Ban Xah Lee

Grant Edwards grante at
Sun Mar 8 05:11:18 CET 2009

On 2009-03-08, Tim Roberts <timr at> wrote:
> Xah Lee <xahlee at> wrote:
>>Summary: I was posting relevant but controversial opinions in a rude
>>manner to “comp.lang.*” newsgroups.
> And that one (completely accurate) sentence is really the core of virtually
> all of your troubles, isn't it?
> Usually, as people mature, they learn by experience that their
> communications are accepted more easily if they are presented
> with calm and courtesy.  This is neither good nor bad, nor is
> it a conspiracy.  It is simple human nature.

IANAP, but I suspect that parts of his brain don't work the
same way most of ours do and he has a very limited ability to
perceive things from another person's point of view.  This
results in an inability to communicate effectively and a
crippling lack of understanding of the social conventions that
most of us figured out and adapted to by the time we were 8
years old.  He probably is honestly unable to understand why
other people react the way they do to his postings.  If I were
going to have to pick a label, I'd say he's got Asperger's
syndrome or a similar autism spectrum disorder.

>From the AS Wikipedia article:

  Unlike those with autism, people with AS are not usually
  withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if
  awkwardly, for example by engaging in a one-sided,
  long-winded speech about a favorite topic while
  misunderstanding or not recognizing the listener's feelings
  or reactions, such as need for privacy or haste to leave.[5]
  This social awkwardness has been called "active but odd".[1]
  This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may
  appear as disregard for other people's feelings, and may come
  across as insensitive.[5] 


  Although individuals with Asperger syndrome acquire language
  skills without significant general delay and their speech
  typically lacks significant abnormalities, language
  acquisition and use is often atypical.[5] Abnormalities
  include verbosity, abrupt transitions, literal
  interpretations and miscomprehension of nuance, use of
  metaphor meaningful only to the speaker, auditory perception
  deficits, unusually pedantic, formal or idiosyncratic speech,
  and oddities in loudness, pitch, intonation, prosody, and

What particularly struck me was the "use of metaphor meaningful
only to the speaker" and "unusully pedantic" aspects of Xah
Lee's posts.

If somebody with AS can't recognize a listener's reactions when
they're face-to-face, you can imagine the difficulty they'd
have on Usenet.
There you go: a 30-second psychological diagnosis by an
electrical engineer based entirely on Usenet postings.  It
doesn't get much more worthless than that...


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