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Thank you Rachel for your kind words of support.
The reason why I suggest that the APD guidelines should urge
contributors NOT to complain on the list about their dissatisfaction is:
1) they have other avenues to seek satisfaction first and more
appropriately from the vendor.
2) even if the complaint is based in fact, it can disproportionately
injure the vendor's reputation and hence cause him great financial harm.
I am completely certain that any legitimate vendor would greatly prefer
to refund your money rather than have you voice a complaint in a public
forum such as the APD. In fact, he is entitled to make restitution to
you in order to avoid bad publicity. In a similar manner, newspapers are
able to avoid defamation suits by printing a simple retraction.
Entitlement for damage caused by defamation is greatly reduced when the
person does not ask the newspaper to print a retraction.
The Internet has begun a revolution where consumers have discovered
incredible power. At this time, I believe they are somewhat drunk with
power. Having observed the rather childish flame wars which have been
prevalent in the newsgroups, particularly those related to intercultural
relationships, they have come to believe that it is ok to attack real
people in florid terms on an unmoderated mailing list. I assure you that
if some of the recent verbiage is shown to a judge, he is most unlikely
to appreciate that it is hyperbole. Be warned!
As for your point that Americans are guaranteed their right to express
their opinions by their first amendment right, I will accede this point.
However, the APD is not required to make itself the vehicle for venting
anger particularly where that would disproportionately harm someone
else's rights. The APD members, by means of the list maintainer, have
removed people's ability to post to the APD for rude behaviour in the
past. We members have been self-policing to a great extent. We also try
to set a good example. I should hope our manners are a good deal better
than merely rising above libel.
I say again, I believe that the APD is not the place for criticizing
vendors regardless of whether the criticism is based in truth or lies.
The vendor is entitled to make restitution to protect his reputation.
The harm caused by even a legitimate complaint in this forum is
disproportionate. It should be reserved as a last resort for those who
are truly unscrupulous and are in fact, ripping people off.
As to fund raising on the APD, y'all should be concentrating on finding
a fair and agreeable settlement and save your money. I'd be willing to
bet that that's what the litigants in "the case" are all trying to do,
if they have a lick of sense.
As for casting aspersions upon Canadians, that is most unworthy in these
times of trouble. We stand by our American brothers but also urge you to
temper your anger with justice, compassion and humility. Freedom of
expression is a much cherished privilege not enjoyed by all. Let us not
abuse it by forgetting our duties!
As my grandmother used to say:
"If you can't say anything nice, it's better not to say anything at all"