For the Record_canadianleft #13282

Protest like an Egyptian [Feb. 6th, 2011|07:29 pm]
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canadianleft

[ed_rex]

Lessons from Egypt

Barack Obama is the probably the best possible President the United States could have, but all of his genuinely good qualities don't make a damned bit of difference in terms of U.S. foreign policy. There is a very simple reason for this: He's not the boss. The real boss, of course, is all of that fucking money, all of the profits to be made, and which have to be made because that is the criteria according to which corporations — and hence the U.S. economy itself — lives or dies. Profit must be made, and it is not made exclusively, or even primarily within the U.S. but outside of it, all over the world. That is the necessity that governs U.S. foreign policy. Not morality, not justice, and not Obama. In that sphere he, like any other President, more closely resembles Stepin Fetchit. Thomas Dow, via email.

It's been getting harder and harder for anyone in the Western world to pretend we live in a genuinely democratic society. Ironically — but also tellingly — our rulers have felt in ever-less necessary to hide the fact that they hold "the people" in contempt, just as they hold in contempt the idea of democracy itself.

As a Canadian, last summer's government-sponsored riots in Toronto (see "Dominion of Fear" from last July) tore a lot of the proverbial wool from my eyes, but not all of it. I think it Tony Blair's calmy racist para-logical contortions in support of anything but democracy for the Egyptian people to bring home to me the fact our own democracy is little (if anything) more than a potempkin voting booth.

Which prompted the following, an editorial first published in this past Friday's True North Perspective. Long story short, there are two lessions for those of us in the West to learn from the courageous men and women facing down the thugs in the streets of Egypt.

First, it's not our place to manage Egyptian affairs. Even if we accept the myth of Good Intentions, the result is almost always a torturer like Mubarak.

And second, we need to take back our own democracy; the men in black body armor are at the ready any time we step out of line.

Click here for the rest (behind the fake cut).

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[User Picture] From: [info]ghostwes
2011-02-06 10:39 pm (local)
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I have just now added the following rule to the profile for this community, and I hope the other moderators will agree with me:

"8] No flagrant self-promotion. This includes posting incomplete entries with links that direct people to your off-site website."

[info]ed_rex, I usually read and agree with your posts, and have done so for many years in [info]canpolitik and other communities we share, but I really don't like this recent trend of trying to make people go to your website. Please make your entire post here so we don't have to go off-site to continue reading.

That said, since the rules is a new one, and I have not yet had feedback from the other moderators, I will leave your post up.


[User Picture] From: [info]ed_rex
2011-02-06 10:57 pm (local)

I disagree

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As per the subject-line, I disagree, and here's why.

1(a). Particularly in political discussion groups, there is a tendency for a poster to quote from, or paraphrase, an article living elsewhere and briefly state why the poster does or does not agree with the article in question — which a responder must visit in order to offer an an pertinent reply. Why shouldn't I be able to treat my own writing the way others do something from the Toronto Star?

1(b). If your proposed rule forbids linking to 3rd party posts, I'll withdraw my objection is 1(a).

1(c). On the other hand, why shouldn't I try to get people to visit Edifice Rex Online? If you like politics, Doctor Who, or Winnie the Pooh, it's a great site (IMHO, your mileage may vary).

2. Sweet Christ, this is [info]canadianleft! Other than me and [info]steelcaver there hasn't been a repeat poster here since 2008.

2(a). I trust you'll be making a similar rule to deal with the person responsible for this post. Because you know, Russian cigarettes (or whatever they are) don't have a hell of a lot to do with the Canadian Left. Unless I'm sadly mistaken.

(Inevitably) edited to fix bad HTML.

Edited at 2011-02-06 10:58 pm (local)


[User Picture] From: [info]ghostwes
2011-02-06 11:18 pm (local)

Re: I disagree

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Perhaps I am alone in these opinions. I welcome further discussion.

I think linking to articles is a different thing entirely. The problem is not referencing your own writing; the problem is self-promotion and forcing people to leave the community.

If we are forced to go to your website in order to even read the article, when you are, presumably, just as able to post it here in its entirety, then the only purpose of directing us to your site is self-promotion. Even if you think your site is worthy of promotion, I find this objectionable and I think others agree with me (at least they seem to in other communities we share in which you have also been doing this).

I believe it destroys commuunities because it essentially hijacks the discussion and forces things offstage.

