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January 24, 2005

Comments

Edward,

You banned Tacitus for that??

Geesh. Sorry, but that doesn't reflect well on you or your position if you can't defend it without such thin skin. You've done far worse toward him when arguing similar points at his blog, and he was still a gracious host. Though I've often come to your defense on the issue of attitudes toward the Muslim community I don't see any defense of this.

I fear the "echochamberization" of Obsidian Wings is getting out of hand, and likely why I spend so little time here. Too bad.

For what it's worth, Edward, I don't see any reason for you to have to sit and be condescended to on your own blog, nor do I see any reason for you to have dictated to you by a third party what your "agenda" is and isn't. Tacitus is free to condescend to you at Tacitus.org and RedState; and it's up to him to decide how much leeway you and everyone else has at those two locations. It isn't up to him to decide how much latitude he or anyone else has here. And, for whatever else it's worth, I agree with him about some of the people to whom he alluded, too.

(Special note to Charles Bird: Isn't Tacitus telling Edward what Edwards agenda is the kind of thing you hand out awards for? The kind of thing you claim conservatives don't do?)

Let's take another look at the posting rules:


The above should be explicitly not read as being a prohibition on (but is not limited to) criticism, vituperation, espousal of conspiracy theories, disagreement, speculation on personal habits and/or motivations, expressions of contempt, unfavorable extrapolations of past behavior in order to guess future behavior, mild cursing or any other traditional method of expressing disapproval with a politician's policy positions or personality, provided of course that such behavior does not violate another of the Posting Rules.

This seems unclear to me. Was Moe referring to other commenters or to public figures?

Wheee, original understanding jurisprudence. :)

I think the phrase "...or any other traditional method of expressing disapproval with a politician's policy positions or personality..." suggests that the above is a list of permissible ways to criticize polictians.

My two cents. I like Tacitus most of the time in most of the places I see him--which is to say a lot of places. Strangely his tone here seems different and I don't know why. He is combative everywhere, but I don't see him cross the line of what I think is fair very often. That said, on this thread, he had a perfectly valid point about the trustworthiness of a source which could have been addressed with a minimum of personal griping. Instead he went into personal attack mode for no reason which I could discern. Escalated snark was traded, and we got 40 comments of junk mixed in with 30 or so interesting comments. That is still a good ratio compared to WashingtonMonthly (or the silly Yglesias post which I linked to in my last post) but we should be able to do better.

"I fear the "echochamberization" of Obsidian Wings is getting out of hand, and likely why I spend so little time here. Too bad."

You are wrong.

And although I have never agreed with Charlie Bird on anything, parts of this thread demonstrate why I believed him a good addition to this blog. Any further comment I suspect would be hypocrisy, or something.

Except gotta disagree with Holsclaw, there is never silliness at Yglesias. Never. And if I am being shunned, don't tell me.

Well, I think that attacking people on the basis of their S.O.'s crosses the line, regardless of what Moe's rules mean.

Macallan:

Nice neologism: "echochamberization"? Shouldn't some of the cleverer types than I here be able to condense this useful concept down to something with less than seven syllables?

But call it what you will, it's an odd concept to use for Obsidian Wings: virtually all the dialogs here of late have been pretty well attacked/defended from several sides: and, mostly, in a fairly decorous manner. If you think the site is listing too much to portside, how about contributing some ballast on the starboard by commenting yourself? At least unlike Bird Dog, you don't suck and ruin sites (too much! ;) ).
That said, I agree with you re Edward's haste to ban Tacitus - while I can see how he (Edward) might have gotten steamed at Tac's personalized bile (I know I certainly would!), this is just a blog, after all: Tacitus usually has a lot more to add to a comment-thread than this sort of crap (seconding Sebastian's point of 7:04p!) - If it has any weight, I would suggest that he make any "ban" a short-term one at most.

Mac,

Geesh. Sorry, but that doesn't reflect well on you or your position if you can't defend it without such thin skin. You've done far worse toward him when arguing similar points at his blog, and he was still a gracious host.

I would agree with double-plus-good, Sebastian, as others that normally Tacitus is a total gentleman and writes as well as anyone on the blogosphere. I've also learned quite a bit from him.

But with regard to ObWi, he had a very polarizing effect here. If he had contributed regularly to topics that might be outside his normal interests (i.e., investing in the site), I would argue that everyone should be more generous in considering whether this polarizing effect was intentional. But as each time he contributed, especially on this particular area of discussion, the thread disintegrated into acrimony, I can't conclude otherwise.

Most folks commenting here make an effort to reach across the aisle or at least respect the posting rules. IMO Tacitus didn't. And surely, he's a blogosphere celebrity of sorts and so his commenting here is good for the site. But comments like this:

There were plenty willing to publicize the calls to peace of Hitler and Stalin as well: you've chosen un-admirable company in that respect.

don't lead anywhere productive for anyone. I also don't see why I should have to tolerate them on my home turf.

Well, I miss Tacitus, and hope he starts writing at length again. Maybe I am visiting the wrong blogs. I take his analysis of Islamist jihadism( or whatever the correct term is this week) seriously enough to listen to him.

"The promotion of Islam". If, in a hypothetical I do not necessarily ascribe to Tacitus, Islam itself is violently expansionist, then we have a problem in those situations where Islam intersects a violent culture, or subculture, or segment. For I believe that culture most often trumps religion, nearly to the degree that religion is irrelevant. The Christianity of Sweden is not the Christianity of Spain or Russia, and the Buddhism of Tibet is not the Buddhism of Sri Lanka or Japan. And Zen Buddhism had little to do with Nanking (note I do not say nothing to do with Nanking.)

Therefore it is somewhat pointless to attack a religion, it will be ignored. Nor do I think religious leaders speaking of peace have much effect, the Pope hasn't stopped many wars recently, nor ended capital punishment or abortion. One must somehow attempt to change the culture. Defining or redefining the religion that the culture uses as a justification is useless. The irrational will resist, irrationally.

