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VOLTAIRE ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH (Actually: Brockman on Burma)

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  • Andy Brockman
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Jun 2013
    • 35

    VOLTAIRE ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH (Actually: Brockman on Burma)

    Fellow Forum Members,

    I wish to place on the record my thanks to the Moderators of the various threads dealing with activities in Myanmar. They have undertaken a difficult task with fairness and tact and our sector was the better for the airing of all the views expressed.

    However, I also wish to place on the record my complete opposition to the closure and removal of the thread which was announced this evening.

    While the debate surrounding activities in Myanmar in particular may have become heated that is often the case in academic discussion where contrary views are held and argued with passion. The fundamental issue is that the suppression of discussion, arguments and views is utterly unacceptable and is contrary to all internationally accepted principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech.

    As Voltaire put it

    "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."



    It is also the case that the knowledge contained in the thread represents an unique and important "one stop" research source and archive for this story and as such the forum has a duty to maintain it in the public domain and available to researchers in future.

    Therefore, if the thread is removed it means that the Forum has chosen to remove itself from the norms of the community of regular academic discourse and the attempts many of us have made to have the contribution of the committed and knowledgeable members of this forum's community included in discussions and decision making about historic aviation and its archaeology. It is as though a publisher chose to remove and pulp an entire run of a journal of record and as such it is to be deeply regretted.

    Therefore I request that the thread is immediately reinstated so that the discussion can continue.



    Andy Brockman

    Conflict Archaeologist
  • paul1867
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Nov 2012
    • 1452

    #2
    Andy is it not the case the the quality of the discussion had deteriorated to such a level, again, including what some had called personal abuse that it was time to call, what will almost certainly be, a temporary halt. Take a breath. There has been plenty of very good discussion but unfortunately also plenty of not so good bickering.

    It is not a question of freedom of speech but restoring the thread to news and discussion on that news. Personally I feel everything that can be said has been said so we should now await further news. In the meantime we can always re-read the thread.

    Regards Paul
    I had just got round to seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty, when some sod came and drank it......

    Comment

    • Andy Brockman
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Jun 2013
      • 35

      #3
      The point is no-one, even an interested, independent, drop in found it on Google, researcher can re-read the thread because it has been taken down.

      Meanwhile, some of the most personal comments have been directed at myself and the motives and competence of the 2013 Archaeological team and in spite of that we are not asking for the thread to be suppressed. We trust readers and forum users to read the evidence and make up their own minds, fully aware that as we predicted, some people will never agree with our view.

      In that context the current "news" is principally about about our report and thoughts and ideas flowing from it and that discussion has been cut off. While as a team we might also have points to make in future relating to comments and suggestions made and we are being denied the chance to table those thoughts and suggestions to the people who have been most engaged with this matter since the story first broke.

      This is not how such discussions are meant to be conducted.

      Voltaire got it right.

      Andy B

      Comment

      • Malcolm McKay
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Aug 2004
        • 1820

        #4
        Well Andy I understand your position all too well. Many years ago I was asked as part of a larger job to undertake a detailed survey of a purported site of some historical events. The evidence for the events occurring where they did was purely oral and to further complicate the matter there were no living witnesses - the oldest of the informants had yet to be born when the events took place. As asked I did a detailed survey, I noted the position of all artifacts and identified them, provided photographs and a detailed site plan, consulted with a historian who had done a survey of known occupation of the site etc. In short I did everything that was required. My conclusion at the end was that the referred to event could not have taken place where it was claimed - a key point was that at the time the event was said to have occurred there was a building on the site (the artifacts were metal fittings from it) while the informants claimed the events took place in the open. I reported the evidence and said that while I did not dispute that an event like that claimed had taken place it was clear it could not have taken place where claimed. End result I was subjected to a tirade of abuse, my judgement questioned etc. by both the informants and by people who took their side. So you have my sympathy. When you are up against dearly held memories you will always lose.

