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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A comment by PW on another thread made me think...one reason why debate on this forum should be as open as possible. Comments by some posters often give me much food for thought and I have been persuaded to change my opinions on a couple of things after reading posts.
The comment was about not 'ridiculing' people's views.
My position at the moment - I'm open to change - is that some views deserve to be laughed out of court. Ridicule can be delivered in a gentle, reproving, or a cutting manner, depending on the content of the statement. If I was told that the 9/11 attacks were caused by Mossad or the CIA the latter form of response is apt amd fitting. If someone tells you they believe in miracles, a mild snort of derision is surely in order.
I'm fortunate in that I was brought up in an age where delusions of any kind were swiftly put down - that happened a lot to me- and where civility and good manners were highly valued. A no- nonsense but kind and considerate environment.
Nowadays it seems the slightest hint of 'offence' can send someone to their lawyer or psychiatrist. The power of the law over speech or writing is such that it seems as if calling Hitler evil could get you into trouble.
Free speech is of course never entirely without limits. Laws of slander and libel protect individuals from falsehood or malice. Inciting hatred on the grounds of race etc. is prohibited by law. But opinions are something else and free speech must contain the right to offend. Opinions are just that. Notions, ideas, figments of the imagination which may matter deeply but are equally variable and short- lived.
Hair or skin colour and sexual orientation are beyond our control but we are responsible for our opinions.
My stance is -currently since I may be persuaded otherwise - that we are in danger of creating a society where we find ourselves self- censuring much of our verbal or written communication. I believe in going for the ball not the player. Sometimes a rough tackle may be justified but never a foul. I believe that current law, in the framing of which I played a small part, is weighted too heavily in favour of the perceptions of the 'offended' as against the intentions of the 'offender'.
This matters a lot as free debate is vital in any healthy society. Closed cultures wither and die. The culture of victimhood is a damaging, energy- draining one. There is also the point of distinguishing between the truly important and the trivial. When joke by a football manager achieves media coverage on a par with the atrocities in Syria something is very wrong. An individual who feels their sense of self- worth is undermined because someone laughs at their belief in the flying spaghetti monster needs to get a grip.
Who would want to live in a bland, vanilla society where we were all so busy looking out lest we cause offence that we fail to notice the real problems and evils of our times....
 

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A comment by PW on another thread made me think...one reason why debate on this forum should be as open as possible. Comments by some posters often give me much food for thought and I have been persuaded to change my opinions on a couple of things after reading posts.
The comment was about not 'ridiculing' people's views.
My position at the moment - I'm open to change - is that some views deserve to be laughed out of court. Ridicule can be delivered in a gentle, reproving, or a cutting manner, depending on the content of the statement. If I was told that the 9/11 attacks were caused by Mossad or the CIA the latter form of response is apt amd fitting. If someone tells you they believe in miracles, a mild snort of derision is surely in order.
I'm fortunate in that I was brought up in an age where delusions of any kind were swiftly put down - that happened a lot to me- and where civility and good manners were highly valued. A no- nonsense but kind and considerate environment.
Nowadays it seems the slightest hint of 'offence' can send someone to their lawyer or psychiatrist. The power of the law over speech or writing is such that it seems as if calling Hitler evil could get you into trouble.
Free speech is of course never entirely without limits. Laws of slander and libel protect individuals from falsehood or malice. Inciting hatred on the grounds of race etc. is prohibited by law. But opinions are something else and free speech must contain the right to offend. Opinions are just that. Notions, ideas, figments of the imagination which may matter deeply but are equally variable and short- lived.
Hair or skin colour and sexual orientation are beyond our control but we are responsible for our opinions.
My stance is -currently since I may be persuaded otherwise - that we are in danger of creating a society where we find ourselves self- censuring much of our verbal or written communication. I believe in going for the ball not the player. Sometimes a rough tackle may be justified but never a foul. I believe that current law, in the framing of which I played a small part, is weighted too heavily in favour of the perceptions of the 'offended' as against the intentions of the 'offender'.
This matters a lot as free debate is vital in any healthy society. Closed cultures wither and die. The culture of victimhood is a damaging, energy- draining one. There is also the point of distinguishing between the truly important and the trivial. When joke by a football manager achieves media coverage on a par with the atrocities in Syria something is very wrong. An individual who feels their sense of self- worth is undermined because someone laughs at their belief in the flying spaghetti monster needs to get a grip.
Who would want to live in a bland, vanilla society where we were all so busy looking out lest we cause offence that we fail to notice the real problems and evils of our times....
do you know - I agree with you

