Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The story of the slam post that was done on the community

Here's the story as members knew it from my remarks at this site.

You were sent by me to a site about an issue you were concerned about.

To participate in the activism, you were encouraged to go to a site that members knew had devices.

Members were upset.

I apologized for sending members to that site. I validated your concerns (and agree with them). I sought out various people I trusted to weigh in.

That was all I did.

Others did other things and this is the story and the only response I intend to make on it. Or it's the full story as I'm allowed to tell it because one of the participants is attempting to cloak certain aspects under a "those were private e-mails!"

I participated in a roundtable with Rebecca, Betty and The Third Estate Sunday Review (Jess, Ty, Dona and Jim; Ava was moderator). In that roundtable, I didn't initiate the topic. The topic would have been brought up if the roundtable had happened the weekend prior as scheduled. I deliberately made the choice not to participate then when feelings were still very strong. (The roundtable could have gone on without me. I stated that and stated that they could discuss any issue they wanted to if they went on without me.)

I didn't raise the topic in the roundtable but I did respond to it because there really wasn't a way not to. I shared a friend's comments from that day (Saturday) because, although she's not a community member, her view spoke for a large number of members. It was that I should be crying foul over what went down.

I then shared my hope (which every member who's complained about what happened elsewhere, at another site, got a personal, lengthy reply on no matter how many times they wrote in). My hope was "high road." My hope was let it blow over. Let what blow over?
We'll get to that in a moment. I said Ron of Why Are We Back In Iraq? wrote something when he was tired and that he was very passionate about an issue and that hopefully we could all see it as worthy of only a shrug in a little while.

I shared my friend's views to represent what members were feeling and to give them a voice.
I shared my hopes. I haven't shared my actual views before. Nor have we discussed what really happened.

Ron has e-mailed repeatedly since the roundtable went up. I would characterize the e-mails as angry, as filled with what I needed to say and what I needed to do.

When I spoke to my friend on the phone Saturday, she said this was going to happen. She said the high road was going to let me become the rug that got walked all over. Personally, I think I was pissed all over.

Ron advises anyone concerned should install a fire wall. Members yawn because they've already been advised of that. But if Ron doesn't know about it, it didn't happen.

Let's deal with what happened.

A member highlighted an entry at a site Ron and another person (possibly there people counting Ron) were running to address the plight of two adolescent females. That was in an e-mail. The same morning, there were e-mails from Ron.

As Ron knows, that wasn't a good morning for me. I was (a) easiest problem, locked out of Blogger (the program used at this site) and (b) going to the hospital for a variety of tests. (Ron found out about that late Wednesday night. As for my health situation, Rebecca had warned him prior and has the e-mail she sent and the response, to prove it. The post itself was done from this computer but via e-mail because I couldn't get into blogger.) That same day, there are various e-mails from Ron. Ron states that the site will not have counters or trackers because he realizes what an issue that was to the community.

I want to repeat that because that's a detail I've never brought up. I didn't use it as an out when I apologized to the community. I said it was my mistake (and it was) but I didn't offer that detail. It's a detail that others aren't aware of and it's a detail, that in my opinion, Ron wants to forget and act as though it never happened. Ron can refer to an e-mail dated "Wed, 13 Apr 2005 00:46:35 -0700 (PDT)" and entitled "re: google" if he's forgotten.

In that e-mail he clearly states that he understands how the community feels re: privacy, asks for the community's help, wants them to come to the site and get active and states that there is not and never will be a counter at this site because he knows how members feel about this.

Ron wrote that. Ron knew that. Now he seems to forget that he was aware of your feelings and noting them. At other times, the fact that the post was done by someone else absolves him of his promise. He ran the site with one other person (or more) and he stated that there was not a need for any privacy concerns. That's a promise. Having made it, when the promise isn't kept, he needs to take responsibility for his actions and not lash out at others (this community).

When it was time to do the apology to the community, I did it sore and drugged from my day at the hospital (as Ron knows).

My apology prompted e-mails from Ron. In one e-mail, dated "Wed, 13 Apr 2005 18:13:07 -0700 (PDT)" in case Ron's forgotten, he stated he wasn't mad by the apology I gave to the community. There's no reason he should be, I took responsibility for my actions and for his.
I didn't point to him and say, "Hey everybody, guess what, Ron assured me that there would be no counter. I'm as offended as you are." I took the high road and took responsiblity for my actions (which I stand by) as well as for his (which he needs to take responsibilty for).

And out of a sense of a bigger purpose and wanting to put it all behind us, I played sin eater for Ron. I won't do that anymore.

Now here's where it gets really confusing. Ron's claimed that he gave me a heads up to inform he'd written a slam piece on the community. That's a post I've never commented on here (though I did allude to the "attack").

