In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight
henwy

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Gencon Forums: A response

So people have been forwarding me comments and otherwise letting me know that it seems that what was really behind the banning was the formation of the SSOTWWTLM. I figured I would repost a history of it and then why I think the ban, as reasoned, was pure sophistry and bullshit.

It all started around 7-8 months ago probaly when bladerunner press said that he was going to quit the forums. I don't know how many people were even around back then but it more or less came out of the blue. He had been posting pretty steadily and contributing to a lot of threads and then one day, poof. He dropped a note in non-seq saying that he was going to quit or otherwise take a long and extended leave of absence. I had been getting along with him pretty well, and considered him a friend so I dropped him a PM. Now, I knew he had work to do with his gaming company and deadlines were coming up so I told him that if he had to leave for a bit because of work, that was fine, but I hoped that it wasn't for anything else and that no matter what he would pop back as soon as he could. He basically told me that he was going to quit because mari had been harassing him. She had been sending him warnings of some sort about the content of his posts and to some effect that they were unacceptable and would bring sanctions of some sort. It had obviously upset him and it seemed like complete and utter bullshit to me. Someone should search back through BRP's posts and I don't care how far back you have to go. The guy is about as nice, placid, and generally happy-go-lucky a poster as exists (my apologies to you BRP if you're reading this and you think it makes you sound like a care bear). The fact remains that I had never seen him post ANYTHING that had even slightly been offensive. While my offense-o-meter might be set pretty high personally, I still don't think anything he posted could be singled out for censure. Again, try for yourself if you don't take my word for it. Search back through the forums and see if you can find anything.

Anyway, I had already had quite a few runins with mari, mostly because she was a bossy, bullying, controlling seacow. I don't remember if this was before or after Tom Javoroski had quit the forums because of her. Tom and I had a rocky relationship and everything when we were arguing but we both pretty much agreed on what we thought of mari. The best part is that she obviously had a huge double standard in her moderation and would go out of her way to harass some individuals over others. I was once given a ban warning for the word 'hentai' in a post even though it had nothing to do with porn or anime or anything. I had been trying to say 'little weirdo' in pidgeon japanese. Mock drops me an email like a month later where he had in a costume thread somewhere gotten into an extensive discussion with Hades and other people about making a Hentai costume for the contest. They were all even discussing how to make the tentacles and crap and of course there wasn't so much as a peep out of mari. I could list examples all day and night but suffice to say, she had certainly targeted others before but even I was surprised she would take pot shots at BRP.

So I PM'ed BRP and argued that he shouldn't quit just because of her. I told him some of my own runins with her and those I knew of other people who had gotten into her sights. Quitting would just be like letting a bully win on the playground as far as I was concerned, just because she had her sainted mod powers and could apparently do no wrong. Anyway, I told him jokingly that he couldn't quit. If he quit, who would join my Secret Society Of Those Who Wanted To Lynch Marimac. He decided in the end to stick it out and stayed. Yippee.

I don't know if he had any other major runins with mari, but I know I clashed with her quite a few more times. Any complaints I made about the fact that I thought she was biased and just generally a bullying bitch went unheeded and I decided to put the SSOTWWTLM in my sig as a protest of sorts. Over the course of weeks, every once and a while, people would PM and ask what it meant. If you want to get random PMs, I suggest putting an acronym in your sig. You find it drags all sorts of people out of the woodwork to ask you what it means. I would usually demur and tell them they had to guess since frankly, this was mostly an in joke between BRP and myself and I didn't exactly want to tell everyone about it. In the end, so many people asked and of them people I liked that I gave them the hint that the acronym was about what I thought was what was the worst part of the forums.

To my shock, a few people guessed it or at least enough words to figure out who it was about. Others didn't and I didn't bother to enlighten them about it. Those who did find out seemed to share the sentiment and wanted to join the 'society'. Not surprising really that it was the ones who would guess that would want to join. In the end, there were like a half dozen or little more. Seven or so I think. Some of them decided to pop up the acronym in their sig files while others kept mum and there was at least a couple long rambling thread in non-seq about the SSOTWWTLM as I recall. You can probaly dig it up if you're really curious.

There's not a whole lot more to tell after that, or at least not as it relates to the forums. We had some t-shirts made up before indy that were spiffykeen and it was also there that we found out that the whole thing had leaked up and others knew about it. After indy we were pretty much told to take the thing out of our sigs and to my knowledge that's the last I've seen of it on the forums themselves. (edit: Actually, now that I think of it, I was never even told such a thing. I took it out after a couple others had been sent PMs but had never actually received a message from any mod, whether in person nor through a PM about it) Certainly I hadn't seen any post about it nor made any myself and the only contribution I've made since then is I wear the shirt because I think it kicks ass. If anyone actually wants to see the design, just comment and I can try a picture or otherwise pop one up.

So that's the story. What does it tell us? Well, first it tells us that if this was the reason for the ban than that PM I got from the gencon people was just sophistry and bullshit. It tells us that not only is there an unequal application of the rules, but that they actually had to dig up things that were supposedly wiped by their own forum policy in order to carry it out. The thing cited about advocating things against gencon policy was over the fact that you couldn't buy all the tickets for a TD run and then find people to join in that run with you and expect to be reimbursed. So if I had bought all 7 and was planning to find forumites at the stink to fill a slot or two once I got there and give them a ticket in exchange for the price, that was illegal. Instead the way to do it was we both had to walk over to the refund booth, and I had to turn it in just as he or she was in the event reg booth and wanted to buy it as it became avaliable. Bullshit. There are other facets of that exercise in idiocy but the way it applies here is that despite the fact that I was given a warning for that, and that it supposedly wiped under the new forum strike system, it was hauled out of the closet yet again to try to justify their ban.

As far as the SSOTWWTLM is concerned, as it pertained to posts on the forum, everyone stopped using the acronym on the boards after indy and I haven't seen it resurface in any forum post anywhere. (Edit: Again, I personally didn't receive squat about it and had yanked it myself just before Mock told me he had been warned about it. No clue if this was a selective thing about who was sent a PM to take it out of sigs or what.) Maybe it simply took it a while to work its way up to ladder of outrage or something but that knowledge is beyond me. So there's the story from my perspective. Take it as you will. If other people who were around back during this and have other bits to fill in any blanks, they're welcome to it.
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