I would not object to cross-posting something from your own journal, so long as the entire contents are available in both and the discussion can be held here. I also would not object if a post like this appeared in somoene's personal LJ. Well, I don't think it would impress me, but I wouldn't move to ban it.

I have been deleting the Russian cigarette (pens?) spam whenever I see it -- I seem to have missed one, sorry. We (the moderators) have no way to stop these posts from appearing, we can only delete them as they appear, and I am sure you know as well as I do that they are appearing in *every* community, not just this one. It's not a matter of us allowing them... we are literally inundated with spam posts lately because Livejournal can't seem to get their act together to stop the spammers. I would not have bothered to open this discussion for that post -- I simply delete them out of hand. You deserve more respect than that which is why I welcome your disagreement and invite the opinions of other members in the community.


[User Picture] From: [info]ed_rex
2011-02-07 02:39 am (local)

Re: I disagree

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Perhaps I am alone in these opinions. I welcome further discussion.

Thanks, but I'm not going to spend a lot of time defending my practices here. No offense but, since (other than a single post from someone called [info]radargrrl on January 3rd of this year wondering where the mods were in regards, if memory serves, to some particularly offensive pornographic spam (to which I, and I alone) posted a reply, I am the only contributor to [info]canadianleft since September 23rd, 2009.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I've been posting my teasers here as an act of (arguably self-interested) charity) more than anything else. Frankly, you need me more than I need you. Without my posts, this group has had nothing for close to a year and a half.

By all means, change the rules so that I can't self-promote while also being the only contributor to the community. You've every right to do so and I won't argue with you about it again. Given the traffic here, I doubt I'll bother with the group anymore, either. As I said, at this point, you need me more than I need you.

If it picks up, I'll reconsider.

I would not object to cross-posting something from your own journal, so long as the entire contents are available in both and the discussion can be held here. I also would not object if a post like this appeared in somoene's personal LJ. Well, I don't think it would impress me, but I wouldn't move to ban it.

So what's the substance of your urge to ban, then? That my piece comes from off-LJ? Again, you're a mod so the decision is yours, but I think it's illogical and inconsistent. Insist that posts live here in their entirety or don't.

The spam in question is two posts below my most recent, dated January 19 and, as I said previously, lives here.

We (the moderators) have no way to stop these posts from appearing, we can only delete them as they appear, and I am sure you know as well as I do that they are appearing in *every* community, not just this one. It's not a matter of us allowing them.</em>

I understand that. Although I now that some groups have gone to moderation and/or members-only posting to deal with the issue. Again, since there been only five real posts here in more than a year, I don't think either option would be particularly onerous.

Anyway. My two cents. Do as you will.


[User Picture] From: [info]ghostwes
2011-02-07 11:35 am (local)

Re: I disagree

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That the community is slow is not sufficient reason to allow things like spam or self-promotion. You've already admitted that this post is self-promotion so it's really just an oversight on our part that we did not have a rule against it prior to my adding it last night.

My preference would be for you to continue posting in this community, but to do so in this community. If I have scared you off with what I have tried to make a polite and sincere discussion about forum rules, then there's not much I can do about that I suppose. Good luck with your website in that case.

I don't think I need to defend having a rule against self-promotion as we are probably one of the few forums that didn't have one, and I assume that's just because of an oversight on whoever created the rules (it was not me). If you disagree with the notion of having said rule, I trust you will be also raising it in [info]canpolitik and [info]talk_politics, where I note that people have also had a problem with your post.

I first noticed the spam when you referred to it last night. I left it up as I thought it would be unfair to your argument to delete it after you referred to it. Anyway, it's not like anyone will see it unless they go looking for it. As for missing it, I am not the only moderator of this community and I was out of the country when it was posted. There have been *lots* of posts like that, most of which you will never see because I delete them in the wee hours of the morning before anyone notices. I'm sure the other mods have deleted a few too. What can I say, this is an LJ problem that nobody seems willing or able to solve. Member-only posting might resolve it, not sure about that -- it has happened in other member-only groups I am in. The fact that LJ is now owned by an advertising-friendly Russian company, and the spammer is Russian, well, I invite you to reach your own conclusions.


[User Picture] From: [info]ed_rex
2011-02-07 11:56 am (local)

Re: I disagree

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Sorry if I came across as flippant, but I am frankly finding it hard to see a problem. This group has 50 members and, for over a year, I've been the only contributor.

