Thursday, July 14, 2005


Okay, this is a housecleaning post.

Let me note up front that I got home a half hour ago and grab the phone. It's Rebecca. I've got a headache. I have had a salad today and that's it, so I'm hungry too. I'd hoped to be in bed in an hour but that's not going to happen because we need to do housecleaning before we can get started on the Indymedia roundup.

First off, "West." I haven't read your e-mail. Rebecca read it to me. Consider yourself a member. You don't go through the crap you went through and take "visitor" status. We're happy to have you on board and as soon as I can, I will write you a personal e-mail. That won't be tonight. It may not be tomorrow.

But I am disgusted by what was done to you. (Readers who've missed this can go to Rebecca's entry on it as well as check the gina & krista round-robin tomorrow morning.) I am offended.

We did link to that site. Note "did." They're gone. I don't pull sites. (The panel once pulled a site that they had voted on.) I've never pulled a site and despite complaints in e-mails and the comments in the round-robin, I've maintained, "If it doesn't speak to you, don't go there."

I added that site at the request of members. That's not putting blame on them. They hate the site now. They feel that whatever happens in the world, the site somehow manages to miss it.
This has been an ongoing complaint from them as well as other members. I'm sure Gina and Krista are as tired of hearing me give them the quote "If it doesn't speak to you, don't go there" as I am of saying it.

I knew better. I shouldn't have linked to it. That was my mistake. I resisted requests to link to the site proper because of their treatment of someone I know. (Going back years. To when the CED was around.) The way he was treated offended me. It offended me for him and for the message he was trying to get out (one that we support 100% as a community).

But to people outside the US, it appeared that this sub-site was addressing issues. I don't know, I never went there. But we're a member site. It's a sub-site of an org/online publication. That made it my call. It was a huge mistake on my part. It would have stayed up because we don't unlink.

But we make an exception when the person behind it trashes someone. That's not right.

I'm sorry I wasn't there for Rebecca for most of the day. I'm sorry to you, West, that I'm unable to write you an e-mail tonight. You were treated hideously. There's no excuse for that behavior.

Rebecca told me about the phone conversation you have and you seem like a really interesting person. We're glad to have you in the community. Think of somethings you want highlighted in posts and send them on in. Take part in the community and help us be the best that we can. Don't count on me. I've only been able to go to BuzzFlash once this week. I was at The Daily Howler today and yesterday waiting when Dallas e-mailed that it wasn't up yet. That's it for me online. What you see highlighted here comes from members.

If we have a good day it's not because of me, it's inspite of me. Members shape and make this community.

Rebecca said you only recently discovered us. If you'd been around longer, you would know that I have asked members (here and in the gina & krista round-robin) not to ask for links. I don't know why the person got so nasty with you. But that's their problem. That has nothing to do with you.

Rebecca told me some of the things you wrote. If you were visiting for awhile, you'd know that my attitude is "Don't knock the mock." Humor is a powerful tool. I don't know the jokes you attempted but if they were attempted in humor, then someone's too damn thin skinned and needs to take a hard look at themselves. The problem's not you.

It's great that you wanted to get attention to this community. But we're not a blog. There's no reason for us to ever be mentioned in a blog report. I don't know the first thing about blogging and I've been upfront about that from day one. The UK Computer Gurus and Ron and others were very helpful and very patient. But I still don't know the first thing about blogging and I don't pretend to.

So it's okay if he doesn't like this site. (Though is problem with three other sites which are blogs, one was Rebecca's, the other two we link to but I'm not going into it partly because I'm rushing and partly because we highlight those blogs so members should know we stand behind them or with them or whatever.) He can write about whatever he wants. (Members think he writes about nothing -- repeatedly.)

When Ava and I have written The Manny (Brian Montopoli) we've stressed this isn't a blog, please don't mention it in the CJR blog report. We're a resource/review. We're here to say "This is a voice you should know about" or "This is an issue you should know about."

There are blogs on our permalinks. Those people know what they're doing. If someone doesn't speak to you, know it's there and find something else. Obviously, if they make our permalinks, we think they had something to say. So in the case of the two other sites, great judgement on your part, West, they're strong sites..

But some people don't want to discuss issues. They want to be silly and funny and, in this case, judging by members reactions, he can't cut it. That's his problem. It has nothing to do with you.

