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January 02, 2011

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One writer (but only one) from the other side of the fence must agree to the ban for it to move forward (Von can vote as either side of the fence as he wishes). For the record, currently Charles Bird, Andrew, and Sebastian Holsclaw are on the right; Von is in the center; and Hilzoy is on the left.;-) Yes, that's unbalanced...we're working on it.*
A nice look into the past; I've only been reading since Dr. Science started posting here, so I had not been aware of the site's history. Out of curiosity, then, is there a current understanding of the left/right split of the active posters?

January 3d on my continent, so I just came by to toast on Andrew. Gone, but not forgotten.

dutchmarbel

"Out of curiosity, then, is there a current understanding of the left/right split of the active posters?"

Are you addressing me, personally, or asking about some mutual understanding? I can't speak for anyone but me.

And all I'd say to that is that I have my own evaluations of the views of the current front-pagers. Which are private.

I'm happy to identify, according to situation, myself in various ways, because my views are complex, and I'm not thrilled with simple labels.

I've quite commonly been labeled with pretty much every political label in the book, many times.

Everyone gets to make up their own mind as to what label to stick on me, and what pigeonhole to file me in. Me, my views are my own.

But I've been an elected official, in a trivial way, of the Democratic party several times, over a couple of decades; it's entirely fair to say that I'm generally a Democratic voter -- though I entirely vote on the individual, and have voted otherwise accordingly at times -- and am most reasonably considered some variety of left/liberal social democrat with some libertarian and conservative views mixed in, and that my views evolve over time, and any statement I've ever made should be checked with me to see if I still agree (maybe), disagree (maybe), think I was an asshole (quite frequently), have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote such at thing (happens more often then I'd prefer), and so on.

One thing that I think wouldn't be true to say that my views are simple or terribly easily reducible, at least by my preference.

Ask me this question again in half an hour, and I'll give a slightly different answer. Time is linear, and life is dynamic, not stasis.

My life is, and I try to encourage my thinking also not be, in stasis.

And my short personal opinion about the group is that all of us now, besides Sebastian, are far more on the Democratic/liberal/left moderate side than not, while Sebastian... should speak for himself, and I'm not speaking for anyone else in this sentence.

And I think that's a fair description of ObWi for many years now. More than half the lifetime of the blog, by far.

I think ObWi hasn't been balanced the way the posting rules describe since Moe Lane quit. And that the claims of alleged balance description ranged from highly innacurate to wildly inaccurate ever since.

This hasn't been a controversial view since, well, note that in January, 2005, the blog was considered "January 26, 2005" to be unbalanced, and simultaneouslly said that:

*And by "working on it," of course I mean dragging Charles, Slarti and Sebastian over into the light of liberalism. ;p Just kidding...a balanced board is important...stay tuned.
I have my own view of this, but make up your own mind as to how coherent this sounded even then.

And that it hasn't changed since.

Despite being discussed endlessly in endless threads every few weeks, year after year after year after year. There was an announce shift to the new template in, god, I'd have to look it up: when Hilzoy was in charge, I think, but maybe I'm confusing that with when Publius announced it would happen very shortly.

Theoretically the blog has striven to find more non-liberal/left/social democratic views for so many years I'd have to look it up.

That's why I brought Andrew over and introduced him to Hilzoy, and Hilzoy to Andrew.

But, yes, it was unfair to Charles Bird, Andrew, and Sebastian Holsclaw and Von to put them on a "side" against Hilzoy, since everyone else put together and ten more besides, of high quality writers, couldn't equal one Hilzoy, in my purely personal opinion.

But in reality, nobody here has ever had entirely knee-jerk opinions, and everyone who has ever posted has made valid and interesting points quite a few times. How often is a subjective opinion.

And while I'm giving relatively blunt answers, I think the slogan "This is the Voice of Moderation. I wouldn't go so far as to say we've actually SEIZED the radio station . . ." should have been dropped by 2005 at the latest.

But that's not my call; just my two cents.

I'd prefer to keep this private, but since this has been going on since 2005, I don't think I'm being too impatient. Others' mileage undoubtedly will vary.

Marbel: expect a post on January 4th from me, my time.

I make no promises as to whether it will be more than six words, or less than twenty thousand.

(Probably less than twenty thousand, probably far closer to six, or more likely, a couple of hundred.)

But barring medical or other incapacity, which is always possible, there will be a post by me.

It's a post I think about several times a day, ever damn day for... since I started thinking about it.

Approximately two years ago.

I'm reposting this comment from the "DADT and Rape Culture" thread.

avedis at December 27, 2010 at 06:24 PM:

[...] I think that the author of the linked article is a little radical and a little bitter - just look at her - because she is not asble to play that game. She wants to be appreciate for her intellect, alone, or something.
I've only just seen this comment.

As an official Obsidian Wings co-blogger, I'm declaring this to be, speaking as only one member of the collective, in my opinion, two sentences (at least) that are in violation of The Posting Rules.

Specifically:

Be reasonably civil.
And, most specifically:
Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.
Avedis, you've gotten away with a lot here, due to a combination of tremendous tolerance, lack of co-ordination, and other factors.

This is an Official Warning.

If you make personal attacks again in violation of this warning on ANY commenter here, you are subject to the possibility and probability of being banned.

Since I'm seeing this belatedly, unless one of the other ObWi co-bloggers has given an Official Warning to you on another comment, I'll consider this your First Warning.

Do it again, you may get a second warning.

There won't be a third warning.

How long you'll be banned remains to be seen.

My own preference would be along the lines of, in future:

1) First offense gets a warning.

2) Second offense gets a one/two day cooling-off ban.

3) Third offense gets you two weeks.

4) Fourth offense gets you two months.

5) Fifth offense gets you two years.

This is not an official ObWi banning policy at this time.

So far as we have an official policy at this time, it's either up to Eric Martin to declare, or you to be surprised with, and you may appeal any decision by email to ObWings At gmail Dot com

If you have trouble figuring out how that works, speak up.

But it's how I suggest to the current collective that banning be handled in future.

That, or something similarly consistent and clear; I don't care about the precise numbers; I care about consistent rules that everyone can understand, that are enforced as consistently as is practical.

Don't make declarations about other people that you are not entitled to make. This is an example of your doing so, just one of many.

You're now Warned.

Thanks, Gary. I've been following you on Amygdala for some time, and while I often disagree, I can at least appreciate your writings. Truly "moderate" group blogs seem very hard to find; little by little the drift one way or the other.

Gary, I mean no disrespect, but is there any chance you could work on your...brevity? It seems to me that over the last few months your comments/posts have become a lot more wordy. Sufficiently wordy that I find it difficult at times to work through them. Your current comments seem to be characterized by a legalistic style perhaps designed to preempt future disagreement or confusion, but it has been taken to a ridiculous extent. This didn't seem to be the case in the past.

I mean, lines like this:

If I knew what the collective opinion was, I'd tell you. I don't, and I can't. Possibly this post may engender discussion of some sort somewhere, whether private or public, here in this thread, or elsewhere. I can't predict the future, or the behavior of others.

look like they come from a panicked junior associate at a law firm. Do you really think you need to explain to us that you are incapable of predicting the future? Do you think anyone believes that you have magical powers? What point is there to enumerating all possible repercussions to this post?

My point is: your readers' time is valuable. Please don't waste it.

(As an object lesson, please notice what I've not written in this comment. I have not written anything about how 'obviously you don't have to change anything on my account' or 'of course you're a skilled writer' or 'no doubt some (many? all?) will disagree with me'. I haven't written anything like that because you're not stupid and can infer it all. And what you can't infer you can ask about.)

Thanks for your input, Turb.

Thanks for your input, Turb.

See? That is exactly what I'm talking about.

Excellent job. Many thanks.

To sum it up succinctly, tl;dr.

ditto Uncle Kvetch.

I have withdrawn my Warning to avedis; see here for revision.

Turb: not everything relevant to this blog takes place in public.

Yeah, on thinking about it, Uncle Kvetch, you're right. In my one or two posts I should have objected much more strongly to avedis's sexist and homophobic comments. I was too caught up trying to figure out where he was coming from.

I dunno, with what is an essentially unmodded board, I think it becomes more important to figure out where people are coming from and if they are actually being honest before making strong objections. In the case of avedis, I still have a strong suspicion that he is playing us, so there is really no sense in denouncing his homophobia because if he is doing that, it is just a facade. The whole point of trolling is to obtain an outsized emotional reaction. And the whole performance, while directed at the DADT decision, is filled with winks and nods to other things primarily designed to piss folks who comment here. I mean, really, an ex-Marine with 20 years service, who has a son and a daughter in the service, yet remains steadfastly opposed to women serving, now running a horse farm and is also was an actuary who is convinced that everything on ObWi about health care is wrong? Oh, and the daughter likes whale watching. I think he's only hung around here as long as he has because he hasn't gotten the reaction that he wanted out of the commentariat. It would be a shame if the consensus was that we should work to give him what he wants.

