Close inbreeding and low genetic diversity in Inner Asian human populations despite geographical exogamy


Open access Close inbreeding and low genetic diversity in Inner Asian human populations despite geographical exogamy, by Marchi et al. Scientific Reports (2018) 8:9397.

Abstract (emphasis mine):

When closely related individuals mate, they produce inbred offspring, which often have lower fitness than outbred ones. Geographical exogamy, by favouring matings between distant individuals, is thought to be an inbreeding avoidance mechanism; however, no data has clearly tested this prediction. Here, we took advantage of the diversity of matrimonial systems in humans to explore the impact of geographical exogamy on genetic diversity and inbreeding. We collected ethno-demographic data for 1,344 individuals in 16 populations from two Inner Asian cultural groups with contrasting dispersal behaviours (Turko-Mongols and Indo-Iranians) and genotyped genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms in 503 individuals. We estimated the population exogamy rate and confirmed the expected dispersal differences: Turko-Mongols are geographically more exogamous than Indo-Iranians. Unexpectedly, across populations, exogamy patterns correlated neither with the proportion of inbred individuals nor with their genetic diversity. Even more surprisingly, among Turko-Mongols, descendants from exogamous couples were significantly more inbred than descendants from endogamous couples, except for large distances (>40 km). Overall, 37% of the descendants from exogamous couples were closely inbred. This suggests that in Inner Asia, geographical exogamy is neither efficient in increasing genetic diversity nor in avoiding inbreeding, which might be due to kinship endogamy despite the occurrence of dispersal.

Interesting excerpts:

Two cultural groups, which matrimonial systems are reported to differ, coexist in Inner Asia: Turko-Mongols are described as mainly exogamous while Indo-Iranians are thought to be mainly endogamous45. However, it is not always clear if exogamy refers to clan (ethnic) or village (geographical) exogamy. Here, we used a dataset of 16 populations representing 11 different ethnic groups from both cultural groups and we quantified geographical exogamy rates and distances in each population. Using an empirical threshold of 4 km, we confirmed that matrimonial behaviours differ as described in the literature, even though we found some exceptions: three Turko-Mongol populations (out of 14) have less than 50% exogamy, whereas one Indo-Iranian population (out of four) has more than 50% exogamy.(…).

Geographical distances between the birth places of couples in Turko-Mongols and Indo-Iranians. The geographical distances are plotted in log scale (km). Their densities are represented by population (dashed lines) or for the Indo-Iranian and Turko-Mongol groups (solid lines). We represented the average distances within couples per population using a Kernel’s density estimate implemented in R with a smoothing bandwidth of 0.2. See Supplementary Table 1B for population codes.

An additional important result of our study is that geographical distances are not negatively correlated with inbreeding, as could have been expected under an isolation-by-distance model65. Interestingly, a recent study based on a large genealogical dataset, collected across Western Europe and North America, and including birth places information, similarly found an absence of correlation between relatedness and the distance between couples, for the cohorts born before 185066. Our analyses within present-day Turko-Mongols reveal more specifically that the structure of the relationship between geographical distance and mating choice inbreeding is not linear, but rather tends to be bell-shaped, and thus cannot be correctly assessed with a single correlation test. Indeed, descendants from parents born 4 to 40 km apart are more inbred than descendants from endogamous couples (≤4 km) or from long-range exogamous ones (>40 km). As a consequence, close inbreeding exists despite geographical exogamy, and about a third of descendants from exogamous couples are inbred.

These results, in addition to those obtained by [Kaplanis et al. 2018]66, highlight the importance of using geographic distances rather than exogamy rates to characterize the impact of exogamy on inbreeding, as already described when studying patrilocality67. Indeed, when we compare mating choice inbreeding patterns for descendants from exogamous and endogamous couples defined for thresholds of 4, 10, 20 and 30 km, we find no significant differences (for number and total length of class C-ROHs and F-Median coefficient: MWU test p-values > 0.1). We only detect significantly lower values in descendants from exogamous couples for larger distances above 40 and 50 km (p-values < 0.03).

Genetic diversity (A) and inbreeding patterns (B,C) within populations. Grey lines in (B) represent inbreeding values corresponding to second-cousins and first-cousins. The grey line in (C) represents the homozygosity population baseline expected under panmixia. The number of samples per population is indicated between parentheses. See Supplementary Table 1B for population codes.

Our results also challenge the intuition that exogamy necessarily increases the genetic diversity within a population and therefore reduces drift inbreeding. Indeed, we found that Turko-Mongol populations have a lower genetic diversity (as measured by the mean haplotypic heterozygosity) and more intermediate ROHs associated with drift inbreeding than those of Indo-Iranians despite higher exogamous rates. (…)

Overall, this research sheds light on mating choice preferences: we showed that two thirds of partners that have not dispersed did mate with unrelated individuals, and that drift and mating choice inbreeding is variable, even among close-by populations. We also provide new insights into the relationship between dispersal and inbreeding in humans, based on genetic data, and demonstrate that geographical exogamy is not necessarily negatively associated with mating choice inbreeding, but rather can have a more complex non-linear relationship. Contrary to the common situation in many animals, this finding suggests that Inner Asian human populations who practise exogamy at small geographical scales might be focused on alliance strategies that result in kinship endogamy. (…)


Quantitative analysis of population-scale family trees with millions of relatives


The paper Quantitative analysis of population-scale family trees with millions of relatives, by Kaplanis, Gordon, Shor, et al. Science (2018) 359(6379), based on a study of genealogical information at Geni, is today news worldwide.


Family trees have vast applications in multiple fields from genetics to anthropology and economics. However, the collection of extended family trees is tedious and usually relies on resources with limited geographical scope and complex data usage restrictions. Here, we collected 86 million profiles from publicly-available online data shared by genealogy enthusiasts. After extensive cleaning and validation, we obtained population-scale family trees, including a single pedigree of 13 million individuals. We leveraged the data to partition the genetic architecture of longevity by inspecting millions of relative pairs and to provide insights into the geographical dispersion of families. We also report a simple digital procedure to overlay other datasets with our resource in order to empower studies with population-scale genealogical data.

While the article is behind a paywall, you can still read its preprint at bioRxiv.

Excerpts interesting for genetic genealogy(emphasis mine):

Assessment of theories of familial dispersion

Familial dispersion is a major driving force of various genetic, economical, and demographic processes (…)

First, we analyzed sex-specific migration patterns (21) to resolve conflicting results regarding sex bias in human migration (52). Our results indicate that females migrate more than males in Western societies but over shorter distances. The median mother-child distances were significantly larger (Wilcox, one-tailed, p < 10−90) by a factor of 1.6x than father-child distances (Fig. 4A). This trend appeared throughout the 300 years of our analysis window, including in the most recent birth cohort, and was observed both in North American (Wilcox, one-tailed, p < 10−23) and European duos (Wilcox, one-tailed, p < 10−87). On the other hand, we found that the average mother-child distances (fig. S17) were significantly shorter than the father-child distances (t-test, p < 10−90), suggesting that long-range migration events are biased toward males. Consistent with this pattern, fathers displayed a significantly (p < 10−83) higher frequency than mothers to be born in a different country than their offspring (Fig. 4B). Again, this pattern was evident when restricting the data to North American or European duos. Taken together, males and females in Western societies show different migration distributions in which patrilocality occurs only in relatively local migration events and large-scale events that usually involve a change of country are more common in males than females.

An example of the genealogical and demographic information available on the website, with a real pedigree of ~6000 individuals. Green: profiles, red: marriages. The family tree spans about 7 generations

Next, we inspected the marital radius (the distance be-tween mates’ places of birth) and its effect on the genetic relatedness of couples (21). The isolation by distance theory of Malécot predicts that increases in the marital radius should exponentially decrease the genetic relatedness of individuals (53). But the magnitude of these forces is also a function of factors such as taboos against cousin marriages (54).

We started by analyzing temporal changes in the birth locations of couples in our cohort. Prior to the Industrial Revolution (<1750), most marriages occurred between peo-ple born only 10km from each other (Fig. 4A [black line]). Similar patterns were found when analyzing European-born individuals (fig. S18) or North American-born individuals (fig. S19). After the beginning of the second Industrial Revolution (1870), the marital radius rapidly increased and reached ~100km for most marriages in the birth cohort in 1950. Next, we analyzed the genetic relatedness (IBD) of couples as measured by tracing their genealogical ties (Fig. 4C). Between 1650 and 1850, the average IBD of couples was relatively stable and on the order of ~4th cousins, whereas IBD exhibited a rapid decrease post-1850. Overall, the medi-an marital radius for each year showed a strong correlation (R2 = 72%) with the expected IBD between couples. Every 70km increase in the marital radius correlated with a decrease in the genetic relatedness of couples by one meiosis event (Fig. 4D). This correlation matches previous isolation by distance forces in continental regions (55). However, this trend was not consistent over time and exhibits three phases. For the pre-1800 birth cohorts, the correlation between marital distance and IBD was insignificant (p > 0.2) and weak (R2 = 0.7%) (fig. S20A). Couples born around 1800-1850 showed a two-fold increase in their marital distance from 8km in 1800 to 19km in 1850. Marriages are usually about 20-25 years after birth and around this time (1820-1875) rapid transportation changes took place, such as the advent of railroad travel in most of Europe and the United States. However, the increase in marital distance was significantly (p < 10−13) coupled with an increase in genetic relat-edness, contrary to the isolation by distance theory (fig. S20B). Only for the cohorts born after 1850, did the data match (R2 = 80%) the theoretical model of isolation by distance (fig. S20C).Taken together, the data shows a 50-year lag between the advent of increased familial dispersion and the decline of genetic relatedness between couples. During this time, individuals continued to marry relatives despite the increased distance. From these results, we hypothesize that changes in 19th century transportation were not the primary cause for decreased consanguinity. Rather, our results suggest that shifting cultural factors played a more important role in the recent reduction of genetic relatedness of couples in Western societies.

EDIT 3/2/2018: Added details of the article.

See also:

We are all special, which also means that none of us is


Adam Rutherford writes You’re Descended from Royalty and So Is Everybody Else – Anybody you can name from ancient history is in your family tree, which I discovered via John Hawks’ new post The surprising connectedness of human genealogies over centuries.


One way to think of it is to accept that everyone of European descent should have billions of ancestors at a time in the 10th century, but there weren’t billions of people around then, so try to cram them into the number of people that actually were. The math that falls out of that apparent impasse is that all of the billions of lines of ancestry have coalesced into not just a small number of people, but effectively literally everyone who was alive at that time. So, by inference, if Charlemagne was alive in the ninth century, which we know he was, and he left descendants who are alive today, which we also know is true, then he is the ancestor of everyone of European descent alive in Europe today.

Since most of this blog’s posts support academic disciplines looking for answers to the Indo-European question, and gives constantly reasons against modern genetic (and phylogenetic) identification, I think it is worth at least a quick read for anyone interested in the field.

I recently referred to the interesting series of posts by Graham Coop on this matter.

Featured image: Europe around 800 – the map is public domain from from the Historical Atlas (New York, 1911)


Genetic vs. genealogical ancestors and actual geographical constraints


Interesting post from Graham Coop, Where did your genetic ancestors come from?

An excerpt:

A thousand years back I’m descended from nearly everyone everywhere in Europe. I’m related to these individuals via millions of lines of descent back through my vast family tree. Yet the majority of the lines back through my pedigree trace to people living in the UK and Western Europe. Many lines trace back to more distant locations, but these are relatively few in number compared to those tracing back to closer to home. Ancestors along each of these lines are (roughly) equally likely to contribute to my genome. Therefore, most of my roughly 2600 genetic ancestors from 1000 years ago, who contributed the majority of my genome to me, will be random people living in the UK and western Europe at that time (who happened to leave descendants).

