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Old 10-25-2006, 08:18 PM   #41
Boromir88
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I do not believe there is anything wrong with feeling that this is a community. We need to put this to a rest and get on with it. If you want something in specific to happen or change then just say it.~Valier
That's always the best thing, right? Just go back to the tea and crumpets and forget the whole thing. It never happened, it didn't happen, so stop saying it did. But see Valier, I can't move on if this is the way that mods will handle future situations just when things get heated.

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Rules are part of everything. I thought it was understood that the Mods are in charge, if they don't have the right to ban someone then who does?
Of course, and I don't hear anyone crying for anarchy, oh please anything but that. But let's be at least a little honest and realistic here. Mods and Admins are just like us, therefor they are prone to possibly making a wrong decision (though they may feel it's what's best). Obviously they thought that banning davem would be the best thing to do for the forum, but that doesn't mean it necessarily was the best thing for the forum.

Estel, all I can say is pretty much what drigel said...this isn't some davem worshiping cult mongering fan club (well lal might be...and maybe some others, but I'm certainly not) I respect him, but if I felt like he was insulting myself and my beliefs, I sure as heck wouldn't respect him anymore. I just feel that if this is how the mods will handle the business just when a thread gets out of hand, than what's the point of having arguments anymore?

Quote:
Just to be clear, though, there was no favouring one “side” or silencing another.
Oh, but that's certainly how it appeared to me...davem was asked repeatedly to let the subject go, just leave, while the rest was able to (if they so wanted) to continue on with their opinions. You as the mods personally may have agreed with davem, but looks like took up a babying role so one side wouldn't get their 'feelings hurt.' And as Mod that's supposed to be expected, but I also thought you were supposed to be impartial...just seemed like you only were interested in going after davem because he spoke against the side that was saying there were references to christianity.

As what's been presented to us that seems to be what the whole discussion of the mods was about. It wasn't about anyone else, or what anyone else had said, it was about what davem said because he was against the 'Christianity in Tolkien.' You may not have been favouring one side over the other, but you did choose to only go after one side, or more specifically one person.

Now I hear well that all davem needed to do was just listen and be a good boy, listen to the warnings and everything would be fine. But why should he have, if he honestly felt what he was doing wasn't wrong? Who did feel like it was wrong? Well, I guess the people that count did.

See, you say that the way the rules are applied haven't been changed, but I certainly have never seen a situation such as the LOTR Bible handled this way before. Maybe it doesn't happen a lot (and therefor fortunately I wasn't around before when it did), but there are many times when we get heated and irritated by some threads and some people. We do lose our heads at times, that's going to happen. The thing is, what should happen (or at least the way I've seen it applied in the past by mods) is a mod stepped in, stopped things, and just said hatch out your problems somewhere else...or the two members would just agree to move on and iron things out right there. Mods just didn't privately and publicly warn one person to 'tone it down' it was both people (or parties) involved.

That's not what I saw happening here, I saw one side...no one person, that was gone after and told to stop. (Which I still fail to see why it was necessary, but that's differing opinion for you, I'm not making the decision). So, I can say I fully understand why davem feels the way he did and as he shows in formendacil's and fordim's blogs.

There may not have been any difference in the way the Rules were applied. If you felt like what davem said was out of hand, that's your decision...but what has changed (in my view) is that in this case you chose to stop one side. (This is for those of you who ask for explanations as far as why the downs has changed and why it's grown to be a gushy-softy forum, of 'lets not hurt eachother anymore'. You say there's more to it than that, and if you can't tell us, than you simply can't. I gotta go by what I see. And what I saw was not how the situation had been dealt with in the past.

Quote:
(I'm not saying anything about his character or his contribution to the 'Downs or anything...they are not part of the issue: I'm simply saying what I had a problem with.)
Thank you for stepping out Durelin, I'm actually rather glad someone did. I guess I should clear up that I'm not saying what davem said could not be taken as an insult, as that's all up to the individual. I really didn't see much to make of it, but hey, that's just me. I got a feeling that it was made into too big of a deal and just grew rapidly, as you are indeed the first person that has expressed an uneasiness about davem's post. If that's how you saw it then that's how you saw it.

Nogrod, :thumbs up:, I know there's no conspiracy theory, or if there is one I'm greatly fooled and that's my own fault . I'm just concerned that this was actually not the usual way the situation is approached when we do get a little angered and irritated...and if this same thing will happen in the future, than well I don't know what I'd do yet.

Menel, it's great to hear that, rather flattering too. Honestly, I really don't know what's going to happen. I wanted to try to find out some answers and get some concerns answered. Perhaps, I wasn't too clear, I do appreciate what the moderators have done to come and and explain the situation. I know they don't have to, and they didn't have to, but they felt like it was a necessary. I just don't like the reasoning behind it, because I still don't think it was 'normal' forum policy, and they were applying the Rules like they've always done.' Maybe they were applying the Rules as they always did to davem (and to anyone else who they felt was being 'uncivil' in their posting), but I don't think they dealt with the situation the same way. (To know what I mean it should be reiterated several times in this very post).
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:56 PM   #42
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As a signer of the petition, I suppose I'd better chip in with my two cents.

For my part, I suppose I am satisfied. I had initially signed hoping for some further clarification/explanation, which various mods have kindly given - I had heard davem's side of the story, and in hearing the mods' was hoping for an account that would mesh nicely with it - unfortunately, they seem to contradict each other in places, so that I do not know for sure which is the truth as far as it goes. And being that I absolutely do not have the time right now in life to read the entirety of the LotB thread, I am probably not the best person to judge.

I never wanted to accuse any of the mods of some kind of conspiracy theory or accuse them of acting in bad faith, nor do I now think they were. I'm sorry that it had to come to this and wish it hadn't.

On a related note, the other reason I was in favor of the petition was to at least have it out in the open - I think having people rant over on Formen's blog was doing nothing to help and only fostering bad will. However, I don't really think there is much more that needs to be said. The mods clearly made their decision based on what they thought was right and at this point I think we're beating the dead horse, per se. I'm not sure I ever expected the petition to accomplish more than it has: getting the issue out in the open and getting the mods' pov on the issue.
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:14 PM   #43
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Warning! LONG Discursus ahead!

As one of the chief movers and shakers of the whole Statement and as its primary composer, it is only proper, I feel, that I make a personal statement on this thread. It has taken me a while to compose myself into a collected enough state to do this, but I feel that delaying it, so that this comes after Alatar and SPM’s comments, in particular, is a good thing.

First of all, I received some censure before this thread was posted, to the effect that it was likely that this would drive the ‘Downs in two. With a bit of hesitant timidity, allow me to say that I very pleased to see that this appears not to be the case, but that – as things stand- we’re actually moving towards a resolution, albeit very slowly. Certainly, no one has blown up, and that is good thing.

After SPM and Alatar’s long and, from my perspective, sincere posts, I am finally starting to get an impression of both sides of this issue. And for me, a lack of understanding about the Administration’s side has been the truly big matter. I’m the sort of person who likes order, who likes having authority figures, and who is not averse to measures being taken when necessary. But I’m also a person who, for good or ill, considers himself capable of making his own decisions, and I do not like it when a decision made by those in power does not jive with my own judgment. Observation of my blogs will show severe irritation at only getting Davem’s side of the story. Had I seen SPM and Alatar’s posts two weeks ago, I’d have been in a much better humour, in many respects.

