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Old 2003-09-20, 11:39   #13
cheesehead's Avatar
"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

170148 Posts

When I earlier wrote "I will not participate further", I was referring to discussion of this thread's title topic, the war on terror. Now that the meta-discussion about suitability has continued this far, I have some more to say publicly.

I've previously participated in other on-line forums where heated political debate and associated personal attacks were the accepted norm. Nothing wrong with that, there. But GIMPS Forum hasn't been in that category, and the acceptable limits on debate here have been more polite. Both these types of forum have their proper places in the cybercontinuum.

As soon as I saw the initial posting of this thread I recognized, from my previous forum experience, that its topic was one almost certain to provoke such strong passions that some participants would go beyond the polite limits that have been the norm at GIMPS Forum so far, especially if I expressed certain views of my own. Though I personally would be willing to sling my appropriate share of mud if someone else slung first, I expected that that would quickly escalate beyond the tolerances of this forum's moderators, and it would tend to ruin the calmer mood established in the pre-Soapbox GIMPS forum.

I'm not quick to call for banning a topic. I don't recall having ever suggested in the less polite forums that any particular topic was out-of-bounds except in a couple of cases where it seemed that certain incitements to violence might lead to real-world trouble. I've never before objected to discussion of a topic at GIMPS Forum.

And -- critics please note -- I never proposed any blanket supression of any topic here. My objection was _specifically_ directed to suitability of this topic _in this forum_. There are _many_ other on-line and off-line forums where the topic of "The War On Terror" is appropriate. Those who wish to discuss it have a wide variety of places in which to do so. Banning it here would not infringe on your civil liberties.

Critics, if you think I need educating about freedom of speech or press, please note that I was a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union thirty years ago.

Now some comments on some issues raised:
I said what I meant and meant what I said about my motive for requesting that this topic not be discussed. "IMO, a discussion of this topic in this forum will definitely get out-of-hand." I have no unspoken political reason for wanting the topic not to be discussed.

Perhaps if I had explained my thoughts more thoroughly initially, it might have headed off speculation.
Do you feel ... and don't want ...? Or even ...?
Whether I do or don't is not relevant to my objection.
A true test of democracy is to allow other people to say stuff that you particularly *do* find distasteful & objectionable.
You're allowed to say whatever you want, but not necessarily wherever and whenever you want to say it. Limitations on discussion in this forum by the forum moderators do not infringe on your civil liberties.
Only wanting/allowing discussion to take place about stuff that you agree with ...
No one knows what stuff I agree with or not in regard to the title topic, until I express it, which I haven't here. Actually, I'd love to see discussion of stuff I _dis_agreed with in a no-holds-barred forum, so I could lampoon the opposition. But I don't want GIMPS Forum to be no-holds-barred.
... being disrespectful ...
Someone who has for a year displayed a photo of a llama wearing a foam cheesehat as his avatar can probably adequately handle any perceived disrespectfulness himself. :)

(BTW, credits to eepiccolo for (a) squeezing the original image [which I illegally copied from the Foamation Inc. web site] down to this forum's avatar size limit, (b) adding the text "2^P-1", and (c) again squeezing the image to get within the current avatar limits.)
If you don't want these sort of comments and these sort of threads then the answer is simple. DON'T HAVE A SOAPBOX IN THE FIRST PLACE, SIMPLE ISN'T IT?
All-or-nothing extremism is not necessary here. Less simple, but more reasonable, is to allow polite, moderate discussions.
The whole point of a soapbox (go look up "Hyde Park corner") is that ANYONE can 'get up on their soapbox' and say ANYTHING.
... in Hyde Park, yes. And in many other places, too. But not necessarily in a privately moderated forum such as we have here.
If you don't like what I'm saying then walk away. Period.
No one's forcing you to post your views _here_. There are many other suitable forums where you could exercise your right to post your views.
Presuming this site is hosted in the US don't you care about the first amendment in here, or as I said earlier, does that only apply if I am saying something that you happen to agree with.
As has already been pointed out, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies to relationships between government and people, not to relationships between people without governmental involvement.
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