Looking back a few thousand years more, I’m a descendant of nearly everyone who ever lived almost everywhere in the world (at least those who left descendants, and many did). Yet most of the just over ~6000 individuals from that time who contributed the majority of my genome to me will mostly be found all over Western Eurasia. There’s nothing much special about these individuals who happen to be my genetic ancestors a few thousand years back. They’re likely not royalty. My genetic ancestors are just a random subset of all of my genealogical ancestors, they just happen to be my genetic ancestors due to the vagaries of meiosis and recombination.

As always, a humbling example, e.g. for those looking at haplogroups in the distant past to make modern ethnolinguistic identifications.

Genetics in combination with genealogy poses a question akin to the Ship of Theseus paradox.

Featured image (from the article): Simulation of how much of your autosomal genome is present in each genealogical ancestor as we go back up the generations. Image explained in detail in the article How many genetic ancestors do I have?


How to Fix a MySQL Character Encoding Mismatch in WordPress

An upgrade to a newer WordPress version, or (as in my case) to a newer version of MySQL, might trigger a problem which has been described since version 2.2: old UTF-8 characters are then represented by strange characters, say “é” will appear instead of “é”.

After reading some posts (e.g. this or this one) about how to fix it, I decided to solve it using one of the simple plugins out there. I tried both, UTF-8 Database converter and WP Sanitize Plugin.

But they just converted the database encoding the simple way. Which was fine, since I don’t care about non-European characters that much. However, there were still a lot of obvious character encoding errors, because the binary encoding was still wrong in many cases.

So I made multiple SQL queries to replace the wrong characters by their correct counterparts, and there it is: I fixed it without using the Shell commands of the aforementioned posts.

If you have the same problem, it will take you seconds to fix your character encoding issue, after having used one of the plugins above (say, UTF-8 Sanitize) and followed its instructions. Then execute the following SQL queries within your blog’s database:


  1. Do not change the position of the last query: it should remain the last one.
  2. In that last query, for the wrong character “Ô, you have to choose which of these characters you want it substituted for: “à” (default, preferred if you write mostly in French), “Á”, “í”, “Í” (probably better choices for Spanish blogs), or even “Ï” or “Ý”.

I know, I know, it’s not a perfect solution – but it was indeed easier for me…

Freedom of expression in a digital world: how fear over “cease and desist” threats can be used by individuals to restrict basic human rights

This is the story of how an unethical individual, who regards fundamental rights differently as applied to him and to others, can manage to frighten a company to the extent of making them think about limiting his clients’ freedom of expression, with a simple home-made “cease and desist” email threat. No China, no Cuba, no Iran involved. Just Spain in 2009. Too sad to be true.

I wrote it in Spanish because it is interesting for my group of study of Spanish and European Information Technology Law. I’ve translated it here for anyone interested in Spanish law, jurisprudence and international case law about new technologies and freedom of expression, a fundamental right within the Spanish Rechtsstaat.


FIRST.- I write blog posts, i.e. I publish my own dissertations or thoughts online. I personally installed and configured the webserver at home in a computer of mine. The webserver is located in Spain, I use databases to store the content and logs to store every possible information of visits, with a backup system to hold copies of weekly changes. I am a Spanish citizen, I live in Spain and I always wrote from Spanish territory (=from Spain-based IPs). I have studied or am studying Law, Economics and Medicine, although I cannot be considered an expert in any field. My hobbies are languages and computer science.

SECOND.- This is an account of events (proven with links and quotes) between july 2007 and may 2009:

  1. A blogger, Mr. Glen Gordon – who describes himself a “linguistic expert” and tries to make it clear every time he writes (but discusses his theories in blogs instead of professional peer-reviewed journals) criticized our Dnghu project in a post on his blog Paleoglot (about an “Indo-Tyrrhenian” or “Paleo-Aegean” brain fart thing). The blog is run in by Blogger, part of Google, Inc. services, a company based on the U.S. and which wants its contracts to be subjected to U.S. law, but whose webservers and data centers are located worldwide “in the dozens” (after CFO George Reyes), including Europe (from where content is served to European visitors), so that it is subject to European law; Google certainly has backup copies of what is written in its blogs. Mr. Gordon wrote -as far as I know – from Canada, and is probably a Canadian citizen.
  2. I found visits coming from his post, read it, and answered him commenting in his own (U.S.-based) blog, criticizing his (obvious) lack of knowledge about us and the project, as he hadn’t even read the book. It seemed to him enough to read a page of the grammar (only a linguistic root was discussed) to draw a conclusion about us on politics and linguistics; very professional for a professional linguist indeed. Anyway, as always, I made clear that any effort to get to know the project and to help us is welcome – but that much more should be made to write a fair critic about us or the project.
  3. The blogger, Mr. Gordon, apparently considered my answer somehow insulting (he criticizes but expects not to be criticized?), and wrote still another dedicated post in his blog about me and Dnghu – for him all associates were, from that moment on, equally responsible for my words -, calling me a “dogmatic relativist”, talking about my “ignorance”, my “arrogance”, how I “misspelled” the name Gąsiorowski (that was very important to show my “ignorance”), again referring to “proto-politics”, etc. He also writes the following comment without giving a clue about my “race” or “racist” remarks:

    The problem is that they’ve taken this proto-language obsession into the realm of politics by believing that they can make this a lingua franca of the European Union, and considering Nazi history which sought to make Indo-European the “language of the original Aryans”, this is the DUMBEST and most insulting thing you can do to other fellow Europeans, especially those that are non-IE speaking (Finns, Hungarians, Basque, Maltese, etc., etc., etc.)

    So utterly dumb, in fact, especially after the continuing stupid comments of Carlos Quiles on my site and on Dnghu about his views on race, language and IE, that I’m personally convinced that is a racist organization masquerading as non-racist to incite conflict for the personal enjoyment of its member(s)

    So, pure opinion and references to me and Dnghu being “nazi” and “racist”, no reading about our project or the book; just a great interpretation of my personality, knowledge and culture and about my (and Dnghu’s) “racism” from a single comment in a language which is not my mother tongue and a project that is my hobby – apparently professional linguistics today offers a great psychological and cultural background to make personal profiles and judge how “nazi” or “racist” a person or organization is. Impressive. Too naïve to be taken seriously, no need to answer. No need even to investigate U.S. or Canadian law, or Google Blogspot service rules, as the webservers that repeat the information are located in Europe. However (I thought), if they (the U.S., Canada, or Google) want to tolerate that behaviour, I can’t do anything, just as if an integrist calls me “racist infidel” or something in a website of a fundamentalist Islamic country. That should be an internal problem of foreign companies and countries and their respect for human rights.

  4. Impatient for me to read it, Glen commented on the first Dnghu’s blog post he found (based on Spain, subject to Spanish law) again and again about me and Dnghu being this and that. I warned him about spamming the website, and I eventually had to delete his multiple (unnecessary) links to Paleoglot included in each comment. He then behaved like a common troll, seemed to be furious, trying to ignite flames for some days, also using a newer post to comment, so that others could read him in more posts, no matter how unrelated the main subject of the post was. He insulted me and the association (based on Spain) again, using repeatedly adjectives like “nazi”, “racist”, or referring to the “genocide” or holocaust of jews, or the “violence” of “the catholics” in Canada: “you’ve thoroughly proved you are a kind of Nazi”, “And like a Nazi you adopt non-mainstream emotional rhetoric like the outdated Kurgan Hypothesis”, “your whole ‘organization’ is nonsensical”, “your Aryan organization”, “you devalue non-IE-speaking European citizens”, “Dnghu is a sinister organization”, “[t]he fact that they [we] specifically chose Indo-European is suspect considering Nazi history”, “they will welcome you into their community just as they would anyone named Adolf Hitler”, etc. He also judged my mental health and capacity (remember, only with his “linguistic expertise” background and with me having made at the time two or three comments) using descriptions like “your disturbing psychoses”, “your delusions”, a “fascist-like desire”, “naive fool”, “idiocy”, “a fool from Dnghu”, “you lack the maturity to address criticism”, “Carlos doesn’t seem to be capable of doing anything but putting his foot where his dnghu should be”, “you masochistically delight in your own shame”, etc.; and, again, “ignorance” based on another misspelling, “Algonquinian” instead of Algonquian. A pain in the ass, but after good old just make fun of the troll’s comments and you can’t spam us policies, maintained for some days (as a good professional in linguistics Glen had only a week or so to lose insulting us in our websites, still some more time to comment about me and Dnghu in his own blog), he became tired and left. Not without posting an especially interesting comment regarding his future behaviour (on how good it is that the Internet is free for everyone to know how we really are by reading what we write):

    Regardless of the fact that you’ve erased some of the above comments by others that you couldn’t handle, while inventing others in mockery of me [note the unproven conspiranoic claims], all of your own words are spreading across the internet like wildfire right now thanks to Google and other search engines which keep long-lasting records of previous states of webpages through their caches. So I can easily predict that any future readers will come to associate your verbal vomit here with Dnghu and be forever sick to their stomach

  5. Some months later, after some normal critic comments about him and his work in the blog Language Hat blog, he showed a similar aggressive, insulting, and then (in his own blog) paranoid behaviour, even looking for conspiracies from everyone involved in the online conversation that had taken place in Language Hat. Some linguists, who knew him from his participation in linguistic forums, made very precise descriptions of his previous similar behaviour in other discussions, some even trying to ascertain which exact personal disorder made him interpret (especially written) answers and critics always as offences. Someone mentioned “Asperger syndrome”.
  6. I discovered that his second post, his criticism about me and Dnghu, was almost on top of the Google search results for “Dnghu” (as people talk about Indo-European language or Modern Indo-European, not about Dnghu or me personally…), and I decided to write about “Glen Gordon” and “Paleoglot” to balance out. I wrote about him and his aggressive, irrational reactions and linked to his humiliating comments about others and to his paranoid and narcissistic features shown on Dnghu, Language Hat and Paleoglot blogs, and warned other Internet surfers about him, asserting he is “mentally unstable”*. No opinion, no insult, not even a precise medical diagnosis – simple deduction from his behaviour which anyone could have made with little knowledge on Psychiatry or Psychology, and warning others about him: something is wrong with this guy, be careful if you happen to mix with him online, because he takes normal criticism as offending, and could behave as an infuriated troll. A reference to the description of him linked to “Asperger”, not valuable for the Asperger diagnosis itself (I obviously didn’t agree with it, because I contradicted it), but good for other people to know about his previous impressions of being conspired against, and about how he reacts when criticised.
  7. He commented the following:

    The rhetorical smeer [sic] campaign against me in this article speaks for itself. When you’re capable of talking on the subject of linguistics instead of wishywashy personal politics and hearsay, let me know, kids.

