Squawk box

I sense a disturbance in the force.

This thread is for people to tell me what they think is going on, going wrong, and what they think we should do about it.  I’m listening.

Lizzie

[Edit added 18.40 pm CET 20/08/2018 by Alan Fox]

As the comments have ballooned, Lizzie would very much like members to summarize their thoughts and suggestions into one statement and there is now a dedicated thread, “Summaries”, where they can be posted. Please just post one summary and please do not add other comments. You are welcome to comment on other people’s summaries in this thread. The idea of the “Summaries” thread is to make it easier for Lizzie to get your input. Comments judged by admins not to be summaries will move to guano.

Members who would rather keep their thoughts confidential are invited to use the private messaging system. Lizzie’s address is Elizabeth.

1,219 thoughts on “Squawk box

  1. Patrick: Basic decency would require allowing keiths to participate on this thread in order to present his side of the issue.

    This is not how it works in any forum. It’s material for private messaging. You are littering.

    Patrick: Please provide a cite supporting this claim or retract the accusation.

    You never admitted to your own idiocy and incompetence. Why would you now?

    You were (timidly) corrected by Elizabeth in 2015, but you kept asserting your own right(eousness) at least for a year afterwards, you kept bringing up suggestions to change the rules and you behaved as if they already applied. And you are not holding back now either. It’s as if you were back into moderating again.

    Specifically, you redefined “good faith” to mean “explain to Patrick’s satisfaction or suffer half a year of spamming”. Thus *real* good faith (such as assuming that the person had after several posts answered all there was to answer) did not apply to you. Refraining from personal attacks did not apply to you. You sought to enforce what you called “honesty” but what’s really called trolling everywhere else on the internet.

    And no, I am not going to dig your ancient posts. You should not be here in the first place. You left because there were good reasons and right now you have given plenty of reasons to be gone again.

  2. keiths: You’ve presumably already seen my email, but let me post it here for the benefit of others:

    So much for the narrative that keiths can’t present his case to Elizabeth without using Patrick for his mouthpiece.

    Want to try a different line?

  3. walto:
    Btw, decaf is 99% caffeine free. Decaf is 96% caffeine free.

    Sorry (I was on a crowded train, losing service). That was supposed to say that decaf is 99% “caffeine free,” and regular coffee is 96% “caffeine free.”

  4. Erik: And no, I am not going to dig your ancient posts. You should not be here in the first place. You left because there were good reasons and right now you have given plenty of reasons to be gone again.

    That is very sensible. Because in the keiths/patrick (are they REALLY two different people??) world, a link to a single post that does or doesn’t do something is an absolutely dispositive proof that they always or never did that thing throughout their lives; but a dozen or more posts you provide showing that they actually did or didn’t do this thing is an example of you lying. Total waste of life.

    “Evidence” to them is like “real news” to Trump–it’s whatever they believe can be interpreted (even if in some really weird way or only if snipped here and there) to exonerate them or somehow make them look good in the mirror. It has nothing whatever to do with truth–or even warrant.

  5. cubist:
    What’s going wrong? Well…

    One: TSZ’s moderation is so bloody minimalistic that it may as well not exist. In the absence of active moderation, any online forum will eventually degenerate into a troll-and-spammer-infested cesspool; the only question is how long it will take for the last “good faith” participant to bail out. One might term this process “forum decay”.

    Two: When assholes are allowed to spew their assholery without restriction, it tends to repel non-assholes. Participating at TSZ is a purely voluntary activity, and the more assholes there are, the more likely it is that J. Random Websurfer, upon seeing TSZ, will think Meh, I got better things to do than get into it with those fuckwads. The more prominent assholery is in TSZ, the more strongly TSZ will repel non-assholes; this is a pretty clear instance of positive feedback, and it’s likely a major mechanism of forum decay.