although you might not think that from what I just posted on 'that' thread

some opinions do perhaps deserve ridicule - & there are always going to be opinions on both sides of that particular fence

what isn't OK though, imo, in life, and in fact on this forum because it's against the rules - is ridiculing a person because of their beliefs

& I truly believe that it's possible to separate the two.............who was it said '' I might not agree with your views - but I'll fight for your right to hold them & to express them'' ..... or words to that effect
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
do you know - I agree with you

although you might not think that from what I just posted on 'that' thread

some opinions do perhaps deserve ridicule - & there are always going to be opinions on both sides of that particular fence

what isn't OK though, imo, in life, and in fact on this forum because it's against the rules - is ridiculing a person because of their beliefs

& I truly believe that it's possible to separate the two.............who was it said '' I might not agree with your views - but I'll fight for your right to hold them & to express them'' ..... or words to that effect
I hope I have made it clear that most people deserve respect...but there are some opinions that are so hateful that its hard not to disrespect the person expressing them.
Racist comments are but one example.
As for religious views..Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason ridiculed the notion of the virgin birth by asking what a father would say if his daughter were to tell him she had been impregnated by a ghost...
Ridicule par excellence, no?
 

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There is an interesting debate going on at the moment involving a magazine that has recently been launched called 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' usually shortened to WDDTY. If you anyone would like a taster there is a website here.

It is being severely slammed by the mainstream medical community and the proponents of Scientific Skepticism for giving unevidenced and fanciful medical advice to the point that many see it as being potentially very dangerous.

In a very short time over 50 of its advertisements have been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for being in breach if the CAP codes and at least one major retailer (Waitrose I believe) have withdrawn it from sale.

They have claimed amongst other things that Vitamin C can cure AIDS and Homeopathy can reverse cancer.

Some people are proposing that it should be banned for dispensing dangerous advice - others are saying that although it is indeed dangerous, it should be allowed to continue in the interest of free speech aka in this case - freedom of the press.

Although I condemn its content roundly, I can't make up my mind on whether it should be banned.

Is it 'shouting FIRE in a crowded cinema' (an oft-quoted example of where freedom of speech is unacceptable) or should it continue to be allowed to disseminate inaccurate advice in the name of 'choice' and 'free speech'?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There is an interesting debate going on at the moment involving a magazine that has recently been launched called 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' usually shortened to WDDTY. If you anyone would like a taster there is a website here.

It is being severely slammed by the mainstream medical community and the proponents of Scientific Skepticism for giving unevidenced and fanciful medical advice to the point that many see it as being potentially very dangerous.

In a very short time over 50 of its advertisements have been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for being in breach if the CAP codes and at least one major retailer (Waitrose I believe) have withdrawn it from sale.

They have claimed amongst other things that Vitamin C can cure AIDS and Homeopathy can reverse cancer.

Some people are proposing that it should be banned for dispensing dangerous advice - others are saying that although it is indeed dangerous, it should be allowed to continue in the interest of free speech aka in this case - freedom of the press.

Although I condemn its content roundly, I can't make up my mind on whether it should be banned.

Is it 'shouting FIRE in a crowded cinema' (an oft-quoted example of where freedom of speech is unacceptable) or should it continue to be allowed to disseminate inaccurate advice in the name of 'choice' and 'free speech'?
Hmm. Difficult, as you say.
On balance it should be allowed..but with a warning that its position on these issues is contrary to current scientific and medical opinion?
 

