12 October, 2005

a defense of benjamin joffe-walt

First the good news. Lu Banglie, the Chinese activist who was beaten to near-death outside of Taishi village is alive. Whether or not he’s ‘fine’ has yet to be fully determined.

Lu, a People’s Congress representative who had fallen afoul of village officials, was beaten while escorting Guardian foreign correspondent Benjamin Joffe-Walt to the village. Joffe-Walt’s account of the incident is here.

Chinese blogger Michael Anti, in a translated post provided by ESWN, accuses Joffe-Walt of negligence and, in a round-about way, racism.

As for The Guardian’s Benjamin Joffe-Walt, how the fuck did he still have to nerve to write this kind of report? Perhaps he is young and does not yet know that reporting in certain areas of China is just like in a war zone. He should not have gone there against the advice of others, and he should not have brought Lu Banglie to the village. Since he was being taken out by the police, why didn’t he insist on rescuing Lu Banglie as well? It is alright to beg for mercy when it happened. But the more important thing is that you have a duty and you must assume responsibility for your companion. Or is that Chinese person just a guide dog?

Thus, we the Chinese people are treated like dogs by the government and we are also treated like dogs by certain arrogant and ignorant foreigners. I have no idea how this tragedy can be changed.

Full disclosure, I am a foreign correspondent in China and have a tendency to defend my brethren against accusations. I also have lower different ethical standards compared with most of those brethren - and most bloggers for that matter - so my comments should not be taken as representative as those of my profession or the English-language blogosphere.

I was also invited to the Guardian’s house-warming in Shanghai on the day of the Taishi incident — though I didn’t attend and have never met Joffe-Walt (ergo, this defense of his actions cannot be attributed to payola from free drinks. Not that such a thing has ever happened before … I’m in wires, so I always file before the free drinks.)

As ex-CNN china bureau chief Rebecca McKinnion notes in the first link in this post, there has been considerable criticism of Joffe-Walt in the SinoBlogosphere - much of it reflecting Michael Anti’s comments that he did not respect his ‘fixer.’ Fons is fence-sitting (or, in more respectful terms, contemplative), while Running Dog, a more opinionated but anonymous Shanghai-based journo (anon for good reason given the specific blocks on his website), does not discuss Joffe-Walt’s role but sees this as another failure of China’s central government.

Although I cover finance and would never likely be in a similar situation, AsiaPundit believes he would have done the same as Joffe-Walt in the same situation. Protecting sources is important, and I have in recent months, to my shame or credit, asked a Chinese-national source to review some of his on-the-record comments that were highly critical of the central government. He did and it almost ruined a great story, but I feared they were a risk to his livelihood, albeit not his life.

I would never put my staff at risk, but I’ve personally always ignored the most-sound advice and taken insane risks (usually with my own life and typically during leisure activities). And it seems from Joffe-Walt’s account that the risk was taken willingly by Lu and not taken at the correspondent’s request. Indeed, it was after his repeated objections.

There is a healthy debate on the Shanghai Foreign Correspondents’ Club mailing list about Joffe-Walt’s probable responsibility, and how to protect sources. The harshest post, which shall remain unattributed, is this:

Please tell Joffe-Walt and other foreign correspondents in Shanghai that I am shamed by his conduct. He risked the life of Lu Banglie and his own Chinese assistant, stood watching Mr. Lu being beaten so that he can fabricate a report about the beating and then he runs away to save his skin. He makes us excuse him for doing nothing because we do not know what we would have done in his place except that we won’t have been so stupid as to take a Chinese with us on sensitive assignments in the first place. My Chinese friends are asking me “How can you do something like that?”

But it seems clear to me that Joffe-Walt cannot be blamed in any way for this. Lu, who had his own agenda, was insistent about accompanying the Guardian correspondent, and Lu - likely more that Joffe-Walt - knew the risks involved.

I would never instruct any of my Chinese staff to take any political risks - they face penalty of jail while I, at worst, face deportation - and I will advise sources to remain anonymous or alter sensitive quotes rather than take what I deem unnecessary personal risks (though this is very rare as getting a decent comment in China financial journalism is like pulling teeth… with tweezers).

Lu did have an agenda to push, and was taking his own risks to achieve his goals. I’m largely sympathetic to these goals and, I actually believe most senior-level central government officials also are. However, this means Lu was a political figure and he cannot have the same status as an employee or even a trusted or coaxed source.

