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Posted by Bob Johnson ( on March 28, 2000 at 12:34:08:

In Reply to: Easy to be Hard posted by Susan on March 28, 2000 at 10:39:21:

Susan, your first two questions gets to the heart of the matter: we restrain our behavior in an attempt to NOT be "heartless" or "cruel" toward others. We used to refer to restrained behavior as "good manners" or "courtesy" but, regardless of the term, the idea is to not impose ourselves on others in a manner which needlessly offends.

It was only a few weeks ago that DJ felt compelled to shut down the message board because folks felt that self-restraint was not needed; that anything thought was suitable for posting; that attack was a suitable equivalent for discourse.

The consequence of unrestrained behavior is that the very sharing, support, and discourse which you want becomes blocked by the rawer emotions which will arise when people disregard the sensitivities of others. Insensitivity, and its more aggressive relative, character attacks, is pushing people away from this community. We have seen several people tell us that on the board in the last few months. I think it an expression of remarkable self-centeredness to take the position that another's feelings are a matter of indifference to me; that only my claim to freedom of expression is to be considered.

Paul may have a wonderful vocabulary but somehow I have doubts that it finds full flower around his mother, church, or his children. Most people have some intuitive sense of what is appropriate: the second paragraph suggests the need to reconsider what is appropriate here.

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