    Three: While it may be a good thing for TSZ’s participants to presume that other participants are arguing in good faith, it is absolutely not a good thing for the site’s administrators to adopt that presumption. Because some people damned well are not arguing in good faith, and that’s all there is to it. The site rules (whether official or de facto) should be formulated with the full knowledge and acknowledgement that trolls and assholes do exist, and whenever they’re allowed to, they can and will disrupt the intellectual discourse that Lizzie seeks to promote. Whatever rules are adopted, the administrators should actively look for ways in which those rules can be abused by trolls, before those rules are actually implemented; because you know damned well that trolls will be actively seeking to abuse whatever rules may exist, and will actively abuse whatever “loopholes” they find.

    For what it’s worth I completely agree with this remark from cubist from a few days ago. TSZ moderators should have the power to moderate and even ban trolls, assholes, and anyone else whose participation here contributes to “forum decay”: the endless spiteful pettiness that drives away anyone who can look at it and say, “nah, I’ve got better things to do with my life.”

    But a quick scan of the previous two days of this thread tells me that all y’all are totally cool with forum decay. Don’t stop on my account.

  6. Erik: This is not how it works in any forum. It’s material for private messaging. You are littering.

    Thank you for sharing your opinion. Absent any rational argument otherwise, I will continue to do what I think is right. keiths has been subject to arbitrary, rule-violating sanctions by the admins and I’ll do what I can to counter that.

    And no, I am not going to dig your ancient posts.

    So you make an accusation and refuse to support it. Hitchens’ Razor applies.

  7. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    DNA_Jock:

    No, for the reasons I gave back before I was part of the evil censorious conspiracy.

    Your reasons didn’t (and don’t) make sense, as I explained back then:

    DNA_Jock:

    You appear unaware of the fact that the potential damage caused by your “no-guano” experiment could be irreparable. Unawareness seems to be your strong suit.

    keiths:

    That’s pretty melodramatic. Do tell us about this “irreparable damage” we would risk if we were to run the experiment.

    And then tell us why you were perfectly fine with Alan’s experiment, despite the “irreparable damage” he was risking:

    Or, as Alan suggested, make the “Do Atheists Exist?” thread a gloves-off environment.

    Oops.

    Then you can tell us how we need 24/7 moderator coverage on account of the irreparable damage we risk otherwise.

    Or not, since you know just as well as the rest of us that TSZ does fine when the moderators are absent.

    DNA_Jock, explaining what he meant by “irreparable damage”:

    One or more of the commenters who are net positives here would leave and not return.

    I approve whole-heartedly with [sic] the idea of having one or two “no guano” threads. I disapprove whole-heartedly with [sic] the idea of having the entire site be that way. It’s a subtlety that may be beyond you.

    keiths:

    Come on, Jock. I’ll bet even you can see how poor your argument is.

    You want us to believe that a site-wide experiment runs the risk, but not the same experiment on one of the most popular and busy threads at TSZ? Based on your intimate knowledge of “net positive commenters” and the precise amount of flaming each of them will tolerate? Please.

    And what about commenters leaving because of moderation abuses? or the amount of meta-discussion generated by them? or rules that punish honesty and reward dishonesty? No hand-wringing from you over those. What’s a little “irreparable damage” among friends, right?

    And when Alan suspends guanoing in a busy thread, no objection from you. You’re all for it, in fact. Why get upset over the possibility of a bit of “irreparable damage”?

    But if someone suggests the same experiment sitewide? SOUND THE KLAXONS! DANGER! IRREPARABLE DAMAGE ALERT!

    I invite others to follow the link and read the entire exchange.

  8. Mung: He didn’t say Alan was full of shit.

    First day as a virtual moderator and already making up new rules.

  9. Patrick,

    This issue is really easy. Poll Rumraket, Harshman, Joe, and any other net positive contributors here and ask them whether they’d be more or less likely to bolt under the two conditions of “more strict moderation” and “no moderation except for porn, doxxing and commercial spam.” No programming or long-running tests are necessary. You ask them and they’ll tell you.

    ETA: Obviously, you exclude all the current moderators and those who are obvious partisans. And both parties can agree on the “net positive contributors.” That’s fair–or, I mean it would be if keiths wouldn’t immediately start lobbying them via email–but barring that kind of (likely) crap. It should tell you what you want to know.