That said, this is not to put the responsibility on Lu.

Lu was beaten by hired goons! The responsibility for the crime is on the hired goons and their employer(s)!!


Much thanks to GI Korea for all of the posts in my unexpectedly long absence, normal service will resume shortly, featuring more tabloid sensationalism, no introspection and fewer exclamation marks!!!!

UPDATE (12 October 19:12 Shanghai time):

Sun Bin posted in the comments that “the bigger controversy is about the ‘exaggeration’ or ‘inaccurate description’ of Joffe-Walt’s story.” I didn’t address this yesterday and I’m still reluctant to do so in definitive terms. I haven’t fully made up my mind on the matter and probably won’t until I see a thorough update on Lu’s physical condition or some sort of follow-up from Joffe-Walt.

I’m reserving judgement on the accuracy of the report until I have more information. By ‘accuracy’ I mean whether it is poor observation caused by panic or whether it was simply blatant exaggeration.

As well, for argument’s sake, I will suggest that it is possible that what Joffe-Walt says he witnessed may be a relatively accurate retelling of what he thought he saw. I haven’t seen many beatings, and no serious ones. However, I have had friends in such things as motorcycle accidents. Someone who looks near death can look almost normal after a quick cleanup in the hospital. Head wounds, because of the concentration of blood vessels, very often look much worse than they actually are.

An inspection of the apparently-not-lifeless body would have been helpful, as would have been a camera (though that may seem ghoulish). But given that there were allegedly 30 thugs standing around, it is understandable that he did neither of these things.

The primary thing that bothered me yesterday was not the report, but the matter of blaming Joffe-Walt for the beating, That is not a rational response. It’s not quite like blaming a rape on the dress of the victim - as Lu was the real victim - but to point accusing fingers at a bystander rather than the assailants shows a serious lapse of judgement.

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by @ 1:12 am. Filed under China, Asia, Coming collapse, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, World record watch, Riot watch

36 Responses to “a defense of benjamin joffe-walt”

  1. sunbin Says:

    “I would never instruct any of my Chinese staff to take any political risks - they face penalty of jail while I, at worst, face deportation”

    If I could assume that Joffe-Walt know that he “at worst face deportation”, he should have covered Lu. That is what I would do had I been in his situation, both as a fellow human being and with a story to push. A slightest scar on his skin is a much bigger story than a beaten (or killed) Lu.

    But then, I agree with you that it is too demanding to expect everyone to behave like a hero, ’cause perhaps 95% of us are coward in such a confused situation.

    I would love to see a few strongly build foreign jounalists escorting a Chinese interpreter force their way into Taishi.

  2. sunbin Says:

    However, the bigger controversy is about the ‘exaggeration’ or ‘inaccurate description’ of Joffe-Walt’s story. People worries it is going to tarnish the credibility of the only source of unbiased reporting to audience inside China. (It is not going to change critically minded readers overseas who has access to various points of view. It is the readers inside China that they are concerned about)

    I agree with ESWN that the Guardian should make an effort to repair its reputation.

    It is really not about Joffe-Walt, but how the Guardian handle the aftermath.

  3. The Peking Duck Says:

    In defense of the BenjaminJoffe-Walt report from Taishi

    AsiaPundit offers us some much needed clarity in what has become a messy, emotion-ensnarled controversy. It is an important antidote to the nonsense spewed by blogger Michael Anti in one of the most irresponsible posts I’ve ever read anywhere. A…

  4. Peking-D Says:

    A Coward in Taishi and the Hypocrites

  5. Asia-Pacific Journalists Network Says:

    Taishi Aftermath

    In the aftermath of the Lu Banglies bashing at Taishi village, Benjamin Joffe-Walt, the journalist who witnessed and reported the bashing, was put to question for his action (or rather, failure to save Lu) while Asiapundit defends Joffe-Walt.

  6. davesgonechina Says:

    Michael Anti’s intense feelings are understandable, but PKD is right that they are horribly misdirected. It wasn’t Joffe-Walt that beat Lu like a dog. It wasn’t Joffe-Walt who insisted Lu go. As an activist this is clearly a risk Lu had run before, though perhaps never before with such danger. And if journalists never ventured to places “against the advice of others”, then how will we ever know it’s a “war zone” in the first place?

