Subject: Usenet vs. the Web (was Re: Can't get there from here) Sent: 10/28 11:49 AM Received: 10/28 11:50 AM From: Jamie McCarthy, firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (A copy of this message has also been posted to the following newsgroups: alt.revisionism, rec.arts.books) Unless I misunderstand the attributions, here's who wrote what: Gordon McFee wrote: > How many links does your website have to the Nizkor Project, Greg? Jeff Inman wrote: > In the context of the lengths people have been going to in this thread > to identify who is and who isn't evil, this bit about web connectivity > gives me pause. Are we going to start evaluating people's moral worth > by the places we can get to from their web page? Perhaps you misinterpret the meaning of the question, Mr. Inman. Holocaust-deniers have been saying for years -- decades even -- that what they want is any or all of the following: 1. open debate 2. free discussion 3. free debate 4. open discussion They repeat, incessantly, that the reason that no one will discuss anything with them is that the Establishment knows that they are right, and the Establishment therefore is fearful that a debate on the issues of the Holocaust will cause the whole "Holohoax" to disappear in a puff of logic. The Internet, as we know, has three chief communications media. There are others, of course, but these are the Big Three: 1. email 2. the World-Wide Web 3. Usenet Now, one can discuss the Holocaust in email, but it's not public, so it doesn't qualify. Forget email. The Web is a medium designed around publishing, not discussion. Holding a "discussion" on the Web is decidedly nontrivial: one must write one's text specially, with """ instead of a quotation mark, "
" between one's paragraphs, and other oddball assorted quirks. Each time one puts up a page, one must be sure that there are links to get to and from the rest of one's web site. One must consider overall layout when adding groups of pages, and often this necessitates moving other groups of pages. Any editing, much less moving pages around, requires checking the links and making sure they work. Furthermore, any "discussion" that takes place on the Web is slow and awkward. When Mr. Zuendel puts up a web page that the Nizkor site wishes to respond to, there is no easy way for us to know. We have to check his site each day or two, to see if there's something new. What if we wish to respond? We can write our response (tediously) and put it up on _our_ web site -- but there is no way for the readers of Mr. Zuendel's web page to know that a response has even been written! Usenet, on the other hand, is perfect for discussion, because it was created specifically to allow people to discuss things. When I read something which I would like to respond to, I press cmd-R, for "reply," type in my response, and click the "Send" button. No fussing around with special codes. No worrying about links. No worrying about linking in other people who want to take part; they're free to join in. No worrying about how people will know to read it -- threaded newsreader software handles that automatically, with no work on my part. Simple as can be. So, after years and years of calling for "open debate," Holocaust-deniers have finally discovered the Internet. And which medium are they unanimously choosing for their "free discussion"? The Web, of course! Why? Because, thanks to the efforts of a few dozen amateurs over the last three years, it has been made clear to them that "open debate" and "free discussion" on Usenet are the _last_ thing they want. On Usenet, unlike e.g. live televised debates, we amateurs can do research to prove that they are wrong. They can't lie outlandishly, or even stretch the truth a little bit, because they can be, will be, have been corrected. And most humiliating of all, they have been corrected by _amateurs_ -- nobodies like me. You've got to understand why they've been calling for "open debate" all these years. As Alan Dershowitz wrote back in '92: Recently, Mr. [Bradley] Smith invited me to debate whether the Holocaust occurred. He knows he cannot win, but he would like to be able to say that Alan Dershowitz regards the issue as worthy of debate. In mid-1994, Mr. Bradley Smith showed up here on Usenet. He had all the opportunity in the world to discuss the Holocaust with me and many others like me: people who aren't experts in the field, who aren't recognized names, but who have brains that work and who know how to do some basic research. He had all the resources of the Internet at his disposal: software written for the purpose of facilitating discussion, and an audience of tens of thousands. And he got rings run around him logically by us _amateurs_. None of us has quite the name recognition of Alan Dershowitz, I'm afraid. How embarrassing for Mr. Bradley Smith. In late 1994, Mr. Bradley Smith left the Internet. And, in mid-1995, Mr. Bradley Smith showed up on the World-Wide Web. He has not posted to Usenet. The