Notes on communication


John Scalzi's posted ten points about free speech, conversation, debate and related subjects. There's lots of good stuff there: "8. If people do not engage you, it is not necessarily because they are afraid to engage you. Maybe they don’t have the time, or interest. Maybe they think you’re too ignorant to engage, either on the specific topic or in matters of rhetoric. Maybe they don’t want to either implicity or explicitly let you share in their credibility. Maybe they think you’re an asshole, and want nothing to do with you. Maybe it’s combination of some or all of the above. They may or may not tell you why."

1. As a general concept, freedom of speech includes the right to decide how and when to speak, and to whom.

2. This freedom of speech also includes the right to choose not to speak, and not to speak to whomever, including to you.

3. No one is obliged to have a conversation with you.

4. If they are having a conversation with you, they are not obliged to give you the conversation you wanted or expected to have.

Speech, Conversation, Debate, Engagement, Communication

(Image: shout!, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from suneko's photostream)

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  1. Scalzi has taken a public stand recently saying he won't speak at or attend conferences unless they have a published, enforced anti-harassment policy. So this might have something to do with that. He's also tweeted quite a bit recently about people disgruntled about his Hugo win, so that's another option.

    But I'm guessing this is a bigger thing -- he's a public person, and I imagine he gets quite a bit of crap from random jerks because of that. So it might not be related to either of those things in particular, which would explain why he posted it without context.

  2. I didn't see my favorite rule, which really needs to be drilled into people's heads these days: Someone telling you that you are wrong (or even that you should just STFU because you're being offensive or stupid) isn't censorship. They are just using their right to free speech to point out you're a wrong (or an idiot). Censorship involves using force to prevent you from expressing your views at all.

  3. Also: somebody disallowing you from commenting on their personal (or business!) website is not violating your right to free speech. Your right to free speech begins and ends with the government.

  4. @Shane_Simmons

    You're wrong. Last word. wink


    @vengefultacos said:

    Censorship involves using force to prevent you from expressing your views at all.

    Exactly, and we've got much bigger, very real censorship problems when crap like this is going on in the USA:


    Not that this will surprise anybody the ways things are going, but now the U.S. government is coming after journalists if they don't keep a salary... obviously, to try and censor them with fear.

    Of course they gotta go full orwellian and name it the “Free Flow of Information Act”. Kind of like how "No Child Left Behind" left children behind and our "Patriot Act" was anything but patriotic.

    I guess next they'll come up with the "No One Is Being Put Into Prison For Free Speech Act".

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