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Re^3: Musing on Monastery Content

by apotheon (Deacon)
on Oct 19, 2004 at 01:37 UTC ( #400375=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: Musing on Monastery Content
in thread Musing on Monastery Content

He does have the right to retract it. This is a public forum for discussion, in which each of us has the ability to contribute freely and the ability to edit those contributions. With that ability comes some rights and responsibilities, granted by the site's maintainers:
the right to change our words later
the responsibility to edit to make the store of knowledge greater
the right to freely express our opinions
the responsibility to share our opinions honestly

There are more of both rights and responsibilities. With each right comes a responsibility, and with each responsibility comes a right. Neither works without the other, here in PerlMonks as in meatspace.

You can't take away one without taking away the other. It's a good system.

None of that negates the right the site admins have to repost what has been edited out of existence. Nobody said the right to retract would guarantee that a retraction would be permanent and irrevocable. It's something one should be aware of here in PerlMonks, because it's a fact of life here.

- apotheon
CopyWrite Chad Perrin

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^4: Musing on Monastery Content
by ww (Archbishop) on Oct 19, 2004 at 16:11 UTC
    apotheon -- I'm "bang on" with most of your observations especially on the wisdom of conjoining "rights" and "responsibilities" in a community such as this... BUT it seems to me if someone -- call that indiviual "A" -- has a "right to retract" and someone else has the right to undo the retraction, A's right is a nullity; meaningless or void.

    It appears to me that Old Grey Bear's original posting and tye's response address this contradiction. You have addressed the "fact of life" here but I'd also really like to see your contribution from an ethical or philosophical view.

    Belated afterthought, in part as addendum to grandparent:

    a definition of "retract" (from, not exactly the OED, but sufficient, I think):

    1. v formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure; "He retracted his earlier statements about his religion"; "She abjured her beliefs"
    2. v pull inward or towards a center; "The pilot drew in the landing gear"; "The cat retracted his claws"
    3. v use a surgical instrument to hold open (the edges of a wound or an organ)
    4. v shrink back, as in fear

    Arguably, definition two could be stretched to approximate "delete" -- but that's a long stretch for a poor approximation. What X tried to do, AFAIK, was not "to retract" in the sense of the first definition, but "to delete" ...and, perhaps not "just by the way," to consign others' views to the bitbucket. That's a very different action.

    SO DIFFERENT, in fact, that I almost wish to disavow my earlier diatribe because it ignored (to my embarassment and perhaps to others' detriment) the distinction. Consider this a retraction of sorts, but note that it's not a deletion, which would "behead" your valued observations.

      You're right: that power of retraction can be negated by others with greater power. That's no different from saying that a person has a right to free movement and another person has a right to the sanctity of his property: where person B's property is not made free for others to travel through it, person A's right to free movement is null and void. Thus, a poster's right to retract his statements on PM exists only insofar as the site admins choose to respect his wishes in the matter. Person A has the right of free action as long as it does not infringe on person B's right to be free from force in regards to his person or his property.

      Thanks for not decapitating my observations. I do recognize the distinction between a disavowal and a deletion, and I agree that the distinction is significant. As we're discussing a retraction of the sort that involves more than simple disavowal, however, I don't think our statements in regards to deletion are in any way devalued by failing to discuss at length other forms of retraction.

      I recommend the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as a source of precise and accurate definitions, by the way. The OED can at times be too vague, and too inclusive or incomplete, in its definitions. See the American Heritage definition of retract for a treatment of the term that makes clearer reference to its uses.

      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

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