I suspect the religious among us will resist this analysis.

But call it what you will, it's an odd concept to use for Obsidian Wings:

Since I've been reading the dang thing since its first day I feel comfortable making the observation.

I also don't see why I should have to tolerate them on my home turf.

Perhaps remembering who helped plow the field and plant the grass would be reason enough.

rilkefan: Aren't fights over minor points reportedly the most vicious? Think how bad fights over nothing at all would be.

You are an academic!

Perhaps remembering who helped plow the field and plant the grass would be reason enough.

Bit of an obnoxious "lord to his serfs" metaphor lurking in there, don't you think?

Besides, it's a big blogosphere. I don't imagine Tacitus and I won't cross paths again. In fact, I sincerely hope we do.

Here, though, we repeatedly had to ask Tacitus to respect the posting rules. He of all people should appreciate that we shouldn't need to do so.

bob: "Nor do I think religious leaders speaking of peace have much effect, the Pope hasn't stopped many wars recently, nor ended capital punishment or abortion."

I was pretty impressed re the end of the old Polish regime...

Otherwise I probably agree.

I used to go to Tacitus frequently, as it was the only RW blog I could stand. (ObiWi, when Moe ran it, I considered 'conservative' rather than 'RW'.) Tac did allow a rougher tone, and there were a few regulars who contributed little beyond sneers and put-downs, but mostly even the snark was good natured.

Then the tone changed. Snark predominated, and the sneers got really nasty at times. I thought it might be because Tac was off launching redstate and wasn't around to police things - but the few times he did drop in, it was often just to post a put-down of someone else's comment in one or two lines, and then he'd vanish again.

Tac's site is on interregnum, last I looked, with just a few diaries being posted, and a lot of the regulars are coming here. I think they're still used to the rougher tone Tac allowed, and don't realize that's severely frowned on here.

I know I've offended a few times (the worst one was unwittingly), and there are some discussions, esp. the torture ones, where it's very hard for me to not get so angry that I lose my cool. But I treasure this site for the serious, and mostly civil, discussions. I really don't want it to devolve into Did Too! Did Not! slanging matches I see so much of elsewhere.

Bit of an obnoxious "lord to his serfs" metaphor lurking in there, don't you think?

I must agree. That's one of the more obnoxious characterizations I've seen in quite awhile. Recognizing that Tacitus encouraged and helped create ObWi has nothing to do with serfdom. Unless generosity took on some sort of new meaning when I wasn't looking. It happens, I know liberal used to mean something different, and that changed when I wasn't paying close enough attention.

Here, though, we repeatedly had to ask Tacitus to respect the posting rules. He of all people should appreciate that we shouldn't need to do so.

Since he didn't seem to break any of the posting rules in this instance, it seems silly to use that as justification. I recognize that he said something you'd object to, and with justification; however, that isn't the same as being uncivil. It's not like it isn't relevant to the topic.

For I believe that culture most often trumps religion, nearly to the degree that religion is irrelevant.

I pretty much agree, except that I think one should speak of "religious culture" instead of separating the two entirely. There's nothing in Islam that necessarily leads to violent extremism, but there's a culture of violent extremism within Islam that's not currently available with most other religions today and which proves enticing for those of a certain mindset.

When one looks around and sees the bulk of terrorism being committed by Muslims of various nationalities and ethnicities, one's tempted to blame the religion itself; but the more likely reason (to me) is simply that Islam is the only major religion that currently has this culture -- it's cornered the market.

mac: "I fear the "echochamberization" of Obsidian Wings is getting out of hand, and likely why I spend so little time here. Too bad."

I disagree in degree (whatever that means) but anyway, if you were willing to devote more time here (or even bring some sympathetic voices along) it would help the situation.

Did Tacitus just post something and it got deleted?

Aw cripes, I was gonna stay out of this, but...Mac, I'm assuming you've watched Tacitus ban folks in the past. And while I and others protested at the time, I don't remember any objections on your part. It's a subjective decision. And it does, I think, boil down to what Edward has said. He shouldn't have to tolerate it on his home turf.

based on my own prior experience, it's pretty clear that personal attacks are out of bounds.

as it should be.

and putting aside my own biases (or at least trying to), Tacitus' comments are pretty clearly a sharply personal attack.

and the reference to blogfatherdom is pretty pathetic. what, some animals are more equal than others?

Francis

Did Tacitus just post something and it got deleted?

Yep, I was in the middle of responding to it, did a preview, and it was gone...

Recognizing that Tacitus encouraged and helped create ObWi has nothing to do with serfdom. Unless generosity took on some sort of new meaning when I wasn't looking.

That cuts both ways, Mac. I supported RedState, writing the first announcment of it on this very blog, where I'm supposed to support the left, and Tacitus banned me there. He'll argue he had good reason, but as he admitted in the ban-busting post here that he inserted from another computer (hence deleted), he made it personal intentionally on this thread out of "irritation."

For the record. A ban is a ban. I find breaking a ban by going to another computer one of the very least respectful acts one can commit on the blogosphere. One can make a case via email if one feels that strongly about it, but there's a code that demands a ban be respected.

Once banned at RedState, despite having access to a fleet of computers, and often being outraged by what was written there, I refrained from circumventing the ban, respecting the wishes of the site's host too much to do so.

Every blog should be granted that same respect.

I don't remember any objections on your part.

You have a poor memory.

Harsh cultures in harsh lands create harsh religions.

The Old Testament, for example, is a bloody, vengeful text, and the rules it lays down for how people must live are often quite cruel. But it's understandable from an anthropological point of view: the OT was written by a people recently freed from slavery, trying to build a sustainable society in a physical environment that allowed no softness or second chances.

Islam - the religion and the culture - had much the same eco-social roots. That being said, I don't understand how the culture evolved into the one of the most progressive in the world (during the Andalusian era) only to become what it by and large is today. It strikes me as very odd indeed that the more violent and hateful leaders invoke Andalusia while denouncing the tolerance and pluralism that made the Andalusian era a Golden Age.