But let's go there now. A "head's up" is something I give "George" anytime we seriously address the issue of Daniel Okrent. I advise him that ___ happened and I'll be writing about it. He is a private citizen (or was until Okrent outed him) and my writing on that topic is never intended to cause him further pain. (Which is why we continue to refer to him as "George" here.) "George" doesn't get the post I'm going to write, he get's a heads up.

Ron needs to refer to the e-mail with the timeline "Wed, 13 Apr 2005 19:56:05 -0700 (PDT)."
In that e-mail, he notifies me, in passing, after telling me to get some rest after the day I've had, that he's posted something at his site that will probably mean I'll hear about it from members.
(To spare Ron's need to write, he'd referred to a post he was going to do on trackers earlier. I had encouraged that. I think it's a topic that needs to be addressed. There was no heads up to a slam to the community.)

My thought in reaction to that isn't printable at this site. I checked other items in the inbox. Dallas had already seen the entry. He had copied & pasted and sent it in. He was outraged.

So were other members. The post basically slammed the community for the fate of the young girls and asked "How do you sleep?" Ron never asked me "Did members do other things?" He never asked, "When they decided not to go to the site I linked to, did they do anything?"

If he had, he would have been informed that this community doesn't need him to address an issue because they are more than capable of doing it on their own. (Among other things they did was fax.) (Rebecca addressed this at her site Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude.) (We did not address it here in response to Ron.)

That post trashed the entire community. Something that has built up like nothing I could have imagined and apparently something unheard of. (We'll get to that in the closing remarks.)

The community didn't deserve that. I worked for hours on a reply even though I was supposed to, per doctor's orders, be in bed. Around two in the morning, I finally saved to draft, thinking it was better not to respond while I was so outraged. Along the way, I had sent a draft to Folding Star and The Third Estate Sunday Review gang asking whether or not what I was composing was fair.

Thursday morning, when I got up after two hours of sleep, after I threw up repeatedly, I came here (to the computer) and did the morning entry on the New York Times while debating whether or not to post the draft. Kat wanted to respond in her Kat's Korner.

Kat has Kat's Korner here. And she can write whatever she wants in her Korner. That's the arrangement. Kat knew I was already sick and that the whole thing wasn't helping. While on the phone with her, after I came back from throwing up yet again, she offered a Tori quote in exchange for an entry on the matter.

I appreciated that because I was hoping to take the high road and not sure about posting that entry. I quoted her comment. It runs like a blind item. But somehow Ron's convininced himself that a huge line has been crossed.

Here is the quote from the entry:

And for those wanting an immediate response to the "attack" last night, I think Kat sums it up best with this quote from Tori: "I guess in times like these/ You know who your friends are."

At some point, Ron deleted his post. Not at my request. I wouldn't have asked for it because, to be Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally . . ., it was already out there. And deleted or not, it continues to make the rounds. It's burned like prarie fire in the community as various people shared it with another and passed it on.

That wasn't an apology to the community. That was a deletion of a post.

On Friday (after the post had gone up that Wednesday, do your own math), for other reason, I contacted Ron via e-mail. I was prepared to take the high road.

I wasn't aware I was being trashed during this time. I found that out last night. So to my friend on Saturday, you were guessing correctly, I was being trashed by Ron. (Ron would disagree with that statement. He disagreed when Rebecca e-mailed back to him never to write about me like that in an e-mail to her again. Rebecca's forwarded both the original e-mail to her and her reply.)

Didn't know that this past Saturday.

The topic of Ron's post came up during the roundtable. I didn't bring it up. The topic was on the table and I wasn't going to be silent when it was there and members had long been waiting a response. I attempted to represent the community's views (by quoting my friend who'd called to tell me I needed to stop "high roading" it) and, to be fair and take the high road, I noted Ron was tired, that he was passionate about the issue and that at a different time, I'm sure he would have responded differently.

Having played sin eater for him with the comments I wrote at this site, I thought that was more than fair. In the roundtable, I had said "a person" and left it at that. Before the roundtable published, I argued that I should name Ron because I thought he would e-mail along the lines of "You should have named me since you were explaining that I was tired and that I was really passionate about the issue." After I argued that and everyone agreed (that took arguing), I further argued that to make sure anyone reading it understood that I was not saying, "Ron bad, Ron evil," we should provide a link to his site. After that was agreed to, the roundtable was published.

The e-mail I saw Sunday night made me not even want to blog. I was in the middle of the things on reporting from other countries and wouldn't have continued if a member hadn't highlighted Luke's wotisitgood4.

