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Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - 9:08amSanction this postReply
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Having read your reasons for doing so, Ms. Hsieh, I understand and agree with your breaking away from TOC. You're doing the right thing.

Post 1

Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - 12:46pmSanction this postReply
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Not another “I won’t sanction them” breaks! I still don’t get it. Why all this silly childish “I won’t play with you anymore?”

Let’s enjoy each others’ contributions and benefit from those who have achieved something of value, express our respect, and ignore the rest.



Post 2

Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - 2:04pmSanction this postReply
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> Let’s enjoy each others’ contributions and benefit from
> those who have achieved something of value, express our
> respect

Yes.

> and ignore the rest.

No. Ignoring the rest would effectively be sanctioning it - what *should* be done is to publicly state disagreement, although I do share your opinion w.r.t. the "I won't play with you anymore" syndrome.


Post 3

Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - 10:55pmSanction this postReply
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I'm back.
    Don't take this the wrong way, Ms. Hseih, but how you can consider this new instance of  the old, tired "schimsmology" thing interesting, I have no idea.  Why have you now fallen into the hackneyed trap of  being unable to "sanction" an organization, simply for being a little too 'open-minded' for your taste?
   
    What you have done by "severing all contact" with TOS (as is usual for disgruntled "Objectivists" who want to 'take their toys and go home'), is inadvertently strike yet ANOTHER blow to the philosophy itself.  You've contributed to the (increasing) level of splintering and factionalization which is pretty much the defining characteristic of the (relatively short) history of Objectivism, so far.

   Here's the facts, Hsieh:

   1. Objectivism has relatively few organizations (ARI, TOS, SOLO, OSG, and some other groups), many of which will not interact with one another at all, due to the profoundly mistaken idea that ANY interaction with those who are not 'True Objectivists" consigns one to the realm of "Evil Immoral Whim-Worshipping Sanctioner".

   2. As a result, the so-called "Objectivist community" consists almost exclusively of individuals who would rather battle among themselves over irrelevant side-issues --- a purile tapestry of disatrous infighting, over any and all topics, at the drop of a hat.

   3.  Your reasons for "Boycotting" TOS are completely irrational.  The solution to a lukewarm organization is NOT simply to abandon it.   You question Dr. Kelley's dedication and methodology, but that begs the question -- what have YOU done (other than complain about the lack of 'undergraduate course-work of an Objectivist nature' and run a BLOG.

    4. In the grand scheme of things, this Mini-schism (and your 'personal statement' as regards your reasons) will do nothing but give Objectivists yet another opportunity to engage in irrational schoolyard factionalism   ("My clubs better than YOUR club nyah nyah nyah!", etc.)

   It's meaningless, but it HAS prompted me to come back to SOLO --
   First, because I cannot bring myself to be as irrational as to play "sanction-games" with others who could be potentially beneficial to my own life.
    And Second, because in among all the dross and idiocy there ARE several people here who actually seem to care about LIVING the Objectivist principles.


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Post 4

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - 12:41amSanction this postReply
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Henry, you spent weeks spouting the most vile drivel imaginable at everyone here.  You insulted the organization, the staff, and nearly all the members.  You accused us of censorship, cultism, and who knows what else.  You continued your rants for weeks, polluting our forum with vulgar garbage.  And then you have the audacity to tell Diana that she's irrational for calmly stating her reasons for disassociating herself with TOC?  Amazing!

Okay, you've come back to SOLO.  But has it ever occurred to you that you pissed everyone off and we're not exactly glad to see you back?  Given your past actions, you should have started off apologizing.  Or is this your roundabout way of saying you're sorry?

Of course, there's no call for an apology if you genuinely believe all of that nonsense.  But we don't want someone here if they're so obviously hostile to SOLO and all of the individuals involved here.  So make your choice.


Post 5

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - 1:33amSanction this postReply
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Yes, Henry, an apology is in order.  This site itself is a testament to people actually living objectivist principles - fine people.  You've insulted its creators & sustainers, and cast aspersions on their character.  Do the right thing. 

