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Post 100

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 - 3:02pmSanction this postReply
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One of the most significant lessons I ever learned about forums, and particularly email is a principle we used to call "The Irrectractibility of the Launch". It still holds 100% true with email, because you can't stop the launch. There were times when, if it had been a mailbox, I would have crawled into it to get the letter.  It used to be like that with posts, too- if you wanted to get rid of one, you'd have to get one of the list owners to pull it. That could take a few days sometimes, which was quite a treat for you, since you already realized you had done something you didn't want to, and now it was out there. The best course of action was to lay low until things blew over, because even if you posted an apology, being on the forum was about as fun as going to a herpes fuck party.

All of us who have been around since lists and bulletin boards know this principle. The funny part is that even with that, it doesn't always stop even the best and brightest from violating the principle.

What I ended up calling into question, after awhile, was my purpose. Why did I unleash the monster? What did it achieve? What was underlying my action? Was I a narcissist? Was I impressed with how I used what was for sure a very, very sharp tongue? Was I trying to be like Hunter Thompson? What the fuck was I doing it for?? More importantly, what did it say about me when, for a good long time, I went for the "I yam what I yam" defense? Deep questions, man...

I finally came to the conclusion that I enjoyed writing with that tone. It was the Weapon of Choice, and I was so very good at it, mainly due to extensive hands-on experience. That, plus as nice of a guy as I was, I wasn't all nice- I could be a real asshole. I concluded that that particular type of writing might be able to be harnessed into something else, if I learned how to be comparably good at writing some other way, and made prudent use of the tactical knife. I made a conscious effort to stop being an asshole when I wrote on forums about two years ago. Results vary, but basically I got rid of the whole passive-aggressive thing, because I found no purpose in it. It alienates more than communicates.

Being new here, I have had to find time when I could to go and read Linz's work, along with many others, so I can learn about them, and of course enjoy their many ideas. For what it's worth, I find Linz to be an exceptional writer, and not just as an essayist. I've only seen little bits of when he cut loose on someone, which he does quite professionally. He's at least as good as I was at it, probably better... :) . But, as darkly entertaining as his work can be during those times, I have read many, many other things so far by him that I value much more. I don't know if he enjoys what he gets out of it, and if he does, why. I'm still not sure why I got off on it so much. I just don't do it anymore because it makes me feel funny.




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Post 101

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 - 11:39pmSanction this postReply
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Thank you to everyone who made postings of support. Before I retire from this thread there is one last thing I would like to say.

I am not happy that James Kilbourne and Barbara Branden appear to be leaving SOLO. While I think their actions on this particular matter—which I believe are an attempt to buttress their own views of how Lindsay should behave by branding him an alcoholic—are contemptible, I have very much enjoyed their other contributions to this site. James has been a good friend, having helped introduce me to the world of Lanza love songs, and I think his writings on the subject of love in particular have been some of the best I have seen from any Objectivist. And as for Ms. Branden ... the one task I was most looking foward to in my new position was editing her "Holding Court" submissions. As far as I could tell, I was only the third person to encounter the statements made by Ayn Rand in this article, the others being Barbara and Ayn themselves. This is as close as I, a man born in 1983, could ever come to an intimate conversation with Ayn Rand. It was an exhilarating and surreal experience, to say the least.

So, while I am quite incensed with James and Barbara right now, I do hope that at some point, relations will be restored and animosities mended, and that we can look back on this brouhaha with a chuckle. But it is James and Barbara who have chosen to leave SOLO, and therefore they who must make the decision to return.



