Last month, I posted a bit of whiny rant about my dissatisfaction at being mysteriously and stealthily banned from RedState.com.
And now for a bit of a “closure post”, as by not having heard anything from the fine folks at who run that show over there for nearly a month, I figure I’m not likely to get any resolution or restoration of my account.
Initially, I was quite frustrated1 at being summarily “excommunicated” (as I had enjoyed commenting there) without being informed as to why I got “blammed”, as some moderators might do.
I pondered this a bit, and tried to figure out why some folks had a lot more leeway (as in this guy - “aceintx” - who almost begs to be banned) and others got banhammered very quickly, and then a few like myself who “never knew quite what hit us”. After doing some further digging about, and reading through some of the whinging by other (former?) RedState users who were being “bullied” by the moderators, I’ve come to a conclusion:
Life is Not Fair.™
Ironically, this is the same statement oft-quoted by the regular “in-crowd” at RedState, usually seen after they go into playground-mob mode to dump on some poor schmoe who has made the mistake of getting a bit mouthy (or perhaps just ran amiss) of any of the dozen or so moderators who lurk through nearly every thread… and once the poor schmoe asks “Why are y’all picking on me?” or “How come [username X] gets to talk about [subject Y] and I’m told to keep my muzzle shut?”, or worse, just mouths off and really digs himself a hole… invariably, the answer a moderator or some in-crowd user will shoot back with is:
Life is Not Fair.™
And what makes this even more “unfair”, is the fact that it is not readily apparent to the new user who the moderators or other high-muck-a-mucks of RedState are. (Hint: be content to lurk for several weeks before posting, if you really care to know who to tread carefully around, and learn what the “don’t-go-there” topics are).
But this is pretty much par for the course for any internet community, and RS is by no means the worst “offender” in this regard. On the right, I’ve seen FReepers really savage the few poor schlepps who run amiss of the generally agreed upon culture there - and on the fever swamps of the left like DailyKos or MyDD, righties or lefties who fall short of their party line are quickly and brutally curbstomped into submission or non-existence (in virtual fashion, of course).
And all of this pales by comparison to MMOG gaming fora, which really brings out the kids (both the actual middle-schoolers as well as the creepy 35 year-olders who’ve not quite yet matured out of a middle-school mindset).
Once again, it bears repeating - as every fact is established by the testimony of three witnesses:
Life is Not Fair.™
Perhaps my expectations for RS were a tad higher, and I allowed my generally thick internet skin to be a tad thinner than normal.
Unlike many singly-operated blogs (like mine, where it is fairly obvious who runs the blog) or web forums driven by engines like phpBB or Yahoo!’s yBB (such as the now defunct gaming forum I administered before I started blogging a few years ago), RedState moderators are not easily identified by nifty bolded orange text with the word “Moderator” or Admin” next to their names.
Unless you pay close attention to the manner and tone of how they post (Hint: they are the guys who either own the site like Ben Domenech or Jeff Emanuel, or some of the other folks listed here - which by the way, is a very partial list).
In a somewhat perverse way, this adds to some of the high drama that can unfold at RedState, especially in a contentious primary season such as this, where many opinionated folks come out of the woodwork… and sometimes find themselves mouthing off to another poster whom they do not realize they is a moderator or even one of the owners, such as this exchange between the user perien2 and several of the moderators and users which resulted in the one of the owners responding thus:
Your problem is twofold: by Jeff Emanuel
(1) You have no idea who you’re talking to
(2) You’ve confused this place with somewhere you have the “right” to be, and the “freedom” to say whatever you’d like.
Both portend a very, very brief lifespan for you here, even without the waste of bandwidth your diary contributions have been to this point.
I have to admit that I got somewhat ruffled by the sometimes rather arbitrary and even childish behaviour of both some of the “in crowd” and even the moderators when they suddenly “de-cloak” and hammer the offending posters with a tersely-worded warning or even a summary ban.
The bottom line is though… RS *is* a private domain and the owners have the right to limit what gets said and who may speak on their forum (just like my blog is mine to do with as I please within the bounds of law)… and if the owners don’t care to give me the time of day, then so be it.
My only regret is that a community such as RS that chooses to some degree to shut the mouths of those who disagree with The Consensus run the risk of stifling different perspectives, and eventually risks being an echo chamber.
But as has already been said, Life is Not Fair.™, and that is their site and choice to make.
I’ll be back in a bit with Part II, as to how this lesson applies in another, greater sphere.
Upon further reflection, I *do* have some notion of what I may have said regarding Sen. McCain’s imminent and inevitable position as the GOP presidential nominee, my lack of readiness to abandon my principles and simply jump behind that salty RINO… and/or my willingness to consider supporting a third party or even voting for the Democrat nominee in a fit of pique.
2 perien probably brought a decent measure of the “Ira Populi et Deorum” of RS on himself though, as he kept pushing his point after insulting the community (he originally commented about someone else requesting a ban of an actual troll - who did a drive-by post replete with ALL CAPS!11!!1!-clad warped logic - that by requesting the ban, the user was demonstrating that the RS crowd was “a sanctimonious mob of political-prudes.”)