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lynch mob mentality?

Posted By: Chuck Bower
Date: Tuesday, 1 December 2009, at 5:25 p.m.

As always, I admit I may have misinterpreted what I've read, and I'm sure that will be pointed out to me if it's the case. I've stayed on the sidelines throughout the Peter Jes Thomsen discussion, until now. I don't like what I'm reading here. A lot of what was written were done so by people I consider friends. If I said something of this magnitude and my friend(s) felt I was wrong, I sure hope she/he/they would approach me. Some examples:

1) If he's not guilty he'll speak up. So I guess everyone is supposed to do a daily check of the internet to see if anyone has sullied his/her name? I agree with Christian ("guilty until proven innocent"). And as far as getting a lawyer, I can tell you this -- if someone said something about me that I felt was false, I wouldn't go out and hire a lawyer. Not everyone can afford that, and given that we're not even talking the same country, what are the chances that the case would ever even be heard? You might save your good name, but I doubt you would get a penny to even pay the lawyer.

2) I trust XXXX (Obviously in this case 'XXXX' is 'Stick'.) I trust Stick, too, but not with 100% confidence in everything. Yes, having known Stick for a couple years, I trust him to say and do what he thinks is right/correct. I also have come to believe that he is a person of integrity. However, I don't trust that Stick is 100% right/correct in everything he says or does. From what I can tell, he doesn't even know PJT nor has every met him. His evidence is second hand. Should I trust Stick's second hand evidence? That means I have to trust the first hands, AND (as Frank points out well), I have to trust the communication between hands.

3) This isn't a court, it's a community. (I assume 'community' is backgammon, not BGOnline.) I don't get the distinction. I suppose the point is that Stick is protecting (or more specifically, attempting to protect) us from getting damaged. But what damage is allowable within this community? From my understanding, courts have an invisible line in the sand, biased (in a good way, IMO) to minimize the number of innocent people who are convicted but as a consequence to (at times) set free the guilty. Is that line in a different place when it comes to someone's reputation?

I see several people grabbing torches and pitchforks because they are pissed off at the online BG situation where they believe there is cheating going on. And Play65 seems to be dead in their sites. As bad as my memory seems to be getting, I do recall much heated discussion (and I believe with evidence) that this site and its associated site(s) were doing this two or three years ago. What has changed? Did people decide those were safe sites and start playing there, and now they feel cheated (again)? Shall we get out a shotgun and fire in that general direction, assuming anyone standing in that area is responsible?

Is it the same thing to pull aside a friend getting ready to play a money game/match and say "do you know about your opponent's reputation? Maybe you should reconsider..." and going public with that information? I don't know, but it seems to be different to me. In the second case I think the evidence must be much stronger.

I'm no historian but that doesn't mean I didn't learn some (what I believe to be) strong and important lessons from them when growing up. You can look back and ask "why did such seemingly compassionate, rational, well-intended people get involved in such horrible activity?" OK, no one is going to die here, but (unfair) damage can still occur. Some of the things I read remind me of that history. Did any of you also make that connection?

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