[Previous] | Home | [Next]
On the last post, the following comments were made (and at the bottom I reply). I wanted to draw some extra attention to them. The discussion, if you like it, will continue in the comments on this post. BTW the italics on quoted stuff I've added now myself. anywayz:


Pat writes:
"and chastise any TCSers who write like it's true."

Meta.

"Before I continue, I want to caution you against paying attention to things like 'how most TCSers tend to use the term.' Most TCSers are usually fairly imprecise. And most of them don't get the all subtle or deep bits of TCS either. Even many of the articles on this site are not precise at all (I happen to think this policy is bad.) So anyway, I suggest instead of paying attention to the general attitude of TCSers towards a subject, you should look for the most precise and best couple things you can find, and analyse those."

An entire paragraph of meta.

The rest of your post has some good information, too bad you included the meta to prevent it from being removed.

Pat

I replied:
"and chastise any TCSers who write like it's true."

this is the object point that you should not write like it's true.

the paragraph addresses specific misconceptions the poster has, that are a legitimate philosophical topic. i could have written the same thing not about TCSers. using an example to make your point doesn't make something meta.

An anonymous poster added:
Pat,

Quit it. It's not "meta" you object to. It's discussing the TCS community. Stop lying about what it is Elliot is (in your view) doing wrong.

Technically "I think X" is meta (what the poster thinks is not what's at issue, what's true is). Meta is a stupid distinction, and not one that is actually enforced, except selectively, for the purpose of enforcing other rules while lying about what the rule is.

Pat replied:
"'and chastise any TCSers who write like it's true.'

this is the object point that you should not write like it's true."


No, I read the object point as being to chastise a person for their views. I suppose this is probably more precisely an incitement to post meta, rather than meta itself.

The second paragraph contains, as our Anonymous Coward points out, a discussion of the attributes of the TCS community, rather than limiting it to a criticism of the views themselves.

I think this is indicative of the problems your writing style Elliot. You have a tendency to include attacks on the holder of the view. As soon as you do this, any criticisms of the view itself is lost.


Now, here's my new reply to Pat:

"No, I read the object point as being to chastise a person for their views. I suppose this is probably more precisely an incitement to post meta, rather than meta itself."

If you prefer, the object point could be considered a claim that certain behavior is worthy of being chastised, which is a point about morality.

As for incitement to post meta. Well ponder this: for any set of imperfect rules, posting a perfect treatise on morality would be 'incitement to break the rules'.

Also, any writing that criticises/disagrees-with the rules is 'incitement' in the same way mine is (technically, the fact a rule is wrong, doesn't imply we should break it, so not all criticism of rules implies we should break them.....but that saving grace applies to my post too).

"The second paragraph contains, as our Anonymous Coward points out, a discussion of the attributes of the TCS community, rather than limiting it to a criticism of the views themselves."

No topic is always meta. That sort of discussion is meta-level relative to certain discussions, but can also be an object level discussion in its own right. And complex discussions where posters quote various different things and reply to each, can be looked at as multiple discussions about different things. So I'd say, among other discussions, we were having an object level one about TCS community issues. Which included points about morality and how to take views on certain matters.

"I think this is indicative of the problems your writing style Elliot. You have a tendency to include attacks on the holder of the view. As soon as you do this, any criticisms of the view itself is lost."

Notice the first sentence is ad hominem meta against me (attacks my style), the second sentence says I have a tendency to write ad hominem meta (that's more ad hominem meta, and also hypocritical, because Pat is busy saying we shouldn't write ad hominem meta). And the third sentences goes on to attack what Pat just did some more. (This paragraph, using the hidden premise that inconsistent views are false, is the object point that what Pat said is false.)

And as to the content, how is writing about the TCS community an attack on Henry Sturman? I did not reply to Henry by attacking his views. And, I have to say, I never argue with ad hominems. Ever. That's just a vile slander. (The vile slander comment is meta, not an argument, and thus not hypocritical.)

I want to point out that even a discussion like "Why are Jack and Jill such assholes" could be an object discussion between, say, Pat and I. Discussing that as a discussion in its own right, instead of as a reply to some stuff Jack and Jill wrote, would not be meta. It would be ad hominem (calls people assholes) but would not be the ad hominem argument fallacy, because it wouldn't be used as an argument. So I freely admit I say things against people, just I don't do it as a specious argument.

Elliot Temple on August 25, 2003

Comments (2)

no comments :(

i have some. :)

i never understood why some people on BOI/TCS/FI list cared about the meta/non-meta distinction.

to me it's all fluid. so the meta/non-meta distinction is **weird**.

i'll try to explain my thinking on this.


there are certain things that are relevant to solving a certain problem P. everything else is irrelevant (to *that* problem). these other things are relevant to other problems.

so, i think an important distinction is relevant or irrelevant.

so what does that mean for the meta/non-meta distinction?

well if you consider a hypothetical situation where you have an email that somebody is rejecting because it has something that a list-admin deemed meta, yet it's relevant to solving a problem being discussed, then.. wtf?!

just cause it's meta doesn't mean it's irrelevant. just cause it's meta doesn't mean you don't need it to solve a certain problem that is being discussed on the list.

or maybe they think meta is automatically irrelevant? but why? is it partly that they think some people will get upset and then follow their static memes and evade the issue? and so to get around that, they think the best course of action is to try to preemptively avoid getting into those situations by avoiding all meta (at least publicly)?

Anonymous at 12:35 PM on February 3, 2016 | #4812
> i never understood why some people on BOI/TCS/FI list cared about the meta/non-meta distinction.

fundamentally, DD and others refused to ever have a complete discussion of that (either public or private. public would have been better). they refused to take all questions on the matter, address all arguments, fully explain their position.

so, none of us really understand what they were talking about, because they refused to explain it. i think the reason they didn't explain it better is they couldn't. they never understood it either, and it was never totally logical.

mixed with this, there were some partial good points mixed in to their position, some of which they did explain. (e.g. there are some bad ways people can get distracted with a bunch of meta discussion lose track of the important issues).

i think what happened is more like they saw some problems (like some bad discussions) and they tried to understand and make some theories. and they came up with some stuff that was loosely in the ballpark of identifying some characteristics of the problematic discussion, and they really over-generalized from that and thought their answers were way better than they really were.

Anonymous at 11:32 AM on February 5, 2016 | #4858

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)