Questions regarding Guidelines

Continuing the discussion from Reason for not publishing list:
it says we should avoid
"Ad hominem attacks." and "Knee-jerk contradiction[s]"
sad but true point is that I (and probably a lot of others in here are foreigners meaning that not everyone may undertsand what it means even even less people in here probably know latin.

can somebody explain simply what those 2 mean? I know what a contradiction is but a “Knee-jerk contradiction” is something I never heard and I never had latin in school so ad hominem is also completely new.



It’s noteworthy that insults are not, in themselves, ad hominem attacks. “You’re an idiot” is not an ad hominem attack. The defining characteristic of ad hominem is that it uses a characteristic of the person as an argument: “you only say that because you’re $CHARACTERISTIC.”

My understanding is

“Ad hominem attacks.” … a response directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

“Knee-jerk contradiction” … an immediate unthinking emotional response, that isn’t thought through.

@danb35 so the “ad hominem” thing could als be explained as “talk about the post, not the person doing it”

@serverco so that knee jerk thing could be explained as “stay calm and think before you post”

is that right?

Yes, I think that's a fair assessment. I'd probably say talk about the "topic / subject matter" rather than the "post", although that may be considered semantics

Personally I'd say that on the forum we shouldn't be calling anyone idiots. It's better to say " the facts X and Y appear to contradict your statement", and we shouldn't be saying "You're an idiot for believing that when X and Y clearly show you are talking rubbish"

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wouldnt calling somebody an idiot not instantly fall under the name calling thing? at least that’s how I percieve it.

I agree, yes, it would.

I agree, but to do so is not an ad hominem attack.

Agreed :slight_smile:

Good to see a perfectly civil discussion on a topic :slight_smile:

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