    Should Joffe-Walt have saved Lu? If there were 30+ of these thugs, how on earth would he accomplish this? Anti’s reaction is not a rational or fair one, and unfairly absolves Lu of any personal autonomy or responsibility.

    On the other hand, I do agree with Sunbin & ESWN that the Guardian needs to explain the discrepancies in the report. But Anti’s rage is misplaced, and seems to suggest that a Chinese person could never be responsible for what befalls them, not if there’s a foreigner around to blame.

  7. Austin Arensberg Says:

    Cross-Posting and Asiapundits Post on the Guardian Debacle

    I am obviously a pretty amazing blogger. Yesterday I spent 45 minutes writing my Super Girls update on Simon World and it has a grand total of zero comments. Perhaps those Hong Kongers are more into Canto-Pop? But it has been a big asian blogging w…

  8. Imagethief Says:

    Guardian-Taishi Fallout

    Controversy now swirls around the events in Taishi and the veracity or
    culpability of the Guardian’s…

  9. sunbin Says:

    Dave and Asiapundit, I think we are on the same page, more or less.

    Anti was emotional.

    I also used the word ‘controversy’ and 2 quotation marks that followed in my previous comment, because, like you, I am reluctant to comment on the accuracy until we have a photo or some direct evidence from Lu himself to understand whether it is just an inaccuarate description amid confusion and chaos, or as Anti alleged, fabrication/exaggeration. Anti seems to be pretty sure about the situation after spoken to Lu on phone.

    But TPD seems to have already reached its conclusion hastily, as always, and implied to ask for us to downplay the fact that the Guardian needs to be more careful in its reporting. That is something I found totally unacceptable. In doing so, they are putting themselves in the same class as the CCP when it comes to pushing their own agenda. I think condemning the mafia rule and rationally debating the media conducts are two totally separate issues. Asking for more in the media does not conflict with condemning the chief culprit, the mafia panyu government.

  10. richard Says:

    I never asked anyone to “downplay” any sin the Guardian may have committed. I said repeatedly that there may well be a case of bad journalism here, and that, as AsiaPundit says, we just don’t know yet. What I did say, emphatically, is that no matter what the issue with the Guardian may be, we mustn’t let it become the story itself, overshadowing what went on in Taishi. Read my comments and post carefully, and you will see I do not give the newspaper anymore of a break than AsiaPundit does and never call for downplaying what could amount to poor journalism. The Guardian has some explaining to do, and i don’t defend or coddle them if they screwed up. But the ones who are really jumping to conclusions are those calling for blood against the Guardian, as though this was an act of conscious imperialist evil.

  11. sunbin Says:

    The Guardian made a small mistake (”eyes out of the sockets”), some unprofessional writing. Anti perhaps overreacted, but he was perhaps applying the journalist’s high standard. BJW has all legitimate reason to believe Lu’s life is in jeopardy, he could have use less specific description. IMHO it is indeed a rather small deal and easy to fix. (as ESWN suggested, or even a milder version as a remedy)

    There is no way this could overshadow the Taishi case. In fact, if handled properly, it would be forgotten as soon as it is dealt with.

    I disageee with your view that “we mustn’t let it become the story itself,” We WANT it to be a story in itself, a small story separate from the Taishi big story, so that it would not interfere with what is really happening in Taishi (mob, corruption).

    I think the “mustn’t let it become the story itself,” request is asking for downplaying. Such tactic is not too different from Panyu Gov’t saying “we mustn’t let the Taishi case become a story”. You effort only helped to escalate the controversy, instead of letting it fade away.

  12. bobby fletcher Says:

    Say, didn’t Lu turned up at home with little injury? Is anyone aware of getting beat up is par for the course in Lu’s struggle for for farmer’s rights in China? And no, ordinary villagers in China wear cloth slippers, not steel-toed boots.

    I think the truth about Lu’s “eye out of its socket” BS is out in the open.

    Instead of believing western media that is slanted with anit-China bias, how about do some search on Chinese search engine such as Baidu, Sohu, Yahoo CN, and see what the real story is?

    Lu’s story is well covere in Chinese media and cyberspace; as with any issue in US, you will find wide range of opinions, including those critical of Chinese government, not shut down or censored.


    Would you be suprised there have been many successful impeachment proceedings in China, where laws prescribed are followed by local government, with free and fair election void of violence?

    Or you rather believe Taishi is the norm not the exception?


