My comment here has more to do with Internet fora in general, than the recent debacle.
Frank Hale (fvhale) wrote:
This is a forum. That word is Latin, from "foris," meaning outside, beyond the door (of the dojo, perhaps), in the open air. This is a place of rhetoric, of dialogue, of conversation and even humor, sometimes sarcasm and criticism (but please play nice).
Why do so few top academics participate in internet fora? Because in a real sense, they are "fora" in the classical sense of the word. They are "outisde." They are outside all the protocols and decora of our professions, of our status. If you are the President, Prime Minister, a bishop, a monk, or a seventh-grader, we all come here pretty much stripped of our dignity of office and status. This place is really "outside," and this can be a shock to folks expecting deferential treatment and "respect" that they receive in other places, such as dojo's or universities or government offices.
Well, yes and no.
Quite a few professional full-contact fighters (kickboxers and such) who retire from the ring start teaching expensive fighting seminars, where as a kind of special treat there is one occasion where all participants regardless of level are welcome to do a friendly sparr with the ex-champ. But after a while, most of these people remove the "I sparr with everyone at my seminars" from their curriculum.
It sounds ridiculous, does it not? This ex-champ certainly should be able to handle whoever turns up at the seminar, should he not? The thing is, the ex-champ and the student at the seminar do not play by the same rules in this sparr. It is supposed to be a friendly sparring (please play nice), but every now and then some people will forget this and try everything to win over the old champ. But the champ can not leave the rules of a friendly sparr! If he did, and he severely hurt and/or injured the person trying to get him with all his might... imagine what this would do to his reputation.
The "nobodies" and the well-known people with titles, position or status in the real world do not play by the same rules here on Aikiweb, or an other web fora. A lost face is much worse for those who are "someone" than for Ms Nobody. When she returns to the board after licking her wounds, nobody will remember who she is and she can start out fresh, without the memories of the old conflict adding a certain colour tone to everyting she writes.
Those of us who have an "Internet identity" and use the same nick on several sites also have more face to defend than the true Ms Nobody. But at least we have had some time to learn some basic stuff about internet communication. This includes things like when people write things directed to you that you find stupid or outright rude, it is better not to respond or it will be like trying to put out fire with gasoline.