Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 12:30pm

I just spent quite a bit of effort and time reading an interesting, albeit in the end pointless emotional cleansing from FlyByWrite. I only say pointless because it was rendered inert, thus preventing the realization of its value through open discourse.

Having read through a portion of it, I proceeded to educate myself on several other threads which had been referenced in Fly's catharsis, then returned to the Hydra thread and continued. Despite remembering one or two instances where I might have poked and prodded the hornets' nest of Fly's feelings, I did see his point, and wanted to tell him so... but, alas, I was unable to do so. This brought about my own, much like Fly's, emotional sticking point - and that is censorship.

I realize this is a moderated community, but it is also a WRITERS' COMMUNITY, and as such, I find any effort to control, censor, or otherwise impede the free flow of communication to be aggravating to no end. Of course, this doesn't apply to open abuse, or sincere threats of violence (jovial threats are welcomed, however).

With issues in the world like: two Indian women being jailed last fall for nothing worse than their Facebook statuses, special interest groups manipulating the media and the entertainment industry by pulling large-scale ad dollars from any artistic expression they deem against their own theological leanings, and even groups suing Al Gore merely for who he decided to sell his satellite TV station to simply because the buyer might say things those groups disagree with; I came back to this site with the expectation of relief from the silencing efforts which seem to only be multiplying everywhere I turn. Sadly, I found maybe not exactly the same, but similar efforts here, this afternoon.

Let me digress for a moment...

Last November, I created a NaNoWriMo account and gave up several hours from time I could be spending with my family - who were all grieving the loss of my grandfather the week before NaNo started, and were reveling in the together-time we had - to participate in NaNo's social engagements and writing sit-ins pushed by the local mods as a way to be a stronger writer through a community of like-minded scriveners. Grandpa wanted me to realize my potential on paper, and would have wanted it that way, so I went. Half way through, I made an entirely innocuous comment on a discussion forum there, which was taken as the sincere even if humorously worded curiosity I meant is as by the person I directed it to. A mod deleted my comment, then proceeded to tell me that they had total authority over the entire local program and regardless of how the recipient of my comment took it, my words were not acceptable. This was spoken by a writer!!! 

So yeah, when the national program backed up her censorship, I left. I felt horrible for having sacrificed my limited time with such obviously undevoted writers. Maybe not every writer sees the act itself as holy, but I do...

...end digression.

By preventing a discussion, no matter how adversarial it gets, from either reaching maximum boredom saturation or finding a fragile equilibrium among its contributors, there inherently exists a prevention of the very heart and soul of writing. Sure, nothing was going to be accomplished at the point that Todd's racism thread was when it was frozen. Sure, Fly's genuine and obviously raw-nerve-endings-esque post would've drawn the rats from the shadows to gnaw on some free cheese (this is not to say Dwayne or JGB are rats, nor are Fly's feelings to be equated with solidified and fermented dairy). Sure, this will likely trigger avalanches of its own, or a silence inflicted upon it from above.

But that's the way it goes! Life is not something to be silenced when nothing more can be accomplished, is it? People aren't things to be muzzled unless they can stay on topic and only be shin-happy-fun, are they? What the fuck, people?

I loathe it, but expect it from the brain-dead masses, filled with conflicting theologies and opinions, who aren't intelligent enough to either work things out through words or reach a peaceful stalemate when words won't change reality. We aren't them, are we? Fuck if I know what kind of people are here, but I thought we were writers. Writers who disagree, writers who go overboard sometimes with our attempts to make friends laugh or illustrate a point in a less than congenial way, writers who are intelligent enough to bite each others' heads off in ceaseless debate, then enter the workshop and provide constructive and encouraging support via reviews.

I came here because I thought that kind of writer didn't just live here, but also flourished. I came here because I wanted to be that kind of writer. I don't know if I want to stay here, though, if that kind of writer is silenced.

 

PS: Fly, I liked your long-winded, twisting, turning, sometimes rambling, but if you look hard enough you find some thick veins of gold, Hydra thread. I would've told you this on your thread, had I been given the voice to do so.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres March 12, 2013 - 12:39pm

Maybe every discussion should just be limited to writing then? Since this is a writing thread? I'd like to see more discussion (which will, no doubt, have respectful disagreements at times) about a vairety of topics than a teaming up (or "perceived" teaming up) against anybody. 