There are parallels with Christianity, and esp. with the bellicose fundamentalism which is the political ascendant version of Christianity in the US right now. The holy war rhetoric coming from US religious and political leaders is hardly different from what the mullahs are saying; and the enraged calls to turn Iraq into a parking lot no different from enraged calls to kill all infidels and unbelievers.

Kind of bizarre to respond to someone banned - he can't really answer, and the interaction sort of disrespects the banner.

I wasn't going to say something like, "Moe was able to handle himself and doesn't need a defense ex post."

For the record Edward, I support your and any other bloggers right to ban whomever they feel like and for whatever reason they choose. Just as I support anyone's right to free speech, it doesn't mean that when I see a friend say something stupid I won't mention it to them. I state my view on this not for Tacitus' sake, but yours. If I weren't fond of you, I simply wouldn't give a [posting rules] about it. (Let's be serious, you think I care about bannings at Kos or Atrios?)

Thank you Mac.

Believe me, this was not an easy thing for me to do. I cut my bloggin teeth, so to speak on Tacitus's site, and have immense respect for what he created there (none the least of which is the crowd he attracts). But I can't imagine Tacitus tolerating anywhere near the degree of insinuation I let pass, however intellectualized, that he's letting his love for his wife lead him to dishonest assertions. At a certain point, manners demand a softer approach.

And regarding the particular charge that I'm promoting Islam. Considering Tacitus has argued repeatedly that he sees Islam as inherently violent, it is indeed offensive, coming from him. I've stated in no uncertain terms on Tacitus that my agenda is keeping the rhetoric this side of explosive. Making sure that the "enemy" does not become "Muslims" in a generic sense. If that offends anyone, they can go to hell.

I didn't want to get too involved, but as usual I can't keep my mouth shut.

I both like and respect Tacitus. I read read him with more interest than almost anyone else on the blogosphere--and I read a lot of people. He is sharp tongued wherever I see him. But here, he seems to be even more than that. Here, he seems to take special pleasure in really baiting people. I don't understand that because here we work really hard to keep things going without letting it devolve into a disaster area--and though we admit to some missteps, I think we do a good job at it. It seems that he has taken something very personally and had to throw it to pieces here. I would watch it happen and think, "He'll revert back to form soon enough" and "He knows this place--this is just a slip." But he kept pushing and pushing and at my count he has provoked at least 4 disaster-area threads and now made a really unfair attack on one of the people running this site.

I'll miss the informed commentary that Tacitus often brought to threads, but I won't miss the way this site was twisting and dying every time he showed up. And I'm not sure which of those two clauses makes me feel worse to say.

Mac, perhaps you missed it, but Tacitus was implying that because Edward's boyfriend is a Muslim, Edward is promoting Islam. It's not about echo chamber-ism, it's about the rule prohibiting personal attacks.

Tac deserved to be banned... I browsed Tacitus.org plenty when it was up and running, like many here. Tac can be a bully and a jerk (note his insistence on using "chief" and whatnot). He knew exactly what he was saying and was purposefully trying to goad you.

Here, he seems to take special pleasure in really baiting people.

First of all, that's my job and I don't like being compared to amateurs. ;-)

I'll miss the informed commentary that Tacitus often brought to threads, but I won't miss the way this site was twisting and dying every time he showed up.

You (and the entire community for that matter) might want to consider whether that is a reflection on Tacitus or the community…

Praktite,

I didn't miss it. And as offensive as some might see it, Edward's close relationship does bias his view and there isn't anything really controversial in admitting it. In nearly all the Muslims Good/Bad arguments between Edward and Tacitus over the time I've tended to side with Edward because I refuse to condemn billons over the actions of hundreds (or perhaps thousands). However, that doesn't mean that the actions of thousands or even a handful should be ignored or dismissed.

Edward brought forth a quote that is counter to the LGF view of Islam. Tacitus brought forth a reason to question the sincerity and veracity of the quote. I find both valuable. If Edward were an opinion writer at a major newspaper, he'd have to disclose his relationship, why is it a big deal that Tacitus stated the obvious? Why did Edward post this? Perhaps to promote the good side of Islam? Nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with pointing it out.

If Edward were an opinion writer at a major newspaper, he'd have to disclose his relationship...

You're kidding, right? Anything I need to know about David Brooks' love life? Or does one only make the pejorative assumption regarding non-white partners?

No I'm not kidding Harley.

Here's an example and it has the added of benefit of being likely to annoy you. ;-)

You (and the entire community for that matter) might want to consider whether that is a reflection on Tacitus or the community.

Fair enough. When in Rome, however...

If Edward were an opinion writer at a major newspaper, he'd have to disclose his relationship, why is it a big deal that Tacitus stated the obvious?

Harley addressed the key issue here, but I'll address it on face value.

I have done this repeatedly. Disclosed my relationship and explained that I am sensitive about anti-Muslim rhetoric. So often, I'm sure folks are tired of hearing about it.

I don't mind someone pointing out my bias (again, I do so myself). I do mind their suggesting it leads me to be dishonest. It's ad hominem in an uncivil, unfair way. Perhaps it's how they really feel about my opinion, but it's better to offer proof that I'm being intentionally dishonest than pinning it on my relationship.

I don't mind someone pointing out my bias

Apparently you do, because I can't find a quote to support this:

I do mind their suggesting it leads me to be dishonest.

I'm trying to understand why someone on the "right" (broadly defined) didn't step up and suggest that Tac was pushing it before the final blowup. This dynamic has _Shooting the Elephant_ written all over it.

Here, Mac: how about this:

"You are intent on promoting Islam -- and yes, I think that is an accurate phrasing -- inasmuch as you chronically misrepresent it and its spokesmen in order to portray it positively. If this isn't "promotion," precious little is",/i> Tacitus, post of 3:45pm

Out, pesky italics.

.

That's arguing bias not dishonesty JayC, at least in my reading.

"chronically misrepresenting" argues dishonest to me Mac.