  10. Kantian Naturalist: For what it’s worth I completely agree with this remark from cubist from a few days ago. TSZ moderators should have the power to moderate and even ban trolls, assholes, and anyone else whose participation here contributes to “forum decay”: the endless spiteful pettiness that drives away anyone who can look at it and say, “nah, I’ve got better things to do with my life.”

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? And what of those driven off by overzealous moderation, or the chilling effect of censorship? There are no consequence-free solutions. Just because the current admins have a bias toward censoring doesn’t mean that it should be the default.

  11. Patrick,

    Again, there’s no need to argue about that. Just ask the key non-partisan individuals. I take those who should be excluded are me, Bruce, keiths, patrick, newton, mung, erik, kn, phoodoo, and the moderators. I recommend Lizzie be the one to ask them. Anybody she thinks makes valuable contributions to her site except the listed individuals. Take five minutes.

  12. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    walto:

    This issue is really easy. Poll Rumraket, Harshman, Joe, and any other net positive contributors here and ask them whether they’d be more or less likely to bolt under the two conditions of “more strict moderation” and “no moderation except for porn, doxxing and commercial spam.” No programming or long-running tests are necessary. You ask them and they’ll tell you.

    No, because Lizzie’s goal isn’t just to satisfy a handful of “net positive contributors”, by your, or my, or anyone else’s construal of what “net positive” means. She wants a site that promotes open discussion between all sorts of different folks.

    And the goal isn’t to keep people from leaving at all costs. There are times when it’s appropriate to let people go without changing a thing. Hotshoe’s departure was a great example of that.

  13. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    DNA_Jock:

    back before I was part of the evil censorious conspiracy.

    Just a vocabulary FYI — the word you’re looking for is ‘censorial’, not ‘censorious’.

    From Garner’s Modern English Usage:

  14. I sure wish that Patrick and keiths could get together on whether DNA_Jock is part of the problem or is not part of the problem.

  15. Patrick:
    The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission.I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    walto:

    No, because Lizzie’s goal isn’t just to satisfy a handful of “net positive contributors”, by your, or my, or anyone else’s construal of what “net positive” means.She wants a site that promotes open discussion between all sorts of different folks.

    And the goal isn’t to keep people from leaving at all costs.There are times when it’s appropriate to let people go without changing a thing.Hotshoe’s departure was a great example of that.

    Fwiw, I had no doubt prior to making my survey suggestion that the keith/patrick junto would have no interest in it. You see, their “enlightened” (i.e., anti-democratic, elitist) position is always that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks but them. That’s why it was pretty clear to me that that even though I was quite willing to eliminate my own views from consideration, they would always insist that theirs is the only one that counts.

    It’s a perfect illustration of why patrick should have never been allowed to be a moderator here and why both of them are always extremely unpleasant to deal with.

    {And, note to patrick: your variety of character cannot be hidden by sanctimonious excerpts from [those parts of] Paine [you happen to agree with] or links to Hitchens (who was also a schmuck) or by affectations of hale-fellow-well-met-with-a-brewski-and-a-smoking-44 good humor. Both your and keiths’ true selves will always shine forth luminously, right through all the bullshit.}

    Anyhow, I’ve said my last piece on this thread. I’m pretty sure at this point Lizzie must have all she needs to make sensible rule or personnel changes–or to leave things just the way they are. All that is relevant should be crystal clear by now.

  16. Kantian Naturalist: For what it’s worth I completely agree with this remark from cubist from a few days ago. TSZ moderators should have the power to moderate and even ban trolls, assholes, and anyone else whose participation here contributes to “forum decay”: the endless spiteful pettiness that drives away anyone who can look at it and say, “nah, I’ve got better things to do with my life.”

    But a quick scan of the previous two days of this thread tells me that all y’all are totally cool with forum decay. Don’t stop on my account.