As with most stories with two sides, I would say that both sides of the story have their faults, and both are truthful in the views of the people making them- and that holds true here. The Administration feels that it was justified in banning Davem. They believe what they are saying. For the first time in this matter, I’m convinced of their sincerity.

With most of the bones of contention cleared away, (or “Myths” as SPM called them), the issue of Davem’s banishment boils down to two things: the debate on the “Lord of the Bible” thread, and how Davem acted there (and elsewhere, but that is the main place)- and whether or not Davem was warned that his actions were inappropriate.

(I'm breaking this up into different posts for obvious reasons of making it easier to read. If the Mods think it's a wastage of bandwidth or whatever... feel free to condense into one.)
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:17 PM   #44
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Part II:

Let me state quite clearly that I think Davem was wrongly told to leave the “Lord of the Bible” thread, if it was done so on the basis of his opinion being that “the Lord of the Rings has nothing in it that is provably Christian”. I happen to agree with that statement fully, and I would dispute that it is “just and fair” to allow anyone to disagree with this on the simple grounds of “opinion”. Tolkien himself said that there was no allegory- said it in the Foreword itself- and there is NOTHING in the book that can only be Christian in its meaning.

Davem believes himself banished for holding this opinion. If this is not the case, it has taken too long for that to come out.

If the truth is that Davem was banned for his arrogance and stubbornness and rudeness in steadfastly holding to this opinion, then I will grant that these were legitimate grounds for banishment. Whether or not these conditions were met is another matter. Stubbornness, for what it is worth, was and is pretty much a cross-forum problem. There is no reason here to single Davem out. If it comes down to arrogance, to “my opinion simply trumps everyone elses”, then I would say that there should have been some deeper looking into WHAT that opinion was. As it so happens, Davem’s opinion that Tolkien’s work CANNOT be shoehorned into any particular meaning is not only a justifiable one, but the one Tolkien himself had. Very tenuous grounds here for banishment. Finally, rudeness.

Here, Davem may have overstepped the line. His sarcasm, there is no denying, can be caustic. That said, rudeness is the most subjective of the criteria given. It’s essentially “tone”. What is rude to one person may be honesty to another. Davem avers, and I can only agree with from what I say, that he never intended, or made, a PERSONAL attack on users, but simply on their positions. My reading of his posts is that this statement is true. There is, I would agree, a sense of frustration about Davem in his later posts on the “Lord of the Bible” thread, but I think that’s only natural if you were trying, again and again and again, to show that the ocean is wet.

The other major issue surrounding Davem’s banishment is that of warnings. Davem states that after he returned from his first, temporary banishment, he received only one real warning from the Mods, from Mister Underhill (simultaneously in the “Lord of the Bible” thread and by PM), to get off the “Lord of the Bible” thread (and, presumably implied, the topic as well). And Davem DID get off the thread- and familiar as we all are with Davem’s stubborn-as-a-mule ability to stick with an argument, this can ONLY be construed as obedience to what the Mods requested.

From what I understand, Davem believes he received one, real warning after his temporary banishment, which he complied to (see above paragraph). This can be reconciled to the Administration's statement of him having received multiple warnings by recognising that these warnings (I assume they were given) either came BEFORE the temporary ban, and were so assumed forgiven by the rescinding of the ban, or else were given in a manner that did NOT make itself clear to be an official warning. And if a warning is not clearly made official, in my opinion, then you have no right to complain if it's not followed.

My verdict therefore, in this entire matter of Davem’s banishment: Davem was unjustly banned. Do I think the Mods are evil, self-satisfying, Davem-hating, power-mongering beasts? No. But I do think there was an error in judgement. And I can easily see how this would happen.
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:19 PM   #45
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Part III:

From the sounds of it, there was a lot of Davem-related discussion in the Mod forum (and, by the way, how EVER did that forum become a problem here? All forums have Mod forums- or should). It is a very human tendency that, once an opinion has been formed, it remains strongly held. As I would reconstruct it, once the Administration decided that Davem was being insolent and disrespectful (of the Mods and other users), –over the course of the “Lord of the Bible” thread and the temporary banishment- they saw nothing that caused them to deviate from their opinion. Here’s where they got their lines crossed: they saw Davem’s stubborn action against the “LotR is Christian” opinion as an act against opinion. They saw his tenacity in refuting an obviously (from his and my points of view) wrong opinion as an unwillingness to accept their authority. Davem, for his part, saw their suggestions to tone it down as approving the position he was arguing against.

My verdict? Still the same as above: Davem was unjustly banned. But there was no intended malice. The Administration simply made the error of not talking TO Davem, but rather talking AT him. And Davem, not seeing what they were concerned about (thinking it was about Christianity in the LotR, and not the issue of disrespect), continued to fight a totally different battle.

So, that’s my reconstruction of what happened. For my part, I think it fits the facts. Sad as that way, what happened after it was worse. Davem was accused of thinking himself “a law unto himself” of insulting other members. His character was seriously defamed, and that hurt him- and Lalwendë. It also really didn’t jive with what most of us knew of Davem. Retaliations were inevitable. In the search for an explanation, some untenable explanations arose: the Barrow-Wight was on a power trip. The Mods were anti-free thought. The actions of the Administration, in particular, did little to dispel these thoughts, since they remained remote, and their explanations sounded stilted and didn’t seem to take into effect everything we saw. If nothing else, Davem made his side of the story quite loud and clear, and as both sides of any story will do, if heard, his side made sense.

This statement was, for my part, an attempt to find out the Administration’s side of the story, which they didn’t seem to want to share. Despite numerous frustrations at the amount of time and prodding it has taken to get a response that satisfies me, I am now more or less satisfied as to the particulars of what happened. And, sad as it is to say considering the circumstances, my faith in the honesty of people around here is restored. And trust me, it WAS shaken. The two sides looked highly contradictory. The easiest conclusion was that somebody- of necessity somebody I had previously highly regarded- was not telling the truth.
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:22 PM   #46
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Part IV:

So what do we do now?

I’d love to say that we could fix this with a nice unbanning of Davem, and mutual apologies all around. But I’m no idiot- whatever some people may seem to think- and I know that won’t work. Davem does not really want back, he’s said so numerous times. Quite frankly, I don’t blame him. And in light of pride, I doubt that anybody could REALLY make themselves WANT to apologise in this situation.

I don’t know what to do. I wish I did. There were some serious mistakes made that brought us to this impasse, and I would place the blame squarely on both parties. Davem moreso in the pre-banning era, and the Administration in the process of banning, and in the explanations in the post-banning era.

As Lalwendë has said, and as I think most of us would strongly agree, the ‘Downs is very much a community- very much a village. And to continue this analogy, when the village council exiles a prominent merchant, keeping things in the dark as possible is only going to say one thing: Conspiracy. And then giving explanations that do not seem satisfactory smacks of cover-up. Especially when the villagers who are uneasy and in the dark about something have contact with the exiled party.

The way this banishment was handled was poorly done. Once people started sending PMs and posting on the “Coming of Age 2” thread, there should have been a better public relations campaign. That things were allowed to get so far as to have over a dozen highly prominent ‘Downers all sign a Statement of Disapproval ought to show this. The fact that such a high number of committed, prominent ‘Downers are talking of deliberately drifting away from the forum ought to be an even stronger sign. Whether Davem deserved banishment or not, once public interest was aroused, full disclosure was a better way to go that stilted press releases.

