It would appear…

…that our friend Grey didn’t appreciate my addition to his entry as it seems he has deleted it from SEB’s database without comment. That’s a shame as I spent a couple of hours doing the research and writing it up, but I suppose I should have gone ahead and changed the authorship to my own name considering the major addition I made to it. That would’ve kept him from deleting it as well. Not sure if it’s a case of embarrassment or frustration on his part, but it’s gone now and we’ll just have to learn to live with the loss.

Interestingly enough, Grey hasn’t bothered to remove the unexpanded version from his own blog even after having the truth of it revealed to him. No updated indicating that the events depicted in the email didn’t happen quite the way it’s portrayed therein, no hint that it’s anything other than 100% true. I’m beginning to suspect he’s not much for the truth if it gets in the way of his biases.

88 thoughts on “It would appear…

  1. grey, there is a profound difference between discussion for information’s sake and presenting an email you haven’t bothered to cross check and saying point blank that it “…addresses a major part of Islam that is very disturbing.” and “This has got to be the most screwed up system of control I’ve ever seen.  Believe or we will kill you in the name of Allah.”

    You sought to promote a certain bias with your entry and it didn’t work out too well. Maybe you can learn some lessons from it, maybe not.

    I could create an email suggesting that the Bush administration is planning on placing homosexuals in concentration camps and I could include many statements from this administration that would appear to support that supposition, but it would be just what your email was: an attempt to vilify and create wide distrust of a group. It would be irresponsible of me (as far as I know) to create it and it would be irresponsible of you, or anyone, to disseminate it.

    It’s good that you are here and it’s good that you question issues and present alternate points of view but don’t be reckless with that activity.

    No fact may be absolutely known but we can certainly get closer to “gospel” through willingness to broaden our perspectives.

  2. “Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?”

    If you are using this to demonstrate that Muslims are killing unbelievers by commandment, you or the clerics you quote have no understanding of the Muslim religion or tradition. Please read, “The Trouble with Islam,” by Irshad Manji. In the Muslim Golden Age, about 750 to 1200, the Muslims had a tradition called ijtehad. That allowed every Muslim to update his or her religious practice in the light of contemporary circumstances. The most recurring theme in the Qur’ran is, “Allah is Forgiving, Merciful,” not “kill the infidels.” And just because a few radical leaders go off on a tangent, don’t judge the entire religion. Shall we judge Christianity by the inquisition or by the acts of Jim Jones (Jonestown)? big surprise

    I was in the process of submitting the above post when wierd things happened. I later found out that Grey deleted his post at that same time. Maybe we can use this to start another discussion thread.

  3. i see.  i don’t really believe it true of all muslims, just the fundamentalists.  during my time in bosnia i met several muslims that were very nice people.  they had absolutely nothing, but would still invite us in and offer us coffee and anything they had around to nibble on.  i should have mentioned something before but i had an alterior motive with the post. 

    the problem i have with the qur’ran, kuran or however you want to spell it is that the meaning is lost in the translation to english.  without knowing hewbrew you can’t really understand it the way it was meant to be understood…and even then you’ve got to deal with the different way words are used now as opposed to then, plus the differece in cultures of the author and the reader.  it’s like trying to read glyphs through a distorted looking glass.  the same holds true for the bible, of course.

    it is distrubing to think that some people exploit this gap and turn something that could be a good thing into such a terrible thing.

  4. Grey, I’ve known all along that you’re an atheist and I must admit that I always found your apparent support for things such as that forwarded email surprising as a result. Whether you believe in God or not is kind of immaterial if you’re siding with the Bible Thumpers on most of the major issues such as the war on the religion of Islam you seem to be so gung-ho to see happen. In my eyes you’re just casting your lot in with one evil over another because you’re familiar with it.

    You may not be interested in the truth, but I am. Or at least I’m interested in getting as close to the truth as is possible considering its relative nature. My eventual move to atheism was brought about by that pursuit. You made no mention in your entry on whether or not you considered it to be false or misleading. In fact, you made it sound as though you agreed 100% with it so there was no reason to assume you were basing your premise on the idea that it was false and merely wanted to hear other people’s opinions.