Ron was furious that he'd been named. He didn't name the community, he stated. It was clear whom he was talking about. Dallas's e-mailed immediately on the post. Within an hour, I had 300 members commenting on it. Anyone who's read it knew who he was talking of.

Assuming that I had done a really awful thing, I apologized, I explained I was the one who insisted on the naming and the link and that I thought Ron would appreciate that. I stated then (and still feel) that Ron was an important voice and he should continue blogging.

This resulted in multiple e-mails through last night. The tone growing increasingly nasiter each time. I needed to tell members this, I needed to tell members that. I was a hypocrite, I was creating hysteria, I was doing this, I was doing that. To read the e-mails the entire fate of the world was in my hands and if I didn't compose the valentine that Ron wanted, I was lower than even I could guilt-trip myself into imaging.

At some point during Monday's flurry of e-mails, after I'd asked him to stop writing me and he continued to, I e-mailed that he needed to note what he wanted said because I was composing the e-mail. I noted what I was saying at which point there was no need for a post.

Because I was going to tell the full story, from my end, on what happened. That's when Ron, who'd been full of suggestions/orders on what I needed to say, suddenly invoked "private e-mails!"

At some point during his e-mails, I had called Rebecca to fill her in (she's up late, whether she's engaging in sexual olympics or not -- "sexual olympics" is her term). I kept saying, like an idiot (and I can be a huge idiot), things like, "I don't know what he wants from me. I've apologized and apologized and he just gets nastier and nastier." And bossier and bossier, Rebecca noted.

At which point, she informs me of the e-mail he sent her trashing me. ("Trashing" isn't Ron's opinion. It was her opinion. She forwarded me the e-mail, and her reply to it, and I agree that he was trashing me.) Since this whole thing went down, a number of bloggers have asked what happened and I've avoided the topic (and often ignored the e-mail) or begged off on a reply saying I was busy. (I am busy.) While I'm doing that, he's trashing me.

One of the more ridiculous objections raised last night in his e-mail was that I corrected the apology to the community apology post and he was caught off guard by that (before he did his post). He didn't tell me he was doing a post on the community. He said he was going to write about counters or trackers. Only after his post went up, did he e-mail a "head's up" (his term, not mine, that he'd written something, and posted it, that would probably result in e-mails from the community). And he had the information on the change I was making to the post via e-mail.

He now wants to claim that's not the case.

Ron damn well knows, I was heavily medicated and back from the hospital when I wrote that post. And he was e-mailed about the correction before his "head's up." (Which is why he's forthcoming in that later e-mail about the fact that the community will be upset by what he wrote.)

Shirley had advised me the wording was impresice and it was. Members had done something, they just didn't do it Ron's way. So "do nothing" became "abstain or excercise the power of your no." (Check that, I'm not going through the archives. As I remember it, a few members had also objected to the wording.) Members elected to say no, or to abstain, from Ron's method of addressing the situtation. They had other methods and means at their disposal.

Monday, Ron wants to gripe about that. That has nothing to do with Ron. And I'll write whatever damn thing I want to here. If he doesn't like it, that's too damn bad. But the post went up with the correction before he posted and he can claim otherwise now and say that my correction was even worse. On the first part, he's wrong. On the second part, that's his opinion but I really didn't ask for his opinion and I didn't need it expressed in such a nasty little manner.
I know I apologized to members who wrote in on "do nothing," if I didn't note in the correction that I was sorry for the earlier wording, I'll note it now.

As for Ron, I'll note one more damn time that I was heavily medicated and was supposed to have gone straight to bed. So for Ron to criticize either version really pisses me off. It's not his business how I word my apology to the community to begin with. But knowing my health on that day for him to continue to harp on this . . . Gee, Ron's there's a guy on crutches at the corner, want to run over and trip him?

Because that's what this nonsense felt like (and feels like) to me.

Let's talk about Tas a moment. (Tas of Loaded Mouth.) Tas e-mailed twice that day (the day the apology to the community went up). I e-mailed Tas twelve hours ago and he hasn't responded. I believe Tas felt that what he has on his site doesn't do anything wrong. He apparently gets a partial ISP and that's all.

Last night Tas was invoked repeatedly in Ron's e-mails. I e-mailed Tas to ask if he had a problem he needed to address. He hasn't responded, so I'll assume he doesn't have a problem. As members know from private e-mails, the firewall suggestion was long ago covered. (Every member that wrote in during this period got the e-mail on computer security and steps to take from community members UK Computer Gurus.)

I try to take people (speaking to me personally) at their word. By Tas's word, you shouldn't have any concerns, other than your usual concerns, when you visit his site. As I remember his original e-mails (and there will be no correction on this), he doesn't log your info or attempt to use it for any reason other than to determine how much traffic he's getting (or "hits"). I could be remembering that wrong. I was sick when I read both e-mails that day and under heavy medication and noted that in my reply to Tas. I've never heard from Tas again.