All the past is now explainable, to my mind. The big issue is moving forward. There has been a lot of trust broken here- not in the banning, but in the aftermath. We all WANT to move forward, but CAN we?

Finally, I hope all the above is clear. Due to the extreme length, this discursus was written in three seperate sittings and may not flow the way I'd like it to. However, it's late, and I have things to do tomorrow, but I thought it best to get this posted. As always, I hope no offence is taken, but it's a sign of the times that such a reminder seems necessary here at the bottom of the post(s).

Confused, tired, and yawning,

~Michael A. Joosten - Formendacil~
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:45 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Formendacil
Do I think the Mods are evil, self-satisfying, Davem-hating, power-mongering beasts?
Well, from what I've read, they might be...

Though, I must say, I am awfully sad about the hamster.

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Old 10-25-2006, 10:50 PM   #48
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Don't believe everything you read Snappy. Rather odd place for a first post, don't you think "Snappy".
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:13 PM   #49
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Aye, Mithadan I would say it is.

Snappy, truthfully they aren't (and you can take that at face value).

I've said what I've needed to say, how I felt the thing was handled is way back there. So, to conclude and I'll try to resist from coming back to this thread (though I don't know if I can resist the urge)...here's just some stuff I think is necessary so no one gets the wrong sort of impression.

If someone felt like davem was over board, whether I agreed, or he agreed with them or not isn't the question. Obviously, if you have to be warned to tone it down, I can come to understand you do need to tone it down. Even if you did not intend to sound rude or insulting, somebody felt like you were, so please next time do tone it down.

I am grateful to the mods for their information, and more grateful they have brought this out to 'chat.' I don't know of any forums that is required to do such a thing, nor necessarily even do such a thing. I'm glad they felt like we deserved an explanation.

But, to be my blunt self, everything else I feel is said back in those several posts, I just wanted to clarify things so no one gets the wrong impression (doesn't mean I still don't stand by what I've said about the situation or how it was handled). Oh, and I happen to think Form gets straight to the point much better than I ever could have.
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:13 PM   #50
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I have followed along. I have read blogs. I have read rants. I have read threads, chatted, been long-winded and concise. I was e-mailed about the Statement; I read it carefully, at least twice, and decided not to sign.

My decision not to attach my moniker to the Statement stands. I will support the mods for my own reasons. My qualms are my own. But I have my own Statement to make.

I did not want to post here because I did not want to get involved. But I am involved. For the very fact that I am a member of this community. For the fact that I have been around for a while. For the fact that I may well have played a role in how far this whole ordeal has gone. On that thread, that very legendary thread, that famed and ill-reputed Lord of the Bible, there is a hint that davem was the only antagonist.

Yeah right.

If nobody else will admit to it, I will. davem asked, on the thread, for specific details about what could be called our thesis. I responded, honestly, thusly.

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Originally Posted by Feanor of the Peredhil
Thus far it's been fun simply to antagonize you. The specifics will come when I have free time to think about it. As for anybody else's specifics... you'll have to wait for their responses.
I am sixth on the list of posters to that thread. Prolific. Lengthy posts. Some discussing the topic, others qualifying the topic, still others being a pure and simple annoyance.

Sure, davem's sarcasm bit. But I encouraged it. And I am not the only one, though I may be the only one to freely admit it. I love to argue. I miss davem's presence here. I miss debating with him because he is an intelligent man with firm opinions. It is an educational experience to pick his brain. I respect him immensely and I like him.

Yep. I encouraged his sarcasm. I stated that it is what I was doing. I loved that everyone was getting passionate. Real debates require passion. Beautiful writing requires emotion. You have to care. You cannot sit back and be objective. You cannot. And even if you could, you never, ever should.

I very enthusiastically encouraged the discussion in The Lord of the Bible. I wanted to learn. I wanted people to think. I wanted to see views and to refute views and to bend and stretch and break preconceived notions.

So I posted frequently. I composed posts to draw out both sides.

I knew it was going to escalate. I did it even after there were warnings about the thread's future.

I didn't want to post here.

Wanted to keep out of the argument.

Refused and still refuse to sign.

I am firmly of the belief that my thoughts mean a lot. But I am equally firmly comfortable with the knowledge that this is a privately owned website with carefully chosen moderators and admins, almost all, if not all, of whom I have interacted with and enjoy. I respect them whether or not I agree with them.

In the case of davem's ban, whether I agree with it or not, I have only one Statement to make, as a member of this Community.

If the ban was caused in part by davem's refusal to drop issues, it may be wise to consider banning me, for my own encouragement of all sides toward passion.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:23 AM   #51
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I think this whole thing has got out of hand.

We need a solution that does not leave so many people hurt. Here are the facts as I see them:

1) Davem did something that the mods deemed against the rules.
2) Davem was banned
3) Davem now feels like he has been wronged and betrayed.
4) Many Downers have been affected and some feel hurt by this whole situation and
5) Argument will only fuel the malcontent and make things worse.

I've decided no longer to take sides in this argument as I think that both parties have got something wrong. (I'm not saying that I've got it right, by the way). The mods need to realise that they have hurt Davem and made him feel betrayed. Weather or not you think you have betrayed Davem is irrelevant. That’s how he feels. And Davem, the mods felt that you broke the rules. Again, weather or not you think you did is irrelevant. That’s how they feel.
The way this argument has gone on is shocking. It needs to stop now! The longer it continues, the more Downers will be hurt.

Davem was a highly respected member of the Downs and he slipped up. The mods have had a long and good career and have kept the Downs in order and they slipped up. The feeling of many Downers is of fear and betrayal and no amount of explaining your actions will solve this problem. Not now.
The Saucepan man* has given his reasons. The Barrow Wight has given his. Davem has also given his reasons. We could discuss who is right and who is wrong till Kingdom come and it won't solve anything.

We need a solution. We need to heal the wounds we've all helped to create with this ridiculous argument. Both parties need to admit that they've hurt each other. If we keep up the argument about 'was it right to ban davem' or 'would it be fare to bring him back' then nothing will get solved.

We need to put this whole sordid business behind us and move on. If there is any way both parties can forgive and forget then it will be most wise. If, however, you wish to say 'I'm not apologising until the other apologises', isn't that a little childish? One of you needs to make the first step and admit that the way this business has been handled has been rotten from the start. To use an old cliché, you need to 'kiss and make up'. Other wise, more people are going to get hurt and more division is going to grow.

The suggestion of a second forum is, I think, a bad idea. What will happen? There will be masses of malcontent thrown between them. If you're part of one, you must hate the other. How will it be when all the current members are gone and there are new members on both? They'll both hate each other and not know why. Is that what we want? If we don't solve this now, we never will. If we want to find out who is right and who is wrong we may as well have a dancing competition... Hmm... Maybe we should.