    If you’re not willing to verify your sources then you’ll take a lot of flak around here and will likely find that it’s a good decision to spend your time elsewhere. Folks here like to have access to all the information they can on a subject so they can read it and decide for themselves. When I post about something I make a point of providing links to the articles that prompted my opinions so that others can read more than just the bits I’ve focused on and draw their own conclusions precisely because I do realize that my opinion is biased. I want people to agree with me only after they’ve had the opportunity to check it out for themselves and can weigh their own impressions against what I’ve said to see if it matches up. I don’t want anyone to just agree with me because they think I’m a nice guy or because of some perceived authority they see in me. I want them to think for themselves because not enough people do that and if some of them agree with my conclusions then so much the better. I found this bit of your reply particularly amusing and a great example of why you and I knock heads so often:

    I would think that instead of arguing against my point by saying that I’ve got no ‘sources’, people would just state their opinion and why they have it.

    There is a difference between an opinion and an informed opinion and I try very hard to make sure I have some background about something before I offer too many opinions on it whereas you appear willing to toss off opinions regardless of the quality of the information you’re basing them on.

    Your approach is certainly easier and takes less time, but tends to result in entries like the one you submitted that make you look lazy when someone who takes the time, like me, comes along and rips it to shreds.

    It amazes me the extremes some people will take to prove someone else wrong.

    You’re right. Only an extremist would look into the background of a forwarded email to see if it was an accurate depiction of events before then turning to the Bible to look up passages that demonstrate why the premises of said forwarded email are faulty. What the hell will we ever do if this sort of extremist thinking catches on and everyone stops tossing out idiotic opinions they pulled out of their ass as a form of public debate?

    I don’t see that anyone puts a lot of stock in email forwards being a reliable source of information, on the other hand I think it’s ridiculous to completely discount them altogether.

    You must not get out as much as you claim, then. Because of the fact that I do take the time to look into these things there are a number of people ranging from some of my relatives to coworkers to complete strangers who will send me these emails when they get them with a small note asking: “Is this another bullshit scam or is this real?” I hear all the time from folks who put a lot of stock in those emails and I’ve helped a few people keep from being burned more than once because I had taken the time to look into it. But I go further than that, I try to teach those people how to look into it themselves so they don’t need to ask me. It’s called “critical thinking skills” and it’s sorely lacking in most people in this country. Your propensity for encouraging pointless opinion mongering doesn’t seem like it would help in that goal.

    Yeah, sure, they’re cheesy and thoughtless, but they can contain ideas that are worth discussion, misleading or not.  It is the idea that is important, not the truth in it or lack thereof.

    Then perhaps you would have been better served had you spelled that out in your submission instead of posting it as though it were something you found “profound” and seemed to agree with. Might I suggest you could have opened it with something like:

      “The following email is misleading in some ways, but I thought it contained an idea or two that are worth discussing. Here’s the email. *Insert Email Here* And here are the points I thought were worth discussing…blah blah blah.”

    I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t have tacked anything onto a submission like that. Your intent would’ve been clear and you would’ve proffered up your opinion in more than just two sentences. But I guess that sort of insightful commentary is just too much work for you. As it stood it wasn’t worth posting, but it was something that I’ve written about many times before as it’s a pet peeve. So I made a decision to tack my commentary onto the end to make it something that was worth reading.

    I do agree that ideas are important, but ideas are shaped by the perception of how true something is and thus the truth of the email becomes an issue with regards to the idea it’s promoting. What the fuck is the point of debating the idea presented in that email that “most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world” if there is no truth to that claim? If the claim is false and is accepted as true then any debate about that idea is built entirely on a false premise and becomes meaningless and stupid. Perhaps that’s your idea of a good time, but it serves no purpose.

    The problem I have is that when you added your comments to my submission, it no longer became my submission.  It became a submission of yours with the attempt to falsify mine before any other discussion could begin.

