Straw Man Opinions and the Forum Rules

"OldFist" is the new and official Forum Arbitrator. "I plan to do a straight forward job of moderating, just upholding the mission statement of the forums, trying to make sure that everyone is courteous, and that no one is rudely intimidated by anyone else."

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Postby cxt » Mon May 02, 2005 12:48 am


Seriously not trying to get in the middle of something here.

I only mentioned it ( "it" being attribution of malice where simple error can be blamed) because I have made that mistake both personally and with some regularity.

(this is part where I express my thanks to the forum in general for putting up with me until I could get my act togather--seriously thanks)

The person who called me on it (on this very website) was correct.

In many of the cases where I had seen mockery and thinly disguised insult---"what does SOB think he's trying to pull??? Does he think I am so stupid as buy this dreck???"
Was my line of thought.

To my chagrin, things turned out to be far less malice and far more error--the person involved was not aware of their error--they thought they WERE being very logical.
And instead of hammering them down, I should have just explained--and done so in less imflamatory fashion--the fallicious nature of there post.

Again, seriously don't wish to get in the middle of an on-going personal throw-down--not really any of my business at all.
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Postby AAAhmed46 » Mon May 02, 2005 1:13 am

Man, ive NEVER been in a forum that deletes soooo much!

Man, you guys are always talking about deletion of threads. And i am NOT talking about this topic, im talking about EVERYTHING.

Dont misunderstand, this is a pretty good forum, but has some serious politics.
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Hmmm who kicked over the hornets nest.

Postby Guest » Mon May 02, 2005 1:25 am

Well Looks Like the ban has been removed.

I'd ask for forgiveness, but to be honest I don't think I've done anything to beg forgiveness for.

I have a history of calling people on their behavior. Please note my signature line. This is who I have been for the past four years or so, it's not a new trait I've suddenly developed.

The best way to avoid these schit flinging fests is to make an effort to talk to people with the respect we all deserve.

Ben I wasn't daring George to ban me, I was telling him to do what he had to do.

We were both backed into a corner, He had to execute his ulitmatum after he droped the gauntlet. I'd be a hipocrite if I
rolled over and retracted my heart felt words.

I went out of my way to write in Bills style, you know, you just don't understand! Funny I got banned for it. The double standard rears it's head again. Apparently only Bill can use the device.

Why did I do this in public, quite simply, public insults are dealt with in public. So if the occur on a forum thats were I explore them. Run for cover if they happen in person. Private matters are like emails, pm's and phone calls are dealt with privately.

Why would we suffer a public insult and explore it in private?

I will repeat one more time the straw man debate had more to do with Bills posting style and not his relationship with Van. Van and Bill's relationship is their own private matter.

Bills posting style has caused him to run afoul of me in the past, it's caused him to bump heads with other folks as well. So instead of investing all these efforts casting me as the bad guy and exploring what I did wrong, I sugest Bill consider why he keeps having these conflicts.

I've been reading Bills page for four years, love his wit and dry humour, learned heaps from the guy. But I can do without the snide barbed comments from time to time. If I return them they are deleted, If I protest, I'm threatened with banishment, it I don't comply I'm banned. Frusterating to say the least. All I want is a level playing field.

I am okay with being banned if the alternative is to be deliberately humiliated in public with no recourse. I will also not sit back and watch it happen to others as well.

Everyone likes to cast me as Bills opponent, I seem to recall taking a run at someone who was extremely rude to him as well. I run at Bill for his words , just like I took a run at the troll that crossed the line.

I'm keen to bury the hatchet, but I'm not willing to roll over and take it in the back.
Last edited by Guest on Mon May 02, 2005 5:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

Postby AAAhmed46 » Mon May 02, 2005 2:15 am

I had a thread on left wing politics that got deleted, and i dont even know why. Honestly you guys do a good job in making sure there is no spam or profanity on these forums, but your a little harsh on the bans and deletions. I should have gotten a warning, and so should Laird. When i was banned and when my thread was gone, i did NOT see it coming at all. I expected strong opinions to show up, i did NOT expect to see anger, because i insulted no one.(exept some big political figures, but everyone makes fun of political leaders)

I apologize for coming off as arrogant, but i think it should have been pointed out first. Which is what happened with Laird, he should have had a warning.