Ron wanted a similar vouching for his site. Ron knows full well why I won't do that. Ron knows full well what details were going in the draft I worked on last night.

Whether Tas is aware of it or not, Ron e-mailed this site that members didn't have to worry about a counter to take action on the adolescent girls' case. What Ron did was say, "I know you guys don't like meat and don't worry, come on over, it's a vegetarian spread." Members arrvied and found a brisket.

Ron broke his word. Ron can justify it as he was tired or he can continue to ridicule me and the community. But Ron broke his word and Ron needs to take accountablility for that.

He knew the community's feelings on this issue, he advised that it wouldn't be an issue, and then it became an issue. I don't care how, I don't care why. He broke his word.

And he doesn't use his blog to attack the individual he sometimes says did the entry. (The issue appears to have gone down the rabbit hole in the last few days for him.) He attacks the community fo responding in the way he knew they would. After he's promised that there wouldn't be any reason for them to be concerned.

Tas noted a point in his e-mails that day that didn't bother me because he's not a member and doesn't visit this site. But Ron noted it repeatedly last night and Ron knows better.

I've never stated Google (which owns/operates Blogger) didn't track. From the first minute we've dealt with this issue (which goes back many months), I've stated I didn't doubt that they tracked. They. I stated that I didn't and made the joke that if you were a closet Barry Manilow fan and didn't want me to know, I'd only know if you told me.

I've never tracked anyone at this site. As we've noted before, if you go to the profile (click on "about me," I believe) there is a counter on that page. I've stated that I didn't think I had access to anything other than what you saw at that page but if I did, I didn't know how to access it.
And Ron's familiar with those entries. To his credit, when the first one went up, he noted at his site that he had counters and somehow you're suppposed to know (because he's always e-mailing this) what to click on to see the information gathered. (Though members who click have never been able to tell.) (I've never visited Ron's site.)

What we do use from the "about me" is the number you see for profile views. In the past, Shirley would e-mail me to include the e-mail address more in posts by the way the number moved slowly. "15 people looked at the profile this week." Members know, and we've discussed this in posts, that there's no "about me" info there. So Shirley has used a bump in the numbers to remind me to include the e-mail address since that's the only reason a member would be viewing the "about me." The numbers have climbed like crazy this month (Shirley can correct me but I believe we went from something like 2,000 to over 8,000 this month). Which is why I now include the e-mail address in every post that is by me. It's not included on Kat's Korner, it's not included on Ruth's Morning Edition Report. I don't think it's ever been included on any member's post when a member's wanted to express their own opinions. I could be wrong. It's not included now.

But on any post I do now, I end it (or try to remember to) with the e-mail address for this site is and that's done to make sure that no member has to go to any trouble to provide feedback, to ask that an issue be highlighted or addressed. Shirley's always done a great job reminding me when she felt I hadn't included the e-mail address often enough on a given day. Now it's included in every post I do.

So if Tas isn't aware of past posts, we've covered that Google probably tracks. (There's no reason why Tas should be aware.) Ron knows we've covered this. Or he knew at one time.
So to offer that "Google tracks!" That's really silly. You're not telling me anything that I don't know, you're not saying anything that the community doesn't know.

Ron feels "everybody does it." I don't care what everybody does. I care about privacy and so does the community. Ron knew that, the mistake on sending you to another page was Ron's.
He needs to take accountabiltity.

It doesn't matter if Ron thinks we're silly about privacy. That's his opinion and I know from your e-mails that you could care less what he thinks. But he's under the impression that he has the last word.

Just like he has the last word that the community has overreacted. Okay, Ron, the entire community and myself are in the wrong. Only you are right. Is that what I'm supposed to write?
Is that what the record should reflect?

Well this isn't your site. So quit trying to bully me into writing a valentine that I don't feel.

I've had it with your nasty e-mails. The address is provided for members and for people who feel they've been wronged at this site and want to chew me out for it. In your avalanche of e-mails in the last two days you've more than exceeded your right to express your opinion.

Why is it that I'm a liar or whatever for not telling people you apologized? Did you apologize to the community because I'm looking at the e-mail print outs and I'm not finding it. You did apologize to me. When I spoke on Saturday in the roundtable, I wasn't making it about me. I was high roading.

I still haven't expressed publicly how upset I felt (and feel) about your slamming the community online. So your apology to me (which always comes with qualifiers) wasn't something that I was required to mention in the roundtable and it wasn't something that, by not mentioning it, made me have less ethics than the New York Times, as you accused.

You do not control me. You seem to think you can bully and bluster in e-mails and get your way.

