ChainLink : The ‘Good Ole Boy’s Club’

Background Reading

Reply by Nikul Shah 5 hours ago Ok, I understand that this is a difficult and thankless job. And I generally agree with your guiding principles. In the interest of transparency, can you please explain why one individual from the other day was blocked/banned, but not others who seem to deserve a similar fate? I guess I have to include myself in the list of those who should have been banished since allegations have been made against me too. So please explain to us why only one offender out of a handful of offenders were punished?

Reply by Michael A 4 hours ago and the large paycheck

Reply by Lee Diamond 3 hours ago Personally, I have no interest in punishment. Banning someone isn’t to punish them it is to get rid of them. If someone has made it clear that they are intent on destroying post after post, they’ve got to go. One person with two user IDs fit that definition in this instance. In the past, the community was smaller, the action was swifter and I had some spring in my step too. These days, you have to poke me with my cane, and after I am done grumbling about being bothered, I will sit down and read the offending post(s) from beginning to end. Julie and I will talk. We will agree and disagree on things. This is her site so while she entrusts me to help her, it is her website, and she has the most vested in it. If action is taken, it is because we agree it is warranted, and we try to do what is needed and move on. The postmortem I leave to others. Then, as Michael A said, I sit back and collect my fat check.

Reply by notoriousDUG 3 hours ago I think what I am trying to ask here more than anything is why do we bother having rules if they are either not enforced or not evenly enforced?

Reply by globalguy 2 hours ago Well said (again) and much more brief than the “answer” which is basically “oh yes, we do moderate because I say we do …”

Reply by The Korn 1 hour ago Successful moderation of a healthy forum oftentimes involves not sticking hard and fast to rule X or rule Y. Think of all the “no tolerance” garbage you see in schools, most of the time it’s just administrators blindly applying rules that others have put down, when it’s clear that if they used a modicum of common sense they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. Moderation is much the same way.

More to the point, everyone has their good and their bad days. In my experience, unless someone is a total knob usually it’s far more effective to speak to them via private message and hopefully shed some light on why what they’re doing isn’t acceptable. I find the results are much better if the offender can save face and clean up their own mess, whether that means deleting their own posts, editing their own posts, or simply posting a “hey, I screwed up, sorry” type message. “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”

Reply by KevinM 14 minutes ago
So, just for us keeping score at home, it would be great to some evidence of moderator’s actions after shit storms like that crazy thread. Because, from what you can read in the thread, there’s nothing, the thread gets closed, Vilda gets the last word, and I guess Michelle’s presence(s) just vanish. From an outsider’s perspective it smells a little like croneyism when people vouch for Gabe by saying stuff like “yeah, we all know he’s a prick, so you should know better and not egg him on.”

Summary

Lee as answers go that was pretty lame. There cannot be only one person with more than one User ID? Literally weeks ago, Michelle announced to the entire forum that she had to create a second account in order to follow rules at her company. At the time I found the information irrelevant. But it does beg two questions:

  1. If a single individual having two User IDs on the forum is considered improper, why not notify her at that time that she was in violation of the rules of the forum?
  2. Is the reason two User IDs for a single person consider a reason for disqualification due to some notion that they might be up to mischief on the forum? If so, why then was her notification not sufficient at that time to grant her some sort of rule variance?

Furthermore given the number of times I have been asked whether I have an account on the site (and accused of having sock puppets) it seems unlikely that those questions would have come were you folks busy cross-checking IDs. And why NING would not have a provision to prevent a user from the same IP Address logging in to more than one account in the first instance, I don’t know. WordPress surely has that feature and its FREE! Now to the matter at hand Michelle has contacted me yet again (this is the last time I will forward something from her on my site):

To:
Webmaster

Name:
Michelle

Email:
michelle-milham’s-email-address

Subject:
Unlikely allies

Message:
Since I have found in you an unlikely ally given that I do not agree with some things, I’d like to keep speaking though you to get to the CL since they will not respond to my questions in email form. 