I will say, if I was a new person just checking out the site, and I stumbled upon those two, I probably wouldn't join. Not because I'd think "The fascist dictators are censoring our words!!!!" but because it is eerily reminiscent of high school, and I would have thought that maybe this was a site only for younger people.

Let's get back to writing and talking about writing, please?

P.S. the way to respond to Flybywrite's thread is by doing EXACTLY AS HE SUGGESTED: write him directly.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters March 12, 2013 - 12:40pm

Jesus.

Yes, I made 2 threads read-only.  One of which I have zero intention of unlocking.

Flybywrite's post I will unlock later.  I privately messaged him to let him know I had locked it and would unlock it later.  My point in doing so was to hopefully force people to read and think about what he said before giving a knee-jerk response. 

If you think this was wrong, I don't care.  And I won't shut this thread down as long as it is respectful.  I have a little badge under my name that says I'm the Defender, so I get to play police from time to time.  If anyone thinks I abuse the power, feel free to say so.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 12, 2013 - 12:43pm

Photon, I will defend the decision to block comment on Flybywrite's thread.  First, nothing was censored.  Flyby's message is still there for everybody to see and to learn from.  Personally, I learned a lot from it.  Second, it's timing was well-placed, in light of everybody going completely batshit over an argument that amounted to nothing.  Third, even though Flyby had excellent placement of his thread, and his timing was right to open some people's eyes, he also dropped that bit of wisdom when the forum waters were bloody, so to speak, and the sharks were all circling.  Rather than have them attack him for the hundred and nth time, this time for having the audacity to ask people to not attack him publicly, the thread was locked for comment.  There may come a time when it is re-opened, but that will be after everybody takes a deep breath a goes back to writing instead of bitching at one another.

I hope this has gone at least some distance to assuage your ire.  Nobody is being shut down or turned off.  All the existing words are still there.  We're just not indulging public warfare over them for a while. 

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life March 12, 2013 - 12:54pm

Well, not all the words are still there. :)

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 12, 2013 - 12:55pm

Of course it would happen that, as I was writing my defense of decision position paper that two other people would do the same before me and so now this looks like a dogpile on Dave.

This is not a dogpile on Dave.  I really did think I was the only one responding there, and it seemed reasonable to show up as a single voice and shed some light.  But the best laid plans of mice and men...and of disembodied skulls...and all that.

Anyway, uh,

ONE LOVE!

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 12:58pm

When I use the term censorship, I mean it in a more broad sense than simple alteration of original communication.

Preventing open cummunication is the same as altering it, and in many cases, worse.

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones March 12, 2013 - 1:02pm

Todd's thread is the most interesting thing I've seen on this site in a while. We're all big kids here. It's their own choice to engage in that sort of thing. 

Whatever though. I'm indifferent. I've got writing to do.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 12, 2013 - 1:05pm

It seems like a jerk move to let someone start a thread that reads like I'm the leader dude of Team Villian and then lock it so we all have time to think about it.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 12, 2013 - 1:07pm

I say we take a vote.

ALL THOSE IN FAVOR OF DWAYNE GOING BACK TO BEING MY FAVORITE BUTT OF JOKES, SAY AYE!

AYE!

Sweet.  I love you, Dwayne.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life March 12, 2013 - 1:12pm

ALL THOSE IN FAVOR OF DWAYNE GOING BACK TO BEING MY FAVORITE BUTT

Seconded.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres March 12, 2013 - 1:12pm

I think everybody should just grow the fuck up.

Bullies are lame, Internet bullies are even worse. 

Just everybody be nice to each other, stop whining so much, think about what you say before you say (type) it, treat people with respect. We are all adults here, just like Devon Robbins mentioned. So let's all act like adults and stop being assholes to each other. I wish there was this much participation in the writing threads (workshop, WAR, flash fiction threads, etc...) This is a writing site, for fucks sake, let's start writing and talking about writing. And if we want to talk shit about each other, why not do it privately to each other, or at least do it privately somewhere else. Start a facebook group called "Down with the LitReactor clique" or "StrangePhoton kicked my dog" or "Who wants to fuck _____ (fill in the blank)?" Then maybe we won't all have to worry about moderators or defenders coming in here and doing what they were asked to do? Let's be civilized and see what happens next...