    (catalog of village impeachment proceedings 1999-2003)

  13. bobby fletcher Says:

    Oh yeah, in case anyone on PKD is looking - spare me the “Chinese cybercop/psyops” BS. I choose to not forgo critical thinking, and did a little research on Chinese search engines.

    By my own free-will.

  14. davesgonechina Says:

    Bobby, no one here seems to be arguing with you that the Guardian has some explaining to do.

    You do seem, however, to be trying to change the topic from a discussion of Benjamin Joffe-Walt to a discussion of the Western media’s “anti-China bias”, that China’s media is “not shut down or censored” in any way, and that local governments having “free and fair elections” in China are par for the course.

    All of it adds up to one message: “The West is always trying to keep China down”.

    No, I think Chinese officials and thugs do that well enough without our help.

  15. bobby fletcher Says:

    Please don’t twist my word, Dave:

    - No, I’m not saying “The West is *always* trying to *keep China down*”

    I am only addressing this specific incident of inaccurate reporting, and the anit-China emotion is had potentially generated, as IMO an example of slanted Western reporting.

    Are you arguing there’s no such thing as slanted anti-China reporting in the West?

    - No, I’m not saying “free and fair local election is par for the course”

    Quite the opposit, I said Lu getting into scuffle is par for the course in his struggle for farmer’s rights.

    However, one must temper Taishi with other village impeachment proceedings. What you can not deny, is the examples of *successful* village impeachment, pass or not passed - they are not getting the same airing as the juicy Taishi impeachment which even by Chinese media, is fraught with curruption.

    BTW, did you look at the catalog of 1999-2003 village impeachment proceedings? Did you know they even existed? I didn’t.

    Your comment about “Chinese officials and thugs” is a great example of the fallacy in Taishi’s “statistics of one” generalization.

    Is very one of our brave men/women in Iraq p3n1s-flicking Abu Gahraib type criminal? See, I can make up smack too.

    Boo, now I’m just bashing America, right? Well what do you think you are doing with your “Chinese official and thugs” bit?

  16. bobby fletcher Says:

    And Dave, regarding your “China’s media is not censored or shutdown” twist of word:

    No, I’m not saying that at all. I am refering to this specific incident of Taishi impeachemnt news being freely available.

    Do some research on Chinese search engine (Baidu, Sohu, Yahoo CN) and see for yourself the wide range of opinions, including those critical of the government. Here are some sample headlines you will find:

    “Law is the best avenue for ceasing dispute”

    “Taishi villiager’s rights are protected according to law”

    “396 villiagers retract support for impeachment”

    “Govnerment must set good example being law abiding”

    “Small democracy, big obsticle”

    “Recall election shouldn’t be this hard”

    “Cost of villiager’s self-rule needs to be lower, lower!”

    “Taishi could be the fort of democratization” (my god, not shut down???)

    “Please save Taishi villiagers!” (letter to Wen from Professor Ai Shao Ming, it’s everywhere, again not shut down.)

  17. sunbin Says:

    The link that Bobby gave is worth looking at. It was something I have been looking for since I learned that Lu himself came to his position after an impeachment in his village.

    The link said there were over 50 successful impeachment case across Chinese villages since Mar/1999. Roughly about half of the impeachments succeeded. (It was run by exiles and student leaders who fled China in 1989)

    This gives us hope about the Taishi case.

  18. sunbin Says:

    (i meant to say total 50 cases, of which about half were successes)

  19. Peter Says:

    Go to Google and enter a search for Benjamin Joffe-Walt.

    Read some of the links but take time to read the link to Michelle Malkin.

    Now you will begin to have an understanding of the man.

    Go a little deeper into his background. How old is he? What is his background? How long has he been a “journalist”? Who has he worked for? What has he done in the past to distinguish himself or discredit himself?

    I cannot think of one way this man has helped the “cause” of Taishi. I can think of many ways he has brought discredit to himself and to his employer。 I can also see how his actions are a setback to all those he sought to help. But then I think this is really not any concern of his since he got what he wanted - the story.

    It is not the first time for this man.

  20. bobby fletcher Says:

    Sunbin, I think one must remember impeachment proceedings by definition are exceptional course. Please remember even we in the West don’t have it that often (and they rarely pass).

    China shouldn’t be any different.

    (And no, this is just common sense, not “Chinese cybercop/psyops”. I’m just saying this so no one will me pissed off with this BS - Then I won’t get banned like Richard banned me in PKD.)

