guidelines for conduct

Michael Betancourt (
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 14:02:15 -0400

Hi All,

Let me begin with: This isn't an attack on those who have
suggested we adopt guidelines.

I'm just explaining why I feel they are not a good idea:

While I can understand what guidelines might sound like a good
idea -- and most ISPs do have something called a TOS (terms of
service) which do constitute guidelines for conduct, I have to
state my complete feeling against such guides for

Guidelines of this type constitute a prior restraint on the
speech of everyone who lives under them, in effect becoming a
speech code which can lead to a feeling of censorship. That does not have these is a sign its strength.

Let me be the first to say that I feel Mr. Smylie has a perfect
right to make any kinds of statements about me or my work. To
deny him that though a guidelines for conduct (a speech code)
would be to deny his right to say what he wishes to say. I feel
this is wrong. He can say what he wants, either to or to me personally -- I will simply continue
forwarding the messages to the forum where they belong. Under no
conditions do I want any kind of constrain to come out of this. constitutes a free marketplace for ideas, and by
allowing him (or anyone) to say exactly what he (or they) want is
a good thing. It allows us to know who feels what about
and what happens here. This seems essential to the way we have
functioned in the past.

As to the level of hostility from Mr. Smylie, I realize that
while he is using me for target practice, it is not something I
can take personally having gone though assaults on my work, my
self and my opinions before. It feels appropriate that I should
act protect his right to attack me.