Re: Adrian Karth postings AND Sarah Marr

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Mon, 08 Sep 1997 19:00:07 -0500

Sarah Marr wrote:
> >Even so, the unwarranted reaction by Marr was surprising and disturbing.
> My reaction was warranted but exceptionally ill-judged, in that I should
> simply have written a polite email to Paul asking him if he was aware of
> his posts to the list. What saddens me most is that my ill judgement will
> necessarily, and deservedly lower my standing both on this list and with
> many of my dear friends.

It hasn't lowered my estimation of you. There is no sign that anyone else has
judged against you. In fact, this message prompted a chorus of forgiveness.
The experimental evidence seems to be against your assertion.

> I can only repeat the apology to Paul which I posted last night, and say
> that I am considering unsubscribing from the list as the only other course
> of action open to me at this time. Perhaps it is, after all, that most
> human of traits, emotion, which will stop our breaking the boundaries which
> limit us at this time.

Saying nasty things about people shouldn't generate this level of remorse,
unless superhuman self-restraint and/or mercy form a large part of your
perceived self-image. If you'd mailbombed him, that'd be another matter. In
general, ill-chosen words require apologies on the verbal level, of the same
intensity as the ill-chosen words themselves. Words can be a form of action,
injuring their target, but in this particular case that isn't so. All things
considered, unsubscribing from the List would be an overreaction.

Such excruciatingly high standards might drive out our current, forgiving
standards, making newcomers more nervous about joining. So you HAVE to stay.
In fact, you should apologize for trying to leave. (*)

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.

(*) = No, I'm not serious, but this approach has been known to work on a friend of mine who also apologizes too much.