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BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread

Joe Offer 28 Oct 09 - 05:39 PM
Rapparee 28 Oct 09 - 05:46 PM
Joe Offer 28 Oct 09 - 05:54 PM
Gervase 28 Oct 09 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Number 6 28 Oct 09 - 06:07 PM
Ed T 28 Oct 09 - 06:07 PM
CarolC 28 Oct 09 - 06:12 PM
Ed T 28 Oct 09 - 06:13 PM
wysiwyg 28 Oct 09 - 06:17 PM
artbrooks 28 Oct 09 - 06:21 PM
Charmion 28 Oct 09 - 06:33 PM
Bill D 28 Oct 09 - 06:35 PM
wysiwyg 28 Oct 09 - 06:37 PM
catspaw49 28 Oct 09 - 06:43 PM
Rowan 28 Oct 09 - 06:45 PM
akenaton 28 Oct 09 - 06:55 PM
Azizi 28 Oct 09 - 06:55 PM
Jean(eanjay) 28 Oct 09 - 06:58 PM
Amos 28 Oct 09 - 07:02 PM
Big Mick 28 Oct 09 - 07:02 PM
Little Hawk 28 Oct 09 - 07:03 PM
Azizi 28 Oct 09 - 07:10 PM
katlaughing 28 Oct 09 - 07:11 PM
The Villan 28 Oct 09 - 07:20 PM
katlaughing 28 Oct 09 - 07:21 PM
Jeri 28 Oct 09 - 07:32 PM
Dave Roberts 28 Oct 09 - 07:34 PM
Joe Offer 28 Oct 09 - 07:35 PM
Bill D 28 Oct 09 - 07:39 PM
Ed T 28 Oct 09 - 07:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Oct 09 - 07:43 PM
CarolC 28 Oct 09 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,Number 6 28 Oct 09 - 07:47 PM
The Sandman 28 Oct 09 - 07:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Oct 09 - 07:53 PM
Joe Offer 28 Oct 09 - 07:54 PM
The Villan 28 Oct 09 - 07:57 PM
The Villan 28 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM
mg 28 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM
The Sandman 28 Oct 09 - 08:04 PM
Big Mick 28 Oct 09 - 08:05 PM
The Villan 28 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM
CarolC 28 Oct 09 - 08:10 PM
The Villan 28 Oct 09 - 08:12 PM
Jack Campin 28 Oct 09 - 08:14 PM
Big Mick 28 Oct 09 - 08:15 PM
The Villan 28 Oct 09 - 08:18 PM
CarolC 28 Oct 09 - 08:22 PM
Jim Dixon 28 Oct 09 - 08:24 PM
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Subject: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 05:39 PM

I said the following in a moderator's comment after a thread was closed:
    I have to say that I share his disillusion with the prejudice and nastiness that is so pervasive at Mudcat these days. Even though some Christians have done horrible things in the name of their faith, that's no justification for the overall prejudice against Christianity that exists at Mudcat. And even though I'm sure that it is righteous to oppose the BNP, the nastiness at Mudcat in the name of righteousness - is still nastiness. Think about those things - no, I'm not going to open that for discussion, because it will just get nasty and bigoted all over again. Dan is not the only one who has abandoned his Mudcat membership because of the bigotry and nastiness here. I don't know how these things can be resolved, but I wish they could be.
I suppose it's not quite fair to say something like that and not allow discussion, so I will allow it for a limited time, and I will monitor it very closely. I'm not at liberty to name names, but there are a number of good people who have left their Mudcat memberships recently, and it's for two main reasons:

  • The horrible meanness in the threads on the BNP (British National Party)
  • The constant anti-Christian bigotry that is expressed at Mudcat

And the thing about all this that is so distressing, is that this bigotry and nastiness is coming from people who are otherwise quite admirable people, people who would ordinarily be thought of as 'the good guys" - but yet they can be horribly mean and horribly prejudiced.
The Conventional Wisdom at Mudcat is that Christians are evil and BNP Nazis are evil, so they're fair game, and anything said against them is righteous.
The most distressing example was one day when MBSGeorge posted on a BNP thread, and people just ganged up and battered her. MBSGeorge is a longtime Mudcatter and a longtime member of the UK folk community, and I hear from people who know her that she is a very nice person. BUT she ran for office as a BNP candidate for a minor local position, so now she has been repeatedly and cruelly condemned at Mudcat as a bigot and a horrible person. Mind you, MBSGeorge has never said a nasty or bigoted word at Mudcat - but if she dares to post, you can be sure that an angry mob of self-righteous Mudcatters are going to jump all over her.
Yes, we do have occasional visits from BNP trolls (and from other trolls masquerading as BNP members), and I'm sure they get great pleasure out of the hysterically righteous reaction many Mudcatters give them. I'm sure our anti-BNP troupe draws a lot of the pro-BNP posts we get, because it's known that Mudcat has become a place where troublemakers can always find a good brawl. I still think silence or rational, clever replies are a far better tool to use against the BNP trolls.
I lead a Bible study at my Catholic parish on Monday mornings. There's one woman in the Bible study who constantly complains because she says our parish is not a "pro-life" parish since we don't have a steady stream of anti-abortion propaganda. I'd say the vast majority of Catholic are against abortion, but they could also be called "pro-choice" because they don't believe that legislation or criminalization (or propaganda) will effectively reduce the number of abortions. I've found that parishes that have strong anti-abortion campaigns, often have a very nasty, negative air about them - because they're all about being against something instead of doing something constructive like feeding the poor or giving housing to the homeless.
Same thing applies to Mudcat - negativism will destroy us, even if it's in the name of righteousness.

