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Re: Political Issues

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We have beat this issue to death in the past.  The problem is where to draw the line.  If you claim free speech on the list should prevail, despite the potential offensive nature of the post, then you can open yourself up to some pretty offensive material.
Who is going to be the judge of what is or is not offensive?  Many people are offended at different things.  The more open you leave the "freeness" of the list, the more people are going to be offended and the more people are going to leave the list.

Ultimately (and I think correctly) it was decided that no one could sit and be the judge on these issues.  This is first and foremost a structural engineering list, and people should not have to stay away from this list because they are offended by the non engineering posts.

In a perfect world no one would be offended by anything anyone else said.  But that is not the case.  Mr. Glenn Otto woke many of us up to this when he posted the following under the guise of "free speech"

  The three shortest books in the world:

    1. World War II Italian War Heroes

    2. The Book of Jewish Business Ethics

    3. Blacks I Have Met While yachting

  Know why blacks have chickens in their front yards?

    To teach their kids how to walk...

  What do you get when you cross a Jew and a Gypsy?

    A chain of empty stores.

  Know what you get if you cross a Chinese and a Mexican?

    You get a car thief that can't drive...

  Know how blacks learned to break dance?

    They were watching Mexicans try to steal hubcaps off moving cars...

  How do you baby-sit a black?

    You attach Velcro to the ceiling and stick him up by his head.

  How do you get him down again?

    You hand a stick to a Mexican kid and tell him it's a pinata.

  Why aren't there any significant works of art from Puerto Rican
  artists prior to 1957?

    That's the year spray paint was invented.

  How do you get 50 Dominicans into a space 20' long by 5' wide?

    Tell them it floats.

  How many Puerto Ricans does it take to change a lightbulb?

    None. (Alright, alright, who stole the  _____ lightbulb?!!)

  What 3 things come in a yellow box?

    1. Kodak film

    2. Crayons

    3. Woody Allen

Many of even the most tolerant people would be offended by this post, and yet he could turn around and use the same "free speech" argument that you have.

In order to keep the list alive and healthy, I think we must in fact restrain ourselves to engineering issues.  To do otherwise would probably mean the death of the list.


raranous(--nospam--at) wrote:


    Please understand that there are many out "here" who read the list
servers messages with great interest--even though we are not
engineers--in fact, some of us are in totally different professions
which are impacted by the engineering community.

    The diversity and opinions expressed on the wide variety of topics
is part of the process of understanding the engineering community as
rational beings and also helps to "personalize" what I have been
reading.  Even the minority opinions (when clearly expressed) have had
value and added insight.

    Please do not reduce your messages to the level of techno-blat.
Please do not allow your list server to become just another professional
clique which has relevance only to those "in the know."  You all provide
a great service to the community at large:  not the least is sharing
yourselves--through your interests, your thoughts, and your opinions.  I
would be very sorry if censorship were imposed in any way to limit the
free exchange of knowledge, information and opinions on any subject.

                                    Thank you for the opportunity to add
my paltry pennies.
                                    Audra Grinius Kunf, CEM