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Old 11-13-2007, 08:55 PM   #16
nekokami
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Regarding whether words can hurt-- I've been sued for defamation as a result of an email. So the US courts apparently think words can hurt (though the outcome in this case was that the jury decided the words in question hadn't actually done any damage).

Separately, I think spam does harm the "commons" -- it disrupts actual conversations, ties up internet resources, and may ultimately drive away conversation participants if the noise to signal ratio gets high enough.

I think the situation with bowerbird, though not nearly as bad as spam or as severe as defamation, was difficult. His posts had always been negative, but this had become rather extreme in recent weeks. I sort of wonder if something happened in his life that tipped the balance toward negativity. It would be nice to think that he might eventually be able to rejoin us... or some civil online community, anyway. I see it as a sign of poor health when someone can't interact with others except by arguing.
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Old 11-14-2007, 12:05 AM   #17
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@neko, I think words can hurt. A case in point was a poster who is now notably absent, and was given to gratuitous obscenity and, even worse, ad hominem attacks. I don't recall that he was banned or even de-karma'd. The case under discussion now doesn't even come close.

It seems the discussion under contention was not started by bb himself, but by a moderator who was concerned with modifying bb's behavior. Bb insisted on his authorial feedom, but to my knowledge maintained decorum. It would have fit my values better (not that that is important here) to take a live-and-let-live approach.

That he was given negative karma and even banned is a greater detriment to the community than a little aberrant text formatting. Thanks, someone, for banning the negative karma! Bb did not even know who nicked his karma, whereas if we get karma, we always understand the identity of the donor.

I think this discussion (and the other one) is about freedom of expression. Bb was criticized and became defensive. Many of us do. I, personally, am allergic to criticism and have actually left jobs where the company culture was negative in that sense.

We have a good community of interesting and compassionate people. But perhaps we failed bb in some way. He was guilty of stubbornness but stubbornness in the face of criticism is a face-saving mechanism I can perfectly understand. I am not a stranger to it. I would not be surprised if he now felt humiliated.

We are often addicted to being "right". Sometimes we like to watch a good fight as long as nobody is really hurt. But winning an argument by gagging the opponent is, well, think about it . . .
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Old 11-14-2007, 01:02 AM   #18
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I was going to leave this topic alone, but I feel that folks are being left with the wrong impression about what has happened.

The real reason that bowerbird was banned had little to do with his post formatting idiosyncrasies. Rather it was more for the attitude he openly displayed to other members before the formatting really became an issue, in the threads on the Kindle, Page Numbering, and Gutenberg Text formatting, in particular.

The formatting thing was part of the ending of how things played out, yes, but there were also some goings on behind the scenes at the same time that are not publicly apparent, and which I won't presume to make public. The point of concern was less the way his posts looked but rather the effect his attitude was having on the way this community works together. More folks announced that they were putting him on Ignore in ten days than I've seen in the preceding twenty-one months of my time here at MobileRead -- that wasn't simply a reaction to his formatting his posts oddly.

We were looking at a situation where a single person was negatively affecting the open, polite exchange and exploration of ideas that is so unusual in the cyberworld and so valued here, not by the ideas he was sharing (which were quite good and interesting), but by the attitude with which he was presenting them.

Unfortunately, in this case the action we had to take has caused some disruption to that same sense of community. We didn't take that action lightly, and as I said above, so far as I know it's only the second time in MobileRead's entire history that someone has been banned for reasons other than blatant spamming. In fact, we perhaps erred too much on the side of patience, hoping to give him the opportunity to amend his attitude, which he instead used to move on to less visible means of disruption. Had he been banned a few days earlier, his last posts would have been much more obviously disruptive, those posts are still there, they're just back a bit farther, and extend for about two weeks back.

As for not knowing who gave him what karma, everyone can see their own karma receipt records on their User Control Panel page (towards the bottom left), it doesn't show the number changes, but it does show the names and comments. A lot of folks never notice that it's there at all, so it's probably not surprising that he hadn't.

As Alex said, the intent behind this was to shield the members who were conducting themselves in a courteous, open, respectful manner from one member who seemed to feel he didn't have to observe those things, and who as a result was inhibiting others from participating as they normally do.