What you guys need to do, ALL of you , is get your issues out on the open. WHY are you at each others throats?
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Postby Rick Wilson » Mon May 02, 2005 4:16 am

More later, but Adam this is concerning some long time issues and I think it best you ask me any questions you have in class and not participate on this thred.
Rick Wilson

Postby Rick Wilson » Mon May 02, 2005 5:14 am


I promised to respond if you brought your questions over to this thread so I will.

Errors happen.

Misunderstandings happen.

And when you called the person on it they corrected the error or corrected the misunderstanding didn’t they?

Insults also happen.

The comment about a person making a strawman argument is an attack on the ethical persona of the presenter of the argument.

Saying someone has made a strawman argument is saying they have made an unethical argument so HOW can anyone not see that it is calling the person unethical?????????????????????????????????

Bill’s father was an extemporaneous speaking and debating coach, and he has some state and national champions in his family so this fact would be common knowledge in his family.

And if it was not then when it was pointed out to him he had the opportunity to correct the error.

Instead the comment was reaffirmed.

Understand was his prerogative. As it was mine to comment on the insult.

I think I have made my position clear so unless there are further questions or comments... I'm done.
Rick Wilson

Postby Stryke » Mon May 02, 2005 6:08 am

George i`m not going to even bother , you know it`s the perceived attacks on van that caused this , and your perceived admission of it that motivated my response .

Strawman .. whatever .

Re: Stryke...

Postby JimHawkins » Mon May 02, 2005 12:39 pm

gmattson wrote:A perfect example of a "strawman" argument

Is it really?

GEM wrote:
Van writes posts on these forums that in my estimation, insults me and the 95% of our readers who practice what I call "Traditional" martial arts.

I was wondering why Van hasn't posted recently, can't help wondering if it has something to do with this unfortunate comment.

Marcus writes:

So this really is how Van`s being Labelled and persecuted for providing good intelligent , fact based discussion.


This is not insulting to Van after all the hard work he`s put in , the man who above all created this forum

From where I sit I see Marcus trying to relate that Van contributes hard, factual, valuable information that is vital to the well being of this forum and those who use it. Marcus also makes reference to the potentially insulting nature of this comment toward Van, who has not even participated on this or its sister thread. Not strawman at all IMO, quite accurate and relevant.

Every one of us can go over the top from time to time, but from where my PC is, over here, I see Van going out of his way NOT to diss yet still bring REALITY to the forum, which is his forum's main thrust. It seems that addressing reality is offensive, if so then that problem may rest with the receiver of the information. I do not recall Van ever out rightly dismissing a logical argument, or ever posting a personal attack, fact is that Van is the one citing facts most of the time which seems to make some people around here go absolutely berserk... When citing facts from experts translates into slinging insults and using strawman tactics because it doesn’t quite fit in with what’s on the flyer, or in the curriculum, then perhaps it's time to revaluate our world view.
"Receive what comes, stay with what goes, upon loss of contact attack the line" – The Kuen Kuit
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Postby MikeK » Mon May 02, 2005 2:37 pm

Good to see your exile was short Laird, good to have you back.

Jim, I think Van was away for the weekend.

Perceived Attacks:
I have the benefit of knowing Bill a little and I'm used to how he phrases things in class, but sometimes I'm really baffled at what people are getting upset with. It's just his style like Van has a style of presenting his arguments. Sometimes styles clash even when the people are agreeing. Heck, Van and I had it out a few weeks back when one of us said something that was taken wrong and it spiraled from there. And I don't even think we were really disagreeing with each other.
Something I learned long ago in my musician days was if you look for insult you can find insult everywhere. Being sensitive to insult is part of being an artist. So while we should all be smart when phrasing something, especially criticisms, we should also give each other the benefit of the doubt that no one is trying to disparage or harm the reputation of others.
Last edited by MikeK on Mon May 02, 2005 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I was dreaming of the past...
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon May 02, 2005 2:50 pm

I spent most of the weekend out of this argument for several reasons.

