In article <01bebe59$0bc9e4a0$2c53ccd1@Kellar>, Feadog <fea...
@lawyer.com> wrote in article
>> ...I know nothing at all whatsoever of scientology or what it is supposed
>> have done and why people consider it a cult...
>So you're a troll, a transparent, or clueless. Whatever the catagory...
That's a non sequitur, Feadog. It's unfortunate too.
I see that a person from misc.legal has, in accord with ancient net.tradition,
posted a flame complaining about the appropriateness of a post.
In a sad commentary on the decline of ars, this person was insulted and
with no evidence whatsoever, accused of being immoral, deceptive, posting
with a hidden cult agenda and being a generally bad person for complaining
that the minutia of Grady's case were not relevant to a group devoted to
legal discussions that devolve into flamewars about gun control.
Scientology[tm] was gifted with a genuine BigWin[tm] when the crew on ars
stopped being known as rational, responsible advocates for freedom of
speech and became known as rabid hairtrigger flamers collectively referred
to as "anti's." Think about that for a second. The ars crew is now defined
by opposition to Scientology[tm] and not by association with higher
principles. This is a long way down the road to casual dismissal. "Oh
yeah, Scientology[tm] did some thing or the other and the *anti's* started
flaming me because I said it didn't look that bad." It's not a good
reputation; it's not effective at conveying my views. It's not at all
unusual considering that most of the discussion on ars is now conducted
by rabid hairtrigger flamers.
I know that this will annoy a lot of people, but I've come to the
conclusion that Scientology[tm] does do some good. I'm still a critic.
I still don't think there's any possible justification for their abuses,
and the sporge has been pissing me off to a greater degree each day (I've
been active on USENET for over 15 years and it bothers me greatly
to see an attack on the network itself) but stepping back to look at
the image that ars presents, it's become obvious to me that it's not a
I think that mindlessly opposing Scientology[tm] is as bad as mindlessly
promoting it. Anything done mindlessly is a mistake, and many here are
mindless in their opposition. I don't feel I can abandon the fight and
I don't think I can flame anyone into having a clue, but I hope I can
get some of you with usable brains to put them back into gear. Paranoia
and flames do not promote any cause. Spurious accusations discredit solid
ones. Outsiders do not feel welcome in ars and that is extremely bad
for its ability to disseminate information.
As an analogy, let me compare ars to the various Scientology[tm] forums
on the net. The various forums have ceased to work as recruiting tools
for Scientology[tm] because their paranoia leads them to accuse anyone
asking a question of being an ars plant who's joined that forum to cause
trouble. Many of the difficult questions do come from well informed
troublemakers, but some are innocently asked by potential recruits.
Scientology[tm]'s inherent paranoia leads the other forum participants
to bar the questioner and treat all newcomers with suspicion. They don't
look good to the potential recruits who are greeted with suspicion and
hostility instead of calm answers and genuine willingness to talk about
the issues that were raised. ars has become almost as bad. People who
question perfectly appropriate things, like whether detailed discussions
of Grady's case belong in misc.legal, are not answered by arguments
about the appropriateness of the topic to that newsgroup but instead
are answered with accusations of being ignorant, of being a cult plant,
and with other hostile and inappropriate responses. I don't think ars
comes off as badly as the Scientology[tm] forums, but it doesn't look
good. This can change if more people understand how badly it comes
Let me suggest the following simple suggestions for improving the
image of the newsgroup:
1) If there's any possibility that a question or gripe is voiced by
an outsider who legitimately wants a response, respond politely and
address the specific question or gripe.
2) If it's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the questioner is
an OSA operative who kills pets for fun and is trying to cause trouble
with their posting, respond politely and address the specifics of the
question or gripe. Optionally, add a factual statement of the evidence
against them and a link to more details.
3) When ranting, do not crosspost.
4) Speak to others as if you have already been identified as a member
of a group of looney tune flamers who make spurious accusations and
take steps to ensure that your credibility depends on objective and
verifiable sources rather than your say so. (This is good advice
even if one is not viewed as having suspect credibility because over
reliance on one's word rather than objective and verifiable sources
is a bad habit and weakens one's argument.)
5) Don't accuse anyone of working for OSA unless you have evidence from
off the net. Scientologists[tm] in good standing are the people most in
need of information from ars and are also the most likely to appear as
if OSA operatives designated to cause trouble.
6) If you can't *prove* an accusation is true, don't make one.