Post 6

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - 2:46pmSanction this postReply
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With all due respect to both Mr. Emrich and Mr. Rowlands, I am glad to learn that Mr. Emrich has returned to SOLO. I have followed the "organo-centrism" discussion and the resulting unfortunate quarrel, and have concluded that neither side should have elevated it to the level of conflict that occurred. Though we are Objectivists, we will inevitably disagree on certain periferal issues. Though we are all rational men, it is quite possible for our minds to perceive as rational different elements of the same reality. There is an absolute good and absolute right, but it cannot be reached through accusation, alienation, and schism. Rather, polite discourse amongst those who disagree should aim to illustrate the core of the disagreement and the reasons for it.  

I, for one, have benefited greatly from both the works of Mr. Emrich and those of other SOLO contributors, just as my magazine, The Rational Argumentator, posts works from Objectivists ranging from SOLOists to ARI authors, as well as any other men (libertarian, "conservative," classicist), who express an earnest viewpoint in favor of cultural change and backed by that quality for which my publication bears its name. While I may disagree with some of those men on issues such as abortion, religion, and the particular mechanisms of ideal government, the core principles, individualism, reason, capitalism, extensively shunned by the general culture, are still manifested by those esteemed persons.

If we are truly to initiate a cultural renaissance, we should not lapse into the same bickering that afflicted Brahms and Tchaikovsky, both great composers who could not stand each other over minor stylistic differences, and whose energy was thus expended on vile epithets rather than mounting a resistance to the emerging dissonant "modernism" just around the corner. Similarly, I do not agree with Ms. Hsieh's total severance with The Objectivist Center. It is proper to voice one's disagreements in published form and put forth one's concerns/suggestions for improvement, but dissociating oneself from a whole organization (and even a whole person) for such flaws (warranted, perhaps) as mentioned in the statement neglects many of Dr. Kelley's essential contributions to Objectivism, including the very open-theory doctrine that Ms. Hsieh decries.

Ms. Hsieh argues in favor of a false dichotomy between complete absorption of all "new" thoughts into the doctrine (and sets up Kelley as holding such a mindset) and complete isolation of the doctrine from filosofical innovation (a la Peikoff, in whom I do see considerable merit outside of the schisms, however), but, in, fact, this is the same fallacy as Ayn Rand had detected in the "open-mind, closed-mind" dichotomy. One need not choose between being a sponge and a solipsist; neither does a doctrine. One of the prime characteristics of the rational man is selectivity in all aspects of judgment. I have sought to practice this selectivity with all my evaluations, including those of Rand herself (I disapprove, for example, of her stance on abortion and her actions during the Branden schism), but I at the same time am able to objectively appreciate the merits of all formidable thinkers I come across (Rand, Locke, Kelley, Peikoff, Hsieh, Emrich, Perigo, and Rowlands included).

What occurred on the organo-centrism board notwithstanding, the overwhelming quantity of Mr. Emrich's work and posts indicate him to be a coalition-builder who is genuinely concerned about the future of Objectivism and its success in the one and only reality. I think that his presence in this organization is an immense asset that we, in our value-trading dispositions, can derive plentiful insights and innovations from.

I am
G. Stolyarov II 


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Post 7

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - 6:09pmSanction this postReply
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This peripheral voice is also gald to see Mr. Emrich back on the board.  All the parties involved in the conflict are essentialy a benefit to me through their writing, as such, I was unhappy to see a schism.    I would like to expand upon the last of Mr. Stolyarov's paragraphs directing it to both sides of the conflict.  We can all benefit greatly from the exchange of ideas.  Above all others, it is this trade which should never cease amongst objectivists.  A disagreement on non-fundimental issues should be grounds for a continued dialogue not anger.  To a degree I agree with Mr. Emrich, Objectivists are a dying breed if we allow such trifles to split us appart.  One of the points I seem to be having to mantra at the opposition in this war is Individualism doesn't mean, alone or Lone Wolfism.  Only through a willing coalition of individuals can we hope to claim any victory at all.  It is on that, that I suggest both sides find their methods making amends with each other and realize the possibility of mistakes on both sides is possible.  We humans, not infallible, as far as I have seen.  We all have larger bodies of enemies to deal with, we do not need our own people at each others throats.