First... I was "involved" with a flairup. My presence created issues. Meanwhile, both George and Van were otherwise preoccupied. It was best to extract myself from the situation. I posted only to the degree that my point of view was made clear.

Second... I recently had the "duty" of having to lay someone off. I know how important it is to preserve someone's dignity. No matter how appropriate it was (or wasn't) to ban him and how I feel about Laird, the right thing to do is give the guy his dignity.

Third... I was most impressed with the discussion going on. Why should I post when others were doing a fabulous job of discussing important issues? There is a time to speak, and a time to listen.

I have a few posts to make. Bear with me; I really should be working. 8O I'll let all know what I think and why/how I acted and then this information can be processed.

- Bill
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon May 02, 2005 3:12 pm

I will start here...
Rick wrote:Although I did not get a chance to see it I understand the post on Bill’s forum questioning this was “less pointed.” The deletion generated some heat. Now that’s Bill’s forum and it is his to moderate as he sees fit but – slap a guy in the face don’t be surprised when he drops you.

Laird's post was a violation of forum policy. It may be my forum, but I am here at the pleasure of GEM and must abide by his rules. I have a copy of the post, Rick, and could PM it to you. The PM format preserves all the formatting, the jpeg files, etc., etc.

It is my job as a forum moderator to enforce the rules. George has posted these rules, and they aren't a mystery to any of the parties here.

When I got the post in question, I did a number of things. First, I sent a copy of it (extracted from within my editing function on my forum) to both George and Van. I explained that I would have to delete the post. I then said that I have observed a pattern where if I delete the post of the individual in question, that a flairup would follow.

Then I deleted the post.

Then the exact same post reappeared on Van's forum. (GEM later deleted that post) Several more posts immediately followed. I subsequently wrote both George and Van that my suspicions were confirmed. I called GEM later that night.

This is my job as a forum moderator, Rick. You know that. Please carefully review the sequence of events above. Please tell me what I should have done differently. And then please explain to me why it was appropriate for someone who knowingly posted something in violation of forum policy to "drop" me when I did my job.

If you want to see a copy of the post I deleted, PM me and I will PM it back. If you wish to see copies of the e-mails I sent to George and Van, e-mail me and I will gladly forward them to you.

- Bill
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon May 02, 2005 3:46 pm

Next issue - the one that caused the subsequent issues.
Rick wrote:Saying someone has made a strawman argument is saying they have made an unethical argument so HOW can anyone not see that it is calling the person unethical?????????????????????????????????

Bill’s father was an extemporaneous speaking and debating coach, and he has some state and national champions in his family so this fact would be common knowledge in his family.

Rick, I will acknowledge your perception. Perceptions are important. Perceptions drive actions.

However I disagree with your opinion. Others have similarly stated that they disagree, and why.

We are at an impasse on this. Figuratively speaking, you have me scratching my head on this one.

For the very reason that you say I should know better, I am saying that I am firm with my convictions.

Debating is no different than any other sport, Rick. Debate contests and extemporaneous speaking contests are all intellectual exercises designed to enlighten us. In debating contests, sometimes you are forced to take a position that you don't necessarily ascribe to. Then the goal is to "win" and to work within the rules of the contest to do so.

Let's take the game of basketball. Suppose it's a close game. Shaq goes up for a layup. I know if I do nothing, he'll jam the ball in with about 99% certainty (or more). So I may elect instead to engage in a foul to stop him from doing so, because I know that the guy can't buy a free throw to save his arse. With Shaq, I may in fact have to commit a "hard" foul because the man is so bloody big and I don't want to give him the two plus a chance for him to get lucky and make it a 3-point play.

I made a foul. The ref calls it. Shaq attempts to make free throws.

Debating is like that. I've participated in discussions in debating societies in various venues where people go back and forth in such fashion. In the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, sometimes they don't even bother to keep score. They just get around on a Friday night, drink beer, pick a topic, and debate. People go back and forth. People try to win. People do what they do to win.