And my friend on Saturday warned me this was going to happen and that I shouldn't be attempting to take the high road. And I was wrong when I attempted on Sunday to explain myself. I didn't owe you that. (And now knowing what you really thought of me from the week before when you'd written Rebecca, I really didn't owe you that.)

But I don't need five lengthy e-mails from you in one night (that was Monday) telling me how awful I am because your side wasn't addressed. Ron, my side still hasn't been addressed. Your side? I noted you were tired. I noted you were passionate about an issue. That was when trying to take the high road.

If I wanted to tell you what I thought about your actions it would include the days prior, immediately prior, to your slam post when I spent hour upon hour trying to track down information for you. Which included a Wednesday morning phone call to a priest in Australia.
I went through every contact I had to try to find your information for you. And this was while blogging and going into work with health issues (as you knew from Rebecca).

And the thanks for that is that you slam the community? And you're worried about your apologies (always with qualifiers because the community should have known or I should have done or somebody should have, it's always someone else Ron) weren't noted in the roundtable.

You know what I'm worried about? I'm worried about the trashing of Rebecca. I'm worried about accusations being leveled against her. (And if Tas truly thought that, the subject line of my e-mail should have clarified it.) I'm worried about this community. And I'm worried about how this will play out in the blog world because everyone likes drama (as my friend argued on Saturday when she urged me to post what I thought about the whole thing). I'm worried about how bickering between the left will play out?

And the last reason is the reason I tried to take the high ground. But five e-mails on Monday night telling me how awful I am . . . Ron, I've never claimed I'm perfect. I may be as awful as you think. But you need to stick to the facts. I'll cop to anything I've done wrong. I won't cop to baseless charages that depend on revisionist history of what went down.

As I've noted here before, that is the one thing that pisses me off. Because I will doubt myself. I will take the time to consider the charges. And if it's something others witnessed, I will go to them and ask them honestly if I've done something wrong. That's been my pattern my entire life because, unlike some people, I've never had an overly inflated self-opinion. And why I've never had a problem typing "I could be wrong, I often am."

When someone changes the facts, when someone makes baseless charges, and I've wasted my time on it, beating myself up for it, I get really angry. And I am now angry with you.

When Rebecca informed me on the phone of your comments about me in that e-mail, I realized I'd been a fool once again. (Few can ever be as big a fool as me.) I'd trusted that you were expressing yourself honestly and I'd considered the charges you were making as genuine. I'd thought, "Wow, I can't believe I did that." And was willing to post all the comments that you wanted me to make, as me -- not credited to you, because I had done some really evil things.

Speaking to Rebecca changed that feeling. At which point, I checked the e-mail print outs.
You're not happy with what I said. Don't come here. Don't write me. Don't write about me.
But don't tell me that I'm a fake and unethical and hypocrite and everything else because I didn't include in my statements in the roundtable that you'd apologized.

Ron, you had apologized. To me. With qualifiers. The community should have known . . . I should have known . . .

You can avoid accountability all you want. But don't push your mistakes off on me. I don't make resolutions because I never keep them. (Who does?) But back when I did, in my teenage years, each year I would say, "I'm not going to be the sin eater for everyone." And each year, I would fail within the first week.

Ron, I'm not going to be your sin eater. Whether you take accountability for your actions or not is up to you, but I'm not going to take on your mistakes as my own.

I also don't require you to tell me what to write. You have your own site, express yourself there if you need to comment. But quit e-mailing me and trying to bully me into saying something.

As idiotic as I am (and I can be a real idiot), I don't make the same mistake with trust repeatedly. I do learn not to be repeatedly burned by the same individual.

And since you do have knowledge of my status on the day I did the apology to the community, the fact that you want to continue to distort it and whine about it, really pisses me off. Ron, I had much bigger things on my mind that day. I put those things aside and attempted to take the high road. My reward for that has been abuse from you.

You are not a member of this community, so your topic suggestions aren't needed. No matter how strongly you urge me to write about something, it's not needed.

People need to speak in their own voices. You speak in your's however you want. But don't e-mail to tell me how I should speak. I've gotten angry e-mails from reporters before. They've stuck to the facts. (And as a result, when offering negative criticism on a piece, I attempt to note that a byline doesn't mean what you're reading refelcts what the reporter turned in.) (I also got the very nice e-mail from the Times reporter that I wanted to reply to privately but did so at the site so that it was above board and not hidden. Again, that was a wonderful e-mail that made me laugh. The writer felt I was dead wrong and expressed why. But it was a wonderful e-mail.) (And it's impact was to make me note that writers don't choose whether they make the cover or not.)