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 12, 2013 - 1:14pm

It's cool. Jessica has been mad since I turned her down for the position of enemy. I know it hasn't went smoothly but sooner or later she'll excel as a friendly acquaintance. 

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 12, 2013 - 1:17pm

"Who wants to fuck _____ (fill in the blank)?"

Does this actually work to get laid?  Because if it does I feel as if my collegiate years were a complete waste.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics April 12, 2013 - 4:33am

I know I joke about way too many serious things here all the time, but this is one thing I just can't find any humor in.

If a group of WRITERS cannot be allowed to freely express themselves within the confines of a writers' community, then what's the point of saying or writing anything, ever?

Sure, it's a melodramatic statement, but to quote those in higher places than myself, I don't care.

My grandfather endured the Israeli-Arab gunfights throughout Jerusalem in the late '40s. He taught himself 5 languages so he could be indispensable to the British company that hired him to oversee the construction of telephonic systems throughout northern Africa. He did all this to come to a fucking country that lets anyone say what they want without any fear of a bullet in the brain.

Two days before the stroke that killed him, we were talking and he told me I was meant to write, and that was the best purpose a man can have. He told me I was in the best country in the history of mankind for a writer to be in, because a writer can write anything and everything here. If others don't like it, that's fine, but he can write it.

That's why censorship and the denial of a voice is now the most sensitive nerve I have.

I want to say fuck this shit, but he wouldn't, so I won't. Doesn't mean I'm willing to play nice, though. No one is free if anyone is oppressed.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres March 12, 2013 - 1:19pm

I'm not sure, but if it DOES work, I'm going to be pretty upset that I've been pretending to "write" all this time instead of just starting a facebook group

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters March 12, 2013 - 1:21pm

Photon...I am not censoring you.  Say whatever you like about whatever you want.  I didn't censor your creepy posts about slave labor and I'm not censoring this. 

You are free to say whatever you like about the topic. 

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 1:22pm

Again, preventing communication is the same as censoring communication.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 12, 2013 - 1:22pm

However, I might be censoring you.  But you won't know until your posts start turning into LOLcats.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters March 12, 2013 - 1:26pm

I am not preventing your communications. 

You have a whole board here.  I stopped two threads within this board.  You can talk about it here.  You can talk about it over there.

You can talk about it with a fox

You can talk about it in a box

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres March 12, 2013 - 1:27pm

Again, preventing communication is the same as censoring communication.

I just want to point out the irony of this: one thread was closed temporarily, another was opened to talk about the closed thread. Which means no communication was stifled at all. You still had every right to open a new thread and you did.

I think this could develop into a very interesting conversation on censorship and what we say, why we say it, but again, that will just prove there has been absolutely no censoring anywhere.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 12, 2013 - 1:27pm

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters March 12, 2013 - 1:30pm

Also, as an aside, I will be logging out shortly.  So anything directed at me will have to wait until morning. 

I have to play Batman now.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 12, 2013 - 1:30pm

CENSOR! 

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 12, 2013 - 1:33pm

Gotcha, Dwayne!

Fuckin gotcha.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 1:36pm

Apparently, Todd isn't the only one who can ignore the principle and point of a post while simultaneously debating the semantics of said post.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 12, 2013 - 1:44pm

If we were all dating this would be the make up. Not much chance of anything except cuddles or a pointless fight. If you want a serious discussion of censorship I'd suggest waiting a few weeks and coming back to it in a new thread. Right now few of us are leaning that way.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres March 12, 2013 - 1:53pm

Name-calling not only goes back to what was asked to be avoided, but also shows little respect for the person you are debating/arguing/conversing with.

In standing up for the underdog (which i will do until i die), we need to allow them to speak their mind. While there shouldn't ever be an "underdog" on a writer message board, there quite obviously, and unfortunately, is. In no way is temporarily closing a thread to responses hurting anyone when we have dozens of other ways to respond or interact right there at our fingertips. But I do believe that it is protecting that underdog from getting attacked again by an angry mob that has been growing elsewhere. Essentially, Averydoll played the role that James Brown played the night MLK was shot (maybe a stretch?). 