Van is a competitive individual, as am I. In case you hadn't noticed, he's also highly intelligent. The man can hold his own in 2 different languages, and is a subject matter expert in several venues.

Van likes to win. I like to win. Sometimes he and I go back and forth the way we do just because we like to win and "beat" the other. And in my book if Van commits a "foul", I see it as part of the game. And when it comes to this whole debating thing, often we ALL commit "fouls" and don't even know it.

But hell... In this previous discussion that has been the topic of so much controversy, my attitude all along has been the following - no blood, no foul.

I try not to take discussions on these forums personally. Sometimes we do, and it's unfortunate when it happens. Most of the time we don't need to.

I "called" Van on a debating tactic. That's it. Simple. Heck, I even complimented him on it. I told him he was good at it! :lol: From the standpoint of someone who has seen debating, I see him as a highly skilled individual who likes to win.

I don't see ANYTHING wrong with that.

I don't see, nor did I intend any attack on character, honor, etc., etc.

If folks could just let such discussions go on, we might learn something. That is the goal all along. I had no agenda in that thread other than to challenge some "conventional" thinking. That's what Van does all the time. In imitating him, I flatter him.

I don't know if Van or others knowingly or unknowingly commit various faux pas in their discussions. But it's fair game for us to call something when we see it, and move on. No emotion need be applied.

- Bill
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Postby Van Canna » Mon May 02, 2005 3:57 pm

Hi Mike,

Yes, I was away for the weekend.
Good post, and no hard feelings, you are a gentleman. :)

Gem writes
Although I don't use the term very often, I agree with Bill that many of us are guilty of using a "straw man" argument when posting on these forums……

The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.

Maybe so, but _ This should be left open to question by the forumites: > distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position < According to whom?

If the person, arguing the actual position, points out evidence, and opinions of the difference between genuine evidence and what he believes to be subjective opinion being referenced as evidence, then you have no ‘straw man’

_This is what we have endeavored to do in our posts over and over.

The question remains one of incorrect assumptions in many arguments: where the conclusion (what you are trying to prove) is derived from rhetorical assumptions as opposed to practical and palpable application by field experts.

Again_ it is a matter of opinions.
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon May 02, 2005 3:59 pm

This is important.
Rick wrote:But I have pointed out (posting openly) numerous times Bill’s insults and condescending approach to people. I have pointed out numerous times where he insults the person or the school (often mine and once even dredging up something he saw ten years ago) and all that is said is that Bill writes a lot and doesn’t know what he is saying. HUH?

I have said this before and I will say it again: Bill IS an intelligent person and he KNOWS exactly what he is posting. When he insults me he intends to and that’s fine but I will call him on it each and every time.

Rick, it saddens me that there is so much baggage. It is what it is, and it has not changed for some time.

I don't know why you and I end up this way. A very smart person on these forums (whose name will be withheld to protect the innocent.. :wink: ) once said they viewed you and I like France and the United States - we don't ever intend to insult or tick each other off, but somehow manage to do so nonetheless.

I harbor no grudges, Rick. I may disagree with things you are doing, but that is my prerogative. You have your own ideas and ways of doing things. Whether or not you realize it, I deeply admire you and what you are attempting to accomplish. It would take a long, long time to explain why. Perhaps one day.

That's all I can say for now.

I don't need for you to like me, Rick, but I can't see why we shouldn't find our common ground. It's there if you'll look for it. It won't ever be there if you don't want it to be so.

Please be yourself. Please go down your path. Let me go down mine. And let us compare notes from time to time. We might learn from each other.

In the mean time, I'd like to suggest that we engage in "fair fighting" on these forums. It doesn't help anything when a perceived transgression is a reason to vent for years of perceived transgressions. This just plain isn't healthy. Life is too short.

You have my respect, Rick, whether you realize it or not. Please let me disagree when I want to disagree, and please don't take that as personal. And please forgive me my style (the way I am), and see the message within the style.

- Bill
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon May 02, 2005 4:07 pm


Good to see you. Hope your weekend was a productive one.

- Bill
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