[Milton-L] Reason

Bob Blair bblair48 at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 4 21:38:27 EDT 2017


I'm probably older than most on Milton-L, and therefore have more history of online discussion.  Regardless if that is so, I've found that there are only two answers to disputants who fail to follow rules of civility and logic.  The first, and most effective, is to ignore them.  The second, and unfortunately the most followed, is to argue with them.  This is not a Milton-L problem.  It's not a mailing list problem. It's a problem that has existed since anonymous online discussion began in the 1980s.  Please do not be frightened into precipitate action. It's just that Milton-L, long and blessedly immune, has been caught up in the rest of the internet.
 

    On Saturday, November 4, 2017 4:35 PM, Esther van Raamsdonk <esthervanraamsdonk at gmail.com> wrote:
 

 Dear All,
I can do little but second Ryan Paul's eloquent statement on the current trolling this mailing list is experiencing. Though not a frequent contributor to the debates, I have followed this list for several years, enjoying the earnestness and insight of its members. This resource now feels under threat.
Terrance Lindall's deliberately disruptive interjections seem to pose the puzzle of where the limits of free speech lie, but perhaps it is best to think that free speech is a right for all, but no platform is. When a speaker is seeking not to continue debate but to shut it down by spoiling, they do not deserve an audience. 
It may be a sad day to admit that silencing voices to preserve our community is necessary, but Terrance Lindall is no Salmasius to be tackled with reason - he is a Vlacq stirring up noise for his own grubby publicity. 

Given that usual codes of conduct for academic debate are being flouted - not to mention the offensiveness of many of Terrance Lindall's expressed views - for the sake of preserving a valuable intellectual tool I would support removing him from the list. His views are his own, but we need not facilitate them.

I hope that the traditions of debate and scholarship of this list will continue for many years, despite all challenges, and thank you all for your contributions to my understanding of Milton and his work.
Dr Esther van Raamsdonk
University of Exeter
English DepartmentE-profileAcademia.edu profile_______________________________________________
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