[LINK] what is on and off topic for Link?

Irene Graham renelk@libertus.net
Wed, 26 Feb 2003 23:56:09 +1000

On Wed, 26 Feb 2003 22:17:44 +1100 (EST) David Goldstein
<wavey_one@yahoo.com> wrote:

>Why is I get chastised months ago for posting something vaguely
>relating to the list, but definitely not entirely off-topic, but
>others are allowed to freely post on topics such as anti-war
>marches, rich and corporate parasites (although I've not looked
>at it since in the subject the original poster thoughtfully
>noted it was 'off topic') and various other topics which have
>ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Link and its aims?
>It's a funny old world, or could there be other reasons...

Most probably there are other reasons, but possibly not quite like the ones
you might readily suspect.

As another person who's been chastised for posting something definitely not
entirely off-topic, (and mostly in response to either a thread you started
David, or that I started and you responded to), my perception over the past
2 years or so is that it is not the actual topic of messages to the list
that usually brings "chastisement", it is whether or not list participants
engage in debate on a particular issue, and that debate becomes to some
extent heated. While I have no idea what postings you have been "chastised"
about, I would guess that most of them have probably been where you, I
and/or others have got into heated debate.

Generally speaking, it seems to be perfectly acceptable to post messages
that are -completely- off-topic and the thread can go on and on and on. 

It's, in my experience, another matter entirely if participants in a thread
that is pretty much on-topic start debating an issue in a manner that some
*other people*, who are not participants in the thread, consider
argumentative or heated. You and I might consider we're just having a
debate, heatedly arguing even, and so be it - after all, we're adults quite
capable of dealing with argumentative discussion - but *someone else*
considers the discussion has become too heated. So, well, you, I, and I
presume others, get chastised. 

Such sorts of discussion should of course be Refused Classification [TM],
you know, for the participants' own good. To discuss an issue on Link, in a
manner that's perceived to be heated is, apparently, regarded as double
plus ungood. That includes, in my experience, when the discussion is
related to censorship of on-line services in the first place. 

So, if you thought you might have been being singled out for "chastisement"
rest assured that, at least in so far as my experience is concerned, you
haven't been. Some months ago I decided that from thereon I would
completely ignore chastisement where same related to an on-topic matter
where the discussion had become heated. I suggest you consider doing the