decoration decoration

When you want to know more...
For layout only
Site Map
About Groklaw
Legal Research
ApplevSamsung p.2
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Gordon v MS
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
MS Litigations
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
OOXML Appeals
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v Novell
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal

User Functions



Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.

What's New

No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 01:35 PM EDT

I've been thinking a great deal about civil speech. Recent events have brought the issue to the fore in a way that impels me to speak. And what I'd like to say is this: words are powerful and they can really hurt. The saying that sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me isn't true at all. Words do hurt.

I don't want any mean-spirited comments on Groklaw. I remove them here, when I come to know of them, but on other sites especially, there seem no limits to what folks are willing to say to and about one another. I wish to say that I don't believe that such speech is helpful. I cringe when I turn on the TV and see how so-called news show hosts villify and attack their guests and one other. I guess it's the In thing, but I can't accept it as normal or acceptable human behavior. I don't want Groklaw to become like that.

To give you an example, let's look at the current flap about LinuxWorld and Maureen O'Gara's articles. I've just read the editorial and some of the comments being left there, and it is very distressing to me. I want to ask, is it not possible to express a different point of view without personal attacks on fellow humans? I am happy to say I didn't see any offensive comments from Groklaw folks, and I'm glad about that, because I simply don't approve of such speech. We are all imperfect, subject to making mistakes and sometimes doing the opposite of what we wished we had done, are we not?

I don't minimize the serious issues in this matter at all, obviously. However, nothing makes it all right, in my view, to diminish the dignity of another human, to call them "trash", for example, as I saw someone do to the editor of LinuxWorld. How can that ever be all right? Does that inspire the editor to improve? Does it strengthen his resolve to stand for what he believes in? If he has made a mistake, does it make it easier for him to admit it or harder?

As far as Ms. O'Gara is concerned, Groklaw has on more than one occasion written that she is a very good reporter. She is. That entire career doesn't get thrown overboard because of recent events, even if it turns out she made a mistake. She was the first reporter to tell the world that SCO had hired David Boies and that Linux was on their radar. I don't forget that, despite the most recent series of articles, and neither should you forget.

As far as I'm concerned, if she wants to keep writing about SCO from her point of view, that is her right. I reserve the right to point it out if I see errors. And readers can validly ask if they wish to read her articles or if they now trust entities that publish her. All that is fair. But that is, in my view, the line. Even if we cast the most negative possible interpretation on what has happened, is she not still a fellow human worthy of the dignity we all should accord one another? Is she not trying to make it through the world in one piece, just like you are? Have Americans forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable? I don't want Groklaw associated with anything like that.

Most of us were not at the hearing. Eyewitness accounts are valuable, but not necessarily determinative. If you've ever been involved in a car accident, for example, you may have observed that not everyone sees the same things. That is why my article about this said that only a reading of the transcript someday can establish what did or did not occur in that courtroom. The issue I was addressing was that both LinuxWorld and Slashdot were presenting a point of view that to the best of our knowledge was not accurate. Also there is an issue as to where that information came from, in my opinion. We do have several eyewitnesses, including now some who were not Groklaw eyewitnesses, who disagree with what Ms. O'Gara wrote, and they didn't hear or see what she reported. But that doesn't, in my view, rule out altogether the possibility that they all missed something. It's less likely, but until the transcript is available, we don't know yet for sure. I don't think it's right to say more than you know. The simple truth is, we don't yet know 100% and we can't until the transcript is unsealed.

Here's what I do know. If the transcript reveals that what Ms. O'Gara wrote was not accurate, she will absolutely report it honestly. I sincerely believe that.

I would ask Groklaw folks, please help me to maintain a level of politeness and fellow feeling on Groklaw. Thank you. I'll try to do my part, and I know I can count on you to do yours.


How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request | 459 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 08:53 PM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Authored by: StLawrence on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 08:57 PM EDT
Sounds like good advise to me. I shall take it to heart.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Well said...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 08:59 PM EDT
Well said! Humans should not be idiots to each other.

What's really disheartening is the depths to which political candidates will go
to villify each other to make themselves look acceptable by comparison. The
Bush and Kerry camps are especially bad, and it does the country no good to
polarize the electorate with negativity.

But I digress. In SCO's case, I think Darl actually wants Linux fans to write
this ill-tempered babble because it makes the well-reasoned folk that are out
there think that Linux users and developers are a bunch of unwashed malcontents
who shouldn't be trusted with Aunt Edna's computer, let alone a multi-million
dollar cluster.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:01 PM EDT
I think Linux and the GPL are one way to make the world a
better place for us to live. I think PJ has just reminded
us of otherways that also deserve our best efforts. I am
very glad to read such views expressed so well.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Authored by: plungermonkey on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:06 PM EDT
Truer words could not have been spoken...

Thanks PJ

An ignorant person knows no better, a stupid person knows better and still does
what is wrong. Which one are you?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • A bigger picture - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 08:55 PM EDT
How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:10 PM EDT
Most people have an axe to grind, and it's increasingly
clear to me that Groklaw isn't exempt.

While I agree that humans can (and should) treat each
other with basic respect, generalized platitudes for
wishing how people should share discourse is
insufficient. If you have guidelines for your site,
lay them out. Otherwise, PJ, you're also guilty
from your own comments on your own site.

Everyone takes literary license to make a point, to
let out steam, or cry out against the night (usually
from frustration and confusion). IMHO, the increasing
bent towards political and religeous fervor regarding
'open source' (lower-case intended) offered through
Groklaw leads to increased noise.

I liked the days when logic and analysis were front-
and-center, and when idealism, wishful thinking, and
zealotry were less pronounced. But, if you feed the
pigeons, they will come.

Yes, it's an accusation of pandering to the zealots,
leading to more emotional (non-logical) responses.

While SCO's idiocy and corporate suicide is a fairly
simple black-and-white case, few other 'real' issues
work like that. Yet, somehow, that's how I think
Groklaw wants to view the world.

It's your site. Do what you will. Just my $0.02.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Authored by: inode_buddha on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:12 PM EDT
Just IMHO, broad brushes paint both ways. Nobody said it was fair, that's just how people are. We cannot control other's actions or words on other sites, etc. but we can be civil and still disagree here. Just IMHO anyway. PJ's first two paragraphs said it all.

"When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price." -- Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

Spread this message of dignity and respect beyond the corridors of Groklaw
Authored by: TZak on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:12 PM EDT
I wish that most people, including the incendiary cable "news" anchors
would read PJ's article, reflect on it and substitute "the world"
wherever they see "Groklaw".

We would all be much better off.

show me the million lines of code

[ Reply to This | # ]

How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:15 PM EDT
Yay PJ! Having those guys from SCO hound you night and day cannot be good for
your ego and we want you to stay around for awhile.

Do what you have to do to remain sane first, and then do whatever you gotta do
after that. This is a community site and you get to decide who is contributing
to the community and who isn't.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How To "Disagree"
Authored by: Whiplash on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:17 PM EDT
Whilst watching TV in the States, it has become more and more necessary to turn

Debate has become a yell-fest and not rational. Politcal debate has become a
spin cycle of bought and sold comment. And whoever can yell the loudest wins.

And this is flowing down to workplaces workpractices and work ethics. And to
blogs, newsgroups etc.

At the end of the day it is much easier to call someone a "&^*&^
two-faced liar" than to counter an arguement with fact.

Look at Groklaw as a GOOD example. Groklaw uses facts to show why SCO is most
likely wrong. Groklaw uses facts to counter FUD. Groklaw doesn't rant (well most
of the time) and Groklaw works.

Next time your in an arguement, take a deep breath and counter with calm fact
not personal abuse.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Write like you talk
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:22 PM EDT
There is one simple rule to keep postings polite:
Never write something about a person that you would not tell the same person if
you met her or him in the real life among people you know.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thank you.
Authored by: tfield98 on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:22 PM EDT
Thank you, PJ. Your compassion deserves applause and respect. Thank you for
giving voice to human values & dignity. And thank you for your service to
our community at large.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I agree with you in theory...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:26 PM EDT
but Rob Enderle is still a tool.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:30 PM EDT
Indeed. Well put.

The rule I learned for debate is to attack the position, but never attack the
speaker. --Robert Krawitz,

[ Reply to This | # ]

How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
Authored by: PeteBoton on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:31 PM EDT
Well said, PJ.

One of the things that makes it so easy to post offensive remarks is the ability
to remain anonymous. I've decided not to be anonymous any more and to put my
name next to my words.

Do you think we should disallow anonymous posts in the future?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sign Your Articles and/or
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:32 PM EDT
rig the software to automagically do it for you. I would
like to discern the poster/writer. --John Bacall

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Just sign up - Authored by: Jadeclaw on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 11:18 PM EDT
    • Just sign up - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:37 PM EDT
The only thing one could possibly add ..
Authored by: IrisScan on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:37 PM EDT
.. is that "flaming" is such a massive waste of time
and energy . Now I'm happy to concede that other posters
may regard my posts as "a massive waste of time and energy"
but it does get a bit tedious to have to wade through dozens
of X is a Y posts . It needed saying , PJ , well said .

[ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: AliveAgain on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:38 PM EDT
    It seems to me that there are too few places where civility is expected - or
    even wanted. These few places, however, are where I prefer to spend my time. I
    have always felt that Groklaw was one of these rare places and so I have been
    lurking here for a long time.

