On Jan 27, 2009, at 12:38 PM, Tolk, Andreas wrote:
Paola and all,
I think that someone who "deliberately and gratuitously insults other forum members" or "openly insult others'" violates not only the code of ethics but also the principles for professional conduct. Unfortunately, the level of education and the rank in academic institutions does not imply social or ethical maturity. I am quite sure that I am myself guilty of having insulted someone with my statements (maybe currently even am in the process of doing so), but the "deliberately and gratuitously" is what raises my concern.
It is OK to openly discuss ideas, and there should be no limiting factor. If an idea is stupid or not of interest it will simply dry out over time. It is also OK to say - or better prove - that someone is wrong. No-one is served by something that is wrong. The open discussion has been the core of academic progress, and academic disputes are healthy for the discipline. However, it is not OK to attack others in an unprofessional way and to personally attack someone.
Of course not. However, if someone is clearly ignorant of the topic on which they are tirelessly communicating, and reacts to explanatory messages which are intended to inform with reactions which only demonstrate even deeper ignorance, without apparently being able or willing to admit to said evident ignorance, is it unprofessional to point out this ignorance, even in a public forum? I do not believe so. In fact, to the contrary. While there must be, in an interdisciplinary forum such as this, a willingness by all parties to reach across disciplinary boundaries, for example by trying to analyze divergent uses of technical terminology, such mutual processes of education will succeed only if all parties are willing to adopt a professional attitude to the discussion. Paula has, I regret to have to say, not yet exhibited any significant level of proficiency in any technical area relevant to ontologies, in any of her postings to the forum that I have read. I do not say this to insult her, but simply as a statement of fact. I am not alone in finding her presence here to be almost entirely disruptive and counterproductive. This is not a question of openness of discussion, or academic debate. For there to be debate, there must first be content to be debated. Of course it is OK to openly discuss ideas. Part of this openness, however, is to be able and indeed willing to observe, when someone apparently fails to grasp an idea, that they have failed to grasp it, and to have the maturity to react to such observations without making vague threats of libel suits. I would note, in passing, that in order to be libelous a statement must first be false. If anyone can show that my assertions about Paula, above, are false, I will withdraw them and apologize immediately.
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