        Comment

        • paul1867
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Nov 2012
          • 1452

          #5
          Andy with all due respect the thread has not been suppressed and its almost certainly temporary breathing space is nothing about you at all. It is purely moderating the thread to stop it degenerating into unseemly personal bickering which is nothing to do with the subject of the thread. Whilst , of course, I cannot speak for the moderators I am sure the thread will be up an running again when the moderators have finished their deliberations.

          Personally i feel that this is how, on these forums discussions should be conducted. I do not want it deteriorating to the sort of "quality" we see elsewhere.

          My mistaken joke about reading the thread was just that and I am sure that researchers will soon have the opportunity to read all 6K posts, is it.

          Again with all due respect quoting Voltaire is a little simplistic in the sense that if you went to speakers corner and started sprouting racial hatred the moderators would soon come along and cart you away.

          I draw your attention to the posting rules of this forum and their purpose and specifically rules 5, 10 and 13 these are the only powers the moderators are exercising and they are certainly not suppressing anything. Possibly you did not see the most recent posts with several warnings from the mods to play nicely.

          The mods are doing a good but difficult job, be patient and I am sure the thread will be back soon and you can make all the posts that you want.

          The mods did ask that no debate was started regarding the thread suspension but I think that was actually on the thread so no doubt you missed that, and, of course, this is the wrong forum to be discussing this anyway so do not be surprised if this thread is either moved or even deleted..

          Regards Paul
          I had just got round to seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty, when some sod came and drank it......

          Comment

          • paul1867
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Nov 2012
            • 1452

            #6
            Originally posted by Andy Brockman View Post
            Fellow Forum Members,

            However, I also wish to place on the record my complete opposition to the closure and removal of the thread which was announced this evening.

            Andy Brockman

            Conflict Archaeologist
            Sorry Andy I owe you an apology I had not seen the mods posted decision and somehow had missed the above part of your post. Sorry.

            Regards Paul
            I had just got round to seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty, when some sod came and drank it......

            Comment

            • Moggy C
              Moderator
              • Jan 2000
              • 20534

              #7
              Mr Brockman's comments are noted.

              The 'Discussion' thread is currently unavailable. It is unlikely ever to open again, but will at some point be restored to the public arena for access.

              The 'News' thread continues, though closed, and will remain so until such time as there is any news.

              This was a unanimous conclusion of the way forward between all three active 'Historic' moderators and the webmaster.

              Moggy
              Moderator
              Last edited by Moggy C; 10th April 2015, 07:11.
              "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

              Comment

              • Bruce
                Independent analyst
                • Jan 2000
                • 10226

                #8
                Andy,

                A number of issues caused the closure of the thread.

                Firstly, this does set a precedent. We have spent a huge amount of our own time trying to keep things running smoothly, but every time it is opened for debate, the polarised positions get ever more so, and we end up with the same arguments. I would argue that there is nothing more to say. Your report, in my opinion did not answer, with enough clarity, all of the questions demanded of it.

                Which brings me to the next point. Whilst I understand that posting here can be like walking into the lions, den, we cannot have a full and fair debate with a major party not willing to enter it. I asked, quite politely, that you enter the fray, to discuss the principal concern, but for your own reasons, you choose not to. I respect that choice, but reiterate; without the input of the people in the ground, we cannot move the debate on.

                Lastly, we had a whiff of legal action in the past few days, seemingly from the direction of the sponsors. Now, I don't believe there was anything contentious in the last few pages of the thread, but quite clearly, some of us were taking a counter view to your own report, in some cases quite vehemently. I would appreciate clarification from your camp in this regard.

                I would simply ask you all to remember that the moderators, whether you agree with how we perform our tasks or not, are unpaid volunteers. All we get is a single copy of a Key magazine once a month. When this thread is open, we often spend 2 or 3 hours a day between us monitoring and sorting it out. I think that is too much to expect. Every one of us has come close to throwing in the towel over this thread, and I think we deserve a break.

                Right now, the thread is in the trash. That is as disappointing to me as it is to all of you who have an interest in it. It shouldn't have come to this.


                Bruce

                Comment

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