    I feel strongly enough about this that I have finally registered as a user so
    that I can say how much I support and agree with what PJ is saying.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:42 PM EDT
    I am glad you have spoken up about the need to civil. You are right, flame wars
    don't accomplish anything.

    However, I partly disagree with you about the O'Gara-LinuxWorld case. You are
    right, many of the posters were uncivil.

    However, O'Gara was not just making well-meaning mistakes in her article. She
    violated some important journalistic principles. In particular, she got her
    report about the hearing from someone else, presumably SCO, but did not make
    this clear, and instead misleadingly presented it as undisputed fact.

    If you would go back and look at the comments to the editorial, you will see
    that James Turner, the LinuxWorld editor, says that the editorial staff has been
    quite unhappy for some time with O'Gara's reporting. The only reason it
    continues to be be published there is that their parent company, Sys-Con,
    dictates what is published on the site, and so the LinuxWorld staff can't stop
    her stories.

    I think you got confused in this case because O'Gara does not have a bias in
    favor of SCO and against Linux and IBM, and so you are willing to give her the
    benefit of the doubt. However, it is clear that, whatever her lack of bias, she
    is a sloppy, unprofessional, and often sensationalistic reporter.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OT Here!
    Authored by: Ed L. on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:50 PM EDT
    Better late than never, and before we get too absorbed in ourselves...

    "Microsoft is like having a car where the bonnet is welded shut" (Mohammad Sephery-Rad, Iran IT Minister)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: phill_wall on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:54 PM EDT
    Over the years I have developed (or been taught) a principle that my partner and
    I now call the Pollyana rule (from the character in the old novels). This rule
    is simple - if you dont have anything good or constructive to say...DONT SAY IT.

    This doesn't mean that you cant point out errors etc.. but it does mean - no
    personal attacks and no general bitchiness. Just keep to facts etc and dont get
    lost in issues over personalities.
    And sometimes - refusal to say anything - because there is nothing good or
    constructive you CAN say - can be far more eloquent than fighting in the
    Keeping the tone positive pays in the long run...
    and lets not forget the old saw - empty vessels !

    Good on you PJ..

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 09:55 PM EDT
    Thanks PJ. I'm a 30+ year professional in the computer industry so I'm very
    passionate about it. I believe very much in OpenSource and am happy that others
    energeticly support it but none of this is worth one human being. Again I thank
    you for your courageous stance in pointing this out.

    Darrell Poteet

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    On talking like humans
    Authored by: fLameDogg on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:14 PM EDT
    I very much respect what you are saying, PJ, and I do agree. There is one thing
    that I wonder about, though:

    "Have Americans forgotten how to disagree without being

    Why `Americans'? Was there something US-centric about all this that I missed?
    fD, an American

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How All Humans Should Talk to Any Other Human - A Groklaw Best
    Authored by: icebarron on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:16 PM EDT
    From an avid reader...A kind word spoken in due season is like a good medicine.
    I did not think it was possible for PJ to raise her level of credibilty much higher than it already is now. I was wrong again.
    Thank you for setting an example for us all to aspire to in the future.

    When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Timeless and of great worth...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    What About Sub Humans....
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:32 PM EDT
    commetn here... you know who thay are...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Civil Discussion
    Authored by: Mouse on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:35 PM EDT
    I know of another very popular web site which is full of opinions and discussion and disagreements that are almost unfailingly civil and polite. This is possible because of a community of people who are more interested in the subject at hand than in scoring points of one another, and because of moderators who crack down on insults and "mean-spirited comments" while allowing any amount of disagreement and argument.

    It might be harder to bring that level of civil discussion to Groklaw, because a lot of posters here are angry at SCO, and because PJ hasn’t been imposing heavy-handed moderation. But I think we can cut out the insults and personal attacks if we try. And we should do so, because Groklaw is an important source of news, information and analysis.

    You have my support, PJ.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: droth on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:46 PM EDT
    I'm glad to see you writing such things, PJ. It is so easy to slip into flame
    language when you're conversing with someone that you cannot see.

    When you engage in a heated discussion with someone else, whether it be in
    person or on the Internet, I think most people have two competing urges: one
    is to persuade the other person that you are right, and the other is just to
    score points. The more heated the discussion becomes, the more (I think) we
    tend to focus on the latter goal.

    As others here have said, it's a good idea to think about how the receiving
    party is going to receive your message. Yes, one might feel better for telling

    Maureen O'Gara that's she's a hack and a failure as a human being - but when
    she reads that, is she suddenly going to be inspired to be a better reporter?
    Doubtful. If the outcome you really want is for her to be a better reporter,
    then you should frame your comments as helpful criticism and exhort her to
    do better.

    But I'm still going to call Darl McBride names from time to time. I'm only

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    General point: good, specific: no.
    Authored by: whoever57 on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:48 PM EDT
    I agree with the general point of addressing all people (whether we agree with
    them or not) in a courteous manner.

    However, in this specific case, I think a different interpretation can be put on
    the facts as we know them:
    1. MOG reported in an earlier article that IBM's right to use SCO code obtained
    through Project Monterrey was limited to Intel platforms. Now unless there is
    some other agreement than the one posted on Groklaw's legal docs page, this is
    simply not true. In fact this information was available BEFORE MOG made the

    2. MOG's reporting of Boies involvement has two 2 possible explanations: a)
    That she is good at ferreting out inside information or b) that she is in some
    fashion an insider.

    Now, I don't think there is any formal agreement to FUD linux: more likely some
    like-minded people working together and using MOG as a willing partner in the

    Perhaps I am wrong about this. We shall see. I will be very interested to see if
    there is any hint of a retraction or apology from MOG if it seems that her
    latest report was factually wrong.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: jig on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:51 PM EDT
    the reason why people become crass and abusive is because they want a reaction.
    sometimes it is out of simple frustration, other times it is just childish.

    and it works. one person will spend an hour writing a reasoned argument to the
    editor, and another will mouth off using minutes of tap tap typing, and the
    mouther will get the response. why? well, i think it is for one reason.
    responding to such posts is easy. just as easy as generating the flame. point
    out they are being a jerk, and move on, usually neglecting the more articulate

    so, while i think it is important to be argumentative rather than only abusive,
    and while i DO think that many posters forget to even argue a point in their
    attempt to come up with a 'good one', i also think that a lack of civility has a
    place in discourse. i'm not arguing that it should, just that it does.

    i guess what i'm trying to say is: i know why pj wrote the above. i respect her
    and almost everything that has come from her efforts immensely. it also makes me
    angry when i think of the time she and mathfox spend trying to police useless
    profane posts here. but the letter is overly sensitive. she, and the rest of us,
    are stronger than that. that is my gut response.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:51 PM EDT
    You're my moral hero, PJ. /jeesh

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    An outsider's view of US culture
    Authored by: newton on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:53 PM EDT
    Have Americans forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable?

    This is, I believe, the crux of the issue. The unfortunate answer to your question appears to be, "Yes."

    I'm not American. I'm immersed in a different culture with different values in a different country; But, of course, like the rest of the world, American culture is all over the TV, magazines, the Internet -- everywhere you look.

    And the one thing that comes through very clearly is that you Americans are a very angry people.

    I think some of you need to take a good hard look at yourselves. You come across as loud, brash, self-confident, supremely individualistic people, which is great until you're wrong (at which point you just look stupid). Or until someone else who isn't as loud, brash and self-confident exercises their own individualism by disagreeing with you (at which point you look like loud-mouthed bullies).

    You carry guns. You murder each other. You threaten lawsuits to resolve minor disagreements which other cultures would solve by sitting down over a cup of coffee and talking to each other. You fight wars. You yell at each other as some kind of replacement for public discourse. You set up dichotomies everywhere, where one side is a winner and the other side is a loser. And you do all this with the over-arching confidence that what you are doing is right, and what those you're always fighting against are doing is wrong.

    That's one of the reasons why it's so easy to pick Americans out in a crowd when they're travelling internationally (just look for the fat people with the loudest voices). And why people from my country who spend extended periods of time in yours can't wait to get back home again. "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. It's too intense, and everyone is too insecure!"

    As a culture, you people need to have a good hard look at yourselves, and work out whether being angry is worth the grief you get from it. When you're faced with your way and someone else's way it's possible to have a calm and reasoned discussion to work out the differences instead of fighting all the time. You don't need the courts to resolve differences. You don't need to raise your voices. You don't need to protect yourselves. There is always another way, even though you've spent your whole lives never realizing it because everyone else around you carries on in the same way.

    The whole SCO/IBM thing is actually just another symptom of this. The United States of America is the only country in the world where this saga could have been played out. Look at how quickly they resolved it in Germany! That kind of responsiveness is normal.

    I know I'm going to get flamed for writing this -- of course I am! The things I'm pointing out in this message will result in me being vilified by exactly the kinds of people I'm talking about. But my hope is that quieter and more reasoned readers will take what I have to say in the spirit in which it has been said, and perform the self-examination that's so sorely needed in the world today to turn it into a more civilized place.

    - mark

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:54 PM EDT

    Yes, PJ we can be hurt by words, particularly from those whom we admire and

    May I gently and as gentilly as I know how, suggest not attributing ill will to
    all participants in a long discussion with which one happens to disagree to your
    covenants? Nor reading malice into strident arguments in unmoderated fora which
    could never hope to reach the level of civility to which you here aspire?

