[Wikipedia-l] Helga again

Karl Juhnke yangfuli at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 31 13:46:35 UTC 2002

--- "Michael R. Irwin" <mri_icboise at surfbest.net> wrote:
> Personally I feel censorship in any form is a
> slippery slope towards totalitarianism and attempted mind
> control which is best avoided entirely, if possible.  


Your concluding sentence about the "slippery slope towards
totalinarianism" clarifies for me why you comment at length on a
situation about which you admit to not knowing the particulars.  The
details appear to be less relevant in your view of things than the
abstract principle at stake.

I am prone to this sort of thinking myself, i.e. I think very
abstractly and in terms of principle.  For example, I don't drink a
drop of alcohol myself, because even a glass of wine with dinner at
home among the family is in principle connected to impaired brain
function, drunk driving, alcoholism, wrecked kidneys, wrecked
relationships, etc., etc.  I must make a concerted effort to understand
that moderation is possible, and that not every situation in life is a
slippery slope.

There are practical, incremental differences between modes of
contribution to Wikipedia.  It is apparently difficult to know exactly
when to draw a line and say that someone is behving unacceptably.  But
I would hope that we can clearly distinguish banning an individual from
totalitarianism, to the same extent that we can distinguish
incorporating opposing views from anarchy and descent into

Without saying anything particular about Helga, I would encourage you
to construct your arguments somewhat differently.  Rather than
identifying a single principle in a situation and imagining that
principle at its extremes, try to identify *as many principles as
possible* and imagine how each governs and regulates the others.  You
may find that your thinking becomes less clear and less easy to
express, but in my humble experience, reality itself is not necessarily
clear and easy to express.


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