Do We Want Juries Involved?
A flame war on the Info Theory (start at the bottom and scroll up) and Bitch PhD weblogs has been escalating. (There's a summary here.) Apparently, Paul Deignan, a grad student who writes the Info Theory weblog put some comments on the Bitch PhD weblog that were regarded as objectionable. This caused a third party to e-mail Deignan's advisor complaining about allegedly unprofessional behavior. This, in turn, caused Deignan to threaten a libel lawsuit.
I was on Paul's side up to the lawsuit threat. Can we trust juries to make sense of this? If there is a lawsuit, we can expect the Other Side to use that weapon next time (accompanied by calling anybody who objects a “hypocrite”) and there is a strong possibility we might get a jury as dumb as the first Merck jury.