OK, now about the Christian thing. The conventional wisdom at Mudcat is that all Christians are anti-abortion, anti-evolution, anti-homosexual, sexist bigots. And Catholics are even worse, since they follow every dictate of the Pope and promote child molestation. You know, I suppose there are a few Christians and a few Catholic Christians who fit those descriptions, but most don't. But there's very little said at Mudcat about Christians who demonstrated and were beaten and arrested for peace and civil rights, who run homeless shelters and soup kitchens, who run remarkable schools and healthcare institutions, and who do all sorts of other wonderful things for the good of society.
I get along here just fine, but I do have to say that at time, I feel marginalized here. There's always the underlying feeling that I'm an outsider, because I'm a Christian and a Catholic. There was even one anonymous post here that called me a child molester.
But it's more than just righteous nastiness against the BNP and anti-Christian bigotry. There's an underlying tone of animosity and mistrust at Mudcat that is hurting us as a community, a cancer that is silently destroying us. There seems to be philosophy arising that says, "I'm right, so it's righteous for me to attack others."
When you post, try to remember that there are real people reading your posts - and if you post is an attack, somebody's going to get hurt. So, could we lighten up a bit and do our best to ensure that nobody gets hurt, even if we disagree with them?
I'll open this to discussion, but only to civil discussion. I will not allow any posts from guests, even if they are members; and I will not allow any posts from new members whose identity I cannot verify. I'm sure this thread may get nasty, and I'll close it if it does - but I guess it's a good idea for some honest (and I hope charitable) discussion.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 05:46 PM

Thanks, Joe.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 05:54 PM

I'm not saying Mudcat is horrible, but I think it's clear that we've had some problems and animosity lately. Because of that tone, there are many good musicians who won't come to Mudcat at all; or else they come just to get lyrics and not to join in the discussions. Like it or not, a lot of people think of Mudcat as a place where people like to be nasty.

So, my question is, what can we do to change the tone of Mudcat to something more positive? There's a lot here that is absolutely wonderful - but there is enough negative stuff here, that we're scaring people away. Back in the 1960's, there was an ironic bumper sticker that said Kill For Peace!!! Sadly, it seemed that many people actually lived by that slogan. The same is true here. There are Mudcatters who believe that Christians and BNP members and others are so horrible, that the only tactic that can be used against them, is cruel aggression. Sorry folks, but evil does not cure evil. And many of those you think are evil, may not be as bad as you are.

And can we conduct this discussion in a civil manner? Nattering nabobs of negativism are not welcome in this thread.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Gervase
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:00 PM

Phew!
I admire your candour, Joe. And, as I mentioned on an earlier, thread, I admire your particular stance on religion, despite my usually militant atheism.
On the BNP thing, I'm going to have to differ, though. Having lived through the Seventies in the UK, I've seen what the far-right thugs of the BNP and its predecessor, the National Front, can do. I live in a small-ish country that needs cohesion and tolerance if it is to survive, and the BNP is the absolute antithesis of that.
This is far, far more than even the most polarised Republican vs Democrat schtick. We are dcealing here with an ideology that is founded on hatred and division; an ideology which modelled itself on national socialism and which, in private, is still proud to call itself national socialist.
It is an ideology which sets out deliberate to recruit the disaffected and to turn them into its foot soldiers. I've known MBS George for probably 10 years; certainly since she started coming to the Middle Bar. She has a beautiful voice and is an excellent singer who can bring a room to a hushed standstill. But.
If she - or anyone else for that matter - had said "I'm voting BNP", then I could have understood. It's easy to be swayed by the muscular rhetoric and the simplistic arguments of the fascists, after all. But to seek election as someone who embodies the values of the BNP and to ask the world to endorse your embrace of a known fascist and racist party is something else completely. Call me self-righteous if you will, but if someone is prepared to stand for election on a fascist and racist ticket, then I am going to 'jump all over them'.
Folk music is an awkward constituency - it likes to pride itself on its inclusiveness, yet in the UK it is almost exclusively white, and the BNP is on record as stating that it wants to make folk music its own. That's what the Nazis did in Germany in the 1930s, and to this day German folk music is tarnished. I don't want my culture to be dragged through the mud by people like MBS George. she is already attracting media attention in the UK for her political views, and I want to be as loud and forthright as I can in saying that she does not represent me or anyone else I know in the traditional music world.
Anyway, that's my two-pennorth. And thanks for starting what could be an interesting thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: GUEST,Number 6
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:07 PM

I believe that pretty well all the people here in the Mudcat are decent folk in real life ... somehow people tend to get nasty and somewhat egotistical when involved in internet forums ... this negative attitude issue and discussions has have been going on here since I've been a member ... I really don't know what can be done ... but thanks anyway Joe for starting this thread ... let's see what becomes of it.

biLL
    Well, Bill, I'm not supposed to allow you to post because you're not logged in - but your identity is easy to verify, so I'll look the other way...
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Ed T
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:07 PM

I suspect people can be nasty, in the heat of argument. I also suspect that other folks can be sensitive, about specific issues, where they hold strong personal opinions. Itry and be civil...though at times off beat.

I learn from discussion, and tune out when I am not interested, or if folks get out of line.

I observe that some folks have made friends, and that's a good thing....but, at times certain circles seems small and exclusive. Most dicsussion ngroups have regular members and those that come an go...for a variety of reaseons (including disagreements in discussions) . I don't see that as serious....or much to worry about. After all, people are from all over...from all walks of life....experiences and beliefs. Is it not normal to have a bit of that?

