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: Perusing some Linux Today talkbacks today, I was reminded of the "Tar Pit From Hell" theory of discussion boards which I expounded to my co-workers many months ago. It is basically the following: when you add a public discussion forum to your site you are placing your site on a big slab of plexiglass which floats around on the Tar Pit From Hell. As long as no one actually uses the discussion forum, you are safe. But the more people pile on to use the discussion forum, the deeper your site sinks into the Tar Pit From Hell. There are various measures you can take to slow your descent into the Tar Pit From Hell, but none of them deal with the fundamental problem, which is the fact that your site is sinking into a damn tar pit.

As you can tell, the Tar Pit From Hell theory is one of those cockamamie theories which survives only because its name is fun to say.

: Here is a great article defining the annoying thing people sometimes do when you're debating them to try and put their propositions beyond the terms of debate. The paper terms it "logical rudeness" and makes a convincing case that it's not possible to just issue a blanket prohibition on the tactic.

I screwed up my computer so I had to go into work (where I am now) to get a Linux CD. I booted up a BBC but couldn't find any of my hard drives. They're probably there, though.

: I'm back, and hard at work, for suitable definitions of "hard" and "at work". My fancy-schmancy Intellimouse works now, and the scroller works! Woohoo! Unfortunately my camera does not work. I hope it's just because I haven't been able to compile USB support into gphoto.

: Earlier, I realized that the author of the logical rudeness paper did us all a great service; the phenomenon now has a name, which means that you can confront people with it (assuming they are rational, which does not generally have a high correlation with logical rudeness). You can say "Do you realize that you are engaging in logical rudeness? Do you really want to be that sort of person?" and sort of try to shame them into arguing the 'correct' way, or show that their rudeness is of a self-defeating type.


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