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Watch out for the social animals!

Posted By: Taper_Mike
Date: Wednesday, 5 March 2014, at 7:12 a.m.

In Response To: Watch out for the social animals! (David Rockwell)

“If you actually believe Herb should be subject to public chastising, [you should] stand up and be proud of your actions.”

Right again! I am making two arguments here. I am surprised you failed to discriminate between them. You are a careful reader, and both were stated in the post you quote from.

  1. It is right and proper to criticize Herb Gurland’s actions. I don’t say this out of revenge or vindictiveness. I believe it is important to publicly air the issue so that players and tournament directors alike are sent a clear message that a significant portion of the backgammon community—perhaps the majority—does not approve of actions like his. Most of us believe that NLM was never meant to be pushed to such extremes. Any player who tries to do so should expect to meet with the strong disapproval of his peers.
    As for tournament directors, many have argued that Rule 1.1 gives a director the right to deny a claim such as Herb’s on the grounds that more harm is done to the “fairness” of a tournament when NLM is extended to extremes than benefit is gained by it.
    Rule 1.1 No set of rules should deprive the Director of his freedom of judgment or prevent him from finding the solution dictated by fairness and compatible with the circumstances of a particular case.

    A public airing lets directors and players both understand that we want directors to start using this authority. It can done without the need for a change to LM.
  2. The social animal argument: Even if it is not proper to criticize Herb, it is going to happen anyway. Peer-pressure is real, and there are consequences to ignoring it. Were I a friend of Herb’s, I would advise him to factor this into his decision making. Even he concludes that he was in the right, he may decide to behave differently if the choice ever comes up again.

I feel sorry for Herb. Everybody who knows him says he is a stand-up guy, and I believe that. It is unfortunate that his name is the one that has been attached to this issue. The issue cannot, however, be debated abstractly. As all college debators understand, in order to have an argument, you have to show the dead bodies. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone’s time debating about a hypothetical nothing. There are real people and real consequences attached to this issue, and they have to be discussed. Herb is one of them.


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