    -- TWZ

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: bobmatnyc on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:54 PM EDT
    Agree completely. The whole troll/flame thing has gotten out of hand. The
    words have no more meaning, and simply dehumanize everyone -- especially the


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I think this should be a demand, not a request, but...
    Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:54 PM EDT
    It is sad that you should be impelled to publish such sound and fundamental
    advice on conduct that each of us should adopt without thought upon any decision
    to post here.

    I am as guilty as any though as, from time to time, in spite of my best efforts
    I find myself drawn into controversy with either a troll, or perhaps, some well
    intentioned but uninformed soul.

    Nevertheless, I do try not to malign anyone or debase myself by name calling.
    Thanks PJ, for this well written article.

    (GL) Groklaw Lurker
    End the tyranny, abolish software patents.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Ok PJ, Will Do
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 10:57 PM EDT

    I know I clown around too much but I saw a post the other
    night that seemed quite threatening to you on here. It was
    of course deleted soonest and my reply to that post was
    short and silly and not mean spirited but I could easily
    understand if others had been more defensive. Anyway, that's
    the only one quite like it I've seen but I'm sure there are
    many more I've missed, making what you say here that much
    more remarkable, and admirable. I'll behave. I promise.

    (Nice Alligator - pet pet)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    About the can't find it comment - a theory
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 11:06 PM EDT
    Read the transcript of the Compuware v IBM hearing

    A "can't find it" comment, does appear in that transcript of that
    hearing (of course it's not about AIX but something else entirely)

    I note that the eyewitness comments on the Wells hearing in SCO v IBM, don't
    include any mention of a similar comment, so it seems to me highly plausible
    that there was no such comment. Of course, I accept this is not definitive
    (just plausible) without a transcript, which we may see someday or we may never

    Anyway here is a possible theory (grounded in nothing more than speculation) -
    if we accept for a moment that there was no "can't find it" comment in
    Wells' hearing for SCO v IBM.

    Given Ms O'Gara's article talks about Compuware v IBM, as well as SCO v IBM - is
    it possible that she, her source, or someplace along the line, the "can't
    find it comment" got detached from her report of Compuware v IBM, and
    somehow became attached to her report of SCO v IBM ?

    One need not attribute any malice to Ms O'Gara for this theory to explain
    events. It could simply be an error. It could be an error by her source. It
    could be a failure in communication somewhere between her and her source, or
    elsewhere along the line. etc

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    You give O'Gara too much credit
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 11:06 PM EDT
    I generally give people the benifit of the doubt. For example, I think Rob E,
    and Daniel Lyons OK people. I recently defended Merkey on Groklaw.

    But I over the years, MOG seems to me like a person without morals. She often
    misrepresents the truth. She has hurt people badly and she never appologizes.
    She is smart enough to understand how bad it is to tell lies but she still does

    My guess is that when the transcript comes out, her response will be "old

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Ode to American English
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 11:19 PM EDT
    Ode to American English

    I was missing English one day, American, really,
    with its pill-popping Hungarian goulash of everything
    from Anglo-Saxon to Zulu, because British English
    is not the same, if the paperback dictionary
    I bought at Brentano's on the Avenue de l'Opera
    is any indication, too cultured by half. Oh, the English
    know their dahlias, but what about doowop, donuts,
    Dick Tracy, Tricky Dick? With their elegant Oxfordian
    accents, how could they understand my yearning for the hotrod,
    hotdog, hot flash vocabulary of the U. S. of A.,
    the fragmented fandango of Dagwood's everyday flattening
    of Mr. Beasley on the sidewalk, fetuses floating
    on billboards, drive-by monster hip-hop stereos shaking
    the windows of my dining room like a 7.5 earthquake,
    Ebonics, Spanglish, "you know" used as comma and period,
    the inability of 90% of the population to get the past perfect:
    I have went, I have saw, I have tooken Jesus into my heart,
    the battle cry of the Bible Belt, but no one uses
    the King James anymore, only plain-speak versions,
    in which Jesus, raising Lazarus from the dead, says,
    "Dude, wake up," and the L-man bolts up like a B-movie
    mummy, "Whoa, I was toasted." Yes, ma'am,
    I miss the mongrel plentitude of American English, its fall-guy,
    rat-terrier, dog-pound neologisms, the bomb of it all,
    the rushing River Jordan backwoods mutability of it, the low-rider,
    boom-box cruise of it, from New Joisey to Ha-wah-ya
    with its sly dog, malasada-scarfing beach blanket lingo
    to the ubiquitous Valley Girl's like-like stuttering,
    shopaholic rant. I miss its quotidian beauty, its querulous
    back-biting righteous indignation, its preening rotgut
    flag-waving cowardice. Suffering Succotash, sputters
    Sylvester the Cat; sine die, say the pork-bellied legislators
    of the swamps and plains. I miss all those guys, their Tweety-bird
    resilience, their Doris Day optimism, the candid unguent
    of utter unhappiness on every channel, the midnight televangelist
    euphoric stew, the junk mail, voice mail vernacular.
    On every boulevard and rue I miss the Tarzan cry of Johnny
    Weismueller, Johnny Cash, Johnny B. Goode,
    and all the smart-talking, gum-snapping hard-girl dialogue,
    finger-popping x-rated street talk, sports babble,
    Cheetoes, Cheerios, chili dog diatribes. Yeah, I miss them all,
    sitting here on my sidewalk throne sipping champagne
    verses lined up like hearses, metaphors juking, nouns zipping
    in my head like Corvettes on Dexadrine, French verbs
    slitting my throat, yearning for James Dean to jump my curb.
    by Barbara Hamby, from Babel © University of Pittsburgh Press.

    you can listen to this at:

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    So by extension
    Authored by: Flower on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 11:19 PM EDT
    We'll all band together in unity and brotherly love and forsake terms like
    Didiot and Erduhle thus entering a new era where we take them to task on the
    actual issues sans name calling? Honestly, isn't the factual pummelling
    satisfying enough?

    Yeah, I could get into that. Or have I gone too far....

    And yes, I do admit it doesn't happen all that much here (the search for Didiot
    proves that) but step onto the Yahoo discussions and I'm singing "It's
    another content free.... web posting!" to Hakuna Matata. Well I do that on
    /. too however there it happens so much my son and I start dancing to the tune.
    But I believe that's more than any of you want to know.

    You make me out to be responsible for your self-inflicted misery. - "Faceless"

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    House [& Senate] Rules
    Authored by: sleadley on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 11:23 PM EDT
    It's your house PJ (and crew). The Groklaw party that you are hosting is an wonderful contribution to Linux and FOSS. Watching and learning as uncertainty is uprooted with facts and intelligent commentary makes this party worth attending. So far most of the guests have been well behaved. Please continue to insist that people attending the party be civil. You may have to repeat yourself when large waves of newcomers arrive.

    My own appeal is for every poster to behave like we were face-to-face at a real party. Enraged screaming and knife brandishing (or the online equivalent) seriously diminishes your social appeal and ruins the party for everyone around you. Don't do it. If you truly must insult someone, please do it with class. For example, don't just call Senator Hatch a drooling idiot, use the senatorial form and commiserate on the day-to-day trials associated with the distinguished Senior Senator from Utah's spongiform encephalopathy symptoms. Add a pun or literary reference. Amuse the rest of us while you get that weight off your chest.

    Scott Leadley

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I bleieve there are limits on both sides
    Authored by: bobn on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 11:23 PM EDT
    Even if we cast the most negative possible interpretation on what has happened, is she not still a fellow human worthy of the dignity we all should accord one another?

    Maybe this applies to MOG, tho I doubt it. What she wrote was very wrong-headed. But lets look at a different case: are we required to accord Darl or Sontag or Stowell or Hatch or K. McBride "the dignity we all should accord one another"? I think not. Most on the SCO side are incredibly dishonest. And I think that MOG may well be on that side, tho I concede it's still not certain.

    Not everybody deserves our respect no matter what the dialog. I don't want to break Godwin's corollary, but you know what I mean, and I rate the SCO-scum up in the same realm of dishonesty, if not the horror.

    IRC: irc://
    the groklaw channels in IRC are not affiliated with, and not endorsed by, either or PJ.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: etmax on Tuesday, October 26 2004 @ 11:49 PM EDT
    According to US statisticians around 10-30% (average) of everything we do (while
    doing something we do daily!!) is an error causing mishap and/or injury.

    That is a frighteningly large error rate, and warrants serious consideration by
    us all. Good on you PJ for reminding us.

    I am however very saddened by the additional fact that many people will state
    something verbally that they actually KNOW is incorrect and will farm it off as
    fact/truth for no other reason than to support their arguments/ends.

    How easy life would be if we had a lightglobe on our foreheads that flashed
    everytime the latter applied.

    We don't have a lightglobe, so in it's absence let's remain civil giving others
    the benefit of doubt, and continuing to publish the truth, so that only the
    truth and mistakes remain.

    SHOUT THE TRUTH so that the whispers of lies are no longer heard.

    That's my bit of philosophy for today.

    Max - Melbourne Australia

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Shades of Jerry Maguire
    Authored by: caliboss on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 12:05 AM EDT
    Jerry Maguire's Mission Statement

    Worth a read. It wasn't read in it's entirety in the movie, but Cameron Crowe did write it - probably as background. Even though it's fiction, it's still interesting and truth-giving.

    Is PJ=Don Quixote?

    Maybe. The trend on websites is in the other direction. The incivility and rudeness of the Internet seems to reflect modern society...and not just the USA. You could call war as being the extreme endpoint of incivility....the ultimate uncivil behavior.