It seems odd to me that a lot of stuff is coming up for discussion....for example, music versus BS content and this thread.

Maybe it's all being taken too seriously? After all....its just a web site,and just words. It would be boring if there were not some heated, and interesting moments....kind of like a sull music site with no other place to go to get to know members.
    Yup, it's just a Website; and yup, it's just words - but words can hurt, and people are leaving us because they've been hurt.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:12 PM

I would say the answer would be to hold everyone to the same standard and apply the same rules and the same consequences to everyone - something that has not ever been done in the Mudcat, and has been the source of most of its headaches throughout its history. This means that, no matter how deeply entrenched a poster is in the Mudcat core group, or how esteemed they are as a musician, hold them to the same standards as the least regarded and most peripheral posters, and apply exactly the same remedies for their behavior. This is doubly important to apply to people with moderator powers.

Things will never improve in the Mudcat until this happens. Personally, I don't think it ever will. I expect that ten years from now, if the Mudcat is still here, this kind of discussion will still be taking place, because the Mudcat social order is and has always been built around the notion of "good guys" and "bad guys", and those designated as the "good guys" are allowed to do whatever the hell they want, and those designated as the "bad guys" are designated as official and legitimate targets of whatever anyone wants to do to them.
    I know you'll never believe me, Carol, but what you ask is exactly what we try to do. I can't discuss anything more than that publicly, but I'm willing to talk on the phone. I'm listed in the phone book in Auburn, California.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Ed T
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:13 PM

BTW....don't focus on the negative....there are a lot of good things going on here....where else is there a secret Santa? I was fortunate to personally meet the most interesting Mr Wendon this summer because of Mudcat. Don't worry....be happy.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:17 PM

1. The difference in US/UK culture continues to warp a lot of well-meant conversation-starts into increasingly-messy cascades of misunderstanding and upset.

2. The intrusion of political views and personal mudslinging into music threads continues to attract more of same and more negativity there and all over the forum. In part this is due to #1 above-- the music world in the UK takes place in a fishbowl, while in the US it's not only not a fishbowl, it isn't a large aquarium either or any watery metaphor-- it's more like a journey by train thru various terrains.

3. So back to #1-- we are trying to co-exist in too many mixed metaphors, when the only argument worth really having in this setting is "what is folk music".

4. Face to face, a good faciolitator can enforce that the only safe response to MANY statements is, "Hm, that's interesting, X-- thanks for sharing your point of view..... Who's next.....?" In text, minus faces-- all hell can and does break loose.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:21 PM

OK - I really can't comment intelligently about the BNP and the pros and cons of the on-going discussion, so I won't. And I've been taken to task, justifiably or not, for using the term "Yank-basher" about some of our friends from the UK, so I won't say that either.   However, it does seem to me that a significant number (or perhaps its a small number of loud individuals) of our across-the-pond colleagues don't recognize the very wide range that the term "Christian" can cover in this country.   I see many comments that indicate that they lump all believers together - that is, to them the high-church Lutheran and the pray-out-the-devil snake-handling Free Pentecostal are identical...and equally foolish.

Europe, generally, is much less religious than the US, but I hope that people there can accept that we are not where they are.   I am not a religious person myself, but I hope I recognize the difference between non- and anti-religious.    A bit of respect for the beliefs of others, shared or not, would be welcome.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Charmion
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:33 PM

Thanks for opening this thread, Joe. That took guts.

I think of Mudcat as a publication to which we all contribute. (I'm an editor by trade. Does it show?) Max is the owner and publisher, you are the managing editor, and the Joe Clones are the editorial staff. Every successful publication has an editorial policy to say what it publishes and a style guide to say how the content looks when it's ready for publication. Mudcat should, too.

To a large extent, the FAQ is the editorial policy and style guide, so now the editors should do their work consistently, politely and without apology. Spike (i.e., delete) the contributions that don't meet the standard -- not because the contributor can't spell, but rather because the contributor has failed to express an opinion in a reasonable way, as determined by the editorial staff. The FAQ says no insults, backbiting or nastiness (or if it doesn't, it should); consequently, in my opinion, you and the other Clones should simply delete posts that contain insults, backbiting and/or nastiness. A button that says "Report this post" would be nice; I've seen them on lots of other forum sites, so the code can't be that hard to write.

Unless you and your colleagues actually change the way you manage the site, this problem will continue and, with it, your angst and disappointment.

By the way, as practising Anglicans (we're trying to get it right), Edmund and I also find the anti-Christian bias kinda offensive. I have learned to ignore any thread with religious content.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:35 PM

" The conventional wisdom at Mudcat is that... etc...

That seems a wee bit over-general, Joe.... much as I do see the points you are trying to make.

What I would say is that very few issues have such clear, obvious, cut-and-dried answers that folks should feel free to make hateful, nasty, derisive and otherwise critical remarks about them... or about others who may differ.

It is one thing to feel you are 'right', and quite another to know HOW to express your supposed 'rightness' in a fair & reasonable way.

Mudcat allows more freedom of expression than most fora (forums?), but it is STILL the case that people will type stuff here that they would probably not say directly to someone's face, or in a group conversation. Some of the comments are in the gray area...not exactly nasty, but still insensitive and, to be blunt, arrogant.
**YOU** may have strong opinions about something, but simply declaring that YOU are right, and anyone who disagrees is either stupid or ignorant or lying or....whatever... makes it hard to have a real discussion of issues, AND hard for moderators like Joe to decide what to do.

   I don't know the solution... heck...I DO know the solution, I just don't know how to convince others to make an effort to be less ...ummm... defiant... about certain pet issues.