Anyone who feels they are wronged should write in. I could be wrong, I often am. But Ron you've abused it. One night of five e-mails griping and avoiding reality (or any blame) are too much. And all along, you could have written something for the community instead of wanting to hide behind me. You could have spoken to them but you wanted me to say the words. And pass the words off as my own.

I'm not going to unlink from you. (So members who've urged that in e-mails since the slam, don't even write it on that.) We don't unlink here. I don't care for you personally, but the link stays up and if a member e-mails to highlight you, we'll note that in a post.

If someone wants to go to your site, they should go.

Ron has a great play up there and I think many people would enjoy reading it.

But I'm tired of it Ron and you know I don't have the time to deal with it.

I will say whatever I want to say. You can say whatever you want to say.

If I'm asked about the apologies, I may go into greater detail.

You made this an issue when you broke your word. But I was willing to bite the bullet there. You made it an issue when you slammed the community in a post (that you deleted, let me add that before you feel the need to write in). That post continues to circulate. Kat thinks you completely screwed up John Lennon's song. If she wants to comment on that or anything else she will. She has an e-mail address, I doubt she'll read anything you write, but you can take it up with her. Your problems with what Rebecca wrote, you can take that up with her. Even after the Sunday e-mail accusing me of everything, I spent an hour on the phone with Rebecca Monday evening asking her to please put in whatever it was you were so upset that she had left out so we could put this damn thing behind us.

Rebecca did that as a favor to me. Had she stopped me at any point during that conversation (the evening one) and said, "I think you need to know about an e-mail I was sent . . ." I would've stopped right there. Instead, I was an idiot. (I often am.) I was still trying to take the high road.

I'm not taking the high road with you anymore. As my friend warned, it just feeds your need to bully. Instead of being glad that someone's taking the high road, you want to try to put words into my mouth and to slam me for things that didn't happen or words that you feel are incomplete.

I don't know what your problem is and I don't care. You burned the bridge. And when I let myself be made an idiot of, I don't rebuild that bridge. (At least I have enough brains not to do that.) I'd love to be really spiritual here and talk about how maybe something can be learned from this and maybe at some point, things can be fine. They can't. You've made it impossible.
To avoid your bullying, I have to cut you out of my life. I don't need your abuse, Ron.

You're not getting you r"counter talk" that you want. And you know why that is. You can just deal with it since after you were full of "suggestions," on what I "needed" to write, you invoke "privacy e-mails!" Again, for Tas, I have no reason to disbelieve Tas on what he can see and what he can't. But I'm not going to speak the words that Ron wants me to speak.

Privacy does matter to this community and it matters to me. And what Ron feels is okay is what Ron feels is okay. He has no reason to turn around and try to tell the community or me what we should feel.

Ron, you aren't the boss, no one here elected you to a leadership post. In the apology, Ron's new complaints are that he's portrayed as someone who beats up women. That's not said by me. (Rebecca does have a post about bloggers, male, who think they can push people around.) I quoted a friend who works at a domestic abuse shelter. She wrote down her comments because they mattered to her. In those, she explained why victims of domestic abuse might be especially concerned with any kind of tracking at all.

Ron's other new complaint is that he's accused of ripping off credit card numbers or some other nonsense. Why is that? Because I state in the apology that those who want to dismiss privacy concerns chose the wrong day to do so. (Due to the fact that private information had been stolen and was a big story that day.) To me, that's the equivalent of saying, "To those who dismiss the importance of having an umbrella on hand, they picked the wrong day to do so because it's raining."

If Ron were anti-umbrella, such a statement would apparently make him responsible for the rain and not just reference that keeping an umbrella on hand was a good idea.

For the record, Ron doesn't have access to credit card numbers as far as I know. (And I'm imaging that Tas will flinch at that, but Ron knows full well why that's worded the way it is.)
I have no knowledge of Ron's personal history in relationships.

Quoting a woman who works at a domestic shelter on why some people might be concerned about their privacy, victims of abuse, more so than others (and we do have members here who have left abusive relationships) was not to imply that Ron or Tas was an abuser. (Tas never commented on that to me. Whether Ron can speak for both or not, I don't know, Tas didn't reply.) Stating that it was a bad day to dimiss privacy concerns was not meant to imply that Tas could have access to such information. (Tas never argued that this was suggested, but we're still in "for the record.")

For the community, if for some reason due to health, I'm unable to blog, Kat or Ava will do a post that day. It may not come up right away, but it will come up. It may be only one post that day, but arrangements have been made. Kat's not interested in doing a site. She's busy and has agreed to this as a favor. One of the reasons Ava has twice been brought in was so she could get a feel for the site if something did require her taking over the site full time.

