Regret, apologies, offense and upset

I recently got into a bit of a debate or if you prefer an argument with someone about uses of phrases such as:
“I’m sorry that you found that offensive”
compared to:
“I’m sorry that I offended you”.
Their view was that the former was a poor excuse of an apology and was worse than not simply not offering an apology, that if you were sorry then you should apologise for causing offense not try to make it the other persons fault, and that such phrases are attempts to invalidate the other persons point of view. Now obviously that’s a summary and from my memory only (as I’ve since been blocked so can’t quote anything), also obviously I held a differing point of view.

Now whilst I do have some truck with the opinion that people take offense and so being offended is very much the problem of the person who is offended. A view put rather well by the comedian Steve Hughes:

However on this occasion that wasn’t what I wanted to argue, my view was that there are times when being sorry that someone feels offended and not being sorry that you offended them is a perfectly valid and coherent stance to take.
The most obvious example being our archetypal bigot:

Bigot: That thing offends me
Person: I’m sorry that you find that offensive ( because it indicates you’re a terrible person and you’re making your own life miserable for no good reason, which is really sad – but I’m in no way sorry for whatever it is you took offense to).

I can think of numerous examples where similar sentiment might apply, you can quite easily be sorry that someone feels a particular way or has a particular opinion without being sorry that you caused that feeling or having any attention to do anything to avoid causing that feeling again. Now at this point something interesting happened they started using the word “upset” rather than “offended”. I commented on this as I consider them to at the very least imply quite different things, but I was then told two things:
1) That they were synonyms
2) That the person didn’t want to get into a semantic debate.

Now I’m really not sure how you can discuss the meaning and use of sentences without getting into semantics, you do after all need to make sure you all have the same understanding of the words being used. Which we clearly didn’t which I’d have quite liked to have discussed. However lets for now set that aside. The claim that the words “upset” and “offended” are synonymous is quite interesting. Firstly words being synonymous doesn’t mean they are identical at least not according to Merriam Webster:

“one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses”

So synonymous words doesn’t always mean the exact same thing, and “upset” and “offend” only nearly mean the same thing in their tertiary uses. So the change from offended to upset is not a trivial change to the argument. Which is where I think our confusion arose and where the false comparison between the phrases in question is made.

The other confounding factor is the word “sorry” which is also delightfully ambiguous.
1. feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence
So when you say your sorry it may be that you feel sad about the thing, you may regret it or you may be penitent, only in the last case does it apply an apology. Which I think comes to the nub of the confusion, when I read the two phrases I see it as being quite possible to read them as:
“I regret that you’re angry at my actions” or “I regret that you consider my actions to break your moral code”
“I’m penitent that I caused you to be emotionally troubled” or “I regret that I made an error that vexed you”
The phrases are saying quite different but equally valid things, in both cases the person offended/upset may be genuinely experiencing discomfort from an honestly and profoundly held position. Depending on the context I may or may not care and may or may not intend to do anything to ease that discomfort. I may just be saying that your response is making me sad.

I think however the person I was trying to discuss this with reads the same phrases as:
“I’m penitent that you decided to be vexed by my actions”
“I’m penitent that I caused you discomfort”
The first is obviously nonsense, as you can be penitent for someone elses behavior ( no matter what modern politicians try to claim), and thus it is a sorry excuse of an apology. So with a bit of discussion of the semantics we could possibly have determined that the confusion arose because they read both sets of statements as apologies, where as I only read the latter as an apology. If it were to have any meaning the former phrases couldn’t be apologies but could only be statements of regret. All of which hidden by just what particular meaning you ascribe to the words used, because English can be both very precise and remarkably vague ( not helped by the British habit of apologising for everything ).

So I regret that the points I was trying to make caused the other person to take offense and I apologise that I inadvertently vexed them. However one really can’t discuss the use and meaning of phrases without discussing both the semantics of the words used and the context in which they might be uttered.

Just 3D Fib


Image by Loubie

Just over a year ago I wrote an article about some charming gentlemen with an interesting view of how copyright and licensing work. Well those self same gentlemen have got in touch with me as they’ve apparently been taking people to court and they seem to have the same creative view of how courts and the law works as they do on how copyright works.

Here’s what they have to say for themselves:

“Dear Sir or Madam,

Last year you covered a controversy my firm was involved in-

I am writing to you today because in Philadelphia Municipal Court Case SC-17-02-24-6077 we were cleared of any wrong-doing in said controversy and received money damages from defamatory coverage of the controversy.

In light of this update, we would like you to remove your blog post about the controversy or add a disclaimer at the top that we have been cleared of any wrong-doing in court.

Founder, CEO

Just 3D Print, Inc. – (610)945-7702

They also attached two PDF’s. A Notice of money and an initial statement.

Now having been asked in such a nice and an entirely non threatening manner to update or take down my article I thought I really should update the record, especially as it turns out I’m not the only person to have received such a letter. Needless to say I was interested to check out the details to make sure I didn’t in anyway misrepresent the factual record. How handily the Philadelphia municipal court has a public search facility, so we can all look at the case dockets for ourselves. Once I worked out what to actually search for it turns out that they had more than once case open and it had obviously just slipped their mind to mention that detail to me.