Maybe someone has an idea....
    Sorry, Bill, but I don't think anybody would ever accuse YOU of being a source of "conventional" wisdom. Many people think of you as being the embodiment of what's best at Mudcat. "Conventional Wisdom" is what comes out of the mouth of him who speaks the loudest.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:37 PM

Bill, ideas are generally shot down by site mgmt or ignored, except with occasional, technically-elegant solutions to them. Over time one learns to take it as it is and/or be elsewhere.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:43 PM

I wrote this for "olddude's" thread but when I went to post it, it had been closed. It kinda' fits here........

This friggin' joint can require a skin tougher than shark leather sometimes and I notice a lot of long time members are a lot more selective about where they post as even the most inane and silly threads can turn into load of crap and that also means a lot fewer fun threads since the bickering bullshit gets old. Who the hell wants to start another fight over something originally intended just for fun. Sadly around here, a lot of people! Try the "Saying Nothing " thread as an example. Happens on the music threads as well and at times even moreso! We got some folks out there who will argue over which flea bit their dog's dick!

So when Dan and others take a break for awhile......good for them. And if you're like me and posting less to avoid the crap, good for you too.

Let's all just check in now and again in some way. Lately its apparent how precious some of these friendships have become. as if we didn't know already........just been a bit tough to take. Had I never come here, I wouldn't have all these people that I feel so close to nor the pain that their leaving brings. Its a cost we pay and I don't mind as so many of you have so enrichened my life, I will be forever in debt to you all.

Now go have fun and let the dipwads just playy diddle my fiddle or whatever it is they seem to enjoy.......perhaps its "Stomp my fiddle" instead.............


Just a thought..................and I am sorry to see Dan go......


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Rowan
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:45 PM

When I first got involved with Mudcat I stayed as a guest for some time, reading and occasionally posting, trying to get a feel for the place and the people. I noticed there were quite a few people who seemed to respond, on Mudcat, as though they knew each other in real life and had axes to grind from that life outside Mudcat and, no matter how rational a post from any one of them, ascerbic and even vitriolic responses were elicited from the others. The topics Joe has described are only two of several that seem to generate more heat than light.

I learned early in life that beliefs that are founded emotionally rather than on rational logic are supremely resistant to change; discussion may allow us to explore some of their ramifications but almost never result in believers changing their beliefs; whether the beliefs are political or religious, the behaviour seems to be the same.

So I don't bother opening most threads where it's clear to me that the topic is centred on a belief system with strong emotional foundations. It matters little whether I think I might share or disagree with the beliefs if I can't see how anything I may contribute can improve the situation. Occasionally I might be able to offer an example of something I've experienced but it's rare.

I find it's difficult enough to have a positive discussion about things when strongly held views are on display but, when the discussion strays from the dispassionately rational and degenerates into ad hominem attacks I bow out from even reading the thread. I appreciate the supportive and communal nature of most of what goes on at Mudcat but it might be that many of us are living in circumstances where the pressures against seeing ourselves as a community are increasing and limiting our abilities to 'rub along'.

I don't envy Joe his "duties" as a moderator and wouldn't wish to increase his load but I see no need for ad hominem attacks on Mudcat; I wonder if such posts could be deleted and posters sent a notification. I'm aware of the traditions of free speech in the US and how such suggestions can be interpreted but it's quite clear that Mudcat does have rules and ought to be able to apply them in ways that serve to support contributors who make positive contributions.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:55 PM

I suppose I must be one of the members who hold the most radical political views, but I have friends here of all political persuasions.
I love the diversity of the place and I think the problems you mention Joe, are not symptoms of something wrong here, but something wrong in society at large.

People seem less able to think for themselves these days, and prefer to live their lives to a mantra supplied by their political leaders.

No matter how obvious the corruption and deviousness of these leaders becomes, people seem to remain entrenched behind a wall of divisive rhetoric created by the politicians.

Religious belief has been politicised in this way, as have all the other important moral, sexual and racial issues.

The answer as always is use your brains, believe no one, trust nobody.....they fuck you up.....politicians.

As for the BNP, they will soon be accepted into the soft warm bosom of "liberalism" where they will no longer be a threat to the fascists who live there.

View others not as "political threats", but as fellow humans who may have differing opinions to us
The problems of our society can only be dealt with on a personal level....Polititical oraganisation of society is the real threat.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:55 PM

I feel the need to say this:

I'm one of the few American members of Mudcat who has occasionally posted to the BNP threads. I've done so because of my strong concerns about racism & fascism. I believe that the BNP is very similar-if not the same as-the KKK and the Nazis.

I believe that most Mudcat threads-including the ones about the BNP-are read by many more people besides Mudcat members. And it seems to me that discussions about the BNP on Mudcat forum may be helpful to some people who are not aware of the true nature of that political party.   

And with regard to your comment, Joe, that George is a nice person- a person can be a nice person and still be a bigot and/or still support those who have been documented to be bigots.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 06:58 PM

My comments on the 2 issues raised:

I am a Christian and so I welcome what Joe has said about that.

I did have points I considered making about Question Time when Nick Griffin appeared but decided that I just couldn't be bothered. I've decided to ignore all BNP threads.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Amos
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:02 PM

Of late I have steered well clear of both those contentious topics and a lot of other foofara as well, being content with a few "good" threads that suit my style. I don't mind a good argument, as anyone who has been around here a while knows, but I have no belly for bellyachers and no taste for haranguers whose logic is riddled with holes and high in volume.

