quite funny.  However, I was touched that Linz came to my defense.  (Edit: Sumit was actually responding to a line in my Romance post that if there were a man brave enough to tell me to sit down and shut up when I was having an "Italian moment," I'd probably marry him.  Linz obviously would not have read said post, hence the misunderstanding.)

I realize that such "rules" of civility are complicated.  I'm just trying to understand them for my own sake, here.  If someone at my dinner table insulted me, I'd likely throw him out -- but solely because I would not use such behavior, at my own table or at another's. 

(Edited by Jennifer Iannolo on 6/12, 6:40pm)




Post 30

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:37pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Sumit was a pretentious jerk who thought everyone should bow down to the value of his company....whatever that may have been, I do not know.

Ethan




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 31

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:39pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
In my judgment, property owners have a special moral privilege to pull rank and to assert their authority at their own discretion regardless of what others on that property might consider "fair."  Since this incident does not equate to a "lifeboat" situation, I think the owners of SOLO made the right call when they asserted their ownership authority by inflicting a "moderated" status onto the offender before the offender could inflict more smarmy public insults onto them.

I agree that the owners and financiers of SOLO deserve a noted staff position so other posters will know better than to shout the SOLO equivalent of the old Saturday Night Live skit "CILL My Landlord!"




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 32

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:51pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
So Luke, you are saying "My house, my rules."

Understood.  But if one wishes one's house to be full of visitors at all times, might that not be the wisest policy?




Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 33

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:52pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
True enough, Luke owners do have privilege. However, there is a marketplace in Objectivism and many of the guests here are trying to determine if our time is better spent elsewhere.

Jim




Post 34

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:54pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jennifer,

I'm hoping to understand your POV with the link you provided to what Joe did once. I didn't attempt to re-read that entire thread, but it seemed as if there was a lot of back & forth in that thread before Joe finally let loose on the guy. As far as I can see, though, David let loose on Joe right off the bat. It wasn't a case of back and forth, with steadily rising frustration, and both sides getting more and more heated, and finally one party erupting. Right of the blue, David just dumped on Joe.

Maybe you could explain why you see the two situations as identical.



Post 35

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 6:58pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Hi Kernon.

I don't see the situations as identical, to be clear.  What I'm trying to understand is at what point the line is drawn, and in what cases, and for whom. 

Thanks,
Jennifer




Sanction: 26, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 26, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 26, No Sanction: 0
Post 36

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 7:13pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jennifer and Jim, I appreciate your points about desiring a house full of visitors.  I would only add a caveat -- the adjective "courteous" -- before "visitors."  An empty house provides more value to the home owner than a house riddled with rude visitors.  I think SOLO offers loads of value in comparison to whatever value we may lose by recognizing the owner's right to gag demonstrated rudeness at his discretion.

Of course, my views about the rights of hosts in contrast to the rights of their guests may rank considerably more stringent than others here given the mixed responses to my article on "Houseguests from Hell."

I also appreciate Kernon's note that David's insults came right from the gate.  Furthermore, they came in much more vitriolic and voluminous form than did Joe's exasperated post.  In general, I have noted that Joe tends to use a measured, restrained and highly selective form of insult for the sake of conveying exasperation.  David, by contrast, appeared to take great pleasure, or what I call "moralistic masturbation," in his employment of insults, tearing down Joe for the sake of his own self-stimulation well beyond any rational exasperation he could possibly need to convey.

I am not attempting to psychologize here, but simply to share the "sense of life" I experience via the posts of each person:

Joe: Benevolent but willing to express exasperation colorfully
David: Malevolent and willing to smash people for the sake of making himself look like a guru




Post 37

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 7:16pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jennifer,

Thanks for your reply. I guess I don't really have a problem if (de facto) it seems as if the principals are in a different category than everyone else! Also, as another person posted, it is just natural that people are going to pay more attention to when they're attacked, and not be as cognizant of other people being attacked. The difference here is that the people being attacked have greater powers available to them.

I also don't quite see "two wrongs making a right." Maybe Joe stepped over a line in his post. But if so, that doesn't mean that forever more it is open season on everyone.

I can understand wanting more clarity, but I think it is also very difficult to specify hard & fast rules! If you over-moderate, it has a very chilling effect. But I've also seen a lot of under-moderating. What happens in that case is far harder to track. You gradually lose people over an extended period of time. Then, one day, the place is dead.



Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 38

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 7:36pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Kernon,

We all understand this is a moderated website. However, the public embarrassment of David was too much for me and smacked of grandstanding.

Jim




Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 39

Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 4:31pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

I want to start this post by thanking Jordan, Jennifer and James for their posts on this subject.

 

The two things I want to address are the context around my caustic remarks (as Jason put it) concerning Rowlands’ article on “Objectivism: Not Just a Better Set of Rules,” as well as to expand on the double-standard that Jordan has already touched on concerning attacks on proprietors (kings) of web sites.

 

I’ll start with the latter. I have owned and run an Objectivist monthly magazine, and I have helped moderate an Objectivist yahoo group. In both cases, I was occasionally attacked and often unjustly – especially at the magazine, where it got brutal at times. My rule for publishing or responding to those who attacked me was that they had to at least make a case for their attack – which I did thoroughly in my attack on Rowlands’ article. My incivility was backed by what I considered a rationale for my incivility. I went to lengths to stress my opinion and to do so concisely and clearly. I did not just go after him whimsically in some blowhard retribution without a shred of justification. Many of you may disagree with my points, but I made my points and still feel they were right (in fact, I’ve not seen anyone directly address those points, which I’ll talk about in the second part of this post).

 

As a magazine publisher/editor and group leader, if I thought my attackers were being irrational but were still sincere, then even the caustic and sometimes extreme nature of their attacks was acceptable to me. That is the nature of some arguments in the world of ideas – if one party feels the other is being unjust, as I believe Rowlands to be. That is also how things get worked out and how you get the measure of the man. It’s not so much a thick skin one needs in a position of leadership or ownership of a forum as it is a good sense of humor (e.g. Linz) and an understanding that it’s always OTHER people who are just fucking wrong. heh heh. Seriously, exasperation is a constant in such positions, and dismissive over-reaction is the bugaboo to watch for in your own responses.

                       

My incivility with Rowlands may have seemed that it was out of left field, but it was not off the cuff. I had considered his post and previous posts and found in them something that I felt warranted my reaction, and I explained those thoughts in that post and a follow-up post. I’ll go into that further in just a moment because the reaction of many folks on SOLO indicates to me that my reaction to him is virtually singular.

 

One more point on being the proprietor of a web forum. You absolutely cannot expect special treatment as the proprietor – especially if you are posting weekly articles and making regular comments on others’ ideas in other threads! That is a double-standard. Even when I was working 90-hour weeks as a publisher/editor and spending all my money on my magazine, I tried to err on the side of allowing more caustic remarks in my regard to ensure open conversation. I did not hold up my financial position as a sword of Damocles to turn my readers and writers and critics into threatened dependents upon my fickle pride. I did not wish to be king.

 

If you create a site dedicated to “free discussion,” as Rowlands and Company have said they have done here, then you cannot make exceptions to the sometimes withering comments of your detractors – not unless you want to put a cloud over the site, and not unless you want to put under the front page banner “Bastion of Free Exchange, But Please Do Not Make Caustic Remarks About Joe Rowlands. Thank You.”

 

 

Now let me try to give context to my extreme reaction to Rowlands.

 

He and I recently had a lengthy and partisan argument on his “Virtue Dichotomies” article http://solohq.com/cgi-bin/SHQ/SHQ_FirstUnread.cgi?Function=FirstUnread&Board=2&Thread=1188.

If you go read our exchanges, I think you’ll find that my posts were reasonable and even-handed, as well as moderate in tone. Please review them if you are interested in seeing how I address those who I believe have simply just made an honest mistake and have no axe to grind or alternate philosophy to pontificate on and propound (as I initially thought of Rowlands). I even complimented Rowlands on the “tenor and general idea” of his article but tried to explain to him how he had a wrong view of the nature of independence.

 

Linz actually began the escalation of the rhetoric on that thread when (in his post 13) he said I was “pursuing” Rowlands and that I was a rationalist (one of the worst things I think you can call anyone). But I let that slide, so I could stay focused on the more important issue of Rowlands’ error (though I got the feeling from Linz’s post that I had somehow trampled on sacred ground and that I was being warned to tread softly or get the hell off). Rowlands upped the ante in that discussion (in his post 33) by condescendingly saying, “One more time, for those who still don't get it,” despite the fact that he himself had refused to address Rand’s actual definition of independence – and had, in fact, continually built strawmen in the discussion and somehow erroneously linked independent thought with material independence. My view of Rowlands after this discussion was that he had not actually seriously studied and/or digested Objectivism and still had an “old world” feel for philosophy – wherein one simply uses vague, pre-Randian definitions for Randian terminology. I looked over some of his previous articles and found the same confusion, but since I was working on my own articles, I didn’t want to address those errors – and I figured he would write more and I would get a change to point out to honest minds on SOLO where his mistakes were.

