B5, JMS and the net

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at shekel.mcl.cs.columbia.edu
Fri May 22 06:24:31 EDT 1998

From: gilroy at mindspring.com (Bernard HP Gilroy)
Date: 20 May 1998 19:06:29 -0600
Lines: 97

Oh, I just _know_ I'm going to regret wandering into rights theory
debates on the 'Net....

	A lot is being discussed on this group -- as indeed it was way
back on the unmod group -- about how we should be civil and nice.  And
in an ideal world, I guess we would be.  But I think there's a lot of
steam and smoke which isn't really justified.

	rastb5.mod and Usenet in general are pretty rough-and-tumble.
That's part of what they are ... and, heretic though I am, I think
it's part of why they're valuable.  There are certainly lines of
civility and good taste, and posters certainly step across them from
time to time.  On the other hand, I believe the charter of the group,
as executed by the moderators, has done a pretty good job in stripping
the really aggressive stuff and leaving the (sometimes harsh)

	If JMS feels the charter has failed, he -- like any other
reader of the group -- has the right to complain.  I would expect, in
such a complaint, an explicit listing of what failed and what might be
done to fix it.  We don't seem to get trolls or flames -- at least not
in their garden variety, like other groups -- and I think those are
the only areas people agree cannot be permitted.

	There has been a lot of naysaying.  There has been a lot of
criticism.  It seems worse for season 5 than for the previous seasons.
Were I JMS, I suppose I too would feel weary of it, especially as the
five-year-arc comes to fruition.  At this point, he probably wants
accolades, and goodness knows, he deserves some.  But he doesn't get
from the 'Net.

	Too bad.

	I would be sorry to see him go, but everyone has to evaluate
his/her level of tolerance and stick with it.  I would be even sorrier
to see the group watered down some more.  I understand -- though I
fortunately have not experienced -- the phenomenon of netstalking.  It
seems some people have it out for JMS.  But since this group has been
formed, the incidence of legitimate netstalking occurences has
dropped, pretty much to zero.  Either that or I am just not seeing it.

	In the end, the truth is this:  Everyone can post to Usenet.
No one is forced to read, or respond to, a particular post.  The
rational, collected reader has the ultimate weapon, the /dev/null
machine.  JUST IGNORE IT.  Notice: I don't say, "Ignore it and it will
go away."  Nothing can make Net idiots go away ... they're like
intellectual viruses.  Any sufficiently sophisticated mode of
communication will generate them.  Unlike physical viruses, these are
only harmful when you pay attention to them.

	Of course this is a hard road to follow and JMS might decide
it's more trouble than it's worth.  I'd be sad if this were so, but
it's his right to decide.

	But the recent tone of filtering this group even more heavily
disturb me.  It's sort of creepy, especially from fans of a show that
claims diversity and difference of opinion are the bridge to the

OB Re Post:

On 20 May 1998 17:13:29 -0600, "Lon Johnson"
<Lon.Johnson at hbfuller.com> wrote:
[This post has been edited to fit the bounds of your viewing
>Second, it has been suggested that if we have a group where the criticisms are filtered out, then our free speech is being attacked.
>  I disagree, and here's why.  If I want to criticize the show or JMS, I can do it at work, at home, on the net 
> or pretty much any other place I like.  Likewise, other people have the right not to listen.  If JMS says that he would like to remain
> on the net, giving us the benefit of his perspective, but he says that the only way he will do it is if there is a safe place on the net 
> where he won't dread going, I say give it to him.  Remember, my rights end when they infringe on your rights.  
>I have a right to talk and JMS has a right to choose if he will listen.

	Um, minor quibble.  But it isn't exactly true that one
person's rights end where those rights infringe on another's.
Sometimes, two rights compete.  That's pretty much the entire body of
constitutional law, and IMHO the only really interesting part of the

	As far as I can see, we are no longer talking about a place
where JMS is free from personal attacks.  We are beginning to discuss
a place where he is free from _creative criticism_.  Now, JMS is a
will to be reckoned with and he's a damn fine writer, but no one -- NO
ONE -- is totally beyond criticism.

	Those other venues exist.  Heck, he could probably talk
thestation.com into establishing its own in-house chat list /
newsgroup, and then they could edit and censor to their hearts
content.  Me, I'd _never_ visit it.  rastb5.mod with JMS is great.
rastb5.mod with JMS and free discussion is better.  But rastb5.mod
without free discussion -- even _with_ JMS -- is pointless.  If we
move that way, I'll be leaving the group myself ... and probably the
show, too.

Bernard HP Gilroy -- gilroy at mindspring.com -- http://www.mindspring.com/~gilroy
"Seizing The One, Last, Fragile Moment"

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 21 May 1998 09:50:35 -0600
Lines: 26

>	As far as I can see, we are no longer talking about a place
>where JMS is free from personal attacks.  We are beginning to discuss
>a place where he is free from _creative criticism_.

Show me one post where I have said that.  You and Charles both.  Just one post.
 Any post.  Where?  

This is a straw man argument; I've never said it, have said exactly the
opposite on numerous occasions, and wouldn't want it.

Nor am I asking anyone to change anything here.

The topic came up.  I responded about what things are like at this end.  That
was the end of it.  Frankly, I've already heard from some in the satai mailing
list, and have told them I can't see what if anything could be changed, and
that I'm not *looking* for anything to get changed.

I was just talking about what this has been like.

Can we please stop the unjustified, unmerited straw man arguments now?


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
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