Zero-tolerance rules

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Thu Dec 27 2001 - 15:37:38 MST (Lee Daniel Crocker) writes:
>Guidelines are good. "Zero-tolerance" is bad. Always. It is something
>we, as Extropians, should fight--and we can't fight it and practice it.

 It sounds like you are saying we should adopt a zero-tolerance policy
towards zero-tolerance policies.

 Zero-tolerance policies are often good because the costs of judging
each individual case are much higher than the benefits of granting
exceptions, and much higher than the costs of enforcing a zero-tolerance
 For example, if voters try to persuade government officials to use
their own judgement about each individual software patent application,
it's safe to assume that most voters won't be able to take the time to
evaluate the reasoning behind each decision. So voters who don't adopt
a zero-tolerance policy will end up not having much effect on the
decisions, leaving the result to special interests.

 If impoliteness on the list and the danger that ExI might misuse its
authority to silence its critics were the biggest threats to the list,
then I would support a zero-tolerance policy towards ad hominem attacks.
 If the rule were clearly restricted to dealing with arguments of the
type "X is stupid, therefore the policy he is advocating is wrong", then
it would be pretty harmless.
 But I suspect the rule is also intended to prohibit rude posts of
the form "don't feed the trolls" (i.e. "please help maintain the list
quality by ignoring that idiot"). I would rather see ExI engage in
some ad hominem posts of this nature than spend time worrying about
how to surpress the symptoms of a list that tolerates idiots.

>Absolutely, but that's still 100 times better than leaving human
>judgment out of the loop entirely. That's what makes people do silly
>things like expelling a boy scout with a hatchet in the trunk of his
>car for "carrying a weapon".

 I would say that unrealistic opinions about the costs and/or benefits
of possessing weapons are what causes results like this. Encouraging
officials to use more judgement in enforcing those rules would mainly
serve to hide the problems created by the rules.

Peter McCluskey          | This space under construction. | 

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:32 MDT