  21. sunbin Says:


    I attempted a brief summary of the report.


  22. Sun Bin Says:

    Taishi and Village Impeachment

    I have been under the impression that Taishi was the first case of village chief impeachment. Then I learned that Lu Banglie himself had done it before, I suspect there must have been many other cases around China. This report solved the puzzle for us.

  23. sunbin Says:

    ESWN has translated a detailed interview of Lu Banglie by Radio Free Asia. I think we can now tell for sure that BJW’s description, although generally consistent, were not very professional written at the specific descriptions.

    I think we should focus on the implications of 52 to (maybe)100 cases in recent years, and how we can help Taishi (and other villages) in the most constructive ways.

  24. davesgonechina Says:

    Bobby, I’m very happy to learn about the impeachment cases and I’m glad to see there is Chinese press on the issue. But Asiapundit wrote this post about Anti’s reaction - a reaction that anyone who has lived on the Mainland knows is not all that uncommon - and whether or not Joffe-Walt was irresponsible, and then you came in and tried to frame the issue as one of China-bashing, or at least wrote with an accusational tone.

    No one said anything about western media being pristine, but you overgeneralized it as having an anti-China bias, and that Chinese media had the real story, generalizing that Chinese media is more reliable. We were discussing Joffe-Walt and Anti. That’s all. So I don’t see why you had to bring such a confrontational attitude to your comment.

    You stated “would you rather believe Taishi is the norm not the exception?” Then you said “impeachment proceedings by definition are exceptional”. So what do you think is the norm?

  25. sunbin Says:


    I think emotional response on the other side is also quite significant, when anyone who tried to discuss about media ethic was quickly labelled CCP apologist.
    Base on your comments (elsewhere)I do think you are more rational than a lot of others. I myself made a mistake at mixing your words with others in the past, so I know that.
    Let me now I try to offer my interpretation of bobby’s words.

    I think:
    1. He meant to say Taishi is not the norm as there are many success cases (52 went to impeachment, 30 mayors successfully impeached.
    2. 52 out of 66000 villages is a small percentage. the norm is not to go for impeachment until the villagers are extremely furstrated (like in Taishi)

    the 2 statements were made in different reference and contexts.

  26. bobby fletcher Says:

    Dave, I think we both can benefit from the “accusatory tone” lecture…

    But you actually believe in your indictment of China, right? I’d love to see your evidences that back up your “Chinese officials and thugs” generalization. Could it be that the genesis of “their” reaction is rooted in the kind self-righteousness “you” seem to exhibit? (not you specifically.)

    I think a little introspection is required, of us all.

    I don’t live in China, not from Mainland, ain’t never been a PRC citizen - how did I come to my conclusion independently, based on evidence I found on my own?

    Am I the only one outside this “them Mainland Chinese” stereotype you presented? Only if you believe all those people Richard keeps banning are in fact one person. Well I can tell you since Richard banned me, I haven’t posted in PKD. Scout’s honor.

    Again, please don’t twist my word; I am not making blanket statement. Rather I’m pointing out this specific instance, fate of Lu, Chinese media and cyberspace was more accurate. Out of the 3 search engines (baidu, sohu, yahoo cn), only one article repeated the “eye out of socket” report, while everyone else was saying Lu got beat up again, it’s his trademark to lose scuffles (the “bitter flesh” startegy IMO), wish him a speedy recovery, Lu is a lonely soilder in farmer’s rights, reservation about Lu’s future as well as all civil rights activists, etc.

    Just type in Lu’s name in the search engines and a strange new world opens up to you:


    May I suggest the beaten into pulp accusation might be comming from our own guilty feelings about our own malfesence (Camp X-Ray, Abu Gahraib, etc.)

    And yes, my factual citations chip away at the prevailing generalization of China. I think this is the real reason you seem to unhappy.

    And oh please, Taishi’s mess being an exception (in light of almost 50 other impeachment gone smoothly), and the nature of impeachment proceedings being exceptional, are two completely different things. But if you don’t mix them up, you’d have to address each on their own merit, right?

    Heaven forbid you should ever see China’s delimas and problems with a bit of sympathy.

  27. sunbin Says:

    Btw, I just scanned the comments on anti’s blog. Many “Chinese netizens” said we should not be too harsh on BJW, that the mistake were only ‘human’. There are also those who wanted to focus on “more important” issues regarding Taishi. The comments are in Chinese, and likely from people inside China.

