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Re: The Sv*n L*th*r drinking game

On Sat, Jul 24, 2004 at 02:57:54PM -0400, lex@cc.gatech.edu wrote:
> Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@debian.org> wrote:
> > On Fri, Jul 23, 2004 at 04:37:49PM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > intention would clearly be to dealy the issue until everyone who opposes you
> > > has left in disgust, and you can claim consensus.
> > 
> > *You've* driven three people out of this discussion with your personal abuse
> > against them.  Who is exactly is trying to berate the opposition into
> > silence and then claim they hold the consensus opinion, exactly?
> Actually, the process Sven describes here seems to be happening.  Some
> people on the list abuse the other participants until they leave, and
> then claim consensus afterwards.  They may just as well procede to say
> that whoever left is an unclued idiot, because they are not around to
> defend themselvees anyway.

Yeah, I reckon:

"Please don't bother writing to me again. Your previous posts have made it
clear that you don't even bother reading here anything apart from the posts
which interests you, and that you have no problem making half backed claims
based on pure speculation."

(Sven Luther, http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/07/msg01122.html)

"Brian, i ask you to not [...] to participate in this thread [...]. I will
consider any conclusion you have participated in as void and not binding, as
you are obviously clueless [...]"

(Sven Luther, http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/07/msg01203.html)

"I've refrained from posting further directly on the QPL issue."

(Brian Thomas Sniffen,

If you'd like, I'll dig up a few instances where Brian has been ridiculed
after having removed himself from the thread, to back up your "They may just
as well procede to say that whoever left is an unclued idiot, because they
are not around to defend themselvees anyway", but there's so many of them
you can basically fall over them in any post made over the last few days by

> Sven's arguments seem clear and important to me, and it behooves us to pay
> attention and address them.

I thought that, too, for about four days, but after the approximately
eighth time Sven's "arguments" consisted of abuse, ridicule, and nothing
even vaguely resembling reason, I gave up.

> can avoid it.  Most especially I do not want to reach the situation where
> a theorist on debian-legal has found a theoretical problem that the maintainer
> of the package disagrees with.

That's the commencement of the discussion.  The theorist and the maintainer
then discuss the issue to a point of agreement.  Or, at least, that's what
happens when the maintainer doesn't have a 100-post hissy-fit, anyway.

> Of course, even aside from the process question, there is an issue of
> proper treatment of fellow Debian developers.  We are all on the same
> side, but some people seem to be forgetting this.


> If you think Sven and I are exagerating, let me toss out a few examples from
> just the last couple of weeks:

And the beginning of this thread gave quite a number of examples of Sven,
all by himself, insulting other members of debian-legal.

> Nathanael Nerode <neroden@twcny.rr.com> wrote:
> > > I have argued that it may well be *good* for a license to specify choice
> > > of venue.  It is a nice thing to know which laws apply to the agreement,
> > > and that's what a choice of venue clause tells you (at least, to the
> > > point anything is certain in law).
> > 
> > Wrong wrong wrong.  Please pay attention.
> How is it "wrong", much less "wrong wrong wrong", to point out a new
> argument?

When the argument is flawed?  Choice of venue does not necessarily specify
the laws which will be used.  Choice of law does that.  But you know that.

> And why am I supposed to "pay attention" here, when clearly I
> am pointing out something that people are overlooking?  This is not the
> kind of treatement a fresh idea should receive.  I have yet to see

It's not a fresh idea.  It's been dealt with before.  Several times.  The
same points get brought up regularly, and it gets frustrating.  Sven sees it
and goes apeshit, and you ignore it.  Someone who disagrees with you gets
frustrated, and you raise it up as an example of the brutality of

> > > But don't take my advise, however much logic it may be based on.
> > Namely, "none".
> This speaks for itself.

Yep.  Your sentence was basically an attempt to bully everyone else from
dissecting your argument by prematurely concluding the logical purity of
your argument.  Nathanael simply called your bluff.

> G. Branden Robinson wrote:
> > I'm afraid your response was far too scholarly and informed to be taken
> > seriously by anyone who feels that choice-of-law or -venue clauses are just
> > fine by the DFSG.
> This was the entire content of one post, aside from a rot-13'd comment
> that this is sarcastic.  This post had no purpose other than to flame
> someone and to rabble rouse.  Further, we see here again the implicit

It was a bit of a "flame", but at least it was a stylish one.

> > Proof by assertion; wow.  Good thing we're not lawyers, or we'd have
> > detected that fallacy.
> This is not a proper response in a debate.  The issue mentioned was in
> fact carefully described and defended.  It even happens to be one that,

Let's quote what you wrote which Branden was responding to:

>> I suggest that in the vast majority of cases it is clear when a license
>> is free in a practical sense.  MPL has obscure clauses that bother
>> some debian-legal extremists, but in practice, MPL meets the goals of
>> DFSG excellently.

There are several assertions there, and none of them with any backing that I
can discern.

> if followed, could make Debian a better distribution.  It received no
> substantial response, despite being a careful, well-reasoned, and
> non-confrontational observation.

"Well-reasoned" requires reasoning.  "Non-confrontational" isn't
demonstrated by calling anyone who disagrees with you an extremist.

> On Wed, Jul 14, 2004 at 09:59:22AM +1000, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> > Would you care to base your assertion on fact and logic?
> Yes, I did so.  This poster, however, sees no need to state an
> *objection* based on fact or logic.

Message in full, for context:

On Tue, Jul 13, 2004 at 03:57:49PM -0400, lex@cc.gatech.edu wrote:
> The Dictator Test goes well beyond DFSG.  DFSG clause 1 merely says
> that there is no fee or payment for the software.  Nothing in DFSG says
> that the license must make no requirements at all.  The Dictator
> Test is a stronger test.

The dictator test, as I read it, does not say that a licence must make no
requirements at all.  Every permission grant other than placing a work in
the Public Domain would fail if that were the case.

Would you care to base your assertion on fact and logic?


You base your entire argument on an assertion that the Dictator Test
requires that a licence make no requirements at all, yet you do not support
that in any way.  Anything you conclude based on your unsupported assertion
is equally suspect.

My objection was quite logical -- if your assertion that the Dictator Test
did not allow licences to make any requirement whatsoever were true, then
nothing except a Public Domain permission grant would be Dictator Test-Free,
because every other licence makes a requirement of some sort or another. 
Considering that both Branden Robinson and I do not advocate placing
everything in the public domain, I think yours is a hard argument to make.

> Here we see the strategy of spamming out a bunch of flames in order to
> quickly eliminate the weak of heart and the short of time.

I'd consider it the strategy of calling a spade a spade in order to quickly
eliminate the weak of argument and the short of logic.

> Branden Robinson wrote:
> > (5 days later...)
> > 
> > Perhaps not.  :-/
> This is exactly the kind of thing I and Sven are talking about.  There
> is an implicit assumption here that an argument crafted over more than a
> day or two must obviously be inferior to one that is spammed out from
> the tip of the brain.

No, I think the assumption is that if you made the argument in the first
place, you would have *some* basis of logic to back up the argument already.
It shouldn't take you five days to enumerate that argument (in fact, in the
best of worlds, you would have done so in your initial message).

- Matt

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