    Note the misspelling, which accounts for “ignorance” according to this expert in linguistics dedicated to the serious field of “Indo-Tyrrhenian” – especially given that English is his mother tongue, while mine is Spanish. Note that he thinks it is a ‘smeer’ campaign: not just a post from me, but a whole “campaign”, a kind of sinister plan orchestrated against him. Note also the unavoidable “I am an expert in linguistics and you aren’t” thing. Note that “we” (i.e. me and my invisible friends) are all “kids”. Paranoid and narcissistic features – just deduction. But no borderline, no overreaction, no bullying, no direct insults. I really thought I might have judged him wrong after all – because I really expected him to overreact -, so I didn’t answer. Maybe he is more narcissistic than borderline, I thought, and just gets angry if contradicted in what he thinks it’s his “expertise”…

* With “mentally unstable” I meant what in Spain is often also called (using the English term) a “borderline” personality; in English literature is referred to also as “emotionally unstable”. Glen’s personality obviously has strong paranoid (=Reads benign remarks or events as threatening or demeaning, Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack) and narcissistic (=”I am a great linguist”, “you are all so ignorant of the truth”, and the like) and obvious features, but I can only bet for borderline, given the depictions of his previous behaviour as oddly alternating (from normal to incomprehensibly aggressive an then back to calmed and normal when talking e.g. with online friends like PhoeniX in the same threads) made by Language Hat readers. I didn’t even talk about his borderline features accounting for a full personality “disorder”, i.e. a mental illness [Edit: in fact, given the prevalence of Borderline PD in females, it is more likely that, in case he were diagnosed a PD, it were a Paranoid PD (i.e. fear of external objects as potentially harmful), of the aggressive type, i.e. projection of the own aggressiveness in objects (=”I am aggressive because you are all aggressive towards me”), less likely of the defendant type, i.e. suspicious of the objects (“I suffer because they all want to harm me”)]. Just a simple “mentally unstable”. Some people are more paranoid, some others are more narcissistic, some more avoidant; I said Glen was clearly unstable. I showed why, and all that as response to his online public insults and disqualifications, so that people can compare both points of view: either I (and the association) are actually “Nazi” and “racist” for proposing the language revival project and criticizing Mr. Gordon’s opinions, and those linguists who commented about him are all in a conspiracy crusade against his great work on an invented Paleo-thing, OR he had frequently emotional instability episodes when confronted with criticism…
Whether or not his case is one of full Borderline disorder (AKA illness) is an individual question only he and his psychiatrist are able to determine, as it depends on how adaptative his behaviour is for his everyday life, and how much he suffers from his violent overreactions from normal criticism (or even mockery, why not) of him and his work, as such episodes are usually very stressful for these people.

THIRD.- But, on the 18th of May I received an email from my domain name registrar, a Spanish company which gets paid 9$/year for (basically) redirecting “” to my server at my home IP “”. They gave me a period of 7 days to delete especifically the “mentally unstable” and the “Asperger syndrome” words from the post, or they would “be obliged to shut down the service” I had paid for. ‘Someone’ had complaint about “violent” speech and “defamation” on that post. That ‘someone’ hadn’t contacted me before to suggest me to correct or delete the text where there was wrong or “bad faith” or (according to him) “violent” speech. Even my own company hadn’t contacted me to know my version of the story. So, again, a strong unfounded overreaction of Mr. Gordon (threatening a third party to make them silence an individual he dislikes) mixed with previous strong narcissistic and paranoid features.

I wrote them back immediately, telling them I am very interested in such legal questions (Information Technology Law) and here is what I answered them with a similar structure but more formally, as in sentences of Spanish courts (I won’t post the mails we exchanged here, as the company agreed on the next day that I was right, and I think they don’t deserve to be given bad publicity after all):


FIRST.- Everything that happens with the content of my webserver, and which involves my website, Dnghu’s websites, and my activities within Spanish soil, is subject to Spanish law and courts, according not only to and Dnghu privacy policy (which everyone accepts by visiting and writing on the webserver), but also – and more important – according to Spanish internal and International Private Law rules. No other jurisdiction is recognized by me (or the Dnghu Association) in the privacy policy, nor by Spanish or European law and courts. If you enter my websites or those of Dnghu, and write on them, you accept to be bound to Spanish courts. Just like when you use a Google service you accept to be bound by its terms and (usually) to U.S. courts. It is so simple it doesn’t need any further explanation:

Art. 22.2 Ley Orgánica 6/1985, de 1 de julio, del Poder Judicial (LOPJ) .- En el orden civil, los Juzgados y Tribunales españoles serán competentes: (…) 2. Con carácter general, cuando las partes se hayan sometido expresa o tácitamente a los juzgados o tribunales españoles, así como cuando el demandado tenga su domicilio en España.

The Art. 22.3 LOPJ (with Art. 5(3) of the Brussels Convention of 1968 and Regulation (EC) 44/2001) clearly establish the choice of law rule lex loci delicti commissi for torts (civil wrongs not arising out of contractual obligations) and criminal offences. This includes all unlawful acts not governed by a contract [Kalfelis v. Schroder, 1988 ECR 5567 (case 189/87)], and the territorial connection is the country where the injurious facts were produced (e.g. from where the offender introduces data to the Internet), and the country where the damage is done (where the information is actually published, the location of the webserver) [G.J. Bier B.V. i Reinwater Foundation v. Mines de Potasse d’Alsace S.A., 1976 ECR 1735 (case 21/71)] which are often the same. So for example, I publish my content from Spain in a server of Spain. Mr. Gordon, however, publishes his content from Canada in foreign webservers – in Canada or the U.S., and simultaneously in a European one (Belgium or any other where Google, Inc. servers instantly ‘serve’ the content). This general territorial forum was further confirmed by the Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe in 2001.

Art. 23.1 LOPJ: En el orden penal corresponderá la jurisdicción española el conocimiento de las causas por delitos y faltas cometidos en territorio español o cometidos a bordo de buques o aeronaves españoles, sin perjuicio de lo previsto en los tratados internacionales en que España sea parte.

NOTE. Traditionally, the choice of law “connection points” used in International Private Law to solve conflicts of jurisdiction (to ascertain the “forum“) and applicable laws are based on the territorial location of the actions and facts of each case. So for example:

Art. 8 Código Civil: “Las leyes penales, las de policia y las de seguridad pública obligan a todos los que se hallen en territorio español”

art. 5(3) Brussels Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters 1968 : “En materia delictiva o quasidelictiva [será también competente] el tribunal del lugar en que acaeciera el hecho lesivo.”

art. 5(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters: “En materia delictual o cuasidelictual, ante el tribunal del lugar donde se hubiere producido o pudiere producirse el hecho dañoso.”

In a digitial world where any information online is accessible everywhere, the “place” criteria is not valid for every case, as there can be actions considered offences in one country, and accessible from it, but commited from webservers and nationals of countries where they are not considered offences. Because Internet activity is “global” and law is “national”, sometimes jurisdiction is recognized by different national laws, and the important aspect is which jurisdiction could (and would) recognize which foreign resolution and which not. There are no “cyberlaws” or “supranational courts”, and the International Private Law guarantees that applicable solutions to conflicts are the product of a democratic process (State laws), respect the principle of State sovereignity, and gives efficient solutions thanks to the coercitive power of the State.

In a case like European Court Shevill v. Press Alliance, 1995 ECR 415 (68/93), of defamation using a publication, the origin of the ‘causal fact’ is the same as the country of the editorial sued – cf. similarly my blog content published in a webserver located in Spain. However, in Internet (and especially big companies like Google, Inc., with multiple webservers which coordinate themselves and publish their content instantly everywhere) it is frequently impossible to ascertain a single country of publication where the causal fact occurs, and multiple jurisdictions could hold themselves competent.

However, on the possibility of suing Mr. Gordon in Canada – regardless of where he did in fact publish the content -, according to Common Law rules, Australia’s Joseph Gutnick v. Dow Jones, VSC 305 (28 AUG 2001), has been cited by courts in the United Kingdom and Canada to justify their jurisdiction in cases of defamation using Internet, no matter where the individual (with U.K. or Canada domicile) published it. Also, the “domicile” concept is less strict than in our continental Rechtstaat, and therefore no nationality is needed for prosecution, so actual Canadian citizenship is not important.

Now, apart from the jurisdiction, there is the applicable law problem, as the court (whatever it may be) has the obligation to apply the necessary laws, whether foreign or national, which regulated those involved and their relationship. In Spain, it is a bilateral locus delicti rule, and it is interpreted as a conflict rule applicable to civil responsibility derived from any unlawful act, whether civil or criminal.

Art. 10.9 Código Civil: “Las obligaciones no contractuales se regirán por la ley del lugar donde hubiere ocurrido el hecho de que deriven.”

NOTE. The ubiquity problem of the Internet, already explained, makes this question of applicable law a especially difficult one when there multiple webservers and different nationals acting from different countries. So e.g. the Waddon case (U.K.); the US v. American Sports Ltd. (15-APR-2001), or the SAP de Barcelona, de 25 de abril de 2002, Planeta v. Geocities. That has favoured a frequent election of the forum by individuals, according to the best law they could find: so in the case of Andrew Meldrum – journalist of the Guardian – prosecuted in Zimbabwe for “defamation”, because of an article criticising its governement…

There are also people who defend the “law of the causal act” (law of the country of origin of the civil tort or crime) as the only one applicable. That makes it better for the offender, but tends to create “paradises” for offences and civil torts, as “tabloid havens” for webservers, established in countries with a relaxed protection of personal rights. So, for example, Mr. Gordon could claim that because he wrote from Canada, only Canadian laws apply to him.

All in all, we cannot forget that the law of the place where the webserver is located (Spain for mine; U.S., Europe, and other laws for Mr. Gordon and Google, Inc) is generally in a privileged situation in this subject of conflicting laws in civil torts or crimes commited using Internet, as it complies with a lot of national and international regulations (v.s.). Moreover, in this case everyone agreed (and agrees) to be bound by Spanish law when reading, writing or otherwise using my webserver, so there is not much space for interpretation. About Google, Inc. servers, however, it is bound by the specific European country’s national laws (Belgian or any other), as laws regarding fundamental principles of each country fall into its exception of “public order”, common in criminal offences and (especially in continental Europe’s Rechtstaat) in law of tort, and such laws cannot be avoided. To simplify, I cannot publish content in Belgium, making people visit my unlawful content in webservers located in Belgium, and then oblige Belgians to submit to e.g. U.S. tort law through a simple privacy policy statement, because Belgian courts won’t recognize that submission.

NOTE. Unlike European continental countries, countries of Common Law (as the UK countries of the Commonwealth, like Canada) tend to substitute the lex loci delicti commissi with their Proper Law, the doctrine originated in conflicts of law of contract in their own courts. So e.g. in the U.S., in Hugues v. AOL, Massachusetts District Court, 28 May 2002, the election of the forum was admitted as binding, and so in the Court of Appeals of Washington DC in favour of the courts of Virginia, where Verizon has its domicile. In both cases, the actor tried to sue the companies in his State of residence.

Also, the single publication rule avoids in the U.S. that their courts might know of crimes or torts commited with contents published in webservers not located on U.S. soil, as in Simon v. Arizona Board of Regents, 28 Med L Rep 1240 (Ariz.Super.Ct.1999). A similar concept is found in the European Court Shevill (v.s.), where only the forum of the country where the causal fact happens is competent to fully examine the case (and compensate for damages suffered in global scale).

Furthermore, regarding online publications, the newest European law of tort (like the Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations, so-called “Rome II”) will spread the concept of a strict lex loci damni, so that the accessibility of the Internet from any country is not enough for a (global) locus delicti, nor to select the applicable national law – the location of the webserver will, then, be the essential choice of law “connection” rule:

Article 4. Regulation No 864/2007. General rule. 1. Unless otherwise provided for in this Regulation, the law applicable to a non-contractual obligation arising out of a tort/delict shall be the law of the country in which the damage occurs irrespective of the country in which the event giving rise to the damage occurred and irrespective of the country or countries in which the indirect consequences of that event occur.