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Hmm. Difficult, as you say.
On balance it should be allowed..but with a warning that its position on these issues is contrary to current scientific and medical opinion?
Well it does carry a disclaimer ...




... but it's well hidden.

And anyway what is a 'Qualified Practitioner'? Homeopath? Reiki Master? Angel Therapist?

I'm all for 'informed choice' in these matters but some are prone to believe all sorts of rubbish - probably through lack of education or poor critical thinking skills.

I think I'm inclined to let it be and let the Natural Selection run its course.
 

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I heard someone being interviewed on the radio a few days ago. She was promoting her own company and website which, she would have us believe, tells us how to cure any disease or any depression simply by following her methods of meditation and, thus, positive thinking. It reminded me of the woman a year or so back who was telling everyone that you didn't need to ingest food or liquid to survive since all the nutrients required were in the air and all you had to do was breathe. She was dead around six weeks later. Another woman, who believed in the same garbage, recently rose to some fame by showing herself following this regime online, live. After a few weeks she had started to drink tea but she was clearly very ill. Finally she gave it up. The world will remain filled for a very long time with such folk and it does make it interesting. But the point is they are allowed, in our society, to express quite freely their thoughts and beliefs however bonkers they may be./SNIP/
 

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There is an interesting debate going on at the moment involving a magazine that has recently been launched called 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' usually shortened to WDDTY. If you anyone would like a taster there is a website here.

It is being severely slammed by the mainstream medical community and the proponents of Scientific Skepticism for giving unevidenced and fanciful medical advice to the point that many see it as being potentially very dangerous.

In a very short time over 50 of its advertisements have been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for being in breach if the CAP codes and at least one major retailer (Waitrose I believe) have withdrawn it from sale.

They have claimed amongst other things that Vitamin C can cure AIDS and Homeopathy can reverse cancer.

Some people are proposing that it should be banned for dispensing dangerous advice - others are saying that although it is indeed dangerous, it should be allowed to continue in the interest of free speech aka in this case - freedom of the press.

Although I condemn its content roundly, I can't make up my mind on whether it should be banned.

Is it 'shouting FIRE in a crowded cinema' (an oft-quoted example of where freedom of speech is unacceptable) or should it continue to be allowed to disseminate inaccurate advice in the name of 'choice' and 'free speech'?
I think most doctors I know would welcome this kind of thing, they appreciate discussion and new ways of thinking - medical science/treatment is constantly evolving and changing. I doubt they would want someone to arrive in their surgeries armed with said magazine telling them how to do their job tho lol.

In the end, it is sensible to follow your doctors advise which will probably be what they have been taught and will follow the latest official guidelines

Jo xxx
 

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I heard someone being interviewed on the radio a few days ago. She was promoting her own company and website which, she would have us believe, tells us how to cure any disease or any depression simply by following her methods of meditation and, thus, positive thinking. It reminded me of the woman a year or so back who was telling everyone that you didn't need to ingest food or liquid to survive since all the nutrients required were in the air and all you had to do was breathe. She was dead around six weeks later. Another woman, who believed in the same garbage, recently rose to some fame by showing herself following this regime online, live. After a few weeks she had started to drink tea but she was clearly very ill. Finally she gave it up. The world will remain filled for a very long time with such folk and it does make it interesting. But the point is they are allowed, in our society, to express quite freely their thoughts and beliefs however bonkers they may be. But they are NOT censured and that it was really appalled me on this forum that an entire thread could be summarily deleted. For me this is the worst kind of censorship and should not be allowed. I asked elsewhere that could it not have been possible to just delete offending posts rather than an entire thread, to which many people on both sides of the argument (there were probably more than two sides but, hey, I wasn't counting) had committed a great deal of time and thought. So far I haven't had an answer.

the thread was removed - it is archived - maybe one day someone with a lot of time on their hands will go through it - remove the MANY posts which broke forum rules & put it back

I for one don't have time

there is nothing to stop the discussion continuing - but as I said before - if it descends again into personal insults & name-calling, it - & the members who break the rules - will be removed
 

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It's pretty clear to me.