    The suggestions of cubist (which I agree with) have a fatal flaw: This is not a forum. Lizzie has repeatedly over the years insisted that this not be a forum. Which makes it a place that it is.

    But I agree: This should be treated as a forum. It should operate under normal forum rules. Lizzie is wrong, always was.

    In a normal forum, we would not be having this discussion. Nobody would litter the open space with anti-moderator spam; it would be out of sight and normal on-topic discussion could be had. In a normal forum, Patrick would already be banned.

  17. Patrick: Thank you for sharing your opinion. Absent any rational argument otherwise, I will continue to do what I think is right.

    Your contributions here consist exclusively of anti-moderator spam by yourself and a banned member. You obviously dropped what is right at the door as you entered. If this were a normal place with normal rules (they don’t even have to be right rules, just normal) you would already be banned

    Calling this place to have normal forum rules that work everywhere else on the internet is a rational argument. You are evidently not in a condition to recognise a rational argument when it’s presented.


    So you make an accusation and refuse to support it. Hitchens’ Razor applies.

    Even my opponents pointed out what a troll you are. But this was not enough for you. Nothing is enough for you. When there are loopholes to exploit and nobody seems to exercise power over you, you just keep on doing it. Your behavior speaks for itself.

    Lizzie set up this thread purportedly in order to see something. Your spam prevents her from seeing anything. I fully understand that that’s your goal. It’s a banworthy behavior everywhere else on the internet and you know it.

    In a normal forum, 100% insulters like hotshoe and joe/frank would never be allowed and this could have been a normal place. And then Patrick would have perhaps remained normal too, but no, something broke in him and now he only openly defies authorities and rationality wherever he sees them. At this point, it’s outright criminal to let Patrick continue. He has fully deserved a ban (if this were a normal forum, that is).

  18. Erik,

    Letting Alan and Jock and Neil decide who gets to post what and who gets banned is a license to steal. They would like nothing better than to bend the discussion of atheists topics to their propaganda whims.

    Its ok to libel Meyer because he wouldn’t dare sue…what a crock of shit.

  19. Erik: This cannot be.

    By the way, in no other forum is it allowed to question moderator decisions in the open. It’s another normal forum rule. It should apply here too.

    What you quoted form my post was my attempt to summarize my understanding of Patrick’s position as expressed in the previous note to me (and one or two others of his I have read).

    I agree on public moderation.

  20. walto:

    Bruce, what’s the harm of a single moderation forum for beefs of this kind–where all such discussion could be moved?

    Assuming my summary to Patrick is fair, it seems to me that public versus private moderation is the most important question for EL. There is near agreement on other needed changes as far as I can tell.

    What is still unanswered AFAIK is the purpose of such a thread. Is it supposed to be able to overrule the moderators in a given decision? Or overrule EL? Or to provide arguments to EL as part of her final decision? If so, how — some kind of vote? Or to give people a chance to complain about moderators so that EL will change them? Or to provide evidence of ongoing bias in a moderator? If so, how? Or something else of consequence? Or is it just to give people a change to vent?

    Here is a summary of reasons for private moderation that I have given:
    1. Empirical evidence: successful forums use private moderation. TSZ is unsuccessful and uses public moderation. I recognize that is just a correlation. But I think it should be taken into account in EL’s decision process.

    2. Moral outrage. Moderation forums encourage moral outrage. The evidence is right in this thread. Moral outrage is not helpful to achieving TSZ’s goals.

    3. Moderator time is diverted from real discussions. This means more time needed from each moderator meaning that fewer people are interested in volunteering. This reduces pool for people EL to choose from, making it harder for her to ensure a broad spectrum of worldviews in moderators.

    4. The pool of potential moderators is also reduced because many people do not want to bear the burden having decisions they made as volunteers and in good faith being open to public scorn.

    5. This is a private undertaking, not a public process. Analogies to public institutions are not appropriate. But even if they were, the analogy must be made carefully –see the discussion of the role of speaker in UK parliament above. That is, the proper analogy would be real discussions at TSZ to debates of bills, moderation discussion to private decisions of speaker.

