My Response to Alan Forrester

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2011 13:30:11 +1000
From Thu Aug 25 13:30:11 2011
From: Russell Standish <>
To: Alan Forrester <>
Subject: Re: Banned

Dear Alan,

I am really disappointed in your decision, as I thought you were bigger
than that. This is a major abuse of process.

The only off-list communication included in the post was the rejection
message, which is technically not from Elliot, but from the anonymous
BoI list administrator (who, as we all assume, is obviously Elliot).

Now there are several issues here:
i) I don’t recall there ever being a prohibition against quoting
private correspondence in the list guidelines. Its a bit hard to
check, as the list guidelines appear to be no longer publicly
available. It is also fairly common practice in academic literature to
quote “personal communication” where it is relevant to the topic at hand.

ii) A rejection notice for a posting can hardly be considered “in
confidential” correspondence. It is a criticism of the post in
question, and to address it requires referring to it in some way
(quoting it if not available elsewhere).

iii) In answer to your question about things being dragged out in
public, I always assume that any email I write might be displayed in public. If I’d prefer it not made public, I would explicitly mark it
“confidential”. The only way I’d be confident of an email being truly
private is if I encrypted it so that only person I sent it to could
decrypt it, and I could trust the other party. I have had several
private email exchanges with Elliot. I have no plans to reveal their
contents in public, but it would not embarrass me in the slightest if
they did leak. As for Elliot’s feelings, only he can answer to that.

iv) The posting I submitted concerns the interplay between two
important topics in FoR – that of algorithmic information theory and
induction. Whilst it might be critical of a relatively minor aspect of
David Deutsch’s worldview, it is written in the spirit of improving
and strengthening the ties between the various parts. That it might conflict with your worldview, or Elliot’s is irrelevant – there is no
requirement for us to all agree on this list.

In any case, this doesn’t stop here. I’m offering a hand of
collegiality here, giving you 24 hours’ grace to reverse your
decision, and give due cause as to why my post should not be allowed
on the list as is. After that, I will go public, contacting all members of the
FoR and BoI lists to let them know that at any time they could be
speciously censored and excommmunicated from the list. I will make the
facts of the case known to all who are interested, and it will be up
to them whether they consider it still worthwhile participating.

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