Dodge my words if you like but the truth is that an embargo on the trade of ideas between inteligent people, as both sides have set it, is an invitation for stagnation.

Returning to the periphery from whence I came,

Eric J. Tower


Post 8

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - 7:07pmSanction this postReply
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I'm *amazed* that Henry 'kiss my ass, fuck you' Emrich has the temerity to even show his face here again, having insulted all and sundry and behaved like a complete idiot.

I'm *amazed* that he is even being given permission to post here. 

I'm *amazed* that people actually want to engage in debate with him.

In short, I'm amazed.


Post 9

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - 9:13pmSanction this postReply
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Joe, Stolyarov, Et al:
    To a degree you are all correct -- an apology IS in order.  I will be the first one to give it: I'm genuinely sorry I allowed myself to get sucked down to that level of discourse.   However, my initial disagreement with the "membership-at-large" was -- and IS -- warranted.  Linz did not merely describe the Organo-centrism thread as "bollocks" -- he also compared it to:  Transhumanism, scientology, and Neo-tech.  He also classed several (mysteriously un-named) persons as "halfwits", and accused several of those un-named members of "hijacking" the board.   Not exactly the most "benevolently rational" method of discourse, would you not agree?

    Additionally, after several days of having my objections/concerns arbitrarily declared to be "whining", and several sneering posts from Jeremy and Ashley, well, I admit that I allowed it all to get "under my skin", and I perhaps should have been better able to resist such insulting treatment.

   But that's over now.  I'm not going to apologize for anything else, because there were definitely TWO sides to the conflict, as Mr. Stolyarov pointed out.  The point I am trying to make by coming BACK to SOLO, is precisely what I said earlier: to sever all contact with an organization over piddling side-issues, or "moral sanction", is ludicrous. 

    I think one of the problems with Objectivism (and yes, there are many, the more I think about it), is that there hasn't been a sufficient disconnect between admirers of Ayn Rand the person, Rand the writer, and Rand the Philosopher.  Instead, you have a rather amorphous aggregate of people who like Atlas Shrugged, but have very little connection to the philosophy itself.  That's a problem that Ms Hseih seems to have totally ignored (given her tacit implication  that criticism of Rand's skill as a FICTION writer amounts to some form of philosophical treason, and warrants her schismatic reaction, as regards TOS.  
  
   Another way this undercuts the effectiveness of Objectivism as regards it's capacity for "social change", is that niggling side-issues are inadvertently elevated to the status of "axioms" -- examine, for example, the interest in Rachmanninof's level of popularity (as if the fact that Rand quite liked his work has any philosophical significance whatsoever.)

    Now, I'm not by any means advocating that anyone abandon their philosophical convictions, nor am I attempting to make a case for roleration "in and of itself" -- regardless of the issue at hand.   However, the fact remains that Objectivism is going to remain -- and become progressively MORE -- irrelevant as a vehicle for social change -- so long as this "Sanction-mongering" continues to go on.

   Therefore, I advocate the following, as a potential solution -- and guideline as to WHERE "coalition" could be most appropriately engendered:

    Rand, in her "for the new intellectual" essay, advocated only two over-arcing principles which she believed could serve as a starting point for the re-making of the social structure:

   The two principles were as follows:
    1 -- a willingness to acknowledge the facts of reality (and resist the temptation to 'wishful thinking'.
      And:
     2. The recognition that the INITIATION of force must be barred from the social arena.

   Now, you will all agree that these two principles (guidelines, if you will), would serve to point us toward those Non-Objectivist organizations and individuals with whom we would have the best chance of dialog.  The "willingness to acknowledge reality" would imply that reasoned discourse was possible, and the un-willingness to "initiate force" (or countenance it's initiation), would insure that any dissagreements that DO occur remain relatively peaceful -- while also precluding the sort of "interventionist" socio-political approach common to the "mainstream" of world culture.

    Joe, Linz, and company: let MY actions, in returning to SOLO (despite my apperently severe dissagreements, and outright dislike of some members) serve as an example: if I can admit having fallen into the "sanction" trap, then why can't we all?