    ETA: several points for clarity

  21. newton: What would be the next step if the offended party continued to make his disagreement public?

    ETA: reworked because I misunderstood the question on first reading.

    What the action is from public moderation is a question for those that promote public moderation that has bothered me. See my note to Walt just above.

    I do not think there should be any public moderation thread. Further, if moderation is private, those that attempt to question it in public discussions should be immediately suspended.

  22. BruceS,

    Lizzie always liked things bowels out as a matter of principle. This is why private moderation will not be implemented.

    And even if it were, it is likely to fail for two reasons. One, it requires moderator competence, capacity for independent judgement. The wuss moderators here keep hiding behind Lizzie’s back.

    Two, it would be instituted as an “experiment” and thus moderators would have a non-committed attitude about it. And pretty much every poster opposed to the “experiment” would happily enjoy undermining it – in public.

    Any way you look at it, the atmosphere of TSZ will continue to suffer.

  23. Erik:
    BruceS,

    Lizzie always liked things bowels out as a matter of principle. This is why private moderation will not be implemented.

    You may very well be right. I hope not.

  24. Two opinion pieces on Twitter’s decision not to ban Alex Jones which I think are relevant to this discussion:
    NYT opinion published 2018 08 09

    Atlantic column

    I read both as saying Twitter should have picked values, have clear rules based on them, then ban people who violate them without public recourse. Those values should exclude tweets by people like Jones; he is not even an edge case.

  25. BruceS: Assuming my summary to Patrick is fair,it seems to me that public versus private moderation is the most important question for EL.

    There is near agreement on other needed changes as far as I can tell.

    I should have been more explicit on the agreement I perceive:
    1. Eliminate vague rules, such as “address the post, not the poster”.
    2. Eliminate guano and Noyau threads.
    3. Have a pool of moderators reflecting different worldviews. Remove moderators showing bias against posters for their worldviews.
    4. Notify the poster of all moderation decisions and ensure there is a process to question them that includes escalation to EL.

    ETA: 3, 4,

  26. Erik,

    Or you could just not click on the moderator page if it bothers you so much. It doesn’t take long to learn, just practice not clicking other links first, and slowly work your way into it.

  27. BruceS: I do not think there should be any public moderation thread. Further, if moderation is private, those that attempt to question it in public discussions should be immediately suspended.

    This is perhaps the worst idea I have ever heard in my life.

    This is not an engineering forum.

  28. phoodoo: This is perhaps the worst idea I have ever heard in my life.

    This is not an engineering forum.

    In case “engineering” refers to my profession and mindset:
    My degree is in statistics and math but most of my career was IT project management.

    However, I did drink a lot of beer with civil engineers and it is possible I thereby absorbed some of their world views. As I recall, they were interested in building bridges. And non-pc places to drink.

  29. phoodoo,

    In this place, moderation and metatalk are everywhere. Ignoring people alleviates the problem somewhat, but it’s never sensible to ignore a moderator.

    Talk about moderation policy does not bother me much. It’s just that it does not belong to public space. Policies can hardly be decided democratically, particularly with the kind of bunch we have here. For example keith and patrick are simply campaigning for a coup, not trying to devise anything workable. It’s entertaining for a little while, but then gets old. I prefer more topical entertainment.

  30. Rumraket: Where do you people find the energy to argue about moderation all day long?

    There’s a new energy drink on the market just for that.

  31. BruceS: As I recall, they were interested in building bridges.

    🙂

    Thank you for your very nice posts in this thread.

  32. My Application to Become a Moderator at TSZ

    Alan has reached out to Elizabeth about the potential of my becoming a moderator here, so I have created this “application” for Elizabeth and everyone else to read.

    Site Format

    I see no compelling reason to change the existing site formation. The current blog format works well enough. I think we should keep Moderation Issues, Noyau, and Guano. These have all been endorsed by Elizabeth and are part of the ethos of the site. Getting rid of these would be a major shift.