Joe, if you want to add to your burdens, you could tighten the criteria of hateful posts that get deleted. You could set or tighten the policy of deleting ad hominem remark, abusive communication, and so on.

The truth is that people who wail and moan about religion, at least, are mostly aiming at the wrong target, and are bashing their own nightmares, not the things they talk about. Likewise many political issues, although at least politics has a concrete referent you can trot out for display. But neither one is really reason for abusive discourse, at least since Bush left town.

;>)



A


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:02 PM

I am one of the site mod's and I have been posting less due to the ugliness.

With regard to the BNP piece, I believe we are looking at a genuine cultural difference. While US and UK posters, seem to share the same disdain, or in my case, outright revulsion towards fascists and racists, our approach seems to be different. The UK'ers (and I understand I am generalizing here) seem to want to ban the discussion outright. The US posters, while generally just as opposed to these types, are rooted in a feeling that one cannot stop the posting of opinion, even or most especially, opinion with which we strongly disagree. It is the "free speech" as a Constitutional right thing. I typically review all deleted posts. If they are deleted just because they express what some might consider an objectionable viewpoint, they are reinstated. If they are from a GUEST in a BS thread,constitute a personal attack, or are simply an attempt to use the Mudcat for some agenda other than a legitimate discussion of an issue, then they are allowed to stand deleted. These are our rules, you simply cannot have posts deleted because you find the content objectionable. That is a trick box you do not want to be in. As to the contention that BNP is trying to take over the folk music scene in GB, that is up to you in GB to take care of.

As to the anti Christian bias, I agree with Joe completely. My response is to simply not get into any arguments over it. When I see that start, often from people that I consider good friends, I just have to get out of it. Otherwise I would lose friends. I prefer to express my beliefs/values in how I live, approach daily life, treat others, etc. Mother Theresa, in her years in Calcutta, never tryed to evangelize by proslytizing folks. She simply tried to emulate the values that were taught by the man from Galilee, and to take care of the least among us. That is the best example to follow, IMO. But I do wish my friends would at least have the courtesy not to make blanket statements about "Christians". Those that know me, know that I am first and foremost an imperfect human, but that I act on my beliefs and values. These come from my upbringing and understanding of what the man from Galilee taught. It would be nice if you would remember that in your discussions and not be quite so dismissive of us.

As someone once said, disagreement need not be disagreeable.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:03 PM

I agree 100% with what Joe Offer has said. I also feel that CarolC nailed it when she said:

"I would say the answer would be to hold everyone to the same standard and apply the same rules and the same consequences to everyone - something that has not ever been done in the Mudcat, and has been the source of most of its headaches throughout its history. This means that no matter how deeply entrenched a poster is in the Mudcat core group, or how esteemed they are as a musician, hold them to the same standards as the least regarded and most peripheral posters, and apply exactly the same remedies for their behavior. This is doubly important to apply to people with moderator powers.

Things will never improve in the Mudcat until this happens. Personally, I don't think it ever will. I expect that ten years from now, if the Mudcat is still here, this kind of discussion will still be taking place, because the Mudcat social order is and has always been built around the notion of "good guys" and "bad guys", and those designated as the "good guys" are allowed to do whatever the hell they want, and those designated as the "bad guys" are designated as official and legitimate targets of whatever anyone wants to do to them."


Bingo!

Be that as it may, my own solution has been mostly to...

1. Not let it get me down.

2. Maintain a sense of humour and detachment as best I can when the shit starts flying around here.

3. Simply avoid certain threads which have devolved into a self-righteous hate-fest and an excuse for certain people to vent their emotional dysfunctionality on other people who may hold different views about something.

Accordingly, I haven't even looked at any thread about the BNP for a long time. As for the religious/anti-religious threads, I know what to expect there and from whom, but I just refer to 1. and 2. above. I almost always succeed in not letting it get me down.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:10 PM

**YOU** may have strong opinions about something, but simply declaring that YOU are right, and anyone who disagrees is either stupid or ignorant or lying or....whatever... makes it hard to have a real discussion of issues, AND hard for moderators like Joe to decide what to do.
-Bill D

Although I have strong and heartfelt positions on certain issues-particularly issues of race- I try very hard not to be nasty or arrogant or indulge in name calling.

I recognize that what I just wrote about George may not sit well with her, or with other people here. But I felt the need to say that and tried to do so as succiently and as free from emotion as I could.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:11 PM

One suggestion which I would like to see carried out and that is a required country of origin designation for a thread, esp. a BS thread. I love our UK members and consider some of them dearest friends, but they are an incestuous lot (said with a BIG GRIN) and they do seem to dominate around here more than ever. I would like to see a "UK" before the title of a thread, or any other country for that matter, so that I could easily filter them out.

I would also like to see folks think a bit more before they name threads for shock value; it's puerile and off-putting esp. to anyone who may have come here for the first time.

Thanks, Joe, and good luck. I am another who has had to take breaks and posts much less due to the constant barrage of crap.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:20 PM

Mudcat will always have these problems becuase it is far too leniant with people who Flame and insult individuals.

Every time anybody suggests that tougher moderation is introduced like most decent forums, they get ridiculed or told it doesn't need such moderation.

It is time that Mudcat moderated in a proper way and delete posts that flame or insult.
Ban people who can't behave. You knopw only too well who they are Joe.

When people see that you are moderating properly, you will find a total change in the way people behave.

Long live the day when that happens.

Mudcat has lost lots of people through poor moderation, but I suppose it will be heads in the sand as usual.

I think you will find that many mudcatters would endorse the above, but very often do not want to get involved in such things, for fear of reprisals from the very people that cause most of the issues.

