Re: [pcp-discuss:] Probleming through Florida

From: John J Kineman (
Date: Tue Dec 05 2000 - 22:07:49 GMT

  • Next message: John J Kineman: "Re: [pcp-discuss:] Choosing up sides... but not."

    I agree with Francis that the politics has to be kept separate or else
    it is a discussion better done in a pub over a pint of Guinness, with or
    without a companion. I don't consider this censorship, but rather
    keeping us on track.

    I would appreciate feedback on the technical aspects of my analysis in
    the paper at:, particularly my
    statistical modeling claims. I did not include the question of
    "representativeness" vs. "voter power" in that discussion, but am
    thinking of adding that with some references now that it has been
    clarified in those terms. The difference depends on the semantics one
    assumes in the system, an aspect that is commonly overlooked, as I
    believe the current case demonstrates.

    "Norman K. McPhail" wrote:
    > Francis:
    > I don't question your good intentions, but as reasonable and appropriate
    > as your admonishment appears on the surface, I suggest that you may want
    > to reconsider the implications your words. Specifically, I respectfully
    > request that you consider what might happen if you appoint yourself
    > watchdog, censor, policeman, judge and jury for the content on the
    > pcp-discuss list:
    > To begin with, I submit that any attempt by anyone to censor the
    > contributions of this list's participants is likely to lead to one of
    > two unintended and unfortunate consequences: First, in my experience,
    > when an individual attempts to assert that some area is not a proper
    > topic of discussion, the discussion itself often reverts to arguing
    > about what is and is not proper. This almost invariably leads to a
    > process of choosing up sides. It also often results in the emergence of
    > an adversarial tenor in the discussions. Such an adverse attitude places
    > more stock in winning arguments than it does on exchanging ideas and
    > building mutual understanding. As a result, if we let censorship become
    > a regular feature of our discussions, the level of exchange amongst us
    > could be in danger of deteriorating into a polarized personal war of
    > words.
    > The second probable outcome of encouraging any kind of top down or
    > unilateral censorship is a sharp reduction of contrasting opinions and
    > ideas. I'm sure would agree that it would be sad if we lost the diverse
    > discussions that seem to blossom in these fertile grounds from time to
    > time. I think that both of these consequences would be detrimental to
    > the value and enjoyment of subscribing to this list and participating in
    > its exchanges.
    > Next, as perhaps you are aware, some of us feel that the agenda you seek
    > to advance is at odds with some of the diverse views held by other
    > contributors and subscribers to this list. I have no doubt that you
    > would never let your personal bias cause you to censor or admonish
    > anyone without a good reason. And I'm sure that you would never
    > arbitrarily try to censor me or keep me from expressing my personal
    > views.
    > I'm also sure that it won't come as a big surprise to you that many of
    > the other participants on this list are well aware that you don't have
    > much respect for my views. So when you single me out and attempt to
    > censor some minor transgression such as this, they may begin to wonder
    > if you are being heavy handed, arbitrary and are abusing your position
    > to advance your personal agenda. What's more, if you continue to play
    > the role of self appointed chief censor and it then becomes obvious that
    > you seek to silence those with whom you disagree, I submit that your
    > credibility will suffer.
    > Most subscribers to this list still respect your ideas, work and efforts
    > in your chosen field. But if you persist as a self appointed official
    > censor, your approval ratings could quickly drop off the charts. Is
    > that what you really want? And do you really want to garner the undying
    > wrath of everyone you bring to task?
    > It is very understandable that you might take a proprietary interest in
    > the contents of the pcp-discuss list server and that this, in turn,
    > would cause you to try to direct the discussion from time to time. In
    > addition, as I recall, you don't put much stock in the notion of free
    > will and free speech. So perhaps it is easier for you to justify your
    > actions as being in the best interest of the pcp list.
    > But as I've tried to point out, from a practical standpoint, I'm sure
    > you can appreciate that the job of censor could potentially be very
    > destructive to your personal credibility and your professional
    > reputation. So I would hope that this realization will cause you to
    > think twice the next time you are moved to take it upon yourself to
    > dictate what is and is not acceptable content on the pcp-discuss list
    > server.
    > Norman K. McPhail
    > Francis Heylighen wrote:
    > > I would like to remind our estimated subscribers that this is a
    > > mailing list about cybernetic philosophy, not about present
    > > politicial debates. Applying cybernetical reasoning to analyse the
    > > Florida situation is an appropriate subject for a PCP-discuss
    > > message, but discussing the apparent motivations of the candidates,
    > > the pecularities of the US legislation, and one's personal political
    > > preferences is not. I can understand the temptation to get from the
    > > one into the other, but please keep your discussions focused on
    > > cybernetics.There are more than enough other channels to discuss the
    > > political situation. Also take into account that for people outside
    > > the US this is not necessarily interesting or even understandable.
    Posting to from "John J Kineman" <>

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