    I do still think that Moderation Issues should be restricted to moderation concerns. Awaiting Elizabeth’s ruling on that. To date it has been to have “Noyaua Rules” in place and it shall remain to be such until it is changed.

    Bruce has made some compelling arguments for having discussion about moderation issurs remain private. I think it’s worth discussing.

    Site Rules

    People do not have “rights” here. Unless Elizabeth chooses to grant them.

    I see no reason to change the site rules. They are minimalist and do not impose an undue burden on members who post here. They are in keeping with the goals of the site. I accept the existence of unwritten rules and so should others. I would like to see the current set of rules expanded to explicitly address some of the current grey or unwritten areas.

    Complaints about moderation or lack thereof must be made in the Moderation Issues thread. Quoting a rule-breaking comment will be considered a complaint about moderation or lack of moderation and be subject to being sent to Guano.

    I suggest that insults upon a class of people should be taken to be an insult upon each member of that class. For example, “IDiots are liars” would violate the site rules on at least two counts. It claims that each and every IDist here at this site is an idiot. It claims that each and every IDist here at this site is a liar. The same applies to claims about evolutionists, atheists, and even the worst of the worst, philosophers.

    I propose that the rules regarding addressing ideas and not people (or their perceived failings) should apply equally, if not even more strictly, to people who are not members of the site or who may be members but who are not actively posting here. I’m here to protect Barry and Trump from criticism, you know.

    I think a moderator should be allowed to edit the rules page. After doing so they should let Elizabeth know. This would help keep the site up to date and allow for ongoing clarifications. Elizabeth would of course have final say if she disagrees with any change.

    Moderator Actions

    I accept that members should be able to requst that the moderators take action and that the moderators should, upon request, give a best effort and genuine response for any action (or lack of action) they take.

    I believe that cases can and will arise that are not directly addressed by the rules. Elizabeth trusts her moderators. I don’t think any of them take that lightly. From the mere fact that some power has not been explicitly granted to the moderators by a written rule we cannot conclude that a moderator has acted inappropriately.

    Sometimes stronger actions (beyond sending a post to Guano) may be required by the moderators. At the current time what these actions may consist of and when they may be employed are not clearly defined, if defined at all. It does not follow that these actions cannot be taken or are contrary to the goals and rules of the site. Elizabeth trusts her moderators to address such situations and respond in an appropriate manner.

    My Own Personal Behavior

    Becoming a moderator will probably require me to adjust my own behavior and how I relate to others on the site. That may be a good thing, both for me and the site.

  33. Mung:
    I sure wish that Patrick and keiths could get together on whether DNA_Jock is part of the problem or is not part of the problem.

    Hey, it’s not like we’re theists who always come to the same conclusion as every other theist!

    Seriously, I think DNA_Jock’s contributions to the IDC discussions are among the most valuable on TSZ. I hope he’ll reconsider the unreasonableness and unfairness of preventing keiths from participating in this thread.

  34. Erik: In a normal forum, Patrick would already be banned.

    You evidently have limited exposure to online fora or an idiosyncratic definition of “normal.” If the fantasy of banning me works for you, though, enjoy it!

    I will point out, though, that despite your unwillingness to align with the site goals, as exemplified by your repeated refusal to support your claims, I would never suggest banning you. When you find yourself behaving like an authoritarian, it’s a good time to pause and think.

  35. Erik:
    Lizzie set up this thread purportedly in order to see something. Your spam prevents her from seeing anything.

    Elizabeth opened this thread to get an understanding of the current problems with TSZ. By refusing to pause their suspension of keiths, the admins are attempting to prevent presentation of anything but their own narrative. I’m fixing that problem.

    And then Patrick would have perhaps remained normal too, but no, something broke in him and now he only openly defies authorities and rationality wherever he sees them.

    Authorities, sure. Rationality, though, requires considering all the data. keiths’ views are important to this discussion, even leaving issues of fairness aside.

    At this point, it’s outright criminal to let Patrick continue. He has fully deserved a ban (if this were a normal forum, that is).