pattern's the same. Ernst Zuendel is refusing to join us on Usenet. Greg Raven, you'll notice, posts only occasionally, and never joins in any discussion for more than one comment. Jack Wikoff joined us only for a few weeks. Ross Vicksell has left. Friedrich Berg has left. The Holocaust-deniers have effectively taken the battle to the World-Wide Web, to the medium which is _least_ suited for open discussion and free debate. But it's my firm conviction that all it takes to refute Holocaust-deniers is a brain that works and a little basic research. So I'm following them onto the Web. I'm helping organize an effort to convert a few thousand files into Web format (and the fact that it's taken us months to even get started should tell you how tedious the medium is to work in). We're putting up web pages which refute some of their lies. And, I'm contacting Holocaust-deniers and asking them to please establish links from their claims directly to our counter-claims. If they were sincere in their desire for "open debate," they'd quickly agree. After all, the process of debate is one of argument followed by rebuttal, counter-rebuttal, and so on. If the reader can't flip from an argument directly to its counter-argument, then what you have is not debate. I don't know what you'd call it, but it's not debate. And have they agreed? No, of course not! Why not? Well, Mr. Zuendel claims it would be too difficult and too costly of his resources to add the one line required to several of his web pages. (I offered to do for him the tiny amount of work required, and I wouldn't even charge him my standard $50/hr one-hour-minimum consulting fee. That was two weeks ago; he hasn't gotten back to me yet.) Greg Raven steadfastly refuses to even acknowledge that I have asked him. Once, when Ken McVay asked, he stated that he did not have the time to establish links with every other site that wanted them. I can only point out that he apparently established a link to Bradley Smith's site on the very day it appeared. Not to mention his mirroring the entirety of Mr. Zuendel's web site when the latter temporarily lost access -- at no small inconvenience to Mr. Raven, I'm sure! It's a matter of priorities, and apparently Mr. Raven's priorities include helping out his colleagues while ignoring anyone who disagrees with him. I haven't gotten around to asking Mr. Smith directly, because I'm still waiting for him to get back to me on an exceedingly simple question that I asked him originally over a year ago. A month ago he stated he was going to clear that up for me. I'm still waiting. I would have gone ahead and asked about linking up our sites, but Mr. Smith has laid down a ground rule that we alternate questions, which means I can't ask him another question until he gets to ask me one -- and he won't ask me his question until he answers my first. And since that first question has been pending for about a year now, I don't hold out much hope for a quick resolution of my next. Yes, I've resigned myself to trying to "debate" the Holocaust-deniers on a medium that's totally unsuited for it, while the medium that is perfect lies fallow. But it looks like even that will be unlikely. > Are we to suppose > that there is some battle whereby the GOOD people are attempting to > make the web into a transitive closure of GOOD sites, while evil > people keep adding subtle and devious links to nefarious sites that > corrupt any GOOD person who accidentally clicks the wrong icon? On the contrary! You totally misunderstand! It's the Nazis and Holocaust-deniers who seek closure, who link only to the web sites they approve of. I want the good sites, the evil sites, the honest and dishonest sites, all linked up together in every way possible and appropriate. Claim to counter-claim, argument to counter-argument. I want this because I firmly believe that people are intelligent enough to distinguish between truth and untruth on any particular issue -- when they are given the opportunity to see both. I simply want to give them the opportunity. And the fact that Bradley Smith, founder of the Committee for Open Debate On the Holocaust, doesn't want to join the discussion taking place every day on Usenet... The fact that Ernst Zuendel is fearful of debate on the World-Wide Web, "open," "free," or otherwise... The fact that Greg Raven doesn't even want to help people have the opportunity to see opposing views... ...should tell you what their agendas are. Posted with followups to alt.revisionism; emailed to Mr. Smith, Mr. Zuendel, and Mr. Raven, who are free to prove me totally wrong by publicly pledging to fully support my efforts to cross-link claim to counter-claim on the Web. -- Jamie McCarthy firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com http://www.kzoo.edu/~k044477/ I speak only for myself. Co-Webmaster of http://www.almanac.bc.ca/ Unless otherwise specified, I consider pro-"revisionism" email public domain.
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