Also, express submission – as in this case – is recognized and given preference over any other forum in the future applicable law of tort, regarding European nationals:

Article 14. Regulation No 864/2007. Freedom of choice.1. The parties may agree to submit non-contractual obligations to the law of their choice:
(a) by an agreement entered into after the event giving rise to the damage occurred;

NOTE. On the contrary – regarding Mr. Gordon’s actions (and Google’s secondary responsibility) -, according to Spanish (now possibly old) case law, it is assumed there is the necessary minimal connexion between the unlawful conduct and the Spanish state if the content is accessible from Spain – therefore, Spanish law will apply to their unlawful acts as well (Calvo Caravaca, Carrascosa González, 2001: Conflictos de leyes y conflictos de jurisdicción). Regarding newer European legislation, though, it wouldn’t probably be followed; however, in lack of international treaties or reciprocity (as is the case of Spain or the EU) with Canada or the US, any decision on the legislation to be applied depends fully on Spanish courts, and there is a (logical) tendency to apply the own law if there is doubt.

SECOND.- The fundamental right to (or, more precisely, “public freedom”) freedom of expression is recognized by the Spanish Constitution of 1978, art. 20, and is protected through strong constitutional guarantees, especially by the Constitutional Court.

Art. 20.1 CE: Se reconocen y protegen los derechos: a. A expresar y difundir libremente los pensamientos, ideas y opiniones mediante la palabra, el escrito o cualquier otro medio de reproducción. (…) d) A comunicar o recibir libremente información veraz por cualquier medio de difusión.”

One of its express limits is the so-called right to honour (apart from right to privacy and right to public image, which are not involved here):

art. 20.4 CE: Estas libertades tienen su límite en el respeto a los derechos reconocidos en este Título, en los preceptos de las Leyes que lo desarrollan y, especialmente, en el derecho al honor, (…)

This right to honour is protected in civil law by the Ley Orgánica 1/1982, de 5 de mayo, de Protección Civil del Derecho al Honor, a la Intimidad Personal y Familiar y a la Propia Imagen.

Art. 1.1. LO 1/1982: El Derecho Fundamental al Honor, a la Intimidad Personal y Familiar y a la Propia Imagen, garantizado en el artículo 18 de la Constitución, será protegido civilmente frente a todo género de intromisiones ilegítimas, de acuerdo con lo establecido en la presente Ley Orgánica.

Only the worst attacks against a person’s honour are protected by Criminal Law, under a crime called “injurias“. It is a special criminal offence, as – unlike any other offence – the attorney general cannot prosecute the offender without a complaint from the offended person, whether an individual or an organization. So the offended has the last word, and can even expressly pardon the offender:

art. 208 Ley Orgánica 10/1995, de 23 de noviembre, del Código Penal (CP 95): Es injuria la acción o expresión que lesionan la dignidad de otra persona, menoscabando su fama o atentando contra su propia estimación.
Solamente serán constitutivas de delito las injurias que, por su naturaleza, efectos y circunstancias, sean tenidas en el concepto público por graves.
Las injurias que consistan en la imputación de hechos no se considerarán graves, salvo cuando se hayan llevado a cabo con conocimiento de su falsedad o temerario desprecio hacia la verdad.

Those “slanderous allegations” (injurias) made with publicity, which includes writings published “online” (as has been accepted by jurisprudence and case law long ago), are punished more severely:

art. 209 CP 95: Las injurias graves hechas con publicidad se castigarán con la pena de multa de seis a catorce meses y, en otro caso, con la de tres a siete meses.

THIRD.- A domain name registrar doesn’t offer “hosting”, but the so-called domain name registering, “parking”, and in some cases – as this one – it also resolves DNS queries. The domain registrar, then, in theory (and in practice) hires a domain name for me and (in my case) resolves [=redirects] a domain name ( to a webserver where I host my own content. There is no base in the contract I signed to threaten me with “shutting down my hosting”.

But, more important, there wouldn’t even be a right of the company to shut down a hosting service I had signed just “if and when they considered” (literally from the contract) that I, the website owner, was not behaving with “good faith”. This is clearly an illegal contract clause that gives the strong part in the contract the right to cancel it whenever they want, not only prohibited under Standard Form Contract and Consumer laws, but also in the most basic Spanish law of contracts, the Código Civil (CC).

art. 1256 CC: La validez y el cumplimiento de los contratos no pueden dejarse al arbitrio de uno de los contratantes.

NOTE. Also, about the specific standard form contract they offer to consumers to sign, cf. what was established in SAP de Madrid SECC 13ª, de 4 de junio de 2002:

.. ante el hecho reiterado de que las empresas o los profesionales que tiene un gran volumen de contratación impongan unilateralmente a quien se ve forzado o necesitado de contratar con ellas las condiciones a que se va a ajustar el contrato a celebrar, surgió la Ley 7/1998, de 13 Abr., sobre Condiciones Generales de la Contratación, que en su artículo 1 las define como aquellas cláusulas predispuestas cuya incorporación al contrato sea impuesta por una de las partes, con independencia de la autoría material de las mismas, de su apariencia externa, de su extensión y de cualquiera otras circunstancias, habiendo sido redactadas con la finalidad de ser incorporadas a una pluralidad de contratos, siempre que como señala el artículo 2, el contrato se haya celebrado entre un profesional -proponente- y cualquier persona física o jurídica -adherente- Estas condiciones, ligadas consustancialmente a los contratos de adhesión se caracterizan, en definitiva, por su predisposición unilateral; la ausencia de negociación individual; estar destinadas a una pluralidad de contratos y figurar con un texto proforma en un impreso normalizado que el predisponente, que tiene el carácter de profesional según la definición que del mismo da el núm. 2 del artículo 2 (toda persona física o jurídica que actúe dentro del marco de su actividad profesional o empresarial, ya sea pública o privada), somete a la firma del adherente.

Estas condiciones generales, que serán validas en tanto no contradigan en perjuicio del adherente lo dispuesto en la Ley de 1998, son objeto de un tratamiento más riguroso cuando el adherente al contrato es un consumidor, pues el ordenamiento jurídico debe procurar que no se rompa el requerido equilibrio contractual en perjuicio del contratante más débil. Por eso, siguiendo los dictados del artículo 51 de la Constitución, el artículo 8.2 de la Ley 7/1998, señala que, en particular, serán nulas las condiciones generales que sean abusivas, cuando el contrato se haya celebrado con un consumidor, entendiendo por tales en todo caso las definidas en el artículo 10 bis y disposición adicional primera de la Ley 26/1984, de 19 Jul., General para la defensa de Consumidores y Usuarios, además, claro esta, de aquellas que no cumplan los requisitos que relaciona el artículo 10 de la Ley 26/1984 (concreción, claridad, sencillez, buena fe y justo equilibrio entre los derechos y obligaciones de las partes, lo que excluye la utilización de cláusulas abusivas… etc.)…”

Domain registrars are not entitled to threaten to shut down the hosting or to oblige people to retract themselves or correct their writings, as the constitutional right to freedom of expression is at stake, and it certainly prevails over private contracts or institutions; even over public contracts or institutions…

NOTE. According to art. 16.1 Ley 34/2002, de 11 de julio, de servicios de la sociedad de la información y de comercio electrónico (LSSICE):

“los prestadores de un servicio de intermediación consistente en albergar datos proporcionados por el destinatario de este servicio no serán responsables por la información almacenada a petición del destinatario, siempre que:

  1. No tengan conocimiento efectivo de que la actividad o la información almacenada es ilícita o de que lesiona bienes o derechos de un tercero susceptibles de indemnización, o
  2. Si lo tienen, actúen con diligencia para retirar los datos o hacer imposible el acceso a ellos.

The term “conocimiento efectivo” of hosting providers has been interpreted by specialized authors as related only to a previous sentence by a court. Subjective appreciation of the illegal nature of the activity is not only unnecessary, but probably an unlawful restriction of the freedom of expression:

La cuestión, entonces, se resume en lo siguiente: ¿puede haber conocimiento efectivo y, por ende, responsabilidad, a falta de que “un órgano competente haya declarado la ilicitud de los datos, ordenado su retirada o que se imposibilite el acceso a los mismos, o se hubiera declarado la existencia de la lesión, y el prestador conociera la correspondiente resolución”?
La respuesta mayoritaria en nuestra doctrina es afirmativa. Pese a ello, creo que hay buenos argumentos para mantener que los intermediarios sólo responden, como regla general (es decir, en ausencia de acuerdos voluntarios y del establecimiento de otros medios de conocimiento efectivo), cuando conocen que un juez ha declarado que los materiales en cuestión son ilícitos.

– El conocimiento efectivo deberá acreditarse de forma positiva, sin que valgan alusiones a la probabilidad de haber conocido y mucho menos al deber de haber conocido; vale la pena recordar que el modelo comunitario -en homenaje al cual adoptamos esta solución de compromiso- excluye expresamente la existencia de un deber general de supervisión de contenidos por parte de los intermediarios.

– La existencia de un conocimiento efectivo no se producirá por el mero hecho de que se notifique al intermediario la existencia de unos materiales ilegales, sino que dependerá de dos variables principales:

  • La “seriedad” de la notificación; dicha “seriedad” puede ser “cualitativa” (notificación realizada por un sujeto evidentemente legitimado, de forma fehaciente y con aportación de la información precisa para justificar la ilegalidad de los datos) o “cuantitativa” (un número relevante de usuarios, de forma no concertada, llaman la atención sobre ciertos contenidos).
  • La “auto-evidencia” de la ilegalidad, es decir, que la misma resulte sin género de dudas de la simple visión de los materiales afectados (por ejemplo, pornografía infantil), sin que la ilegalidad dependa de datos o información que no se encuentran a disposición del intermediario; por ejemplo, faltaría esta “auto-evidencia” en informaciones que lesionan el honor de una persona, si su ilegalidad depende de la veracidad de la información y ésta resulta mínimamente verosímil.

Anyway, the point in this case is that a company cannot make people sign standard form contracts, and then interpret them however they like. This company acted as domain name registrar and as DNS server; no hosting, and thus no content and no responsibility involved.
NOTE. Nevertheless, website owners with so-called “hot links” to illegal content have been also prosecuted in the case “” as responsible. However, they weren’t punished, and hotlinking isn’t the same as DNS server.

“Que puede existir responsabilidad por la colección de hiperenlaces según el texto de la Ley 34/2002, de 11 de Julio, de Servicios de la Sociedad de la Información y del Comercio Electrónico, que en su art. 17 establece la responsabilidad en que incurre un sitio Web cuando sabiendo que un contenido es ilícito, se expone un enlace a una página declarada ilegal. Se precisaría el conocimiento efectivo por parte del proveedor de servicios de que la actividad o la información a la que remite el hiperenlace es ilícita. Pero aún cuando el prestador de servicios conozca la ilicitud de las páginas enlazadas, la Ley 34/ 2002 define lo que se entiende como conocimiento efectivo en el último párrafo de su art. 17.1 (…) En suma, no probado el conocimiento efectivo, desaparece la base para la imputación penal del titular del sitio web.