Post 10

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 1:04amSanction this postReply
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But Henry, why on earth would anyone here take you seriously, after you have behaved (over an extended period) like a complete and utter moron??  You've destroyed your own credibility.

Try actually reading some of your own posts from a month ago and you'll see that I'm not exaggerating.  They're the delusional rantings of a paranoid conspiracy theorist.  Those posts prove conclusively that you are lacking in two vital qualities: balance and judgment.


Post 11

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 1:54pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Barrett,

In your over-arching criticism of Mr. Emrich, I consider you to be mistaken. Consider your statement reworded and applied to other persons:

"But Locke, why on earth would anyone here take you seriously, after you have asserted your belief in a benevolent creator and bought shares in the slave trade??  You've destroyed your own credibility."

"But Rand, why on earth would anyone here take you seriously, after you have vehemently alienated Nathaniel Branden and anyone who attempted to come to his filosofical defense, merely because of a private mishap??  You've destroyed your own credibility."

Or, perhaps, to a greater extreme:

"But Rothbard, why on earth would anyone here take you seriously, after you have spewed vicious slander and cultist accusations upon Ayn Rand, one of the most insightful filosofers in human history??  You've destroyed your own credibility."

Recall, also, that neither of those three men admitted their errors, whereas Mr. Emrich has in those respects where he has actually erred (i.e. in allowing him to be drawn into an inflamed hurling of expletives with regard to "sanction). This perhaps renders his mistake of even lesser degree than the faults of the great men I had mentioned above.

I am
G. Stolyarov II



 

 


Post 12

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 2:34pmSanction this postReply
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Henry, that was not an apology. You "allowed" yourself to "get sucked down to that level of discourse"? This is just blaming your behavior on other people. You haven't grown up a bit.


Mr. Stolyarov and Mr. Tower, both of you make me believe that justice is dead among Objectivists. Both of you ask that SOLO, and all of the individuals that were attacked by Henry, should just automatically ignore his disgusting behavior simply because he shares some ideas with us.

Even if we set aside the fact that he's a far greater liability than an asset, or the fact that he's apologized for nothing, you would still be asking for us to take back someone who so clearly hates us and our organization.

What you want is to change reality. You saying, in essence "If only Henry hadn't snapped and gone crazy, he would have been an asset to SOLO. Can't we just pretend he didn't??". Henry did contribute in a positive way for awhile. But he contributed much more negatively.

Stolyarov, I think you're the farthest off. You say that Henry is a "coalition builder". Merely because he writes an article that says we should have coalitions? His first instinct is to not let you republish the article, and only does so after being show how hypocritical his action was. He spent a month trying to convince everyone that SOLO was evil and needed to die. He's attacked several people personally. And the first thing he does when he gets back is attacks Diana.

What definition can you possibly be using for the term "coalition builder"?

Jonathan is right on target. Not only has Henry lost credibility, but that there's absolutely no reason why we should put up with him here. And that there's been no genuine apology reinforces that.

As for Henry's principles of coalition building, it's obvious from his history that he can't live up to the first principle. His delusional paranoia makes him think that he's being censored when every one of his posts was posted intact. He thought anyone who disagreed with him must obviously be a cultist. He thought everyone was out to get him. No, he can't live up to the first principle Which means by his own standards, a coalition is undesirable.




Post 13

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 2:55pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Rowlands,

I have a question for you.

Let us pretend that David Kelley was visited by Leonard Peikoff, due to a reformation of Peikoff's conscience. Peikoff said, "Mr. Kelley, I would like to return to coordinating the spread of Objectivism in unison rather than engaging in the bitter schism between our two organizations. Though I still disagree with you about your too-open approach toward other Libertarians, and consider your open-doctrine theory to be problematic in many respects, I would like to apologize for employing vile and vehement accusations in our prior intellectual slugfest. Can we facilitate discourse and cooperation between ARI and TOC?"