There were two posts in all of 2009 and four or five in 2007 (all of which, except for one advertising another community, were by [info]steelcaver before he apparently stopped bothering with this group.

If I have scared you off with what I have tried to make a polite and sincere discussion about forum rules, then there's not much I can do about that I suppose. Good luck with your website in that case.

I don't think I need to defend having a rule against self-promotion as we are probably one of the few forums that didn't have one, and I assume that's just because of an oversight on whoever created the rules (it was not me).

Well yes, you do need to defend the change of rules. You "proposed" it maybe 10 hours ago and have since "implemented" it. Again, I'm the only one posting here, infrequently, so there's no emergency. Who knows, maybe there are three or four other people who might still check out what's going on here.

But no, you don't "need" to defend your decision. It's your community, you can do what you want with it.

As I said previously, though I'd like [info]canadianleft to actually become a thriving community, the very fact I'm having this discussion is a huge waste of my time. Nobody lives here any more, so why you're bothering enforcing rules on your only participant is beyond me.

But as I said, it's your community and you've obviously decided the discussion is closed. So have fun ruling over your wasteland. If ever it comes back to life, I'll contemplate playing by your rules; as it stands, it's not worth my while.


[User Picture] From: [info]ghostwes
2011-02-07 12:52 pm (local)

Re: I disagree

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The rule is implemented for future posts but does not apply to this one, which, you will note, is still here, along with its link to your website. Your post prompted the rule, yes, but I hardly think I have been heavy-handed with it. Hell, I'm discussing it with you right now and opening the discussion for others to add their input. If a case can be made for not implementing this rule, I welcome hearing it and will have no problem removing it from the profile.

I'm not sure where I gave you the impression that the discussion is closed.
I think I have defended the rule to my own satisfaction, if not to yours. Of course, your arguments against have similarly failed to sway me, I'll admit, but perhaps other members will provide some argument that will.


[User Picture] From: [info]ed_rex
2011-02-07 01:15 pm (local)

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The discussion is closed because you've implemented the new rule. It's no longer up for debate. You "proposed" the rule and passed it in less than a day. I call that heavy-handed.

I'm not questioning your right to do it, but I think you shouldn't pretend it's something other than what it is. An arbitrary decision on your part (if you've consulted others, they've remained silent in public).

Anyway, I'm glad you've defended the rule to your "own satisfaction". As I said, I hope you enjoy ruling over your empty, dead "community".

Have fun.


[User Picture] From: [info]ghostwes
2011-02-07 02:01 pm (local)

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OK, clearly you are not even reading what I write so I see no point in continuing to discuss this with you.

Ignoring the OP for the moment, does anyone else have any points for or against the rule and whether we should keep it or not?


[User Picture] From: [info]frickinmuck
2011-02-07 09:29 pm (local)

Re: I disagree

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You are being unreasonable and heavy-handed. [info]ghostwes has gone to great lengths to be both respectful and fair, and your dismissive and rude attitude is unwarranted. If you are so huffy about this as to want to leave, then so be it.

The purpose of any LJ community is to build community within this venue. Posts that lead to outside blogs and forums openly seek to bring traffic from this venue to the outside one. This type of activity doesn't nurture the community, rather it exploits it. As a moderator of several communities I've seen this as an increasingly common problem as LJ users attempt to promote and drive traffic to their personal sites.

The fact that there is a low level of activity is irrelevant to what the rules are/should be, and if anything should lead you to be more compliant with the wishes of the moderators, since after all you theoretically have little traffic to gain from this community.

All that aside, if you're going to be a dick about what was one of the most polite and even-handed, respectful requests I've seen from any moderator on LJ, and then make kiss-off comments like you have, well, good riddance - even in a dead community. [info]ghostwes is one of the nicest people around, and it gets my hackles up to see you acting this way for no good reason. You should be glad you weren't dealing with me.


[User Picture] From: [info]ed_rex
2011-02-07 10:31 pm (local)

Re: I disagree

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Sorry, but this entire thing is so ridiculous that I haven't been willing to hide my exasperation.

Simply put, [info]ghostwes objected to my modus operandi, stated that the rules were going to change and called that a discussion. Then he changed the rules. All in the space of quite a lot less than 24 hours and with input into the "discussion" from, er, him and me. You came in after any meaningful discussion was closed.