How long will it be for the first mudcatter to post on here and say " We don't need such moderation"

At least I am prepared to stand up and be counted.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:21 PM

AND, I meant to say I mean no offence to our UK members!:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:32 PM

I believe the main troll in the BNP thread is a disgruntled member and he doesn't give much of a shit about the BNP. Just wants to piss off those who pissed him off. Hence, you have the Mudcat multiple identities, the Wikipedia vandal and the Facebook identity thief. Same guy (I believe) with only the motivation that Mudcat wasn't the 'nice' place he wanted it to be.

Max once said something like "Don't get angry. Anger turns to hatred, and hatred leads to the Dark Side". Pinched it out of Star Wars, but it's true. The worst assholes at Mudcat are the ones whose affection for this place and the people here has been turned. Hell hath no fury like a Mudcatter scorned.

As for the 'problem', I think there are two main problems

People think just because they have a right to say something about whatever bothers them, they should. Sometimes, yes, but I wish people would ask themselves if what they want to say will make things worse. Too often these days, I think the reply to that would be "I don't care. I feel like I have to say it, and if you don't like it, you can fuck off."

People also seem to get their buttons pushed with some regularity, and the disruptors around here know it. There are troll sluts here who just lie back and say "Do me... piss me off, baby--I'm all yours." Again, no consideration for anybody but themselves. People have absolutely no resistance, and it doesn't bother them that they're so easy.

I look into Usenet every once in a while. The same attempts at trolling are made there, but people usually ignore them. I wonder why ignoring trolls in a completely unmoderated forum works and Mudcat is so hopeless.

One other thing that helps me: I don't have any control over what other people do here. If I sense myself trying to bitch or whine YET AGAIN over the same people doing the same annoying shit, I remind myself I have no control over them, they aren't thinking of me or anyone else when they post and likely don't care if it bothers me or anyone else.

Some of us have such a big problem because we remember Mudcat being better, and it was. In some places, it still is really good, but it's never going back to the way it was. Max once said that Mudcat is whatever people make it, and we just have too many people here that like all the negative stuff and too many who can't see anything else.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:34 PM

I think I've mentioned before that my first ever post on Mudcat (quite a few years ago) led to a baptism of fire.
I copied a light-hearted (some would say just plain silly) article from the then Salt Town Poets website in which I erroneously used the word 'whence' instead of 'whither' and was met by a virulent and totally unexpected attack on my credentials as a poet and writer of English.
I have to admit this gave me pause for thought, my trivial error seeming to me to call more for a humorous ticking off and gentle correction than a personal attack.
Please understand, this was not the kind of ultra-nasty stuff we've seen so often on some Mudcat threads and I didn't lose a second of sleep over it.
But the whole affair had the effect of well and truly marking my card as far as the Mudcat forum goes.
I persevered and have, I hope, been able to contribute something of value to Mudcat through the years.
But I too know quite a few people who have given up visiting the Mudcat because of the nastiness.
The point Joe makes about remembering that 'real people' are reading these threads is a telling one.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:35 PM

Well, I don't have time to read everything closely right now, but I do want to raise my question about the BNP threads again, and compare it to the "Kill for Peace" pacifists and the "pro-life people who think it's right to kill abortionists. Those same people think that anyone who opposes their tactics, opposes their cause - and that's not necessarily the truth.

If you feel obliged to use aggressive and abusive tactics against BNP members (many of who are NOT "thugs"), are you any better than they are?

I think not.

Think about that, Gervase and "Peace" and others.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:39 PM

"...ideas are generally shot down by site mgmt or ignored, except ..."

Hmmm... that's another pretty general statement, Susan. I wasn't referring to ideas about moderating, but rather ideas about how to make the right points TO chronic offenders that there are better ways to disagree.
There 'are' basic rules we are supposed to follow....no ad hominem attacks, etc., and obvious trangressions are dealt with...eventually. But it is those 'gray areas' where someone is being one-sided and mean without actually saying nasty stuff that are hard to cope with.
   I suspect that, for some people, there are issues that they have such overwhelmingly strong opinions about, that they lose all semblance of rationality and just resort to ranting and name-calling. Religion and Race (as in BNP) are just a couple of the 'hot buttons'
.....yeah, we 'could' ban any discussion of politics, religion, race, sex, Nationalism, war, guns ...etc.... but those are human things...the things that NEED discussing....discussing, not declaiming and demanding.

I have watched this for...gee.... 12+ years now? and tried to discuss, debate and sometimes defend various issues, and I have mostly not had serious clashes with folks...(even MG *grin* only made one half-hearted snide remark at me). It is not that I don't have opinions, is just that I really try to see both sides and try NOT to make flat declarations that I HAVE all the right answers.


-------------------------------------------------------------------

(well, typing that just reminded me of the sig in someone's posts I saw once:

" Those who think they know it all are becoming very annoying to those of us who DO!")


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Ed T
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:41 PM

"The most savage controversies are of matters to which there is no good evidence either way. Every man is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.

If a man is offered a fact that goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something that gives a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidenc

All movements go too far. Too little liberty brings stagnation, too much brings chaos.   It's a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go.

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this".

Bertrand Russell (compiled)


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:43 PM

One problem is that a lot of people evidently find it very hard to disentangle strong disagreement from abuse.

By that I mean two things - on the one hand there is a belief that, in order to express disagreement, it has to be hyped up with hate talk - and on the other there is a tendency to assume that expressions of strong disagreement must actually imply this kind of hate talk, even if it doesn't actually appear.