*By the way, this week’s episode of 'The Phantom and Alien' has nothing to do with this argument, as some people have thought. The preliminary sketches were made several weeks ago before I was aware The Saucepan man was involved in the argument.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:23 AM   #52
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davem was not the only one at fault in that Bible thread and I thank Fea for being honest enough to admit that all sides were involved in the game of winding one another up. davem was unfortunately the most visible of the parties involved, and others involved flew under the radar by various crafty and sneaky means. What happened to him was like a teacher faced with a class of disruptive kids simply choosing to pick on the one with the loudest voice instead of dealing with everyone. The easy way out. Of course, you couldn't possibly punish the angelic little girl in the corner who is always so sweet - depsite the fact that she's just spat on the boy next to her and provoked him into doing it back...

SpM - holes are being dug simply because the evidence for banning davem is poor, circumstantial at best. I'm sure you know all about dodgy evidence? The statements you refer to as being snidey asides were read in the light of a moderating team that had just got over an argument with davem - a mod team that had wounded pride due to the dispute, lets admit it. More on pride again later.

But in that dispute, you, the mod team, had won! You had beaten davem. He had retreated and had forgotten all about the dispute, and gone on to new thoughts. If you did find his asides offensive - and lets face it they weren't offensive to anyone but the mod team, were they?! Hmm?! - then you should have told him so and he'd have cut them out. As for if his use of analogy in his post in the Racism thread - did you not notice that he also used environmentalists in that analogy? I am one, and it didn't even register until it was brought up as 'evidence'; picking this out was an entirely personal, reactive selection.

The 'evidence' given was nothing of the sort. It was nothing to offend anyone. Only the mod team, in the light of davem's temerity of actually daring to question you would find this kind of 'evidence' anything of the sort. I suspect you were getting more than a bit paranoid that he was trying to get at you? News. He was not.

So he was not banned for his tone in the Bible thread, he was banned for arguing his case with the mods.

Male pride yet again. I note that the mod team is predominantly male. One stubborn man arguing with another load of stubborn men. You wouldn't get good odds if you wanted to place a bet on the outcome. It's time for you ALL to drop your egos and pride and shake hands and return to how it was before that stupid spat on the Bible thread caused all of this to blow up. And because if it carries on like this then the Downs will be harmed.

I don't want that. The mods don't want that. B-W don't want that. davem don't want that.

And I have to ask, this being a Tolkien forum and all, what has anyone actually learned from Tolkien? Isn't one of the biggest lessons in the book Forgiveness?

What, exactly, is the Downs gaining from davem's ban?

What does it stand to gain from Forgiving him?

And if you simply cannot get over your precious pride and consider this then I feel quite sure poor old Professor Tolkien will be rolling in his grave.

EDIT: X-posted with Mr Hookbill, great minds think alike, you see!

Yes, the inevitable thing that will happen if this carries on will be division, and a bad name for the Downs, it only stands to get much more sour. Why? Because the evidence as I said was based on 'value judgements'. If davem had been effin' and jeffin' it would have been clear cut, but it's not. So it can only get worse for the Downs. Even when/if the dust has settled it will remain spoiled (soiled?).

What has been forgotten is FORGIVENESS for davem, a guy many of us think is a huge loss to the Downs.
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Old 10-26-2006, 05:13 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TORE
If people didn't see it they can do what I did, PM another member & ask for information. What do you want the mods to do - create a thread entitled Why davem Was Banned and leave it there for two months? Three? Four?
Do I smell some sarcasm here? But yes, I would have liked to have a thread from the admistration sayin something along the lines of "we, the admisntration, after giving this a lot of thought, have decided to ban davem. In our opinion ...." + provide quotes. People wouldn't have to wonder about things develop a fear they would be banned for even a slightest disagreement (not that I have such fears).
Quote:
Originally Posted by TORE
I don't understand why you're clamouing for "better access" when there is a very detailed and, in my opinion, well put explanation right there.
If you're speaking abot alatar's post you're either misunderstanding my post or you didn't read it properly. I'm quite satisfied by the explanations that have been given here on this thread, but my point was that I would have liked to have all this info the moment davem was banned without living weeks (?) in ignorance.

Then, I would like to add, that alongside with asking an explanation, this thread was to expressind the displeasement the "secretive attitude" received.
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Old 10-26-2006, 05:25 AM   #54
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This is not intended to stir the boiling pot further, but to correct a few lingering misconceptions. Please understand that.

First, something that I meant to say earlier. The Werewolf dispute that arose earlier this year has, from what I have seen, at times been conflated with the current issue. They are not related, but the former is instructive. It involved a disagreement between members which became heated. I attempted to resolve it because that is what mods do in these situations. I believe that it was successfully resolved and that, in my view, is because those involved took a sensible approach to the requests and suggestions that were made in the interests of harmony, even though they may not entirely have agreed with every point that was made. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, there are some issues which cannot be resolved in that way.

Now, to those continuing misconceptions.

There seems to be a continuing view that this issue arose because davem was attacking Chrisitianity and/or the positions of some of those participating in the thread. Although it has been said many, many times, it cannot be emphasised enough. This was not the case. The issue arose because of the abrasive and disrespectful manner in which he did so, ridiculing and mocking rather than constructively debating and discussing. That this was the issue was made crystal clear to davem on a number of occasions (not least my own posts on the thread), so I really do not think that he could have been under any illusion as to the basis for the requests that were made and the warnings that were given. There was no “favouring” or “protecting” one side at the expense of the other. If you want a good example of someone who continued to challenge the positions taken in the thread by those looking for Biblical parallels in a respectful, calm and constructive manner, I can do little better than point you to the majority of Lalwendë’s posts in that thread.

Boromir88, as I have said the fact that davem’s posts were considered disrespectful and, in some cases, offensive by the mods and admins involved and did in fact give offence is, I believe, sufficient justification for the warnings that were given and, indeed, the temporary ban. Had they been heeded, the matter would have gone no further. I make no bones about the fact that davem’s continued references back to the thread after he had left it were taken to be in defiance of the basis upon which those warnings were given, as well as continuing the earlier course of conduct against which he had been warned. I also have no doubt that they were intended that way. The thing is that, if we get to the stage where polite and reasonable requests to refrain from certain conduct contrary to forum policies made by those tasked with enforcing them are simply ignored, that would not, in my view, bode well for this little community that we have all referred to. By all means, the reasonableness or otherwise of those requests can be discussed and debated privately and any representations in that regard will be listened to and carefully considered (as, indeed, occurred here), but where there is a clear indication that they will simply be ignored, few options are left. It is not a matter of pride or ego, but simply one of trying to maintain the Downs as it is and as it has always been.

Afraid that something that you say may give offence? Well, you have no cause for concern unless you do so repeatedly, in which case you may receive a polite request from a moderator or administrator not to do so. Ever received such a warning? No? Then you have absolutely no reason to fear. Just keep posting in the way that you have always done.

Can I forgive and forget? Well, it would be rather difficult after some of the things that I have seen said about me on some of the private blogs discussing this matter. I do not discount it as a possibility, though. Will I apologise for anything that I have said or done? No, I am afraid that I will not. I am absolutely clear in my mind that, save to the extent that I have already apologised in my earlier post, I have done nothing that requires an apology. However, I am no longer a moderator and I was, in any event, looking to scale down my involvement in the Downs. So, in all the circumstances, my own personal views are not really the issue. They are certainly less important than the continued and prosperous existence of the Downs. I have done all that I feel that I can reasonably be expected to do to further that aim.

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Old 10-26-2006, 06:05 AM   #55
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Pipe

What do we want? We don't know! When do we want it? Um...who knows?