    PJ's right, solid on target with this article. It was a real wake-up call for me. We CAN be civil AND disagree. We just don't try hard and are not called on it when we aren't. Rude begets rude, flames beget flames. Neither begets truth, solutions or resolution.

    Don't get me wrong. We should call them as we seem them. but even umpires don't say "Strike Three You Idiot".

    I don't think I have ever come across something like this before and it was ..... darn refreshing...bracing ... inspiring.

    Thank you.

    Grok the Law / Rock the World

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    We're not always dealing with humans
    Authored by: bliss on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 12:19 AM EDT

    I am starting to think PJ is a secret time traveler from
    the Victorian era.

    The desire for decorum is noble but in the land of Jerry
    Springer, Howard Stern, and Janet Jackson's right breast I
    think it is a lost cause.

    Social observation aside, I'd like to talk about the
    nonhuman aspect of this whole situation.

    What we're really dealing with here are symbols SCOX,
    MSFT, IBM, RHAT, NOVL, and maybe SUNW and some others
    before this all plays through to the end.

    These symbols represent companies. Each has a corporate
    character which is the sum of the behaviors of its
    management, board, stockholders, and so forth. Each is
    born, lives for some period of time, and then perishes by
    a variety of methods. The thing all publically held
    companies have in common is that they are slaves to the
    clock, producing certain results quarterly, or they cease
    to exist. This compels them to behave in a fashion best
    described as sociopathic.

    Sociopaths have no regard for the well being of others.
    It may suit their purposes to present as charming in a
    given quarter, they may do things that appear to be
    charitable and altruistic, but observation over a long
    period of time will always show at best a distinct pattern
    of disinterest in the well being of others and more
    commonly actively malignant activity.

    Publically held companies are artificial people and
    they've achieved this status because they're allowed to
    vote in the United States. I don't mean that SCOX or IBM
    has an actual ballot; they and their kin vote via
    financial pressure delivered to the U.S. Congress through
    political action committees.

    What party ideology do these artificial people follow?
    Some would jump and say "Republican" but I think this is a
    true human institution and it is merely an accident that
    the Republican party better serves their goals at the
    moment. The artificial corporate people vote the party
    line of sociopathic behavior and their quarterly slavery,
    slowly eroding civil liberty, piling on crushing
    workloads, and attempting to convert all humans into

    The seminal thought behind this is someone else's and
    I've not paid close enough attention to know whom to
    credit, but lets take this argument at face value and
    extend our consideration to Groklaw, the Yahoo stock
    board, and other venues where parties interested in SCOX
    vs the world gather to discuss the situation at hand.

    We know there is a professional astroturf campaign afoot.
    Sometimes we see blatant trolls, other times we see
    seemingly reasonable arguments that are persistently and
    subtly wrong, and some times trolls suddenly take on the
    guise of someone reasonable and thoughtful. All of these
    creatures are proxies for the voiceless, sociopathic
    corporation. Are they human in the sense of deserving the
    consideration PJ tells us should characterize our
    interaction with others?

    We know there are FOSS loyalists on the loose. Their
    position is different than their corporate slave
    counterpart but their behavior is no better. As a
    loathesome FOSS troll on Yahoo I feel I have the right to
    make this statement :-) Am I, when pursuing various SCOX
    shills with my razor sharp pen, deserving of this human
    treatment that PJ values so highly?

    How is the FOSS community and its institutions different
    than the corporate sociopathic personalities? This is the
    seed crystal I wish to cast into the Groklaw solution. I
    know my answer to this query but I desire to find out if
    I'm having a vision or merely a hallucination.


    Information becomes fragmented, knowledge does not. What causes fragmentation in
    information is scholasticism - Ramitani

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Rather naive
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 12:31 AM EDT

    Well, like Rodney King, why can't we just all get along? It doesn't mean you
    give up getting along, but you can't be blinkered, either. Sometimes the fight
    is forced upon you. Here are two examples.

    (1) In my state, during the Republican Party primary for the U.S. Senate this
    year, one Republican candidate accused his Republican opponent, completely
    without basis, of being a part of the "radical homosexual agenda." It
    worked. The polls turned, and the opponent was defeated. Yet the opponent was
    also one of the U.S. House managers who led the effort to impeach Clinton, and
    the opponent isn't gay.

    (2) A former co-worker of mine is a lesbian. Good hearted and a near genius IQ.
    She was falsely accused of sexual harassment by another woman. She was placed
    under covert surveillance in the office for several months, but no evidence
    supporting the accusation was found. Her unbalanced accuser was eventually
    fired. However, my former co-worker has since been enduring attempted sabotage
    of her work. She has been told by the company's top executives, to her face,
    that they believed the accusations against her, even though no evidence could be
    found. They hadn't known she was gay. They also pretend to be Christians. Some
    people have since told her they are praying for her to get right with God. So
    far she has survived, but she is taking a psychological pounding. If she
    complains, they tell her she is being "negative." I'm a straight male,
    and I'm all she's got. The love of her life was killed some years ago, and she's
    still mourning that, so she has no gay friends to fall back on. Recently she
    called me, from a pay phone, after the end of her work week on a Saturday
    afternoon, and she talked, standing at that pay phone, for 10 hours.

    Sorry, I'm not in the mood to be civil to people who deliberately inflict this
    kind of pain. And I see the personality of Darl McBride in all of these

    You can afford to be civil when a Judge Kimball is around. When there isn't,
    you'd better be ready.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • Rather naive - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:06 AM EDT
    • Rather naive - Authored by: Rudisaurus on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:48 AM EDT
    • Interesting post - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 09:17 AM EDT
    Thanks For the Reminder, PJ.
    Authored by: llanitedave on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 12:43 AM EDT
    I know I need one from time to time.

    Of course we need to communicate -- that goes without saying!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: chris_bloke on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 12:58 AM EDT

    Sadly I don't have time to write very much, asides from a resounding "hear hear!".

    Taking a purely utilitarian view I believe that the more emotional an argument becomes the less likely anyone is going to change their opinion. They feel they (or their fellow like-minded people) are being attacked and that makes them want to stick together even more strongly.

    Chris, Melbourne, Vic, AU, Earth, Sol System, Postcode 42.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: Buddha Joe on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 12:59 AM EDT

    The only stupid question is the one never asked

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    A suggestion
    Authored by: codswallop on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:15 AM EDT
    A large part of the recent unpleasantness arose from some possibly spurious Jeff
    Merkey posts. We'll never know the truth of this, but if he was impersonated, he
    has a right to be angry.

    To prevent this sort of thing from happening again, I propose that any anonymous
    (or otherwise questionable) post supposedly from a controversial figure be
    deleted along with its children. Replacing it would be a message saying such a
    post was received, but site policy required deletion, and the author should
    submit comments by some authenticated procedure (whatever PJ wants to use).

    The idea of this is to avoid charges of censoring opposing views, while
    preventing malicious impersonations. I'm afraid otherwise this mess will give
    trolls a new way to cause trouble.

    IANAL This is not a legal opinion.
    SCO is not a party to the APA.
    Discovery relevance is to claims, not to sanity.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: geoff lane on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:34 AM EDT
    A lot of the apparent problem comes from the example of broadcast news. It
    seems that good TV and radio consists of two or more people with fixed ideas
    screaming at each other. This drives out more reasonable discussion which could
    actually cause the viewer/listener to think.

    On the net, we miss all of the visual clues that help moderate conversations and
    the result can be a discussion that drifts into irrational name calling and

    As for our favourite pundits, hate the sin, love the sinner, is a pretty good
    starting point.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Brava PJ !
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:47 AM EDT
    I couldn't agree more !
    Even the most henious villains believe they are doing what they must. They may
    require legal response, and even jail time, but they are still human. Thank you
    sweet PJ for spreading truth and love ! Reasonable humans like you remain the
    only thing between us and anarchy.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:47 AM EDT
    Thank you PJ for reminding us (even applies to us non-us citisens tho) that we
    are and should be representative of the good side; not vilianize ourselves
    through our sharp togues; I for one am sick of reading articles pointing to
    existing zealotry in our comunity (even though its minimal). This is a bad image
    we need to shake off like a dead skin. WE need to come across as the
    calculated, reasonable individuals that we shure all are.

    Thanks again

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Really OT: PJ and the Red Dress
    Authored by: ShawnX on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:52 AM EDT
    I really hope we can see you in that red dress soon :-)
    perhaps when we get closer to the end of this fiaSCO, you
    can take a picture of the red dress (I'm thinking its
    shimmering in sparkles :-)


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    What about
    Authored by: Pat Pending on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 02:04 AM EDT
    A little humour, if it's not crude or cruel? I live to lampoon.

    Thanks again,

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
    Authored by: Greebo on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 02:06 AM EDT
    I agree completely PJ. Thanks for reminding us all.

    I wouldn't try suggesting this on Slashdot though! :)


    Recent Linux Convert and Scared Cat Owner

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Congratulations to the Groklaw Community
    Authored by: voxclamatis on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 02:15 AM EDT
    I am posting 12 hours after PJ published this screed, and I am so proud
    of us all. Those who were annoyed, put-off or in disagreement were
    able to express themselves in complete English sentences, with nary an
    ad hominem attack on PJ or other posters. See? We can do this. And it
    actually clarifies points, refines our understanding of each other, and
    leaves us more open to learning a nuanced truth in the future.

