Re: Papal visit: Cardinal Newman's 'miracle cure'

John R wrote:

Ken says in a post to Jeff Worra nutter and escapes a sanction.

I think the only reason he escaped was: I was the person who
picked up on that, the moderators don't usually step on one
another's toes, but I was in America and away from my moderbot
password so couldn't actually manualize him. By the time I was
back and had sufficient round tuits, it was a week since the

Mark implies that you talk of your arse (borderline? but nether the
less unpleasant)

A statement about Phil's habitual behaviour rather than about
his nature. Saying "you are lying, as usual" is not contrary to
the charter; saying "you are a liar" is. That may or may not
make sense, but it's been the usual distinction in uk.r.c for
a long time. It happens that there isn't a word like "arsestalker"
that bears the same relationship to "talking out of your arse"
as "liar" does to "lying".

Mike implies Giles is an idiot. (Granted you gave him the ammunition
but what you said was well within the rules)

Neither Phil nor Mike implied that Giles is an idiot. Both of them
said that a particular thing Giles had said was idiot-like. Again,
the distinction between criticizing someone's actions and insulting
their person is well established in uk.r.c, whether or not it makes
sense :-).

In my opinion where posts skate to the edge of being sanctioned
moderators should issue a warning. That may be the case with the
bottom two but I was very surprised that Ken didn't receive a

I think it's clear that he should have; see above. (Perhaps it's worth
clarifying my reasoning on one point. Manual moderation, as I've said
before, is a precaution and not a punishment. The reason why it's
usually imposed for a fixed period is that when someone has generally
been able to behave well, bad behaviour on a particular occasion may
indicate that for one reason or another they're having more trouble
than usual controlling themselves, in which case it's worth being
extra careful for a while.[1] So if the usual week-long period happens
to expire without manual moderation being imposed, I don't see much
gain in imposing it after that if there's been no repeat offence.)

[1] At least, that's what I think the reason is. For all I know,
the original author of the charter may have thought of it
as a punishment and limited its length so as not to punish
people too much. Or to save the moderator(s) work. I am not
a fundamentalist about the uk.r.c constitution :-).

Jeff has a psychological problem but it is demanded that he apologises
for that psychological problem before he is allowed back on the forum.
By all means ban him if his posts are considered imflammatory (which
many of them are) but this smacks of a back door decision to remove

I take it the "psychological problem" you mention is that he often
interprets people's words very wrongly? I don't think he's being
asked to apologize for having that problem. He's being asked to
apologize for misinterpreting Mark's words and responding in a way
that misrepresented him. He doesn't appear to be willing to do this.
His "psychological problem", if that's what it is, shouldn't make
that any harder for him -- Mark's told him exactly what he *did*
mean. (And, for the record, I don't think any difficulty Jeff had
in interpreting what Mark wrote was the result of ambiguous wording
on Mark's part.)

All Jeff has to do to get Mark to let him back in is to post something
like "Sorry, Mark, I completely misunderstood what you meant; I thought
your 'No' was an answer to my question rather than a disagreement with
my statement; I'm sorry that my response made it look as if you were
answering the question when actually that wasn't what you meant." Or,
if he can't honestly say that and doesn't wish to lie: "Sorry, Mark,
I did really understand that you were contradicting my statement and
not answering my question, but chose to pretend you were answering the
question because I'm sure 'No' was the right answer to it. That was
rude and dishonst, and I'm sorry I did it."

Requiring him to do this is hardly the same thing as a ban.

(I agree that it's not perfectly clear whether the charter permits
Mark to do this, strictly speaking. But I'n pretty sure that it *does*
permit Mark to ban Jeff permanently, and if a greater sanction is
permitted then a lesser should be too. Anyone who feels strongly
to the contrary can of course attempt to have Mark removed from post;
I'm not an expert in the ways of Usenet governance but I'd guess that
they'd be very unlikely to succeed.)

Gareth McCaughan
sig under construc