I have been reviewing Joe Rowlands's series of articles, "SOLO in Review," in light of recent events. There are a couple excerpts from Part 2 that I think bear repeating here:

This leads us to the fourth principle.  Not everyone is going to be happy.  There will always be people who dislike certain conversations.  There will be people who don't like another participant.  There will be people who don't like someone's writing style.  There will always be complaints.  It's a fact of life.  We don't try to fix it.  This site is huge.  There are tons of topics to pick from, and you can start your own.  So when you get bored with a thread, stop reading it.  And better yet, start your own that you do find interesting.  We give people an opportunity here, not a guarantee of happy results.

and

Principle six says that we should promote self-governance by the participants.  It's preferable for the people actually participating to work out any issues themselves, instead of having to rely on the moderators.  You can see this in action all the time.  When someone is unjust in attacking another person, other participants come to the defense.  When someone is boring and long-winded, people mention it to them or just stop responding to them.  If a thread is going off-course, participants take it to a new and dedicated thread, or ask that others do.
 
I don't see Lindsay toning down his style to suit his critics anytime soon, nor do I think he should. This means there will probably be others who become unhappy with something he writes, maybe enough to leave SOLO completely. But I don't want SOLO to become just another bloodless debating society, and I think that's where some of these calls for Lindsay to just get along (or be made to get along) are headed. As much as I like perusing an issue of JARS every now and then, "JARS Online" really doesn't interest me as a site for daily visits.




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Post 102

Thursday, August 4, 2005 - 9:57amSanction this postReply
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For whatever it's worth, I think it's unfortunate and unnecessary for Barbara and James to exit this forum. Let's say there's a room of 1,700 individuals, most of whom you love talking with and listening to. Sure, there are a few folks might not like, you might find boring or you might find to be a royal pain in the butt when they start going on about certain things in certain ways.

Does it make sense to refuse to enter that room, to miss the interesting and enlightening exchanges with most of the 1,700 folks because of a few that you find it tough to stomach? No! Just ignore their conversations. Don't stand in the corner where they're holding forth. Ignore them. Or deal with them only on a select basis on select topics.

Granted, Linz is a dominant individual on SOLO but he's not the only individual. I myself don't read everything on SOLO -- sorry Linz, I'm busy beefing TOC and the Atlas Society! Barbara, Richard and others could make life more pleasant for themselves by staying on SOLO, doing their own thing, reading what interests them or at least doesn't insult them and responding to whom they choose.

Think about it folks!

(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 8/04, 10:00am)

(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 8/04, 10:04am)




Post 103

Thursday, August 4, 2005 - 10:16amSanction this postReply
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Does it make sense to refuse to enter that room, to miss the interesting and enlightening exchanges with most of the 1,700 folks because of a few that you find it tough to stomach? No! Just ignore their conversations. Don't stand in the corner where they're holding forth. Ignore them. Or deal with them only on a select basis on select topics.

Great point, Ed. We all do the same thing at Objectivist conferences ... I don't know why so many people find it so much harder to execute online.




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Post 104

Thursday, August 4, 2005 - 11:01amSanction this postReply
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I can understand your point, Ed, about not leaving just because of the behavior of a few. I think the issue is a little more than that, though, when you have those few individuals intruding on others (like Linz's interruption of a conversation with accusations and promises that there will be "gnashing of teeth.") If this sort of thing were not happening, I think people would be more inclined to stay for the things they like about SOLO and let the rest be, but that doesn't seem to work, either.



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Post 105

Thursday, August 4, 2005 - 11:03amSanction this postReply
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"As much as I like perusing an issue of JARS every now and then, "JARS Online" really doesn't interest me as a site for daily visits."

JARS is a great publication and I would love the idea of a JARS online.




Post 106

Thursday, August 4, 2005 - 8:35pmSanction this postReply
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"I would love the idea of a JARS online." [Joe]

I can see we would have to come up with some names: the people frequenting that site would be "JARheads". TOC people can be big "TOCers". ARI people, "the ARIan race." SOLOists already have their name. Phil Coates followers could be called geniuses. People who are fans of Diana H's blog could be called "nayHSIEHers". Barbara Branden cultists, BABSOLATORS. Atlasphere afficionados...hmm. Help me out here.
(Edited by Philip Coates
on 8/04, 8:37pm)




Post 107

Thursday, August 4, 2005 - 9:11pmSanction this postReply
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No Phil - a genius is one who does not follow. :-)



Post 108

Friday, August 5, 2005 - 5:19amSanction this postReply
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If JARS had their articles online, I'd be far more likely to subscribe, especially if there was access to back issues.



