• The Rules of Engagement here

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 • The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by keza at 2007-10-10 11:02 PM
The purpose of this forum is as a place for serious, high-level  discussion about what it means to be progressive and left-wing in the 21st century.
 
I used the adjective "high-level" purposely. 

We expect contributors to make a serious attempt to engage with the issues raised in the thread they are participating in.  There are many forums on the internet in which serious debate/rational argument is not the norm  and almost anything goes.

Here we have an expectation that people will actually attempt to argue their position by using both logic and evidence (as well as by making a real attempt to express themselves clearly).


Certain things are unacceptable:

(1)  Jumping into a thread and just asserting a viewpoint with no attempt to argue for it. 

Posting a supporting link from somewhere else on the internet is not an argument.  It is fine to post links but when doing so we generally expect them to be accompanied by a clear and thoughtful comment about the relevance and importance of the link to the topic at hand.

(2) Posting comments  which  are at best tangentially related to the topic of the thread you are posting in. 

These sorts of comments are not only distracting but also disruptive to the integrity of the thread.  Generally they are an attempt to change the subject rather than respond to a good argument posted previously.

(3) Repeating the same thing over and over while ignoring counter arguments.

This is a form of trying to win by shouting.  We expect people to read (and respond to) what others have to say and also to take the time to read any  links to relevant material which form part of these posts. 

(4) Distorting what an opponent has said in order to attack it  (the straw man fallacy)





Recently Steve Owens was complaining because I deleted a post of his which consisted of  just a single sentence and a link.  This was Steve's 'response" to the 5 thoughtful and detailed posts which had constituted the thread up until then.  The link did not have any obvious connection to these earlier posts and Steve made no attempt to explain why he thought it made some sort of contribution to the discussion.


He says that he just wanted to post "interesting news about Iraq" , that perhaps we need a special thred devoted to interesting news snippets about Iraq, and  also that  my motive  for deleting his post  may have been because I "wouldn't want links to news items that showed either gross mismanagement by the forces of occupation or the spread of cholera or for that matter mercenaries firing into crowds."


I'll paste in what Bill  had Barry had to say in response to all this:


Bill wrote:

(quoting Steve...) "I can understand why people dedicated to the prosecution of the war wouldn't want links to news items that showed either gross mismanagement by the forces of occupation or the spread of cholera or for that matter mercenaries firing into crowds. All these things are developments in Iraq this is a thread about developments in Iraq go ahead Keza delete this. Orwell always said you would"

This gratuitous and deliberately misleading insult needs to be deleted / edited out of steves post (along with this reply)

It's always better to provide an explanatory comment / meaningful explanation with a link. That is a request to lift your standard of discussion and not evidence of our lack of willingness to discuss. In general this is what supporters of this site do when providing links.  If you are too lazy to do that then the message will be deleted / moved to junk

The real issue here is that some people treat LS as a site where they "sniff and piss" rather than a place to have real debate. 

Steve, why don't you  repost to meet these guidelines (ie. add in your links again to your comment and take out your nonsense) and then see if is deleted then, before complaining about our "Orwellian" behaviour.
Barry wrote:

Steve, My understanding of the site is that essentially it's about debating/exploring what it means to be leftwing in the C21st. This is what attracts me to the site, as one who embraces modern material progress and wants to see an end to wage-slavery and who just 'went with the mob' during most of the 1970s and 1980s (and became increasingly dissatisfied with it while not being able to articulate why). I'm not particularly interested in isolated links being posted, even if they are interesting, and I rarely do that myself. This is because, with Iraq developments, for example, I want analysis and debate about the facts rather than just letting them stand alone. In the case of the thousands of unaccountable pistols, I want to know why and how this might be significant rather than just knowing that it is a fact. Also, I think people need to move beyond just posting a link by someone else, usually an 'expert', and saying 'I agree with this'. Part of the ethos of being on the left is that people empower themselves and speak up for their own point of view.

 

Barry



Now I'm going to clean up the "Iraq Developments" thread that became disrupted  as a result of  Steve's "link posting" and also by Cyberman deciding to jump in and  change the topic to the issue of US bases in Iraq.  My objection to Cyberman's behaviour was not that he wanted to talk about US bases, but that he made no attempt to connect what he was writing to what anyone else on the thread had written.  It was a transparent topic change.

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by kerrb at 2007-10-13 12:51 AM
I'm moving a post from cyberman from the oil thread to junk

It contravenes point 2: Posting comments  which  are at best tangentially related to the topic of the thread you are posting in.

