A D O R E - L   P O L I C Y    L E T T E R
                        APL No. 3   4 MARCH 1989
                            50 PERCENT RULE.
     Simply put, the 50 percent rule is that all communications to
ADORE-L or ALT.CLEARING.TECHNOLOGY should have a content to flame ratio
greater than or equal to 50 percent.
     Flame is anything that is not content.
     Content is specifics.  You do not have to prove everything you say,
you do not have to support it with endless references, but you should
say something.  Meaningful and specific.
     If you think someone is wrong or ignornant, do not just say 'so and
so is wrong and ignorant'.  Quote EXACTLY the viewpoint you disagree
with and state an exact counter viewpoint.  You do not have to prove you
are right.  The first goal here is to STATE the Truth, not to prove it.
Just getting it said would be a major leap for mankind.
     If someone violates the 50 percent rule in responding to you, this
does not give you the right to violate the rule in return.  You are ALL
under oath to abide by the 50 percent rule no matter what.  This is your
HONOR at stake.  Honor is the ability to make, keep and trade fair
chosen promises.  The promise in this case is to stick to the 50 percent
     On many lists flames are not allowed at all.  What can happen there
is that people will intentionally misinterpret your content and consider
it a flame.  For example if your content happens to be a criticism they
will take it as a flame.  Their intention of course is to suppress your
communication as the criticism is usually of them.  This makes other
people very afraid to post.
     On ADORE-L the 50 percent rule gives you a WIDE MARGIN OF ERROR.
You can flame people or ideas for 1/3 of a page and give content for
2/3's of a page and still be well within game rules.  This makes it
impossible for someone to nit pick you into silence.  Defend your rights
to this rule.  It exists for you.
     Every once in a while someone will step over the line.  Short
postings containing nothing but value judgements such as 'I like...' or
'I dislike...', sweeping generalities (not specifics) and endless
dripping sarcasm and slime are good candidates for this kind of posting.
     Endless dripping sarcasm is fine by the way, as long as it is
followed by 100 percent specific content.  This produces a perfect 50/50
message.  It is really walking on the edge though.
                          HANDLING VIOLATIONS.
     A good way to handle violations of the 50 percent rule is to
analyze in detail the content and flame of the message, add up the
percentages, and post the results.
     Suggesting what content could have been added to the message to
balance the flame already present is also very constructive.  Suggesting
what flame could have been left out of the message is not so
     Teaching people not to flame is teaching them to speak LESS.
Teaching people to post more content is teaching the to speak MORE.
Thus if people flame too much, get them to post content to match it.
This is fitting justice.
     Do not confuse the 50 percent rule with OFFENDING someone.
     The statement
     'The Bible was written by the Devil to mislead Christians
     into a life of irresponsibility for their own birth,
     a fear of God and His Universe, and to further entrap
     some Christians in their own wish that there be a Hell
     FOREVER that they could send all their enemies to by providing
     an All Powerful Being to do it for them.'
     is 100 percent content although it might offend some.  In fact some
would consider it a direct blaspheme of their religion.
     On the other hand, the statement,
     'Some Christians are stupid jerks who deserve to go to Hell
     is 100 percent flame and 0 percent content.
     One can improve the ratio on the above sentence by altering it in
the following way.
     'Some Christians deserve to go to Hell forever because they
     themselves wish non believers to go to Hell forever.'
     This statement is 100 percent content and in fact can be argued
with by returning,
     'It does not take going to Hell FOREVER to get someone
     to give up their desire to have it happen to others.
     About 5 minutes will do.  Since it is not NECESSARY
     to send a person to Hell FOREVER to change his mind,
     and since God is not only BIG but also SMART, it
     is unlikely that such ever occurs.  However it is possible
     that some are roasting there for a while.  The good Lord
     probably checks in on them periodically to see if they
     are well done.  Some Christians need a little longer to cook.
     Then he lets them all go and gives them another chance.
     He gives them as many chances as they need.  Thus one day
     ALL Men attain the awakened state.'
     The following is a statement with 100 percent flame and 0 percent
     'I love Christians.  They are such wonderful people.  We
     should encourage them all we can and accord them all the
     respect in the world.'
     One last example of a perfect 50/50 statement.
     'I was born and raised a Christian,
     of COURSE I hate Christians!'
                         HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL.
     When you are ALLOWED to flame, you are much less likely to do so.
     When flame is matched by content, people will respect you in spite
of the flame.  Content heals the wounds so to speak.
     If you look closely to your Duties and Rights in this matter,
ADORE-L will thrive and you will have a forum not elsewhere provided.