I regret that all this occurred, I regret that it came to the end it did in the way it did. However, I am also confident that there simply was no other option remaining but to watch lasting harm done to the MobileRead community spirit, which you all so clearly hold as dearly as I do. The fact that folks are expressing concern over the matter suggests to me that they are worried that this action is a sign of risk to that spirit, the truth is that what was done, was done to preserve it, knowing that it might cause some concern, but as the only path left open for preventing greater harm.

I know not everyone will agree that his earlier posts were disruptive, nor do I mean to persuade you of it, particularly. I do want everyone to rest assured that this was not simply a petty squabble over formatting.
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Old 11-14-2007, 01:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
everyone can see their own karma receipt records on their User Control Panel page (towards the bottom left), it doesn't show the number changes, but it does show the names and comments. A lot of folks never notice that it's there at all, so it's probably not surprising that he hadn't.
You're right. I never noticed it. I just looked and I still don't see it. I have javascript enabled for this site, but I do not see the karma option that you mentioned.
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Old 11-14-2007, 01:47 AM   #20
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When you click the link Natch supplies, you'll see at the bottom Latest Reputation Received and there is where you can view all your reputations (karma).
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Old 11-14-2007, 01:59 AM   #21
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Yes, sorry, my bad. I hadn't noticed that it calls it "reputation" rather than "karma" or I'd've noted that.
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Old 11-14-2007, 02:36 AM   #22
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I do see the "latest reputation" item. It is shown more or less in the center, underneath other things, but not at the very bottom. When you said that it was at the bottom left, I assumed you meant on the menu panel to the left. Also, I only see two items listed. Should there be more? If so, how do I view those?

Edit: I just got some karma for asking my previous question. Apparently I wasn't the only one who was confused

Last edited by jbenny; 11-14-2007 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 11-14-2007, 04:28 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by bingle
bowerbird is obviously a person with strong feelings about many topics. He has a grating way of expressing himself - he occasionally pushes boundaries just to challenge them, or as a statement.
I don't really want to spend any more time talking about a person who decided for himself that it'd be best to leave our community; still, one thing I need to point out. Everyone may (and is encouraged to) have his own opinion or feelings about a topic; but it's important to remain civil and respectful to others - otherwise, this community would be destined to fail. Bb has not shown this required civility. He attacked respected MobileRead members, and he ignored opinions of others by simply dismissing them as "nonsense" and "speculation." Worse, when others didn't immediately agree with him, he openly questioned their intelligence.

He ranted, completely unasked for, against David and Robert of TeleRead, both whom we highly respect and owe a great deal. He called theirs and our reporting about the Amazon Kindle a "sham", "lies" and "dirty journalism", unfounded accusations that we obviously don't take lightly.

Despite everything, we tried to remain understanding. We asked him to be polite. Instead, he blasted at us and continued his verbal assaults.

In future, should this situation arise again (let's hope not ), we'll act more promptly. We owe it to everyone who joined MobileRead to engadge in pleasant and friendly conversations, without rants and personal attacks.

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Old 11-14-2007, 08:31 AM   #24
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Yes NatCh, now that I have read the other threads, I see it as an interesting character study. I wonder if anyone remembers the original Jerry Lewis version of the Nutty Professor. When he drank the potion he was transformed into Mr Arrogant -- but he was cool!

Actually it is clever writing (assuming you are writing against character) to bring forth such self-righteousness in a monolog. The next time I need such a character for a story, I will be sure to re-read these posts. Or I could re-read Jekyll and Hyde
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:19 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by jbenny View Post
I do see the "latest reputation" item. It is shown more or less in the center, underneath other things, but not at the very bottom. When you said that it was at the bottom left, I assumed you meant on the menu panel to the left. Also, I only see two items listed. Should there be more? If so, how do I view those?
I said "toward the lower left" I meant the lower right -- I sometimes confuse left and right, especially late at night. Oddly, I don't seem to have that problem with north, south, east and west.

You should see at least the five most recent entries, assuming you have that many. I'm not sure if it shows more than that for everyone or not.
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:03 AM   #26
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i just read his stuff, the guy's no poet, he needs ... well i won't follow his course

i praise the efforts, these things are hard, they hut the gut, you lose sleep at night. don't think that they did it lightly, these things hurt if you have a soul
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:41 AM   #27
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It was not a decision the staff takes lightly. We don't like banning any active member.
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:41 AM   #28
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What would this forum be without at least a couple of banned people for us to agonize and argue over? It would not be a proper forum at all.
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