Kat would have been my first choice just because the community is already familiar with her and have such a strong connection with her. I understand her reasons for not wanting to run this site and respect them. Ava was the second choice (and a great choice) not because I have any problems with Jim, Dona, Ty or Jess but because Ava and I have a similar sense of humor and tend to look at things from a strong feminist perspective (or we think we do) and that matters to me and hopefully the community as well.

Members who've wanted a funny post on the Times, have been cautioned about "low energy levels" on my part. Some members disagree with Ava and my comments re: Brian Montopoli.
You're entitled to disagree and I could be wrong and Ava could be wrong. But I do firmly believe that there is a different standard for someone who's trying to establish themselves. That doesn't mean they can't be criticized. But if Montopoli had a personal issue that was touched on in a joke Ava and I were making up, it was inadvernt on our point and when we trot out Candy Perfume Boy again, we'll do so in a humorous manner. Jim feels the e-mail was a crank e-mail. He's always felt that way and still does. He may be right. But a Cokie Roberts or someone else is set in their career and set in their record. They are not off limits and we'll joke freely about them.
Rebecca has stated her feeling that, having created a backstory for Candy Perfume Boy, we've confused him with Brian Montopoli. That might be true. We do like Candy Perfume Boy. But no, I don't think I'm going "soft."

There have been comments about how some entries are nothing but members highlighting a story with no opinion offered by me. Those entries usually result from me feeling very under the weather and just trying to get something up. I won't deny that on those morning's I'm phoning it in. Anyone who's bothered by those entries has every right to be. I'm bothered by them as well, if it helps any, but, to quote Kat, it is what it is.

Hopefully, I'll be blogging for some time to come, but if something alters that, arrangements are in place to make sure the community doesn't come to a sudden halt. (I've assured Ava that if she has to take over and it turns out to be too much, she has no responsibility to me to continue. Ava has said that if that happens, she would taper off slowly and let members know what was going on.)

That is all I care to say about my health -- in private e-mails or at this site.

About the community, we've avoided being self-referential as much as possible. (This entry blows that out of the water and I do apologize for that.) When Dallas' entry was linked by BuzzFlash, we noted that because that was a member. We've been very fortunate with the members who've circulated posts around to friends. We've also been lucky to have members who've tried hard to get us highlighted. Those who have highlighted us, it's appreciated. (Yes, that includes Ron.) I've got a thing written ahead of time noting the people and sites who've highlighted us in case there comes a time when I'm not blogging and Ava's taking over, I hope everyone's fine with the fact that there's a thank you post in reserve. Again, we've avoided being self-referential (until this post) at this site because of my feelings on that. But Shirley's noted each mention and link and, from her list, there is a thank you in reserve because I would like to go out by noting the help we had building this community.

And, of course, thank yous go to members who've been so great about sharing here, sharing in private e-mails and passing it on to friends and family and maybe even strangers. Apparently, this isn't how a "blog" (we're a community) is built. People with counters will tell you that you have to do those. People have felt the need to weigh in that you had to trade links. We have never done a counter and we have not traded links.

Countless e-mails have stressed that without a counter you aren't a "player" and the mainstream media won't take you seriously. On the latter, does anyone really think we would have offered the criticism (members including others and myself) if we were begging the mainstream media for attention? On the former, my hope was to create a space where we could talk about things. (Originally where I could talk about things because I thought this was going to be a blog.)

I just went to the archives because I want to note this. This is from the second day of this site
"You make me smile." It's an entry that quotes at the beginning from Stevie Wonder's "Too Shy To Say." And I'm high on The Laura Flanders Show (which I thank) and high on the fact that people actually e-mailed. Five people had e-mailed. Those five, two of which were Jim & Dona of The Third Estate Sunday Review, really surprised me. I thought I could count on the few friends I'd called Saturday morning to say I'd taken their advice and was blogging. I really wasn't expecting much from this.

And I sound like an idiot in that post (because I am an idiot but usually better at covering it) because it meant so much to me that five people were willing to come along for the ride. We added quickly. And here's a tip for anyone trying to build alternatively -- as opposed to the traditional method -- quote a Joni Mitchell song in a title. That thing (the post right after the "You Make Me Smile") floated around forever. It's a list. (Of DVDs or books.) But because Joni Mitchell was quoted in the title, I got a number of e-mails for about four weeks from people saying they liked that Joni Mitchell song and were glad it was highlighted.

Sidebar, when I noted that much later to a blogger concerned about his "hits" (visits), he said he'd have to quote Dylan then. Joni Mitchell resulted in e-mails trickling in for four weeks. So in his mind, that meant . . . quote Bob Dylan. Interesting.