Put those together and it's inevitable that disagreements spin out of control, especially in an online setting where the normal inhibitions that apply in face to face confrontations don't apply. No one is going to break your nose for insulting them here.

What happens instead is that at some point a moderator steps in and the thread is closed, and that people walk away. Sometimes it seems they walk away from the Mudcat, and that's a shame - though I can never understand the logic of that since threads that go bad have never been more than a small minority. Mostly they just walk away from the thread involved, and the cost there is that the opportunity to discuss things that deserve to be discussed gets aborted. And that is a pity because there aren't too many opportunities to explore real differences in the face-to-face world.

One minimal rule which we can surely make for ourselves is to decide never to post in hot anger. Write in anger, maybe - but stick it on one side. Read it over the next day and maybe post it then. But perhaps someone else will have made the same point by that time, and perhaps you'll see a way to make it that gets it across better, and won't just provoke a kneejerk response.

................

As for "the Christian thing" , like Bill D I'd disagree with the assertion that "The Conventional Wisdom at Mudcat is that Christians are evil".   It's a view that a few people seem to feel obliged to express persistently, often in ways that are undoubtedly sincerely held, but also intended to provoke anger and heat. But so what? The way to respond to that is simple enough in principle, if not always in practice - turn the other cheek. Hold off on posting the response, and do it in a way that doesn't set out to provoke anger.

As for the BNP, that is a poisonous and evil organisation, fundamentally at one with other racist movements that have disfigured history over previous generations - but personal attacks on people who have made the very serious mistake of swallowing its message merely serves to strengthen it, and to distract attention from the task of countering that message.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:43 PM

I think the big question would be, if they are using aggressive and abusive tactics, why have no corrective measures been taken? Why are they being allowed to continue to do those things with no corrective measures applied?
    Same as before, Carol: I know you'll never believe me, Carol, but what you ask is exactly what we try to do. I can't discuss anything more than that publicly, but I'm willing to talk on the phone. I'm listed in the phone book in Auburn, California.
    -Joe, who spends a hell of a lot of time on "corrective measures"-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: GUEST,Number 6
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:47 PM

Good point Carol.

very good.

waiting for an answer.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:50 PM

JOE , I disagree with you.
You asked for honesty.
you are apologising for mbs george,she is a nice person etc,she only applied for a minor position,I think you are either out of your depth or naive.

the BNP are unpleasant people,their members attack foreigners show disrespect to Muslims[burning their churches]harassing them and other Asians and other ethnic groups.[the BNP and Griffin have the support of a KKK Leader]
it is irrelevant whether MBS George is a nice person,or how minor the position she stood for,she supports a party whose members attack foreigners,and whose leader denied that the holocaust happened .
I have not attacked MBS George,in fact I have communicated with her privately in a polite manner[I thought this the most likely way to get her to reconsider her views]even though I disagree with her strongly.
I seem to have been absent[playing gigs] over the last ten days when it appears most of the nastiness occurred,so not guilty.
MBS George is not just a member of the BNP,she stood as a councillor,that shows extra enthusiasm for her cause,why was it necessary for her to even mention her political affilations?.
MBS George must take some responsibilty for the unpleasant situation on this forum, a situation she started, and she alone created, is she really an innocent victim?.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:53 PM

This comes from a "Codev of Conduct" I found on the website of Sojourners - they seem to make a lot of sense here too:

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree—even if I feel disrespected by them.

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally.

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt.

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed.

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:54 PM

I don't give a rat's ass how evil the BNP is, Dick. If all we can do is fight evil with evil, then we've sold our souls to them. We've conpromised our own integrity, and then what good are we?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 07:57 PM

Don't ask people to moderate themselves, because very often, for one reason or another they sometimes can't.

Surely, thats why you have moderators.

Many of the better sites have Edit buttons, so that you can go back and alter something, either for possible spelling errors or because when you see your post in the light of day, you wished you hadn't said something in the way you had.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM

McGrath, that is exactly how any forum should be run.

Until Mudcat gets its head out the sand, it will never sort it.

>>I don't give a rat's ass how evil the BNP is, Dick<<

Hmmm, that sounds a little bit like how Neville Chamberlain saw the Germans in the second world war Joe.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: mg
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM

One thing that would help me is a filter to just not have to even see posts from certain people. I am up to two people now whose posts I will not read, even if they are recipes for chocolate chip cookies. I presume they or others would do the same for my posts. If it is technically possible, I hope we can do it and it is done on some other places. I realize that bowing out of a conversation with people is not always the answer, but sometimes you have to set boundaries and this is one of several ways to do it. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:04 PM

Joe,you know very well I have not done that.
The best way to fight the BNP is to send money to searchlight.
please answer my question, does not MBS George bear some responsibilty for the unpleastness she created,if she had not announced her candidacy,this situation on Mudcat would never have happened.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:05 PM

Bill is right in the ballpark, as usual. The only times I find him objectionable is when he isn't agreeing with me...... damn guy doesn't get that I have all THE answers.......

***tongue planted firmly in cheek, for those that don't realize it***

I look at most problems, whether on Mudcat, or in the world at large, and it occurs to me that the enemy is not Christians, Jews, Atheists, Fascists, Anarchists....... it is fundamentalist thought in whatever form it shows itself. When someone justifies objectionable behaviour because they have declared themselves the arbiter of what is best for the rest of us, they become dangerous.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM

A block feature as mg mentions is another useful option.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:07 PM

An Edit button that allowed us to quietly remove the stuff we wish we hadn't posted when we read it in the morning would just make things worse by adding an extra layer of confusion.