If you consider that respectful, that's your perogative; I don't. Had he simply said that he was changing the rules, I would have stated my objection, then left it alone. But he claimed the issue was up for discussion, so I treated it as such.

Now, post decision, you've weighed in in favour of the rules, which is fair enough but technically kind of pointless, since [info]ghostwes has already changed them.

The fact that there is a low level of activity is irrelevant to what the rules are/should be, and if anything should lead you to be more compliant with the wishes of the moderators, since after all you theoretically have little traffic to gain from this community.

I agree that activity level should be irrelevant to the changes to the rules, but I think it is quite relevant to the speed with which any such changes need to be made.

As I said, when I have been the only person posting any content here for more than a year, [info]ghostwes' sudden concern and need to act on my transgressions now seem like the pointless preening of a grumpy wannabe commissar who suddenly feels his tiny piece of the internet has been threatened.

I don't care how respectful his words may have been (and I disagree with you on that; but I admit I was probably the first to dispense with full civility, so I'll give concede the point), his actions were not respectful at all.

Given the lack of urgency, respectful would have given at least a double-tithe (that would be something like 4 of us) of the membership more than 14 or so hours to weigh in on the issue.

You should be glad you weren't dealing with me.

I guess this means something terrible will happen to me now that I am dealing with you? Well, threaten away; since you're one of the mods here, I can only presume this means you'll be deleting my post or revoking my posting privileges or something.


[User Picture] From: [info]frickinmuck
2011-02-08 05:59 am (local)

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No, no, no. I will not stand for a blatant manipulation of the facts of the situation, intentional or not. [info]ghostwes was clearly discussing things civilly with you (even after you "dispensed with full civility"), and when he expressed an interest in hearing your rationale and expressed being open to discussing things, you shat all over that. The charitable, non-crazy thing to do would have been to give him the benefit of the doubt and indulge him with that discussion instead of being a dick like you were/are being. Knowing him, if you'd expressed a rational, friendly attitude you might have actually swayed him to consider changing the rules back (which I wouldn't have supported unless your arguments were truly stellar, but whatever).

The same issue came up in [info]canpolitik just the other day and he was one of the only people in the community to speak against the offending person's ban from the community. And in previous comments about the discussion he expressed a high level of open-mindedness about the issue.

You harp on the haste of changing rules, but there is no haste of which you speak. As a moderator one takes action on something when it occurs to one to do so, and at no particular pace in a situation like this. Haste, in this situation, wasn't in determining that he didn't like what was happening and stating that he wanted to change the policy (PERFECTLY reasonable, and as you yourself admitted, totally within his right), haste would have been in deleting all your posts and banning you. He didn't do that, and you are being a bully and unfair, steamrolling over him just because you're pissed off about his choice of words. Words, I might add, that weren't unreasonable, bitchy or heavy-handed. Quite the contrary.

Because both [info]ghostwes and I have up until now had a lot of respect for you, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you either misread something that was said or else that something is happening for you that is unrelated to this situation that is making you act irrationally, but geez. I have a feeling that if you read this conversation in a couple weeks you are going to feel like a real ass. You've been such a dick for no good reason, and the decent thing to do would be to apologize to [info]ghostwes instead of calling him a "preening, grumpy, wannabe commissar" and so forth.

As for waiting for people to weigh in, that would have been unwarranted. He already knew my position on this issue (I am strongly against off-community linking), because of the situation in [info]canpolitik, and he knows that the other 2 moderators are both off LJ these days. It's not a democracy here, despite the leftist bent of the community, but even if it were, this isn't an issue that would ever be put to a vote. Simply because it is inherently destructive to community, the whole purpose of being here.

I guess this means something terrible will happen to me now that I am dealing with you?

No, I just meant that unlike [info]ghostwes, I have no interest in being patient and kind to people who treat me like crap. I have a tendency to be a total bitch to such people. Plus, I have a way stronger position against off-community linking than [info]ghostwes, so I probably would have been genuinely heavy-handed, unlike him.


[User Picture] From: [info]ed_rex
2011-02-08 08:51 am (local)

Re: I disagree

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No, no, no. I will not stand for a blatant manipulation of the facts of the situation, intentional or not.

Nor will I, and it is you who is, presumably through an unwillingness to pay attention to what I actually type and not malice, misrepresenting the facts.

