On behalf of Otto


Dear All

Otto has just been banned from the forum. I would like to say thanks for all the advice and helpful comments from forum users, in particular JOJO, JUNO, ANN, CORINNE, 404, PINKNEURON and all the other's I just can't remember.

Personally, I will never return to this forum, because I feel treated unfairly by the Administrators, but good luck for your PhDs and future lives.


Avatar for FindAPhD

Hi Otto

Sorry you're annoyed, but you were banned for repeatedly using offensive language, having been warned last week for posting lots of irrelevant replies. Your ban is only temporary, but if you choose not to return we'll understand.

Good luck with your PhD - or See you next week - the choice is yours.


Jojo? i thought i was 'brainless'. anyhow.. bye Otto.



Please come back otto.

(what did he do wrong?)


Hi Otto,

although your remarks may not always have been appropriate and sometimes may have been hurtful for some people, you did bring in quite a few interesting points and made the forum lively.

Good luck


I can see the Mod's point re the nature of some of Otto’s replies, especially regarding overseas students whom on face value he appeared to have little patience for. I can appreciate he must be finding his work stressful, but his replies were getting increasingly inappropriate.


otto, please come back.
although i did not always agree with otto's opinions, he never struck me as inappropriate. his remarks to overseas students seeking money/a PhD position were not helpful, but the fact that no one else even bothers to reply to those queries demonstrates that it is the queries themselves which are inappropriate.
on other points, i did not always agree with otto. but i do not consider he ever stated his opinions in inappropriate ways. sometimes his statements may have been offensive to some people. i honestly believe however that he never intended to be offensive or hurtful. that is simply what happens in written communication, when you try to be frank and open. i will miss this frankness in the future, as it appears that it is not wanted here.


Now I am genuinely concerned. What language is inappropriate or offensive on this forum? In all honesty, please can someone clarify if using 'crap' 'bugger' 'bloody' or 'tosser' will get someone banned. Also, if someone is going to get banned, do they get a warning first?


I have to pick you up there Shani, with one recent example that instantly springs to mind. Not too long ago in response to a perfectly reasonable request for information he answered with one word…‘Rajistan’ [or suchlike]. I felt compelled to start my post underneath his with the term ‘Constructively’, as his was far from that. What made it much worse for me was this came from an overseas poster who patently needed a bit of genuine guidance. How would you like it Shani as a 1st time poster and ‘foreign student’ and got that response?

Much stronger language than that Piglet. I am assuming the Mods are referring to the slanging match he got into recently [with another overseas student].


I think that this forum is a great space where everyone can exchange opinions ad find advise and support. It may happen that we disagree with each other and that the way we express our opinions may hurt someone. 'Errare humanum est'. We all make mistakes and we all learn from each other. It would be great if we would learn to perceive 'difference' as an enrichment and not as a problem. I think that it would be a big mistake not to come back to the forum Otto.


I have to agree with Corinne but I have to say there is a certain code of conduct that maybe should be agreed upon. Like, certain basic nice constructive communication. Expressing your own opinion is allowing free speech but being rude or using language which may offend, especially those not of our (UK?) culture or leaning is not. This is a supportive PhD forum after all and if your opinion is not actually going to contribute constructively to the question at hand then it should be kept to yourself. Let's leave nit picking to children, not PhD students. I, personally have no problem defending what I believe in, in fact, sometimes it does one (me) good to be able to re-affirm one's beliefs in a thing to actually be placed in a position to defend it. I feel Otto should be allowed to remain but should just check his motives for replying to some of the posts.


As for language choice...well, a bad word for some is a normal word for others, so if we can just tone it down and keep it to 'work place' language, it should remain pretty acceptable to all. And don't ask me what 'work place language' is, I am just thinking 'common sense' language that will probably not offend. I have to say, however, I now double check everything I post in case someone pounces on me for something


You are absolutely right PinkNeuron. Everyone's opinion is welcome as long as is delivered with respect for the person they are talking to.
The problem is that people from different countries may have a different perception of what can be considered offensive. Even within Europe. It took me a long time to understand what it was considered 'acceptable' here in the U.K, although I come from an EU country and have travelled widely. I used to be very annoyed by the remarks of a colleague of mine (I won't say from which country just in case I offend anyone here!), who expressed his opinions in a very direct manner. Sometimes too much direct! Then I understood that he didn't mean to be rude, it was just his way of approaching things and people. Ideally, we should think about our reaction to someone else's remarks before we use certain adjectives when we speak to other people.


isnt this the problem though? if we all only said things we were sure werent going to offend anyone then we'd be left with utter banality. As a PhD student you are not going to get far without learning to accept criticisms and opinions that are different from your own and expressed different ways, without taking them as a personal insult. At least Otto's contributions allowed us to get some robust debate.


I think yu misunderstod what I meant, Aliby. Of course we should be all open to criticism. If you read my earlier post I said that we should perceive difference as an enrichment and not as a problem. I think that there is absolutely nothing - even the harshest criticism - that cannot be taken on board if expressed with respect. I was not refering to a specific person or situation. It is was simply a general statement on this issue.