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Well, it's inflammatory because it depicts opponents as monsters who prefer to see children suffer. That's plainly one meaning of such language, regardless of whether there's also an abstract factual interpretation. It's not as bad as if you had accused someone personally, but it's still bad. It provokes a downward spiral in the discourse. HN threads are sensitive to this.

There are places where inflammatory, provocative language does well: in the rough and tumble of political debate, for example, or battles of literary wit. The trouble is that if we have much of it here, it rides roughshod over everything else. It's a tradeoff. The values of HN are intellectual substance and personal civility, and those are fragile in a public anonymous forum, so we all should consciously protect them. This still leaves lots of room to make one's point, so it shouldn't be a problem.




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