Barbara Branden wrote:
Something very ugly has been happening on SOLO, and it has not been done by Lindsay, Joe, or Jeff. Some members have taken the fact that Linz has made a mistake as a reason to indulge in a degree of Linz-and-SOLO-bashing that is shameful. I read charges that SOLO oozes malevolence, that it is a cesspool of mean-spirited personal attacks and filthy language, that it must now submit to Rube-Goldberg-like moderation policies that would turn it into a timid and lifeless shell.
With due respect, I'm forced to disagree. This strikes me as hyperbolic overstatement, with considerable unwarranted generalization.
Nobody I know wants to "turn SOLO into a timid and lifeless shell."
- Criticism of Linz is not necessarily "Linz bashing."
I have personally said almost nothing about his behavior, because I have not been here that long. Those comments I have read have usually been mildly critical, and well within the bounds of being construed as constructive. I see little to be ashamed of here.
- Criticism of SOLO is not necessarily "SOLO bashing."
Let's be careful with "bashing" accusations. Criticism can be healthy, and accusing critics of being "bashers" can stifle even constructive criticism.
Many comments I read express concern and are apparently intended as constructive. Frankly, I haven't seen much to be ashamed of here, either.
- As to those "charges that SOLO oozes malevolence," SOLO is an organization like any other. Any organization which gets smug and complacent about its nature, which meets every suggestion for self-examination with condemnation and accusations of "bashing" is vulnerable.
Yesterday I raised the question about whether SOLO was sanctioning a course of publicly labeling others as "malefactors" or "pseudo-Objectivists" subject to "search and destroy." Linz has since satisfactorily responded to that question via Luke Setzer.
Do we really want a group where such questions cannot be asked without bringing accusations of disloyalty or ingratitude or "bashing"?
- A "cesspool of mean-spirited personal attacks"? SOLO has its share of personal attacks. Many of them are clearly mean. Asking whether this is a culture we want to encourage is a fair question.
- The issue of "filthy language" is also a fair one.
The question was whether gross language should be permitted at all and, if tolerated incidentally, whether verbal abuse involving gross language was acceptable. Examing this hardly constitutes a suggestion that SOLO is a "cesspool ... of filthy language." That's an overreaction, at least to the discussions I read.
- Phil, Luke, myself, and others hardly suggested "Rube-Goldberg-like moderation policies." Most organizations, at some point in their evolution, find it necessary to adopt new methods for dealing with conflict. I think you're being unfairly dismissive and critical of sincere suggestions offered by people interested in SOLO's future.
But I'm forced to ask whether overly-general accusations that criticism and suggestion amounts to "bashing" or "real malevolence" or ingratitude might not do just that, turn SOLO into a timid and lifeless shell.
After all, how many people on SOLO want to have Barbara Branden, of all people, suggesting that their motives might be "malevolent"? I know I'm not particularly fond of the notion of being splattered by paint from such a broad brush, intentional or not.
Nor am I thrilled with the prospect of publicly taking exception to your views. But take exception I must.
A man is measured by those he pisses off, not those he pisses on.
So be it.
(Edited by Nathan Hawking on 6/23, 6:05pm)