I commented as below in the other thread; I'll reprint rather than link.

WRT banning, I don't think "avedis" should be (or should have been) banned. I think that, after the first couple of dozens of rounds, he should have been ignored. Shunned, even. DNFTT.

He claims he is not a homophobe. Maybe, maybe not; no way for me to know.

But he does assert, again and again and again, that real warriors ARE homophobes, and that they will not (cannot?) change, and will even subvert or abandon the military if asked to, and we as a nation cannot afford that. And he maintains this in the face of massive evidence that warriors in other times and other nations have not all been homophobes. As well as evidence that over the past 60 years or so racists in the US military have been forced to abandon the overt expression of their prejudices, and the sky did not fall in. Their patriotism or their devotion to duty ultimately outweighed their racism, and we as a nation are better for it. But "avedis" denies this precedent.

If he is not a homophobe he is a full-time, partisan enabler of homophobia. Not worth my time, or anyone else's. I feel foolish having engaged him as much as I did. So should we all.

LJ:

[...] I dunno, with what is an essentially unmodded board,
THE FOLLOWING IS GARY FARBER'S PERSONAL RESPONSE; NOT AN OBWI OFFICIAL RESPONSE; NO OTHER OBWI BLOGGER HAS BEEN CONSULTED IN THIS, AND MAY ENTIRELY DISAGREE:

I solicit, in particular, longtime commenters to please monitor the comments, and send links to any comments they think questionable, to ObWings At gmail Dot com

It would help greatly.

Anyone is welcome to do it, but those who have been around for a while will have the best sense of when it's appropriate.

I also encourage discussion of matters taking place on this blog to take place on this blog, in any open thread I make, or send requests to me at ObWings At gmail Dot com, or gary underscore farber at yahoo dot com, if you wish to suggest a topic for discussion about ObWi.

ObWi also continues to solicit suggestions for additional bloggers, last I looked, and we're all capable, last I looked, of allowing Guest Bloggers by use of our individual judgment.

If anyone would like to make a guest post, you're welcome to send me your submission, or suggestion, and we can discuss it, or I might approve of it as written, or I might suggest or request some changes, or I may, of course, say "thanks, but I think this is more appropriate elsewhere."

FYI, reminder to all.

LJ, it's always possible that someone you know has google fu, and yet reserves judgment, still, despite various clear possibilities and established, yet not publically discussed, known facts and links.

And more than one person here has been known to look into such things.

Word to the wise. And I'm referring strictly to information derivable only from statements published on this blog.

Were I not a front-pager, I'd say something more about this, but since I am:
a) My role is different, and I play appropriately as I can.
b) There's no doubt someone would think I was using behind-the-scenes info; that wouldn't be true, but it would be a stupid argument to waste time on, and might make someone feel foolish if I pointed out exactly how and why I can prove it isn't true.

But most people tend to underestimate what can be found out in just a few minutes of googling and reading, if one has good google fu, and the other person, ah, doesn't realize all the possibilities of how many clues they've publically posted.

[...] I feel foolish having engaged him as much as I did. So should we all.
It's easy for many to forget that for every commenter, there are hundreds and hundreds -- at least -- of reading lurkers.

If I'm addressing someone publically, rather than in email, I'm writing as much, of not more, as I can for the people reading what I write, as anyone addressed.

Were it not so, I'd use email in most cases.

We have an average, at present, of 3500 page views a day on ObWi.

(It used to be 15,000-30,000 when Hilzoy peaked, but that's another topic; though I do have an idea that not every front page blogger on ObWi has been reading the SiteMeter stats, which are public and on the sidebar, ever since I nagged Moe into installing SiteMeter, the original search mechanism, the second search mechanism, and so on. I could, of course, be wrong, and others have been consistently, when reading the blog, watching the stats more or less every week or three since 2005 or so and watched them decline steadily since Hilzoy left.)

Your commitment to the idea that everyone is redeemable, Gary, is an admirable one. There are times when I'm sure it's a better approach than my willingness to write people off, and this may or may not be one of them.

The main problem I have with it is that it assumes an infinite amount of patience on the part of the community for rebutting the same zombie lies, timeworn canards and (demonstrably) dishonest arguments over and over again. Most people do not have that kind of patience, and when thread after thread after thread becomes poisoned by people who drag in all manner of bigotry, stupidity and just plain bad arguments, it becomes a chore to read, let alone comment. A lot of people just give up and go elsewhere, somewhere where the moderators are more willing to slam the lid on that kind of crap before it gets derailed by trolling.

I have neither the time nor the energy anymore to waste on people who've demonstrated time and time again that they Just Don't Get It. My family gets that kind of forbearance, but even then there are limits: I have an uncle who is the worst kind of bigoted, closed-minded wingnut, and he's been that way as long as I've been alive--close to 40 years now. He is not persuadable. Arguing with him about politics feels like ramming your head into a brick wall, and is about as productive. I just don't talk to him anymore, because what's the point? If he undergoes some kind of major epiphany in his life that opens him up to deprogramming, I might make the effort--but he's on the opposite side of the country and until he makes some effort of his own in getting sane, I have better things to do.

And that's an uncle. Why should random strangers on the internet have a greater claim to my time and patience than my family?

At a certain point you have to be able to recognize that a person is not worth your time, and let them go. If you cannot do that, then bad faith actors and just plain crazy folk--and there are plenty of both wherever you go--will monopolize time, energy, and patience that is better spent on people who /are/ persuadable, or who already have their heads on straight and /don't need to be changed/.

That's true in one's personal life, and it's doubly true on the internet, where the signal to noise ratio is far worse.

Everyone may well be reachable. Maybe anyone can change. But if they don't want to, there are better uses for your time--and mine.

"Your commitment to the idea that everyone is redeemable..."

That's not quite what I said, in a crucial way.

[...] Until proven otherwise to my own personal satisfaction, subject to my own variable and subjective and changeable judgement, I try to consider people to be changeable and persuadable.
Is quite different. As is:
[...] Until I feel forced to treat them otherwise. But it's always, in the end, my choice, and my judgmentalism, and only mine. Just as everyone must draw their own lines as to that which they can tolerate and can't tolerate.

[...]

Having said that, there are plenty of people who make clear immediately just how vicious and intolerable they are, and that's what the posting rules are for.

I would like to see them enforced as consistently as is practical, in every way that is reasonably practical, insofar as mechanisms can be created to facilitate this.

Gary,
Sorry, by my comment that this was an essentially unmoderated board, I didn't mean to dismiss the efforts that you and others are making, even as we speak. The 'essentially' was a way to try and identify the quality that ObWi has that often lets people speak for much longer than they might on a more strictly moderated list.

The rest of my comment was a reply to Donald Johnson's comment that he should have registered a stronger objection. I think I have mentioned before, but the softer approach is one that I appreciate, and I think that it makes a big contribution to the ObWi atmosphere. I'm not sure about any google-fu, I believe that I confined myself to what avedis has written as avedis here (and I have no access to any other information) and nothing else. Again, apologies if my comment came across as being ignorant or ungrateful of the efforts you are making, it was not intended.

Gary, I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to my comment. There's much to chew on in what you wrote.

I would like to point out (again) that I was not calling for avedis to be banned. I understand that I may have given that impression with my first comment on the DADT thread, which was something along the lines of "racist trolls get banned; homophobic ones get fed to their heart's content." That was clumsy on my part.

What I was trying to get at was that there are plenty of options between banning and feeding, and I couldn't understand the deference that avedis was getting, given what I saw as classic trollish behavior from the get-go. You and several others repeatedly countered his just-so assertions with coherent arguments, which he repeatedly ducked, dodged or ignored. He'd been in the Marines, you hadn't, case closed. And yet on and on it went, to no discernible purpose...the dude came in calling this blog a "liberal circle-jerk" and left in a huff, hundreds of comments later, declaring it an "echo chamber."

Your vision for this blog is a worthy one -- even a noble one. But it always carries the risk that fools will be suffered just a wee bit too gladly. I still maintain that this was one of those times, and the comments by dr ngo, LJ, and Catsy above do a good job of summing up my feelings.

I'm happy to identify, according to situation, myself in various ways, because my views are complex, and I'm not thrilled with simple labels.

