Subject: Re: Understanding Erik Naggum
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 04 Oct 2002 19:58:30 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Fred Gilham
| I think it might be a public service to make the following point.

  However tasteless it is to use names in the Subject, this was a pretty
  good summary, actually.  That is probably a first in and of itself.

| He does not consider civility a goal in and of itself [...]

  Quite right.  I actually cannot stand people who are polite and civil but
  have nothing whatsoever to communicate or accomplish with it.  Civility
  is a protocol to get something done in a situation where people need to
  feel good about themselves.  It is vitally important when you want to get
  those things done that require it.  However, your "feeling good" is not
  something you can require other people to cater to without having a clear
  purpose to the exchange in the first place.

| Erik doesn't care if he's liked and accepted.

  Yes, I do, but I do not seek a professional, technical forum about
  (Common) Lisp to be liked and accepted.  If I do not find myself liked
  and accepted, I, too, feel unhappy, and I am actually quite hurt by the
  numerous evil people who do nothing on this newsgroup but attack me.
  What the fuck do they think this forum is for?  Take them away, and there
  is /very/ little hostile traffic in this newsgroup.  And I do /not/ start
  whatever remains.  Just look at the recent number of assholes who had to
  opine about me.  So, yes, I care very much when these assholes fill the
  newsgroup with hate rhetoric.

  However, it is more correct that I do not think being liked and accepted
  should take predence to technical matters /in a technical forum/.  It
  would be inconceivable for me to say "I like you as a person, but you
  post misinformation about Common Lisp in comp.lang.lisp".  I think that
  would be about as likely as a stock broker saying "I like you as a person,
  but you give your customers really bad stock advice", or a priest saying
  to another "I really like you as a person, but could you please cut down
  on murdering abortion doctors?"

| He would like to be respected, but even then he doesn't care if he's not
| respected by people he doesn't respect.

  It is because I fundamentally respect people that I think they should
  listen.  However, I find that the disrespect that people resort to when
  they do not "feel good" is quite alarming.

| You can call this arrogance, ego or whatever you want.

  I do not care much what people call it, but I fail to see how ranking
  being liked and accepted and resepcted lower than technical merits can be
  called ego, though.  In other words, I expect to be liked, accepted and
  respected for on technical merit /in a technical forum/.

| If, on the other hand, you were to convince Erik that something he said
| were technically incorrect, that would make a difference.  I've seen it
| before: he admits his error.

  I appreciate that at least someone sees this.

| In other words, Erik's values are not yours.

  This sounds a little too general.  I have found a lot more people who
  share my values that do not.  Very few people actually stand up and say
  they prefer a forum of civil and polite idiots to a forum of sometimes
  quarreling experts, and for the newbie who wants to learn and seeks help,
  fora that are rife with polite idiots who give bad advice is really not
  something you know how much you will hate until you experience it.

| I personally would prefer that he had different values; I regret very
| much his chronic feuds with Erann Gat, for example.

  I havea no idea why Erann thinks this forum is a suitable place to spew
  accusations against me and post so much poisonous bile.  What does that
  fucking moron expect to /achieve/?  That shithead is purely destructive.

| You know how much you value civility by finding out when you are willing
| to abandon it.

  Glad to see someone else make this point.  I have argued strongly that if
  your ethical standards are abandoned when you deal with people you do
  feel "enough" sympathy or empathy with, they are worthless.  The great
  invention of "due process" is precisely that which treats people with a
  fundamental /respect/ regardless of what they have /done/.  I really try
  to do this myself, but I find that even knowledge of the legal system and
  appreciation of the concept of due process is /missing/ in people who
  waste no opportunity to attack me, unfairly, unjustly, and most of all
  for things they /invent/ and which I have never done.  False accusations
  is the ultimate disrespect.

  But I can't quite get over seeing such an inflammatory Subject line above
  such accurate contents.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.