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Postings from April 2011
Re: Nature of this list
From: Shlomi Fish
April 24, 2011 01:16
Re: Nature of this list
Message ID: email@example.com
On Sunday 24 Apr 2011 03:20:39 Joel Limardo wrote:
> I must have skipped the previous e-mails when all of this discussion about
> swearing started. I think there are times when a good curse word most
> adequately describes a situation, but these instances are exceedingly rare.
> When I look back in history and think of some barring my rights to vote or
> the starving masses of France glaring up at Marie Antionette's window or
> something like that I am totally for a good shout of "You dirty sons of a
> b****!" However, in everyday conversation, and this goes for mailing lists,
> foul potty-mouthed language is just not appropriate.
> And in truth, there are ALWAYS limits to freedom of expression depending
> upon the venue. For instance, it is illegal to scream "Fire!" in a theater
> if there is indeed no fire. It is illegal to call up someone and make
> harassing or threatening statements. Etc., etc. The rules of the venue
> determine the freedom. In most cases, if you are in the U.S., the limits on
> freedom of speech are normally very few and have more to do with public and
> personal safety. The Internet and other social gatherings on the web have
> to set their own standards. The restriction on swearing in many places is
> among them.
Joel, thanks for supporting and elaborating on what I said. I couldn't have
phrased it better myself. Joel++ .
I agree that there is a place for swear or unpleasant words, and some people's
styles seem to be uttering them consistently (e.g: reportedly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Stern and Perl's very own
http://www.trout.me.uk/ ), but they are usually not appropriate and should be
avoided in most contexts. Paul Graham discusses it here:
As much as freedom of speech exists, a lot of things you say can get you in
trouble and even if technically legal, may be considered as a verbal offence.
For example, at one point, someone at a mailing list I'm on claimed that I
should take a shower, because after he visited the Technion, where I studied
for my bachelor's, he discovered that my body odour was still a legend after
my departure. I was told that spreading such rumours may be considered as
defamation, and one could successfully press charges against such things (and
yes, I had been guilty in the past of similar acts of defamation, which I had
conducted due to negligence and lack of awareness on my part.).
There are natural restrictions to free speech such as
defamation/slander/libel, conducting deceit or fraud, risking human lives,
matters of national security, privacy, secrecy and personal matters,
copyrights and trademarks (possibly even patents), and naturally there are
things you can say and are perfectly legal (and ethical) which will incur a
negative reaction and are not recommended. (see for example
Sorry for getting carried away here a little elaborating on what Joel said.
I'd like to return to the main topic of the proper conduct on
firstname.lastname@example.org because I feel it could be improved. I'll reply to a
different message later.
Joel, thanks again.
> On Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 6:48 PM, Brian Fraser <email@example.com> wrote:
> > On Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 7:37 PM, Shlomi Fish <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >> Hi Brian, and all.
> >> Well, there's a difference between repressing emotion (which is saying
> >> "No! I
> >> am not feeling this way now") and realising you're feeling something and
> >> acting in a rational manner in accordance or opposite the emotion. I
> >> many times was frustrated at open source software applications having
> >> annoying bugs
> >> and thought with many F-words and curse words, but when phrasing the bug
> >> report, I phrased it politely, rationally, and factually (not always
> >> though,
> >> of course).
> >> Emotions are nature's guidelines, and should not be repressed, and one
> >> should
> >> not feel guilty for feeling anything (Sermon on the Mount/etc. put
> >> aside), including not a desire for murder and mayhem. But acting based
> >> on these emotions by words or deed may not be a good idea.
> > You could have phrased yourself more calmly.
> > Hey Shlomi.
> > What part of my reply, exactly, was not calm or rational? "Profanity is
> > expression, which is both trivial and all-important; it's a flavor of
> > words, like poetry or song. They all have impact in their own way, but
> > we should no more condemn an obscenity shouted in frustration than we
> > would poetry whispered in love." As you imply, there's a time and place
> > for every kind of language. I wouldn't be screaming profanity in a
> > business meeting (although my last PM was extremely fond of this...) but
> > frankly, I thought better of the list - I assumed we were all adults and
> > wouldn't be getting our knickers in a twist over a couple of words.
> > (If I wasn't calm, rather than addressing your mail, I'd have some strong
> > words to say about you and a horse)
> > In any case, I still await some links to this rude behavior towards a
> > beginner.
> > Also, uh, why wouldn't I read your entire message..?
> > Brian.
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
Freecell Solver - http://fc-solve.berlios.de/
Nobody expects the Randal Schwartz condition!
-- David Fetter
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