The fight I had was not something that “bothers me.” It was not something that affects my life personally. However someone has to speak up for those without a voice in these situations. So it’s not about whether the word bothers me. Its not a pet peeve. I don’t like the phrase yolo but I don’t care if someone uses it. It’s about whether the unchecked use of that word is at the least not condemning and at worst tacitly condoning things like this: http://m.wsfa.com/wsfa/pm_/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=od:N7hGhmpt

Or this:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2734584/Look-did-Parents-12-year-old-boy-hanged-release-shocking-images-hospital-insist-victim-bullies.html

An attitude of “what I say doesn’t matter” only leads to “what I do does not matter.” 
Perhaps Vilda wouldn’t do these things, but maybe there could have been a small contribution towards acknowledging that they do happen and trying to help change the current attitudes instead of helping them along.

Of course words that lead to damage to people already in bad positions fucking matter. 

If the Chainlink is ok with the fact that they are not condemning/tacitly condoning the abuse of those with cognitive disabilities, then sure. vilda’s words don’t matter. 

That’s why I was upset. Because someone fucking needs to be upset for these poor kids. 

Of course, I am the only one facing consequences for my upsetness. Apparently upset with being being off topic and how that might “affect the community” (which, some community btw. Steubenville is a community too, but you can bet your ass that if I lived there I wouldn’t have stood by or joined in while they defended a rapist caught on video just “for the sake of the community”) is more important.

Communities have done terrible things in history. This is one little thing that could be changed, easily, with no harm to anyone because there is no DIRE NEED to use this word.

But you know, my being loud and angry is more offensive

Akismet Spam Check: passed

Her beef seems legitimate and is not unlike the question posed by Nikul, regarding fairness with regards to her account. My take on this entire mess is that you folks have been in ‘Good Old Boy‘ mode so long you simply cannot understand the ramifications of your actions.

Lee, every time I read an explanation from you I hear the twangy voice of Bull Connor from Georgia. And the explanations sound more like the stuff that one George Wallace would have handed to the press to try and explain why these particular African-Americans were being denied access to an education in a heretofore all-white university. You should in fact be very ashamed of yourself for evoking those memories.

The ChainLink Forum is neither yours nor Julie’s to use to ‘play God‘. And it certainly should not leave a person on the site wishing that they did not need to have to defend the humanity of people with developmental challenges. In fact I cannot think of a single excuse for there ever to be an exception to the term ‘retard‘ of the posting of photos of children with ‘Downs Syndrome‘ as was done by Vilda.

What sort of mania has enveloped this place? You like to claim (at least Jeff Schneider does) that I do not see the individuality of the personalities in this group. That you are somehow in my mind ‘The Borg‘. I mulled that over and realized he might be right. But then it came to me that what I am really seeing is a bunch of males who act like Southern Rednecks prancing around a young black child coming home from school and shouting ‘Nigger, Nigger‘ until their throats are dry.

And all the while they are laughing and poking fun at the kids hair texture and the fact that his parents are too poor to buy him shoes. What you do not realize is that I grew up at a time when this was a reality in Birmingham, Alabama. I rode in the ‘back of the bus‘, sat in the ‘Colored Section‘ of the Humming Bird train into Birmingham. And was routinely called Nigger not as a taunt but rather because that was how you were referred to in polite speech by whites.

When I went into Ensley with my grandmother or grandfather they were treated as if they were kids. The never referred to a grown man as anything other than ‘Boy‘. I’ll be damned if I let you treat this young lady in the same fashion. Or these young kids in a similar manner. What this group lacks is both compassion and humility by halves. The world does not owe you any respect you are not willing to afford others. Standing up for herself got Rosa Parks arrested.

My grandmother (like Rosa Parks) participated in bus boycotts in the south. That was essentially the same action as standing up to Vilda and telling him ‘Never Again‘. If someone on your site has the temerity to stare down the bullying that is going on here on an almost daily basis then, BRAVO! The height of your silliness is to complain that ‘I do not have the balls to face you guys on your site with my complaints‘. Wrong!