On civility: I don't give much of a damn about tone here. It's a side issue. If you think that calling me a "dick" is helpful, then by all means, carry on calling me a "dick" and (not) "non-crazy". I'm not going to waste any time suggesting you be more "civil". It's your opinion of me and you're welcome to it, though I'll note that personal insult is a pretty fucking juvenile way for anyone, let alone a moderator, to conduct themself.

What is relevant is your bullshit claims about what I'm arguing with.

As I have stated many times, I AM NOT ARGUING WITH YOUR RIGHT TO CHANGE THE RULES. I'll tell you one more time what I am objecting to.

1. That the rule change was made with no discussion beyond (if memory serves) one comment from em;

2. The implication that such speed was warranted because this "community" is suffering from a deluge of partial posts/teasers linking to complete work outside.

3. No such speed was warranted because I have been the ONLY contributor to this "community" for over a year.

4. Said speed (14 hours from my post until the new rule went up?) precluded possible contributions from other "community" members — therefore calling further argument between [info]ghostwes and I a "discussion" in the sense that the policy is still up for debate is bullshit.

To sum up, there was no emergency, there is no "community" and if you're only going to provide 14 hours from warning to rule change, you might as well state up front that "this is no democracy" and be done with the pretence that you're interested in debate.

I don't question your right to make the change, but I do question your wisdom in doing it as the collective you did it.

I have no interest in being patient and kind to people who treat me like crap.

Let's see, you've called me a "dick", not "non-crazy" and yet you have the temerity to claim I have treated you "like crap"?

The mind boggles. Thank you, and have a nice day.

Edited to fix HTML.

Edited at 2011-02-08 08:52 am (local)


[User Picture] From: [info]frickinmuck
2011-02-08 10:59 am (local)

Re: I disagree

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The treatment you are getting from me is a direct result of your tone with [info]ghostwes. If you were being rational and civil I wouldn't think you were being a dick. And calling someone's behavior dickish is not the same as calling them dickish. And after how you've been toward [info]ghostwes, don't you dare try lecturing me about personal insult.

1] Newsflash: There is no discussion warranted or required in this situation. As a moderator, [info]ghostwes made the right call given what he knew about how I felt and the absence of the other moderators. We are the only people he needed to consult on the matter. This is not the type of issue that would ever be brought to community discussion or vote. That aside, [info]ghostwes was willing to hear your side of the story, but rather than give your side you just turned to personal insult and drama-mongering.

2] Again with the "speed" thing. How in the HELL is since September "speed"? This is one argument of yours that is pure bullshit if I ever saw it. And there doesn't need to be a deluge of posts for the decision to be made that no off-linking should be allowed. All that's needed is for several posts in a row to be off-linking, self-promotional ones for the community to start to feel like something it was never intended to be, and for a moderator to decide to rein it in.

3] All the more reason your posting style stands out as out of place. And again - speed? This has been going on since September. I ask you - and please, DO answer this question. If you respond to one thing here, let it be this: What would "reasonable pacing" looked like to you, and how would things be different?"

4] Again - and I've really said this enough times - we do not consult community members on issues like this. Just each other. This is a community administration rule, not a content rule, not a behavior rule. And you yourself keep claiming you are the only active member here, so what would community consultation have availed anyway? But like I keep saying - this is the type of issue that is at the discretion of the moderators, not the community at large. The rule is about what form a post can take, and whether it can lead the discussion elsewhere. It's not about whether your posts should be allowed or what you are talking about, it's about how they are structured.

And no one here has claimed it was an emergency. It's something that has been tolerated for nearly half a year, so I really don't get how you can claim emergency steps were taken. Nor have I made any pretense at ALL of being interested in debate. I frankly am not in the least interested in debating this or anything else with you. You don't come across to me as reasonable. Not in this situation, anyway.

And if you actually read my last comment about crap treatment, and had the ability to parse the course of that thread, you'd see that I was referring to [info]ghostwes and HIS ability to be nice to someone who is treating HIM like crap. Get it? "Be glad you weren't dealing with me?" Ring a bell? Gah. You really must be in a huff if you missed the intent of that one.
 


[User Picture] From: [info]ed_rex
2011-02-08 11:10 am (local)

Re: I disagree

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Well, I trust all this attention makes the two of you feel very important. Enjoy ruling over your vibrant community.
 

[User Picture] From: [info]frickinmuck
2011-02-08 11:24 am (local)

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Yeah, hope that being a total dick to others thing works out for you.
Spread the word!

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