no enlightenment (WAS: cool gear)

Ernest Prabhakar (
Thu, 7 Aug 97 13:44:54 -0700

>>Go Koan yourself on the head, Ernie. There's no enlightenment in this

and you know it. Tim can call people fuckin stupid, but no koans are

necessary. Someone else tells it like it is, and we gotta call the local

out to keep the peace. Go stick a fork in it, furshur. <<<<

Okay, for those who tread not the difficult waters of self-enlightment,
let me spell it out.

FoRK is a virtual community. A community defined, in this case, as a
group of people who jointly share some finite resource for a common end
The resource in this case being attention span and mailbox windows, the
end being increased bits.

As a community, we are composed of people. It is my personal belief that
all people should be treated with respect, not matter who they are or how
they behave. Obviously, Tim, Jim and Ron all disagree with my standards
for that, though for different reasons. That's OK. My personal
preferences are not the rules for the list. My annoying personality
quirks (like this tendency to preach at the drop of a hat) are not grounds
for removal from the list.

That is the way that FoRK was meant to be. A real community. Not some
sanitized classroom or business office where everyone is on their best
behavior. Real people, with all their warts and hypocrisy and temper and
anti-cluons. If you're gonna play in the FoRK kitchen, you gotta be able
to handle the heat-death of bits.

Do I wish people were better? Of course! But as a Christian, I believe
it is always true that improvement is possible, perfection is impossible,
and personal choice is necessary. [You can quote me on that, Adam] I
would go further to state that persuasion is the key tactic to use if one
is really concerned about creating change. Ridicule, mockery, and
name-calling may be fun, and occasionally necessary, but I don't see them
as terribly productive.

But again, that is each person's choice. This community is intended to
be self-policing. If people are out-of-line, they should get negative
feedback. If the negative feedback gets negative feedback, so much the
better. Hopefully people will learn the hard way (via criticism) if they
don't learn the easy way (by positive example). But it is intended to be
an organic process. Neither I, nor Adam, nor Rohit want to be in the
position of saying "You are justified" and "You are condemned." We just
each share our personal perspectives and get on with it.

That isn't to say that we wouldn't take action if it was required. If
somebody sold our names to a spammer so that all of our mailboxes were
flooded by solicitations for days on end, we'd do something horrible like
make them eat Rohit's cooking But frankly, nothing I've seen is so very
far out of the bounds that it mattered. And most of those actions that
were out of bounds received appropriate negative feedback, and the
behavior subsided. That is how it is supposed to work.

It seems like people want a "censure" of Tim Byar's tendency to give bits
with minimal context. For those who skipped the commandments and the
kaons, or didn't understand them, let me give you my opinion, which is
probably commensurate with Adam's and Rohit's.

There are many aspects of Tim's lifestyle and behavior which I find
positively abhorrent, and context-free bits is surely the least of them.
And he probably feels the same way about me. But I can distinguish
between Tim the person and Tim's behavior. Tim as a person I find a
helpful ally, resource, and even friend. I am grateful to have him as
part of the community. Sure, there are many things about him that I wish
would change, but I am not going to -force- him to change, nor reject him
if he doesn't change. Instead, I will accept him as he is, and draw the
appropriate personal boundaries to be able to handle him.

The same holds true of FoRK. It has its warts, but I have decided to
accept it, make it part of my home, and try to improve it as best I can.
I draw boundaries - sometimes I delete entire threads, or just ignore it
on days I am busy - but I can live with it. FoRK as a community has its
own personality and style, which is driven by but largely independent of
Rohit, much less Adam and me. After all, this is FoRK, not CoRK (Cult of
Rohit Khare, coming soon to a server near you).

Which is the point of Koan 4, for those of you who still don't get it.
Tim Byars is *precisely* the kind of person we allow, even welcome into
FoRK. You don't have to be like him. You don't have to like him. You
don't even have to contribute to his retirement fund (though it is highly
encouraged). But you have to be able to accept him and deal with him.
If that means storing up your anger for a month and then exploding
periodically, fine. But please don't get it into your head that it is our
job to "protect you" from Tim being Tim. If you can't handle him, you
are welcome to try to change him, or to leave.

Don't forget, he was here first.

-- Ernie "Voltaire" Prabhakar
FoRK Chaplain
High Pundit and First Mocker

P.S. If it sometimes seems like I criticize other people more than Tim,
it is because I know which battles are not worth fighting with him. I
still have hope for the rest of you. :=)