The Axioms of Online Discussion
Actually, you *are that* bad, mr. moto. But I am responding to you not for your benefit, but because a lot of new people are visiting, and it's clear you are not alone in your ignorance and confusion.
This whole blowup arose because Ed Whelan, a pro blogger, was just as ignorant of the rules of online communication as mr. moto is. Not just the rules, the *axioms* -- the principles that were worked out back in the Usenet days, before the WWW even existed.
- No plagiarism
- No outing
- No sockpuppets
- No obtaining material benefits (money, computers, lip gloss) by fraud
- No stalking
- No deliberate spread of malicious software or links
These aren't really rules of netiquette, these are the *premises*, the axioms which online communication has been found to require. These axioms aren't about politeness, they're about making communication *possible*.
This is why bloggers both left & right joined in condemning Whelan's behavior -- it wasn't that he was "too mean", it was that he broke an axiom. It was and is shocking that someone could be a paid blogger without keeping to these axioms reflexively.
And this is why mr. moto is wrong. publius' remarks might possibly have risen to the level of "flaming", though I personally would call it at most a slight scorching. But outing is not proportional retaliation, it is *breaking the whole system*, it's taking the conflict to a radically different level.
I'm not going to go into the rationale behind each of the axioms, because that would take too long -- can anyone recommend a good link? But as with any educational process, you obey the rules first, then study why we have them.
Based on an actual event, I'm not kidding