Mr. Kelley comes to you, requesting consultation. How should he, in your judgment, respond to such a scenario? (I would, of course, consider the situation utopian, but, if anything, that merely reinforces my point, as will be seen in further pursuit of this analogy.)

I am
G. Stolyarov II


Post 14

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 2:24pmSanction this postReply
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Sounds like the real o'ist mccoys on here.  There is a saying which slips my mind at the moment but to the effect: The factionalism is always the worst when the stakes are the lowest or something to that effect.  More proof from Diana, and company that the objectivist movement is more akin to a bowel movement than a serious academic/cultural/political movement.  Sure, I'm not crazy about TOC -- from having a Chrisitian fundy bless the opening of the Washington, DC office (Bob Barr), to carrying articles from extreme rigth wing organizations like the Manhattan Institute, but overall they seem to do more good than bad -- without being further involved in the organization, thats all I can ask.

Also, what is good about the TOC is that, like Diana, you have to purge yourself to get out -- with ARI you get purged.  Don't let the door hit your ass on the way to obscurity Diana...


Post 15

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 3:07pmSanction this postReply
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I'll take a hint from Mr. Stolyarov and gladly apologize for using some expletives.  I didn't use them to insult anyone in a nasty way, if memory serves.  Just as forceful tools of language.  But the fact remains, I did use them when I could have used kinder language.  As a result, perhaps I fueled the flames and inspired others into doing the same, beyond their means of controlling themselves?  I don't think so, but I'll apologize if anyone I respect was offended.  Not for anything else, though.

Post 16

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 4:06pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Stolyarov,

I'll play along.

When someone spends a decade and a half trying to destroy your reputation, (or a month in the case of Henry), I would suggest walking very carefully. I would tell Kelley, of course, that he's under no obligation to deal with a man who has attacked him viciously and repetitively for that long.

So first question is, did Peikoff apologize? You say he did, but obviously you and I have very different meanings for that term. I don't consider a "I'm sorry I let did it, even though it was really all your fault and your deserved it" an apology. You seem to.

So did he really apologize? Did he list the things he's done over the years. Did he explain why those actions were wrong on his part. Both of those things, the listing of crimes and the explanation of why they were wrong, are necessary to know whether the other person means anything he says. He could then explain how he should have acted.

Also, was the apology public? If it were a personal crime, like he said something mean in private, then there might not be a need for a public apology. But when the actions were so clearly public, and in fact aimed at the public to discredit Kelley, I would say the apology must be public to mean anything at all.

Next, the question is how will Peikoff make up for his actions? Because abusing someone and then saying "sorry" is not good enough in my book. He would have to try to make up for the damage he did. The public apology would be a start, but clearly after that much abuse there should be more before Kelley should consider accepting the apology.

And of course, the final step in an apology is to make assurances that it won't happen again. Since Peikoff's credibility is shot, he would have to go through some effort to make convince Kelley. I'll leave the creative answer to these problems to Peikoff if he ever changes his mind.

Now, after all that is said and done, what about a coalition? I think probably not. If someone treats you like crap for that long, you have no obligation to treat him like a friend or ally. That kind of relationship, once destroyed, needs to be re-earned. That you would like Kelley and Peikoff to be friends again means nothing.

There's a few criteria he should consider. The first is, would Objectivism benefit from a coalition between them. One could argue that competition is beneficial. But let's pretend that it is (which I assume you believe).

The next criteria is whether his own organization will benefit. Maybe, maybe not. It might be that the orthodox movement at ARI would try to stifle any innovation in their joint projects. Certainly merging the two organizations could be a disaster for TOC. They'd lose their voice, and have no bargaining power. Right now Kelley can fund projects he thinks are worth doing, but under ARI he might not have any say.

And of course, does he himself benefit from the coalition at a personal level. Having to work with someone who's treated you terribly for so long seems to be an enormous sacrifice. Objectivism isn't a philosophy of sacrifice. Those that work to spread the ideas, like those of us here at SOLO, do it because we enjoy it and it's a benefit. Why should anyone sacrifice his own happiness for the cause?

I hope that's a thorough enough answer for you.