Post 109

Friday, August 5, 2005 - 6:05amSanction this postReply
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Laj:
>If JARS had their articles online, I'd be far more likely to subscribe, especially if there was access to back issues.

Ditto.

- Daniel




Post 110

Friday, August 5, 2005 - 11:55amSanction this postReply
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I am in the dark here--there are no links at all here to the preceding discussions mentioned--Perigo's behavior, B. Branden's leaving, etc.--could someone point me via links to the relevant threads here?



Post 111

Friday, August 5, 2005 - 2:58pmSanction this postReply
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Yes Stephen,-

Click on FORUM and  from there you'll be lead to the car crash by clicking on one of the General Interest Boards- Rubber Necking. It's all the rage, the most high-traffic area on the board




Post 112

Friday, August 5, 2005 - 3:22pmSanction this postReply
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Stephan,
This is the thread in question, but the last time I read it, Mr. Linsay Perigo's heated comments were deleted.



Post 113

Friday, August 5, 2005 - 5:29pmSanction this postReply
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JARS is a great publication and I would love the idea of a JARS online.

I agree wholeheartedly. But the role JARS fills is very different from the one SOLO fills, and I for one would like to keep it that way.




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Post 114

Saturday, August 6, 2005 - 7:10pmSanction this postReply
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Why is that every time I leave for a vacation, my first return visit to SOLO involves digging through a mess of posts that revolve around personal squabbles (usually involving Linz)?  It's only because I've been around long enough and know of enough worthwhile contributors here that I've stayed and will continue to stay, but I echo some of the sentiments posted by others in that these sorts of exchanges are bad for business here.  What on earth will a first time visitor think when the first article they come across is a "come to Jesus" sort of intervention on someone's drinking habits? 




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Post 115

Sunday, August 7, 2005 - 5:26amSanction this postReply
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I am not sure if this was the intention, but posting this article has certainly promoted sympathy for Lindsay.  Also, it is undermined sympathy for Barbara Branden (etc.).  Other than that, it had no real value.



Post 116

Sunday, August 7, 2005 - 12:45pmSanction this postReply
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Barbara Branden's Last Post (not posted)

Barbara sent me a copy of her slightly edited rejected post. She said she had intended it to be her last post on the subject, but I think if it had been posted there would have been quite a few more additional posts from her on this matter because of the thread's give and take.

I am not posting her post here. Since the powers-that-be blocked it, I have no intention of doing a runaround. However, I think it is quite okay for me to suggest that you write Barbara at BBranden1@aol.com and request a copy if you are curious.

I am not going to post my own comments about what she wrote. I stand by my previous comments on this thread.

--Brant




Post 117

Monday, August 8, 2005 - 10:23amSanction this postReply
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  All this seems so...pointlessly...unfortunate. Talk about 'one-thing-leading-to-another' (as if we're talking about dominos falling!)
   I'm sure of one thing though: once the irritations grew into 'helpful'-criticisms (aka antagonistic/'attacks') thence clear (though loving) complaints in a posted flame-war, all parties seemed to have forgotten Rand's most important advice for anyone: "Think Twice."
   Hopefully all of us can learn from this thread.

LLAP
J-D




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Post 118

Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 7:51pmSanction this postReply
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I agree with Phil and Robert about the impropriety of airing this speculative business, and about the benefits of civility.

 

It looks like the too-common pattern of excessive invective and counter-invective--apparently to be combined now with Oprah-esque public outings permitted an airing by the very person being "outed" (even as the outee denies the trait of which he is accused, and which nobody but his own friends and family has any way of judging)--is not going to be curtailed any time soon. Curtailing it would require a change in policy by those doing the moderating. There would have to be greater respect not only for civility and substance but also for those who wish for civility and substance. No, I don't say mudslinging is ubiquitous at the SoloHQ site. I suggest it is too common. And I say it is not necessary for open discourse.

