|Have you people even been reading my posts about this? How the hell do you slander someone by publishing an article that he himself *said* ought to be published?! The context-dropping being indulged here boggles the mind ... people are leaping from my editorial decision to publish this to the unwarranted (and publicly denied) claim that I agree with the article and second its claims!|
Frankly, I feel completely vindicated by Chris Phoenix's post—he is a newcomer with little knowledge of the recent disputes at SOLO, and therefore with no dog in this fight. What he is interested in a site where candor and institutional transparency are the order of the day, and he believes that our handling of this latest dispute has amply demonstrated those two strengths. If some prospective members are scared off because this site's founder didn't shrink from a public accusation of alcoholism, fine. I'm content as long as the Chris Phoenixes keep coming. (And the membership growth numbers just released in Joe Rowlands's latest update belie the claim that these disputes are "destroying" SOLO.)
There is room, as Robert Winefield does, to disagree with the manner in which these charges were made public, namely, by posting them as an official article. For my money, the difference between posting this under "Dissent" and posting it as an article is minimal. And it accomplishes something that a "Dissent" post would not have: bringing the reasons for this split, and the unfairness with which Lindsay is being treated, to the fore of SOLOists' attentions.
Robert, you say that The Management's reasons for doing this are "notwithstanding," but provide no specific explanations of why they lack muster, and instead have made yet another post bemoaning the highly exaggerated "anarchism" of the SOLO Forums. Like a lot of critics, you seem to think that SOLO's higher-ups (Linz in particular) should simply quit the field of personal disputes, and that these situations could be resolved by just pretending that they don't exist. I disagree. And regardless of whether it is fair to do so, those who hear and spread rumors will take silence in the face of them as tacit confirmation of their truth.
Here's what your vision would have prescribed in this case: James's writing would have been quashed, and he would have been moderated or banned, after which I am certain he would have left SOLO completely. Do you really believe, if he was willing to publish this as a SOLO article, that what he had to say wouldn't have surfaced in less public channels? (In fact, as I say in Post 48, I had already heard similar rumors from another person prior to James's submission.) Do you believe that we would have seen the instant and vocal vindication of Lindsay's character that this article prompted? Do you believe the virtues of honesty and justice would have been served by sweeping this issue under the rug?
I am puzzled by what seems to be a widespread misconception—among Objectivists, no less—that a prerequisite for the success of an online discussion forum is the total absence of acrimony, and even more, the suppression of expressions of such emotions by moderators. Now, if such an expression really is irrational, it ought to be called into question, and its author called to account (as Lindsay was on the "Lessons Learned" thread, prompting his immediate and unreserved apology). But dealing with it by having an appointed vanguard comb threads for posts that violate some necessarily-vague definition of acrimony would be to treat posters like children, a policy that SOLOists should rightly resent (and one that, ironically, Robert himself suggests). The *truly* adult response to such conflicts has been elucidated by Robert Davison: if the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it.
There is nothing stopping anyone from returning to reading, writing, and discussing philosophy here. Right now on SOLO, there is a lively discussion on the nature of addiction, prompted by the very timely posting of a Szasz quote by Jeff Riggenbach. There were also three articles posted today that everyone can discuss. If these topics don't interest you, you can always start your own thread. Or better yet, submit an article to the SOLO queue which, though adequately stocked, could always use some more quality pieces.
I just can't seem to square the statements of those who say they want to hang out in greener pastures with their propensity to come on threads like this just to cluck their tongues at it. If you think the whole thing is worthless, why spend time and keystrokes wallowing in it? I could understand this frustration if this article had short-circuited other healthy discussions on SOLO. But I don't see that it has, nor do I see any reason why it should have.
(Edited by Andrew Bissell on 8/01, 8:50pm)