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my emails with Bob

Posted by Larry Hoover on January 20, 2004, at 11:03:00

Okay, here's the entirety of Bob's and my email correspondence with respect to my most recent block. I secured Bob's permission to quote from that dialogue. I think it would be fair to say that irreconcilable differences of opinion exist. The bulk of the following text arises from my initial post to Bob, but he has replied only to segments thereof, which led me to insert topical dialogue within the original text. I'm sorry if that makes it a little harder to read, but I thought it was best to just give the unedited dialogue. I hope there are some ideas here that can lead to fruitful discussions about administration of Babble.


Lar: I cannot work through this situation without an opportunity to speak my heart, and your blocking my ability to post has effectively prevented that. I cannot interact with a single member of the Babble community, directly or indirectly, while a controversy of such personal and Babble-wide impact is swirling around. For example, I totally misunderstood stjames initial post to the Admin thread; I thought he was talking about me. I'm sorry stjames, for misunderstanding. But saying that here is of little import, Bob.

Lar: I am going to, therefore, simply request that you reduce or rescind my block. I will not beg, nor will I rely on opinions about my contribution to the forum itself. I ask you to do it because I feel it is the right thing to do. If you cannot do so, please post this message to Admin, as my farewell to the group. It would then be my last and only communication with the group on this matter.

What maxx said, to trigger this whole incident, was:

"search 'neuroleptic malignant syndrome' (NMS), and 'atypical NMS'---when drs. speak of any neuroleptic they use a phrase, 'dopamine and/or dopamine serotonin' BLOCKADE---this is a misnomer as these drugs don't 'block' anything, rather Demolish the deep-brain production facilities and receptors of these key elements of 'self'. that's why those having used benzos or worse, neuroleptics, usually long-term but often even briefly, suffer the fate of always needing the drug. their born 'hardware' has been 'wiped'. scary? "

Lar: What he says is false....he states that "neuroleptics...demolish deep-brain (dopamine) production facilities and receptors", and implies that these events are linked to atypical NMS (and NMS). There may be a link to tardive dyskinesia, but that is not what he says here. And even relating those events to TD would be itself controversial, as remission and treatment of the condition are in evidence. However, he goes on to generalize that "those having used benzos (and) neuroleptics...usually....suffer the fate...(of their) 'hardware' (having been) 'wiped'." He no longer is speaking of his own experience. He has generalized to two classes of drugs and all users thereof, and most clearly has done so intentionally. He concludes with the word "scary?". There can be no doubt that he was knowingly invoking fear.

Lar: During our dialogue, he recurrently expresses the statement that there is evidence to back him up. My requests for links to that evidence are in a one-to-one correspondence to his suggestions that he knows of evidence. Therefore, I cannot conceive of my behaviour as being harassing or pressuring (as expressed in the FAQ under the rubric of incivility. I will return to issues of the FAQ later). Moreover, there is not the slightest evidence that he has asked or implied that my requests are offensive to him. I believe that your determination that I have violated the civility code fails both objective and subjective measures; my requests do not exist in the absence of his declarations of evidence, and he does not express any desire that I cease the requests. Others are similarly confused about the evidence for pressure or harassment:

Bob: I'm not sure what you mean by a one-to-one correspondence to his suggestions, but:

> > seems rather superfluous to the obvious conclusions of anyone
> > knowing there are hundreds of related sites to quote. and learn from.
> Then show me.


> > there are hundreds of related sites to quote. and learn from.
> How about supplying your favourites? From among the hundreds?

seem to be in response to the same statement. In any case, I consider asking for the same thing over and over to be applying pressure.

Lar: My apologies. My recollection was that I only asked once for each instance where he declared evidence existed. I asked twice for one instance from him.

Now, given that he was taunting me, directly stating that my research skills were lacking, has no bearing? To paraphrase, he said I can't find his's clearly an invitation to *not* drop it.

Bob: It's tricky to respond to taunting. But how about simply: "You're right, no, I can't find your proof."

Bob: Just because the other person doesn't complain doesn't mean they don't feel pressured. And even if they really don't, it doesn't set a good example.

Lar: Below, you say you don't look at intent. But you imply impact, which is just as presumptuous. I cannot grasp your distinction between the two cases, intent and impact.

Bob: You're right, there's some presumption there, but IMO less.

Lar: As for setting a good example, I believe I set an excellent example. Of debate.

Bob: Of debate, yes.

Lar: Moreover, as I expressed to you in prior email, I could see no evidence for the rule itself. Then, after re-reading the civility 'code' for the fifth time, I found it. But what does a word or two, buried in a single sentence, really say about the rules? "I know it when I see it.", falls very short of the mark in defining a rule of conduct. Moreover, in that same sentence, you mention that "exaggeration and over-generalization" are incivil, but again, you fail to apply that to maxx. What astounds me is that nowhere have you addressed the issue of maxx's initial declarations, which he himself deemed to be scary. Is it acceptable, by your tacit permission of maxx, to post generalized inflammatory opinions about entire classes of medications, and all users of same?

Bob: Maybe he was scared? Besides, I blocked him!

Lar: The subject of over-generalization was not mentioned in the block. It was not mentioned on admin (as I referenced repeatedly), despite repeated requests to you, for a policy statement. If he was scared, he was scared before I spoke to him.

Bob: Sure, he may have been scared before you spoke to him.

No, I didn't mention it in the block. How would that have made a difference? The other issues were enough to block him.