 

As far as the private complaints among friends or acquaintances who mutually post here, let them remain private. Judgments about unknown private conduct are not necessary to make judgments about the propriety of observable public conduct. But we live in a confessional society now, in which it is regarded as simply par to appear before "Dr. Phil" and a national audience and let the guru wag his finger at you for a segment, regardless of whether you accept his instantly packaged wisdom or not.

 

Moderation is a balancing act. A moderator shouldn't aim to quash every expression of ire, irony, sarcasm. Agreed, he should err on the side of liberality. But the problem is not indelicacy of expression, or polemics or satire, or "passion," or being possibly-but-maybe-not-over-the-line in the vigor with which one drop-kicks an adversary. The problem is failure to consult common sense, which dictates that the outer limits of propriety are neither infinitely elastic nor utterly incapable of being perceived. The contributor lapses when his post is nothing but personal invective, perhaps liberally garnished with foul language. The moderator lapses when he neglects to delete such a post immediately, and regardless of who posted it. If just .05 percent of the posts at SHQ over the last few months had never been published, or had at least been scrubbed ASAP, the quality of discussion would have improved 14.9 percent.




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Post 119

Monday, August 22, 2005 - 9:31amSanction this postReply
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"invective and counter-invective...There would have to be greater respect not only for civility and substance but also for those who wish for civility and substance...The problem is failure to consult common sense, which dictates that the outer limits of propriety are neither infinitely elastic nor utterly incapable of being perceived...Judgments about unknown private conduct are not necessary to make judgments about the propriety of observable public conduct." [David M. Brown]

David captures well the nature of the problems at SOLO.

It's not about heroically being true to yourself and your vigorous self-expression in fighting the bad guys.

It's about fighting the good guys.

Lindsay and others: You don't seem to get the seriousness of this. What should give you pause is ***who is on the list*** of the people who have left or who are still hanging on but have made similar complaints or who have politely posted on the urgent need for civility.

It almost exactly a list of the best writers or more successful or influential people in the movement and/or the people who were the most thoughtful, interesting, and informed participants on Solo. They are ninety percent of the people I came to the website to read.

In alphabetical order, just from the last few months:

Robert Bidinotto
Barbara Branden
David M. Brown
Julian Dixon
Ed Hudgins
Jennifer Iannolo
James Kilbourne
Kelly Elmore

(I'll add myself.)

Lindsay, Joe, and others:

You are free to allow yourself a freewheeling, personal attack laden, unmoderated site. By all means go ahead if that is the kind of exchange you enjoy or which fits your personal style.

(Or your idea about how Objectivism needs to spread).

But you are -not- free to succeed with it long-term - insofar as its ultimately growing, attracting the right people, and becoming influential are concerned. People in general don't find this sort of barroom brawl thing entertaining or enjoyable for very long, especially after they get "slimed", which will happen sooner or later. They don't like the heat and they don't like to reside in a kitchen.

How many more people need to leave or become inactive for you to grasp (or at least more consistently enact) the civility principle?

You've seen the smoke and people jumping from the building. Isn't it getting close to time to locate the fire extinguishers?

This is pretty close to the end of the discussion as far as I'm concerned. I've posted on this too many times already.


Philip Coates

[ PS, Lindsay, don't keep making this about you, as you tended in 'the boy's not for turning': It's not. You are far from the worst offender in incivility, and if you like to drink, so what? In fact, sometimes (not always) what you do is clearly occasional, clever, humorous, over the top, or hyperbolic...or retracted. But, as just one problem, you are imitated - clumsily and offensively and disruptively by LWBTIEs - Lindsay WannaBe Trolls, Insulters, and Emotionalists...sort of the Objectivist equivalent of gypsys, tramps, and thieves. ]

(Edited by Philip Coates
on 8/22, 9:37am)

(Edited by Philip Coates
on 8/22, 9:47am)




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