We accept Lbird's apology, and we hope that all comrades will take to heart the responsibility that we all have for the development of fraternal public debate on this forum.
This said, it seems necessary to us to react to some of the comments that this question has provoked.
First, Lbird clearly feels that we should have reacted earlier to the "childish" exchange between him and jk1921. The problem here is that it is not always easy to draw the line between legitimate polemic and the kind of personalised debate that in our view should be rigorously avoided: if we reacted to Lbird in particular it is because his remark was unambiguously insulting and could be readily recognised as such by all concerned.
Radicalchains refers to an earlier post of his bringing up the question of Lenin's attitude in polemics, but limiting himself to Lenin rather misses the point: in fact, all our greatest predecessors (not just Lenin but Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Pannekoek) were capable of being extremely sharp and biting in their polemics, absolutely unsparing of their opponents, and yet their polemics do not have the same negative effect today as the atttempts at sarcasm one sometimes finds on this forum. Why is this? Partly of course, because they were just better at it: sarcasm degenerates all too easily into insult unless it is done with a wit and an intelligence that most of us - quite frankly - do not master. But perhaps more to the point because there was also a mutual trust which came from being part of the same Party (even when this Party was quite loosely defined as it was in Marx and Engels' time). Lenin and Luxemburg could polemicise very sharply because fundamentally they were on the same side: the left of the Social-Democracy. Today, as a result of the stalinist counter-revolution, this trust has been lost. Moreover, it is generally very clear that in their polemics, our predecessors are not defending petty personal interests or responding tit for tat ("if you use sarcasm on me, then I will do the same to you" - the ethics of the playground), they are defending ideas, principles, organisations. Our generation has so much lost the habit of this - is so infested with the ambient petty-bourgeois ideology - that it descends all too easily to personalisation. As our text on the "Culture of debate" says, petty-bourgeois ideology also lies behind "the problem of impatience in the debates, resulting in an inability to listen to other arguments and a tendency to want to monopolise discussions, to crush ones "opponents", to convince the others "at all costs"".
A second point is the issue of keeping threads to subject. This was raised in relation to the thread prompted by the article on the '1914 commemoration', and in particular by Hawkeye's rather muddled efforts to smuggle in some reconciliation between nationalism and communism. The question raised here was, whether it is possible to answer Hawkeye without positing a complete epistemological foundation for the reply. Although the ICC is all in favour (as Alf said) of philosophical debate, and going to the roots of a question, it is not possible to raise every issue in every debate otherwise the thread simply turns into a formless mess. Not only that, there is also the danger that a question of life and death principle becomes an abstract philosophical discussion. After all, one can be an internationalist without necessarily espousing Lbird's epistemology, or even being a marxist if it comes to it. This tendency to "lose the thread" so to speak, has led to this particular discussion petering out into a touching (but in the broader scheme of things irrelevant) discussion about war memorials, without the fundamental issue of war and internationalism being settled. It seems to us that for the discussions on the forum to be truly fruitful, to contribute (in however limited a manner) to the advance of proletarian debate, there has to be a greater effort on the part of all concerned (including comrades of the ICC) to concentrate on the substantive issue of the thread, and when it comes to a question of principle, to try to arrive at a resolution of the discussion or at least a greater understanding of the issues.
A final point on the use of this site. Comrades should bear in mind that this site does not just contain a forum but a substantial collection of texts written over a period of 40 years and concerning many of the questions raised on the forum. We urge comrades to refer to these texts as much as possible: to take one example, if comrades want to raise a discussion on the question of morality, then this should at least take as a starting point the two-part text on "Marxism and Ethics" on this site.