    You’re right, it wasn’t your submission any longer and I’ll concede that as a mistake on my part. When I repost it I’ll be sure to make this clear. Still, the point remains that it wouldn’t have been any different had I saved my comments for the comments because I wouldn’t have approved such a pointless entry until I had taken the time to compose my reply and it would’ve been the first comment on the entry so the effect would’ve been more or less the same. That’s the sort of submission that I would make a point to insure I got the first crack at a comment on before any other discussion could begin. Whether that comment is in the “comments” proper or tacked onto the end seems a silly distinction to me.

    I do not feel the article held to be 100% true, but I did find it to be an interesting talking point if one wasn’t so interested in trying to prove it false.  That is a theme I’ve seen over and over on this website –trying to falsify rather than discuss.  Like I said, my basic premise with any source is that it is false.  Whether or not it is true is not my main concern, the discussion it creates is.  Sure, it feels great to be ‘right’, but that is not the fucking point.

    Then, as I said previously, you should have made that clear. This isn’t your blog and the people who come here regularly have come to know how things tend to work around here. Obviously the way things work around your blog is much different so it was a mistake on your part to assume that I or anyone else here would have any inkling of how you do things. You’ve certainly been here long enough to have an idea of how things are presented and if your entry was going to deviate from that presentation then you shouldn’t have assumed that your intent or goals were obvious to anyone but yourself and spelled it out at the time.

    Ah, but there’s that “taking the time to get it right” theme again which you’ve previously stated you don’t have the inclination to bother with. To me, that just says you brought this all on yourself. It’s like you want to be a beekeeper because you enjoy fresh honey, but you don’t feel like taking the time to suit up properly and gathering the required equipment to keep from being stung repeatedly. Yet you still insist on trying anyway and then you bitch and whine when you get your ass stung off in the process.

    I’m afraid so.  I my site down because I already had to delete some less-than friendly comments that added nothing to a very civil discussion I was having with some friends.  It is there for my friends and myself, not for strangers who want to be dicks.

    So, what, it’s OK for you to go and be a dick on someone else’s blog? Why does this not surprise me?

    but i had an alterior motive with the post

    That much was obvious from the moment I saw it. Shame you couldn’t handle things when it turned out differently than you had hoped.

  5. the problem i have with the qur’ran, kuran or however you want to spell it is that the meaning is lost in the translation to english.  without knowing hewbrew you can’t really understand it the way it was meant to be understood…and even then you’ve got to deal with the different way words are used now as opposed to then, plus the differece in cultures of the author and the reader.

    Hewbrew (sic), Arabic, same thing right!?  rolleyes

  6. Grey, Trotsky, you’re both wrong.  The Quran is best understood in the original Klingon. wink

    Gray, thanks for coming back to tell us what you were thinking. 

    I went and looked at the cache version and it did look like you were presenting the email as true.  Also… your post was in between two horizontal dividers completely unaltered, with Les’ comments before and after.

    But for the most part, it wasn’t your post.  It was a couple comments tacked onto a bit of email flotsam.  Knowing that truth is relative and difficult to ascertain absolutely is one thing. Having no regard for it at all is another.

    I have known many Muslims and not one of them has shown the slightest interest in killing anyone,  FWIW. Yes, you were talking about “extremists” but the distinguishing feature is the extremism, not the specific thing they’re extreme about.

  7. Yet you still insist on trying anyway and then you bitch and whine when you get your ass stung off in the process

      i don’t see personal attacks as being necessary in a discussion unless you’re simply wanting to be malicious.

    So, what, it’s OK for you to go and be a dick on someone else’s blog? Why does this not surprise me?

      pretty much.  your blog is public.  you allow others to post submissions and what not.  i’ve always seen it as more of an open forum.  mine is intended to be for friends and family.  i should have kept the url out of my profile.