I think it's important for this blog to cultivate strong conservative commenter voices given the current balance.

Rifle dude, you have your work cut out for you. Just saying.

And Edward while this is no reflection on you per se, I greatly appreciate your overall view of the world although I don't agree with it, your posts have recently missed the objectivity you use to portray starting with the post on PR. The problem with Wings is that you need a keel, the constant drifting to the left impairs your collective voice.

And Edward when Tac banned you from Red States, I thought he was having a bad day. I think you've had a bad 30 days.

Finally, since I've been a vistor since the sites inception, the "collective you" ought to go back and read the first three or four months. Who knew what the VRWC would spawn.

Well "duh" Edward, I understand that's how you took it. I just think thou doth protest too much.

Tacitus: if it's not possible to make your points without resorting to personal attacks, they aren't worth making. If it is, then make them that way.

My take on this, not that anyone asked: I've endured far more abusive responses from people who are still posting here, without them ever having been so much as mildly chastened. I recommend you reconsider, Edward.

Mac, disclosing that your spouse is employed by the subject of a column is a far cry from disclosing that your partner is religiously or ethnically affiliated with the major world religion you're discussing. The set under discussion (that is, the set of all Muslims) is so large and the manner of selection of the members of this set (largely through birth) that to presume a conflict of interest is absurd.

For example, if I were writing a post about the Sudan, would I have to disclose the fact that my girlfriend is black, because her race prejudices me toward black victims of genocide?

I recommend you reconsider, Edward.

I don't Edward, you asked Tac to desist, he didn't, which is sufficient. Slarti is correct about the rest and the site will be poorer without Tac, maybe Mac will visit more often.

The problem with Wings is that you need a keel, the constant drifting to the left impairs your collective voice.

I totally agree Timmy, which is why I was very happy to invite Bird Dog (Charles now) to bring us back toward the overall center.

And Edward when Tac banned you from Red States, I thought he was having a bad day. I think you've had a bad 30 days.

But, but, but...I wrote one of my strongest pro-Bush posts during that period.

Truthfully, I have been as generous to Bush since the PR post as I've ever been. So much so that some liberals here have questioned why. Credit where it's due please.

Finally, since I've been a vistor since the sites inception, the "collective you" ought to go back and read the first three or four months. Who knew what the VRWC would spawn.

We don't have the benefit of Katherine or Moe now. We still have the guiding calm and wisdom of Von, and we treasure it, but the site is undergoing continuous evolution. So many times someone has returned after an extended time away and been surprised that it's gone so far left or so far right (yes, I hear this too).

It's like the weather in London. Don't like it? Just wait five minutes...it will change.

I blame Bird Dog. He's ruining the blog.

But, but, but...I wrote one of my strongest pro-Bush posts during that period.

Well this is true, but grasping at straws does not make a strong post. Again, I'm not trying to be critical here but even with Bird Dog (if I remember correctly I suggested to both Moe and Von, respectively to add two Tac regulars, Eddie and Bird Dog) the site is still migrating to the left. I'm not complaining about that but the analysis becomes weaker with the migration.

Eddie, maybe you need a wack the "Wonder Dog Day" in order to relieve the edge, followed by wack the "Catsy Day". :)

Finally, since I've been a vistor since the sites inception, the "collective you" ought to go back and read the first three or four months. Who knew what the VRWC would spawn.

I've been reading ObWi pretty much every day since it's been around, and I was a regular Tacitus reader (and poster, under a couple different handles) for a good year and a half starting in 2003, and from where I stand the decline in civility/tilt towards extremes happened to both sites, only it became far more apparent on Tacitus. This was not some inherent failing of the people who posted on these sites. This was a natural reaction to the political climate. The war, the election, Abu Ghraib - the left and the right, even the "reasonable" left and right, were bound to split viciously as long as they were paying attention to the real world.

I have to give ObWi credit for staying as civil as it has. The billing says it's a blog of moderates, but it's a chimera - a mix-n-match of lefties and righties, all fortunately smart and worth reading, but attracting all sorts, and it's a miracle that every thread isn't a monster food fight. I mean, you're trying to have civil discussions about torture, for Christ's sake. Nobody has civil thoughts about torture - nobody human, anyway.

I hope this blog can find its more peaceable temperment again, but I'll still cut it slack if it can't.

the site will be poorer without Tac

Well, he was a very infrequent visitor. Perhaps that was purposeful on his part, so that this place didn't simply become Tacitus II.

So many times someone has returned after an extended time away and been surprised that it's gone so far left or so far right (yes, I hear this too).

I know you have, Edward, but I think it's due to the tendency you mentioned a while back of people to consider themselves moderate, no matter what their actual views. It's pretty clear, both from a simple tally of commenters and from the defensive posture that righty commenters regularly adopt here, that although the panel of posters is pretty well balanced, the center of gravity of the commenting community is decidedly to the left (although the needle has definitely moved closer to the center since the last bloodletting). It would be nice if a conservative could post a comment here without getting dogpiled -- the poor fellas must feel like Butch and Sundance at their last stand.

maybe Mac will visit more often.

Please don't scare the regulars. Besides I try to suck and ruin only one blog at time.

For example, if I were writing a post about the Sudan, would I have to disclose the fact that my girlfriend is black, because her race prejudices me toward black victims of genocide?

No, but if you were writing that conservatives don't eat kittens and steal food from old people while you were sleeping with Ann Coulter…

…ah never mind. You'd have bigger problems than disclosure issues.

poor fellas must feel like Butch and Sundance at their last stand

Naw, Wings is not even close to the DKos asylum.

Naw, Wings is not even close to the DKos asylum.

Well duh. My point of comparison was the Platonic ideal of a moderate blog. In relation to actually-existing sites, this one does pretty well, most of the time.

does pretty well, most of the time

Ok, if you say so, but I don't believe the conservatives are defensive per se.

Mac, I think you've gotten 3 or 4 invitations from regulars in this thread alone - you waiting for us to organize a petition?

