Ha ha, fooled you.
I’m not angry, at most exasperated, and I’ll get over that. I believe in the old “sticks and stones” rhyme; if someone’s words hurt me, then I am at fault. I am aware that others disagree, but keep in mind I do not ask anyone else to conform to my personal code of conduct or ethics, and I strive not to hurt anyone else with my words.
And that brings me to the gist of this post, and the reason it’s in category “meta”.
I have received private communication, starting in 2016, to the effect that my presence is unwanted at BBS, and since then my posts have increasingly drawn ad hominem attacks, purposeful misrepresentation, and community flags to the point where it has become disruptive to the conversation of people of good will who are trying to talk to each other.
The structure of the discourse software, while in many ways admirable, accentuates this problem; if I try to engage with people who are talking to each other in a humane and amiable way, my presence can cause a conversation to be flooded with interstitial posts that are belittling and distracting, drawing off away eyeballs from conversations that are, to me at least, more important.
Furthermore, the people who object to my existence have gamed and abused the forum rules, which means that Mr. Snider, whom I like and respect, is also being pulled away from more meaningful activities to deal with the chaos that spreads in my wake. I don’t like the way Internet forums burn out moderators, and I will no longer contribute to that here.
All that preceded is fact, not opinion. Raw statement of actual events. What comes next is my personal opinion, which is worth everything I’m charging for it, I am sure.
I believe the people who do not want me here gain pleasure from attention, and from causing emotional distress to anyone who they regard as “other”, and will claim empowerment or victimhood as necessary for those ends. I believe they enjoy recruiting bystanders who would otherwise not be so unpleasant, and that some people who might appear to be their allies are just honestly expressing themselves based on what they can see. And I believe one of the reasons I offend certain attention seekers so much is that I undercut their sense of self-importance; I can rarely be persuaded to return their angry contempt in kind, going so far as to avoid entire categories of thread rather than be drawn into their dramas and confrontations.
I do not believe the behavior will go away with my departure. I’ve watched them run off several other people, including one who was basically driven into the incel madness, or at least so it seemed to me, by their taunting and mean spirited refusal to help persuade another person see a new point of view.
I encourage the Discourse devs to seek technology that would help mods identify highly toxic people without requiring them to read every. damn. post. which is basically what it takes now. This rule could make that quite difficult, of course, since it will prevent you from easily finding patterns in who people engaged with before they stopped coming back, but not all discourse sites have that rule, I hope.
And finally, in conclusion
If anyone would rather I stayed:
Thank you for your support, but I do not have enough ego invested in the content I have posted for it to be worth my while. If anyone wants to start fighting with anyone in my name, please don’t, seriously. (I would be tickled to death if you donated any token sum to the Dave Thomas Foundation, though - maybe that can be a protest act against uncharitable readings of forum posts, donating a dollar to say you don’t approve? Just a thought.) I can honestly say I have highest regard for the majority of the regular crowd here, including those with whom I have deep philosophical differences; if I were to try to list every happy mutant who has given me insight or shared a kindness, the list would be so long I could not possibly succeed*. May you all live long and prosper!
To @pesco, @frauenfelder, @Carla_Sinclair, @xeni, @Rusty_Blazenhoff and the other boingers and guest authors:
I have enjoyed this thing you built for a great many years now; although I never held a paper copy in my hands, I do believe I’ve been here as long as you’ve been online, under various names. I hope you are very proud of the many fine examples of diverting entertainment, useful instruction, investigative journalism, and wonderful things that you’ve shared with the world. Y’all are interesting and clever people! I’ll be making entries in the /etc/hosts files of my home domain and my work computers, blocking my ability to visit the BBS** at least until I get out of the habit of clicking comment links, but I plan to continue to visit the https://boingboing.net site regularly, and continue to enjoy your work. Most of you have my email address, drop a line if you’re ever going to be around my area .
To the fallen:
OtherMichael, ModusOperandi, RossInDetroit, and especially Japhroaig, and all the many others who have gone silent or hidden under new names for whatever reason, be it their own mistake or the intolerance of others or simply moving on to bigger and better things, lift a glass wherever you are, and spill a little in the solstice fires for me. Not too much, though, that’s alcohol abuse!
* special shout-out to the craft category peeps, though!
** @fuzzyfungus and other technicals will understand the implications. Shush, you.