But even if there were a sentence about shutting down my blog, my domain registrar should collaborate only if requested explicitly by a court; a simple, apparently obvious inference by a public authority from a previous request of a court to close a website is not enough; so in the Bitmailer case:

Cuando un órgano competente por razón de la materia hubiera ordenado, en ejercicio de las funciones que legalmente tenga atribuidas, que se interrumpa la prestación de un servicio de la sociedad de la información o la retirada de determinados contenidos provenientes de prestadores establecidos en España, y para ello fuera necesaria la colaboración de los prestadores de servicios de intermediación, podrá ordenar a dichos prestadores, directamente o mediante solicitud motivada al Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, que suspendan la transmisión, el alojamiento de datos, el acceso a las redes de telecomunicaciones o la prestación de cualquier otro servicio equivalente de intermediación que realizaran (…)
Sin embargo una elemental exégesis de dicho precepto nos permite deducir que a través de él no se configura una especial acción de cesación frente a aquel prestador de servicios a quien, en principio, no incumbe la obligación de cesar. Por el contrario, al contemplar un deber generalizado de colaboración con las autoridades que hayan dictado orden de cesación, constituye pieza esencial para la operatividad del precepto la previa existencia de esa orden de cesación emanada de autoridad competente, en su caso judicial, de tal suerte que aquel deber no se concibe como la concreción de una obligación propia y genuina de cesación del prestador nacida para él ex lege del art. 1089 del CC en relación con los arts. 15 y 16 de la L 34/2002, sino como un deber de Derecho público que obliga a todo operador de Internet -de la clase que sea- a colaborar con las autoridades en la materialización o cumplimiento de una obligación que no es propia del llamado a colaborar, sino ajena y que genuinamente no incumbe más que a aquél frente a quien se ha dirigido la orden de cesación emanada de aquella autoridad (…).

FIFTH.- If I write an article in an online newspaper, only I and the newspaper can be held liable. If I write it in my own blog, only I can be held liable. The owner of the server where the content is hosted has a secondary responsibility, which is born only when the court or legitimated authority (although not in some countries) explicitly states that it should delete the content, if it doesn’t comply with that order. That’s essential to any modern law, and only in countries where human rights are not respected could third parties, relatives or friends held accountable for what another person does. Otherwise, everyone could sue Spanish Telecom Telefonica (as the telephone line belongs to them), my girlfriend (who hires the DSL service), the ICANN (responsible for domain names), the domain registrar (as in this case) or, why not, every computer and software manufacturer involved in a supposed online civil tort – Samsung, Firefox, WordPress, search engines…

NOTE. The essential and basic concepts of legal responsibility (liability) in Spanish law of tort are similar (if not equal) to those of Common Law, and so with the concepts of actus reus and mens rea.

SIXTH.- Under Spanish law – and in other jurisdictions – there is an obligation when someone gives an opinion or information – especially when other people’s rights (like the “right to honour”) are involved – to show proof of “veracity“. Not truth (as it is often impossible to prove), but veracity, i.e. “enough effort to find the truth”. I worked a post about Mr. Gordon’s odd behaviour in his relationships with bloggers; I linked to that behaviours, which showed his bullying, hounding and insulting (as anonymous user or not, anyway with the same IP) in different blogs; and then made a deduction about his personality.

In fact, I couldn’t probably write a post about someone I just met on the street and say: “hey, that guy I met is mentally ill”. Not many Spanish judges would consider this under the scope of the freedom of expression. However, if that same guy first contacts with me with a normal behaviour, then insults and disqualifies me publicly in web sites, then hounds me and others, and then I draw the conclusion that he must be “mentally unstable” due to his violent overreactions, not a lot of judges in the whole free world would be able to rule that I hadn’t the right to make other people know why that guy actually insulted and hounded me and my organization publicly, as he made himself a publicly relevant information for Internet users.
NOTE. For more on the conflict of freedom of expression and right to honour:

Cuando la libertad de información no se orienta a un asunto de interés público, en el que sus titulares procuren formar opinión en una materia de interés para la comunidad y, de esta manera, actuar sobre la opinión pública… entonces, no tiene preferencia el derecho de información y ha de resolverse a favor del derecho al honor. SSTC 165/87 Y 105/90; SSTS de 20 de diciembre de 1990 y de 22 de mayo de 1993.
La jurisprudencia de TS., prácticamente de forma unánime, valga por todas la Sentencia de 25 de febrero de 1985, refiriéndose a la actividad periodística, advierte que el ejercicio de tales derechos : “… Presuponen el deber de informar objetivamente, aduciendo, a la vez, la denuncia de hechos que son infracciones de deberes sociales, de convivencia, alimentarios, culturales, deportivos o administrativos, que trata de promover un estado de opinión y hasta fomentar un grupo de presión en la opinión pública tendentes a la corrección o paliativo de esos defectos, o bien a promover la crítica de situaciones anómalas, extrañas o irregulares, que tenga un sentido potencial y tendencial positivo y constructivo, pero sin caer, en uno u otro caso, en la transgresión de derechos tan respetables, permanentes y fundamentales como el del honor personal, por lo que si el derecho de expresión garantiza y respalda el mantenimiento de una comunicación pública que goza de libertad, y repudia por naturaleza y esencia la previa censura, no por ello hay que olvidar aquel correlativo derecho al honor, que ha de ser salvaguardado mediante la puesta en juego de unos criterios ponderativos que, en cada supuesto y caso, enjuicien la posibilidad de lesión de los mismos, constitutiva de delito o falta, o de simple crítica emitida con finalidad de llegar a crear un estado de opinión y a las esferas y poderes del Estado con el fin de corregir las deficiencias que por tal medio de difusión como es el periodismo, se trata de alertar y corregir por quien corresponda en cada caso”.

On the other hand, Mr. Gordon insulted me as “Nazi” either directly or with comparisons, and that accounts for a serious insult (i.e. a criminal offence) according to (a surprisingly vast) case law. He repeats the word “Nazi” more than ten times, linking me directly to “nazi” and “racist” ideas, and referring to my “fascist-like” behaviour, and to Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust, before I made fun of his Godwin’s law record by repeating my being nazi till exhaustion (=rhetorical magnification to show the stupidity of the argument), which he used still one more time to assert that “You may be finally overcoming your denial”. He made those offences using public means offered by Internet, to be able to reach a lot of people, and conscient of doing so (v.s.).
NOTE. For recent examples of the common insult “nazi” in successful criminal prosecutions, see SAP Baleares de 9 de Diciembre 2002, SAP Barcelona, de 22 de Enero 2007, SAP Albacete de 27 de Junio 2005, SAP Madrid de 25 de Octubre 2004, SAP Valencia de 26 de Septiembre 2008, and a large etc. For all of them, this conclusion of STS de 24 octubre de 2003 (v.i.):

La libertad de expresión, entendida como formulación y difusión libre de pensamientos, ideas y opiniones mediante la palabra o como libertad de comunicar información, ha de estar orientada, de forma imprescindible, por la verdad y, además, no perseguir la lesión del patrimonio moral, la reputación, consideración o prestigio del sujeto afectado por aquella actividad. Porque si es cierto que el artículo 20 de la Constitución reconoce los derechos de “libertad de expresión” y de “comunicación de información, también es cierto que la misma “Ley Suprema”, en el mismo artículo, declara que la información ha de ser veraz y que tales libertades o derechos tienen su límite en el respeto a los derechos reconocidos en el Título I de la misma, así como en las leyes que los desarrollan “y, especialmente, en el derecho al honor, a la intimidad y a la propia imagen”.

El insulto personal, la vejación injusta y el menosprecio grave, expresados en el caso de autos, en palabras tales como: inepto, caradura, sinvergüenza…, no pueden estar nunca amparados por el derecho esencial de la libertad de expresión, puesto que en caso contrario se generaría una sociedad infame en la que la convivencia se degradaría a unos límites intolerables, tanto en el aspecto cultural como en el que mínimamente exige una intercomunicación humana precisa para calificar como civilizada a una agrupación social.

En el presente caso, la expresiones calificativas vertidas en un periódico semanal, son definidas como injurias, ya que lesionan la dignidad del Sr. X, menoscabando su fama y atentando contra su propia estimación, las cuales, pasan a ser de tipo agravado ya que se realizan con publicidad, pues se propagan por medio de imprenta.

Those coments made only with insulting and humiliating intention, about me and the association, as “Nazi” and “racist”, as well as those personally directed at me (like “ignorant”, “arrogant”, “fool”, “idiot”, etc.) make him legally responsible under tort law, essentially under the LO 1/1982, art. 9. The claims of Dnghu as an organization are subject to the same law, cf. the case “”, about the SGAE (=Spanish RIAA).
NOTE. For case law on tort involving illegitimate interferences with the right to honour and the Internet, see especially – among copious examples – the fine imposed for insulting someone as “nazi”, STS de 24 octubre de 2003, where even the “veracity” claim cannot overcome the insulting nature of this word’s strong humiliating connotations:

En definitiva, se trata de delimitar la libertad de expresión y el derecho al honor y, como se dice desde el principio, comprobar si se ha atentado verdaderamente a éste; sobre un litigio semejante se afirma «… No se trata de propias expresiones de ideas, pensamientos, ni siquiera opiniones, pues se da un componente claro y decididamente vejatorio de la persona y prestigio profesional del demandante, con trascendencia en el desmerecimiento público y social.

Ha de destacarse la carga negativa y de desprestigio que en estos tiempos tiene tachar a una persona de racista (dejando atrás el concepto tradicional de racismo jerárquico), y que viene a ser el móvil rechazable de actuaciones de grupos violentos, que, sin respetar la Constitución que proclama que no puede prevalecer discriminación alguna por razón de la raza, hacen del componente racista, por excluyente, un totalitarismo no conciliable con elementales principios democráticos y que, al ser básicamente diferenciador, enturbia la armonía de la convivencia pacífica y acercamientos culturales diversos, por lo que el discurso racista se presenta como racismo desigualitario al atender y resaltar las diferencias entre las personas, estableciendo quienes son superiores y quienes no lo son por inferiores y con ello acatarlo por la imposición que se les hace.

La doctrina constitucional ha declarado que los derechos constitucionales no son ilimitados, pues ninguno lo es (sentencia del Tribunal Supremo de 6 de diciembre de 1986) y no se reconoce el pretendido derecho de insultos (sentencia de 17 de enero de 2000), por lo que de la protección constitucional que otorga el art. 20 están excluidas las actuaciones absolutamente vejatorias, es decir las que en las circunstancias del caso y al margen de su veracidad o inveracidad, sean ofensivas u oprobiosas, resultando impertinentes para expresar las opiniones o informaciones de que se trate» (sentencias del TS de 8 de junio de 1888, 12 de enero de 1998, 14 de octubre de 1999, 11 y 25 de octubre de 1999 y 7 de enero de 2000).


Now, instead of being thankful to us (me and the Association) for not denouncing his offences to the Spanish attourney general to be prosecuted; instead of being thankful for not suing him for an economic compensation in light of the damage to my honour and the Association’s; instead of being thankful to us for not contacting Google Blogger service (through its “denounce inappropriate content” link) to make the company close his blog due to its inappropriate content (as everybody signs a binding contract with Google in exchange of its free services, and Google certainly does not permit it to be used to insult and humiliate others); and instead of being thankful for my justification of his weird behaviour owing to the fact that he has a borderline personality; on top of all that Mr. Gordon threatens a private company distantly related to my websites, to make them do the dirty work, trying to silence me. His freedom of expression allows him to insult me and the organization I belong to in each and every comment he publishes, but I cannot criticize him or his behaviour: a very consistent attitude, showing once more features of his strong emotional stability…

The most striking aspect of this case is not that there are still in western countries of the 21st century unethical individuals able to trivialize past shameful events of racism and genocide by using the insult “nazi” as a common trite to call everyone whose ideas they dislike; and who don’t mind sending cowardly mail threats to third parties not involved as means to get critic voices to be quiet, instead of trying to directly address those involved or to turn to the only legitimated institutions to restrict our rights, the courts of justice; and who would like to make the Internet a place for insulting others and make those “others” live in a censored environment, to decide when and who can say what and how. Human evilness is infinite, and if you give people the idea that exerting power without accountability is possible – as e.g. spreading the idea that obliging a company to silence somebody is as easy as to send them an anonymous email – there will always be individuals eager to use it.

