Re: [SystemSafety] Claims for formal methods

From: Peter Bernard Ladkin < >
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 15:45:43 +0100


On 2014-02-20 13:46 , C. Michael Holloway wrote:
> Not that my opinion need matter much, but I concur fully with Mr. Raftery. Editing the archive is a
> blight on the integrity of the list. In some ways, doing so seems worse to me than anything Mr.
> Jones wrote.
>
> On 2/19/14 6:08 PM, Heath Raftery wrote:
>> ...
>> That would be a real blight on the impartiality of this list. You're entitled to censor the
>> service as you wish, but removing criticism of the establishment would represent a dramatic drop
>> in the integrity I perceive this resource to present.

My first reaction is, oh bloody hell, can't we all just drop it?

My second reaction is to explain. It's fine to have a viewpoint. Thanks for sharing. But we're not in Kansas any more. There is a question of (deep breath) judgement.

Please inform yourselves first about the law regarding publishing in Germany. It's not the States and it's not the UK. A named publisher is personally liable for the contents of any WWW page. I am personally liable for material published on systemsafetylist.org. So are a couple of others, namely the Rector of the University of Bielefeld and the Minister of State for Science and Research.

Whatever your and my views on free speech, and believe me I am personally for it, I am unwilling to experience the consequences of liability for abusive comment by others. The phrase used is clearly abusive and its target was an unspecific but clearly identified group of professionals, any one of whom could take offence at being called XXXXXX at any time, claim damages from me (likely successfully, since I am clearly liable) and cause the site to be shut down. Indeed, I suspect that if certain people in my university were to find out, we might be off the air in a coupla days; that's local power politics for you, academic freedom or no.

I don't want any of those things to happen. I can only ensure that by substituting the abusive term. Any other suggestions are welcome, but privately.

Substituting the term is not trivial, and has and will continue to involve a certain amount of work by my team.

Rigorously, it's worse than that. I don't want to hinder anyone from calling anyone else a headless chicken here if they want. But suppose someone did (why y'all looking at me?), any member of the public could read it and complain to the local prosecutor and I'm in for a misdemeanor (as publisher, not as perpetrator). The chances of this happening in, ahem, "liberal" Bielefeld are around zero. After all, we're not Bavaria. But it did just happen in Bavaria. Somebody called somebody's *car* a bad name, was overheard by someone else, prosecuted and fined 700. (It was probably a BMW. If it had been a Merc he'd probably have gotten a reward.) Silly, isn't it?

PBL Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319 www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de



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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Thu Feb 20 2014 - 15:45:52 CET

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