    That much was obvious from the moment I saw it. Shame you couldn’t handle things when it turned out differently than you had hoped.

    well, i didn’t expect you to agree with me, but i didn’t expect you to turn my post into your post.  i figured you would just leave it out.  i was trying to dig into why you had insinuated in the past that i was some sort of bible-banger and bring out what i felt was bias because i’m not a liberal.

    Then perhaps you would have been better served had you spelled that out in your submission instead of posting it as though it were something you found “profound

  8. Grey: “I my site down because I already had to delete some less-than friendly comments that added nothing to a very civil discussion I was having with some friends.  It is there for my friends and myself, not for strangers who want to be dicks.”

    In other words, he doesn’t want real discussion. He only wants people who agree with him.

    All the comments I’d read prior to Les and mine supported the email that Grey posted. This is pretty creepy.

    Basically, Grey has stated that he doesn’t care if he spreads lies, as long as they create discussions. This is such a juvenile rationale it doesn’t surprise me that his reaction was to PULL DOWN his entire blog when he received negative comments.

    This guy isn’t worth our time.

    I wonder of Grey would post an email that discussed some scientific facts of how black people smell or how the Holocaust never occurred. I imagine he would, as long as they fit his political slant – but once anyone challenged them, I’m also sure he’d pull down his website again.

  9. i don’t see personal attacks as being necessary in a discussion unless you’re simply wanting to be malicious.

    It wasn’t a personal attack. It was an opinion based on the comments you’ve left here at SEB and your actions since you submitted your entry. A personal attack would’ve been something more like:

      It’s like you want to be a beekeeper because you enjoy fresh honey, but you’re too much of a clueless dumb-fuck to take the time to suit up properly and too much of a cheap bastard to purchase the required equipment to keep from being stung repeatedly. You’re such a moron that you still insist on trying anyway—despite not having the intelligence to tie your shoes without drooling all over them—and then you bitch and whine when you get your ass stung off in the process because you lack the mental capacity to understand what a major idiot you are.

    Now THAT’s a proper personal attack.

    pretty much.  your blog is public.  you allow others to post submissions and what not.  i’ve always seen it as more of an open forum.  mine is intended to be for friends and family.  i should have kept the url out of my profile.

    Here’s an idea: Try not being a dick yourself and perhaps you won’t attract them to your site. You may want to put a robots.txt file up so Google won’t track you down either. Changing your email address to fuck@you.com was a nice start, though. And as Elwed mentioned, password protecting your site isn’t difficult. You can then ensure that you only ever bask in the positive comments of people who totally agree with you. Com’on! Even President Bush figured out the best way to do that is to take measures to keep any of the “undesirables” out of his campaign stops. I can’t believe you’re not at least as clever as our current President.

    well, i didn’t expect you to agree with me, but i didn’t expect you to turn my post into your post.  i figured you would just leave it out.  i was trying to dig into why you had insinuated in the past that i was some sort of bible-banger and bring out what i felt was bias because i’m not a liberal.

    As I pointed out, there wasn’t much to “your post” considering it was all of five lines of original material with 24 lines of someone else’s work. That’s not “your post” that’s “your bit of plagiarism” with a “WHAT HE SAID” tacked on. If anything, I took over a post for which 90% of the material came from someone other than you and the majority of my rebuttal dealt with that other material as a result. The 10% you contributed added nothing to it of any significance other than a deliberate attempt to create a false impression that you were in complete agreement with it.

    Clearly the truth about your own opinions isn’t beyond being ignored for the sake of proving your point. What was it you said about people going to extremes to prove someone else wrong? Aren’t you basically admitting here that you did the same thing in an attempt to expose whatever biases you feel I held? Hypocrisy isn’t a good method of starting a discussion about anything.

    agreed, but like i said, i had an alterior motive.  i problably shouldn’t have done it, but it seems to have stirred up a lot of discussion so perhaps it wasn’t such an evil thing after all.

    Who said anything about it being evil? For an atheist, you seem to view things in the same terms that a lot of True Believers do. I don’t think there was anything evil about it. I think it was a stupid way to try and prove a point that I would’ve expected from the likes of a 14 year-old, but I’m told you’re not that young.