Because of that, the frightening thing here is that the fear of being sued by an English-speaking guy is enough today for some companies based on EU territory to try to limit the civil (usually fundamental or constitutional) right to freedom of expression. Fear of money losses over human rights. Fear of distant threats on one’s pocket over the own legislation and courts, over the fundamental rights of others. Digital terrorism made easy: “if we receive a “cease and desist” threatening mail, we will shut down your web, so – this is the message behind that policy – don’t write anything we or others could dislike as not being ‘appropriate’, or ‘in good faith’, etc. because we don’t need courts to limit your rights”.


Firstly, the U.S. policy of “no negotiation with terrorists” has a good reasoning behind it, however tough it may seem sometimes. If you don’t negotiate with somebody who threatens you, if you don’t step back, you give a clear, assertive sign of your future behaviour, and nobody will have the impulse of trying to threat you later, because they must know they will get nothing. Well, I could (and in fact did) simply abadon other websites when I was insulted (like Glen’s Paleoglot), but I don’t have any other rational option with bullies like these personal trolls that chase me home. I cannot give up any right a third party wants me to renounce, just because I would be sending other unethical people out there the wrong message: that they can get something from me by threatening or insulting.

Secondly, dear Glen, you should also know other curious Internet “laws” apart from your beloved Godwin one: the Streissand effect, in particular, is happening more and more each time you help this whole thing grow bigger. You first wanted everyone to know how “Nazi” we all were, how we all conspired against you, helping us to draw logical conclusions about how you really are. Now, because you wanted my post to be deleted through unlawful means, dozens of law students (more in the future when searching for “freedom of expression”, “right to honour” and “cease and desist” cases), and thousands of monthly visitors of this blog are reading (or will read) about you and your persistent weird, aggressive and coward actions. And if you persist in your wrongdoing, I will post every piece of your insults and my posts (this and the previous one) in Spanish; then translate it to German; then to French…; then, if still bullying around, we will be able to draw still more conclusions about you from your reactions and activities; and then translate them; and so on. And if that doesn’t deter you from insulting me and/or the association with such serious offences as “nazi” or “racist”, you will eventually have to face criminal prosecution in Spain.

You said once:

(…)perhaps because I’m a good chess player and I can see more than three moves ahead (…)

Well, I think that even if you are a good chess player (of course you must be good in everything you do), you could consider you have done some wrong moves here. May it be for ethical (preferrably) or moral, rational, legal or mere practical reasons, just consider your next “three moves” more carefully in light of game theory instead of just chess games.

Or maybe it’s just that I couldn’t see the benefit of the past three moves you planned, and you were only looking for attention and links to your Proto-Tyrrheno-freak thing…

A FAQ about Atheism on Darwin’s anniversary: “The Atheist Is Not Arrogant; The ‘Believer’ Is”

Apparently Darwin’s anniversary is giving more fuel to the Brights & co. to ignite still more flames, like the latest digged (and meneado) “Atheism Is Not Arrogant“. Here is a quick criticism of that concept of “Atheism” from a non-atheist and non-religious point of view:

  • As a statement of non-belief, ‘atheism’ is not inherently arrogant

    That is true for Atheism “as a statement of non-belief”. However, Atheism – even if defined differently in all languages -, conveys a general meaning (see Wikipedia) of either:

    1. The affirmation of the nonexistence of a god or gods;
    2. or the rejection of theism.

    It is also defined more broadly by some as an absence of belief in deities, which is actually “weak atheism“, or nontheism. Hence the atheist often asserts (i.e. believes in) the nonexistence of god and rejects theism, which is different from disbelieving, and probably an “inherently arrogant” position, like asserting any other unproven belief. The answer of believers (atheists and theists alike) that “they (not us) have to prove [X] beyond doubt, and they can’t” is untenable in questions that can be neither proven nor refuted.
    X being e.g. the (non)existence of god, afterlife, or the divine origin of universe, regarding the different concepts of ‘god’, ‘afterlife’ or ‘divine’.

  • Where atheism becomes misconstrued lies in what believers feel it asserts. Many individuals, who do not understand the terminology, (while working within the parameters of absolutism from their own worldview) inappropriately interpret the word to make an absolute claim on the existence of god.This understanding is a misnomer; merely the term states, “I do not believe”

    As we have already seen, the misconstruction of atheism as a concept is actually made by strong atheists, who try to disguise their antireligion or antitheist positions as a more neutral “nontheism”. In its origin, “a-theos” (Gk. non-god) might have meant just “non-theism”, i.e. modern weak atheism. Today, however, the anticlerical, antireligious or antitheist trend of most atheists have driven the meaning of Atheism and Atheist to its current general meaning in English and most languages.

  • Often when a disbelief in deities is attested, the faithful believer will assert that it is arrogant for anyone to claim an absence of god

    That’s true. Often, also, when a belief in deities is attested, the faithful atheist will assert that it is arrogant for anyone to claim the existence of god. See an example in the same post of that Atheist who describes Atheism as nontheism and shows a clear antitheism:

    Many times it is the faithful who are arrogant in this manner, insisting their holy book is ‘Truth’, sometimes to the extent of attempting to silence opposing views. Is it not infinitely more arrogant to declare heresy, blasphemy and apostasy on those who use evidence to shape their understanding of reality? A reaction such as this displays an uncomfortableness with having one’s beliefs challenged and thereby inferring a feeling of infallibility on part of the believer.

    About that quote, I think some people don’t really look around in their social networks (Digg, Menéame and the like) and don’t read others’ posts and comments. I live in a “normal” community (whatever that means abroad) and people around me are atheists, agnostics or religious alike, and most are scientific people (medical doctors, biologists, engineers, etc.) without professional differences between them related to personal beliefs. However, anyone of them who dares to show his faith publicly is quickly the objective (in the Net) of the Flying Spaghetti Monster joke, and his belief is enough for many to think (and assert as true) that he cannot be a man of science. That is the real contemporary feeling of “infallibility on part of the believer”; of the believer in the nonexistence of god, of course, atheists who believe that just because they reject religious beliefs they are better scientists, or that they are able to classify scientists (or their intelligence!) according to their beliefs. The modern Inquisición is a mob rule disguised as rational, heroic ‘science’ fighters.

  • Where atheism becomes misconstrued lies in what believers feel it asserts. Many individuals, who do not understand the terminology, (while working within the parameters of absolutism from their own worldview) inappropriately interpret the word to make an absolute claim on the existence of god.This understanding is a misnomer; merely the term states, “I do not believe”

    False again. Those many individuals who don’t understand the terminology are many modern atheists as the author, who disguise their faith in the evil nature of religion and theism as nontheism, and construe personal meanings different from the generally accepted ones (ahteist as nontheist, religious as fundamentalist), spreading it through the social networks in an attempt to prove their personal beliefs in the nonexistence of god and the evil nature of theism.

  • The one who says “I disbelieve” is not arrogant, it is those who postulate ownership of absolute “Truth”.

    I agree. The one who says “I disbelieve” (nontheist) or even “I can’t believe nor disbelieve” (agnostic) is not an arrogant. Only the one who asserts (and promotes) the nonexistence of god and the evil nature of theism, just like the one who asserts the existence of god and the evil nature of atheism, is an arrogant.

About the Extremaduran Wikipedia and possible Copyleft violations – La “Güiquipeya” en “estremeñu” y la falta de la más mínima etiqueta

I’m studying right now, so I’ll make the shortest comment possible, trying not to waste more time on this question. The story is more or less as follows:

1898José María Gabriel y Galán publishes his first work in Extremaduran, an Astur-Leonese dialect, a text called El Cristu Benditu, “The Blessed Christ”, written with a Spanish-like orthography. To simplify the orthographical proposals of Gabriel y Galán, we can say he wrote words like “jadel”, “zarzas”, “casas”, “arrejuntal”, “vientus”, “rosas”, “bajal”, “cabus” o “abogáu”. This is the style preferred by some regional poets, like Antonio Garrido Correas and his “Little Prince” translation, “El Prencipinu”.

1995 – After some individual efforts to achieve a more phonetic writing – to clearly distinguish it from the formal Spanish pronunciation -, a Primera Gramática Ehtremeña, “First Extremaduran Grammar” is written by Pablo Gonzálvez, offering a simplified orthography for High Extremaduran. You could read the above terms as “hadel”, “zarzah”, “casah”, “arrehuntal”, “bientuh”, “rosah”, “bahal”, “cabuh”, “abogáu”. That non-Spanish writing was a symbol for Extremaduran regionalism in the 90’s, with some texts published following similar trends, like El Ebanheliu sigún San Huan, Saint John’s Gospel, or the Spanish Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2004 – I made a compilation of words (a dictionary called Izionariu) and of grammatical knowledge, Gramática brevi, in Extremaduran, and published it online (first in and for free download in the spring of 2004. It was mostly a compilation of the work of Extremaduran researchers on phonetics, morphology and syntax of over 100 years, with some grammatical rules from Old Leonese, but I also made some innovative proposals regarding the orthography. Unlike the Spanish-like style of Gabriel y Galán’s writings, and the phonetic style of Pablo Gonzálvez, I proposed to take the traditional style of Hispanic romance languages, taking Old Spanish (and the modern Eastern Asturian h.) and Portuguese as examples. Therefore, words could be read in the spring 2004 as “h.azel”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrehuntal”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “bahal”, “”, “abogáu”, and in the summer 2004 as “h.azel”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrehuntal”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “bahal”, “cabus”, “avogáu”.

2005-2006 – I revised the grammar some more times, according to its place among the Eastern Astur-Leonese dialect (or Cantabrian-Extremaduran), in a dialectal division stated by Menéndez Pidal, and licensed it CC-by-nd-nc [I know it’s a restrictive license, but given that I often revised my proposals, and that none got enough supporters, I wanted people interested in making changes to contact me to propose new orthographical solutions united, as I clearly stated in the licensing]. It was written down in a Wiki from some time on, and revised only twice or thrice thereafter – i.e., there are only two major versions of that grammar, the first of late 2005 with an orthographical solution (where words are read “hazer”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrehuntar”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “bahar”, “cabus”, “avogáu”) and the second of 2006 with a slightly different one (“jazer”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrejuntar”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “bajar”, “cabus”, “avogáu”), both published in the CC-licensed Wiki, with no PDFs. Even after changing the database in september 2006, I wrote both different versions, and they can be looked at using the MediaWiki edition “history” section.

To put it simple, the first revision is a whole improvement of the first version of the grammar, and was online from march-september 2006, while the second revision is just a change in the writing of aspirates, from –h– to the more traditioal –j-]. If you look around in the net, you can see a lot of people using this traditional way of writing in forums and websites alike, and there are probably some poems written this way, either in Extremaduran or Cantabrian; but, as in both revisions of the grammar, depending on their will to follow a “more Spanish” or a “more phonetic” approach, writers choose among “j” or “h” for the aspirates.

TO SUM UP: There were, then, still in 2007, only three major, serious proposals – all with its minimum variants, of course – to write in Extremaduran: the Spanish-like one, the phonetic one, and the traditional one introduced by me.

There have been some other marginal and limited proposals, regarding Cantabrian as well as Extremaduran – especially referring to aspirates, and especially since 2004 -, but none has got any support, as far as I know. Some propose to write every aspirate with “x”, as “xacer”, “baxar”, etc. or with the Western Asturian solution, as “h.acer”, “”, etc. But they are all either confusing or incorrect, in light of the historical (cultural) and phonetical values attributed by the different potential readers to those letters.