    Those who tend to stereotype Chinese netizens, please listen.

  28. bobby fletcher Says:

    Hi Sunbin. I sent an email to Guardian UK’s reader feedback, and gave them all the links I found on Chinese search engines.

    The editor of the BJW story, Ian Mayes, was kind enough to send a reply (I’m sure everyone got a reply.)

    In it he mentioned a retraction had been issued today, and he will write an op-ed for Monday regarding this issue.

  29. sunbin Says:

    Wow, the Guardian really won my respect in this case.

    This is precisely how you can change a fiasco into a great opportunity to build up your reputation and brand.

    I wish the Guangdong government had the courage to do this trick….sigh.

  30. davesgonechina Says:

    Bobby, you sounded like you had a certain chip on your shoulder in your first comment. And I probably sounded like the guy on the other side of that. So how about we start over, since we both rushed to say the other was speaking in large generalizations?

    You seem to think, for example, that I’m framing everything within a certain generalization of China. Or rather you refer to a “you” that is not “me specifically”. Clearly you’re referring to a certain perspective or group, just as I referred to another one in a previous comment. How about we put those camps aside for the moment, regardless of whether we belong to them or not?

    When I speak of officials and thugs, I mean that is in fact who beat up Lu. I asked you what the norm was re: exceptionalism of impeachments and beatings, but because I honestly want to know what you think things are really like. It was not an attempt at a “gotcha”. Personally, I don’t feel any guilt over Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, because I don’t consider myself responsible for the actions of my countrymen (unless I was their CO or boss). Just like I don’t consider other Chinese people responsible for the corrupt and brutal individuals who beat up Lu (working under the assumption it really happened).

    As for having sympathy, I don’t understand how you came to the conclusion I’m unfeeling towards Chinese people or their circumstances. I think you’re again mistaking me for someone else.

  31. davesgonechina Says:

    Looking one more time at your post, Bobby, you claim I believe in an “indictment of China”. That’s the part I don’t get. I don’t see where saying Michael Anti needs to settle down is an “indictment”. I don’t see how saying that thugs and corrupt officials beat up Lu is an “indictment of China”. I never said that this was something rooted in Chinese DNA, culture, history or that this extended anywhere beyond these specific actors.

    That’s why I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else. There are people who say that. That’s not what I said.

  32. bobby fletcher Says:

    Dave, read what you wrote:

    “”The West is always trying to keep China down”.

    No, I think Chinese officials and thugs do that well enough without our help.”

    Are you simply refering the Taishi officials? I had no idea a hand full of village officials can keep the whole China down…

    Be honest, you are in fact make a generalization beyond Taishi.

    Not a whole lot different if someone choses to generalize every US/UK soilders with Abu Gahraib. But that would be bashing America/Britian, right?

  33. davesgonechina Says:

    “The West is always trying to keep China down”.

    Bobby, that was the generalization I thought you were ascribing to us when you entered this discussion. I said that because you appeared to be coming from a similiar position to Anti: one that says that the Western media, and Westerners in general, appear to be against China. My comment about thugs was a glib response to the generalization you appeared to be making. I’m sorry if my sarcasm wasn’t flashing in neon light.

  34. bobby fletcher Says:

    Someone said “words can be used as weapon and shield”.

    Have you considered such “glib” could easily come across as something different? Perhaps this explains why people like “they” give people like “you” reaction “not all that uncommon”.

    Look what happened to me, a few “glib”, about my own country none the less, Richard bans me for bashing America. It doesn’t feel good when the table is turned, is it?

    Look at your fist reply. I provided citations and specifics, and you jump on them as some sort of generalization (so you can jab that “glib”?)

    Who’a the one that’s generalizing?

  35. sunbin Says:

    hey guys. i have always think the these discussions are better done is a discussion forum (than crowding the comment fields in a blog). because the topics are better arranged, easier to be searched, and longer-lasting. (who is reading this in a couple weeks?)

    you guys can set up a forum, or i can set it up for you :) . there should be no censorship in these fora.
    …adn we can always post a link of the thread to the relevant blog.

  36. Simon World Says:

    Forests and trees

    And I’m back. Thank you to all the guest posters during my break. As usual, a wide variety of posts that will likely result in top billing for some strange Google searches. I particularly like this blog being referred to as “semi-formal”. I was aiming …

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