But no. What we want is now clear, we want to return to the Downs as was. Of course, we could all just shut up about davem and carry on as normal but there would then be a permanent undercurrent of resentment and suspicion, hence Downs Marred would be all we would have. One thing we clearly cannot do is to agree on who is right and who is wrong as all the evidence put forwards is subjective - from all sides. No amount of posts will get us over that barrier and we are only digging our trenches a little deeper each time as we simply do not understand one another.

So it is time to broker peace.

Of course I talk to davem about this on a daily basis (hourly, sometimes ). His one constant emotion is that of regret. He regrets that he may have unwittingly caused offence. He regrets that he chose to argue about this rather than just take a break or a step back. He regrets that this has caused distress to so many (and is surprised that so many people who he may have barely ever spoken to think so highly of him). He has said he is sorry about the whole thing.

We must remember we are not words on a screen we are all different people from different backgrounds, cultures and with different expectations and disputes will happen. We are not a homogenous mass.

We cannot have our old davem back, but we want the old Downs back. How are we going to get that? Of course as I said earlier we could just keep our traps shut about davem and this whole issue, but its clear that's not going to work; this would instantly create a two-tier Downs with a barely buried hatchet. We could move on and get onto other topics, but that would have the same effects as the above. We could split off from the Downs but that would be an obvious division. What is needed is a very real gesture of peace.

As I've said above, davem is filled with regret about what has happened. He loved the Downs and he loved the members too. He is sorry. If he was here now, he would not be posting as he is shaken and upset by all that's happened. But from chatting with other members it has become clear that in order to bury the hatchet the most effective solution now is simply to unban him as an effective gesture of peace.

This will tell the membership that forgiveness has taken place on both sides and in all sectors in between. It will tell the members that all considerations of pride and ego have now been put aside in favour of a more inclusive approach. davem has stepped down from his high horse and it is time all parties did the same. If we cannot find it in ourselves to provide a gesture of peace then it says a lot of terrible things about us, that we enjoy the thrill of power (or rebellion) more than friendship and comradeship, and we might as well all pack up and go back to our bunkers and hunker down.

So, who wants to smoke the pipe of peace? Hands up, now.
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Old 10-26-2006, 06:26 AM   #56
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Send the Pipe of Peace this way, please.

And to reiterate, I have absolutely no problem with anyone in the 'Downs management. As my part of the peace gesture, I apologize to anyone who was hurt by anything that I've said either here or on the blogs. It was certainly never my intention to cause hurt feelings.
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Old 10-26-2006, 06:56 AM   #57
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Quote:
He has said he is sorry about the whole thing.
I'd say that was an apology on Mr. Dave's part. If the mods would pay him in kind, I think we could (and probably should) put the matter to bed.

There is a lesson to be learned here, I think. Keeping short accounts is always best, if someone feels insulted by you, apologise immediately, and don’t let the matter drag on or we might end up with a situation such as this again.

After all this trouble, I hardly think it's going to happen again in the foreseeable future. I think we're all tired of this argument and it would be best to resolve it sooner rather than later.

As I said, it doesn’t matter who was right and who was wrong. What matters is that we make amends for any wrongdoing. I don't want to take sides, but it seems that Mr Dave has attempted this (through lal). So, can the mods put aside any bad feelings towards all this? I hope so. We all make mistakes. If we held a grudge against anyone that had done something wrong, we'd have to hate everyone in the world.

Or should we have that dance-off?
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:32 AM   #58
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I see a lot of names I do not recognize on this thread mixed in with names of people I am familiar with. This is understandable since I have barely set foot into this Barrow in several months. I pretty much decided to return a few weeks ago, though I did not intend to return quite so soon. But when I peeked in a few days ago, I realized the time had come.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am one of the original four Administrators of this forum; Barrow Wight, Mr. Underhill, Sharku and Mithadan – the original cabal. We have been working together at making this into a special community for six years now. During this time, we have experienced an array of problems and issues ranging from spamming and flaming all the way up to alleged stalking (fortunately the purported victims and the persons accused turned out to be separated by a rather broad ocean). In order to maintain order and to preserve the character of this place, we have been forced to delete posts and threads, give warnings to members, close contentious threads and suspend and ban members. In addition, there is constant redirecting of posts to the proper forums and work to make the site and discussions better. BW started this place as a community for serious Tolkien discussion. Unfortunately, we have often been so busy putting out fires, fielding complaints and suggestions and working to maintain order that we barely have time to post ourselves. That’s why I left for a while. I got burnt out. To any of you who may have a contrary perception, it is really not easy being an administrator.

I am writing here as a disinterested and uninvolved insider. To define terms, I am uninvolved in that I was not part of the Moderator/Administrator group discussing the problems that had arisen with Davem and the Lord of the Bible thread and took no part in the decision to ban him – I wasn’t around. I am disinterested because I have not and will not take the time to reconstruct what happened. I am an insider because I am intimately familiar with how this site is operated and what goes into decision making here. We determined early on that we had to have rules so people understood how to comport themselves on the BarrowDowns. They boil down to “stay civil and stay on topic” although they go farther than that. We also have to enforce those rules. Sometimes, its easy. Spammers get nuked out of hand. Newcomers who engage in flaming and demonstrate no real interest in participating get banned without discussion. I’ve done this many times myself. Newcomers who don’t get how things work but actually seem to want to be involved get directed to the rules or get guidance.. It’s more difficult when a long standing member starts acting up. These cases get debated, sometimes for weeks or months. Warnings or suggestions are sent. If the member doesn’t straighten out a temporary ban comes next. A permanent ban is the last resort. Often, even “permanent bans” aren’t always really permanent if the member shows real contrition, recognizes what he or she has been doing and promises to shape up. Such decisions involve lots of angst and concern; the decision to ban a long standing member is NEVER made lightly. We try to give people chances and regrettably have, in the past, given people too much rope.

A few years back, there was a well-respected and long standing member that I’ll call “X”. X joined even before I did. X was given a lot of leeway and apparently believed X was indispensable and untouchable. X became rude and abrasive, ridiculing posts of others and actively harassing newcomers. X was given warnings and even a temporary ban. But members avoided posting in the forums X frequented; they were intimidated or scared and some claimed X received preferential treatment. There was another member, “Y”. “Y” was about as knowledgeable in things Tolkien as anyone. Y knew HoME inside and out, and developed unique theories and opinions, some of which were fascinating and some of which were disputed. Y had a set of issues as well but was a valuable member. X didn’t like Y and engaged in a campaign against Y. The Admins didn’t know about this. Finally, Y had been insulted enough and left. No amount of requests made Y return. X was permanently banned but Y never set foot in the Downs again. Y was not the only member to leave because of X. Since then, the Admins have been very aware that there is such a thing as giving a member too much rope and too much leeway. We also learned that we shouldn’t even appear to treat one member differently from others because of who he is. This place is a community and the needs of the many always outweigh the needs of the one.

As I said, I have not researched what happened in this case. I have not even read the Mods thread in any detail. I have read this thread. Some people have posted to say they felt Davem had acted improperly. Even some of Davem’s supporters concede that he was not acting in a sterling manner. The Mods that have posted have reported that this issue was discussed at length; this is true. Warnings and a temporary ban were given. What was done was clearly not arbitrary or capricious.

