Apparently, I am not entitled to be treated with basic civility. Or, at least, not according to gwern. It started when gwern wrote
>>All you're saying is that Saddam called the USA's bluff and was wrong and it was disastrous. That could EASILY have happened with an attempt by the US to demand inspections from Russia.
>Um, no, because the USSR had no reason to think and be correct in thinking it served a useful role for the USA which meant the threats were bluffs that were best ridden out lest it damage both allies' long-term goals.
I read this as saying the USSR should call the bluff, which made no sense in relation to gwern's other posts. When I asked whether this was actually what was intended, gwern got pissed off, insisted that there was no way a good faith reading could see the post as saying that, and accused me of deliberately misunderstanding. I have bent over backwards to resolve this civilly, but my repeated attempts to get gwern to explain how I had misunderstood the sentence achieved nothing but the accusation that I was making an “underhanded” effort to get gwern to respond. Despite not being willing to discuss the matter in *that* thread, gwern brought the matter up in a comment thread for a completely different article. Throughout our encounters, gwern has been incredibly rude, referring to me as an “idiot” and “troll” (rather hypocritical, given the ridiculously silly claims made by gwern, such as that "A, therefore, A" is not a circular argument), and generally treating me with an utter lack of respect. And in defense, gwern has pointed to high karma and being here a long time as making any accusation of inappropriate behavior “presumptuous”. Because apparently, the popular kids can't be criticized by mere common folk.
Looking at the stats, gwern is indeed the top recent contributor, which makes this behavior all the more worthy of comment. If some random poster were being rude, that would be worrisome, but the fact that the top contributor thinks that a high karma score is license to egregiously violate Wheton's rule suggests that there may be something wrong with the site as a whole.
EY has referred to a need to have this be a “Well-Kept Garden”. So I would like to know whether gwern's behavior is the sort of thing that people here think is acceptable in this garden.