By deleting it completely and posting the move notice here the previous thoughtful post from guru-jane remains on top of the oil thread
_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by kerrb at 2007-10-20 06:11 PM
I moved some links in the "strength and democracy" thread in 3 separate posts from steve to an earlier steve post (currently on top of the thread, here)

There were 5 links, two were broken, so I deleted the broken links. The links from steve are relevant to his earlier post.
_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by kerrb at 2007-10-27 08:57 AM
I've moved a post from cyberman from the oil thread to the junk forum, here

It didn't say anything about oil and Barry has already replied to the points about opinion polls and bases. Cyberman we know what you think, you often repeat yourself, if you don't have substantial new things to say then don't post.

(2) Posting comments  which  are at best tangentially related to the topic of the thread you are posting in. 


(3) Repeating the same thing over and over while ignoring counter arguments
_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by kerrb at 2007-10-31 10:30 PM
I've reversed Bill's decision on this.  We need to enforce our rules with some discretion, always remembering that  the whole point of having rules is to prevent disruption to discussion.  In this case I don't think that paulj was being disruptive. He is an infrequent contributor with no record of doing things such as trying to have the last word by just posting a link. 

I'm not denying the importance of endeavouring to create a culture in which people accompany links with some comment of their own outlining why they think that  the link is important.  However I think that the rule against posting isolated links should be mainly enforced against those who  persistently refuse to engage with what others  have argued  on the thread  in which they  are posting.  Paulj does not fall into this category.

I've been too busy to monitor the site as much as I should over the past week and Bill was unable to consult me, which is why the mistake happened.  We are still experimenting with what rules to have and how strictly to enforce them.

Sorry,  paulj.

keza



Bill wrote:

paulj entry moved to junk from global warming thread

Certain things are unacceptable:

(1)  Jumping into a thread and just asserting a viewpoint with no attempt to argue for it. 

Posting a supporting link from somewhere else on the internet is not an argument.  It is fine to post links but when doing so we generally expect them to be accompanied by a clear and thoughtful comment about the relevance and importance of the link to the topic at hand.


_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-03-16 02:22 AM
After I sent a comment by dalek in the 'Crisis in Aboriginal Communities' thread to the junk forum, Bill thought it would be a good idea if I provided a more detailed reason for doing that than 'it is mere abuse'.
 
First of all, please read the beginning of this thread, which lays down several unacceptable practises, and clearly states that Last Superpower is a place for serious, high-level discussion, and lays down some unacceptable behaviours:
 
(1)  Jumping into a thread and just asserting a viewpoint with no attempt to argue for it. 

Posting a supporting link from somewhere else on the internet is not an argument.  It is fine to post links but when doing so we generally expect them to be accompanied by a clear and thoughtful comment about the relevance and importance of the link to the topic at hand.

(2) Posting comments  which  are at best tangentially related to the topic of the thread you are posting in. 

These sorts of comments are not only distracting but also disruptive to the integrity of the thread.  Generally they are an attempt to change the subject rather than respond to a good argument posted previously.

(3) Repeating the same thing over and over while ignoring counter arguments.

This is a form of trying to win by shouting.  We expect people to read (and respond to) what others have to say and also to take the time to read any  links to relevant material which form part of these posts. 

(4) Distorting what an opponent has said in order to attack it  (the straw man fallacy)

  On to the comment in question. Dalek's words are in bold:
 

YM, Patrick. All this stuff about substance abuse in the Aboriginal communities is just so early 19th century. In those days the plight of the working class was put down to their drinking of gin and their rampant child abuse. Every do-gooder and social reformer rabbited endlessly about the dissolute and depraved working classes as they shovelled them and their children into workhouses and sweat-shops.


Dalek here asserts a viewpoint, without trying to argue for it. In fact, what dalek does is to attempt to draw an analogy without a) showing that what he claims about 19th century "do-gooders and social reformers" has any basis at all, and b) without showing how what he claims about 19th century social practise is relevant to the solution proposed by Noel Pearson.


Sorry I don't buy that solution and I think the Pearson analysis is big on anecdote and very small on actual hard numbers.


Hypocrisy - dalek's only evidence around the issue of aboriginal communities has been anecdotal, with no hard numbers whatsoever.


On the question of a detailed rebuttal of Pearson's arguments, I don't need to do a detailed rebuttal of the arguments for Fascism (for example) or of the Bush arguments for torture (for another) to express my utter and complete opposition to both.


