This is an exercise. I can easily be more tactful (as evidenced by
other threads), but I'm choosing not to be. I want you to focus on
the argument, and not the tone.
Michael Haggerty wrote:
> Ram, you are insulting Thomas the human being rather than addressing his
> points. Please stop.
He doesn't have a point! He makes the assumption that the "perception
of the regulars" is that a "fire hazard" must be "removed" from the
community. There are absolutely no rational arguments in his email,
he violated virtually every rule that we were working towards, and he
made an inflammatory comment by calling Felipe a "fire hazard". Yes I
was particularly harsh, because Rast was particularly irrational. I
did not "insult" him as a human being; I "criticized" his email which
was completely devoid of reason.
In case you're wondering, this is what an ad hominem looks like:
You are studying a subject that requires extensive application of
logic: combinatorial structures and algorithms at ETH Zurich. You
live in a well-to-do progressive society. I live in this poor country
called India, am much younger than you, and have studied nothing.
Yet, you make the irrational argument, while I make the rational
As you can clearly see, I focused on his argument; not on him.
> It is not disagreement that is causing problems; it is the inflammatory
> tone of the discussion. Civil and constructive disagreement is
> completely welcome here. But hurtful and offensive discussion is not,
> even if it is in support of the "party line" (haha as if there were such
> a thing).
Incorrect. The problem is that Rast is made an irrational argument,
and that you are "supporting" him now. If you were "fair" you would
have criticized Rast's inflammatory comment about classifying Felipe
as a "fire hazard", without justification. But you didn't. _You_ are
making my "tone" the subject of discussion now, and claim that I have
been hurtful and offensive. My email was very much "constructive
disagreement", in that I have laid out why one should not perform
actions without reason; I even assigned him homework, because I _want_
him to understand justice and argue rationally. How could I have been
I do not "support" Felipe, or "defend" him. I do not share his exact
opinions, and often criticize him. I am fair in that I praise
rational arguments, and criticize irrational arguments. I don't want
to speak for him, but I believe that he gives me the same treatment,
and I thank him for that.
I do not appreciate this ganging-up one bit. I'm one person arguing
against an opaque "majority opinion" veil. For the last time, stop
taking sides, and make a goddamn rational argument!
> And yes, I know that the word "offensive" is subjective, but for the
> sake of this discussion let's take it to mean "offensive to the vast
> majority of a community". Not "controversial", not "contrarian", not
> even "stupid"; I don't think anybody is proposing to prohibit dissent or
> stupidity. But there is no reason for discussion that is gratuitously
> aggressive, insulting, or derogatory; such discussion is what I mean by
You have made the same argument that I criticized over and over again:
"majority opinion". If you agree that tone is subjective, why are you
trying to objectively criticize it by using majority opinion as the
basis? You might not like a piece of artwork personally, and the
majority of the git list might "agree" with you, but that does not
mean you can authoritatively claim that the piece of art is junk. You
have every right to dislike it personally, but that is an entirely
>> [...] I already gave you the
>> example of the survivors on the boat with limited food/water on IRC:
>> it is you who stupidly refused to throw anyone overboard, killing all
>> the survivors; I am the one who said that I would get them to draw
>> sticks to "fairly choose" who to throw overboard, maximizing the
>> chances of survival of the others. I am making a pragmatic argument,
>> based on what is best for the community; not some stuck-up idealistic
>> bullshit. Further, I tried to help you think through the justice
>> problem, by recommending an accessible course. You have either not
>> gone through it, or have gone through it and learnt nothing.
> Your idea that you can assign Thomas "homework" in ethics and call him
> stupid for coming to a different conclusion than you is presumptuous in
> the extreme.
Incorrect. I used "stupid" to describe his solution to the
survivors-in-the-boat problem. I gave him homework (and this is
Harvard Justice, by the way), in an attempt to get him to think
clearly and come up with less "stupid" solutions to similar problems.
If you are defending throwing modern justice theories out the window,
and replacing it with a crude irrational argument, I have nothing more
>> You have embarrassed yourself and the entire git community today.
> This is also presumptuous, not to mention extremely ironic. In my
> opinion Thomas's email was calm and reasonable while yours is beyond the
Yes, I did exercise my freedom of expression. And yes, I was
perfectly calm. Please do not suffocate me to death.
Let us get two simple things straightened out first:
1. Was Thomas being irrational or not?
2. Are you being fair or not?
They're yes-or-no questions. Hint: My "tone" has nothing to do with
> Ram, don't just take my opinion on this matter. At the risk of being
> presumptuous myself, I suggest that you show a copy of your email to
> somebody whom you know and respect in the real world, somebody who is
> not immersed in the Git community meltdown. For example, somebody like
> your mother or father, or a teacher whom you respect, or a member of
> clergy if you are so inclined. Ask that person's opinion about your email.
I respect all of you on the Git list. And yes, I have done what you
asked: I showed it to several friends of mine on IRC and in real life.
They were not at all surprised: they know me to be a very polite,
gentle, and reasonable person. My stern rational disagreement has
nothing to do with any of those things.
And yes, as Felipe pointed out: you entire email has complained about
my "tone" and _completely_ ignored content.
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