Timmy the Wonder Dog, it's still "rilkefan", and I think that of late I've been doing my lowly part to promote amity here.

I've been doing my lowly part to promote amity here

Yes you have but your work isn't done, now is it?

gosh, i just love it when the right bashes Dkos constantly here on ObWi, it makes it so much easier for me to say RedState and Tacitus are the manure factories of the blogosphere.

For a blog that caters to the spectrum, funny how you hear the left wing blogs slammed repeatedly on ObWi but not the uber-conservative ones. How about you Neo's stop Kos bashing and I'll not post the above again? If not, prepare to hear it every time you do this because i for one am sick and tired of it.

wilfred-
Tacitus.org was not even close to as rabid as Redstate. The latter shouts down anyone who doesn't toe the line while the former let several liberals post topics. I don't know how it is now but when I read dKos (before the election) it was pretty out there. There is some intersting Dem strategery discussion but that's about it. I'm just saying we shouldn't compare apples to oranges.

Mac, I think you've gotten 3 or 4 invitations from regulars in this thread alone - you waiting for us to organize a petition?

Perhaps engraved invite with flowers?

Seriously, I appreciate the sentiment rilkefan, but any place that would ban the guy who helped get it going isn't really a place for me. Thanks though.

What kind of flowers do you prefer? And where should we send them?

OK, that made me laugh.

I always thought of Macallan as more of a chocolate kind a guy.

I really should shut up, but if that were my natural inclination I wouldn't be me.

"Seriously, I appreciate the sentiment rilkefan, but any place that would ban the guy who helped get it going isn't really a place for me. Thanks though."

I'm going to speak from the heart a bit here. I like Tacitus a lot. On his own sites he has had brilliant posts. On many sites his comments are insightful. Along with AndrewSullivan and Steven DenBeste he was my introduction to thoughtful blogging.

I'm also a big believer in loyalty. He helped this site out a lot when Moe was starting it, and has continued ever since. So when he started showing up here I was thrilled. But Tacitus wasn't the same here as he was in many other places. He wasn't the guy who had wowed me with his intellect. More often he was making me wince as he trashed people I knew. I know it is annoying to get ganged up on by the more hard-core lefties sometimes, and heaven knows I have blown up once or twice, so I thought the first blow-up was just a bad day. Then it happened again and again--not just being sharp, but really picking fights. We banned one person who had been a problem anyway and whom Tacitus had goaded into a big fight, and I figured it was just that other person. But by then, a little part of me was worrying that Tacitus, for some reason or another, didn't respect what we were doing here. He had been around the site long enough to know, but it for some reason he didn't want to go along. I didn't say anything--and I should have. I felt loyal to him and figured I needed to cut him some slack. That was almost certainly the wrong choice. Perhaps if I had said something earlier it wouldn't have come to this.

Because today wasn't acceptable. There was no need to attack Edward like that. Edward isn't Atrios or Willis. Tacitus knows that full well. He also knew exactly what buttons to push to set him off. Friends who know about another friend's buttons don't push them like that.

I like ObsidianWings. I like Tacitus. I like Edward. I let my loyalty stay my tongue and I should not have done that. Edward, I'm sorry for that. And Tacitus, I respect you but I think you are hurting this site. Maybe sometime later you can see that.

And now I'm just sad.

heet, i am considered an old-timer on DKos and i have to say 'out there' is what i would describe the X-Files website, not the largest and most influential Democrat blog (there are over 35,000 participants). sure there is a wide spectrum of thought in such a large group but there is an incredible amount of information circulated nonetheless. i will always stick up for what markos and the rest of us have created and won't see it slandered here. i have no desire to arbitrarily trash right-wing blogs but if mud is being slung at something i respect i will play hardball.

Tacitus seemed to only breeze in here once in a blue moon long enough to fling poo and make comments guaranteed to pick a fight. People as eloquent and intelligent as he is choose their written words carefully and for effect, and he could not fail to realize how insulting and condescending the things he says routinely are. I don't consider this a loss; if I want to read his screeds, I'll go to Redstate.

As far as balance goes, I don't really see that the blog is listing to the left. That may well be because I'm far to the left myself, but really--there are three conservative posters, if you count von, and more conservatives are filtering into the comments all the time, bolstering Stan, Timmy, et al. By my count there's about as many unapologetic righties as there are lefties, and they all post regularly.

Tacitus.org used to be the only place I knew where right and left could meet and really discuss things. But the last year before the elections it deteriorated IMO.

Obsidian Wings filled the gap and I admire the way it manages to keep on the chosen course of civil discussion between all sides of the angle. Moe did an outstanding job in the beginning period and I still miss him. But there still is a lot of work done by the posters, and they should get credits for that.

I absolutely agree with Sebastian that Tacitus seemed to write rather agressively here, disrespectfull, and that his comments on ObWi these last few months seemed to cause threads to disrupt.

In this case he said something that Edward felt to be really insulting. When asked to take it back he didn't bother, but instead said 'ban away' and added a comparison of Edward with promoters of Hitler and Stalin.

I am glad he got banned for that because I think respect for others is important and I felt Tactitus allready had had more slack than anybody else because of his 'blogfather' position. Which, frankly, is overrated honor IMO (the slack), because though Tacitus did a lot to get this blog started smoothly and get enough commenters to make it worthwile reading it, after a while the credit goes to the persons maintaining the blog. They *keep* the visitors and attract others.

I do feel sorry for Sebastian, torn between his admiration and his objective judgement and appreciate his honesty.

If any of my comments on this thread (though especially the one on January 24, 2005 03:35 PM) are responsible for Tacitus losing his rag at Edward, I'm very sorry. I didn't intend any of them to inspire this much rage, though the 03:35 PM one was unjustifiably smug (well, in hindsight, anyway).

I respect Sebastian for his comments here more than I can say.