If we post in haste stuff we recognise later we shouldn't have posted, the only honourable thing to do is to leave it there, but to make another post apologising for what we wrote, and saying what we now recognise we should have said. That happens from time to time, though not as often as it should.

A five-minute edit button, to allow us to correct mistakes immediately might make sense, but not a "light of day" one.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:10 PM

In response to the brown text inserted in my post above (a practice that in my opinion, is as counterproductive as any kind of bad behavior that posters engage in), I note that while I am not permitted to respond directly to posters, even though I do not have a history of going around (on a fairly regular basis) saying "fuck you" or "fuck off" to other posters, and other equally abusive tactics, at least one of the posters singled out by the head moderator above does have such a history and is still being permitted to do so without being forbidden to respond directly to other posters.

While I guess I ought to be flattered that I am considered to be Mudcat's biggest badass, I think that the fact that I have been singled out in the way I have been while other, far more egregious violations of Mudcat rules happen on a regular basis and are not subject to corrective actions is a demonstration of the problems that I described in my first post in this thread. And there is at least one moderator who even goes into other peoples posts and changes what is in them for the purpose of ridiculing the posters in question, and they have not lost their moderator status. This has happened as recently as this week.

This a culture of officially sanctioned and permitted abuse, and whether or not one will have corrective action taken against them is entirely dependent upon their statues within the Mudcat hierarchy.
    Unless you can give me specific information, I will consider your allegation about moderator misconduct to be unfounded. That sort of thing has happened in the past, and the moderators were removed. Please contact me or Mick privately and give us details. This is the first I have heard of this.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:12 PM

Sorry McGrath, I didn't really mean next morning. More as you suggest. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:14 PM

As for the BNP, that is a poisonous and evil organisation, fundamentally at one with other racist movements that have disfigured history over previous generations - but personal attacks on people who have made the very serious mistake of swallowing its message merely serves to strengthen it, and to distract attention from the task of countering that message.

That doesn't match what I'm seeing.

We had one poster who was fully identifiable - MBSGeorge - but who wasn't just swallowing the message; she was senior enough in the party to stand for election. She was delivering the message; she was as complicit in their actions as it is possible to be.

The other people posting pro-BNP messages were all anonymous. It is not logically possible to make a "personal attack" on someone who has no identifiable persona. We have absolutely no idea who any of those anonymous propagandists are, and owe them no consideration whatever as individuals. They have chosen not to be individuals. If they want to be a faceless gang, they can accept the consequences.

(I'm not seeing the anti-Christian bias Joe is describing - maybe I'm just not looking at the threads where it comes up. Precise examples?)


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:15 PM

Dick, you and many others seem to forget something. It is a discussion forum, not the barricades. If you want me to come man the barricades with you, I am there. I have been doing that for 30 years. But in a discussion forum, we should discuss. Lord knows I forget that often enough, but that is the nut of it. Joe makes an excellent point, and it is a lesson I have learned the hard way over my many years here. Sometimes, even when I am sure of the rightness of my position, I have turned a discussion into an argument, and it destroyed what was worthwhile in the discussion. If you are talking of George, stick to what is objectionable in her arguments, and the discussion stays worthwhile. But when it turns into a slagging contest, the whole thing gets lost in nastiness. Next thing you know, very good Mudcatters of many years standing start disappearing and the beauty that this place represents gets more and more faded.

Joe is right on. We must not adopt the tactics of that which we despise, lest we become that. Next thing you know, you end up with the Patriot Act (sorry, USA reference/joke).

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:18 PM

>>I have turned a discussion into an argument, and it destroyed what was worthwhile in the discussion.<<

That is not too bad, but if you start insulting somebody personally, then your post should be removed instantly. That doesn't always happen on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:22 PM

Correction: their status within the Mudcat hierarchy.
    Again, unless you can furnish specific information privately, I must consider your allegation to be unfounded. Most of our moderation is done by responding to specific complaints, not by reviewing every message that gets posted. If a post is objectionable, contact Mick or me and give us the name of the poster, date and time of the post, and the name of the thread. If you don't complain privately and specifically, don't complain in public with broad generalizations. And don't expect us to read an entire 400-message thread - give us specific information. Mick and I never fail to follow up on complaints, although we may not respond in the way the complainer wants us to respond. We also handle complaints in confidence - we don't identify the complainer.

    -Joe Offer, who finds it best to respond directly in a situation like this-


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Subject: RE: BS: The problem at Mudcat? Moderated thread
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Oct 09 - 08:24 PM

As Harry Truman said: If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Maybe the people who "abandon their membership" are merely practicing their own version of getting out of the kitchen. I say, more power to them. (That would be will power, I think.)

I say this as a person who decided to stay out of the kitchen a long time ago.

A long, long time ago, I ventured to speak my mind about a few controversial topics. I tried to be tactful, but some people replied with unkind comments, and I felt really bad about it. Then, instead of going back for more, I decided I'd had enough. I decided to stay out of BS threads that are about controversial topics.

I have never read any of the BNP threads and I expect I never will.

Out of my last 200 messages, only 19 of them were to BS threads, and none of those were about politics or any other subject that people tend to get angry about.

I have no regrets.

I have found plenty of interesting things to do and read about in the music section. I feel good about Mudcat. I have never felt tempted to "abandon my membership." If I want to discuss any controversial topic—and I do, sometimes—I will do it face-to-face with my friends, people who know me and like me, people I can trust not to abuse me.

This strategy has worked well for me. I'm sure my mental and physical health have benefited from it. I recommend it to others who are feeling distressed.


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