BHL Moderator on Jason Brennan and blog policy:
Jason Brennan on BHL and blog policy:
There’s no official BHL policy.
Annotation by Matt Zwolinski, responding to a query of mine on blog policy:
How you leap from “I…think it is a good idea to publicly indicate when you have [revised a post]” to the conclusion that I approve of secretly deleting threads “simply so as to make the commenter look stupid while preserving the blogger’s illusion of infallibility” is beyond me.
Baffling, isn’t it? How could anyone “leap” to that crazy conclusion? The Moderator of a prominent blog is asked pointblank whether he approves of one of his bloggers’ deleting whole threads in the name of “revision.” He goes out of his way not to answer the question asked, but makes clear in what he says that it is permissible to delete whole threads so as to preserve the blogger’s illusion of infallibility. When he (or his blog) then comes out and ratifies the permissibility of thread-deletion via a “policy” that no one had ever heard of until he announced it, what are we to make of his previous bafflement at the very suggestion that such a policy might come into existence? Was it really a “leap,” or was it an inference to a conclusion that was obvious to anyone who’d bothered to connect a few dots–and that has now been made explicit by the very people who dismissed it as the ravings of an inconsequential troll?
Reading BHL on the adjunct controversy, I have trouble believing that I’m reading something written by reputable professional philosophers for public consumption. Could the profession be more thoroughly dragged into the mud than by an approach to discourse in which people start the conversation by insulting one another, change whatever claims they’ve made whenever they want, delete whole threads (and whole posts) whenever they want, and ban people in the middle of the conversation for any reason or none? How could anyone expect to be taken seriously on moral grounds after a performance like that?*
Not that the pro-adjunct side of the debate (especially the Twitter-based faction) has been all that elevated, either. Whoever had the brilliant idea of attacking Brennan-smiling-by-the-edge-of-a-lake etc etc. didn’t exactly do adjuncts any favors. What they managed to do instead was to divert attention away from the issues adjuncts actually face, and create the red herring of a class war/pissing contest between a guy who thinks that six months at GEICO gives him permanent credentials as a member of the proletariat, and people who think that a guy standing by a lake can be treated like a character out of a play by Brecht. But that’s the conversation we now have–along with the puerile tweeting about Brennan and Magness’s race, their facial characteristics, and their Mommy issues; the taunting of adjuncts as “losers,” the bad faith career advice, and the “barefoot-in-the-snow” Horatio Alger stories, etc. You’d think that educated people could do better than this.
Obviously, I’m not characterizing every contributor to the debate. But in many cases, the shoe fits.
I’ve been thinking of holding an event at Felician this coming fall on the adjunct issue, called something like “Adjuncting: Ethics, Politics, Economics.” I’m thinking it’ll be a panel discussion of some kind involving adjuncts, full timers, and maybe even some administrators (maybe), airing out issues of mutual concern. I’d like to think that we can discuss some of these issues in a more constructive way than we’ve so far seen. If an event like that is of interest to readers, and you’re in the New York/New Jersey area (or can get there) this fall, feel free to indicate your interest in the combox. If there is interest, I’ll look into the logistics of creating the event. No promises, but I think it’s a conversation worth having, and an event worth doing.
*All quotations current as of May 6, 2015 at 4:19 pm EST. But we’re talking BHL, so don’t expect to read the same post or thread twice.
Postscript, September 28, 2015: Here’s another illustration, from BHL, of the increasingly ludicrous contortions entailed by what for lack of a better term might be called its “editorial policies.” It’s from a post by Steve Horwitz, criticizing a post elsewhere by Sharon Presley. The original version of Presley’s post had cited Horwitz in a way that Horwitz evidently didn’t agree with. Horwitz complained out loud at BHL, prompting Presley to delete the offending sentence. Horwitz responds as follows:
[UPDATE: Sharon has now edited her post to remove the reference to me and my work without providing any sort of explanatory note that an edit has been made. This is very bad academic and blogospheric manners.]
Yes, very bad.
Later, we get this explanation of one of Horwitz’s claims in the post:
[The first paragraph has been edited for clarity to indicate that Sharon’s piece is critical of EP and inappropriately enlists my work in her cause.]
Right, but that was what Presley was saying back in the day. So maybe the first paragraph should be re-edited for clarity to indicate that Presley’s piece doesn’t mention Horwitz at all. Got that? I’m just waiting for Matt Zwolinski to clarify everything by shrugging his shoulders and saying that he doesn’t see the problem.
Horwitz seems to have missed the fact that the very “bad academic and blogospheric manners” he criticizes here are par for the course at BHL, and have been for years–a fact alluded to four days ago in the BHL combox, but so far unacknowledged by him. At the end of the day, listening to BHL lectures on “bad manners” is like listening to a Donald Trump lecture on hairstyling. The difference is that Donald Trump has the sense to avoid the offending subject. They don’t.