If you're in a private place such as a bar or a forum, your speech can be limited. I get the feeling that the OP might be referring ever so indirectly to something that happened here that I apparently missed. If so, remember that when you sign up on a forum you click "I agree" to a set of rules.
 

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It's pretty clear to me.

If you're in a private place such as a bar or a forum, your speech can be limited. I get the feeling that the OP might be referring ever so indirectly to something that happened here that I apparently missed. If so, remember that when you sign up on a forum you click "I agree" to a set of rules.
Speech can be limited, yes, but in relation only to personal abuse and defamation. When I started this thread it had nothing to do with anything that had happened on another thread which I had not participated in anyway. I wanted to debate an important principle.
The forum isn't really a private place, is it.. The internet is very public, like Twitter and Facebook. You enter as an adult aware of what you may be stepping into.

I agreed to the rules and have conformed to them./SNIP/
Only once have I asked for a post to be removed as it accused me of tax evasion, a crime. As I said, I'm out of diapers. But the issue which is the subject of this thread goes beyond such trivial pettiness and is one of fundamental importance to society as a whole and not just an internet forum.
 

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The forum isn't really a private place, is it.. The internet is very public, like Twitter and Facebook. You enter as an adult aware of what you may be stepping into.
I disagree. All of those websites have TOS which you must agree to when signing up and adhere to while using. They are private in that they are owned by a private individual (or group of individuals) and thus they can control what you say. I never meant that it was private in terms of "They can't see what I say."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I disagree. All of those websites have TOS which you must agree to when signing up and adhere to while using. They are private in that they are owned by a private individual (or group of individuals) and thus they can control what you say. I never meant that it was private in terms of "They can't see what I say."
True but it in no way negates my point. No- one should disagree that personal abuse etc. is unacceptable. That isn't the issue here.

As for the owners of this site controlling what we say......few posters on this
Forum, Mods included, would wish anyone to control what we say. What they should control and do, very well on the whole, is to control personal abuse and insult and the expression of views which contravene the laws of defamation and incitement to hatred on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation etc.
 

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Free speech is of course never entirely without limits. Laws of slander and libel protect individuals from falsehood or malice. Inciting hatred on the grounds of race etc. is prohibited by law. But opinions are something else and free speech must contain the right to offend.
I have been thinking long and hard about the "right to offend", though I would turn it round and say that people do not have a right not to be offended.

Human rights should be about measurable, objective things like access to education and justice. But it's impossible to measure "offence" because it varies so much between individuals. I might be deeply offended by a comment that you wouldn't bat an eyelid at.

So yes, let's use legislation (and forum rules) to protect against falsehoods and incitement to hatred. Let's NOT use these tools to suppress the expression of opinions.

Along with rights go responsibilities, of course. If we want the right to free speech, we must acknowledge that what we say might offend others. We have to make the choice whether to take that risk or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I have been thinking long and hard about the "right to offend", though I would turn it round and say that people do not have a right not to be offended.

Human rights should be about measurable, objective things like access to education and justice. But it's impossible to measure "offence" because it varies so much between individuals. I might be deeply offended by a comment that you wouldn't bat an eyelid at.

So yes, let's use legislation (and forum rules) to protect against falsehoods and incitement to hatred. Let's NOT use these tools to suppress the expression of opinions.

Along with rights go responsibilities, of course. If we want the right to free speech, we must acknowledge that what we say might offend others. We have to make the choice whether to take that risk or not.

There are times when not to cause offence would be wrong. I'm sure both you and I would recognise such situations.
But in general, the risk of merely offending someone is worth taking in most situations. After all, how can we tell what constitutes an 'offence' when relating to unseen and unknown voices over the internet? I know what might offend people I know but people on internet chat forums are really an unknown quantity.
In most such instances it's the case that offence is claimed after the post has been published so too late.
Nearly every comment we make is capable of offending someone somewhere. It is very easy to offend inadvertently. I have often offended racists and homophobes..who is to say that they should be targets for offence? I believe that Islam, like most religions, oppresses women. No doubt that comment will offend Muslims reading it.