The fact that he had a meltdown and threw a temper tantrum today has nothing to do with you.
I'm going by Rebecca's rundown on the phone (I haven't even read her entry, she summarized it and I stand with the community), but don't ever apologize for a joke on my account. Don't ever feel that someone can position you in such a way that it's "Apologize to me or I won't link to your four sites ever again." As Ava and I told Brian about the sort of people who make those sort of comments, you either need to be sporting Joan Crawford shoulder pads or tying someone to a railroad to carry that off.

Maybe the guy was just having a bad day? That doesn't excuse the way you were treated. Your apology to me isn't accepted because you have nothing to say you're sorry for. I wish you could take back your apology to the jerk who forced it out of you.

That can't happen. But know in the future that we're not worried about links here. And please don't put yourself in that position again. Members were getting frustrated which is why I asked them to stop. I had no idea that someone would attack a person the way you were attacked. Speaking for me, I'm very sorry that you were attacked. I'm sorry that you were bullied and belittled. Again, that says a lot about the person.

If he didn't realize they were jokes, I'm sure he could have e-mailed you. He apparently had no problem e-mailing you after the fact, after he pulled your posts and blocked your posting rights.

That's how some people are. But it's not how everyone is. There isn't one blogger on our permalinks that I believe would ban you from posts because you made a joke that went to the fact that sites on the left need to work the left. Not be pushing the fright wing repeatedly. Twice in one day is what Rebecca reports. That's twice too many.

Apparently, you weren't supposed to apologize to the four of us. Guess someone bullied a little too hard? That happens. I can only speak for me and I'm saying you don't owe me an apology.
I applaud your enthusiasm, I support your right to joke.

That someone wants to have a fit about you urging them, after they've done candy & valentines to the fright wing twice that day, to step out of the Republican closet (that's a paraphrase -- I'm not sure of the exact wording, I had a huge headache when I was on the phone with Rebecca), is really too bad for them. Or him.

And that's actually what confuses me the most and what Rebecca couldn't answer. I'm not sure whether he was speaking for himself or speaking for the site. I don't know, I don't care.

There's no excuse for the way you were treated. I'm glad that you found something here that spoke to you. And that it spoke to you enough that you wanted to share it.

To existing members, this is good reason not to push links. We don't need them. And when you're dealing with some people they're going to be rude. They're going to act like children.

If I'm repeating myself (and I'm always repeating myself) it's because I'm tired, hungry and have a killer headache. I'd go in and pull up West's e-mail address but as members who've gotten late night e-mails from me can attest, if you think I go round and round here, try making it through an e-mail I write at a late hour.

The points are this.