On rudeness:

Rude people act rude because they think it is ok or that they can get away with it, and they will continue to do so until something makes them think otherwise. Every time you have the opportunity to confront rudeness you have a chance to help reform that person’s behavior. In all likelihood, it will take many confrontations to break the habit of rudeness. And, as we all are all probably familiar, it is much easier for an established habit be reinforced than broken. When you do not confront rudeness, not only do you forgo a chance at helping stop it – you actually encourage it by giving that person the positive reinforcement of getting away with it.>
Erik Sprague, aka the Lizardman

it makes it so much easier for me to say RedState and Tacitus are the manure

Not that difficulty was ever an impediment. It's always easier to criticize where you know you're not going to have to defend yourself, though.

I respect Sebastian for his comments here more than I can say.

I want to echo that point. A couple of times, I've taken the mickey out of Seb and once, someone contacted me offlist to say I was wrong, and he was right about that. I didn't apologize to Seb then, but after his honesty here, I really feel bad that I didn't.

I know I've been a bit noisy about correcting others, but I have confined it (or at least tried to) to people who I generally agree with. I want to suggest not that there is some moral obligation to do this, but that it makes a lot of sense in terms of enlightened self-interest. If there is someone that you agree with on a regular basis and don't speak up when they do something that pushes the envelope, I really don't think you are doing them (or your side) any favors.

. . . you chronically misrepresent [Islam] and its spokesmen in order to portray it positively.

The most charitable way I can think of to interpret this comment, in the context that Tacitus offered it, is, "Your boyfriend is a Muslim, so you lie about the religion so people won't think your boyfriend is a terrorist." If that isn't accusing Edward of serial dishonesty -- and let's ignore the Hitler and Stalin comment just because it was purposefully ugly -- then nothing is, short of saying, "You're a serial liar." Whatever Trevino's relationship to this blog is, that doesn't give him a free pass to talk that kind of smack to one of the blog editors and writers with no repercussions.

Now, personally, I have no interest in or stake in Islam qua Islam, any more than I do Christianity or any other religion. But nothing I've seen of Edward indicates that he's purposefully or unintentionally dishonest, and he deserves better than that on his own blog.

(And yes, I have stuck up for the ObWi righties, particularly when they've been attacked by Jadegold.)

I think the solution to all of our problems here is for the eloquent Sebastian, the eminently reasonable Von, and the thoughtful Slartibartfast to post more often.

... and for Charles Bird to ruin the site more often as well.

I do find it interesting, however, that with four right-wing members of the ObWing collective (and a fifth, apparently, invited) but only two left-wing members, some right-wing commenters still perceive ObWing as skewed to the left....

I do find it interesting, however, that with four right-wing members of the ObWing collective (and a fifth, apparently, invited) but only two left-wing members, some right-wing commenters still perceive ObWing as skewed to the left....

Well, consider who's been doing the bulk of the posting lately. Bird's been playing catch-up a bit, but Slartibartfast and von have largely been MIA. (Not that there aren't good reasons for that...)

And von is hardly right-wing. Also, much of the character of this site is determined not by the posters but the commenters, and that population is weighted toward the left.

I plead inadequacy. I tried to warn you, but NOOOOOO....

but Slartibartfast and von have largely been MIA.

Eh? Miss a couple days and ....

Edward, don't you think "Note to anti-Muslim Americans: take credit for this speech if you like, just acknowledge it as widely and loudly as you decry alleged threats" starts the ball off in an incendiary mode?

I mean, you are either talking to the choir, and by definition excluding apostates, or you are least disparaging those who express doubts as to the honesty of the Imam's expressed denunciation of violence. Or both. It is not as if we have not experienced 20 years of Arafat doing the same dance. Since even your amended addendum is still condescending, I take Tac's side on this. When the Grand Mosque expressly renounces its previous calls for violence, or has achieved even a consistant record of working against violent jihad, then I'll celebrate the speaker.

I think it's interesting that the lefty sites constantly get ridiculed on this site. I can understand that for Kos, but Atrios is no more extreme than tacitus has become. For some reason Atrios is something to deride for his extremism and tacitus is something to respect. I don't really understand that, tacitus has become nothing but an echo chamber over the last year, just as Atrios is an echo chamber.

You spend a couple of days away from the Internet and look what happens. Maybe I should be saying this behind the curtain rather than here--given my rookie status--but it's never stopped me before, so I'm going to splay out some thoughts in no particular order. First, Edward's title to this post is itself a taunt, and he was rightfully slammed for uncritically taking al-Sudais' word, especially given this Wahhabi's long history of preaching jihad (the militant kind) and hate, not to mention that his sect is in no small part responsible for TWAT. The imam is now against terrorism because the tables have turned against both him and his tyrant Saudi benefactors. Terrorism was fine as long it happened elsewhere, but now that al Qaeda is conducting terrorist attacks on his soil, terrorism is all of a sudden a bad thing.

In my view, the imam's words are a sign that we are winning, that our taking the fight to the terrorists is forcing many to change their views. His speech will be a marker, and he will be held to his statements. I may put this in a separate post, but I don't think he changed his underlying beliefs, he's just changing tactics. Terrorism has proven to be counter-productive to jihad, the spread of sharia and the expansion of his harsh 7th century version of intolerant Islam. Since 9/11, the attention of the western world has been placed on Saudi Arabia and Wahhabist doctrine, and they haven't been the better for it.

Second, I haven't visited here enough to see Tacitus' previous comments at OW, so I can't judge. But I have witnessed thousands of interchanges between Edward and Tacitus over at Tacitus.org, and Edward gave out as much as he took, and oftentimes the tenor and content was much worse than what Tacitus was banned for here. Personally, I get called dishonest or worse in just about every other post (or at least it feels that way), so I must say that I'm not a little bit baffled by this incident.

Usually when this situation happens, I check through the posting rules list. Was Tacitus reasonably civil? I think he did go too far, but then, who are the anti-Muslims that Edward is talking about, and what constitutes an anti-Muslim? Am I anti-Muslim for taking the imam's sermon with a granary of salt? I don't think so. Am I anti-Muslim for being vehemently opposed to Wahhabism, Qtubism and the Muslim Brotherhood? I think not, but Edward may have a different opinion. Am I anti-Muslim for bringing up the slaughter of the Armanious family? In my opinion, no. But in Edward's opinion, I'm not so sure. So maybe Edward is talking to me in his post, or maybe not. If he is, then count me as offended by what he wrote.