    Well done, folks!


    [ Reply to This | # ]

      A Bit Of Advice
      Authored by: Scriptwriter on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 02:28 AM EDT
      When I was hanging out on baseball boards, where emotions tend to run high at
      times, I would occasionally dispense a couple of pieces of wisdom, which were
      usually ignored:

      "Keep your words short and sweet, in case you have to eat them

      "Be kind to the people you meet as you're going up the ladder. They'll be
      the ones in position to step on your toes on your way down."


      "Be careful what you say. Once you say something, you can never un-say

      Eat a live toad first thing every morning and nothing worse will happen to
      either of you all day. #groklaw -- RIP Moogy 1951-2004

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 02:55 AM EDT
      Full support from here. Name-calling isn't any use - for either part. Tempting as it may be, acting out anger primarily digs trenches.

      Removing wrathful comments and keeping a good style makes Groklaw a better read. Keep up the editorial line, PJ!


      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Journalism, opinion vs news, and Sun
      Authored by: CraigRinger on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:14 AM EDT
      I would find your comments a little easier to take
      seriously if not for your articles on Sun a while ago. In
      my opinion they were over the top and simply not
      appropriate, so seeing this story posted is ...

      I'm increasingly puzzled by Groklaw. On one hand, the
      banner says:
      "IANAL. I am a journalist with a paralegal background..."
      and many of the stories are written in journalistic style
      - mentioning references, making a clear distinction
      between opinion and "fact"[1], etc.

      On the other hand, some stories seem to me to be pure
      personal opinion, sometimes very strongly stated personal
      opinion, and little is done to distinguish these from the
      more technically styled articles. While I would expect any
      intelligent person to be able to do so, it would be
      preferable not to have to.

      Some articles also mix news presentation with personal
      opinion. Again, any person with a decent amount of common
      sense should be able to tell the difference.
      Unfortunately, it seems many people can't[2], and given
      the wide readership Groklaw has these days it seems wise
      to make things clear-cut where possible.

      Any decent newspaper[3], recognizing that it is seen as a
      reputable and authoritative source of information[4],
      marks opinion pieces as just that.

      Of course, any news story is opinion to some extent. The
      day I see a journalist who doesn't have any conscious or
      unconscious personal bias, I think I'll die of shock. The
      mark of a good journalist, in my opinion, is a decent
      ability to separate opinion from "fact" or news while
      recognizing that there's rarely a clear line between the

      What I'm getting at here is that I'd be more comfortable
      personally if Groklaw chose to clearly mark opinion pieces
      and separate opinion from news where possible. The Sun
      pieces are in my opinion illustrative of where that was
      missing and why it's important.

      Craig Ringer

      [1] Whatever that's supposed to mean
      [2] Comments such as "The only common thing about common
      sense is the common lack of it" [paraphrased] come to
      mind. If anybody knows the authorative form and source of
      said quote, I'd be delighted to hear it. I've seen that
      and similar quotes attributed to Mark Twain, Voltaire, and
      several others but was unable to locate any authorative
      [3] They exist. Really. I think I've found three. I'm not
      counting the one I work at - it's not too bad, but hardly
      serious quality.
      [4] Whether this perception is sensible or accurate is not
      relevant - the perception exists and is widespread, so
      good papers act accordingly. Some people have apparently
      never learned that one should not believe everything one

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:17 AM EDT
      "Here's what I do know. If the transcript reveals that what Ms. O'Gara
      wrote was not accurate, she will absolutely report it honestly. I sincerely
      believe that."

      hehe.. hey PJ, nice set up. :D

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:22 AM EDT
      I am for the new civility as long as you hold yourself to the same standard you
      wish everyone else to follow. You can point out the inconsistancies in Darl
      McBride's claims and foibles in his ongoing case against IBM, et al., and
      disagree with every FUD published by SCO Group, Microsoft, Forbes, etcetera, but
      you cannot you, yourself, cannot use language that debases any of these muckey
      mucks and their patsies just because they may have a point of view which can be
      highly irritating, extremely debatable, utterly and ridiculously contemptable,
      downright infuriating, seemingly moronic or even merely detestable.

      Yes, many of of us in the community have pretty much made up our minds about all
      the players in this ever widening wildfire which refuses to extinguish itself
      nor be satisfied with mere self containment, spreading or popping up into other
      fields hitherto feared or as yet unimagined like hot ashes or smoldering embers
      carried by the wind away from the main conflagration and become flashpoints in
      and of themselves. Civility is practically a defenstrated custom in our feckless
      and media sated society. The supreme irony of which I relish in at this moment
      is that the touchstone of uncivility and crass and bawdy behaviour in US
      culture, radio morning shoe broadcaster Howard Stern, is complaining heavily
      about all the trash talking on the internet community bulletin board on his
      website, so much that he has to censor and delete postings and ban people from
      the site because of their behaviour. Yes, behaviour is a problem, and trying to
      curb problamitic uncourteous dialogue on forums such as these is trying. Many of
      us will comply with your wishes, dear Pamela, but there will always be the
      unwashed few who have not a damper switch within, and will spew forth what is
      immediately on their minds forthwith, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

      Taking the high road and continuing the debate in an acceptable perceived
      civilised manner will win more converts than the invective insults and low
      comments from ultra zealots, paranoid basement dwellers and perfectly normal
      stable regular citizenry who in the passion of the moment let fly the emotional
      epithet that drags the ongoing debate from the enlightened table to the topless
      mud wrestling arena of the rest of the unwashed internet community.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Not about freedom of speech.
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:37 AM EDT
      I remember seeing a comment on the internet an its endless opportunities for
      anonymity - can't remeber the source though:

      "They're not exercising their right to freedom of speech - they're taking
      advantage of the opportunity to say whatever they want without getting smacked
      in the face."

      Sums it up rather nicely, I think - certainly explains a lot about the noise
      level at /. and Yahoo. In a way, it's similar to the one tribe in "Lord of
      the Flies": As soon as the boys started donning masks, they could commit
      the most atrocious acts with impunity. Ah, anonymity...

      :-) *pnd*

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Some disagreements
      Authored by: ak on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:51 AM EDT
      I don't want any mean-spirited comments on Groklaw. ... I wish to say that I don't believe that such speech is helpful.
      I do agree with that.
      However, nothing makes it all right, in my view, to diminish the dignity of another human, to call them "trash", for example, as I saw someone do to the editor of LinuxWorld.
      Sorry, but that comment is absolutely not representative for the comments which were left on the LinuxWorld website. Most of the comments were very civil regarding the content of the article published under the name of Maureen O'Gara. The editors have not reacted to critisism in the past. They had months to prevent further slanderous articles by Maureen O'Gara from beeing published on their website and they either did not use that time or the situation at SYS-CON is hopeless.
      As far as Ms. O'Gara is concerned, Groklaw has on more than one occasion written that she is a very good reporter. She is.
      I strongly disagree with that opinion. She has repeatedly published wrong accusations and has not withdrawn them or apologised. I do not believe anything she writes. As long as it is not proven I do not even believe that she asked the court to unseal the transcript. The reason is simple: if it is unsealed it can not prove her position because the reading of the sealed mail would be redacted.
      She was the first reporter to tell the world that SCO had hired David Boies and that Linux was on their radar.
      So what? Maybe she was the first SCO-shill. That is hardly an accomplishment. Probably she has had relations with SCO for a long time.
      As far as I'm concerned, if she wants to keep writing about SCO from her point of view, that is her right.
      This is not about her "point of view" but about her ignorance of facts.
      It's less likely, but until the transcript is available, we don't know yet for sure. I don't think it's right to say more than you know. The simple truth is, we don't yet know 100% and we can't until the transcript is unsealed.
      Maureen O'Gara has written that the hearing was about a "Third Amended Complaint". We already know 100% that this is wrong. Let me point out that your position now is very similar to the position put forward by Darl McBride. He also is refering to sealed documents which allegedly prove that Linux violates the rights of SCO. While I am convinced that Darl McBride's intentions are fraudulent I have no doubt that you have good intentions.
      Here's what I do know. If the transcript reveals that what Ms. O'Gara wrote was not accurate, she will absolutely report it honestly. I sincerely believe that.
      There is no basis for that assumption. She has been proven wrong in the past and has not reported that.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      But ...
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 04:01 AM EDT
      Of course you are right that abusing another person is a bad thing to do.

      But there is a danger that your comments will lead to mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy, muddied discourse.

      It is wrong to call your opponent an idiot. But if what your opponent has said is nonsense, it is perfectly in order to call it nonsense, and to state why.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      I've always thought that a Scalple or Rapier
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 04:32 AM EDT
      is so much more useful and has so much more style that a club.

      I think responses should take an argument apart like a scalple possibly with
      rapier like wit.

      JayDee not logged in.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      well taken, but
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 05:49 AM EDT
      What about Groklaw's recent article "Satan to Launch Own
      Website - A Parody" (in response to SCO's plans to put up
      their own propaganda site to "counter" Groklaw)? Even
      though it was clearly labeled parody, it struck me as
      offensive. It reminds me of the old Godwin's law from
      usenet where anyone who brought up Hitler or the Nazis
      automatically was considered to have lost the argument. I
      would put a comparison to Satan in the same category?