  10. grey, don’t let any of this stop you from reading and commenting here. I suspect this place is, and will be, good for you. I think you are supposed to be here, for various reasons. I think this for various reasons and it could benefit you for various reasons. Did that make any sense?

    I don’t think anyone here is above making stupid mistakes pertaining to entries or comments, or perhaps I’m simply seeking sympathy. I think most of all, that in the best case scenario, we communicate and we learn. The rest is just for amusement at someone’s expense.

  11. Grey’s backpedaling is an extremely common tactic I’ve seen countless times in the 20 years I’ve been on the ‘net.  When something blows up in his face, the poster says, “I meant to do that, it was a test.” 

    It should be readily apparent by now that one of Les’s favorite activities on his blog is deconstructing scams and lazy thinking.  Putting up ANY idea in front of him and the other very well-read regulars is the equivalent of saying, “PULL!”  grin

  12. Grey posted a chain e-mail on this site without questioning or attempting to verify its truthfullness and didn’t make any comment on it. The guy is a spammer Les, posting the entry in its original form would have been a mistake and I think you did the right thing.

    And I’m also not suprised that Grey withdrew the entry after getting criticism for it, lets hope he learns to do some factchecking next time.

  13. I don’t really care to psycho-analyze grey. Whatever his intent, whether he knew the email to be fake or not, clearly the submission backfired badly. Perhaps badly enough to prompt him to take down or move his own blog. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that grey didn’t post again until the copy turned up in Google.

    Whatever.

    Well, a closed mouth gathers no foot, as a good friend of mine is fond of saying.

  14. Brock said: I don’t think anyone here is above making stupid mistakes pertaining to entries or comments, or perhaps I’m simply seeking sympathy. I think most of all, that in the best case scenario, we communicate and we learn. The rest is just for amusement at someone’s expense.

    What a generous thought, considering what’s gone on here.  Amen.

    Les, you’ve done a good job of turning what could have been simply a nasty little flame war into a very thought-provoking thread.  Kudos.

    Grey, you did start a discussion here which did turn out to be worthwhile, but thanks rather to the high quality of commentary here at SEB than to your ill-considered entry.  I wonder what sort of replies a posting of “Republicans are programmed to bomb hospitals” would have garnered at your blog?

    DoF: The Quran is best understood in the original Klingon.

    Another reason not to drink coffee while reading SEB…

  15. All of this bru-hahah (sp?) would’ve been quite easily avoided if:

    a] Grey’s original post had been rejected outright
    b] the Owner had published the post under his name
    c] Grey original post had been published without modifications/edits/addendums, and left to with under its own false foundations

    Although i’ve totally enjoyed this discussion, and think it good and wise, i do believe that the Owner fell victim to Grey’s general goals of causing a scene.

    Regardless of the finer points of what “edit” means, and when an editorial notes/injections cross the line and becomes an article in of itself, there was a better, wiser way to handle Grey’s original post.

    rob@egoz.org

  16. Chari, thanks for the link.  It’s not only an exemplary trollputdown, but the main site can be recommended for scientifically well-informed but accessible treatment of “Thoughts From the Interface of Science, Religion, Law and Culture”, as they put it:
    http://www.stcynic.com/blog/

  17. Rob, hindsight is, as they say, 20/20 and I don’t disagree that it could’ve been handled better which is why I said in my entry here that I live and I learn. Just like everyone else.

    Chari, that is easily one of the best articles on Evolution I’ve read in awhile. Thanks for letting us know about it. I’ve slapped you onto my blogroll because I’ve been missing out on some good readin’ it seems.

  18. Wait, I’ve already got you on my blogroll. That’s Richard’s site I slapped onto my blogroll.

    I new there was a reason I was thinking, “Man, she’s really changed to a minimalist style with the layout this time around.”

  19. I read both the original post and Les’ addendum to it, and now a few dozen comments related to same.

    After repeated appearances, Rob finally said something I agree with: “i do believe that the Owner fell victim to Grey’s general goals of causing a scene.”