I have found some of the posts on this thread to be a little offensive or, at least, lacking restraint. There is no pro-religious slant to this site. Look back at the Tolkien and the Bible thread from a few years back. I personally closed that thread a few times when tempers flared. Without naming names, I will tell you that some of the Admins and Mods are not even Christian. If this forum were suddenly swept up in a revolution of fundamentalism, they would vote with their feet. They haven’t.

The theme of this forum is Tolkien-related free expression within reason, reason being civility and some degree of propriety. This site has always been this way and will stay this way. We have always been the “serious” Tolkien board.

The quality and volume of posts in the Books forum has always been in a state of ebb and flow. I’ve peeked in and there are some good threads there right now. But people are not posting as much there right now. Why? We could publish traffic information showing thread hits but it’s not necessary. Everyone is watching this entertaining sideshow rather than posting elsewhere.

If the Admins and Mods were the evil dictators some have implied, this thread would have been killed on day one. It wasn’t. People need to express themselves, state their dissatisfaction and maybe rant a bit. So we’ve allowed everyone to vent a bit. But I think enough is enough.

We appreciate Lalwende’s post indicating Davem’s regret and sorrow. If he had expressed those sentiments early on, we might not be here. Our members need to feel free to post in Books and elsewhere without fear of ridicule, disparagement or even condescension. An “I won’t do it again” might have sufficed at the beginning if it was sincere. But now there is an awful lot more to apologize for than his posts before he was banned. There has been a campaign of disruption since then and some truly nasty things have been posted on blogs. This whole thing has been truly sad.

Could I wave a virtual wand and unban Davem? Yes. Will I do so? No. That is up to the person that made the final decision. I won’t second guess his judgment. Will Davem be allowed to return? Maybe. I won’t close the door. Some healing needs to take place before we can even consider that and some semblance of normalcy must be restored. I think that all that can be said in this thread has been said for now. It is time for healing and this thread is antithetical to that. This thread is temporarily closed for a few hours so that members can reflect and so that tempers can cool down. If posters cannot act civilly once the thread is reopened it will be closed again.
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Old 10-29-2006, 04:19 AM   #59
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A Tale of Too Critiques

Being possibily one of the only members on this site to have met both Davem and Lal on a number of occasions, I can only say what a pleasure it was. They are both sensible, articulate, friendly and funny. It grieves me to see what has happened to Davem, I for one enjoyed his threads, I enjoyed even more his humour. I think the main reason for this is that we are both of the same ilk, the type of humour employed by Davem is quite localised to the North of England, and we just do not see sarcasm as an almost physical attack on another, as some people quite obviously do. I have no doubt in my mind that had Davem known he was causing peoples personal worlds to collapse around them, he would have desisted, in the same context I think some have taken things he said too literally and blown it out of proportion, react first and think later. Davem would be the first to admit that on reflection, he may have gone too far. I have many of the same beliefs that he has, yet this is not the place to use them as a battlefield against those that don't, I may as well try to convince a door that it is a window. Nothing at all has been achieved by that post other than The Banning of Davem, everyone still thinks there own views, and the same ideas are still going round and round, only now there is no-one to contest them, how banal..........
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Old 10-30-2006, 07:35 AM   #60
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Pipe Divided loyalty: I'm sure I've read something that's applicable...

I've been giving this a lot of thought lately, although really it only involves me insofar as I'm a long-standing member of the forum. I'll make no bones about the fact that I've met several of the senior mods personally and that I like to think I can count them as friends. I wouldn't feel like that if I believed that any of them were in the habit of kicking people off the forum arbitrarily or without due consideration. I was one of the first to comment on The Saucepan Man's initial explanation and I freely admit that my main motivation was to calm down any controversy, not because I necessarily agreed with the decision, but because I've been around long enough to know that heated public argument is the best way to ensure that a ban remains permanent.

I like davem. I've enjoyed his posts and I respect his opinion. I also share his distaste for hijacking Tolkien or any other literature as propaganda for a particular religious or political system. Although I felt very uncomfortable with the tone of some of his last posts here, I was no less uncomfortable about his ban, which came as some surprise despite his mild antagonism towards the moderating policy here. It's never easy to be told that one must be more polite when one is confronted with opinions that one considers foolish, but that's the way we do things around here. It's possible to be provocative and substantial without sarcasm or ridicule, and in fact I consider them to be fairly weak and inelegant rhetorical techniques that undermine one's own argument as much as anyone else's. Nonetheless I felt certain that davem and the mods would come to a satisfactory agreement and that he'd continue to post. For whatever reason, that didn't happen, and as always I'm very reluctant to start attributing motivations in a dispute in which I wasn't involved.

Since I'm well-disposed to all parties in this matter I don't want to take sides. What I will say is that my personal experience of conversations with those moderators most closely involved is that they are not petty-minded or vindictive people, and I have never known them to say or do anything in fits of pique or offended pride, male or otherwise. If this was a mistake, it was an honest one, and made with the best interests of the forum at heart. That's not to say that I wanted davem to go, or that I wouldn't welcome him back if he were reinstated; I don't think that he has been responsible for a lot of the invective that has been written on his behalf, and I'm sure that he has also acted in good faith. However, he is wrong about the reasons for his ban and there were several points at which he could have defused the situation by forgetting what other people were doing and looking to his own conduct; that is, after all, the only thing that any of us can control in any argument.

I should also like to address the issue of tone and regional speech. Yorkshire and the North of England are not the only parts of the English-speaking world in which forthrightness and acerbity are common features of speech. We have members, some of them very long-standing, who hail from other places where bluff, tough honesty is highly prized, and they have managed not to get themselves banned. The point is that it's possible to be forthright without being rude, and sarcasm is specifically mentioned in the section of the forum regulations mentioning tone. I sometimes use sarcasm myself in everyday speech, just as sometimes in everyday speech I swear and tell crude jokes. None of those are allowed here, so you won't see me doing them here. On one occasion when I was aggresively sarcastic towards another member I was publicly reprimanded and posted a public apology, not for my argument, but for my rudeness. What I did not do was to argue with the moderator who had issued the reprimand, make more sarcastic comments or question the policy of frowning on aggressive sarcasm. It might also be helpful to say that the moderator made no objection to my point.

The reason I joined this forum and more importantly the reason I stayed was because I could see that courteous and friendly debate was the encouraged norm. People disagreed with one another, but without the nasty fights that can break out elsewhere; but that comes at a price, and that price is that sometimes we have to take a deep breath before composing a rebuttal. We're allowed to crush arguments with ruthless logic and quote chapter and verse to prove someone wrong; we're just not allowed to belittle people, for example by using sarcasm on them. The more senior a member is, the higher their reputation, the more strictly should they avoid that sort of behaviour. I may not like it that davem is gone, and I certainly don't think that he meant any harm or offence in his posts, but the fact remains that he repeatedly set a poor example in a thread that was already dangerously emotive, which is how this whole situation began. The tu quoque approach that others were doing it too does not excuse it: I've been on the receiving end of sarcastic and belligerant posts myself without descending to the same level, and in the end I was not the loser thereby. It's rather sad that our members let themselves down so badly on that thread, and it's even sadder that it has caused members to question one another's integrity, but the thing to do now is to make sure it doesn't happen again. If we treat each other with the respect that courtesy implies then it won't. As for rectifying the ban, it will be some time before I can see the way clear to that: the dust must settle first.

