Dreadfully sorry, no guarantees from me, was Re: META: Keep the subject lines clean, please!

From: Michael M. Butler (butler@comp-lib.org)
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 01:08:21 MDT

Eliezer: I must respectfully demur. The last time you and Robert took
this line, I took it seriously enough to leave the list until I could
figure out how I'd respond the next time the issue arose. Here I go:

Call me pigheaded if you want. I'm not even going to promise to try.

Speaking only for myself, I will exercise my command of language in the
way I think best. This is not a matter for debate, though you are free
to draw any conclusion you like from what you see, as you are free to
gently remonstrate or virulently excoriate me, as you think
circumstances warrant.

It happens that I spend a great many hours a day in an environment
(corporate America) that requires me to circumscribe my speech and
behavior to conform to a hypothetical worst case for what any person
might consider a "hostile environment".

It chafes me. I do not choose to wear another yoke on my own time. The
time I spend in composing things to post to this list is my time, not
yours, and not any young lad's or lass's. "The clock is ticking, Bob,
and I'm only getting older."

I *do* strive to comply with the list rules. I believe I have fallen
short from time to time, but I'm sure I don't remember anything about
any PG rating in the subject lines.

I am not speaking to offend, nor am I speaking to _not_ offend.

If, someday, my choice of content in a subject line causes the kind of
effect you describe... I guess I'll just have to live with the hope that
in the long run, having been kicked off the list by a parent will fuel
more subversive reaction than I could have hoped to.

And if (in my personal hypothetical worst case) if the kid responds with
a despair spiral that leads to suicide or other self-destructive

I'll mourn. But I have a hard time taking all the blame for a situation
that fscked up.

So: I must respectfully decline to wholeheartedly embrace your
invitation. I offer no guarantee that I will never write or reply to a
subject line that goes too far, because I refuse to waste the cycles to
attempt to model what "too far" might be for any parent anywhere--say
someplace under Taliban law. Nope, cain't do 'er! Or perhaps "Ich kann
nicht anders" comes closer.

Note that if Max or whoever kicks me off the list, I'll figure I
probably deserved it. Heck, I kicked myself off the list back in the day
over violating the G*ns moratorium.

Did anyone else? I wouldn't know, I left first. :)

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> You know, I can still remember when I was a young lad of 16, reading the
> Extropians mailing list on the family computer. And others are probably in a
> similar situation today - so can we keep the subject lines clean, please?
> NC-17 text in the message bodies, sure - be it far from me to deny any legal
> minor the right to surreptitiously read racy subject matter online - but let's
> not shock Mom whenever she happens to lean over the computer. I know my Mom
> would have kicked me off the list and possibly the Internet in a heartbeat if
> she'd seen subject lines like "Gay Extropians!!!" or "Have Sex, Stay Young" in
> my Inbox.
> I think that keeping the subject lines PG or PG-13 is a reasonable policy for
> a mailing list, don't you?
> Sincerely,
> Eliezer.
> -- -- -- -- --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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