Post 17

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 6:56pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Rowlands,

I see your position.  You are correct, no man should be obligated to act friendly towards someone who has verbaly acted in hostility.  My question then is how would you go about solving this problem?  How does one in this case redeem themselves and earn back trust?  Obviously there was error along the way, hence the conflict.  How do we proceed to justice when neither side seems to want to analyze the possibility that they may have errored?  One method I suppose is schism.  Though this does not solve the problem.  Further rational dialogue seems to be in order. 

Although, only if both parties to the problem are willing.  As Mr. Rowlands has pointed out, I may wish to see a return to friendly relations but all my wishing in the world won't make it occur.

Thank you for taking your time to read this,

Eric J. Tower


Post 18

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 7:50pmSanction this postReply
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Good post Eric,

You ask how to solve the problem.  The first thing to note is that some problems can't be solved by you.  You can't make another person think in a particular way.  You can try persuasion, but there's no guarantee.  And the worst cases, it's unlikely.  So although it'd be nice to see all the bad blood between people just go away, it is just a fantasy.

Now talking about this particular problem, how would I solve it?  I don't think it can be.  But let's take it as a hypothetical.  The first thing I'd do (and I did do it), when Henry came back, is allow his first post to go through (since we do have moderator ability these days).  If I were Henry, my first post back would have been polite and conciliatory.  His was aggressive and rude, but at least the first post pertained to the topic of schisms and break-ups, and that he thought it was a bad thing.  Of course, he came back without acknowledging his past actions in the slightest. Not a great start, but communication begins somewhere.

Now if he was polite to start, I'd be polite in return.  But that's not how it happened.  So instead, I went to the heart of the matter.  He left on his own, but not before vandalizing this site with his angry posts, and certainly not before declaring SOLO and it's members his enemies.  So if he wanted us to accept him back, he'd have to own up to his actions.

And this is where it's an impossible task, Eric.  Henry genuinely thinks that he was in the right the whole time, and everyone else is to blame.  Coming back here he only had one thing on his mind.  He would forgive us.  Not the other way around.  And until he realizes what he did was wrong, he's unlikely to make amends.

And that's fine with me.  He chose his actions, and now he can enjoy the fruits of them.  If he wants to participate on our site, after the negative stuff he did, he'll have to try a little harder.


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Post 19

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - 9:44pmSanction this postReply
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I find it hard to fathom what we were dealing with here. A fellow turned up on SOLOHQ, out of the blue, whom I first thought to be quite a find. I even cited him as being among the promising new blood on SOLOHQ, in my article, "SOLO, Three Years On." Sometimes he would go off on tangents. Sometimes he would hijack threads, as he effectively has done this one, which is *supposed* to be about Diana & TOC. On one occasion, exasperated with what I deemed to be nonsense by him & one other that was cluttering up the board, I dismissed their posts as "bollocks." I still regard that as an eminently satisfactory, & satisfying, characterisation of their posts on *that* particular thread.

Where I come from, both culturally & personally, "bollocks" is a fairly mild remonstration. Where I come from, culturally, we don't have half the population on therapy because their feelings have been hurt in the cut-&-thrust of debate & the rough-&-tumble of everyday life. Where I come from, personally/philosophically, one doesn't hold grudges unless there is overwhelming reason to; one more readily gets over slights, real or imagined, & gets on with life. The common injunction, "Get over it!" is widely honoured in practice. I am simply not used to dealing with cry-babies in this Age of Umbrage.

Henry took exception to "bollocks," which he was perfectly entitled to do in a non-cry-baby way. In the first instance, I took on board his point that I hadn't given reasons for that label, & I supplied them in my next post. But that only served to set him off on a spiral of hysteria & abuse that seemed never-ending. We left *all* of his posts up, notwithstanding that his abuse of SOLO & SOLOists - his hosts - became ever more bizarre & obscene.

This time round, we were prepared to give him another chance. He quickly blew it, on a Forum that cuts as much slack for obnoxious behaviour as possible. That's sad.

Joe has made the decision to block his posts until he shows signs of good faith & good will. I back him absolutely. The ball is in Henry's court.

Now, can we get back to Diana?

Linz






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