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Re: Decision Policy [was: Intended Audience]

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 03:13:25 -0800
Cc: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>
Message-id: <AD614438-3E1C-40FF-80EB-F452DBE11171@apple.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>


On Feb 1, 2009, at 8:23 PM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:

> Maciej Stachowiak 2009-02-02 05.05:
>> On Feb 1, 2009, at 4:36 PM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>> Lachlan Hunt 2009-02-01 03.30:
>>>> -public-html
>>>> +www-archive
>>>> Sam Ruby wrote:
>>>>> The third word is "strawman".  It involves raising and  
>>>>> addressing an issue that bears only a superficial resemblance to  
>>>>> the topic being discussed.
>>>> That is not the definition of a strawman.  A strawman is an  
>>>> argument where one person misrepresents another's position so as  
>>>> to be easily refuted.
>>>
>>> Avoiding the point(s), for the benefit of one's own point(s), but  
>>> still making it seem as if one were on topic. That is a straw man.
>>>
>>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
>>>> Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>>>> Maciej Stachowiak 2009-01-31 22.55:
>>>>>> I don't think your description is in conflict with what I  
>>>>>> stated. The one part I disagree with is that any raised issue  
>>>>>> that at least three people agree is an issue must be flagged in  
>>>>>> Working Drafts. I do think it is often a good idea to mark  
>>>>>> especially controversial issues, or especially pervasive and  
>>>>>> clearly unresolved issues, but I think doing this as a matter  
>>>>>> of course may create a lot of work. I would say instead that we  
>>>>>> should exercise reasonable judgment about when a flag in the  
>>>>>> draft is warranted.
>>>>>
>>>>> Stating his disagreement. (Conditionally permitted by Sam.)
>>>>>
>>>>>> P.S. I know you asked people not to state their agreement on  
>>>>>> the list. But since your email was a reply to me, but since  
>>>>>> your email was a reply to me and since I think it is helpful to  
>>>>>> the group to see people coming to agreement, I chose to make an  
>>>>>> exception.
>>>>>
>>>>> Claiming to have stated his agreement.
>>>>>
>>>>> Sam:
>>>>>> Keep a watch out for these three, and call them out when you  
>>>>>> see them.
>>>>>
>>>>> I see a "strawman".
>>>> Sorry, that's not a strawman either.  Maciej was just pointing  
>>>> that the he largely agreed with what Sam wrote, except for one  
>>>> small part.
>>>
>>> You (and Majiej) make it sound as if there is any difference  
>>> between saying
>>>
>>>    "I disagree in point x."
>>> and
>>>    "I agree, except in point x."
>> Regardless, a strawman is misstating someone else's position. If I  
>> misstated my own position, then that may be inconsistent, mistaken,  
>> or positively deceptive on my part, but it is not a strawman  
>> argument.
>
> When I said "strawman", then I used the definitino we had been given  
> - and which I happen to think was a good one as well.

Even by Sam's hasty definition, "It involves raising and addressing an  
issue that bears only a superficial resemblance to the topic being  
discussed,"  I do not see how my statement qualifies. It was most  
definitely about the topic being discussed, in a more than superficial  
way. Nontheless, using an incorrect definition of the term "strawman"  
as a basis for accusations is even less constructive.

> While it seems you had not just one, but two disagreements with Sam.  
> (Second being the strawman definition.)

I assume that was some hasty writing on Sam's part, and not a  
disagreement in substance. My experience is that he knows what a  
strawman argument is. I do wish he had explained it more clearly.

However, this has nothing to do with the decision policy, which is  
what I largely agreed with.

>> This is an example of why it is a terrible idea to encourage people  
>> to accuse each other of fallacious arguments. We are now debating  
>> the definition of "strawman" and what is and isn't a strawman  
>> argument, instead of any point of substance.
>
> Third being that you don't like the idea that we should look out for  
> strawmen arguments either.

Look out for? Sure. Politely point out when you believe your position  
has been misstated? Sure. Randomly accuse others without  
justification? That certainly seems like a bad idea, and when I first  
read Sam's message I did not think it would have this kind of effect.

> It is a logical fallacy to say that we land in a debate about what  
> strawmen is - when the proof for that is yourself.

I'm sorry, I don't understand this sentence. You can clarify if you  
want, but I am also not sure we need to discuss this further.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Monday, 2 February 2009 11:14:08 UTC

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