Nelson, David writes:
I think that this is not so hard to distinguish as you suggest.
Then it should be straightforward to automate it in the form of a
robot that emotionlessly evaluates each post.
There are two general cases: (a) overly insistent and (b) overly
How much is "overly"?
The overly insistent poster will almost always attempt to have the last
word in any thread, repeats positions frequently on the premise that if
you say something often enough it become true, and inserts "pet peeve"
issues into otherwise unrelated threads.
How often is "almost always"? How much is "frequently"? How much is
The overly personal poster makes comments about other posters, for
example making assertions about their lack of clear thinking, their
failure to understand the issue, their unspoken motivations, their
stubbornness, and so forth.
If everyone who did this were eliminated from a list, there might only
be three or four people left afterwards. Most people will resort to
personal attacks very rapidly and readily once someone else disagrees
While there are no standards, I think that case (a) can be usually be
recognized by sheer volume of postings and case (b) is easily detected
because the subject of argument ceases to be about the technical details
of the protocol, and becomes about the other correspondents.
Does that count for long discussions of formal actions the only
purpose of which is to exclude someone from the list--discussions that
make no mention of any technical details of any protocol at all?
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