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Sight Screen

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Blog post

Hi all... you know from Arjun that the blog stays, sans the comments feature. A friend called late last night (one more of those, and he becomes an ex-friend); his suggestion was that the blog should stay with the comments feature in place.
In this, he differs from the many who emailed, suggesting that since the atmosphere in the discussion area had become vitiated, the way forward, at least for now, would be for the blog to remain, but for comments to be disabled.
This friend, in contrast, was arguing a point that resonates with me -- freedom of speech, which I believe in. But considering all that has happened these past few days, I was reminded of a comment made by former US Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand: 'The freedom of speech does not include the right to shout 'Fire!' in a crowded theater.'
That comment works, for me in the here and now. Argument, disagreement, debate -- we used to have all of that, and that was fun. Where the 'freedom of speech' line is crossed, IMO, is when debate segues into personalities; when the attacks are based on race, caste etc (pro-Sourav posters being denigrated for their 'bong' origins, or the reverse).
What also does not fall into that category is the spewing of vicious filth relating to fellow posters or even players present and past (an example, and by no means the only one, being the post I saw graphically delineating the proposed physical mutilation of the wife of a former cricketer).
Freedom of speech does not cover that. Some of you suggested I ignore it, as representative of a miniscule minority. I agree with the minority bit -- it is in fact because the lunatic fringe is a very tiny minority that I finally decided to keep this going, against my initial inclination. But 'ignoring it' is easier said -- you can shrug and walk by if you see someone spew venom on a street corner; you can't be similarly blase about it if that someone happens to be in your home.
Long story short, that is why comments have been disabled for now, though the blog remains in situ. We'll work to restore commenting, once we figure how to keep that space clean -- but that will likely be much later this month.
Meantime, thanks for all the mails and messages; you know my mail ID, for when you need to get in touch. Will revert to posting late tomorrow (Sunday) evening and will, as throughout this series, be online with 10-over postings for the final day-nighter in Mumbai Sunday night/early Monday morning.

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