Mithadan, whom incidentally it's good to see back again, has made a very good point, which bears repeating. In the recent atmosphere it's been highly unlikely that anyone would reverse the decision about davem. If I were responsible for maintaining forum discipline I too would be reluctant to reinstate someone in response to a campaign, particularly one involving off-site attacks on the moderating team. It's not impossible, though, that private persuasion would stand more of a chance than public pressure once all of this furore has calmed down. However unpleasant it may be to let things that upset us pass without public comment, undermining the authority of those responsible for running the forum is not the best way to right wrongs or iron out problems with the rules.

I don't like making statements like this, so anything else I say on this subject will be said in private. I'm aware that this won't be a popular line to take, but I'm not about to keep it to myself either. Davem isn't the only person who has feelings, nor is he the only member who has made a significant contribution. That's how one gets offered a moderating post in the first place.
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:22 AM   #61
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I have nothing like the stamina to deliver an oration on the subject, but I fear Squatter's on the whole wise and conciliatory post makes the mistake of a bit of pigeonholing towards the end.

I do not regard the statement I signed as a "campaign", nor, certainly, as an "off-site attack on the moderating team", and as for "undermining the authority of those responsible for the running of the site", I regret to say that I think that is venturing upon insult.

That letter was extremely carefully, consideratedly couched expression of regret, unease and malaise. I didn't write a word of it, but I wish I had done; a masterpiece of articulacy. It was an attack on nobody, only a request for a conversation which I think is even now proving healthy.

If the authority of those responsible for the running of the site really is undermined by this refreshing breeze, then it is an authority I have little enthusiasm to support.

On the other hand, it is good to know that fears about the Slough parody instigating davem's ban were unfounded.

That we are surer about such things is a result of that community statement, and in that case it is not a matter of undermining authority, but demystifying and restoring confidence. It is to bolster such confidence and, er, general well-being, that this chat should continue.
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:07 AM   #62
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Pipe An apology

Sorry. The community statement is not a campaign, and I support both its sentiments and the language in which it was couched. Close to the end of an exhausting and reluctant post I got sloppy and drifted away from the community statement onto other ground. At that point I was thinking of certain comments made both on the Downs and elsewhere that were unrelated to the community statement, but which touched on the same issues. Those comments call into question the competence, integrity and fairness of the moderators here, and as such seem calculated to undermine their authority. I should have made it clear that I was trying to address those reactions as well as the community statement, which is in itself a laudable and well-conceived reaction.

Some of the other reactions have been less constructive and can be interpreted as a campaign, although they might easily be nothing more than angry responses to a perceived injustice.

Yes, I know I said I wouldn't make any more public statements about this, but I thought I'd make an exception in this case.
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:25 AM   #63
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Yes, this was not a 'campaign', just a lot of people who ended up finding each other's blogs, e-mail addresses and whatnot and there was the idea to put up a statement - partly to stop people bombarding mods with PMs it must be said. There was nothing 'sinister' going on, just a lot of emotions ranging from confusion, through regret to simple anger, and this statement covered all sorts of people, some of whom remember are quite young and might be upset to think they have been naughty - and its just mean to accuse them of that kind of thing.

As for anything else, its just a lot of people who felt frustrated and angry mouthing off and moaning to one another. As people do. 'Campaign' is more than a bit too strong a word for what are just rants from lots of different people.

Now back to your posts!
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Old 10-30-2006, 02:02 PM   #64
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Replaying canoncity--the writer, the text, the reader?

One of the things I have been observing in this whole affair is the connundrum of interpreting words on a screen, and I think it bears remembering just how difficult communication is without physical presence, without body language, a smile or a grin, a wink, a shrug of the shoulder, a deliberately bland visage, etc etc.

Throughout the blogs and here on various threads there have been many comments about davem's intentions, from davem himself and from others, about how he did not mean to engage in personal insult or attack when he used sarcasm and invective. The problem here, of course, is like that of any literary text: recovering an author's intention. And from our discussion of Tolkien we all are aware of how difficult that is. Even authors, our discussions have shown, cannot always with clear authority and vision recall intentions. And their intentions can change. (I'm speaking of Tolkien now.)

For me, for instance, I found this paragraph from the Community Statement very troubling:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CS
We further feel that, upon reflection, that those responsible for the banishment have decided to try and cover up this issue, making various excuses, none of which presented have seemed plausible to us, as already noted..
I saw, and I still see when I read this, a statement that those responsible were being deceitful. That is how I interpret "cover up" and "making excuses". Now, perhaps the writers did not intend to convey this idea of deceit. I would hope they didn't. It is entirely possible. Yet that is what these words suggest to me. And what I could not understand was how quickly the trust in the mods and Admins evaporated so that such an implication could be made. I had to shake my head and wonder what happened to trust, why did things get so angry so quickly, why did no one stop to wonder what might have been on the minds of the mods and the Admin and give them some benefit of doubt? Those are the things that ran through my mind. See-- because of this one paragraph--that statement did not make me think the way I suspect the signees wanted me to think. I was not moved to question the decision to ban davem, but to wonder what had happened to our communal trust.

But my point is not to ask this now, and not to put the writers and signees on the defensive. I wish simply to suggest that we all remember how difficult it is to interpret words on the Internet.

We come from many different cultures and the English we use is, for most purposes, a "Global English." Gone are the days when Britannia ruled the World; our maps are no longer coloured in pink for the Empire. ( A colonial's JOKE) Each culture has manners unique to that culture and what we need to strive for is a recognition that, when we write, we write not just out of our own little corner of the world, but for the world. Many cultures, especially non-Western ones, place--at least in my experience as a teacher of ESL--a higher expectation of courtesy and politeness and public decorum in their communication than my North American compatriots. And it isn't just culture that influences our interpretation, but our age and generation, our own personal experience, our own habits of reading. And unlike spoken language, written language does not fade away, but can be returned to, read over and over, an act which can even increase the depth of feeling and misunderstanding. Rants, once spoken, dissipate in the air and turn into memory, but rants written remain, to be reexperienced.

I know that from now on I will step back from every post which strikes any 'spider senses' and I will ask of my own posts if I, as a writer, have really controlled my meaning as much as I should. None of us are perfect writers, of course, not even Tolkien or other great authors, but we can all take responsibility for trying as hard as possible to ensure that our intentions are fully represented in our posts.

Now, I do hope Fordim will be pleased with how I wangled a canonicity question into all of this.
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Old 10-30-2006, 02:49 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bêthberry
Now, I do hope Fordim will be pleased with how I wangled a canonicity question into all of this.
Almost as delighted as I am by your use of the word "wangled".
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:19 PM   #66
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Quote:
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Almost as delighted as I am by your use of the word "wangled".
Irony is the most difficult thing to get across. Glad I succeeded.
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:15 PM   #67
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Narya What a drag...

As an older member (almost 5 years!!! Can you believe it?) and a tireless fan of this site, I am saddened, both by the banning and its aftermath.

A few points,

I like davem, his sense of humour, his dashing (yes, dashing) style, and his intelligence. His posts, however, could be abrasive. People have discussed the decline of the "Books" forum here, and I'd like to admit that personally, I have been avoiding "Books" because of davem's often confrontational methods. I have been tempted to jump in many times over the recent months, but have resisted. Very few people on the Downs made have made me feel unwelcome in "Books," and, I regret to say, davem was one of them, in spite of the fact that I tended to agree with him on most of the things he said. I am sure he never meant to make me, or anyone else, feel unwelcome, of course. And this belief of mine makes me feel an even deeper sense of regret.