 

Rowlands’ ignorance on the subject was not in itself something to blast him about. I am ignorant on many subjects (most subjects) and hope for benevolence from those who know more than I. But Rowlands’ way of arguing was snooty (notice quote above and other of his comments in that thread and others), dishonest (strawmen representations of his opponents’ ideas), evasive (not going to fundamentals despite being repeatedly asked), rationalistic (not using cogent examples for empirical analysis unless asked and then not doing so thoroughly), and turgidness (repeating virtue/value statements continuously instead of making pertinent comments, as well as convoluting definitions). Please read the above thread well to see exactly what I am talking about, if you are still interested.

 

All of the above would still not have been enough for me to broadside him in my initial post on his “Objectivism: Not Just a Better Set of Rules” thread http://solohq.com/Articles/Rowlands/Objectivism_Not_Just_a_Better_Set_of_Rules.shtml, when I saw the same patterns. Rowlands, however, used his article as a direct attack on “moral perfection,” which was a stance I took and explained in detail – and which he ruminated on only once on a very long thread despite virtues/values being of great importance to him. He is, obviously, not obligated to make many posts on a thread that aligns with his values, and he is not required by dictate to say that I, David Elmore, had been the one who propounded the idea that “moral perfection” is possible. But the timing of his comments on the above thread directly after our confrontation and his disagreement with me on the subject made some mention necessary by anyone with benevolence as his guiding spirit.

 

All of this, however, was still not enough for me to blast him with my comments. The straw that broke the camel’s back was his taking of his strawman routine to another level by mischaracterizing my comments on the “moral perfection” thread (http://solohq.com/Forum/ArticleDiscussions/1154_10.shtml#210) to ram home his point that values and virtues cannot be separated. If you read my post #210 above and all of my other posts on that thread, you’ll see that I discussed moral perfection in the context of both virtues and values, that I said often and deliberately that they must be together in all things, and that to be perfectly moral, you have to have your values perfectly aligned. Yet Rowlands deliberately built his strawman for four full paragraphs at the end of his article.

 

Read the following graph from his article’s end, and then read my Post 210 above (which included the phrase “Moral perfection involves keeping the mind focused on virtues, values and, of course, happiness.”) and see if you don’t think he likes his strawman.

 

This (rules-based mentality) was embodied in the discussion of moral perfection on SOLO recently.  The notion of moral perfection was aimed at whether a person obeyed the morality, instead of whether he actually benefited.  It's as if the means were elevated above the ends.  The discussion of moral perfection didn't revolve around making choices that best promoted a person's life.  It focused on whether people were able to consistently follow the rules.  The means were elevated above the ends.  The tools of life were being treated as more important than life.

 

So, why did he distort comments to make a case for the obvious? I don’t know. I don’t like to psychologize; only he can explain himself. But he didn’t stop with just building his strawman. After he falsely said that we moral perfection advocates were dichotomizing, he of course needed to characterize us: “Those who view morality as an end in itself are not concerned with life.” That is a true statement, but it does not characterize those of us who believe that the rational person can achieve moral perfection – happiness. All of the above is why he received ridicule from me.

 

--------

 

With all of the above said, I wonder at how effective my incivility was. I purposely made my ridicule over the top (the phrasing from Heart of Darkness, the alliteration, the verbosity) to give clues as to my following opinions not being of the utmost gravity (If I thought Rowlands worthy of censure, I certainly wouldn’t have started with some light humor. If I’d thought him capable of worse, I would have started with blister, not bombast). I also thought I’d be preaching to the choir a bit with my comments, so I expected some snickers at Rowlands’ deserved expense. Though I think I got a few of those, it appears that most of you do not view Rowlands in the same way that I do. Be that as it may, I’ll know better next time who is off-limits – if there IS a next time! Linz?

 

 

 

 

(Edited by Lindsay Perigo on 6/12, 7:57pm)




Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Forward one pageLast Page
[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]