1) You did nothing wrong, West. You have nothing to apologize to me for.
2) The link was a mistake on my part.
3) The people who asked for it now slam it constantly.
4) Even so, it would have stayed up were it not for the way you were treated.
5) I don't tolerate that.
6) If he was confused about your remarks, he should have taken it to you first.
7) The "you better apologize to me" (as told to by Rebecca) was nonsense. Who is he? The f**king Who? "You better, you better, you bet!"
8) An apology demanded isn't a genuine one. Anyone who demands one, who bullies for one, isn't wanting an apology, they're wanting their ego stroked.
9) People can get passionate about issues. I've noted that before here and at The Third Estate Sunday Review and I stand behind that. But bigger people apologize. This wasn't a blogger who's doing 800 things and still trying to put out a blog. This was someone who's paid to do a job. And professionalism was not exhibited in the way you were treated (as conveyed to me by Rebecca). That says a great deal.
10) If tomorrow Eli wrote that Bob Somerby tore into him, my attitude would be, "He's under stress because if he doesn't say exactly what we want to hear, he gets attacked." [And if the guy who attacked West wants to attempt to use that justification, Somerby's addressing big issues. He's not debating penis size or whatever else members have complained about. He's taking difficult stands. From all reports, the guy that attacked West makes Elisabeth Bumiller look like a fine journalist.] I'd also point out that The Daily Howler is not his living. He's making a living and he's dedicating a huge amount of time to The Daily Howler. He was recently doing weekend posts on Saturday and that's way more than even a fan of The Howler like myself (and I'd readily cop to being a student of Somerby's -- I've learned a lot from his work). There's a tendency to not only expect excellent work for him, but to also expect him to validate every feeling or view we have or hold.
The reason the site matters is because he speaks in his voice. I've noted before that I don't always agree with him. I've also noted that he's an important voice. If he's off on something you don't care about, blow it off. But I think people should hang in there even during those times because he's too smart and too important to write off because one day (or two or three or whatever) he offers a critique that you don't agree with. I didn't agree with the Lawrence Summy view. That didn't make me stop checking out The Howler. I've read every entry he's got up there so obviously I think he's doing excellent work. And he's not getting paid for it. He's put his own time into it because it matters to him, the points he's making matter to him. Jude's the same way. Anyone who's on the links that now makes money at it, didn't start off that way.
It was done because they wanted to say, "Hey, here's something that I've noticed and I think you should take a look at it." So if someone lost their temper in an e-mail, I would reply to you, "Give them time to cool down." This was repeated e-mails to West. And from someone who's paid to do a job and presumably represents the site he works for. There's no excuse for that.
If they had a complaint department, the person would probably be facing a write up. If the person were someone who could take a good look at his actions, his last e-mail to you would not have been griping that you apologized to the four of us. He shamed you into both apologies. He hasn't conducted himself very well.
12) We have real issues to talk about. That doesn't include praising the fright wing bloggers. We're a community for the left and by the left. He's over, he's done, we're moving on.
13) Rebecca said that she wrote you deserved an apology from him. I hope you get that. You do deserve it. But he's not going back up here and he's not a concern to me.
He's not a member.
He's not a voice that's spoken to the community as a whole (he spoke to four or five members originally but they washed their hands off him long ago).
I don't tremble at the thought that I might not get linked. I'm perfectly fine with that. We can't take the positions we do and worry about links.
And he may not have wanted to link to us because we link to Tom Hayden. That is a sore spot with that organization. But as I told Wanda when she had her flame out (did we allow posting then?), there's always a place at the table for Tom Hayden.
This other guy, he snuck into the dining room. He's been escorted out. We won't set a place for him.
I don't delink. I didn't want the panel to remove the link that they did. If someone's not speaking to you, ignore them. Go somewhere else. But when someone does something so sleazy and does it behind your back, as happened to West, they don't belong at this table.
With the one delinking done by the panel, I was opposed to it. And remain opposed to it. But the panel has final say and argued their case very well.
The guy we're delinking from now, I don't care about him. It is a rejection, we are rejecting him.
If you hadn't e-mailed the four of us plus him with your apology to the four of us, he'd probably be feeling pretty smug now about forcing an apology from you. He's probably not feeling so smug now. (Nor should he.)
Take comfort in that.

I'm providing a link to Rebecca's entry (she says it's a long one). That's it in this entry. I'm tired and need to do the Indymedia round up. (Which won't be much and don't expect much in five hours when it's time to cover the Times.) I also need to cross post at the backup site which I haven't had time to do at all today. They have nothing over there. I just realized I'm sitting here staring off into space. So don't expect much tonight or tomorrow. In the words of Kat, it is what it is.

And on the Democracy Now! post tomorrow, don't be surprised if it's just that and The Daily Howler. Tomorrow's going to be crazy at work. If it doesn't go up until the evening, it will go up. The person's gone, he's no longer linked to. There are no plans to ever mention him again. (Unless he starts more bullying on West.)

Rebecca said that she wrote about her fear that I wouldn't have a comment on this. West was a visitor who never even e-mailed before his apology today. For him to be trashed and treated the way he was is offensive to me. I'm not going to pretend like it didn't happen. (I understand why Rebecca worried that I would.) If I'd known about this earlier, I would have posted on it earlier. (Which would have taken time that I honestly didn't have.)

But there are real issues. He's a nonissue. Let him tell the world about the glories of the fright wing all he wants. Let him snuggle up to the Repubes if that's his desire. He doesn't have a place in this community. West does. West is a member and at the request of members, we're more membership driven now. We'll continue to be that. Visitors are welcome to drop a line but members will take priority. West is now one so make him feel welcome. And show him your support. The other guy, he's gone. He can walk on, (My friend who coined that jokes she may start charging me if I keep using it.)

The e-mail address for this site is Flamers and drive bys will be ignored.