It was telling Vilda that the South and West Sides are not ‘shitholes‘ that was my breaking point. Things are tough enough in the City of Chicago that the good hardworking people who are trying to make ends meet and trying to raise children in nearly impossible conditions do not need the added burden of being talked down to. Maybe you cannot see the cowardice in how you folks run your site. Fine. I accept that I might be wrong in my perception. But I am not delusional.

There are still people there who have accounts asking the same thing. Why is that? I would like to think that not everyone on the ChainLink Forum has lost their ability to be ‘shocked‘ and ‘saddened‘ at the sometimes vile nature of the conversations you seem to be having without a care in the world. As a child Emmett Till and his mother were members of our church, Robert’s Temple Church of God In Christ. I never knew what racism looked like until I saw the effects of it on the body of a young man not much older than I.

I did not sleep soundly for days. And oddly enough I had never thought about the color of anyone’s skin until then. To me Howdie Doodie looked no different than I did. I thought Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were like me. Boy, was I wrong! Now nearly 50 years later I am witnessing all the same ugliness that made me wince as a child. I saw the Time Magazine cover of the of the defendants who took Emitt Till and lynched him and then cut out his tongue and severed his genitals and tossed him in a river. I am proud that the African-American Community had the temerity to have an open casket funeral. There should be no more hiding of what had been going on in the Deep South for decades.

Now I am confronted with that same mindless swagger from a bunch of guys who should know better. Whose parents have suffered as much or more than mine. Why is this conversation even taking place? Why is it not offensive enough to you that the words ‘retard‘ are not allowed even once let alone nearly 30 times in a single thread? Can anyone explain to me why a city as desperately in need of civility as is Chicago full of folks whose outward actions send all the wrong messages? I guess the explanation is that it would take an African-American professional football quarterback to send dogs into slaughter for his amusement. He should have known better.

But none of us is inoculated by our past experiences from doing things that should never be ‘on our plates‘. I am as ashamed of him as I am of you. This is simply not right. We are constantly patting ourselves on the back as being better people on the roadways than folks in fancy German cars. But I am getting the message that regardless of who your parents or grandparents were or what color your skin or the level of mental acuity you possess it is never enough to keep you from being ‘hateful‘ and ‘indifferent‘ to others. Why else would we invite Muslims to a ride where Jews were participating and then make jokes about the alehouses we passed on that ride being houses of worship? I can forgive doing some uncouth due to lack of education. That is to say out of ignorance.

But Vilda is admitting that he taught kids with developmental deficiencies. In essence he ‘knows better‘. A galoot like might be forgiven not knowing that serving meat to a vegan would be uncool. But if I know that a vegan does not consume animal flesh and then pointedly decide to slip him a Kosher Beef hotdog as a prank, well that is ‘beyond the pale‘. I have said it once before and I will repeat myself this last time, you folks need to ‘grow up‘. Life is far too short to be acting as if we each have all the time in the world. We do not. You buried a friend not more than two weeks ago. Are you unaware that we all will one day meet the same fate? Do we not owe one another some modicum of dignity in the passing of our lives before our inevitable deaths? I think so.

The college I attended was an admixture of kids from various parts of the country. So it was a bit awkward when I was in a dorm sweep with three other guys (two from the very Deep South). We were awkward around one another because we were tense and hoping not to offend. But there were the inevitable lapses when someone told a ‘darkiejoke that had everyone laughing before they all turned beet red and avoided making eye contact with me. That is how it is when you are fumbling, trying to do the right thing, but not knowing how, just yet.

What I sense going on here on the ChainLink Forum is a continual deliberate attempt to be offensive in the name of some vaunted notion that Free Speech is the Liberal’s Prerogative. If you grandmother could not visit this site and do so without blushing then something is wrong. If people who are cyclists cannot send their kids here (owing to its claiming to be a fount of wisdom for all things cycling) then something is wrong.