You are a humanist. And that's a damn fine thing to be in my book.

And now I'm officially late for work. One more resolution bites the dust.

Well, I'm glad you banned avedis, Gary (or whomever). There are a lot of blogs on the Internet and, frankly, while I don't mind a bit of rough-and-tumble (in fact I will engage in it on occasion when I find someone (like avedis) to be a total tool), there comes a point when someone is such an entire jack-off that it destroys one's ability to debate as everything becomes focused on the jack-off and his/her jack-offness...

Well, I'm glad you banned avedis, Gary (or whomever).

I don't think avedis was banned. If he's gone, he left on his own steam.

IMO avedis has received about 1,000 times more attention than he deserved, but FWIW, here is my take on the affaire d'avedis.

It's worthwhile to counter harmful, wrong statements that people make, even if it makes no dent whatsoever in their point of view, and/or spurs them on to simply repeating them over and over.

Where that crosses the line from useful conversation to just feeding a troll is unclear to me. I don't think there's a bright line.

I'm more than sympathetic to Uncle K's (and others) dilemna of having to either read vile, insulting crap, or not read at all. avedis was arguably in violation of this posting rule:

We therefore reserve the right to warn and, if necessary, ban commenters who show a consistent pattern of blatant disrespect toward groups of people (e.g., people of a given race, military status, sexual orientation, or religion), when that disrespect is coupled with an apparent lack of interest in providing evidence for one's views or engaging in reasoned argument about them.

I'm OK with him not having been banned, and I'm also more than OK with folks taking, and expressing, strong offense at some of his statements, notably the "gays == necrophiliac" crap, and his very stupid comments about Melissa McEwen.

Link now updated to show the new email address.

Probably someone ought to let hilzoy know as well.

But, yes, it was unfair to Charles Bird, Andrew, and Sebastian Holsclaw and Von to put them on a "side" against Hilzoy, since everyone else put together and ten more besides, of high quality writers, couldn't equal one Hilzoy, in my purely personal opinion.

Agreed!

@ Slarti:

Not sure what "link" has been updated - when I click on the "Email me" link under the kitty, I get a "error" box - not that I wouldn't email directly - now that I have (diligent ObWings follower that I am) read this post - but others may not get it (using FFox 3.6 on W7)

@ Gary: agree that a new slogan wouldn't be amiss.
Also: the "About" page is way out-of-date as well.

I posted that before I realized that it has to be verified before the change will take effect. I'd thought it was as simple as doing an edit.

agree that a new slogan wouldn't be amiss.

suggestion:
SPEAK TO THE KITTY: ALL HOLLERING, ALL OF THE TIME !!!;)

Happy New Year all!

Just stopping by as I was expecting an Andy post today. Thanks to Gary for putting it up.

Seemed rude not to at least say hello while I’m in the neighborhood – so Hello! It’s awesome to see Gary and russell and Dr S on the front page. Lot’s of changes around here…

I hope everyone is well and wish you all a great year in 2011. Maybe I’ll drop in occasionally in the less contentious threads…

Jay C:

Also: the "About" page is way out-of-date as well.
Aside from minor tweaks, to which go all credit for huge, huge, huge amounts of invisible to all but a few work to Slartibartfast, Eric Martin, Publius, Hilzoy, and I don't know how many or few others, the template has been unchanged since it was first created.

The Posting Rules, old as they are, were never put into one coherent post; just a bunch of add-ons.

This is about ten minutes work at most (for me, at least, if I had approval for the wording, and access to the password).

The same is true of the Banning Rules, and the other boilerplate.

Since Moe left, the links to Andrew on the upper right sidebar were added by Hilzoy, the blogroll has very occasionally been updated, and... if there are any other changes that have ever been visibly made beyond those, since then, I apologize to all who did them, for not recognizing them and honoring them.

Doubtless Eric Martin, Slartibartfast, and Publius would be among those to thank.

People who haven't run a blog have no idea how much behind the scenes work it takes to do a good job, or even the most minimal job.

I'm not faulting anyone for not making that their full-time job, which is what, in essence, it requires.

Notice, for instance, how Balloon Juice functions, or any of innumerable group blogs started since 2003. It takes a lot of people pitching in, and a few to spend a lot of time, and a few to spend a certain amount of daily time, or at least weekly time, coordinating it all, and making sure substitutes are in place at all time when those ultimately responsible are not available.

This requires scheduling, recruiting volunteers for monitoring duty, people who can update the sidebar as necessary, and so on and so forth.

Sidebars need to be updated to make sure search functions work, links aren't rotted, feeds stay current, tags available are appropriate and updated, tags are used, modern software is used to enable people who don't use HTML to use HTML tags, software is added to allow people to easily recommend or repost posts to all the major social networks.

The blogging environment changes every few months, at least. New software options are available from Typepad every day. Options become standard on blogs within, at least, months, if not weeks or days.

Templates are often completely changed at least once a year, to keep up, rather than do it piecemeal.

Many of these things could be done at least once within just a few minutes.

This has been pointed out many sinces since 2005, and offers have been endlessly made for over five years.

If this doesn't happen: it doesn't happen.

It requires at least a couple of people who are willing to spend a few minutes reading TypePad Help, and learning to use the software.

I've never used Typepad other than here. I know as little about it as anyone.

But I've had no trouble figuring out how to do what I need to do, just by looking at what's obvious, and by, if it's non-obvious, taking a few minutes to read the relevant help.

But I apparently have a talent for this, and it does take a few minutes, or more in some cases, and it may take people who are not comfortable with that sort of thing hours, or days, or weeks, or months, of struggle.

None of that should be required knowledge for any front page poster. All posters need to know is how to post, and deal with comments.

But SOMEONE has to know this stuff, and act on it, and set up systems to spread out the necessary tasks so they can be accomplished without putting an unreasonable load on anyone, least of all Eric Martin.

Since Moe Lane left... we've had what we have. Obsidian Wings remains great.

It's been running on inertia ever since Moe, plus the attraction of good writers, and the major efforts made by those responsible who have put enormous amounts of time and sweat into keeping it running, which go totally unappreciated.

HILZOY, PUBLIUS, SLARTIBARTFAST, AND ERIC MARTIN, AND ALL OTHERS RESPONSIBLE DESERVE ENDLESS CREDIT, APPLAUSE, THANKS, AND HONOR, and NOTHING ELSE.

Repeat, rinse, recycle, repeat: HILZOY, PUBLIUS, SLARTIBARTFAST, AND ERIC MARTIN, AND ALL OTHERS RESPONSIBLE DESERVE ENDLESS CREDIT, APPLAUSE, THANKS, AND HONOR, and NOTHING ELSE.

I am so thankful to them, and all the ObWi bloggers since the start, for putting up with me, and allowing me to comment so freely, and for allowing everyone to comment so freely, with so few restrictions, and for having created this invaluable community, which I know for a fact has helped change many people's minds, and quite a few people's lives in significant ways.

The work done here, while visible only in bits and pieces to any of us -- I damn well sure have missed significant and huge chunks, and endlessly more unknown unknowns -- has done marvelous good for the world in its own not inconsiderable way.

I can't thank enough * Andrew Olmsted
* Charles Bird
* Edward Winkleman
* Hilzoy
* Katherine
* Lindsay Beyerstein
* Moe Lane
* Publius
* Slartibartfast
* von
# Doctor Science
# Eric Martin
# Jacob Davies
# russell
# Sebastian H

And all the guest bloggers over the years.

And not least of all, I can't thank enough so many hundreds of regular commenters, so many of whom have become such good friends of mine over the years, and who have done so much for so many.

A special shout-out goes to Liberal Japonicus, for his years of ancillary work.

But there are so many others to thank, that it's impossible.

Everyone who comments on ObWi is part of the community.

Families always fight. Strangers always fight. Communities always have internal fights.

So far, no one at ObWi has, to the best of my knowledge, struck anyone physically.

Some other harm has been done people, most of all, Publius, but we won't go there now. And the toll on all the front-pagers is, at times, great. This is why no one has stayed in charge forever; everyone has a time when, under the existing system, they reach a point they cannot continue; this is no individual's fault; it is simply inevitable with the legacy system of how ObWi works, created by Moe, which has been unchanged ever since.

Form follows function.

I'd like to help in any way I can to put into place an organizational structure for ObWi that will enable Eric to run the place with endlessly less demands on his time.

Which is to say, so he can run the place while spending no more time on organizational or administrative tasks than he currently does. Which is every bit he can.

It's all entirely possible.

It simply requires discussion, agreement, and implementation.

We seem to have been blocked at "discussion" since I was made privy to such, and before that, "agreement" was apparently achieved at some times over some things. "Implementation" is what you see.

I can suggest an entire plan of action, which is best done step by step. It's been perfectly clear since 2005.

That's all I can do for now.

All I'm interested in doing is seeing the blog restored to the number of readers and page views that it had at its peak, rather than the steady drop we've had in numbers each year since Hilzoy has left, as verifiable only (easily) for the last year alone here.

I have no interest in suggesting anything that does not meet with the consensus of the entire ObWi collective, or, at least, Eric Martin's approval and decisions, and a majority view.

Having said all this, I'll now try to shut up (not so easy for me, you'll have noticed), and not repeat myself, as I have no desire to make anyone feel harassed, as I quite undoubtedlly already have, many times.

This is not a brief comment. Apologies, but on an open thread, and my open thread, I'm approving myself, and no one is forced to read any of this.

Otherwise, yes, point taken, and I shall generally strive to be briefer in ObWi comments, most of all on threads not written by me.

And this is probably all the time I can spare on ObWi for the day. Thanks in turn for your time.

My life, as it happens, is unbelievably busy, hard as that may be to believe.

But Obsidian Wings has been one of the most important parts of my life since 2004.

I care.

When I care about things, I care a lot, until I'm given reason not to.

Then I still care, but I go away. See most of 2009.

I misstated at least one thing above, and probably many more. The "Share this" link was added quite some time ago.

I apologize heartily for having misstated that, and overlooked it.

I spent my morning writing this post on Andrew Olmsted from scratch.

I've taken the liberty of temporarily making it the top post, with the intention of holding it their, if my co-bloggers agree, until midnight, January 4th, Pacific time.

If they disagree, I'll drop that and let it resume its normal flow.

Due to that change, this post about Andrew Olmsted is temporarily not listed on the Sidebar.

PLEASE READ IT.

And comment.

Thanks.

OCSteve, you and I have exchanged email as to why you're absent, and I assure everyone it's for the most understandable reasons in the world.

And my heart is with you, and some of my thoughts, and you're among the people I've referred to in several recent comments on this blog without mentioning names.

(Yeah, you'll have to read to figure that out.)

But let me say that if it would relax you, distract you, and give you pleasure, I know so many of us would love love love to see such a beloved regular return.

There are SO MANY regulars gone that ObWi just isn't the same place any more, as is inevitable. But many are missed, by me, and others who have been around for years, and you are among the top most such.

Please, if it works for you, drop by whenever it works for you.

Remember how glad you'll make others to see your name and even five or six words from you.

You mean something to some of us. You are, also, my friend. And always will be.

Not to denigrate anyone else, but I'm also so glad to see Nell again, and a bit of Donald Johnson.

Both of whom would make FANTASTIC FRONT PAGE BLOGGERS.

I'd also like to remind Eric Martin that he said he'd "think about" someone whose initials are TN three and a half months ago, so this is a jog. I wasn't going to suggest more names until Eric got back to me on that one. After three and a half months, I'm jogging.

Now if we could just get dutchmarbel and Jes and so many more of the Missing Hundred, or even some, to return to comments....)

I know neither Katherine nor Hilzoy wish to return even for a yearly guest post, at present, but I always retain hope for the future.

Save for Andrew's return.

Thanks for the compliment, Gary. I've been very glad to see you around.

OCSteve--maybe you could pop up in the weekly Friday open threads as a kind of tradition. I completely sympathize with the desire to avoid heated unpleasant arguments (I think that was your reason for leaving) and have cut back on my commenting and arguing for that reason (though I succumb to temptation sometimes.)

I realized there's no reason to be coy about the fact that I've several times publically suggested, for years, in my role as a commenter, that we ask Thomas Nephew, as well as Nell, Donald Johnson, and I'll wait to make other suggestions for other possible co-bloggers until such time as I ever get a response from other members of the ObWi collective to these suggestions, beyond Eric's I'll-get-back-to-you at the beginning of September 2010.

I suspect we can find some people who are rational, and more to the center/right/libertarian, as well, but I can't ask anyone myself; it has to be a collective decision, or, at the least, Eric's.

So I'll wait until such time as we get a response about the idea of asking Nell, Donald, and Thomas.

This isn't internal blogger business; we've had these conversations in public as to who might be a good suggestion ever since 2004, as anyone around here since will recall, and I'm just continuing -- repeating -- the same conversation, in my role as a commenter, not co-blogger, that we've had a bazillion times before.

Everyone is, as always, encouraged and I'm asking for, as always, suggestions of other names of people who would might be good fits at ObWi.

That's all.

Then the co-bloggers can have a conversation about who to ask, what to do, and so on, in private.

In theory.

I'm not shy about, as a commenter, making suggestions. We're all free to do that, and then be ignored. SOP.

There are SO MANY regulars gone that ObWi just isn't the same place any more, as is inevitable.

Well, there are some once-regulars lurking, doing much-cut-back commenting, or even skulking under new noms de blog. Or combinations of the above.

Not that I would know anything about that.

Thanks again Gary, but I'm happy with my role as occasional commenter. One thing I wouldn't like as front page poster would be the obligation to respond to everyone or at least a large fraction of the people in the comment section--I'd probably be praying for thread drift, so I could be excused. But I would very much like to see Nell as a guest blogger, as well as other people.

DJ: …maybe you could pop up in the weekly Friday open threads…

I may just try that Donald. I do miss the regulars on this blog, more than I thought I would. It’s amazing how many times over the last year or so as I read a news story I found myself thinking “I wonder what Gary would think about that” or “I should drop this link somewhere for wonkie” or “I should ask LJ to explain this baffling Japanese article” or of course “I wonder what hilzoy is up to”… It happens even in the meat world – I can’t help but think of cleek when I get ACLU junk mail every couple of weeks…

So maybe I’ll give it a try in 2011. Open threads are typically safe enough neutral ground. ;)

One thing I wouldn't like as front page poster would be the obligation to respond to everyone or at least a large fraction of the people in the comment section--I'd probably be praying for thread drift, so I could be excused.

I think that's the reason some others dropped out. It (responding to various comments) can consume your life. Post itself also forces you to a higher level of rigor & research when doing the post, which also tends to consume your life.

It's not for everyone. And not everyone is good at both posting and defending. I am good at neither; hilzoy is outstanding at both.

Part of my problem with recommending someone is that I inevitably wind up comparing them to hilzoy, and there are few to none who can survive that comparison.

Donald Johnson: "One thing I wouldn't like as front page poster would be the obligation to respond to everyone or at least a large fraction of the people in the comment section"

This not only doesn't seem to be the attitude of some of the current ObWi collective, but in fact, the reverse; but my impression is, I must say, utterly confused. All I can say in public is that what the policy desired by at least two ObWi bloggers as regards desired length and number of comments is not at this time known to me.

Three, really, but you should be able to figure out who it is that has yet to communicate with me at all.

One seems to be under the impression that we don't encourage long comments, as we always have, but instead we should encourage only short comments. 500 words is, I've been told, highly excessive.

Another seems to believe similarly. I think. Maybe. Or not. Beats me.

But I'm probably completely misunderstanding them.

There has been no group discussion whatever, and all I know are a couple of fragmentary, contradictory, short remarks, from one, which remain unexplained, and a couple of similar from another.

Especially as regards what the expectations should be of front-page bloggers and comments.

Especially as regards what the expectations should be of front-page bloggers and comments from me.

Especially as regards what the expectations should be of front-page bloggers and comments on threads written by others.

But that all may be just a reaction to me. And probably is.

And it's come only from two of the six (seven, counting Slart, who although not listed as a co-blogger, does the vast majority of work on the blog, behind the scenes, and has for many years) of us.

With blankness from another, and blankness from another, whom one might best look to for answers.

The two other ObWi bloggers have been around long enough that they have no problem with traditional ObWi comments, and that's all I know there. For now.

You know as much about this as I do, save that you, and I, and anyone around ObWi for more than three or four years, knows that we traditionally have very long comments, and have always encouraged comments to be long, insofar as they are on-topic, reasonably to the point, and preferably thoughtful and interesting, and the more so, the better.

That's what made ObWi what it was, and not some other blog. It's been the primary attraction of ObWi since its founding, or at least its growth in the first year and what it developed into by the end of the first year, and particularly through the second year, and then since, until... you tell me.

Beyond that, what current policy is beats the hell out of me. It would be nice to have it written down somewhere, if not at least agreed to, if not at least discussed, wouldn't you say?

Try asking the other bloggers, I suggest, and seeing if you can get a consensus. Or a response.

I would LOVE to get some coherent answers.

Especially as regards what the expectations should be of front-page bloggers and comments.

So, please: ask away at everyone else.

I suggest the best approach would be that someone who is not me attempt to start such a discussion in someone else's open thread, and then that blogger will respond as they wish. Which is as it should be.

Maybe others will respond, as well. If they read the threads of others. Again: beats me.

What I can say affirmatively is that Russell's been around long enough to know the score, and I trust his judgement. Ditto that, of course I trust Eric's judgement, and even though he doesn't go back all that far at ObWi, I trust him, and he's in charge.

Ditto that Slart's been around long enough, and I trust his judgment, and knowledge of the score.

But it's fair to say that I don't believe you would be under any obligation to respond to comments.

See example of Lindsay Beyerstein.

Note that Publius' dashes into comments were few and far between, and it was clear that he only sporadically read the comments even on his own threads, and commonly didn't read the comments on any other threads, let alone respond regularly to any of them.

He did all that he could as his time allowed, which is all anyone could ask, even if it wasn't the tradition of ObWi, and his predecessors.

So I wouldn't worry on that score. It's demonstrable that you can be a co-blogger here for a year, and make few or no comments. It's demonstrable that you can be a co-blogger here for at least a couple of years, in charge, and make few comments.

And as for the rest, doubtless time will clear it up. One way or another.

My indirect understanding is that Lindsay was not a fount, nor even a font, of co-blogger communication, and that she did precisely as much in that direction as she commented in public. Possibly less in private than in public.

That's all I can say about that.

All I can talk about is my own personal opinion, and my own personal opinion as a commenter, and as someone making suggestions to the ObWi collective, is that I think you, Donald Johnson, would be a wonderful blogger here. As would Nell. As would Thomas Nephew.

And I'd love to see you post, and then make as many or few comments as you desire and wish to, and no more.

Purely just my personal suggestions, which I expected to be as ignored as almost all commenter suggestions have been traditionally ignored by the co-bloggers over the years. Or agreed with, and then not acted upon.

The exception that springs to mind is when I brought Andrew Olmsted over and introduced him to Hilzoy, and to ObWi, and Hilzoy and ObWi to Andrew.

That worked out.

You may or may not recall that one commenter was repeatedly suggested by many for years, and that commenter never once commented back, either publically, or otherwise. He thought it would be inappropriate to ever comment on that subject, publically or privately. But he was a unique case.

Or you may not have noticed that, or at least the latter part.

Whatever, it's all public record, and factually provable, googleable, and citable.

Ditto that a number of other commenters have been repeatedly suggested by commenters for many years, and the results have been what they've been, which is that, traditionally, recommendations to ObWi bloggers have been repeatedly suggested, and then -- whatever degree of consideration given was given in private -- and the results have been what you've seen.

That, I do know quite a lot more about, and won't comment on in public.

What I *can* do is offer you, and Nell, and anyone whom I want to, guest spots under my password, and I solicit such posts from you three: please. Let's give that a try, howzabout?

Purely at your leisure, no obligation, but I'm asking.

No pressure.

Just whatever springs to mind, and is a short as you like.

Be relaxed, and don't worry about being "good enough."

You will be.

LJ: offer extends to you. Offer extend to many here, to the point where I don't want to give a long list, because then I'd be leaving out others I'd like to see guest post, and it would be awkward.

Besides, no one will post as a Guest under my name without my approving their copy. :-)

I repeat that anyone is welcome to submit a possible guest post to me. I'll deal according as I see fit, and I encourage submissions and query email to gary underscore farber at yahoo dot com or obwings at gmail dot com

There is no over-supply of posts around here these days.

Not given that ObWi's tradition has long been to have ten or more posts a day, but that since the reign of publius, that's slowly slowly fallen to what it is in the last two or three years.

What the current consensus is: beats me.

What I do know is that holding different co-bloggers to different standards is, apparently, now SOP. Since at least September 03, 2010.

How long that will last: beats me. My only information since has been two words: "for now."

Maybe I'll find out more in ten minutes, or five hours, or sometime today.

That would be delightful.

Assuming the response isn't hostile, or a request to leave. Which wouldn't surprise me, and which I'm prepared for, if necessary.

I wouldn't be saying a damn thing about any of this in public, were I able to get any answers in private, or if there had been a single group discussion yet, even once.

OCSteve:

So maybe I’ll give it a try in 2011. Open threads are typically safe enough neutral ground. ;)
Steve, I promise you that so long as I'm here, and capable, and either paying attention, or alerted, this blog will always be a safe a place for you, or anyone, to comment or post as I can make it.

I will defend any and every commenter here as fairly as I possibly can, and I will especially defend those I know to be reasonable, and I will especially defend anyone whose comments are reasonable.

As always, I'll tell people what I think, save that as a co-blogger, I now respond quite differently than I did as a commenter, since I now have a responsibility to comment in a wholly different way, and imperceptible as the difference may appear to those not paying attention, I have most certainly been responding differently, bearing that responsibility, ever since my first guest post.

It's part of the job.

See, again, my stint at Winds of Change, and observe whether I once was out of line there as either commenter or blogger. If anyone can draw my attention to a single exception, I'd LOVE to know of one.

Gotta go now, for a bit.

anyone around ObWi for more than three or four years, knows that we traditionally have very long comments, and have always encouraged comments to be long

how has this been encouraged? when? by whom?

frankly, if a comment is more than one screen length long the odds of my reading it at all drop to almost zero. that is, i don't start then quit if the comment runs too long, rather, i don't start at all.

that goes for front page posts, too.

Gary,

As an outsider lookig in I have a few comments.

First, the nature of discussion on OBWi has changed completely since I first started reading here just before Hilzoy left.

There is no patience (avedis discussion aside) here anymore for a intellectual discussion of opposing views. This change was driven by the folks who have migrated to TIO, who simply defined any alternative view as fouling up the thread.

Intellectual discussions involve more than facts and cites, they involve opinions and philosophy, and logic.

Whether it is frustration with reality or simply a lack of interest in why huge numbers of people think and feel, the most common response to a variety of commenters has been to lump us together and treat any opposing view as "those people" and define us as bad.

Sebastian, GOB, Brett, and I often disagree, sometimes very much.

But we are all lumped together as a single bad presence. Even in the comments at TIO.

I only occasionally comment now and find myself having to catch up on the few posts here at the end of the week because even most of thee commenters here make it clear that the only appropriate comment is "what russell said".

I commend you and Dr. Science for trying to expand the conversation, I will continue to check in to see if it works.

I'd like to revise & extend my previous comment (January 04, 2011 at 09:19 AM) to say that, in semi-agreement with Gary, that front-pagers are not obliged to be heroic in either their posts or defenses of said posts in comments. Really, it's up to each front-pager to decide what his/her role will be.

Speaking strictly for myself, which is really all I ever had any business doing: I quickly realized that for me to do anything resembling a satisfactory (to me) job of posting and defending, I was going to have to spend a great deal more time that I had at hand, or wanted to have at hand.

I did not mean to discourage anyone by presenting the job of being a front-pager as Herculian. It's remarkably flexible; it's pretty much up to each person to decide what they want to (and are willing to) do. My job here is mostly taking out the trash, and responding to specific requests to update links, etc. Design and sourcing of front-page posts are a whole 'nother ballgame; one that I've played and decided I just don't like well enough to continue playing.

That's really what it's all about, isn't it?

Good point from you, cleek; I appreciate it. The more feedback we all give each other, the closer we can come to consensus.

I live to serve; whatever most pleases the readers of ObWi, insofar as I can, and it works for me, I'll try to do.

Honest.

I agree that brevity and concision are virtues.

Marty:

[...] Whether it is frustration with reality or simply a lack of interest in why huge numbers of people think and feel, the most common response to a variety of commenters has been to lump us together and treat any opposing view as "those people" and define us as bad.
That's always the case with most people. You, too.

See:

[...] I only occasionally comment now and find myself having to catch up on the few posts here at the end of the week because even most of thee commenters here make it clear that the only appropriate comment is "what russell said".

Best advice: golden rule.

Treat everyone as an individual. You want to be treated that way. You deserve it.

Everyone wants to be treated as an individual. Because that's all any of us are.

We all deserve it.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And ignore, or ask anyone who does not, to do so.

Good to hear from you; thanks for your thoughts.

Slart:

[...] that front-pagers are not obliged to be heroic in either their posts or defenses of said posts in comments. Really, it's up to each front-pager to decide what his/her role will be.
Absofrigginlutely. Utter, complete, total agreement.

[...] Part of my problem with recommending someone is that I inevitably wind up comparing them to hilzoy, and there are few to none who can survive that comparison.
Yeah, we can't do that. There is no other Hilzoy.

And no combination of us will make up for her.

We must move on as best we can, until such time as she might feel inclined to even guest post once a year. If ever.

I was more pleased than I can say to hear from her in mail again. But I understand her many reasons for not returning, respect them utterly, and don't expect any return any time soon.

But the future is unknown, and I, for one, would like ObWi to be thriving and more in another five years, and another ten years.

I think long-term.

Time-binding.

"That's always the case with most people. You, too."

Thanks for the response. However, I am not at an alternate site talking about any group or individual as fouling up the threads. I haven't used cleeks magic code to screen people I disagree with. Your answer is not false, but it is much too simplistic in the context of the slow death of OBWi.

To each his own, obviously, but I stand by my observations.

I haven't used cleeks magic code to screen people I disagree with.

for the record, i only use my filters to screen trolls. disagreement is fine with me. being an ass for the sake of being an ass is not.

But we are all lumped together as a single bad presence.

by a faceless lump of people who all think identically, apparently.

"by a faceless lump of people who all think identically, apparently."

cleek,

sometimes it is better to make a general point, that obviously doesn't apply to everyone, than start calling out names. Do you dispute that some group of people at TIO, as a rule, would not express the sentiment I stated?

Do you dispute that some group of people at TIO, as a rule, would not express the sentiment I stated?

don't know for sure. i haven't been by TIO in quite a while.

not quite sure what sentiment you're referring to, either. sorry.

I second the idea of a Friday open thread hosted by Steve!

BYW--things change. I went back in the archive looking for when I started here and I stumbled on the Rilkefan gets married thread, 2005, May.

Rilkefan, Jes, CaseyL, Anarch, ...

The thing is back then we were in the darkness of the Bush regime and Iraq was very much a hto war. Plus this thing about political discussion blogging was catching onand expanding.

So I don't think it is a case so much of ObWi fading because hilzoy left. i think a lot of people are doing what hilzoy did--deciding that blogging wasn't the way to participate in the polical conversaion for a while. The since of urgency dissapated.

I remember hilzoy writing that the election of Obama made her fell that things were headed enough in a better direcgtion that she wanted to move from blogging to other activities. I don't blame Obama for this but I have sort of the opposire feeling--I think the oligarchs have won and tht i need to figure out how to immigrate to a country that still has civilized values.

In any case I think the times changed and that caused in individuals a change in their blogging habitats.

it is hard to lose a sense of community. i do miss people.

So I'm back to the idea of a friday ooen thread hosted by Steve!

For the record, the people who frequently hang out at TiO include: LJ, DaveC, Donald Johnson, JanieM, dr ngo, John Thullen, nous, Ugh, russell, Slarti, and myself.

I'm missing some people, but that gives you a rough idea. We're talking a smaller community with infrequent posts. I doubt that these people all agree on anything.

My best guess as to what Marty's thinking is that in the recent past, someone (maybe JanieM) opined that Marty/Sebastian often argued in bad faith and a few people agreed. Marty, if you want to discuss that, you should find the comment and quote it. Frankly, if a random selection of the OW commentariat believes that you argue in bad faith, I think that suggests the problem might not necessarily lie with them.

Marty:

To each his own, obviously, but I stand by my observations.
I agreed with your observations!

If you think disagreed, please do quote which words you think I've disagred with!

Marty:

[...] sometimes it is better to make a general point, that obviously doesn't apply to everyone, than start calling out names.
I agree!

Thanks, Marty. Your thoughts are always welcome.

Wonkie:

Rilkefan,
According to ral, almost made the last Bay Area gathering, and may make the next, which I have to do up the revised announcement for this week, but which will be for the 15th.

Jes
I've several times repeated how much I'd like to see Jes back. But that's up to her, and in the past, she's stated that she'll ignore all comments from me. As I've said a number of times since I've become a front pager, now that I'm such, I will absolutely honor her request to not reply to any post from her, other than as a front pager on official business, as best I can.

I value her input, as I always have, no matter that sometimes I disagree. I've always agreed with about 80%, at least, of her views, and my only significant differences have been over style.

But it's up to her. I would love to see her back, and she's welcome, welcome, welcome.

If there's more I can do, suggestions welcome, and the one thing I'd suggest is that people she's speaking to her forward these and my previous essentially identical posted comments.

CaseyL
Has been sighted, and would love to see more of.
Anarch, ...
Busy with rising in middle management at work, family, and life, but again, boy would I love to see his input here again. That guy is smart, wise, and great.

Tell him so, please, dr ngo.

I don't expect it make a difference, but that doesn't matter. Love his stuff, and he should know.

Even every half a year, or every three months, for a line or two, or a few lines in an open thread, would be a great step.

Also, having OCSteve over for open threads would be awesome. We miss you Steve!

That is a fantastic idea Gary.

Turbulence:

For the record, the people who frequently hang out at TiO include: LJ, DaveC, Donald Johnson, JanieM, dr ngo, John Thullen, nous, Ugh, russell, Slarti, and myself.
DaveC is back at times, and I'm the one who made it clear that he's welcome, so long as he stays within the posting rules.

I've always been sure that DaveC is, at heart, a good person, no matter that I've thought that, at times, he acts out in a bad fashion.

So long as he stays within the posting rules, I'm delighted to have him back to commenting at ObWi.

[...] JanieM
Couldn't want her back more than anyone else. I wish she would come back.
dr ngo, John Thullen, nous, Ugh
dr ngo is still here, some. John Thullen never left.

People don't always use the same name.

Nous seems to still be around. Ugh, as well, but more is welcome, and if I'm wrong, even more is invited! :-)

Russell, Slarti, and you are obviously here, and thank goodness!

You're a damn smart person, whom I tremendously respect, and whose contributions I greatly value and seek.

I'm not saying any of these things about people to hype how I feel or what I think.

It's what I've always thought.

I know that I've often not sounded as if it's true, but it's true. I'm good at being brusque, but that's brevity.

I tend to overshoot in either direction. Working on it.

Taking It Outside (TIO), and please correct me on this if I'm mistaken, was founded by liberal japonicus, with DaveC sharing posting privileges later, to serve as kind of a spillway for overflowing meta-discussion regarding threads that got out of hand here at OBWI.

When meta-discussion derailed discussion at OBWI, you could and can "take it outside" and just drop in over there to see what condition your OBWI discussion was, or is, in.

Taking it Outside was an offshoot of "Not Yet Enlightened", whose proprietor was Jackmormon, among my top favorites of the many missing worthies, not yet mentioned.

I suppose a rougher take on TIO's mission vis a vis OBWI was that the latter is a neighborhood saloon wherein occasionally folks push back from the bar and commence to tap dance with chairs raised over the heads of their discussion partners for some proper bashing and the former was the street outside where you could take it and, well, either settle it, or finish it, thus avoiding breaking the glassware, furniture and assorted crockery over here.

Oddly enough, nowadays for the most part, when the bar patrons at OBWI rush to the saloon doors to witness the anticipated conflagration in the street, more than likely they are disappointed when all they see is DaveC and John Thullen staggering arm-in-arm to another saloon, instead of a fistfight.

Mostly. DaveC still has a wicked sucker punch, the bastid. ;)

Somehow, "Shut up, Dave!" turns into "What Dave said!" over there.

In a way, maybe Taking It Outside should be renamed Inside Out or The Cooling Tank, considering that most of the fireworks stay indoors here.

So that is our DaveC! I thought it was some ody different. I'm glad you are back, Da veC.

Thanks Gary, the feeling is mutual.


I'm going to disagree with Countme--in about TiO. Part of the point of TiO is having a place where you can discuss things not bound by the posting rules.

I think of it like this: in any family, there many truthful, even vitally important, statements that one should not say at the thanksgiving dinner table. There's got to be a place for those statements. TiO is that place.

I think I found the thread which pissed Marty off: here. It makes for fascinating reading. Ironically, one thing that stands out is how the commenters don't find all the conservative commenters equivalent: McTex behaves differently than the Seb/Brett/Marty/GOB cluster and is treated accordingly.

Turb, actually, I think we agree regarding TIO.

"Glassware, furniture, and assorted crockery" equals "posting rules".

TIO started as a place to, pretty much, sort out the various and sundry flaws of Charles Bird. Or so I remember it.

I tend to think of blog-argumentation as having an axis that intersects both Charles and hilzoy, and if you divide that scale into even parts, I think I fall a lot closer to Charles than to hilzoy.

Just another reason I quit. Because Charles, even though he's notionally ideologically aligned with me, is not my favorite writer. He annoys me. His writing is predictable and his arguments clumsy. Bless him. He tries, I think, but he's just Not Good. And it annoys me, that he reminds me of me.

Sorry if this is beating up on Charles. I mean it more to be beating up on me.

Sorry if this is beating up on Charles. I mean it more to be beating up on me.

It's not your fault, Slarti. You're just Not Good. ;)

TIO started as a place to, pretty much, sort out the various and sundry flaws of Charles Bird. Or so I remember it.

Your recollection is sound, Slarti. Jackmormon and LJ founded the predecessor to TiO, Hating on Charles Bird (during Katrina, IIRC, when things were quite tense in ObWi comments, and Bird was especially, er, Bird-y -- I know I exchanged some choice words with him at the time at HoCB).

Countme--in, you're right, we agree.


TIO started as a place to, pretty much, sort out the various and sundry flaws of Charles Bird. Or so I remember it.

The original name of the site was Hating on Charles Bird. Hence the address hocb.net. So, yeah.

And it annoys me, that he reminds me of me.

You two are extremely far apart in my mind. To start with, you have something that Charles lacks: shame. Plus, you've managed to convince me that I was wrong at least once or twice. Charles never has. I wonder if he has ever convinced anyone to change their mind about anything ever.

Maybe you should consider posting more. In the worst case, that might remind me of how terrible you are. For fun, you could try and give us your opinion on Robert Farley's piece here.

Whoops, forgot about Hating on Charles Bird.

Slart, I've always thought the old saw, "Bird Dog sucks and is ruining this site" was not inclusive enough. (Large grin)

Maybe you could start a "Hating on Slartibartfast" blog and diss yourself in the post AND agree with yourself in the comments and we could come over and call you names as we forcefully disagree with your self-criticism.

For what it's worth, as I think Charles Bird mentioned here in an appearance not too awfully long ago, he was blammed from Redstate for his comparatively moderate views. I think he suggested compromise with the Democrats on the tax issue in his last post there, which was like suggesting to Kim il Jung (sp?) of North Korea that he use a shotgun instead of a hydrogen bomb on stray Census workers in the DMZ.

That banning from Redrum was like being ousted from the Dirty Dozen for insufficient dirtiness. Kind of the opposite of banning here, which is like being asked by The Magnificent Seven to stay behind because of insufficient magnificence.

In fact, if he had posted the same remarks in his last post here instead of there, he would have appeared magnificent. I think.

As an aside, I mourn the tragic, self-inflicted death of Moe Lane.

In the spirit of Open Thread, looks like Brett's got a friend on the Supreme Court. Antonin Scalia agrees with Brett that "citizen" means only "male citizen" and "person" means only "male person," and that the Constitution cannot be read as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender absent specific amendment.

Curious to see what, for instance, GOB thinks of that.

As an aside, I mourn the tragic, self-inflicted death of Moe Lane.

Heck, if we're going to get all sentimental and nostalgic, I remember when Josh Trevino was a guy you could have a reasonable conversation with.

Seems like another universe.

Turb:

[...] Part of the point of TiO is having a place where you can discuss things not bound by the posting rules.
True. Excellent point.

Want much much much more matttbastard.

Guest post?

Antonin Scalia agrees with Brett that "citizen" means only "male citizen" and "person" means only "male person," and that the Constitution cannot be read as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender absent specific amendment.

So: Corporations are people. Women, not so much. ...wow

Heck, if we're going to get all sentimental and nostalgic, I remember when Josh Trevino was a guy you could have a reasonable conversation with.

What, back before DKos went Scoop? :P

Which, I guess, means that a male person handling tainted foodstuffs in his own kitchen is O.K. to go, but a female creature spreading salmonella all over the salmon will not be read their now non-existent rights and can be sent to Guantanamo for "debriefing" and torture by stomach pump.

Or does it? Who can tell, given that there were no founding mothers in the room at the time the vague language of the Constitution was committed to granite?

But what if a corporation is in your kitchen, in all of its personhoody aproned glory, working up a stomach-turning omelot studded with mushrooms, jalapenos and e coli?

Those are the really the only people who count. According to recent Scalia rulings, all corporations possess penises only. But I wouldn't get your hopes up if you are a gay male corporation. And your plum out of luck if you're a lesbian corporation.

Was it Wonkie who thought maybe she'd move to a civilized country? I'd move now before the darkest, most virulent, and most uncivilized practices of humanity need to be trotted out once again, Lincoln-like, to resurrect civilization in the United States of America.

The Confederate Constitution is now the working document for one third of the Federal Government.

The Confederate Constitution is now the working document for one third of the Federal Government.

I was thinking the Articles of Confederation.

Gary: Want much much much more matttbastard.

Guest post?

Anytime, Gary. Just let me know when -- I promise to keep the profanity and invective at a bare minimum. ;)

Is the word "Italian" in the Constitution?

Where does it say "sh*theads" are eligible to serve on the Supreme Court. I mean, I understand that female sh*theads can't serve, but what of heterosexual male sh8theads with dicks?

I guess John HanCOCKs signature on the document settled that matter.

It didn't read John Hanvagina. By all means, let's convene a Constitutional Convention and years of voting by the 50 States to clarify what HanCOCK meant.

Sounds like a porn movie about Republican Court appointees with crotchless robes.

You know, at this point, I'd feel incredibly silly trying to clarify to Judge Scalia or Judge Thomas, or the rest of the legal literal morons appointed to the Court by political morons the meaning of "citizen" or "person".

It would be like standing on one foot naked and rubbing the top of your head one way and your tummy the other and repeating ad infinitum the words "person" or "citizens" until they sounded like gibberish.

Let's just bomb Fort Sumter one more time, and re-fight all of the battles, but this time finish the job totally and ruthlessly by whatever means necessary.

And how many times have we all heard that "Scalia is brilliant!"

Let's just bomb Fort Sumter one more time

[psssst! that was the other guys!]

In the spirit of Open Thread, looks like Brett's got a friend on the Supreme Court. Antonin Scalia agrees with Brett that "citizen" means only "male citizen" and "person" means only "male person," and that the Constitution cannot be read as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender absent specific amendment.

What Scalia does in that article is what he accuses the more liberal members of the court of doing all the time, namely, riding roughshod over the text to reach their preferred conclusion.* Thus, he reads the 14th amendment to have a "male" modifieer as Phil notes.

And why? Well, because "Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that." How does he know? Well, he doesn't say, but somehow that's the case and thus sexual discrimination by the state and federal legislatures is constitutionally sanctioned (or, at least, not constitutionally barred, if that's any different).

This is remarkably narrow viewpoint for someone who is (reportedly and reputedly) a smart person. Perhaps such a crimped viewpoint gets him where he wants to go and, thus, there he is.

In any event, if we were to follow Scalia's preferred method of statutory interpretation, we would look to the text of the constitution, the 14th amendment specifically, which says no State shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Okay. Well, it seems to me that the most easily defined substantive term in that phrase is "person," or, at least, it seems to me that we all could agree that "person" includes both men and women, such that any interpretation that excludes women is expressly contrary to the text and, therefore, wrong.

But what do I know.

*I offer no opinion (currently) on the accuracy of this statement.

Russell, Hogan, yup.

And more:

John Hancock's signature, not John Hanvagina's signature, was on the Declaration of Independence, NOT the Constitution, which really muddies the waters for the literalists among us.

As a result, it could be that only propertied American men and corporations were declared independent of the Crown. Women are still colonized and ruled by England, which has the added complication of placing their vaginas out of reach of Justice Thomas.

Do the male children of mixed marriages, say, between the British women who make up more than half the population of this country and either American males or American male corporations, enjoy dual citizenship as a result?

Hard to say. What does Scalia think, crossing his arms and nodding his head Mussolini-like?

OK, Constitutional literalism:

I say bring back letters of marque and reprisal. They're right there in the Constitution, and we never signed the Paris Declaration that ended their use.

Privateering could be a great growth industry.

It just amazes me that someone like Scalia can make a dunderheaded argument like that, then turn around and believe that, well, of course the First Amendment applies to television and radio.

Go to bed early and miss all this. Harrumph.

TiO's plan for taking over ObWi (read with a Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz voice)
-Give DaveC and OCSteve front page posting privileges
-Get DaveC banned from here
-provide a place for people to get together outside of ObWi

and then we will rule the whole ObWi consortium!
[/Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz voice]

The basic recountings are correct, though more precisely Jackmormon started TiO as a blogspot blog asked me to help out, I set up the blog first as a wordpress and now as a nucleus blog, and I invited first OCSteve and then DaveC to post there when it felt like they had some things they wanted to say and it was getting lost in the back and forth. We have one or two others who have posting privileges as well. Marty, if you really feel like this is causing problems, I invite you to start your own blog, invite GOB and Brett and complain about us to restore balance to the universe.

(As a parenthetical aside, is very nice to hear that the spirit of Thullen still haunts ObWi comments, if channeled via an unfamiliar vessel. Consider my table-rapping to be a poor substitute for applause.)

LJ: Marty, if you really feel like this is causing problems, I invite you to start your own blog, invite GOB and Brett and complain about us to restore balance to the universe.

Indeed. Plus, I'm sure a (theoretical) Mothership guest-post from yours truly would provide no little fodder for ObWi's dread wingnut (;)) triumvirate to further chew on.

Meta is not an exclusively left-of-centre conceit, kids.

Phil got there faster and pithier, but:

One problem is there hasn't been a lot of consistency in Constitutional interpretation and the perceived need or lack thereof for an amendment to effect a change. For example Scalia's logic might seem vindicated by looking at the Bill of Rights: no one at the time thought the 5th Amendment would free the slaves, even though a literal reading of the text is incompatible with the practice of slavery, and a specific amendment was passed to explicitly ban slavery.

On the other hand, even though radio & TV didn't exist in 1791 I haven't heard anyone advocating for an amendment to extend 1st Amendment protections to new types of communications. The concept of "the Press" has evolved beyond the 18th-century context.

I would be curious to hear an explanation of why we need an amendment to explicitly declare that women shall be considered citizens protected by the 14th Amendment, but that we don't need one to cover modern media technologies.

matttbastard:

[...] Anytime, Gary. Just let me know when -- I promise to keep the profanity and invective at a bare minimum. ;)
Send me what you're satisfied with to either the new kitty address, or my personal address, when you're satisfied, and I'll get to it as soon as I reasonably can.

Aka "any time." :-)

Go! :-)

Russell:

Privateering could be a great growth industry.
This could, quite factually, possibly be useful in dealing with this, though the complications would to be more trouble than the help, absent a lot of interest and attention from the U.S. Navy, DOD, State, and then the international negotiations necessary on at least the military level, though almost certainly political, and then it almost certainly would fall apart, even though FAIL would be sure to happen long before that level.

But there have been serious suggestions made and not as absolutely crazy an idea as you may thought of it as. :-)

Merely impractical, as opposed to lunatic. :-)

the next, which I have to do up the revised announcement for this week, but which will be for the 15th.

Cool. Please post its announcement in a prominent place.

"I would be curious to hear an explanation of why we need an amendment to explicitly declare that women shall be considered citizens protected by the 14th Amendment, but that we don't need one to cover modern media technologies."

In a nutshell, because the ERA was proposed and defeated. It's improper to 'interpret' the Constitution to implement defeated constitutional amendments. Losing has to mean something.


Scalia acts like the Constitution is just words and like his interpetation (which he is too intellectually dishonest to acknowledge is just his interpetation) is also just words.

But those words translate into reality and that matters. It matters to hte people affected and it damn well ought to matter to the person uttering the words.

So there is no 14th Amendmant protection for women says Scalia, the man, who has no expectration of being discriminated against himslef.. And I bet he will accept exactly zero responmsiblity if his interpetation results in discrimination against women.

Just like conservatives who are philosophically opposed to the health care mandate but accpet no responsiblity for the impact if the law is gutted.

Or the peeple who blather about ending big government and restoring power to the states and take no responsiblity for decimation in the social safety net that will result.

It's so easy to believe all that conservative philosophical crap if one doesn't expecxt to be affected oneself or if one doesn't give a damn about the people who are affected.

Brett:

[...] It's improper to 'interpret' the Constitution to implement defeated constitutional amendments. Losing has to mean something.
Save that a major argument as to why it was unnecessary, made by opponents, was that the 14th Amendment already covered all that was necessary and the ERA was simply duplicative, and therefore should not be passed.

Merely impractical, as opposed to lunatic.

Yeah, my comment was tongue in cheek, but letters of marque are not the most insane thing that could be put on the table. IIRC Ron Paul raised them as an option for dealing with Al Qaeda post 9/11.

And they are right there, in black and white, in the Constitution. Congress can't require you to buy health insurance, but they can hire bands of privateers to wander the globe, extracting a pound of flesh from folks we don't like in some form that's short of a declaration of war.

It has an appeal of a certain sort. Hire the Gambinos or maybe the Crips to go after Bin Laden!

As a practical matter, it would be a train wreck.

Brett:In a nutshell, because the ERA was proposed and defeated. It's improper to 'interpret' the Constitution to implement defeated constitutional amendments. Losing has to mean something.

Well, this presumes that the reason people proposed the amendment in the first place is that what they proposed is not presently in the Constitution. Gary notes arguments w/r/t the ERA that echo arguments made against the original Bill of Rights itself: if you put a a list of rights in the Constitution, the tendency will be to interpret the Constitution to include only the enumerated rights (regardless of what the 9th & 10th amendments say, which is essentially nothing).

In addition, the wording of alot of the amendments, and the Constitution itself, is pretty darn vague, such that reasonable people can disagree on what is and isn't covered by this or that phrase (shocking, I know). So, if I think the 14th Amendment bars government discrimination on account of sex, but seeing how vague the Amendment is I may want to be absolutely sure that the Constitution bars such discrimination, I propose an amendment explicitly stating that.

Finally, I'm not sure why we should be forever bound by the failure of an Amendment to pass. So a bunch of people in the early 20th century thought that the 19th amendment was needed to guarantee a woman's right to vote. So what? Why is their view the correct interpretation of the Constitution and not the view of, say, people today that such a right is sufficiently guaranteed by the 14th Amendment? Do they win just because they went first?

Suppose a bunch of people sponsored an amendment that explicitly extended freedom of the press to the internet, and it fell two states short of the needed votes to pass, is it now "clear" that freedom of the press doesn't extend that far?

and yet, when faced with an obvious qualifier like "a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state", Scalia is happy to infer meaning.

he's a fraud.

So the moment that someone introduces an amendment to explicitly extend 1st Amendment protections to communications in the electromagnetic spectrum, and it fails to pass, then the government can start imposing censorship? Because losing has consequences?

The only way to win is not to play.

Or what about this: suppose an amendment is proposed which explicitly gives the government to power to discriminate on the basis of sex, and it fails to pass.

Then what? Which failure counts more?

The only way to win is to recognize conservatism for what it is.

I can remember when the Civil Rights legislation of the sixites was under debate. The conservative position at the time was that Jim Crow was awful and it was so sad that black Americans were subjected to such terrible treatment but gee its against conservative philosophy to do anything about it a the federal level so we will just have to wait until the JimCrow states change their ways on their own.

I can remember when the original Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Acts were under debate. The conservaties said oh gee its so sad that all this polluting is happening but it is against our philosophy to do anything about it...

Scalia's claim that he isn't interpeting the Constitution through a personal filter is obvious bullcrap. He's interpeting through the conservative philosophy: "Not my problem, screw you".

"Losing has to mean something."

Does it? Well then, winning should mean something too.

And I mean high-stakes meaning.

In the case of the ERA, winning should have meant that the losing females (and their male citizen sympathizers) who continued to be discriminated against in many walks of American life should have taken up arms against the winners and secured their rights through violence .... as a way of demonstrating the meaning of losing and winning.

It is readily apparent from Reconstruction to election day 2010 that the Confederacy has never quite understood and internalized the meaning of losing the Civil War.

I'm all for reiterating with utter finality the meaning of that, too.

In a nutshell, because the ERA was proposed and defeated. It's improper to 'interpret' the Constitution to implement defeated constitutional amendments. Losing has to mean something.

Utter nonsense.

This implies that if the ERA had never been proposed it would have been OK to interpret the 14th Amendment as granting equal rights to women, but since the ERA never passed that interpretation is wrong.

So Constitutional protections are invalid unless endorsed by supermajorities? Is this really how you think Constitutional meaning ought to be decided?

Say I propose the following Amendment:

"Adherents of Islam shall enjoy the equal protection of the laws. Neither Congress nor any state shall make any law restricting the practice of Islam, or denying its adherents any rights to which they would otherwise be entitled under the federal or state Constitution or statutes."

If this failed, would that suggest that Muslims do not have First Amendment protections?

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