On other posting rules questions, did Tacitus "disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake"? To me, he didn't disrupt or destroy (assuming for the sake of argument that he did) for its own sake, but to challenge Edward's unresearched conclusions. Did Tacitus "consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake"? The "consistently" part I can't judge, but I don't believe Tacitus "abused" Edward for its own sake, but to harshly dispute the central theme of his post. I readily admit that I may have a more lax interpretation of posting rules breaches, but then at Tacitus I never had the banning keys, so it was either call my detractors on posting rules violations, directly respond to the many unfounded accusations or write an e-mail to Tacitus. Discussions did coarsen over the months of his absence, and guest editors not having true enforcement powers may have contributed to it.

While Tacitus did indeed push the posting rules envelope, I also think Edward overreacted by giving him no quarter. Rather than pull the trigger, I would rather Edward had confronted Tacitus, challenging him to prove his assertions and urging him to write with more civility.

Finally, Tacitus is not your typical commenter here. Without his blog, OW would not have happened, and disagree with his views or his terseness or what have you, I believe he should have been accorded better treatment than "apologize or get banned". This is one of those unique situations. Instead of a blogfather getting banned by a single editor, I think the decision should lie with the collective of editors. Put me down as a "no" to banning, but with a warning for him to write by the rules he created (yes, I'm aware that he's been warned in the past). Tacitus may get banned anyway by the OW group, but I believe it should be a group decision.

When the Grand Mosque expressly renounces its previous calls for violence, or has achieved even a consistant record of working against violent jihad, then I'll celebrate the speaker.

I'm sorry if this wasn't clearer Steve, but I don't care about the speaker as a person. Truly, I only care that a person in his position made this speech. Celebrate the speech. Or, as Sebastian has wisely pointed out, use the speech against the speaker.

What should be happening with this is that his words should be plastered all over the Muslim world on billboards and t-shirts and every other surface so he and the terrorists can't escape them. No scratch that...his words should be plastered all over the entire world so he and the terrorists can't escape them.

This will result in his either being widely exposed as a fraud or his having to live up to them. Either way, this is a very good thing, and the Western press should be shouting it from the rooftops. So should the anti-Muslim forces here.

One thing to keep in mind, Charles, is that this was not the first incident involving Tacitus that's occurred at OW recently. He's had this pattern over the last several months of attacking posters personally the way he did here, every time he's posted, not least Edward and Hilzoy. The nasty, personal tone that he displayed in this thread was entirely consistent with the way he's been acting for a long period now. You and Steve Malynn both found a way to criticize Edward's post (and made some good points into the bargain) without slamming Edward as a person, AFAICT. Tac didn't.

I was going to refrain from commenting on this thread -- in part because Sebastian has already made any point I would have, and in part because I generally don't take sides in fights among friends. But my silence may create a misimpression. Thus:

This website is based on civil discussion. All who engage in such civil discussion are welcome. I don't know why Tac -- who, IMHO, is among the more honorable, thoughtful, and brilliant guys out there, in the blogosphere or anywhere -- would make a comment that seems specifically designed to maximally aggrieve Ed. And, then, when asked to clarify or retreat from it, extend the insult to near parody. (Ed as an apologist for Stalin and Hitler? Is this amateur night?).

So, lest my prior silence be taken incorrectly:

Each individual, permanent ObWi commentator (Ed, Hilzoy, Sebastian, me*) has his or her own individual standards for acceptable civility. They will obviously vary. A decision to ban, however, carries the force of us all. There is no daylight between us on it.

However (and extending the comment more broadly), I also think it's also fair to say that no decision to ban is permenant, if the facts change. (Of course, if it's not fair to say that, my co-bloggers will freely jump all over me.)

von

*This is not to say that it's open season on Charles Bird or Slartibartfast, who also have the power to ban. Only that the four perms are the appellate court.

Bird, I made the point to Mac, I'll make to you as well. When, IMO, commenters were unfairly banned at Tacitus, by Tacitus, I protested the act. And made the same argument that you did regarding the nature of the comments (the fact that others had commented in like fashion, etc.). First, I don't recall you protesting at the time. Perhaps because the banned posters were coming from the Left. Second, I understood and stated that in the end it was Tac's right and responsiblity. He had acted in the best interests of the blog as he defined them. It seems to me that Edward is doing the same.

Oh. And you suck and are ruining this site. :)

Might I suggest that banning decisions (at least the site-wide kind, if not the one-thread kind) not be made by each individual permanent commentator but only by the consensus of all of them? That would address one of Tacitus's complaints and maybe eliminate charges of political and/or personal bias in the decision.

"permenant"

Erm, or even "permanent."

kenB: we often do discuss this sort of thing. However, I think it would probably not be a good idea to require consensus in advance, if only because, appearances to the contrary, we aren't always at our computers, and thus it might take a lot of time. As regards Tacitus in particular, we had had such a discussion in the past, so it was not as though this decision came sailing in out of the blue without a history.

Charles,

First, Edward's title to this post is itself a taunt,

Only to those who identify as anti-Muslim, and for such folks, well, a bit of taunting is the least they deserve.

In my view, the imam's words are a sign that we are winning, that our taking the fight to the terrorists is forcing many to change their views.

Which is exactly what I meant by "take credit for this speech if you like, just acknowledge it."

But I have witnessed thousands of interchanges between Edward and Tacitus over at Tacitus.org, and Edward gave out as much as he took, and oftentimes the tenor and content was much worse than what Tacitus was banned for here.

Each and every time I was warned about tone or the posting rules on Tacitus I adjusted my rhetoric accordingly. That's the difference.

I think he did go too far, but then, who are the anti-Muslims that Edward is talking about, and what constitutes an anti-Muslim?