      OT - I just had an interesting thought. I wonder if
      Godwin's law is recursive. That is, by even mentioning
      it, does one invoke it and thereby invalidate one's
      argument? Does anyone know of any discussion-group "case
      law" on the subject? ;)

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Threatened to sue you, eh?
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 06:09 AM EDT
      Reckoned she might. Given the trash you've been spouting about her and SCO
      employees, it was only a matter of time before someone called your bluff.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      And with a deletion of a parent, a whole sub-thread disappears
      Authored by: Hydra on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 06:27 AM EDT

      Since the sub-thread contained more than just the initial comment on Merkey, not to mention some of the posters of that sub-thread may wonder where it went...

      See here: How One Human Should Talk to A Merkey.

      (Of course, if the disappearance of said thread was a result of moderation, then this post can be deleted as well. Given the fact that the posts are still available, I assume this not to be the case. I do not mean to overrule you in any way PJ.)

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      PJ's disgusting hypocrisy
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 06:58 AM EDT
      ... that knows no bounds... Absolutely revolting.

      When I read this "request" of hers I wanted to get sick all over the floor.

      It's ok for HER to label a devoutly religious man (and, whatever you or I might think of Darl, he has said numerous times that he is, in fact, a devoutly religious Mormon) as Satan and call it "parody" instead of one of the meanest spirited things I have ever read on the Internet.

      Hey, PJ, it's your website. Just don't demand a level of civility or maturity from others that you yourself refuse to or are unable to show.

      Oh, by the way, I am not affiliated with SCO in any sense of the word and happen to think that what they are doing is disgusting, too...

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Clases of Society
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 07:00 AM EDT
      Like it or not there are different classes of society.

      Numerous different classes besides the traditional high, middle, and low. But!
      That definition does suffice for this discussion.

      Generally one may consider that the high went to elite schools and learned one
      set of social pose including vocabulary and grammar.

      The middle went to state sponsored schools learning a different set.

      While the low learned street jive.

      Now if one wants to talk to Joe Truck-Driver then one is going to have to speak
      the language of Joe Truck-Driver which the high brows of elitism will certainly
      find offensive.

      If on the other hand one uses the appropriate language for socially debutants
      then one is going to find that Joe Truck-Driver is not going to understand a
      word that is said.

      Thus for a site like this where all three classes are mixed in an equalitarian
      form one would expect that the language to be a lot more dynamitic and offensive
      than has traditionally existed here.

      Mostly likely the reason is that PJ deletes the Slashdot level 4 and 5 as being
      to rude for presentation.

      As far as changing the situation consider that the upper cultural class most
      likely constitutes 1 to 2% of population, the middle 20 to 30% leaving at least
      70% in the lower class.

      If one thinks that 1 to 2% of population or even 20 to 30% is going to control
      70% then one is making as big a social blunder as the European monarchs did in
      the 19Th century and we can see where there heads wound up.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 07:18 AM EDT
      My attitude is that of course words are important and have meaning and impact:
      you motivate people to go to war using words. You instill your convictions in
      others using words. And you get at the truth using words.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 07:47 AM EDT
      I have participated in forums where anything goes: my attitude is that I don't
      care who gets hurts, whose tender ego gets smashed and whose agenda is shredded
      as long as we get to the truth. I am not going to cater to the sensibilities of
      every ninny or winnie whose roughest experience was being a member of his or her
      high school debating team. There are a lot more obscene things in the world that
      we take for granted on an every day basis, such as people dying of starvation
      and disease, such as people killing, maiming and torturing others over religion
      and whatnot.

      We are not a high school debating society, and we are dealing with unscrupulous
      corporate types who will do and say anything to further their agenda - as they
      have demonstrated time and again. This is the real world: this is not the world
      of "Cleaver" and "My Father Knows Best". In the real world,
      you don't win merely because you are in the right: if you want to win, then you
      must fight like it or not and at times you must fight like a junkyard dog. We
      have been fair, and we are fair: that's what any human being is entitled to. And
      that must be enough, because I am not willing to give anything more.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 07:57 AM EDT
      Moin, moin
      Sticks and stones
      Will break my bones
      But words will break my heart.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      PJ is being far too kind, IMO.
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 08:19 AM EDT
      I agree that there is no point in insults. But, it may not hurt to have our eyes
      open to the fact that some people really do have an agenda to mislead.

      I do not think Maureen O'Gara is a good reporter, and I do not trust her at all.
      These were not Maureen's first grossly misleading statements. In fact, grossly
      misleading may be an understatement, these may be deliberate, and hurtful,
      outright lies.

      Why is Maureen not being honest? Simple bias, and mistakes. I don't think so.
      There is a pattern here.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Authored by: shareme on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 08:47 AM EDT
      I should add this note..

      When the first article by Maureen with all the fact errors appeared I started a
      polite and diplomatic email conversation with Maureen asking what legal court
      documents and the exact paragraphs are that support her factual statement inthe

      Given the bofuscated resposne from Maureen I do not belive the Hpoe by PJ is a
      valid one..

      not to put Maureen's reporting skills in bad light ..but you have to remember
      that Maureen got her start in Unix reporting when it was cool to pit one company
      against the other in print... that is not the case now especially with Linux
      companies working together towards common goals while making money..its a
      different style of competition entirely..and most Journalists do not understand

      Sharing and thinking is only a crime in those societies where freedom doesn't

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 09:51 AM EDT
      Personally I think that discusion devolves into personal attacks when one side
      disagrees with the point of contention, but can not think of a argument to prove
      there side. So attacking the other person is doing something. In the end it is
      pointless as it does not make yopur side any more valid.

      This is one of the things I dislike about politics, they will attack the
      character of the other side because they can't find logical fault with there
      platfomr. This may be because all the candidates platforms are so close to
      gether you can't tell one from the other. They seem to think that by having
      simular platforms it comes down to a popularity contest and media spin aposed to
      real discusion on real issues.

      The other thing that I have noticed in canadian politics is the media tends to
      cover national politics from the point of view of the region they are reporting
      in. So the issues get slanted to be favorable to the region that it is brodcast
      in, is this fair and unbiased reporting? or just another case of marketing at
      work to provide the largest viewer ship posible?
      Robert Babiak

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 10:23 AM EDT
      "Have Americans forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable?"

      Thomas Jefferson, to his credit, made sure that freedom of the press was a fact
      of life in America even though he was vilified in the press on a daily basis in
      terms that we would not use today. The anti-slavery debate in this country was
      conducted with enough rancor to end in our Civil War, to this day the deadliest
      war to Americans that Americans ever fought. The question is not whether we
      Americans have ever forgotten but whether we had ever learned in the first place
      - and also whether to disagree without being disagreable is always a realistic
      option under all circumstances. My attitude is that the question is rethorical
      and pointless.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 10:36 AM EDT
      The problem is that in these days of 24/7 reporting, people have forgotten to
      "sleep on it". You should never write something when you're upset,
      angry, whatever. And even if you write it, do not send/publish it until the next
      day - this will give you time to cool down, relax, and put your arguments
      together much better. It will usually also result in a much more civil reply.

      I realize that this may mean a story or reply will not be "first seen on
      this site", but I for one don't mind waiting a bit longer if it means the
      reply is civilized and well argued.

      Thank you for pointing out that we should all be civilized - I hope everyone
      will take it to heart, and continue to argue the case/facts instead of letting
      their emotions run wild. This site is great, and although I too think that
      you've sometimes let your emotions get the best of you, it's a mistake we all
      make sometimes. The very best anyone can do is to realize it, and try to not let
      it happen again :).

      To PJ and all the Groklaw voulenteers - keep up the excellent work :) !

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: blacklight on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 10:42 AM EDT
      "Have Americans forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable?"

      Darl the Snarl has called us "Linux thieves" and "Linux
      bandits", even as he is trying to steal that which does not belong to him.
      Is there a way to disagree with people who call us thieves and bandits without
      being disagreable? Even posing the question sounds loony!

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 10:49 AM EDT
      I am human and as such do not think I may know when I step over the line each
      time. PJ may also err at some point. PJ will listen to reason and if any of us
      feel that unfairly treated is free to start our own blog.

      This is censorship, with an aim to remove the effects of destructive emotions,
      in an effort to promote civility and reduce the facts to truth. These are
      worthy aims, although the price of civility must often be paid in blood. I
      applaud PJ efforts to husband civility through discourse that preserves

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      .... and Gnus! (sorry, couldn't resist :-)
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 11:17 AM EDT
      Hopefully there are others besides 'Hawks' and 'Pigeons', like the Gnu : minding
      it's own business, but when sufficiently provoked capable of doing serious
      damage to an attacking predator. (Okay, so maybe a waterbuffalo is a better
      example, but I just couldn't resist this one ;-)

      Alex_s (forgot password, grrr)

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      News and Advocacy Sites
      Authored by: Dave Cattran on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:29 PM EDT
      When I read this request from PJ, I was reminded of an article from ArsTechnica
      (which itself references a more detailed article):

      It talks about how non-mainstream news and advocacy sites tend to use people's
      full names a lot more, as part of a strategy, whether conscious or unconcious in
      their attack, whereas the newspaper tradition tends to use the last names only.
      I think there is some power in a person's first name - it makes the things you
      say about them more personal somehow. I don't know if that's good or bad, but I
      think you'll see that it is true in PJ's posts on this site as well. Is it a
      form of attack, or is it just a means of reminding us that people are personally
      responsible for their actions? I'm not sure, but it does seem to distinguish
      the types of reports seen on this website and many others from the colder, and
      seemingly more factual (professional?) It makes me wonder if writing the
      original posts in a little more detached style would help to set the tone away
      from personal attacks even more.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Totally Agree
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:32 PM EDT
      I totally agree.

