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28 August 2006 @ 01:09 am
On the freezing of people and comments  
As I write this post, I have an odd sense of déjà vu, because I know I have posted about this sort of thing before, but anyway.

First of all, let me say that from how little I know drjon, I like and respect him. But, he has challenged me to take my grievance to my own journal, so here we are.

To start with, please have a look at his entry on cryonics to see the discussion that sparked this.

Now, I like to debate or argue, I always have. I enjoy the spirited cut-and-thrust of point and counter-point. There's no malice to it, I just like to challenge the views of others and have my views challenged in turn. I think, in general, both parties are the better for it - it's educational.

So, I get very annoyed when, instead of responding to my arguments, or even saying "let's agree to disagree" (these things can go on too long, to be fair), my point-of-view is dismissed out-of-hand.

You didn't see the program in question, but you feel competent to judge it? Fascinating.

I admitted that I didn't see the program - full disclosure on my part. But I have seen many like it. I have seen 60 Minutes before (and doubt its integrity), I have prior knowledge of the character of the man being interviewed (and merely suggested this be taken into account) and, more-to-the-point, had by this stage moved on to commenting on the more general topic of the entire cryonics industry anyway (of which I have ample knowledge to form my own opinions) and not on the specific program in question.

But, not only was my competency to have an opinion brought into question, but an attempt was made to stop me from defending myself, via freezing further comments. My response to that action was perhaps a little unfair, I can't be sure that it was petulance that inspired drjon's action here, but that's certainly what it felt like. He certainly is entitled to not address my arguments, but attempting to lock out further discussion just seems like putting your fingers in your ears and going "la la la".

Certainly if I was trolling or flaming this action would be suitable, but I was merely making reasoned debate, and when someone makes the kind of "let's wind this down" comment in an argument, that's fine with me, but you can't pair such a statement with further inflammatory remarks and expect the other party to not want recourse. Hence, as I say, I would have willingly accepted an "agree to disagree" remark, but am unhappy to allow my arguments to be stomped on with extreme prejudice and happily walk away without a response.

Anyway, here's drjon's final analysis:

1/. You're mouthing off about something you didn't actually see: maybe you should think about that.

Mouthing off? I was expressing an opinion. Making reasoned arguments. If I had just said "60 Minutes sucks" that would be mouthing off. And as I said, I have prior knowledge of the program, the interviewee and the technology, which is more than enough for me to form an opinion about the issues at hand. Perhaps I was being prejudiced in my analysis of 60 Minutes and Dave Gray, but my opinions on cryonics are well-founded and I stand by them.

2/. This is my blog, not yours. You've said your piece, and I've not got the time to be wasting rebuting someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. Conversation's over. Maybe you should think about that.

I'm willing to admit my prejudice about the show, but I merely made my original statements as a general warning about believing the opinions of the show and the interviewee. I admit I can't go into specifics about what was said in the show, but if you told me that you saw Tom Cruise endorsing a product, I feel I can claim enough knowledge of that man to warn you to take what he says with a pinch of salt, and that's no different to what I said regarding this show. I didn't say the show or the interviewee are definitely not worth paying attention to, I just said it's worth considering the source of information.

But, as I say, the larger issue is cryonics in general, and I have enough knowledge of that to make an informed opinion. To have that opinion dismissed because I didn't watch 60 Minutes is frankly insulting. I have all the information I need to form an opinion of cryonics right at my fingertips and inside my own head. And here's my opinion: cryonics is bullshit. It won't work for a whole host of reasons, and it's hubris to think you have the right to live beyond your natural lifespan in a world that can barely support the people already on it.

3/. You've got a shiny blog all your own. Maybe you should think about that.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Next time, some netiquette would probably be a good idea.

And here I am. My real reason for ranting here is completely beside the original topic of cryonics, it's about the point you raise about netiquette. Netiquette is a two-way street. Yes, your blog is your own, and yes you can do what you want there. However, at the bottom of every entry you have a link that says "post a comment". That's an invitation for others to join in the discussion and add their own opinion, you are effectively inviting people in to your blog.

So, let's run with that analogy. You invite someone into your home. They say some things you don't agree with, but they are generally polite, they aren't yelling or threatening or hurling insults. Do you throw them out just because you don't agree with them? I mean, sure, it's fine to ask me to end the discussion, like you might politely ask someone to leave your house. But saying "discussion over" and freezing comments is effectively throwing someone out the door and slamming it behind them. I would have expected such a treatment if I had been uncivil, but I was merely making polite debate.

Invite comment, and you invite criticism. If you can't bear that criticism and feel you need to censor it, don't invite comment in the first place. If you don't feel like rebutting my every argument, then don't, but to slam the door on me is just plain rude, especially when you are getting in a sucker-punch as you do so.

EDIT: And now he's banned me.
I've added no further comment on his blog and was not planning to, but I've been banned just in case.
He's acting like I'm some evil troll.
This really saddens me.
Current Music: Penn Jillette - Penn Radio - August 18, 2006
Baralierbaralier on August 27th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
Having seen drjon's post and followed here to see if you would take up his suggestion I thought I'd take you up on your offer and leave a comment.

As I see it you were mouthing off. Making a reference to an advertising campaign that a person appeared in does not automatically mean that everything that comes out of there mouth is false. You admit you didn't watch the programme but you made sarcastic comments about his endorsements of cryonics. If he'd come out and made a public announcement to the effect then the two may have some relevance but having a person who is looking at death in the near future comment on their own desires for their remains is entirely beside the point.

If Chopper Read makes a remark that he'd like to be cremated does that mean all cremation is therefore of dubious or possibly criminal nature?

I don't think you were banned for your opinion on cryonics. Had you just posted your comments about its cost rather than the unfounded assumption that the piece was some sort of commercial propaganda somehow initiated by Dave Gray I don't think you would have had any problems.

But of course that's just MY opinion.

I also think you need to be aware of the difference between endorsement and advocation (hint, only one of them involves money).
Jacobyak_boy on August 27th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
Look, as I say my prejudicial comments about Dave Gray were probably a little unfair. The advertisement in question was a paid endorsement and Dave Gray himself is not really to blame for the faulty claims therein. Really I was just making a little sport of a public figure, and as a public figure Dave Gray is, I believe, a fair target for such mockery.

And, also, I let my preconceptions about commercial current affairs programs to colour my view of a story I hadn't seen.

I have no problem admitting that in casting these aspersions I was being prejudicial and have no real fact base to attach these arguments to.

And I'm happy to be told that. But when I am arguing with civility in a forum where my comments have been invited, I don't appreciate being dismissed out of hand, kicked out and banned.

I maintain that (at least until my final comment) I was behaving perfectly reasonably, even if my arguments were wrong. And, as I say, I made the final comment only after I felt I had been aggrieved by being treated like a common troll.
Jacobyak_boy on August 27th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
And, as I've said before in situations similar to this, I am happy to be proven wrong in argument. I want you to prove me wrong.

If you don't feel like going to the effort of proving me wrong, that's fine too. I just feel like there's a right way to end such an argument and a wrong way. I feel like the right way is to ask for it to cease and the wrong way is to announce that the argument is over, especially when such an announcement is coupled with further inflammatory comment.

The way I see it:

"I'd rather not argue this any further" is good.
"Discussion over" is not so good.
"Here's why you are wrong. Now I am going to prevent you from defending against these accusations" is pretty poor.