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re: thoughts (completely too long)

Posted by lil' jimi on June 18, 2004, at 2:29:17

In reply to re: hoover man's block reduced, posted by Dr. Bob on June 12, 2004, at 9:21:21

Please excuse my absence .... I was unavoidably detained .... Sorry for the interruption ....

My in absentia conditions were better than tolerable. I have been blessed with supportive, loving friends, some of whom have posted valiantly here against all odds. I remain deeply grateful for their affection and thoughtful kindness ... And their beautiful compliments of which I am less than worthy. Thanks, guys.
... I should always be appreciative of the great blessing of their companionship among my many advantages I have in this world ... I should always be thankful, period.

No unmuzzled attack dogs were involved. I am mindful of this only because I had thought that unmuzzled attack dogs would have never been involved anywhere. Therefore I am grateful I am here but horrified about those there. And there, but for the grace of God ... ...

In this way, I can have few complaints. Nevertheless, I do have a few observations I feel a need to share with my fellow posters.

While I was sitting in the corner with the Dunce Cap on, I was instructed to contemplate my sins and ... ... Oh, that wasn’t here ... ... my childhood perhaps.

The pB Universe is not the outside universe. Psycho-Babble offers tremendous advantages due to this. Credit goes to Dr. Bob for taking this advantage for our benefit. I have been a beneficiary of pB’s helpfulness and I thank Dr. Bob for that: Thanks, Dr. Bob.

To recapitulate this thread as I see it:
A) Blocks have an essential role for pB. It would not be reasonable for them to be eliminated. This is not an issue.
B) The Reducing of Blocks happens,
although the application of and process for Reducing Blocks remain to be annunciated.
C) Larry Hoover’s block has been reduced and he is now back to posting and that is a very good thing, albeit long past due.

In Dr. Bob’s pB Universe "civil" is epitomized by this phrase:
"Please don't post anything that could lead others to feel accused or put down."
This is an axiom and a constant. And this is a good thing for pB. Fundamentally all blocks come from the enforcement of pB’s “civil” axiom.

I feel (I-statement) that there remains the perception of inconsistency in the enforcement of “civil” which enables a sense of unfairness and a disregard for some of our valued posters (I do not refer to myself here... others).

I have received some insights from my ponderings and in discussions with friends about the nature of these inconsistencies.

One of the challenges of the “civil” axiom is that it is always unequivocal and there are to be no appeals from any violations. It holds a position on the same ontological level as the speed of light in the real universe or as the force of gravity on the earth. In each case, arguments do not matter.

As a consequence of this, (it is now easy to see) Honesty and Justice are going to be subordinate to "civil".
'Easy to see', I say because it is easy to imagine perfectly justified and totally honest things that would not be "civil" nor even civil.

In my case-in-point, it is never going to be "civil" to refer to putative perpetrator's perpetration of their crime(s), because it can't be done without the perpetrator(s) possibly feeling accused and since they could be lead to feel accused, it is forbidden. Guilt, confession, factuality have nothing to do with it. They are immaterial and they offer no cause for redress. Even to recognize and validate another person's victimization is virtually impossible.

Under these circumstance we are forced to forget, if not forgive, "those who have trespassed against us".
(Bringing to mind the anti-retaliation clause of the Lord's Prayer.) Since reaction, any response, let alone retaliation are impossible, we must post without any reference to assault(s) to ourselves. It amounts to a form of enforced Gandhi-like Golden Rule ... ...

"Thou shalt not accuse nor put down Others."

Well, everybody already knew all that of course, but putting it in this light makes it perfectly clear how and where I violated the commandment and it makes sense and that's cool.

Especially because, to me anyway, this emphasizes the email-it-to-Dr. Bob option: Any, and Every, thing that needs to be said that crosses the "civil" line, or might even get close, I’ll just email Dr. Bob the whole package in living color, leave it on his door step and dispense with it, knowing I can never post about it.

One insight I got from my ban was that Dr. Bob believes it would encourage incivility to dignify an uncivil post with his reply. I found this nowhere in the FAQ and it failed to be intuitively obvious to at least some posters, although it does make its own sense and is not unacceptable. Separately, I could imagine that it might be helpful if posters could be informed of time frames for an administration response, if only provisionally or even very speculatively. It is imaginable that some posters could feel disempowered and disrespected by an apparent lack of consideration due to an absence of time frame information. Even wild guesses would be better than letting posters feel disregarded.

Inconsistencies in Enforcement of “Civil”

Inattention may account for some inconsistencies due to our moderator being a mortal. These are easily understood and to be dispensed with in this discussion since they are unintentional, unavoidable and mostly correctable. Of more substantial interest is how we can see variations in the enforcement of “civil” even in cases where it is clear that the administration has been attentive and involved.

One of the expectations of consistency is that the same violations of “civil” reap the same sanctions. Failures of this expectation appear due to unfairness. Experience shows that the same violations almost never yield the same sanctions. Yet examination reveals this is as it should be.

How does Dr. Bob's "civil" engineering mechanize?
How does pB operate this "civil" thing?

The picture I get is that in the "civil" universe every poster has their individual "civil" rating. A poster’s history determines their rating and details of a poster's history with a specific subject impacts the poster's rating with that subject. As a poster’s rating decreases their latitude is decreased as sanctions’ severity increases. Dr. Bob shortens the leash of "civility" on posters' as their "civil" rating declines. For instance, this is the explanation of how I got banned rather than a ‘Please Rephrase’ or ‘Please be Civil’. My history includes warnings and my rating had decreased beyond these possible milder rebukes. So we should not expect the same sanctions for the same violations especially from the same poster. And given the different histories of different posters, we should not expect the same sanctions from different posters committing similar violations, or even theoretically identical violations. These variations in enforcement may appear as unfairness, but turn out to be, many times anyway, appropriate to the situation and the poster. And they have been for me personally.

Further complicating the assessment of the level of consistency of “civil” enforcement are the infractions committed against Dr. Bob. He simply does not maintain the “civil” standard for attacks against himself and such attacks are not comparable to other incidents about "civil". Some posters could be excused for having their consistency/fairness calibrations throw off more than a little by this glaring, if charmingly self-effacing, inconsistency.

Cumulatively, these “civil” enforcement variations reveal patterns in what could appear to be random, or worse, deliberate inconsistencies. These patterns provide useful explanatory details to the picture of pB "civility". This model puts perspective on the inconsistencies which diminishes their perception as arbitrary inequities and unfairness.

I think we might reasonably expect some folks to comb through the archives and more current posts and sense these variations and draw less than informed conclusions. The more open these issues can be, the more information that can be shared, the less folks will be able to reach adverse conclusions.

I can admit (since it is too obvious to avoid now) that this absence of value for Honesty and Justice triggered my (self-righteous) indignation and got me my boost way up on that proverbial high horse, quitoxically bent on defending Truth and Justice. When, in fact, "civil" had slain them both long ago.

And it turns out that for pB this is not a bad thing. Being supportive all but negates being adversarial anyway.
Communication (among posters anyway) is favored over debate.

The brutal truth (about people) is nearly always uncivil.
The truth is like any other powerful tool: it can be used as a weapon.
So it stands to reason that the ethical person uses the truth with forethought and discretion, at least one who intends no harm. Similarly, a “civil” poster must be discrete.

This is how full-time honesty finds its limitation. It is immoral.
One of the ancient Greeks offered the example where the mad man comes to your door armed, enraged and asking where your friend is, and you know. Telling the truth is not always moral if one wants to do no harm.

These are the thoughts I needed to share.

take care,
~ jim




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