In the thread When was the Old Testament written?, Polycarp refers to the authors of a recent Staff Report as “Dex and whatsisname that fell out the window”, a joking reference to Eutychus, whose Biblical namesake actually did fall out a window. For some reason, C K Dexter Haven deems this to be a grave insult and issues a formal warning to Polycarp:
When pressed for details by another poster, he then cryptically writes,
May I be the first to ask, “WTF???”
Dex, did you just get completely whooshed here? Try as I might I cannot fathom any possible way of interpreting Polycarp’s epithet as anything other than a light-hearted and roundabout way of referring to Eutychus by invoking a memorable mythological story. While I don’t have time to look up examples now, I’m sure I’ve seen such things happen here dozens, if not hundreds, of times before. When a poster chooses a username from literature, pop culture, or mythology, it’s not uncommon for them to be named indirectly by referring to some aspect of or event associated with their namesake.
Unless there’s something I’m completely missing here, I think you owe Polycarp a retraction and an apology.
I’m not much for second-guessing the mods (annoying job, no pay, herding cats, etc.) but, Dex, you obviously didn’t get Polycarp’s reference or you would have known he was only alluding to the name and not saying anything about Euty as a person or a poster. If you don’t understand the meaning of a remark, or how it was intended, it wouldn’t kill you to ask for clarification before handing out rebukes for impropriety. Even if you strongly suspected a “snide little aside” in this case, Poly is one of the few posters to whom you should have extended the benefit of the doubt – especially since in the very same comment you took as a snide aside, he said that both of you had done a terrific job.
In short, it very obviously was not a personal insult, and you look kind of dumb, frankly, for having taken it as one. I don’t think you need to fall on your sword about it, but maybe dial down the paranoia. And yeah, I think you owe Poly a little apology.
**Dex **wrote to me privately (I’m the other poster who pressed him for details) and it was clear to me that he just over-interpreted the reference to Euty, in a ironic way that calls much more attention to the situation that he was hoping to keep suppressed. But we needn’t berate him further for making an honest and well-intended error, and I’m certainly satisfied that he was merely and innocently trying to keep the snark down to a minimum.
It is certainly not my intention to berate the guy, but if he made an honest and well-intentioned error that led him to publicly chastise Polycarp, then IMO he owes him an apology. I’m not saying it must be publicly extended, but an apology does seem to be in order. It’s also not my intention to harp on it, so this is my last post in this thread.
I am all cool with the whoosh, provided that Dex acknowledges it and retracts his admonishment. It happens to everyone.
What I don’t get is the need to be all douchey about a request for clarification. “desparate (sic), overwhelming need”? One doesn’t need a desperate overwhelming need in order to want further details about something. One just needs to want to know. Why is there need to put down the person asking the question even before the question is asked?
Believe me, from experience, pretty much any admonition from a mod and especially an admin is a formal warning. Explicitly stating so is a courtesy they do not always extend. And in fact, “mod hat on” is an explicit statement of a formal warning, IME.
I knew the origin of the screen name Eutychus (a biblical character who fell out the window) from having Eutychus explain it a long time ago, but when I first read Polycarp’s comment, I thought he was referring to Eutychus not being a moderator any more and it was only upon seeing this thread that the lightbulb came on over my head. I agree that Polycarp was making some biblical joke, not referring to another SDMB event.
For whatever it’s worth, you’re completely wrong. We forget to do the “mod hat” type stuff sometimes, but not all admonitions are warnings and we try to make the distinction clear. Dex did not describe his post as a warning and didn’t make any note of it, so it looks like it was not a warning.
I posted in the original GQ thread explaining that I had intended the Biblical analogy (and, in a senior moment, couldn’t remember Eutychus’s username but did remember where he got it from, and apologizing to Eutychus for any unintended insult he might have read into it.
In Dex’s defense, he is of Jewish faith, and might not get the reference to the Eutychus character in Acts that I intended.
Dex, if I had made some stupid joke based on Orpheus, you’d have been 100% within your rights to give me an official warning (and I know this was a remonstration not up to warning level). But I have less than 30 PMs in my box as it stands – would it have hurt to have asked before a public bawling-out?