But you built this community and it's your community. It can go on without me and, if it has to, it will. But we didn't built it up by trying to do whatever everyone else did. I honestly didn't know the "rules" until the community was already built up. I doubt I'd have done things differently if I'd known the rules, but, in fairness, I should note that I didn't know the rules that we broke.

We may be right or we may be wrong, but we always speak in our own voices. And that can irriate some members who e-mail in after a post goes up, "I was working on getting you linked by ____ and now you blew it!" If I'd known ahead of time, I still would have written the same post (if it was my writing) or posted the same post (if it was a member sharing).

The hierarchy or mainstream attention wasn't sought here and if someone's doing that, they need to realize the blog world already has their established stars. Jane Fonda went to France to truly become a star, figure out what you can do differently if you're blogging. If you're trying to be (and this isn't a slam at either) Kos or Atrios, the world already has them. And they're well known, so if your idea is that you'll come along and do what they've done, two words: Skeet Ulrich. If people want Johnny Depp badly enough, they'll hire Johnny Depp. (For anyone not clear on that, Skeet Ulrich is often derided as the knock-off Johnny Depp.)

We took stands that others weren't taking (because we believed in those stands) and never felt the need to be part of an echo chamber. That's why we have the membership we have. (And yes, we do get visitors. Some may become members.) I had no idea that everyone was blogging on the New York Times when I started. (If I'd known that, I might not have started. I might have just tried to post at Atrios.) (That's not a slap down to Kos, that's just noting that I've been told Kos requires registering and I'm blog ignorant and wouldn't have gone to that kind of trouble.) The reason we focused on the Times was because I fork over money each month for that thing and am hugely disappointed in what it chooses to highlight. The Times can be so much better than it is. (And for two weeks, during the initial tsunami coverage, we all saw how great it can be.)

But we will go to independent media and we will highlight Democracy Now! every day. (As Janeane Garofalo points out on The Majority Report, read the headlines from Democracy Now! if you do nothing else. She urges you read, watch or listen to the whole thing and I'd agree. But if we all just read the headlines, we'd be a more informed public.)

There is a world beyond the Washington Post (and that's not a slam at PJ who is a member and a reporter for the WP) and the New York Times. (For new readers, PJ disclosed employment here on the site, I didn't just out a member.) As a resource/review, it's important that we highlight that world. Early on, there used to be repeated requests for commentary on some day's op-eds. We resisted that because people are entitled to their opinions, I didn't wish to read all the columnists, and, as with editorials, I wasn't in the mood to get into a back and forth on it. (Members are always able to have their thoughts posted on an editorial or an op-ed.) If I'd known how many places already commented on the op-eds (on the right and on the left), I would've decided based on that.

It's a great community and it's stronger than one member (which includes me). The community didn't deserve to be slammed (and deleting it after it was posted, didn't change the slam or lessen it). My hope was to high road it and not make an issue of the slam. Until the non-stop e-mails came in and I figured out events were being distorted (I never claimed to be the smartest person in the room), I was willing to stay with the high road.

The fact that false rumors about Rebecca are being spread is part of the reason I've responded. The other reason is that my friend was right that if an inch was given, more would be taken.

The e-mail address is You can rage or you can laugh or just pass on something. Members should use it for anything they want.
Anyone who feels they were wrongly criticized at this site can use it in anyway they want. (And many have.) If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Feel free to note it. If something requires a correction on my part, it will be done. If you want to post your own response to the community, note that in your e-mail and what you want to be quoted on.

But I do not have time for Ron anymore. I need to focus on my health. Someone who knows that and wants to rant and rave and waste my time bullying me into saying something or rewrite what actually happened isn't someone I have time to deal with.

Great blogger, lousy e-mailer. (My opinion. Based on my experience, my call and no I won't retract it no matter how many e-mails from Ron flood the inbox. People can have their own opinions, they don't have to check with Ron first and get his approval to express their opinion.)

Having gone on the record, as much as I'm able to, about this, I would appreciate it if members who are able to let this event go would do so. If you're unable to, I won't play gatekeeper on this. I'd asked originally for a two week cooling off period. I believe we're nearing the end of that. If you have something to say about it for the community, note that it's for the community and it will be posted. If you're able to draw a line between the work Ron has done at Why Are We Back In Iraq? and the attack he posted at the community ("I deleted it!" yeah, we heard that already), please visit his site. If you're unable to, life is too short and don't create your own headaches -- life certainly gives us plenty without adding to them.

Note: There was an addendum to this. The person had problems today and didn't have time to reply. I'm not sure of how aware the person was. If the person wants to be quoted tomorrow (which is now today, I'll be up in two hours) it will be noted. This is another "high road" and Rebecca thinks I'll regret it. She may be right but in fairness, I'm not posting the addendum.