1) It is utterly offensive to liken Pearson's proposed solutions to fascism or torture. This is part of a pattern of behaviour by dalek who has previously called Pearson an "Uncle Tom" and a "Kapo" (a privileged prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who served as an underguard, thus collaborating with the Nazi regime)


2) Likening Pearson's proposed solutions to fascism or torture is a way of hiding the admission that dalek can't or won't rebut Pearson's arguments and proposed solutions.


3) Being able to rebut arguments for fascism and torture would be a very useful exercise. It would certainly take me a while to get my own feelings on them down in written form.


I am still waiting for an explanation of how it is not racist to send the coppers into only Aboriginal homes to hunt down drug abusers via forced drug testing. Then explain to me how this program would go down in white middle class Australia.


If dalek would read what Pearson has said, he would see that it is employees of the local authority who are to be subject to drug testing. Many while middle class Australians who work in jobs where drug use is unacceptable are already subject to similar testing regimes.


Police searches of homes are only proposed when someone is producing or dealing drugs.


Dalek has here engaged in the process of distorting what an opponent has said in order to attack it.


I guess that if and when the young and militant Aboriginals revolt against the oppression of the state forces and their Capo's you guys will be calling for their incarceration ?


Once again, dalek distorts arguments in order to attack us offensively. I'd also add that young and militant Aboriginals have the most to gain if Aboriginal people become largely drug free.

 
I've been partly motivated by a comment that Lupin3 made in another thread, asking why we allow dalek and co to suck all the oxygen out of the room. I took this to heart and think it is a valid criticism.

 
We welcome alternative views here, but we want serious discussion, not abuse and pointless distortion.


If you wish to add to tbe debate on Aboriginal communities and what approach should be taken to their problems, please do so on the thread "Crisis in Aboriginal Communities" or "Indigenous Crisis possible solutions". Comments here that should be on that thread will either be moved there or deleted.

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-03-19 07:24 PM

I've removed another comment by dalek from the Crisis in Aboriginal Communities thread. 
I removed the comment because

 

  • a) It repeats the same thing over and over again while ignoring counter arguments.
  • b) It distorts what an opponent has said in order to attack it.

 

The comment was in reply to this comment by me.

Dalek's comment that I have removed can be read here.

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by kerrb at 2008-03-31 04:30 AM
This post from Cyberman  has been junked. It was both off-topic  and silly.


_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by keza at 2008-04-21 07:52 AM
I've junked two posts from Cyberman. 

The first was in the "Five Years Later" thread. Cyberman's contribution was entirely irrelevant to that thread.  I have no idea why he posted it there - superficially he seems to have thought that he was making a helpful suggestion about the blurb on our welcome page, but I doubt that he was genuinely concerned about the supposed ambiguity.  He  knows my email address and could easily have raised the issue by personal email if he had been genuinely concerned and wanting to help.  The removed post can be read here.

The second was in the "Marwin Barghouti" thread.  That post was removed because it was a mere assertion of opinion with no obvious supporting argument and no mention of   the substantive issues being discussed in that thread. The removed post can be read here .

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-04-22 01:30 AM
I have removed a comment by dalek from the "Blame the Pseudo-Left for High House Prices" thread. While much of the comment is a useful counter-argument and needs thinking about, at the end there is a suggestion that LS would organise racist anti-immigration campaigns.

This is trolling, and comments that troll will be removed. If the comment is reposted without the trolling bits, it will not be removed.

Anyone who wants to read the comment can click here.

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by kerrb at 2008-04-25 05:54 PM
cyberman comment in "ice age alarmism thread"  moved to junk
gratuitous, condescending or patronising comments - adds nothing new to discussion

can be read here
_________________________
Bill Kerr

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-05-29 04:58 PM
I have removed a comment by dalek from the "Strength and Democracy" thread, on the grounds that it violates point 1) in this thread:

(1)  Jumping into a thread and just asserting a viewpoint with no attempt to argue for it. 

Posting a supporting link from somewhere else on the internet is not an argument.  It is fine to post links but when doing so we generally expect them to be accompanied by a clear and thoughtful comment about the relevance and importance of the link to the topic at hand.

The post can be read here if you want to.

 • Re: The Rules of Engagement here

Posted by youngmarxist at 2008-05-29 04:58 PM
I have removed a comment by dalek from the "Strength and Democracy" thread, on the grounds that it violates point 1) in this thread:

(1)  Jumping into a thread and just asserting a viewpoint with no attempt to argue for it. 

Posting a supporting link from somewhere else on the internet is not an argument.  It is fine to post links but when doing so we generally expect them to be accompanied by a clear and thoughtful comment about the relevance and importance of the link to the topic at hand.

The post can be read here if you want to.