There are laws prohibiting libel, slander and incitement to hatred. Civility demands the criticism of opinions but never abuse of the person expressing them although surely one can say that Hitler, Stalin and Myra Hindley were evil people. They have by their crimes removed themselves from any protection,surely?
Imo there is a real danger that state- sanctioned and justified limitations on expression, coupled with self- censorship for fear of causing offence will end up in a bland, vanilla society where untruths,lies and outrageous falsehoods will go unchallenged .
 

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My point very well put. The deletion of an entire thread does exactly that; it has suppressed the expression of opinions. Whereas, in previous threads where people have said some truly dreadful things, the thread remains intact.
So my opinions can be freely voiced on the forum, without fear of those with opposing views making rather ungracious, arrogant and (for some reason???) superior remarks (that was the reason the thread was closed).

Those who believe in orgonite http://www.expatforum.com/expats/la-tasca/228321-orgonite-etc.html should be able to post without fear of being humiliated - their views are theirs and altho nothing was done, I think most of our so called "scientists" were less than charitable on that thread...... and before I get ridiculed - no I'm not an advocate of orgonite

To me, what appears to be happening, is that we have one or two posters who feel that "their" opinion is the only correct one and all other opinions must be ridiculed! That is definitely not a scientific approach, nor is it conducive to a friendly forum or freedom of speech. Is it right that someone is frightened to post because of a gang of would-be scientists make superior and bullying insults???.

To conclude, The forum is a place where people come and discuss. We're not all the same, we dont have the same ideas, beliefs, lives, knowledge...... Deal with it!!!! If we wish for free speech then we all should allow it and not ridicule or make insulting or rude comments! Diplomacy, tact and respect for others views. Thats how you get freedom of speech.

Jo xxx
 

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this is becoming ridiculous - you all know that it's against forum rules to discuss moderator actions on forum threads - & yet you continue to do so :mad:

if you have an issue then discuss it by PM either among yourselves or with a moderator

Rule 5: Please don’t discuss moderator or admin actions in the forums. If you have a matter to discuss please pm or email us.
please stop the direction this thread is heading - wouldn't it be ironic if a discussion about 'free speech' had to be closed ............


I've removed &/or edited the rule-breaking posts - carry on :)
 

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I seem to be coming in on the tail-end of what's been going on. Real life has got in the way of participation on the forum. I am deeply saddened to see that there seems to have come a point where everyone is at each other's throats. If I may be allowed to express an opinion, I too was more than disappointed to see the Climate Change thread totally disappear - so much work had gone into it from all sides of the argument.
If that's discussing moderator actions on a forum thread, then I apologise, but I wish to show my support publically for those who feel the same.
 

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I seem to be coming in on the tail-end of what's been going on. Real life has got in the way of participation on the forum. I am deeply saddened to see that there seems to have come a point where everyone is at each other's throats. If I may be allowed to express an opinion, I too was more than disappointed to see the Climate Change thread totally disappear - so much work had gone into it from all sides of the argument.
If that's discussing moderator actions on a forum thread, then I apologise, but I wish to show my support publically for those who feel the same.
I'm sure when xabiachica and/or I have the time, we'll go thru it and remove some of the "offending" posts and it can be viewed again. Opening probably wouldnt serve any useful purpose, I dont think much was left unsaid


Jo
 

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I'm sure when xabiachica and/or I have the time, we'll go thru it and remove some of the "offending" posts and it can be viewed again. Opening probably wouldnt serve any useful purpose, I dont think much was left unsaid


Jo
do you have a year to spare??


I have looked at it - & there are so very many posts which would need to go

but the real issue is that they were quoted several times - so it's a case of either delete those posts or edit them

seriously - HOURS of work

there's no reason the topic can't be discussed again though - as long as the personal insults don't recur there's no reason it would ever have to go
 
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