Another thing I'd love to see when people talk on the message boards is any kind of dialogue direction to show who they are speaking to/responding to. Strange Photon, I assumed you were talking at me when you made a comparison to Todd from a previous thread?

We have something in common there, SP: I am also not a fan of censorship. But that doesn't mean I think that someone running down the street yelling obscenities is in any way justified. I do, however, think that this thread does, indeed, have something in common with the thread on race, and that is misdirection/the misappropriation of anger. 

I'm not going to do an LBL on the original argument, but I think there is a difference between having our words taken away from us and silencing a thread that we KNOW is going to be ripped into. Wouldn't you agree?

 

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 2:34pm

@Sean: Considering we are all adults to varying degrees, no, I don't agree.

Communication is valueless without a complete freedom to do so. In the real world, there arise exceptions in cases where specific messages would cause physical harm or property damage - as in the case of yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Here, nothing would be harmed or damaged.

So, fire!!!!!

See, nothing happened.

Goofing aside, my point still stands. There is no value to this forum if we aren't free to say what we want, when we want, to whom we want, and for as long as we wish to say it - so long as they aren't personally telling us to stop. That's the only time one's communication should be controlled, when it hurts another. Not before. If the cops went around arresting people who were likely to commit crimes, the world would shit a kitten so fast out of outrage over the injustice of it. Despite that being a farfetched example, it is still the same principle.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 12, 2013 - 2:13pm

In that case, I've gotten confused.  Under what censorship issue do we currently suffer and what precisely would you like to see changed, Dave? 

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones March 12, 2013 - 2:28pm

He doesn't want to see threads get locked, obviously.

 

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 2:32pm

Exactly.

Thank you, Devon. Even if you don't agree with my positions, I'm glad you saw what I was saying, and was hoping to be achieved.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 3:16pm

Oh, and by the way, Sean, not sure where on this thread I EVER called anyone a name, other than, you know, their name.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres March 12, 2013 - 3:26pm

@Strange Photon - I was simply referring to your "Todd" comparison when I mentioned the name-calling thing. I wasn't implying that you called anyone a horrible name. No worries there.

There is no value to this forum if we aren't free to say what we want, when we want, to whom we want, and for as long as we wish to say it - so long as they aren't personally telling us to stop.

But, flybywrite was essentially asking people to calm down and take the bashing somewhere else, so what was done on that thread was in line with what was deemed "necessary." And it has been mentioned by BOTH people with any power over the threads that it is simply a temporary halt to make sure people read the post and don't just attack (again).

I see what you're saying as far as the threads being locked or not, but everything isn't black and white, not here and not in the real world either. So what sometimes might be seen as a horrible offense (locking a thread if people were talking bad about government or religion or something) can also sometimes be a necessary and not truly comparable necessity (locking a thread to protect a member that does not deserve  further ridicule). Would you agree, or are we at total opposite sides here?

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 3:34pm

Have to do some things for a bit, and can't take the time needed to think this through and write an intelligent and sincere response, but wanted to let you know I am not agreeing or disagreeing without considering everything. I just don't have time to be fair to either side of the issue just now.

Be back later.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts March 12, 2013 - 5:33pm

Get  a grip, guys.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 12, 2013 - 6:14pm

@Sean: After some thought, and plenty of distractions, I think I can agree and disagree.

I agree that some people do not deserve further ridicule, and it is a tragedy that people can't participate in a 'friendly' online forum without garnering ridicule. I disagree with your assertion that it is sometimes necessary to deny the free flow of communication for the sake of one person. Everyone can be offended by anything, so if the litmus test for which threads to lock from further discourse, and which ones to leave up, is the potential of one person's hurt feelings then there ought not be any unlocked threads.

I am not saying it is ok to allow people to be ceaselessly abused against their will via online comments by pseudo-anonymous identities. If the abuse is truly offensive, the abused should speak up and say, "No more" - as Fly did. If the abuse then persists, it is up to the administration of a community to reach out to the abusing parties and lay down whatever law they deem appropriate, but only with the offending parties. To close up any and all response to a publicly posted thread, such as Fly's, seems to be wholly a knee-jerk reaction. If he only wanted to handle his matter privately, he wouldn't have posted a public thread. His call for private messages wasn't an open call to anyone wishing to converse on the subject he started, but merely a call for those who have problems with him to address them to him privately rather than ridiculing him publicly, even if only in jest.

