from an email exchange last year that continues to haunt me:
Me: When you are on the receiving end of sustained personal attacks your choices are: (i) rise above them or (ii) respond and try to undo the damage. If [names omitted] questioned your basic honesty and intellectual integrity I would say (i) punch'em in the nose and (ii) how can I help?
Supposedly well-meaning friend: Geez, I should invite you a meeting with my thesis supervisor! Some days I could really use a posse. But unfortunately nose-punching and ganging up out of personal loyalty don't work as strategies in intellectual debate, even (maybe especially) when the stakes are high.