2007 – Some people (3 officially, although apparently 4 or more users) made some discussions in Meta to create an Extremaduran Wikipedia, appealing to some sense of victimism and “offenses” in light of the lack of an own Wiki, instead of rationally questioning the sense of a free encyclopedia in a language nobody was ready to write with unity. Well before getting the project approved, the main administrator – nicknamed “pateraggelos”, even when writing the personal mails – contacted me, in the summer of 2007, to collaborate with the Incubator, but I rejected it because there were (then and still now) no unified, consensuated orthographical criteria to begin such a project; instead of accepting my proposals to call for a consensus before launching the Wikipedia officially, he said they would continue to work on it, each one with his preferred orthography.

I found an article where the 3 “musketeers” of that project are referenced here, with Carmona supposedly as the ‘maker’ of a newly “unified Extremaduran”, when in fact that is the name I gave to the first grammar. The three apparently participate in independentist forums, promoting themselves, their websites, “their” orthographic proposals, and dismissing others’ works

Immediately after the tough answer I received from the user responsible of the Extremaduran Language Incubator, Pateraggelos, telling me they didn’t need to have a common, consensuated orthography to begin that Wiki, I decided to contact Bèrto ‘d Sèra the person responsible of that Wikipedia proposal, a member of the Wikimedia Language Subcommittee, to express my concerns about the will of those 2 or 3 friends to write a language in a Wikipedia without an orthographic consensus. It was obvious that they would knew who I was, as it was the same day I received the mail from the user Pateraggelos, and that it was therefore my reaction to their “no-need-for-consensus-to-create-a-wiki” answer. I considered advising anonymously the responsible of the Wikimedia Language Subcommittee the fairest move possible, given my concerns of letting 2 or 3 friends create a Wikipedia common to all Extremaduran speakers; but, apparently, the 2 or 3 friends considered my comment something personal, and decided that they would have “one of them preparing an orthography”. Perfect, more innovations, I thought; another reason for that Wikipedia to fail in getting new users…After my comment to Bèrto ‘d Sèra, I just left those 2 guys alone discussing with the whole world to get “their” Wiki, and didn’t lose more time. I was then preparing the printed edition of the Modern Indo-European Grammar, and for me that was far more important then than 2 friends trying to be the “saviors” of Extremaduran’s pride…

SO, all that happened until August 2007 was more or less known to me. It was OK. That’s how people work with regional dialects, with individualism, and it’s good if they obtain more prestige and attention for our linguistic richness. I won’t go against them on that, even if I disagree with their views.

Because – apparently – of the intervention of a newly created user (who could have been any of them), called “Better” – a user that curiously enough later collaborated in the Extremaduran Wikipedia, too, while other newly created users before him disappeared -, they eventually got the Wikipedia approved for that Astur-Leonese dialect. It got a huge attention from the printed and online media, but – given that I wasn’t interested in a project of 2 or 3 selfish friends, even if called “Wikipedia” – I preferred not to read anything about it at the time, and concentrate on my career and other projects. Just had some fun with my friends, laughing at such a project being made by 3 guys trying to write a full Encyclopedia alone. I really believed they were going to retake Pablo Gonzalvez’ phonetic style, because some main articles had been written that way in the Incubator.

What wasn’t known to me until three days ago is that:

1) One of them, that supposed “guru” of the project, a certain Ismael Carmona, wrote an orthography, Ortugrafía, and a dictionary, Izionariu, and published it one year after my last revision of my grammar and more than 3 years after my last edition of my dictionary. It was, according to the introduction of those PDFs, on September 2007, approximately one month after my intervention in Bèrto ‘d Sèra’s user page, at the Incubator. Again, to simplify it, he “proposes a new orthography”, writing words like “hazel”, “çarças”, “casas”, “arrehuntal”, “vientus”, “rossas”, “avogáu”. Not only quite similar to mine; almost identical, but for two minor changes.

2) That both works were then based on my original proposals – the Extremaduran orthography of the first version of 2004, with the improvements of the first revision of the Cantabrian-Extremaduran grammar of 2005 and 2006; the dictionary obviously on my Izionariu; on my few innovative (personal, original) proposals, and on my compilation of grammatical features, but without giving me any credit at all, just one mention in the preface of the orthography, among Gabriel y Galán, Pablo Gonzálvez and some poets friends of him who have never proposed any serious alternative orthographical solution, as if he had just read all our works by chance – as if mine were just “another try”, completely different from his work. There is no direct plagiarism of my books: he just made a different work with my proposals, taking the essential bases and ideas I gave years earlier. Still it’s not that bad, just some selfish guy playing around, it’s OK; there are thousands like him with a personal blog, they appear and disappear from time to time.

3) That, instead of just writing “his” reference-lacking orthography and dictionary for the Public Domain in the Wikipedia – which would have been equally wrong, but still acceptable, because anyone could have linked back to me and my works -, he writes copyrighted PDFs to be linked to from everywhere (including the Wikipedia), and recreates himself in repeating in the preface that his work offers “new”, (original, then) solutions and proposals for orthography and grammar, that his is “the first proposal” – he emphasizes that “first” more than ten times, only in the introduction – of a common orthography for Extremaduran, etc., and promotes it everywhere as such. In fact, even the two links he had on his personal blogs to and since 2005-2007 (i.e. any connection with me or my works) disappeared by that time, the summer of 2007 – I’d have to look at the Apache logs, but I guess all those links disappeared more or less when he published “his” works… But it’s still OK; just another guy reinventing the wheel and don’t giving any credit or reference at all.

I won’t link to his blog, but it’s called “cuyupaneharras” and “lasbegasbahas” at

4) And, what is the real bothering thing here, that the rest of them Extremaduran Wikipedians (the administrator and the 2 or 3 other users) knew all that – because a) mine was the only serious orthographical and grammatical traditional-style proposals available at the time, b) they had linked to my sites and works before, and c) they even CONTACTED me to participate in their Incubator thing. But instead – possibly because of my NO to participate in “their” Wikipedia and my comment to the member of the Wikimedia Language Subcommittee -, they dedicated themselves to covertly advertise and promote the work and proposals of their “guru” as ‘unique’, ‘first’, etc., and to promote each other personally, as well as their websites, writing individual articles about their lives and works, and linking to their personal blogs again and again, in what is in fact supposed to be a compendium of relevant encyclopedical knowledge, and which currently has some 300 ‘articles’…

Now, it’s not that I care too much about this socially accepted violation of licenses and minimum social rules: I am sure time puts people where they deserve, and there have been some hundreds of thousands of readers and prints of my PDFs and online work in the period of 2004-2008; also, such a Wikipedia is doomed to fail as a collaborative project, lacking consensus or any agreement apart from the 3 friends sharing an enthusiastic view on the character of “language” of a dialectal speech linguistically and historically almost identical to Cantabrian, and obviously part of a wider Astur-Leonese language or diasystem. However, it bothers me to see my own works and proposals reused and appropriated this way, for political or personal reasons – they seem to be regionalists, I am not -, and seeing people of my region collaborate to make such a dirty little – and obviously absurd – conspiracy. But it’s specially frightening to see how a solid trademark like Wikipedia can be used by 3 or 4 friends to play and make everything they want with it, including the violation of the very spirit of the Free Encyclopedia:

1) Why isn’t there anyone monitoring such tiny, regional Wikipedias? Why are they just “given” to some user/s, and left by the Foundation alone? So, because one man requested it a year ago, he is like the owner of that Wiki today? Only if I complain to the Wikimedia Foundation will they (re)act? I think they have a lot of money, paid workers and free helpers; me (and the rest of us authors) don’t: so they should do the job of revising their contents and the proper compliance of their own policies on copyright and copyleft, not me, or any other one. And if they can’t afford to supervise it, they just shouldn’t approve more Wikis lead by 2 or 3 users. What if I weren’t connected anymore to the Interent, if I were dead? What if I didn’t care anymore about my old website, about those works I did? Anyone could then use the name of Wikipedia to promote my work as his own, without having any control at all?

2) Also, apart from the Wikipedia question…What happens when there is no direct violation of copyright? I mean, there has been no plagiarism, as said, just an ecclectical work, based mainly on my proposals as written and published online, lacking any citation or reference at all, and with a clear attitude of deleting every possible reference to my works from everywhere, apart from that mention in the Preface – about that mention, I guess he felt obliged to cite me somehow, and preferred to blur my name with others that didn’t contribute to any ortographical proposal at all, instead of making a proper reference that could undermine his “being the first”. Is there an obligation under the Creative Commons license to make proper references? Because if those works had been traditionally (i.e. fully proprietary) printed works, I am sure any editor would have phoned that “guru” to revise his work and reference it accordingly, and even he himself would have never dared to hide his references. What else is needed for people to fear Copyleft just like they fear Copyright?

I’ve taken a look at possible Creative Commons registries for future works, because just writing your ideas in a Wiki and saying it’s licensed under X is obviously not enough to later claim ownership – unless you are backed by the Wikimedia Foundation, of course. If you are interested, here is the list of (apparently non-official) Registries for Creative Commons.

The question is: regarding Indo-European revival, for example, what if somebody takes every new proposal (or added value) made in our online or printed Grammar, and doesn’t cite the work at all, just says “after the proposals of Lehman, John Smith, Bla Blu and Carlos Quiles, I want now to firstly propose the first orthography of the use of a Modern Indo-European (the first to do it) as a modern language in Europe, and here are the first (first, first, first, first) innovative and original proposals made by me first” and copies those proposals from our book, like writing “q”, or the classification of noun or verb inflection… Can you imagine then the English Wikipedia promoting such a work, making dedicated articles about it’s author, his life and works, etc.? Neither do I; I can’t even understand yet why our tiny revival project has an encyclopedic article, but trust how that encyclopedic community arrange itself… So – for me – it’s just a problem of (certain) regional Wikipedias.

I don’t know. At least until all those copyleft questions are clear, I’ll rely for important works on traditionally copyrighted and printed books: obviously a grammar and a dictionary about Extremaduran weren’t (possibly aren’t) worth it, but probably in the future I will be tempted to publish some scientifical paper with free licenses, and I’ll probably not do it. Not yet.

Here is the angry mail (the third) I sent to this “Extremaduran Wikipedia guru”, in Spanish, just in case somebody wants to know more about the case, or to comment something – you can also read the first two mails here, to see how stupid I was when contacting him for the first time, and even for the second one. I’m obviously not sure about my (legal) right to be cited or referenced in this case, and – again – I don’t see direct plagiarism; but I criticize him fiercely though, because of the above data I have of him and his friends, about their efforts a) to promote my proposals as his own, and b) to hide any reference to me. One thing is not being able to legally enforce any correction on his behaviour, and other not having freedom to tell him directly that I know what he did…last summer.

3rd MAIL:

Hola de nuevo.

Empecé este mail para irte diciendo algunas opciones claramente erróneas de tu “ortugrafía” (como “pas-pazis”, “nues-nuezis”, etc., o “osté”, o “tuvió”, o “stati”, la vulgarización extrema de los términos, etc.), pero he acabado por cabrearme al ver una y otra vez las mismas sandeces y comprobar que no me engañaban los ojos al leerlas. Me parece curioso el “asombroso parecido” de las propuestas con las de mi gramática, de la estructura con un libro de ortografía de la RAE, y del izionariu con el mío, además de los párrafos introductorios donde te calificabas de ser “pionero” y demás: leerlo para creerlo.

