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Seems like a poignant time to re-introduce the rules of FoIB.

* don’t insult anybody personally * don’t insult anyone’s ideas, instead try to challenge them * don’t post html emails (html is evil) * always provide the full text plus the url of any articles you post for archiving (links go stale)

unlike other web sites, media, or publications, the goal of foib is not to represent a specific world view. the goal of foib is to expose its readers to a mix of world views and to allow them to make their own decisions and draw their own conclusions.

My interpretation of the above is that FoIB indulges a much more formal style of academic debate. Everyone present your views and move on.

There’s no need to even specifically address a posting of someone whom you disagree with — simply present a counterpoint, substantiate it, and move on. Address specific things only if you must, but a blow-by-blow dissection of someone else’s logic inevitably devolves to a debate on semantics and spirals toward insult and annoyance.

Have the confidence in your own ideas and the means by which you express them that the reader will be convinced that everyone else is wrong and you are right. More importantly, have the confidence that your ideas stimulate contemplation on the part of others, and not revulsion.

Godwin’s law won’t apply under such a structure. If I go from zero to Hitler in one message then that should presumably make me look like an alarmist — there’s no need to affirm to the rest of the readers what they already (should) know.

Go ahead and argue with people directly, but don’t post heated semantic arguments to my list. And no more of this he-said she-said (literally) stuff. Remember that when you post a message to FoIB, you’re filling the InBoxes of 100 people. They don’t usually tend to express any interest in who insults whom — they’re looking for interesting ideas.

I’m not the list despot (okay, yes I am) — I am the editor of a journal and my goal is to keep it lively and interesting and fun. That’s it.

Hugs & Kisses to everybody,

-Ian.

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