      I also think it's wise to keep in mind that people to get very angry when
      evidence surfaces (it hasn't in this instance, to my knowledge) that an
      editorial opinion was bought, and the truth was hidden. I know I do, and I
      sometimes find it difficult to maintain civility.

      It's good to be reminded.

      Thank you PJ!

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Tyro on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:53 PM EDT
      That *could* be information showing that she's a good reporter, but there are
      also other, less flattering, interpretations. E.g., it could show that she was
      close to someone on the inside as SCO. This wouldn't make it any less news, but
      it would clearly explain some of the bias that her "reporting" has
      shown. (I put reporting in quotes because to me it has frequently seemed more
      like PR work.)

      OTOH, even if I accept that THAT is merely a good reporter taking advantage of
      chance circumstances (and carefully not revealing their reason for bias), there
      comes the matter of "reporting" on the contents of sealed documents.
      I don't necessarily consider that a bad thing, by the way. There is much
      evidence that documents are frequently sealed for political reasons. But that's
      not what appears to be happening here, and she has given us no reason to suppose
      that that is what's happening, even were we to believe her.

      OTOH, the state of typical on-line reporting is such that I'm about as willing
      to trust a comment on Slashdot as a story in the electronic media. So she's not
      THAT far out of line with the times.

      P.S.: I'm not really picking on the on-line media, it's just that they are
      easier to check on. Whenever I've been able to check a story in the print media
      (say I was on-site where the event being reported on happened) I have found the
      media report to be so garbled as to be hardly recognizeable. Usually it seemed
      to be carefully processed for entertainment value. (Look! San Francisco has
      been flattened by an earthquake! [That was a shot of downtown Saratoga, if I
      remember properly. Possibly somewhere close to it but smaller.]) And I'm not
      just talking about disaster reporting, but the other cases you'll not have

      So reporter in general have earned a very low amount of respect in my book.
      They don't worry much about accuracy, but only about how much things will sell.
      (It may not be the reporters, but the editors, or someone else. I don't have
      any inside information.)

      Still, I've dropped my subscription to LinuxWorld, and I will not either
      patronize or recommend any of their publications. They've proven a bit too
      untrustworthy and biased. (And appearently it is more Sys-Con's fault than the
      editors...though I only have their word on that.)

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 01:57 PM EDT
      I had a comment pulled.

      I called a BOOK "MBA jerk off material" because the BOOK was a list of
      assets that Microsoft has. I used the availability of the item as evidence of a
      web sites microsoft bias, because this book was the only one they offerred on
      their front page.

      I do not think that calling a BOOK "MBA jerk off material" is in any
      way offensive. I now know that I was swept up in some kind of knee jerk
      overreaction to ad hominem attacks in earlier posts in that article.

      If calling a book "MBA jerk off material" will be censored in my
      future posts, just let me know and I will take my donations and time else where.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Suggestion box
      Authored by: fred fleenblat on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 02:54 PM EDT
      Groklaw has gotten quite a bit more popular and attracted a different crowd of
      people than it used to have. Articles have gone from having a few dozen comments
      in the early days to sometimes close to 300 now. So, I think it would be
      reasonable for PJ to start delegating some of the moderation duties to others.
      This would allow her to put more time into her articles and research, and
      perhaps reduce her dealing-with-annoying-trolls grief level a little bit.

      Just a thought.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: dirkoid on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:07 PM EDT
      PJ - I just wanted to say you're really cool.

      Thanks for all your work!

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 03:35 PM EDT
      Let me get this straight, it is okay to use terms like "didiot" but not call reporters certain things like trash?

      Madame, you jest.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Thanks PJ.
      Authored by: RPN on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 04:17 PM EDT
      I agree with the comments on civility and language. This is tricky for what
      offends one will not offend another but I feel on the whole this balance is
      reasonable on Groklaw. In fact I have to say that I came to Groklaw about the
      time I started doing much with forums at all and of quite a few I've given some
      time to this is the only one I've kept with. The subject matter is the biggest
      reason but I have to say its generally civil character is also a very big

      Thinks to PJ for the opportunity and guidance and thanks to everyone else for at
      least trying. On the whole we do maintain civil discourse and reasoned argument.
      I will try to do my best to at least sustain that, hopefully build on it.


      PS Silence, sometimes, is golden.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      With all due respect to PJ
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 07:41 PM EDT
      ...there are times to call a spade a spade.

      While I totally agree that the general level of discourse in a post should
      provide some degree of enlightenment, there are times when questioning someones
      motives is called for. While it is also generally understood that simply calling
      someone names is simply "playground" tactics, providing supporting
      evidence for an attack on a person is sometimes warranted.

      Ms. O'Gara's article on the latest court proceedings showed very little evidence
      of journalistic integrity. Questioning her motives and integrity is therefore
      warranted. In fact Ms. O'Gara has shown very little desire to act in a
      professional matter regarding this story. As a journalist I would expect that
      she would take the time to personally check the "facts" she was given.
      If she wasn't there, how is it that she "reported" on the proceedings
      at all? It's also obvious that she reads Groklaw so she should have known where
      to look for getting an "eye-witness" report. She could have contacted
      PJ and asked for contact information for the eye-witnesses and interviewed them.
      She didn't. She "reported" on something she had no personal knowledge
      of and didn't look further than the information she was conveniently spoon fed.

      In summary, at a certain level it is easy to have an agreeable disagreement with
      someone. I do it all the time. However, sometimes a person expects a certain
      level of professionalism especially when it occurs in a commercial setting(a
      journalist). When that professionalism is nonexistant, questioning the motives
      and integrity of the messager is a valid form of disagreement and argument. But
      as I said at the beginning, calling someone names or attacking the messenger
      without supporting evidence simply adds to the darkness not the light.

      Gerald Gryschuk

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      An Example of What PJ Means
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 08:04 PM EDT
      There's a depressingly real example of the loss of civility that PJ is discussing at:

      Personally, I'm surprised MSNBC's host didn't order Lawrence O'Donnell's camera and microphone shut down. It was that bad.

      --Mike Perry, Inkling blog , Seattle

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Kettles and Pots
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 08:14 PM EDT

      My initial reaction to this article is one of skepticism. I hope I am proved wrong. I have several problems with what was said.

      Before starting, though, I suspect that I should indicate one component of my value system that is perhaps different than PJ's. In particular, I find it much more acceptable to "insult" someone who can be expected to see what I say and who has the opportunity to respond than I find it acceptable to insult someone who essentially is "not present." For example, here on Groklaw, I would find it more acceptable to denounce PJ than I would find it acceptable to denounce Bill Gates (for the same offense, that is - admittedly, though, it would be hard to find comparable offenses), because PJ is here to defend herself, and Bill Gates is not. I think that this view might be different than what PJ would say - although I don't think she spoke directly to the question, one might conclude that it is no big deal to call Bill Gates a [whatever] here at Groklaw, because Gates (let's presume) doesn't read Groklaw, would never see the insult, and hence would not have his "feelings hurt."

      Some specific points:

      • To the extent that the issue is "hurting people's feelings," I think that the emphasis on "bad language" is largely misplaced and is a distraction from the real issues. Language is largely a question of class and ethnicity. Many folks nowadays are raised in environments, and have role models, where the norm is language that some of us more traditional folks might find to be way out-of-bounds - just think of "rappers" as role models, for example. I don't think that one ought to judge people based on the background that they are from. While many may have not found it easy, I think mainstream America has in large part accommodated this phenomena and people have found it in their hearts to not judge people on these grounds. I wish Groklaw would do the same. While making a request to refrain from profanity is fine and should be respected by those who find themselves capable of doing so, I don't think that it makes sense to claim that Groklaw will have tanked if and when even a significant amount of profanity survives PJ's delete key. I also don't think that Groklaw shows any great respect for the individual when it chooses to delete a person's thoughts for a slip-up in this area.
      • In my experience, people's feelings are hurt a great deal more by being treated with sarcasm or ridicule, or by being written off and ignored, than they are by being called names. Being called a name is easily discounted, and is rarely interpreted as meaning anything other than that two people are angry with one another. Sarcasm and ridicule, on the other hand, typically exploit people vunerabilities.

        Insinuating or declaring people to be "shills" of various institutions is also popular here, including in PJ's writings, I believe. That is a very large attack on someone's character. If I were a journalist, I would be far more offended by such a claim than being labeled by any profanity term than I can think of. AdTI's Ken Brown, Dr. Kooths, Enderle, Didio, Lyons (and even the Forbes, the magazine deemed by Groklaw as a "porn" magazine for hosting him) come to mind, among others.

        And, for it's "commentary" at least, Groklaw is nothing if it isn't sarcasm and ridicule. Sarcasm and ridicule are the major components of PJ's legendary "humor," I think.
      • Ascribing the "troll" attribute to people/posts is also a big problem here. I know of no site that is as vicious in its treatment of "trolls," and where "trolls" frequently are simply dehumanized, as is the case here. Nor do I know of one that is so careless about the definition of who/what is called a troll, and where such "ganging up" on perceived "trolls" occurs. (These comments don't usually apply to the "trolls" section which now occur with most articles - in this section, the treatment is usually pretty good natured.) PJ is frequently dismissive of nearly all Groklaw critics as "trolls," and I don't think that she has never bothered to define what she means by the word. If a definition is picked on the basis who the term is applied to, it would seem to encompass anyone who is critical of something Groklaw says. By frequent use of the term without ever defining it, PJ implicitly endorses this kind of definition.