Esta es la enésima decepción con el comportamiento de otro extremeñista. Parece mentira que con tanto buen extremeño suelto, no acabe de acercarse ninguno al tema lingüístico. Peor aún que en otros casos, pues en éste además he tenido la mala suerte de ilusionarme yo sólo, y crearme falsas ideas sobre una norma consensuada fuera de individualismos, por lo que además de decepcionado me siento estúpido. Suerte estar de exámenes para no pensar mucho más sobre este tema, y dejarlo zanjado ya con este mail.

Para poner en claro los tiempos, que revelan mi estupidez:

1. Anteayer navegué un poco por Internet en busca de nuevas cosillas sobre o en extremeño, por aquello del libro sobre el extremeño que prometí publicar. Me topé con tu blog, me dió pena ver que os dolían las críticas de los medios, y pensé en escribirte un mail de agradecimiento, en nombre de aquellos que nunca os agradecerán el esfuerzo hecho. De paso aproveché para criticar la forma de escribir en la “Güíquipeya” y comentarte algunas cosillas más.

2. Ayer, en otro descanso de mi estudio, encontré buscando en Google una referencia a mí en tu blog, donde calificabas mi gramática como “asturiano-arcaizante” (sin más detalles), y después me descargué y abrí por una página el PDF de tu “ortugrafía” de a saber qué web. De lo que leí (creo que era la página del uso de la “b”), me pareció muy correcta, y de ahí que te escribiera, ingenuo de mí, pensando que habíamos llegado a conclusiones simplemente ‘semejantes’. Con la idea de releerlo cuando tuviera tiempo, te escribí felicitándote y proponiéndote colaboración.

3. Hoy, por desgracia, he dedicado algo de tiempo a revisarla, después del “aviso”, pero aún con la idea de ver si podíamos ir buscando puntos de acuerdo y de desacuerdo desde ya, para irlos discutiendo. Y después de leerlo algo más detenidamente (varias veces la introducción), sinceramente me ha dado un tufo enorme a A) simple copia barata y – lo que es mucho peor – b) vanidad y falta de dignidad. Para que quede más o menos claro el asunto, he aquí la cronología de mi trabajo, omitiendo lo que no es sobre el extremeño:


2003-2004 – me curro (casi de 0) la primera versión de la “gramática brevi” y el “izionariu”, que – a pesar de las horas y horas y horas (y horas y horas y horas…) de trabajo, recopilando todo lo escrito sobre el extremeño hasta entonces, artículos, trabajos de campo, manuales de filología, etc., – califico como simple “recopilación del trabajo de otros” (a los que por supuesto menciono), recopilación a la que obviamente pretendo aplicar mis ideas, para el uso y disfrute gratuito y libre del personal. Me gasto un dinero para que todos puedan leer mis trabajos online, descargárselos, imprimírselos, etc. De siempre me ha gustado la distribución libre y gratuita del conocimiento. Creo que es la base de la futura evolución del mismo.

2006 – publico la segunda versión de la gramática, ahora ya del leonés oriental o “cántabro-extremeño” (es decir, extremeño sin -l final, básicamente), aunque como la someto a revisión cuando me parece, no la paso a PDF ni le doy bombo: quiero seguir trabajando sobre ella, y que los demás también lo hagan si les parece. De nuevo uso licencias libres, CC-by-sa (como se establece claramente en FAQ: Derechos de Autor). No es pública la base de datos inicial de la Wiki, de principios de 2006 (aunque lógicamente la conservo como casi todo lo que hago), porque la lié modificando cosas, pero en la nueva base de datos de la Wiki, que instalé en septiembre de 2006, todavía usaba la solución ortográfica h/s, que luego cambié por j/s, como te dije, para contentar a algunos cántabros. Como sabrás, las Wikis son excelentes entre otras cosas porque se quedan grabados los cambios, así que aún se puede visitar la versión antigua de esa segunda versión, que supongo (por tus enlaces, cuyas entradas también conservo en los logs) leíste en su día: – sólo tienes que pinchar en “historial” para ver la versión que te digo; en realidad, esa segunda versión de la gramática brevi sólo tiene dos formatos, las dos grabadas en el historial de la Wiki, las dos de septiembre de 2006: una con “h/s” y la otra con “j/s”.

2007 – escribes una “ortugrafía” (y un “izionariu” aparentemente inventado de 0 por ti) donde me mencionas de pasada igual que a otros, como si lo que tomaras de mis propuestas fuera equiparable a las “propuestas” (¡¿cuáles?!) de Javier Feijóo, o Juan José Camisón, o siquiera cercano a la “Primera Gramática Ehtremeña”, donde Pablo Gonzálvez prácticamente se dedica a sustituir g/j/s del castellano por h y ya está; y no sólo equiparas nuestras “propuestas”, sino que a tenor del texto literal, parece como si fueran cosa de otro mundo y otro tiempo, como si no tuvieran nada que ver con lo que propones; y lo peor de todo, yo me lo creo sin más al leerlo en tu blog, que simplemente le has echado un vistazo a mi trabajo, pero que lo tuyo es una propuesta concienzuda, original y distinta.


Ahora, sobre los dos aspectos que caracterizan esa “ortugrafía”, el “izionariu”, y que – me temo – atufa desde ya (para mí y cualquiera que conozca mi trabajo y esfuerzo) todas tus obras pasadas, presentes y futuras: Copia y Vanidad:

A) COPIA. No me malinterpretes, creo en la libre copia, modificación y redistribución. Pero también en el copyright y en las referencias. Libre copia no es libre plagio, ni libre copia es atribuirse el trabajo de otros. Aprovecharé lo que tú mismo afirmas que “propones” como “novedad” en tu “ortugrafía” para mostrarte los detalles que me irritan:

– Afirmas que escoges la opción “h/s”, porque “De esta suerte, la escritura no se plaga ni de j ni de h ni de g, dándole una legibilidad que nunca antes había alcanzado el texto extremeño”. ¿Nunca antes? ¿En serio? ¿Ni con mi gramática breve, que conoces a la perfección, como demuestran tus enlaces? No sé yo.

– Afirmas “se ha considerado prudente retomar, en este aspecto, la distinción medieval entre c-ç y z, tal como se conserva en portugués
o francés”. ¿”Se ha considerado”? ¿en serio? ¿Quién? Parece como si lo “hubieras considerado” tú. Si mal no recuerdo, fui yo también.

– Afirmas que “la sabia evolución de las lenguas nos ha demostrado que un cambio radical en la escritura según su pronunciación no resulta del todo apropiada, por lo que en esta Ortografía se tiene presente la evolución y etimología de las palabras (…) no se atenta contra el bagaje latino del extremeño”. Con lo que (parece) quieres enfrentarte a la grafía castellana, y propones un uso de b-v más a la portuguesa o catalana – es decir, más “arcaizante”, usando tus palabras sobre mis propuestas; de nuevo, como yo. Aunque omites la pronunciación de los dos pueblos cacereños, a saber por qué.

– Pero, eso que afirmas que es otra “innovación” de “tu” ortografía, a la hora de escribir la “g” latina no sigues esas mismas razones que das (“no atentar contra el bagaje latino”), y propones innovar todo lo posible, para eliminar la “g” (debe de ser muy difícil para los extremeños recordar qué palabras la llevan) y dejar una simple “h” en todo caso. Por lo que deduzco que primero tienes ganas de escribir como te parece el extremeño, como te gusta más, y luego piensas las razones que lo justifican, y no al contrario como una persona racional haría.

Los otros párrafos (sobre “acentuación” y uso de “de/d’/e”) son ya el colmo del despropósito. Y mejor no entro en detalles que tomas de mi gramática, porque me pongo enfermo sólo de encontrar párrafos y ejemplos similares a los dados por mí, y no ver ni una maldita referencia a lo que hice. Por supuesto que para mí era (y es) una simple afición, pero una que lleva horas como sabrás, y hay una cierta linea que separa el despiste en las referencias de la pura y simple omisión deliberada – y tú estás bastante lejos de esa línea.

2) VANIDAD. No me malinterpretes, a todos nos gusta el reconocimiento. De hecho, mi molestia en buena parte viene de que uses mis trabajos y no se me mencione. Puedo soportar hacer una gramática en 2003-2004, cuando el extremeño era un habla de paletos más (al estilo “panocho” o “andalú”)*, y aguantar las críticas de todos los antiextremeñistas, que me tachen de chalao, porque yo sé que hago lo que creo más corecto. Y puedo aguantar el chaparrón extremeñista cuando me dedico a mejorar la misma gramática dos años después, orientándola hacia el leonés oriental, en lugar de buscar el aislamiento del habla extremeña. Y no me importa con todo eso allanar el camino a otros para que luego mi trabajo se quede muerto y sin reconocimiento, que no valga para prácticamente nada. Pero que venga, después de los chaparrones, alguien y se atribuya TODO el mérito de MIS propuestas, cuando además está claro que las conocías, mencionando mi trabajo de pasada como aquel que quiere hacerme un favor por el esfuercito, junto a Feijóo y Gonzálvez…no sé cómo lo verías tú si te pasara, pero a mí me toca los cojones.

No contento con aprovechar el trabajo de otros y atribuirtelo sin más:

– Afirmas: “De ahí que el sentido de esta Ortografía sea, por decirlo de alguna manera, el servir de comienzo para la normalización de nuestras hablas empezando desde lo más esencial: su escritura. Será el primer paso para asentar las bases de nuestra lengua y para usarla con propiedad y difundirla dentro y fuera de nuestros pueblos. Y ese primer paso de una homogeneización lingüística ha de ser firme y sustancial, sin contrariedades, pero sobre todo sencillo y útil.”

– Afirmas también: “Con todo, la Ortografía aquí propuesta no quiere decir que sea, ni mucho menos, definitiva. Una de sus intenciones es que se vaya generalizando el uso aquí propuesto, de manera que, con el tiempo, salgan a flote los posibles errores latentes que albergan estas páginas. Por ello quedará sujeta a cambios y más aún siendo ésta la primera ortografía (!?) que se crea para la escritura del extremeño.”

Ante esas dos afirmaciones narcisistas y vanidosas, sólo me queda decirte, de nuevo: mis cojones.


En resumidas cuentas: en lugar de tomar mi trabajo, modificarlo en lo que te pareciera – que para eso estaba con licencias libres, joder cojonesya, es que no lo puedo entender -, y simplemente afirmar que has intentado mejorarlo; vas y decides tomar mis propuestas, conseguir una estructura bonita de algún libro o de varios – supongo que alguno de castellano, paso de perder tiempo buscando de dónde has copiado la estructura -, para incorporar lo que has querido de mi trabajo, añadir o quitar cuatro cosas, y atribuirte todo el mérito. Y por lo que veo ya tienes un club de 3 ó 4 fans, entre los que os animáis, escribís sobre vosotros y “vuestras” obras en la “Güiquipeya” – que, dicho sea de paso, se supone que es de conocimiento enciclopédico, no una web para ensalzarse uno mismo – véase , donde además ponéis artículos a “tus” obras (ortografía, izionariu) y enlaces a páginas web personales…

Pues nada majo, tú verás lo que haces. Que te vaya bien en la vida con esa actitud, a ver si te hacen una estatua por ser el gran pionero salvador del extremeño. Luego dirás que haces este tipo de cosas  “por el bien del extremeño”. Los huevos tuyos. No hay nada que corroa más al extremeño que ese eterno egoísmo pueril, como el que inunda esos textos supuestamente “originales” y “pioneros” que has publicado.

* A partir de un comentario recibido, quiero matizar que la frase “habla de paletos” hace referencia a lo que suele decir la gente, no a mi opinión. Mi familia paterna es de la huerta murciana (panocho), y la de mi madre y yo mismo del sur de Extremadura, así que obviamente no es un comentario despectivo mío hacia esas hablas, que yo uso.