Lar: Maxx's sincerity of belief alone is not the sole determinant of civility here. I am not alone in my concern about the issue of exaggeration and over-generalization. See:

Lar: Even though you quote a poster referring to that issue, you sidestep the question by answering about trust. That is not a sufficient reply.

Lar: Now about my two week block itself. It strains credulity that you would isolate a single sentence of what I said, and assume that I was both directing it solely at maxx, and intending it as an accusation.

Bob: Who else could you have been referring to? Even if not intended as an accusation, it could have led him to feel accused.

Lar: I was speaking about his statements, which I referred to as claims.

Lar: By restating my phrase in the I-statement form as you have, your assumptions distort what I said entirely. I wasn't speaking to maxx directly, when addressing the subject on the Admin board. When I was speaking to him, my messages were of the nature of:
"Your experience with drugs in this class may well have been horrific, and I deeply sympathize with you. However, you cannot generalize from your experience to the population as a whole."

Lar: Even when he was wholly ad hominem in his remarks, I refrained from any similar conduct.

Lar: Now, to the heart of the matter, my being blocked.
"'claims of "wiping hardware" and "deep destruction" are more than just simple opinion. They are provocative and threatening. '
Please don't post anything that could lead others to feel accused."

Lar: Accused of what?

Bob: Of being provocative and threatening...

Lar: You've quite confounded the issue. His statements were provocative and threatening, not maxx himself. The precedent referrents are the opinions, not maxx.

Bob: You're absolutely right to distinguish between the person and the behavior, but even referring to someone's posts as threatening may lead them to feel accused. Of posting threateningly.

Lar: It's like when I spoke directly to kristen. "I do not hate you. I really hate what you did." Your rephrasing, though structured in a different form than was my original, does not change the meaning one little bit......both of us are saying the statements (not maxx) were blah blah blah.

Lar: Agreeing with maxx that what he said was 'scary'? I did rephrase a little, but I spoke of my own perceptions, and of those already expressed in the thread.

Bob: Expressing one's perceptions isn't always civil. Even if they're shared by others.

Lar: There was nothing uncivil in what I said. Your rewriting of my statements,in, changes the meaning not one little bit.

Lar: I am thoroughly mystified at how you could so take my remarks out of context, to achieve whatever "significance of incivility" threshold it is that you applied to me here.

Lar: And it appears I am not alone in that. About other's perceptions of fear, and my characterization of maxx's posts:

Lar: Block me, unblock me, whatever, Bob. Take me out of the picture entirely, and look at Babble itself.

Lar: There are some fundamental issues of moderation at play. Babble has taken on a life of its own, and I fear it is more than one man can reasonably handle. I respect and admire your commitment to Babble, but I have no doubt there are other demands on your time and attention. As others have expressed, so I will reiterate, there was a fundamental flaw in moderation that underlay this entire incident. It is my opinion that maxx's initial remarks should have been sanctioned, by moderator, and there would never have been a reason for this incident to have occurred. As it happened, private expression of fear, and need of support, drew me into the breach left by inconsistent moderation. I was asked to do what I did, and I still believe it was the right thing to do, given the context of the situation itself.

Lar: In essence, all too often, your moderator decisions are retroactive, occurring long after the need for moderation exists. I don't know the solution, Bob, but it's going to get worse, not better.

Lar: About the FAQ. Contentious as these rules of civility seem to be, there is precious little in the FAQ about what they are. Perhaps, had I been party to the Admin discussion with respect to pressure and harassment (or to over-generalization and exaggeration), I might have had an important insight into the parameters bearing on the situation itself. I was totally naive to the concept that what I had done on the main board was conceivably incivil. Ignorance of the law is not a defense, but that is only because the law is a public document, with clear descriptions of offenses, backed up by whole libraries of freely available references, rulings, and precedents. The FAQ rules on civility require some elaboration, and links as you have provided in other aspects of the FAQ. Each of those cases, which you have collapsed into a single sentence, "Please don't be sarcastic, joke about death or suicide, suggest that others harm (or discuss specific ways of harming) themselves or others, jump to conclusions about others, post anything that could lead others to feel accused or put down, harass or pressure others, use language that could offend others, post information that identifies another poster without their permission or that you know to be false, exaggerate or overgeneralize -- etc.", requires elaboration and example. And the etc.? Is that to give you a free hand to apply the rules when it feels et cetera-ish?

Bob: The archives teem with elaboration and example. Yes, the etc. is to allow me to deal with unanticipated situations.

Lar: If the archives are so teeming with examples, could you not link to them? A newbie is not going to understand. Period.

Bob: You're not a newbie!

Lar: I'm not saying there won't be unanticipated situations.

Lar: Yes, more for Bob to do. Or, perhaps, time to delegate some of the work. I don't know. I just don't know.

Lar: But in my heart, I know my intent was true, sincere, honest, and respectful. I believe myself to have been unfairful blocked. Let the chips fall where they may.

Bob: I believe that you meant well. But I don't think it would work to administrate based on intent, so I go by words.

Lar: And so do I. And, apparently, I am wrong because you say I am. I vehemently disagree with you.

Bob: You've contributed a ton, and PB Alternative is off to a great start largely because of you. I hope after this you bring your chips back to PB,

Lar: I'm not coming back, Bob. Not with a four week block hanging over my head. I didn't call maxx a petulant fu**wit, Bob. I didn't call him anything at all. (Edited slightly to conform to Babble policy.)

Bob: No, you didn't call him anything at all.




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