In the case of the other thread, there wasn't any issue of anyone saying, "Please, no more, you've offended me personally, and I want you to stop," so any use of the reasoning of preventing further ridicule in this case just doesn't hold water.

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons March 12, 2013 - 6:42pm

No one really listens to what I say but here it is anyway: I'm a blue-blood believer in the first amendment. Censoring is bad. But this isn't the government. This is a commercial enterprise. This is businesss. If Avery wants to stop talk from going  a certain way, she can and should. Really it was getting crazy. I agree with her. let's talk about how to improve our craft for God's sake, not go off on tangents that get us no where. We came here to improve our writing, right? IT'S ABOUT  THE WRITING. No one is censoring anybody. You can go elsewhere to express views. 

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce March 12, 2013 - 7:10pm

The forums over the past couple of days have reminded me of ComeDown Mondays and RazorBlade Tuesdays on the dance music forums I used to use when I was younger. It's been ... different. Even if it's not writing related, I'd like to see some fun, light hearted posts and threads about. Would that be so bad? Maybe I should start some. 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 12, 2013 - 7:11pm

Thing is Cove, the reason I do long thread debates is they often help my writing. The whole empathy/sympathy thing gave me a ton of good ideas on how to use the words, and let me do some work on some characters I've liked but wasn't sure what to do with for a while. Now yeah maybe it distracts other people or what not and the 'needs of the many out weight the needs of the few' so maybe it was a good idea in general, but for me it removes some value from Litreactor.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like March 12, 2013 - 10:31pm

that will just prove there has been absolutely no censoring anywhere.

Threads have been deleted before. My 'Zombie Zoo' poem was a casualty. No one can read that poem on the internet unless I repost it somewhere. It's brutal.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 13, 2013 - 3:44am

Let me just say, just because someone can do a thing and has the power to do a thing, doesn't mean they should do a thing, nor should everyone else be ok with them doing it simply because they can.

I understand this is not the government, but I assert that it should be even more transparent and free than hte government, not less. I'm not condoning or condemming the contents of the locked threads, I'm merely condemming the act of closing a thread, period. As I stated before, if one person is being attacked, and voices a desire for that to stop, the attackers need to stop. If they don't, the powers that be need to address them personally, not by closing a forum to any and all future commenting, which devalues anything anyone had to say that wasn't attacking in nature - and erases the possibility for future valuable comments.

Now, I don't see Avery as abusing her 'power' at all. I just believe she exercised, within her own rights and role here, her 'power' in the wrong way. I can't change anything in here, just like in the world outside here, but I cannot keep my mouth shut either. I know that there are a number of you here that would like to publicly agree with me, but wish not to for fear of losing esteem in some other people's eyes, and that's your choice. I don't give a fuck what anyone here thinks of me, so long as they continue to provide an impartial and skilled eye on their reviews of my work in the other portion of this site.

I am pretty sure that will still take place. I have confidence that most of us are mature enough to separate these debates from our workshop experience - which goes back to my overal point that these forums ought to be free, always, because we're adults who can take a joke, take a jibe, and take a stand if we want it to stop without a Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts March 13, 2013 - 4:05am

I'd have banned you all yonks ago for getting too mouthy and uninteresting.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 13, 2013 - 4:19am

Interesting enough for you to comment, twice.

Not trying to be as snide as I just sounded, but I mean, c'mon, you can't deny that.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts March 13, 2013 - 4:31am

Annoying enough, not particularly interesting. I think developing some impulse control over what should and shouldn't be said would serve well regarding an open forum, lest you be a hindrance to everyone's enjoyment and sanity. Social courtesies still apply, and for me while this site is like 80% friendly bullshit it is also all the rest kind of professional as far as my hobby here goes.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 13, 2013 - 4:43am

these forums ought to be free, always

But they're not.  They are not free and, honestly, they don't belong to anybody other than Dennis, Kirk, and Phil.  These threads are a place where it's fun to hang out and have conversations, but they are not covered by your First Amendment right.  The mistake a lot of people make is in thinking that the First Amendment guarantees them the right to say whatever they want when- and wherever they desire.  But that is not the case.  That right ends at property lines. 