    Thanks again for sharing your views. Exposing authoritarians is one benefit of free expression.

  36. phoodoo:
    Erik,

    Or you could just not click on the moderator page if it bothers you so much.It doesn’t take long to learn, just practice not clicking other links first, and slowly work your way into it.

    Hear, hear!

  37. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    walto, to Patrick:

    affectations of hale-fellow-well-met-with-a-brewski-and-a-smoking-44 good humor.

    You may not realize this, walto, but it’s possible to actually enjoy spending time with someone you deeply disagree with or even dislike. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s possible.

    For that reason, Patrick’s desire to have a beer with Mung doesn’t sound at all like an “affectation” to me.

    I think I would enjoy having a beer with you. We wouldn’t necessarily end up liking each other; in fact, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t. But we could still share some laughs (e.g. over “who the hell is this ‘Pitman’ guy that CharlieM keeps talking about?”), and it would be damned interesting to meet you in person after having interacted with you for years at TSZ. Curiosity alone would make it worth a shot, even if there was no guarantee that we’d get along or that the encounter would be pleasant.

    If life unfolds according to plan, I’ll be nomadic in another six months or so, living in a trailer that I’ll drag behind my pickup truck. My travels will definitely take me to Massachusetts; if you recall, I used to live and work there, and I still have friends there that I’d like to visit. Are you interested in meeting for a beer when I’m in your neck of the woods?

  38. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    keiths:

    No, because Lizzie’s goal isn’t just to satisfy a handful of “net positive contributors”, by your, or my, or anyone else’s construal of what “net positive” means. She wants a site that promotes open discussion between all sorts of different folks.

    And the goal isn’t to keep people from leaving at all costs. There are times when it’s appropriate to let people go without changing a thing. Hotshoe’s departure was a great example of that.

    walto:

    Fwiw, I had no doubt prior to making my survey suggestion that the keith/patrick junto would have no interest in it. You see, their “enlightened” (i.e., anti-democratic, elitist) position is always that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks but them.

    It’s exactly the opposite. You are the one suggesting that TSZ’s policy be determined by the wishes of an elite group of “net positive contributors” (appointed by whom?). Patrick and I are arguing against that elitism. TSZ’s policies should benefit everyone, not just the members of some appointed elite.

    Lizzie founded TSZ to promote open discussion across a wide spectrum of folks. To get open discussion, you need policies that promote open discussion. Power at TSZ is already concentrated (and in the hands of the wrong people). Your suggestion is a step in the wrong direction.

  39. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Still awaiting a response from the moderators to this earlier comment:

    Not a single one of the moderators has been able to connect the dots, starting with what I did and making a rational argument ending with the appropriateness of a 30-day suspension.

    The grudge came first, then the 30-day suspension, and now an increasingly pitiful attempt to find an after-the-fact rationalization for the 30-day suspension.

    I wish the mods would finally get their shit together and settle on a story.

  40. Rumraket:
    Where do you people find the energy to argue about moderation all day long?

    Well, you’re dealing with all the IDCist nonsense in the other threads so efficiently that it doesn’t leave much for the rest of us to do.

  41. Patrick: You evidently have limited exposure to online fora or an idiosyncratic definition of “normal.” If the fantasy of banning me works for you, though, enjoy it!

    I have decades worth of IRC experience. Defy a mod = kick. Do so for an hour = ban, in a good case time-limited. But here you are going on to no end. This place has no rules and you thrive in lawlessness.

    Patrick: I will point out, though, that despite your unwillingness to align with the site goals, as exemplified by your repeated refusal to support your claims…

    So this site requires us to support our claims? Let’s see you support this claim.

    You are a deeply deluded fascist, Patrick. In your imagination, you are upholding the site’s goals by spamming the thread with the content from a banned member!!!

  42. Erik:
    You are a deeply deluded fascist, Patrick.

    Weird, I don’t see a lot of fascists arguing for freedom of expression, even for those with whom they disagree. That must be another word, like “normal”, for which you have your own definition.

    I still wouldn’t ban you for it!

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