For those who suggest that PR action is never appropriate to take
against any person, let me suggest that rights of free expression are
not unlimited. Any human right has practical limits when it comes into
direct conflict with the rights of another.
For example, consider two college roommates. One wishes to exercise his
freedom of expression by listing to music until 3 AM in the morning
(without the benefit of headphones, of course!). The other wishes to
exercise his right to get sufficient sleep so as to be well rested for
the big exam the following morning. Clearly, each roommate, taken
individually, is exercising a reasonable freedom, but in this case they
have come into conflict.
While I have no opinion on the current case, it seems to me that the
basis for any such PR decision has to be based on the balance of rights.
Does the right of the allegedly abusive poster to express himself come
into conflict with the rights of the other mailing list participants to
conduct an orderly discourse? If such a conflict exists, then is the
imposition on the many sufficiently large to justify limiting the rights
of the one?
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