You know, Slavic Internet culture is a whole lot less tame than what happens on the Downs. But as a member of this community, I have learned that I cannot use the same style I employ in my Russian-language LiveJournal discussions here. This doesn't mean I have to be someone I'm not. And if davem ever reads this post, I hope he takes note of my experience.

Finally, as a moderator of a popular religious forum, I deal with such episodes on a regular basis. I've had to vote "yes" on banning charismatic, erudite members, and weather intense critcism. It's not easy, but then again, being banned isn't easy either. I completely understand what the moderators are going through, but I also see davem's point of view, and I sympathize greatly.

I would like to echo Mithadan's (Hi, Mith! What a story you related to us! I'm pretty sure I know who X is !) statement concerning bannings - nothing is set in stone.

I hope that davem will be able to return eventually. I hope that we will all learn something from this. I do not wish to see my favourite Internet community torn apart over something like this, and will do whatever necessary to keep the flame burning.

And davem, I apologize for discussing you like this, in a place where you have no way of answering me. If you ever want to talk, come over and say "hello" on my blog.

xoxo
Lushie.
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:47 PM   #68
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I really wasn't going to say any more but , while fully appreciating that people can have very different experiences of the same place, I would want to balance that a little since I found Davem encouraging in my albeit limited "Books" participation. He and HI and Fordim were particularly encouraging to me as a newcomer and the only really serious topic I have started there was inspired by, or more accurately ripped off from, a Davem post.

And on the in for a penny in for a pound theory I will add that if the mods and admins collectively do not have the unfailing loyalty that Bethberry feels they deserve, then it may be that for some of us they are remote figures. I have been here for two and a half years, nearly every day (sad sack that I am) and have participated in all parts of the forum apart from the New Silmarillion and many of them are no more than names . This may be a sign that I have kept my nose relatively clean, but it is asking a lot to expect people to trust people they don't know over those that they do.

Finally, I would state again that the the community statement was not an attempt to destroy the Downs. The choice as far as I was concerned,was to speak out and hope that a way through could be found or to simply leave. Some of you may have preferred that. Staying and pretending it never happened was not a long term option, I tried for a while and found I couldn't live with my conscience. We didn't do this frivolously, and believe me, having had been sneered at by people I had previously regarded as friends, I can see the attraction of turning a blind eye. Nevertheless I do not regret my choice
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:59 PM   #69
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Narya

Quote:
Some of you may have preferred that.
Not I, said I.

I'm glad this thread "happened."
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Old 11-01-2006, 04:18 PM   #70
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Seconding Mith (of alwen, if we must discriminate ) davem was the first Downer to take an interest in what I had to say. And while he might seem intimidating he's most certainly not in real life. But his intelligence is certainly intimidating, that's one of the things that attracted me to him, as I find a very clever man very attractive.
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:35 PM   #71
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I would say that Bêthberry goes straight to the point in her post.

We all know that speaking about sensitive topics is hard even face to face. So how do we manage without a physical contact? And when we have a global community, would even the physical contact help us to interpret each other?

And as Mith said, we have a varying degree of knowledge of or familiarity with each other. Some know each other personally from daily RL, some have PM'd, chatted etc. a lot and maybe even met, some have learned to know one another through lengthy discussions here at the Downs and some people are just "unknowns" to us.

And some people write with their mothertongue, with varying dialects, and others use their fluent second language, some their pretty unsure foreign one.

So there is a fertile ground for misunderstandings here.

We really should all remember that. Not only us from the non-English speaking countries (or the Yorkshireans ), but also the native-speakers.


But we should not infer from this that somekind of politically correct eg. crippled language of "clean information" (which is not possible) is the only allowed manner of speech either. The joy of language, the joy of speech and writing - and the deeper grace of communication - lies in the multiple ways the meaning can be conveyed and given birth to. We will always construct the meaning of the other differently as we can not share the "world" of the one who addressed us. The world of the sender is embedded in the culture and individual life-history of her/himself. But within limits it still is shareable with those outside: otherwise we could not communicate at all.

All this requires trust and mutual-effort to gain new views of the things discussed and sharing the points of the others (however well or badly they are interpreted concerning the initial meaning). In here I quess any of us (myself included) could learn more.


And here we come to one of the cores of this row. It feels to me that there has been some initial ill-will or frustration, or anger or disappointment or whatever that has lead to actions that have generated even more ill-will, frustration, anger, disappointment and whatever. That is most sad, both because of what actually happened to davem and to what may happen to the Downs as a community of good faith.

Gaining trust takes time, losing it takes a second.

I really agree with the few last remarks that this thread has been a good thing. Without this discussion that has been partaken by the mods and also those not overtly happy or compliant with the "community statement", I think I would have been left a lot more suspicious and less happy to hang around here. ("That would be a relief!", some of you may say... sorry )

Concerning the banning of davem I'm not yet assured that everything went correctly and in the smoothest and most reasonable way possible (reader warning: sarcasm involved). I still think it wasn't the right decision. Much could have been done better - and I believe some wounds that would not heal by themselves still could be healed to a degree with some carefully thought of actions. But nevertheless, this discussion has made me drop many of my darkest speculative ideas and because of that I'm somewhat relieved with regard to the BD as a community.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mith
We didn't do this frivolously, and believe me, having had been sneered at by people I had previously regarded as friends, I can see the attraction of turning a blind eye. Nevertheless I do not regret my choice
Even though I have not felt that so acutely as Mith seems to have, I must admit that I know what she's talking about. And I can only second her here. There's no regretting in things that have to be done for the common good. Just staying silent about this issue would have been like saying after a snake bite that: "it's only a toe, why should I bother the inconvenience" and thence letting the silent venom spread...
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:44 PM   #72
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Narya

Well you know, Lal what the funny thing is: my boyfriend wouldn't last a week on the Downs. Although I wouldn't call him intimidating - he just doesn't know how to disagree without biting his opponent's head off. And here I am complaining about davem... Everything is relative.
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:13 PM   #73
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Squatter, if it appears like I, or anyone, was trying to undermine authority, that wasn't an intent. I won't deny that I was slightly irritated by early comments made upon the matter, but all that has been straightened out. I don't take back anything I've said (except that I've come to understand if somebody found the comments made offensive, whether they were intended that way or not isn't the problem...if the comments were seen as offensive, than they were offensive). Anyway, I don't take back in 'feeling' anything I've said.

I don't think the situation as far as what happens when people in threads get a little out of hand was dealt with in the normal way. And I still feel that way. The normal way I've seen on my time here is a mod stepping in and halting the problem telling the people to solve it through PMs and move on...not the mods privately (albeit publicly as well) discussing one indvidual who was out-of-line with his comments. It takes two (or more) to tango as they say. That was my big problem with the situation in that I just don't think it was the normal way of handling threads that got heated and the people in those threads who got heated.

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Isn't that the sad truth? Just like somebody's reputation. Takes a while to build up, but in a single moment could be smashed to dust. Which case the only real thing to do (as walking away isn't an option) is building everything back up.
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