Court search results

Joel Telling(3D Printing Nerd) who they also got in touch with found a 3rd still open case, and has made a rather good video on the matter – which in all fairness I’m going to largely repeat.

So what of this other case, well from what I can see and have been able to ascertain by talking to people – that other case against Tech Crunch didn’t go quite so well for them. This was probably because unlike in the case which they “won” Tech Crunch’s lawyers actually turned up. Pro Tip – the easiest way to “win” a case is if the other side doesn’t turn up. Of course if you win by default nothing has actually been proven. Lets put that aside for a moment and look at the claim that Just3dPrint actually made, again thanks to the Philly courts we can look at the just3Dprint complaint ourselves so we don’t have to bother Ryan D. Simms for the details.

The complaint it seems is that:
“Among numerous false claims made by your company, you allege that my firm was engaged in violating thousands of copyrights when, in fact, we had not received even a single DMCA, Cease and Desist, or other formal allegation even alleging that we were infringing on a single copyright-let alone be found liable in court for such an infringement.”

They then go on to list some a load of quite frankly fantastical projected profits that they’d expected to make from ripping off other peoples design, printing them badly and selling them on e-bay. Does anyone make $2,000,000 a month in gross profits on e-bay? Lets ignore such flights of fancy though. The passage of time seems to have caused a rather impressive lapse in memory for the Ryan, as he seems to have forgotten all the boiler plate letters he sent out telling people that:

“When you uploaded your items onto Thingiverse for mass distribution, you lost all rights to them whatsoever. They entered what is known in the legal world as “public domain”.”

Obviously all those people complaining that he was breaking their copyright weren’t making a formal enough allegation. I guess that E-bay taking down all of Just3DFibs listing due to copy right infringement reports also doesn’t count as a formal allegation either, and certainly wouldn’t have counted as any sort of proof that maybe just maybe they’d failed to understand how copyright works. It’s a bit like claiming that you’ve never been caught drunk and disorderly because whilst you’ve spent many nights sleeping it off in the drunk tank you’ve never gone to prison for it. I do hope for their sake that Ryan and the other self entitled ignorant pond scum at Just3DPrint don’t take the same sort of approach on all legal matters.

Given that they lost one case one the same claims, and only won against Stratasys by default, I think we can safely say that despite the impression Ryan would like to give neither he nor Just3DFib have been cleared of anything. Now I’m not going to say that they’re Walter Mitty types as I think that would be most unfair on Walter Mitty. I will say though that telling people you’ve “been cleared of all wrong doing” because you won a case by default and neglecting to mention that you lost a very similar case is more than a little bit dishonest.

So Ryan I’m glad to have been able to post an accurate update with regards to your previous actions and your current dishonest behavior. If you can provide me with the full transcripts of all your cases where it clearly shows that you’ve been cleared of all wrong doing then I’ll happily post a retraction of this and my previous article. As I realise you have problems with understanding how laws work I should probably explain that other people being punished for saying mean things about you isn’t the same thing as your being “cleared of any wrong-doing in court”. So until I see actual evidence to the contrary you and your colleagues remain in my opinion – dishonest, self entitled, ignorant, copy right infringing, untalented, four flushing dick of the first water.

Glad to have been able to put the record straight for you.

Oh as a final side note Donald Trump like Ryan and co at Just3DFib is also an alumni of Wharton College – what on earth do they teach people there?

Labours Magic Money Tree

Magic Money TreeThis alleged proof of Labours sense just convinces me they are actually as mad as a box of frogs.
Ignoring that a “fat cat” tax is to my mind immoral, and that reducing inheritance tax isn’t a give away it’s letting people do what they like with their own money – unless you think that everything you own belongs to the state at the moment of your death.
Charging VAT on private schools is also daft as people going to private schools are still paying in taxation for state schools they’re not using, the more people that pay for private education the more funds for state education we should be encouraging it as people opting out of state education will always save more than VAT on that opt out.

Tax avoidance isn’t illegal it’s following the law, they possibly meant tax evasion – but in either case either simplify the tax code or face the fact that governments are always trying to cut down on tax evasion and it rarely improves. Ditto with closing tax loopholes – I don’t believe that Labour are promising to simplify the tax code so this is the same Sisyphean task that every government says they’ll tackle.

So that leaves increasing corporation tax, increasing income tax, taxing offshore property and a robin hood tax .Which are far smaller targets.
Corporation tax is eventually paid by customers or shareholders (such as pensioners and investment funds) – so it might bring in more money for the state (which is arguable) but it’ll make us all worse off in the meantime.
Increasing income tax on the top 5% will probably see a shift in behavior and so not raise as much as is hoped and also again I’d question the morality of it, the top 5% already pay a high proportion of the taxes and bringing them ever closer to paying more in tax than in earnings again isn’t going to encourage anyone to have an income in the UK.
Tax on off shore property – the people most likely to be hit by this are those with holiday homes, people with serious property holdings will move them around and they’re likely paying local taxes on those properties already – how is it moral to tax something which costs this country nothing?
As to the robin hood tax far more informed people than I have already demolished this idea and it’s really a sure-fire way to destroy the UK’s financial industry especially when it’s allegedly already on the ropes due to Brexit.

So in summary Labours money tree is either impractical, immoral or ineffective.