        From a how "humans treat humans" point of view, I find the treatment of "trolls" here to be about as bad as anything that I have seen anywhere. And, although it's possible that PJ has deleted some "response to trolls" posts, I have never actually been able to detect such a deletion, and there are certainly a large number of vicious and insulting responses that survive PJ's delete key even when it is clear that PJ has "been in the vicinity" because of comments by her or by other deletions in the area.
      • I also don't think that Groklaw can be excused for put downs simply because the target is an abstraction of some sort. Things like corporations, Sun, Microsoft, and "proprietary software" are disparaged here by PJ on a fairly regular basis. People working at corporations, including Sun and Microsoft, and/or who have jobs that involve proprietary software, are not immune to such comments, and it seems obvious that a very large number of such people must fall victim to the insults generated here. And, criticizing Microsoft's business practices is one thing, but insisting that they have never done anything of value and that all of their work is simply terrible is quite another.

      Although I applaud a discussion of treating people as people, I still think that focusing on profanity and "language" doesn't bring all that much to bear on the real problem. If the mistreatment of people is indeed the issue, then I think PJ needs to give a great deal more thought to mechanisms other than pejorative "name calling" - techniques which are at least equally potent in terms of hurtfulness - and must make an effort to curtail those as well, both in her writing and in her use of the delete key (which, if this issue is to be taken seriously, needs to frequently be used even on posts done by people who are obviously pro-Groklaw).

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 08:30 PM EDT
      Extremely well said! We have become a very uncivil nation and the web and it's
      anonymity have created a boldness in our uncivil attitudes. I am glad to see
      you attempting to reign in the insulting.

      Now, how would you like to take on the political campaigns :o)

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Talk Softly and Carry a Big Stick
      Authored by: brian-from-fl on Wednesday, October 27 2004 @ 10:17 PM EDT
      Well, PJ, you created yet another a masterpiece. Your plea follows the first
      part of this very good advice, and does so remarkably eloquently.

      The second part of this very good advice is Truth, and your efforts ensure that
      Groklaw follows that part also.

      And so even though the Groklaw community gets a bit out of hand at times,
      Groklaw is still the best example of how an on-line community can indeed talk
      softly and carry a big and remarkably effective stick.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 01:51 AM EDT
      Civility is important, I agree.

      However I see no basis for your defense of Maureen O'Gara.

      A journalist who doesn't place facts before there own opinion has no value

      If Maureen O'Gara wasn't at the court, and completely mis-characterised the
      hearing, then she should certainly lose her job, and indeed her career.

      Who could trust her again?

      We're very lucky with Groklaw that we have a network of people willing to ensure
      the veracity of press reports. In any other case that a Maureen O'Gara might
      report, the public doesn't have that wonderful luxury.

      A lying reporter has absolutely no future, regardless of their deeds in the

      It might be scary to contemplate that you may have cost this person their
      career, but the other option: to go softly on the worst crime a journalist can

      The moral choice seems obvious to me, and in reporting these lies you've done
      the right thing.

      People should keep their cool, but the level of outrage seems entirely
      appropriate to me.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 05:03 PM EDT
      Hear, hear! I wish the politicians felt the same way.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Bless You, P.J.
      Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 08:24 AM EDT
      As someone who has been the recipient of a lot of less-than-kind comments just
      by virtue of having a public face in the community, thank you for drawing that
      line. Sometimes people engage in less-than-stellar rhetoric because they really
      don't have a case---and if they do have a case and still engage in such
      rhetoric, the rhetoric frequently obscures the case. That's not something that
      should happen in the case of SCO (or any other issue we care about)....

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Bless You, P.J.
      Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 11:41 AM EDT
      As someone who has been the recipient of a lot of less-than-kind comments just
      by virtue of having a public face in the community, thank you for drawing that
      line. Sometimes people engage in less-than-stellar rhetoric because they really
      don't have a case---and if they do have a case and still engage in such
      rhetoric, the rhetoric frequently obscures the case. That's not something that
      should happen in the case of SCO (or any other issue we care about)....

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Whoops (Was: Bless You, P.J.)
      Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 11:44 AM EDT
      Apologies for the accidental repost!

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      My rule of thumb for criticism
      Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 04:35 PM EDT
      When I choose to criticize, I characterize what was done, instead of
      characterizing who did it.

      It gives the doer a chance to fix mistakes. It acknowledges that learning and
      reconciliation can take place even after the fact.

      Some say people change, others say people never change. Avoid the whole issue
      and address the acts, not the people. We can choose always to offer
      reconciliation and hope our offer is accepted.

      Ghandi went a long, long way with such a policy.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      How One Human Should Talk to Another Human - A Groklaw Request
      Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 05:10 PM EDT
      I've been reading Groklaw since just after week one, and this is only my second
      time posting. I contribute so little to the community I have never felt it
      neccessary to register for an account. This may change. One thing that I am
      pleasantly surprised at the amount of information and the tireless (or is that
      sleepless?) work that PJ and others have done to build the Groklaw databases.
      For this, I must say thank you.

      We owe PJ, the entire Groklaw community, and even those annoying trolls the
      courtesy of following her request. At the same time, we must remember that the
      forum we enjoy would not exist.

      Thank you for reminding some of us to be civil, PJ. I will do my best to follow
      your request.

      I am just an
      -Obnoxious Twit

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      I respectfully disagree
      Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 07:37 PM EDT
      First let me say that I respect the acumen and ability that you have
      demonstrated in building and maintaining this site. Even if I were not a Linux
      advocate, I think that your efforts would be commendable. Even your opponents
      would likely admit that a great deal of professionalism has been demonstrated in
      your research, originally as a paralegal, and now as a web-based journalist. Or
      rather, they would if they could set aside the emotions that your efforts stir
      in them.

      And that is why I tend to disagree. Your statement displays a naivete about the
      importance of emotions in everything that we do. That naivete might be
      intentional. However, "Why can't we all just get along?" is a old
      question with only one answer. "We" don't want to. No matter how
      many people think that a cool and rational discussion is the best course, there
      are others that don't agree. Emotions are powerful weapons. "Right"
      and "win" are emotionally charged words that work even when there is
      no intellectual content to back them up. NOBODY has the patience to start from
      "will it matter in a thousand years who wins?" or, even, "success
      is not an option" and build up coldly and intellectually from there.
      Living in a world where you don't matter and I don't matter, only the group
      matters, is a life for ants and termites, not people. We live in that world any
      way, we just never LOOK at it. That intentional blindness is necessary.

      "Sticks and stones..." is a way of saying what should be, because the
      way those words cause harm is to convince you to hurt yourself. If the same
      ideas were expressed in a language you don't comprehend, there would be no harm.
      "Sticks and stones..." is intended for children. Adults might be
      better off considering that if the emotionally-charged accusation is true, then
      we should accept it, and not be upset about it. If it false, then a
      mean-spirited lie is contemptible, and should be brushed aside, or even
      prosecuted (threats and slander are actionable).

      None of which applies precisely to the situation in which these things occur,
      however. After all, this is debate and rhetoric, which are emotional games, not
      logic puzzles. Logical fallacies are the standard tools in these
      "disciplines". The ad hominem attack is one of the most used because
      it's triple edged. If you ignore it, the audience can jump to the conclusion
      that if you don't deny it, then you admit it, and if you deny it, then at best
      you get off-topic and waste time and energy arguing an irrelevancy. If it true,
      you are completely discredited by a meaningless bit of trivia, just because it
      is emotionally charged. The fact that you are a bad person does not mean that
      you can't have good arguments, but you and your arguments have been thrown into
      the same mental dumpster by the audience that you hoped to convince.

      Finally, though this may all be too late, and too far down the list of comments
      to elicit any response, I would like to offer this suggestion: rather that
      deleting the posts that contain these offensive techniques, perhaps they should
      be edited for content, leaving just the bare, and perhaps vacuous comment (along
      with a notice that it has been edited), on the web-site. After all, I think
      that one of the most important aspects of Groklaw is the community within a
      community that it fosters. None of us could live in a community where emotion
      didn't exist, we couldn't even live where emotion doesn't rule, but perhaps with
      enough pressure from the community members, we can pass an ammendment that
      adjusts the checks and balances between emotion, intellect, and plain, stubborn


      Posted anonymously to make me easier to ignore. Heck, most of the time *I*
      don't pay attention to what I say.

      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Actually it's no more Linux Business Week on Linux World
      Authored by: dirkoid on Saturday, October 30 2004 @ 12:49 PM EDT
      When I read your posting I thought they had only dumped Ms. O'Gara but it seems
      as if they will not supply any content now. Hopefully this means the editors at
      Linux World still have the choice to run articles from their sister pub, if not
      perhaps we've done a disservice to the Linux community.

      It would be sad indeed to have Ms. O'Gara change her viewpoint and then be
      banned from publication, or to miss out on other articles because they caved in
      on this issue.

      Apparently I had the mistaken impression the first ammendment covered freedom of
      speech and of the press. I hadn't realized it meant freedom only for what the
      majority want to hear. What was that about the Dixie Chicks?


      [ Reply to This | # ]

      Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
      All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
      Comments are owned by the individual posters.

      PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )