Personal Attacks

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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby Burnt Hill » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:53 am

I have always considered ad hominen and personal attacks - insults - as synonyms, while I have a hard time wrapping my head around the distinction,
I do realize it is there. I suppose its safe to say both are unacceptable. The continuing problem for me is my expectation for zero tolerance of both,
while the "mods" insist on making "judgement" calls I feel are unnecessary. There should also be clear consequences. The attack itself could be blacked out, the entire post could be deleted, repeated offense could result in suspensions. I don't know, it almost seems silly, but it is important to have clear guidelines and equal enforcement. It is a sore spot that a lot of us are increasingly aware of - I don't know if it is because personal attacks have increased (I don't think they have), or there is a group sensitivity for arcane reasons. but it does exist.
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Re: With Love and Gratitude to Hammer of Los...

Postby compared2what? » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:28 am

Burnt Hill wrote:I have always considered ad hominen and personal attacks - insults - as synonyms, while I have a hard time wrapping my head around the distinction,
I do realize it is there. I suppose its safe to say both are unacceptable. The continuing problem for me is my expectation for zero tolerance of both,
while the "mods" insist on making "judgement" calls I feel are unnecessary. There should also be clear consequences. The attack itself could be blacked out, the entire post could be deleted, repeated offense could result in suspensions. I don't know, it almost seems silly, but it is important to have clear guidelines and equal enforcement. It is a sore spot that a lot of us are increasingly aware of - I don't know if it is because personal attacks have increased (I don't think they have), or there is a group sensitivity for arcane reasons. but it does exist.



I could certainly do without personal insults. But I don't really see how they can be done away with entirely, on a board devoted to political debate.(As in "Obamabot," "winger," "intellectual," "conspiratard," etc., etc.) Because it's really more usual than otherwise for political and major-current-events threads to feature some pretty vicious and sustained attacking of that kind. And worse.

I'm not a a big personal fan of name-calling, either. But fwiw, I don't regard it as a categorical offense in and of itself for someone to call me an asshole. I mean, it could just be a legitimate expression of opinion. Or a stylistic flourish. Depends on tone and context.

In short: To me, a personal attack is not the same thing as an insult. And neither is the same as using a vulgar appellation, necessarily.


Hey, Bruce --

About this:

Bruce Dazzling wrote:In fact, I also think it's interesting to note which posters seem bothered by the enforcement of a rule that has always existed, simply because I can't believe that any of you are actually fighting to preserve the right to end intelligent debate by calling someone a dickhead, and that's exactly what it does. It ends intelligent debate.


You're a mod. And you're effectively replying to questions from me and OP ED -- two posters who habitually express themselves in civil terms, btw -- about what does and doesn't constitute off-limits usage by saying:

    I find it very interesting to note that OP ED and c2w are so invested in defending personal attacks.
.
I really mean it when I say that's ad hominem. I wasn't fighting to preserve anything. You're invalidating the substance of what I actually said by reclassifying it as arising from a personally nasty place, which is pretty heavy, since you have the authority to do it.

And honestly. That's not why I was asking.
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Re: With Love and Gratitude to Hammer of Los...

Postby Canadian_watcher » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:49 am

compared2what? » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:28 am wrote:

Hey, Bruce --

About this:

Bruce Dazzling wrote:In fact, I also think it's interesting to note which posters seem bothered by the enforcement of a rule that has always existed, simply because I can't believe that any of you are actually fighting to preserve the right to end intelligent debate by calling someone a dickhead, and that's exactly what it does. It ends intelligent debate.


You're a mod. And you're effectively replying to questions from me and OP ED -- two posters who habitually express themselves in civil terms, btw -- about what does and doesn't constitute off-limits usage by saying:

    I find it very interesting to note that OP ED and c2w are so invested in defending personal attacks.
.
I really mean it when I say that's ad hominem.


I really mean it when I say that is not ad hominem.
In order for it to qualify it would have to be using a sleight against your character (veiled or flagrant) in order to discredit an argument. What Bruce said doesn't seem to do that (nor does what I said). Observations about what someone is clearly doing is not an ad hominem attack anymore than your argument right there is.
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Re: With Love and Gratitude to Hammer of Los...

Postby Bruce Dazzling » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:20 am

compared2what? » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:37 pm wrote:
Bruce Dazzling wrote:In fact, I also think it's interesting to note which posters seem bothered by the enforcement of a rule that has always existed, simply because I can't believe that any of you are actually fighting to preserve the right to end intelligent debate by calling someone a dickhead, and that's exactly what it does. It ends intelligent debate.


That too is ad hominem, in that it suggests I'm saying what I'm saying for a personal reason.


No, I didn't suggest that you were saying anything for a personal reason. I have zero idea why you, or anybody else, for that matter, say anything, and I'm not in the business of trying to divine your intentions. I said what I said (the part you quoted above) because I am literally shocked that we're still debating this point, which, again, arose due to my suspension of barracuda for two days for calling another poster a dickhead.

There's no good reason, none, for any of us to engage in name-calling. It's childish and counter-productive, so just don't do it.

compared2what? » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:37 pm wrote:Stopping the name-calling is fine with me. But I still both want and need an index of prohibited words and terms, if that's what we're doing. Because my understanding of what is and isn't a clearly offensive usage differs from yours. You're the boss. And I wish both to comprehend and comply.

I have no other motive, reason or agenda. Please advise.


I'm not going to compile a list of prohibited words and terms. As I've said numerous times now, just don't call people names. Use common sense. You're all smart enough to know what name-calling means.
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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby brainpanhandler » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:02 am

I for one give my permission to be called anything anyone wants to call me.
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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby Burnt Hill » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:12 pm

^ you silly goose!
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Re: With Love and Gratitude to Hammer of Los...

Postby compared2what? » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:11 pm

Canadian_watcher » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:49 am wrote:
compared2what? » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:28 am wrote:

Hey, Bruce --

About this:

Bruce Dazzling wrote:In fact, I also think it's interesting to note which posters seem bothered by the enforcement of a rule that has always existed, simply because I can't believe that any of you are actually fighting to preserve the right to end intelligent debate by calling someone a dickhead, and that's exactly what it does. It ends intelligent debate.


You're a mod. And you're effectively replying to questions from me and OP ED -- two posters who habitually express themselves in civil terms, btw -- about what does and doesn't constitute off-limits usage by saying:

    I find it very interesting to note that OP ED and c2w are so invested in defending personal attacks.
.
I really mean it when I say that's ad hominem.


I really mean it when I say that is not ad hominem.
In order for it to qualify it would have to be using a sleight against your character (veiled or flagrant) in order to discredit an argument. What Bruce said doesn't seem to do that (nor does what I said).


Ad hominem is directing the argument to the person rather than to what he/she said.

Observations about what someone is clearly doing is not an ad hominem attack anymore than your argument right there is.


Your observation was that certain posters were making an argument you (barely. implicitly) found indicative of something negative about them.

That's ad hominem.

I wasn't even observably making an argument, among other things.
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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby barracuda » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:23 pm

I find it very interesting to note just which posters on this thread display unseemly eagerness to capitulate to authoritarian decisions regarding their uses of mundane vocabulary. Not surprising, but interesting.
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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby barracuda » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:26 pm

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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby Burnt Hill » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:52 pm

barracuda » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:23 pm wrote:I find it very interesting to note just which posters on this thread display unseemly eagerness to capitulate to authoritarian decisions regarding their uses of mundane vocabulary. Not surprising, but interesting.


Ah, my oppressive authoritarian masters, I eagerly capitulate to thee!
Interesting, huh?
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Re: With Love and Gratitude to Hammer of Los...

Postby compared2what? » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:55 pm

Bruce Dazzling » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:20 am wrote:
compared2what? » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:37 pm wrote:
Bruce Dazzling wrote:In fact, I also think it's interesting to note which posters seem bothered by the enforcement of a rule that has always existed, simply because I can't believe that any of you are actually fighting to preserve the right to end intelligent debate by calling someone a dickhead, and that's exactly what it does. It ends intelligent debate.


That too is ad hominem, in that it suggests I'm saying what I'm saying for a personal reason.


No, I didn't suggest that you were saying anything for a personal reason. I have zero idea why you, or anybody else, for that matter, say anything, and I'm not in the business of trying to divine your intentions.


Then why did you find it interesting to note which PERSONS seemed BOTHERED by something?

For the umpteenth time: I asked those questions because I don't understand the criteria you're using.

And you don't have to tell me not to use those words.

I already don't use them.

So every repetition of the caution has pretty much the same kind of psychologically self-reinforcing effect on all parties that asking someone when he stopped beating his wife might do.

I'm asking for an explanation.

And you're choosing to regard it as an oppositional act.

It's not one.



I said what I said (the part you quoted above) because I am literally shocked that we're still debating this point, which, again, arose due to my suspension of barracuda for two days for calling another poster a dickhead.


Sigh.

Yes. It did arise from that. That incident is indeed what prompted my questions. You're completely correct.

The misunderstanding only kicks in when you decide, unilaterally, that my questions are therefore really a defense of name-calling (or that I'm bothered by the suspension, or any other thing on earth you might care to name) and not what I say they are.

There's no good reason, none, for any of us to engage in name-calling. It's childish and counter-productive, so just don't do it.


The question is when, under what circumstances, and how what someone says is determined to be name-calling. I realize that it seems self-evident to you. But that doesn't mean it is to everyone.

As I've already said:

I would not have classified the use of the word "arse" as an instance of objectionable name-calling, per se. Same goes for the dozens and dozens (possibly hundreds) of slang words that are pretty much universally understood to mean exactly the same thing as a non-slang word that polite consensus has always regarded as a well-accepted and widely acceptable usage in casual conversation.

So I'm confused.***


compared2what? » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:37 pm wrote:Stopping the name-calling is fine with me. But I still both want and need an index of prohibited words and terms, if that's what we're doing. Because my understanding of what is and isn't a clearly offensive usage differs from yours. You're the boss. And I wish both to comprehend and comply.

I have no other motive, reason or agenda. Please advise.


I'm not going to compile a list of prohibited words and terms. As I've said numerous times now, just don't call people names. Use common sense. You're all smart enough to know what name-calling means.[/quote]

It's not about smart. I don't share or understand your criteria for what constitutes over-the-line name-calling. Therefore, the exercise of common-sense judgment is not a reliable metric for me to apply. And that DOES NOT MEAN that I'm arguing that your standards are inappropriate, burdensome, or in any way displeasing to me. In completely value-neutral terms that are absolutely free of implied criticism and complaint, it literally and simply means:

    I don't share or understand your criteria for what constitutes over-the-line name-calling.

At this point, I actually care less about getting an explanation than I do about being treated like an insubordinate would-be troublemaker for asking a good-faith question, tbh. And that's not just about me. Or even primarily about me. I'm actually sincerely sorry inadvertently to have been a cause of stress to ,you.

...

I don't really. know what to do to correct whatever the misunderstanding here is, though. Because I've already explained what I was asking, repeatedly. And it's only made things worse.

...

Does that make any sense to you?

Or do I still appear to you to be saying something pro-name-calling and anti-Bruce-Dazzling that I'm actually not saying, due to sincerely being -- in point of fact -- anti-name-calling and pro-Bruce-Dazzling, on a constitutional basis?

Or what?
_____________

***ON EDIT: Sorry, that part somehow disappeared. So I reinstated it.
Last edited by compared2what? on Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby Canadian_watcher » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:11 pm

Description of Ad Hominem

Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."

An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting).


If I say that I think you're being over sensitive that is NOT ad hominem.
if I say that everything you are stating is moot BECAUSE you are over sensitive, that *is* ad hominem.

So, me saying that it is interesting to note which posters are fighting so hard for clarity on the board rule of "no personal attacks" is a simple observation, not an attack, not a logical fallacy used in a lame attempt to bolster my side of an argument, and therefore NOT ad hominem.

It's just a point of order, really. I will not be debating you about it, since the definition is pretty clear.
Last edited by Canadian_watcher on Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby Canadian_watcher » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:19 pm

this is even more clear
and funnier, too:

http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html
Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.-- Jonathan Swift

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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby compared2what? » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:26 pm



I don't have any argument with you, C_w. But your posts actually confirm what I said, from my POV. So I think we're just talking at cross-purposes, fruitlessly. I'm more than willing to take it on faith that your point is well-taken on whatever its own conceptual terms are, though. FWIW.
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Re: Personal Attacks

Postby Burnt Hill » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:34 pm

I think the mods are in a Justice Potter "I know it when I see it" kind of situation.
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