<a>Again, this is not done. that means, no copyediting yet! It looks like commentary might get moved to a different wiki, so it may not matter at this point
Have you ever known someone who, no matter what a discussion with them is about, it always degenerates to a "fiat is utopia" fallacy? I do. I know several.
My general feeling on communication (and the basis of my purpose here on wikipedia) is that implication has an importance that approaches or exceeds explicit verbalism. You simply don't want to say something in a way that, fairly or not, may lead someone to misinterpret what you just said. This is important! The only purpose of communication is to relate information, so if the information is not properly received--no matter why!--you have comletely failed in your purpose.
On a regular basis I see this in action. Sometimes it is only a mixed metaphor or incorrect idiom. These are very subtle, but can potentially confuse people. For example, in the Krusty the Klown entry, he was initially deigned "veteran actor repeatedly down in the dumps." Down in the dumps? He was sad? It was obvious to me however that the author had meant "down and out."
Sometimes it is worse, however. By associating someone with a bad event even circumstantially, you create a perceived guilt by association. I cannot begin to express how bad this is. People have been drug out of their houses and lynched because of this! "Muslims in Pakistan drug an American out into the street and killed him today--muslims like John here!"
- I find it hilarious that you bitch about how people use "mixed metaphor[s] or incorrect idiom[s]" and then you use "drug" when you mean "dragged." Are you trying to imply that Muslims are on drugs?!?
- my point, genius, is that there are big and little mistakes. little ones don't matter as much. I even said it was obvious what the author meant. The purpose of my admitted rant is that people use this intentionally-hence the title, I want to kill you for you agumentative style. did I call the person stupid? No. Am I calling you a jackass? Yes. Did you even read the rest of the article?
Nobody said that john did anything wrong. Nobody said that he was likely to do anything like those other muslims, just because he too is one. Well, no one said that explicitly anyway. If this extreme example happened on the news tonight, no one would doubt that there was an intentional implicit association attributed. Now if you make an implicit statement like this fully unintentionally, are the consequences any less severe?
Intelligent people can understand this. Most ordinary people cannot. This is why mobs can be incited to kill people, and why the demagogue gets away with murder. But, don't assume that just because you are smart that you aren't affected by it. How do you know the implicit statement is intentional? Sometimes you don't, because it is too subtle. How do you respond to that? Additionally, people petition the government to make laws. Those laws affect everyone.
An example of this might be the current conflict going on over cryptography. Osama Bin Laden might be using PGP encryption to inflict damage on the USA. Well now, how do we know this? According to the government and through the media, because since encryption is freely available, he could use PGP.
The possibility exists that he could use it. What kind of evidence is that? Not the kind that would stand up in the court of law, or get you a search warrant. But don't get me wrong. It is certainly entirely possible he is using PGP, and the FBI and CIA should obviously investigate that possibility. The point is that the government is saying, and the media reporting, that Bin Laden is using PGP because PGP exists.
The guy who created PGP has been the subject of many personal attacks lately, due to a public perception that "his fucking program helped kill 5000 people." How did that happen? Are there really that many people intimately associated with encryption in general, PGP in specific? No! Most people don't know anything about that stuff. They heard about it on the news. The news made a direct association between cryptography, his product, and September 11 that ignored the possibility that cryptography is an issue that did not involve PGP as its alpha and omega.
I'm not done with this article yet. Anyone can add to it as they see fit, in fact please do! Just don't change the point of the article if you disagree. Just comment on it then... There is a point I am getting to that ties everything together.