    (‘the Owner’, Rob, is Les… he’s that guy up on the top of this page.  Trying to make him sound like some imperious impersonal dictatorial force doesn’t really make anyone more likely to listen to the rest of what you have to say.)

    Grey has admitted as much, and it is pretty apparent that he has confused ‘being an asshole’ with ‘having a personality’.  It’s a common enough mistake.

    As for whether or not Les should have added his say?  It’s Les’ site.  Says so right on the label.    He’s given others the opportunity to post their own ideas right on the front page, and while I think it would be reasonable to assume that guest posts would be subject to the same guidelines as comments, with the guest posts (and with many comments) Les has shown himself to be much more likely to err in favor of the post writer than he is to be heavy-handed. 

    (Have you read the comment guidelines?  ‘If you’re going to bother to comment have something to say that’s worth reading’, ‘Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it’, and ‘There is a difference between an opinion and an informed opinion’ don’t seem unreasonable to me… but Grey’s batting 0 for 3 here.)

    Personally I think Grey’s egregious ignorance should have been deleted on sight, and rather than jump Les for his actions I think it should be acknowledged that he is willing to provide a forum for ideas (however silly they may be) that he doesn’t agree with.  Since Grey didn’t take the time and effort to make his post the seed of an intelligent discussion, Les filled in the blanks.  He didn’t modify Grey’s words, he didn’t delete them, he just applied some thought where the poster obviously hadn’t.

    I suspect that Les has a bald head because he’s continually beating it against walls of unintelligent and deliberately inciteful idiocy like Grey’s post.

  20. it is pretty apparent that he has confused ‘being an asshole’ with ‘having a personality’.  It’s a common enough mistake.

    As the Cowardly Lion said,  “Ain’t it the truth”. Nicely put, foobario.

  21. (’the Owner’, Rob, is Les… he’s that guy up on the top of this page.  Trying to make him sound like some imperious impersonal dictatorial force doesn’t really make anyone more likely to listen to the rest of what you have to say.)

    Actually, within the confines of this discussion, i switched from the name “Les” to the lable “Onwer” because it does sound impersonal, yet it also emphasizes exactly what Les’ role is in regards to the site.  Some people questioned my understanding of that relationship, albeit rhetorically (i hope!).  Thus, i started using the lable “Owner” for the siteowner named Les.

    Case in point…

    As for whether or not Les should have added his say?  It’s Les’ site.  Says so right on the label…

    Well, yes, i do happen to know that.  ;-]
    Yet, i think it is a poor defense.  We should at least have an illusion of egalitarianism—or the goal of such.  The methods used by the Owner (note my understanding of Les’ role) suggested that no such equality existed.

    The mere suggestion of such should’ve been avoided.
    That’s what i’m saying.

    rob@egoz.org

  22. (sorry, i forgot to mention a final point…)

    Grey’s likely scheme was to suggest/demonstrate that just such a biased inequality existed on this site. 
    And the Owner, i believe, walked into that trap.

  23. We should at least have an illusion of egalitarianism—or the goal of such.

    1.  Who-um “we,” Paleface?

    and

    2.  Why?

  24. rob- what GM said.  This is getting kind of boring.  Les has explained in detail why he did what he did, and you keep hammering away with this notion that he should have done otherwise.  Are you waiting for a formal apology from Les or what?  He did what he did, on his blog, and you didn’t like it.  Life goes on.

  25. 1.  Who-um “we,” Paleface? and
    2.  Why? (- GeekMom)

    GM, you’re cracking me up grin
    I think objectivity is one of those “well-intentioned” non-virtues that everyone mistakes for virtue.

  26. I don’t think .rob is out of line for stating what he hopes to find in the way of objectivity here at SEB and I’m more in agreement than disagreement with him overall. I do make it a point to be as even handed and fair as I can be, but I also reserve the right to make judgment calls about how to run things at SEB as the owner of the site.