Think of it like this:  You write a letter to the editor of The New York Times about whatever.  That editor decides that your letter, along with thousands of others, will not be printed.  That's it; your right, as far as TNYT, is ended, and theirs begins.  Because, while you have a freedom to say whatever you want in this country, so does The New York Times, and they choose many, many, many examples of self-expression and consign them to the round file every day.

Consider a guest in my house.  That guest begins using vulgarity around my wife and kids.  My right as the property owner supercedes whatever right he might think he has in my house to just speak as he chooses and I am fully within my rights to tell him to shut his mouth (in Texas I might very well be within my rights to just shoot him, but I'll have to check in on that and get back to you).

And now here we are, in a LR forum.  This place, virtual though it may be, is the property of Dennis, Kirk, and Phil.  The same rules apply here as apply at the newspaper.  What is expressed here is, ultimately, their expression.  They are responsible for what appears here.  It is their business and part of their livelihood.  When things begin to occur in the forum that make LitReactor look like a home for clowns or schoolchildren, it does not encourage new membership to take part in what we've got going here.  It makes other people who are looking for a home in the writing community look elsewhere.  And for that reason Dennis, et al., have made the decision to give AD and I the authority to put a stop to poisonous communication.  And we, as their representatives, are incredibly slow to use that authority.  I think, in the nine months that we've functioned as Defender and lowly moderator, we've shut down a total of three threads.

So please bear in mind that we are all guests in somebody else's house.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 13, 2013 - 4:51am

@ Renfield: The only way one person's discussion thread can become a hindrance to another's enjoyment is if that enjoying person kept clicking on the link to the thread. I'm honestly not trying to be an asshole here, I'm simply saying, nothing I nor anyone else could ever do here could ever 'annoy' you unless you keep accessesing the thread. 

After going back and rereading many of the posts made by others on threads I started last year, I've come to wonder if something terribly oversensitizing has happened in my absense because I saw all sorts of crass, semi-aggressive yet still playful comments that I have a feeling would make Defenders stand up and shake their wands in the present envirnoment.

I don't know what happened, but I had nothing to do with it.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 13, 2013 - 4:59am

@ Utah: 

I have a strong feeling very few people even read everything I was saying in my OP, because if you had, you would realize that I wasn't equating this forum with a First Amendment environment, but simply saying a group of writers should give a damn about free expression. I didn't say anyone owed anyone here free reign, but that writers should want nothing to stand in the way of expression that isn't hurtful.

It's not an issue of rights, it's an issue of my confusing writers with people who value everyone's voice at all times, even if they don't agree.

If you've truly decided, and others truly agree, that I'm but a clown and a schoolboy, I will shut my mouth and slip into the shadows here for good. I've already paid for 6 months up front (silly me) so I will definitely make use of the workshop, but hey, if I'm annoying Renfield, stirring righteous indignation in Avery, and have become a clown and schoolchild in Utah's eyes, I definitely don't want to lose even more respect by continuing to express myself in here.

I said it a minute ago, but it bears repeating: I don't know what happened while I was away, but damn...

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Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 13, 2013 - 5:13am

a clown and a schoolboy,

Nah, you took that out of context.  As backup for that statement, allow me to point out that your thread is still alive and kickin'.  I think that this is an important issue to you, and you've gone about expressing it in a very open and accessible manner.  What you and I have going is a basic disagreement on lines drawn against certain communications in a privately owned forum.  You believe there should be none, and I believe there should be a very thin one somewhere out there in the ether.

I don't believe your position of disagreeing with me makes you a clown or a schoolkid any more than I believe my opinion makes me the next incarnation of [insert your favorite totalitarian leader here].  It just means you don't agree with me.  And I'm cool with that.  I respect you and your right to disagree with me.  I just wanted to explain to you, in the above post, why AD and I will make some of the decisions we do, even without universal agreement.

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Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 13, 2013 - 5:17am

Fair enough.

I do understand WHY you guys do things the way you do, I just don't agree with the notion that you SHOULD. I have no power in this scenario, though, so my disagreement is nothing more than academic. I suppose I should just end my tilting before the windmills fall over and dice me to ribbons.

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Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry March 13, 2013 - 5:21am

And now I'll add your name to my list of people whose posts I won't joke-edit to say embarassing things that everyone will think you said...