Mostly folks like those spewing hatred at sites like LGF, but also anyone else who identifies as such. Anyone here offended by it should reflect on why, in my opinion.

The entire point of the post was that here, finally, in no uncertain terms is a condemnation of violence from a prominent Islamic leader. Whether sincere or not doesn't change that. Those "slamming" me for the title or its taunt could have begun by acknowleding that, as a gesture of solidarity. I would have then been much more open to the fact that I hadn't properly researched the speaker. Their first response being to "slam" me for it however only served to suggest they were offended by the title...in which case, I revert to "Anyone here offended by it should reflect on why...."

I do think we should consider some of the suggestions by the constant readers with regards to better banning policies...you'll be getting an email.

Whoo.

Can I just chip in and say that this is the only blog on the net that I've been able to find that has intelligent, civil discourse about stuff that I think is important? And that I regard this kind of discussion as the healthy and necessary? And that this kind of ban is heart-wrenching for all involved, so my sympathies to everyone, and it was the right thing to do (Charles, Edward did give him quarter -- and Tac told him where to go).

And could I also say despite the fact that I'm a left-wing socialist, and not a liberal, that I agree that ObWi has drifted to the left too much since Moe's departure. So we need more posts and comments from the conservatives in the crowd.

And an admission that when I heard that Charles was joining the crew that I reacted with horror and fear that he would suck and spoil the blog, but that I've been pleasantly surprised thus far, so kudos to him and to the ObWi crew for having the courage to invite him.

And that I too loved read Tac's site when it was going, but prefer the tone here in the comments section. If that involves warnings and bannings, well, ObWi will continue to draw intelligent and POLITE commenters from both sides of the political fence, because there are many of us who need an occasional break from the usual head-butts in the moshpit.

And made the same argument that you did regarding the nature of the comments (the fact that others had commented in like fashion, etc.). First, I don't recall you protesting at the time.

Your recollection is wrong. I have expressly disagreed with some of Tac's banning decisions. FTR, I have only recommended that one commenter be banned at Tacitus (no, it wasn't you!).

First, Edward's title to this post is itself a taunt,

Only to those who identify as anti-Muslim,

Edward, not to belabor this, but I think Tacitus and others might well have felt that you had them in mind, even though they probably wouldn't consider themselves "anti-Muslim". If Tacitus wrote a post about "those who promote Islam", you might feel it was directed at you even though you're obviously not one.

kenB: Also, much of the character of this site is determined not by the posters but the commenters, and that population is weighted toward the left.

Well? The commenters are a floating population. Anyone who is willing to take part in civil discourse can comment here. Anyone on the right who feels that the commenters are weighted towards the left has a solution in their own hands: hang out here and comment more. Complaining about it won't do a thing.

If Tacitus wrote a post about "those who promote Islam", you might feel it was directed at you even though you're obviously not one.

Depends on context I imagine, but overall, I'd say I wouldn't take it as meaning me. I practice Christianity. I promote tolerance.

Might I suggest that banning decisions (at least the site-wide kind, if not the one-thread kind) not be made by each individual permanent commentator but only by the consensus of all of them?

Actually, I've declined to take part in deciding to ban the only person who I've been inclined to ban. Different circumstance than Edward's, to be sure, but banning is generally not done lightly. Of course, the decision-making process here annoys people in different ways depending on their inclinations, but so does the tone of the political discussion. So we've got consistency going for us, at least.

And Edward's not alone in being sensitive to being hit quite so close to home. I put up with one poster's snide condescension on my own site for quite a while, until said person accused me of knowingly bribing Chinese officials to get my kids. Unsupported, unsupportable, deliberately provocative attack on my person and on my integrity. That was what it took for me.

So maybe putting some admonishment to steer the conversation clear of family in the posting rules is in order.

Slarti, i'm afraid of no one, not you nor redstate and certainly not that bully tacitus. I just don't find pissing in the wind entertaining or informative, probably the same reason you don't hang at Dkos.

As for all who are bootlicking tacitus, either put up or shut up. Either defend his libelous accusations against Edward and willful violation of the posting rules or get with the program and applaud his banning. Sebastian struck a good tone here.

Sebastian,

Since your post was so honest and reasonable, I'd like an opportunity to respond. However, given how little time I've spent here over the last 6 months I realize this is from little to none of my business and that my opinion might not hold any sway. Also, what I'm going to say is chock full of 20/20hindsightitude.

There are two fundamental issues here. One the general and the second the specific. On the general, your concern (and perhaps others) that Tacitus' posting habits weren't what you'd hope seems to me to be a legitimate issue. However, what strikes me as having been the mature and proper course would have been for the collective editors to engage Josh offline and express that concern. He's an eminently reasonable and generous individual who likely would have been troubled that his contribution wasn't a net plus. Or perhaps, he won't have given a fig. Either way, Tacitus, unlike any other commentator, does deserve, at minimum, that kind of consideration.

On the specific, letting the general act as the excuse or rationalization for the banning isn't something I can respect. As an example, several years ago a manager who worked for me fired an employee. When I inquired why, it was over some minor transgression. So when I went to intervene, this manager gave me a long list of reasons why this woman should be fired, but when I looked at her file not a single one of those issues had been raised prior nor had she been given any opportunity to improve. In my view, this was a clear indication of the manager's failure not the employees. If you or anyone had a long simmering view, but failed to engage him in the proper venue, well it seems silly to now use that as support for Edward's petulance.

It's your guy's blog and I recognize your right to run it any way you see fit, but as long as this banning stands I can't support Obsidian Wings (which on the bright side will make many of your regulars very happy!)

wilfred...

appreciate your support here, but I don't think that's helping overall...

Slarti, i'm afraid of no one, not you nor redstate and certainly not that bully tacitus.

Not sure why you feel the need to say you're not afraid of Slarti...did I miss something?

Tacitus has a long history with many of the folks here, and I respect (and understand) their loyalty. I don't want this to go the direction of additional criticism.

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