Bruce Dazzling » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:37 am wrote:
This thread was meant to be a show of support for a long-time poster who may be going through a difficult time. Please get it back on topic, or I'm afraid I will have to lock it, which, FFS, would really be a sad commentary on the state of this board.
In response to OP ED, this...
Canadian_watcher » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:31 am wrote:
first of all, is this really the thread for this? would a PM maybe do, in this case, rather than belabour a point here?
second it's certainly interesting to note which posters among all that have commented here seem bothered by the enforcement of a rule that has always existed.
...is not equal to referring to someone as a dickhead.
No. One of them is ad hominem. And the other is merely a colloquial insult. There's a distinction.
In fact, I also think it's interesting to note which posters seem bothered by the enforcement of a rule that has always existed, simply because I can't believe that any of you are actually fighting to preserve the right to end intelligent debate by calling someone a dickhead, and that's exactly what it does. It ends intelligent debate.
That too is ad hominem, in that it suggests I'm saying what I'm saying for a personal reason.
For the record and your information both, I'm actually kind of offended by that. I'm asking because there's a distinction between insults and personal attacks
It seems as though, in pretty much every argument I’ve ever had, at some point or another someone mistakes what an “ad hominem attack” or the “ad hominem fallacy” really is. It’s a pretty easy way to score rhetorical points, shouting about your opponents using ad hominems when really they’re just insulting you, usually in parallel to making an argument. It’s less easy to score said rhetorical points when someone else in the conversation actually knows the difference and is willing to point that difference out. This post is intended to be a go-to reference any time someone makes this mistake, so please, by all means, link it whenever necessary.
The term “ad hominem” is Latin, meaning “to the man”. It indicates that your argument is directed at the person making it, rather than at the argument proper. Most of the time, it refers to insults, as with the following cases.
An ad hominem fallacy is constructed something like this.
Premise 1: You are an idiot. (Unstated premise 2: Idiots cannot argue worth a damn, and are always wrong.)
Conclusion: Therefore, your argument about X is incorrect.
A “mere insult” packaged in with an argument is constructed something like this:
Premise 1: Your argument X is incorrect and fails on such-and-such grounds if fact Y is true.
Premise 2: Fact Y is common knowledge, easily demonstrated, and/or has copious proof as to its truth.
Conclusion: Therefore, you are wrong about argument X (and also, you are an idiot).
As you can see, merely insulting someone does not rise to the level of an ad hominem attack or fallacy.
More at LINK
So also for the record and your information both:
I am not bothered. What I am is confused. Because although the rule against personal attacks has always existed, colloquial, off-color insults of the routine, mild kind with which casual conversations among adults everywhere are littered have traditionally not been regarded as same.
As (in point of fact) they're not. Meaning "Slang insults are neither personal attacks nor ad hominem argument." It's perfectly okay with me if they're now off the table. But that's a new rule.
And yes, it has been one of the board rules for as long as I can remember:
No. I'll do a search if you insist.*** But a little occasional name-calling in the course of otherwise reasonable and justified commentary did not used to be an actionable offense.
I'm really irked with you for that interesting-what-SOME-posters-are-bothered-by approach, I've got to say. I virtually never use that kind of language when addressing others here or anywhere else in the world. So I have virtually nothing personal riding on this. I just want clarity.
As I recently said to barracuda:
You're all way too smart, and way too gifted as wordsmiths to simply call someone a dickhead. It's noteworthy, too, that when 'cuda got off suspension, he crafted a pretty brilliant response
that would have been a great substitute for the one in which he referred to someone as a dickhead.
Once again: Calling someone a dickhead is not, per se, a personal attack. Most adults can easily sustain being called a dickhead without injury, as can most conversations.
Not that I'm saying that most can't also thrive without it. Obviously they can. I'm just saying: THAT'S NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK.
Over the past few months, mainly since the Boston bombing, there has been a proliferation of personal attacks and name-calling, and I want to put a stop to it because it doesn't promote rigorous intellectual debate, which should always be the goal of a site of this stature. RI has always been the cream of the crop among boards of this type, but lately, it's become more and more like a lot of the other sites out there which shall remain nameless, and a lot of that, IMO, has to do with the nasty personal interactions among the posters.
I agree with you about that last part. I haven't noticed more name-calling or personal-attacking, myself. I would have said that there's been an increasing proliferation of tension, friction and heated dispute along what you might call party lines that regularly leads to personal resentment and bitterness being expressed.
Stopping the name-calling is fine with me. But I still both want and need an index of prohibited words and terms, if that's what we're doing. Because my understanding of what is and isn't a clearly offensive usage differs from yours. You're the boss. And I wish both to comprehend and comply.
I have no other motive, reason or agenda. Please advise.