I believe in the 4th Amendment and in freedom of speech more than most anyone I know, but when it comes to running online communities, I believe that people who say really stupid, offensive, Jerry Springeresque things should be firmly dealt with so that they don't drag the quality of the public discourse down to AOL levels...
William S. Burroughs said it best:
" A fool is bad news, and it rubs off -- don't let it rub off on you."
With Burroughs in mind, here are a few words of advice for young people.
"I am sometimes asked if I have any words of advice for young people.
Well, here are a few simple admonitions for young and old, man and beast.
Never interfere in a boy and girl fight.
Beware of whores who say they don't want money. The hell they don't.
What they mean is that they want *more* money; much more.
These are the most expensive whores what can be got.
If you're doing business with a religious son of a bitch, get it in writing;
his word isn't worth shit, not with the good lord telling him how to fuck
you on the deal.
If, after having been exposed to someone's presence, you feel as if
you've lost a quart of plasma, avoid that presence. You need it like you
need pernicious anemia.
We don't like to hear the word "vampire" around here; we're trying to
improve our public image. Building a kindly, avuncular, benevolent
image; "interdependence" is the keyword -- "enlightened interdependence".
Life in all its rich variety, take a little, leave a little. However, by the
inexorable logistics of the vampiric process they always take more than
they leave -- and why, indeed, should they take any?
Avoid fuck-ups. Fools, I call them. You all know the type -- no matter
how good it sounds, everything they have anything to do with turns into
a disaster. Trouble for themselves and everyone connected with them.
A fool is bad news, and it rubs off -- don't let it rub off on you.
Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill; it is a bottomless pit. Tell
them firmly, "I am not paid to listen to this drivel -- you are a terminal
fool!" Otherwise, they make you as crazy as they are.
Above all, avoid confirmed criminals. They are a special malignant
strain of fool."
- William S. Burroughs