View Poll Results: Should the the Infractions System be introduced?

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  • Yes

    14 73.68%
  • No

    5 26.32%
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Thread: Proposed infractions system

  1. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack White View Post

    Many "personal attacks" are just a descriptive for the behavior
    of someone. If SMITH makes blatantly untrue statements and
    JONES calls him a "liar" it is NOT a personal attack, but a description
    of SMITH'S behavior... [snip]
    I agree, Jack. As an example:

    I might think a less personal reply would be preferable, such as Jones saying: "That is a lie." Or even perhaps, "You are lying." -- (As opposed to Jones simply labeling Smith: "a liar")

    The latter ("You are lying") would only be appropriate if "Jones" had reason to believe that "Smith" was privy to the "truth" of the matter and reason to believe that "Smith" was deliberately prevaricating. The label--"You're a liar"--is another matter.

    I think the difference between saying "That is a lie" and saying "You are a liar" is a very fine line, but technically the former conforms more closely to Forum Policy (as I understand it), whereas the latter probably does not...even if true.

    There are four (or more) potential replies to consider in the above example used by Jack. Although variations exist, each of these reflects the perceived "position" of its author:

    1) "That is incorrect" (reads: that claim is false; you are mistaken) [This one needs no clarification]

    2) "That is a lie" (reads: that claim is false; you made it up, or you either intentionally or inadvertently repeated a false statement made by another) [in this context, the only interpretation that is clearly not ad hominem is the one in which there is an allowance that the false claim may have been made inadvertently by repeating what was heard from a trusted 3rd party]

    3) "You are lying" (reads: your claim is false and you do know better) [this is a tough one because it is clearly ad hominem, on its face, but it also could be a simple reportage of fact, as well]

    4) "You are a liar" (reads: you regularly employ methods of deception and you are not trust worthy) [clearly, this is ad hominem--even if true. However, some folks deserve to be personally attacked, but distinguishing between "who deserves it" and who doesn't is a slippery slope, indeed]

    IMO: These are subtle but significant distinctions. I am fairly certain that the software is ill equipped to deal with such linguistic nuances.

    Did you see "WATSON" play Jeopardy? He won on his ability to produce "facts" [raw data] and deliver them with superior speed. However, he was entirely inept at interpretation, application, and relevance to the human context.

    Last edited by Greg Burnham; 03-06-2011 at 11:29 PM.


    "It is difficult to abolish prejudice in those bereft of ideas. The more hatred is superficial, the more it runs deep."

    James Hepburn -- Farewell America (1968)

  2. #12


    Having been absent a lot lately and limited to working from a timed-out library interface, I won't comment much except to say that I am against censorship of content, would prefer less ad hominens et al -- except where warranted (perhaps this can be modified by an appeals process, changes in workding, etc.) and very much in favor of limiting useless extraneous copies of long post, I voted yes, with the proviso that it's a first step and will be modified in time.
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

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