    With an experiment like allowing anyone to submit guest posts I’m doing something that (as far as I’m aware) very few other bloggers are doing so there’s bound to be decisions I make that’ll piss a few people off as I work out the best way to do things.

  27. Late, as always.

    Rob, can you please give it a rest? You have expressed your personal preference, but it’s up to Les to run this site any way he pleases.

  28. We should at least have an illusion of egalitarianism—or the goal of such.

    1.  Who-um “we,

  29. Rob, those are good points in general, but I suspect if Les thinks you’re trying to intimate that his blog will change the world, he might well panic and close up shop. wink

    I’ve seen a lot of communities on the ‘net in 20 years, and the good ones stay that way only until they reach a critical mass of members, at which point the statistics favor the incursion of, shall we say, less mature and articulate contributors.  Then the site melts down and the members wander off in search of a smaller, as yet undiscovered meeting place.

    What I do see with the advent of blogging is that the comment space on blogs is slowly taking the place of regular forums, and I think it’s being confused with them.  Some blogs, by nature of their popularity and the intelligence of their regular commenters, take on a more public stance, but that’s only with the express consent and effort of the Owner.  I don’t think it’s fair to try to put Les’s blog up on a pedestal and then complain when it topples off.  Yes, Les makes a real effort to be evenhanded, and that’s to his credit; I consider that a bonus that makes his particular blog worth reading.  But he’s never going to be “fair enough” in everyone’s eyes, and I don’t think he should strive for that; it’ll stifle what I think makes him worth reading.

    IMFO.  grin

    (exit GeekMom stage left, pursued by snoring.)

  30. I’ve seen a lot of communities on the ‘net in 20 years, and the good ones stay that way only until they reach a critical mass of members, at which point the statistics favor the incursion of, shall we say, less mature and articulate contributors.  Then the site melts down and the members wander off in search of a smaller, as yet undiscovered meeting place.

    I’m a firm believer in egalitarian direct democracy, no matter where in our lives.  Egalitarianism on the Web, just like in civil government (such as my town’s townmeeting/selectmen style of government), sometimes faces a crush of numbers.  Similiarly, as you mention, the same type of thing can happen on forum/blog sites. But, i’d argue that if this right were pervasive enough on the web it wouldn’t so often be abused, and people would gravitate to sites of their interests.  In the meantime, there are practical solutions to managing the base and bile that come with any mass of people: decentralising authority.

    Again, i believe that this notion should be applied everywhere in our lives where multiple individuals are concerned, not just forums.  Where one has right all should have right.

    What I do see with the advent of blogging is that the comment space on blogs is slowly taking the place of regular forums, and I think it’s being confused with them.

    Yes, people are messy like that, wanting to go express themselves in all sorts of places we never intended.  And i think it’s beautiful. Dialogue is always messy and always beautiful. :-]

    I don’t think it’s fair to try to put Les’s blog up on a pedestal and then complain when it topples off.

    I’ve believe that the CityOnTheHill ideal is something that we, as individuals, can apply everwhere in our lives.

    …Take some time and start your own blog.

    As another matter of principle, i tend to try and do things as much as possible from scratch.  So, give me a day or so.

    rob@egoz.org

  31. Don’t take this as an attempt to get rid of you, .Rob, but I think the idea of you starting a blog is a good one for a number of reasons.

    While I commonly find that I don’t agree with everything you say—you’re the first liberal in a long time to make me think I might actually be a conservative in comparison—I do agree with some of it and it’s clear you have a passion for expressing your thoughts. You certainly wouldn’t be without things to write about and I think you’d probably attract a following fairly quickly.

    I’m also interested to see how you handle the challenges that come with the act of running a blog. Not to imply it’s brain surgery, but there’s actually a lot more thought put into what I write and what I approve and what I say in my comments than might be apparent in the final product. You have some very interesting ideas on how things should be done and I think it would be quite enlightening to see you put them into practice and find out what the outcome ends up being. I’ll even help you get set up and drive some traffic your way to get you started if you’d like. I’m very curious to see what you come up with.

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