My Rules Rule, OK
Comments on the Prachatai English website are descending into the kind of undisciplined shambles that one normally associates with Premier League footballers when their team is losing or members of a Thai political party when Cabinet seats are being divvied up. Just last week, this column was blessed with a comment from the impressively prolific Tony. And for the life of me I can’t understand why.
I’ve read it a number of times and can still find no connection between what he writes and what I wrote. He has his own blog. Would that not be a more appropriate place for comments apparently unrelated to my own?
No, this farce has gone too far. It is time to impose some discipline. You will all benefit from the smack of firm government.
Now of course I have absolutely no way of enforcing my will on you, however much it would be for your own good. So I will follow the example of regulation in such honorable professions as financial derivatives traders. The process seems to be for the practitioners to think up some self-serving course of action, then cajole, bribe and bully the regulatory authorities to allow all but the worst excesses, while they think of fresh forms of mischief.
By writing the rules to conform to current behaviour, I have a much better chance of success than trying to make your behaviour conform to the rules. So here, based on careful observation of past comments on this website, are the rules for posting comments. I trust that since this is what you already do, you will have the common decency to comply. And if you don’t, it can only improve matters.
1 You are not allowed to say that the ideas, proposals, analyses or interpretations by your opponents are misinformed, unsupported by the evidence or based on faulty logic. Instead, you should assert that the people who say anything you disagree with are liars, paid propagandists or mentally deficient in a variety of ways. Allegations of criminal activity should be included, up to and including capital offences such as treason. At the very least you must accuse them of being dupes. Paid dupes, of course.
2 It is particularly inappropriate to offer, in a civilized and respectful manner, counterevidence, alternative analyses or constructive corrections to their argumentation. This would run the risk of diluting the slanders, ad hominem attacks and general boorishness with an undesirable admixture of reason, courtesy and a disinterested search for truth.
3 Once a person has expressed one opinion that is contrary to those you hold dear, you must then assume that all of their other opinions are wrong. Those that appear to be the same as yours must then be malicious subterfuges cunningly designed to confuse the exemplary clarity of ‘me’ versus ‘you pathetic lot of losers’.
4 If someone who has previously disagreed with you now changes their opinion to one you support, you must not congratulate them or praise their conversion to the one true path. Instead you must heap scorn on their inconsistency and hypocrisy.
5 If at any time, someone produces incontrovertible evidence that you have written something that is blatantly incorrect, you can make it correct by repeating your statement, unchanged, many times over and alleging that your accuser is a liar, paid propagandist, etc.
6 If one member of an organization says something that you believe is incorrect, offensive or contrary to your own prejudices, then you must assume that every other member of that organization is part of a conspiracy to mislead, offend or indulge in sheer bloody-mindedness.
7 You must assume that attendance at a rally, seminar, or other gathering is irrefutable proof that the attendee unquestioningly supports all opinions expressed at the gathering. If the public statements at the gathering are inconsistent or in contradiction with each other, then you must either accuse all attendees of not knowing their own minds or choose those opinions which most closely approximate the opposite of your own and assume that all attendees subscribe to these views.
8 Any organization or individual that accepts funding from any source must be assumed to be under the complete control of that source and to share the opinions of any persons associated with that source (you should choose those persons with the least acceptable views). (Acceptable to you, that is.) Organizations or individuals accepting funds from the same source are clearly conspiring together to propagate the purported views of that source.
9 You must always assume that you have a superior understanding of what others say. You understand better than anyone else what other people ‘really’ mean (including the person saying it). This allows you to expose their ‘hidden agenda’ and to subject their words to an interpretation that is favourable to you, no matter what the words may say.
10 If any individual or organization expresses support for a cause, campaign, movement or undertaking, you must accuse them of hypocrisy, cowardice and/or terminal stupidity. You do this by providing the example of just one case (of any degree of obscurity and relevance) where they have failed to act. Or at least where you do not know that they have acted, which amounts to the same thing.
11 These rules must be applied with the utmost rigour and consistency and with no exception bar one. (It will come to you.)