The Big Yellow Book

Seeing the World from Both Oculars-- a Bananaslug's Journal


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The Big Dustup at Baen's Bar
bigbananaslug
bigbananaslug
I’ve kept quiet on the Bar for several reasons. One, the last time John Ringo got mad and started kicking ass, I was one of the collaterally-damaged, warned for what was called “elawyering” and nearly kicked off the Bar myself. Second, I work for Baen and I sorta have to support the boss. Third, I fully agreed with John’s decision to boot Michael Sandy for cause. There are other Barflies that I’d like to see booted for cause, too. But I will not name names. I’d say, “You know who you are,” but the fact is, these clowns are so dense that they probably don’t know who they are.

It has been obvious to this reporter that John Ringo has been under tremendous strain since he started to have trouble writing the money-earning Posleen series. His marriage has broken up, he continues to have writing problems, and the series he’s invested the most energy in, The Council Wars, isn’t earning out. If I were in John’s position, I would be under terrific strain too. And I’d probably be blowing up at people without really considering the alternatives, too. I like John Ringo, and I feel sorry for the situation he’s in.

I would have to say, however, that John brought this on himself. I think he admitted to that in his EFF YOU “Last Post.” One of the things that I am really ticked off about is the fact that Melissa McDowell quit the Bar. The fact that she, personally, with the help of Rick Boatright, kept the Bar up and operational during Arnold Bailey’s near-fatal illness last year was completely forgotten in the Ringo dust up. Somehow, it is a poor return on her generosity and skill, having dropped everything to help, to put her in the position of having to quit the Bar.

The argument that the Bar has changed, and people are nastier now, and don’t want to talk about the “big issues,” is specious in my view. First, there are Conferences on the Bar where civility reigns, and where ideas and stories are discussed in a collegial spirit. All of the Eric Flint moderated conferences, and Lois Bujold’s “Milestogo” are counter-examples of the “fact” that the Bar has changed. And if 1632, MutterofDemons, the BaensUniverse and MilesToGo haven't changed their spirit or their conventions, it means that the Bar doesn't have to, anywhere.

Now, instead of getting everybody behind Jim's basic, "Don't Be a Butthead!" rule, we now have rules upon rules upon rules, and this encourages the self-same buttheads to lawyer themselves to hell, dragging the rest of us along.

So, what’s a Barfly to do? Well, this wily ol’ Bananaslug is simply not going where I know I will not have a good time. I don’t visit Politics, or Truth vs Pravda, and I may stop visiting the Tavern, as I stopped visiting Kratman’s hangout long ago. I enjoy debating Julie, so I may keep visiting her Conference, if she can manage to keep order better than her mentor did. I am spending my time in those Conferences where civility and the old spirit of Baen’s Bar continue unabated. I encourage everyone else to do the same. If we stop aiding and abetting bad actors and their bad actions, they will shrivel up and go away.

Bananaslug.

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... that I tend to keep out of these things, to the point that I wasn't aware there was a major dustup in progress. Generally I'm only seen on Mutter or my own Paradigms Lost; the exceptions are if a discussion is in progress elsewhere which is relevant to what I write.

I'm sorry to hear that there's trouble going on, and I hope Ringo's life clears up...

I like Miles to Go, but I find it a rather cliquish place. The people there don't tend to be very responsive to others.

Reading this, I realize it's been about a year since I've been on the Bar. I must say, I'm not surprised that there's been another dustup, and that Ringo is a major participant. Some people attract dustups, and Ringo is one of them.

Will I return to the Bar? That's hard to forecast. On one hand, conversations on the Bar led me away from a pretense toward a faith I didn't really possess and toward the Gods of my ancestors. On the other hand, a false accusation on the Bar made me a terrorism suspect for a while, and at last check still barred me from setting foot on a commercial airliner.

On the gripping hand, most of the folks I liked to converse with have left the Bar (mostly during or in the aftermath of dustups that involved Ringo), and most of them have LJs these days. So it's unlikely, unless Jim buys something I write. And I'm brewing far more than writing, these days.

Now, instead of getting everybody behind Jim's basic, "Don't Be a Butthead!" rule, we now have rules upon rules upon rules, and this encourages the self-same buttheads to lawyer themselves to hell, dragging the rest of us along.


Amen, brother.

We might be reminded that when Jim decided who stayed and who went there _weren't_ a bunch of rules. People flamed, and if they didn't stop they'd attract Jim. If they didn't stop when Jim told them to knock it off they were in trouble.

Then someone decided that in various people's speech there were hidden insults and "hitting". USENETITIS, I think it was called. And since Jim was so busy he surely needed moderators. And that begat a FAQ, and that FAQ begat "rulings" and those rulings, for those who bothered to track them (which should have been a major hint,), became the stuff of PRECIDENT!

And lo and behold we had a justice system which was used by people to avoid the basic concept while actually committing the crime of hitting. Sandy was a Past master of this, whilst his targets...often lacking, or rejecting, his elawyering skills...became the objects of the moderator's scorn.

More importantly the very presence of moderators changed the face of the Bar. Myself and Mike Spehar, back in The Day tm, fought like cats and dogs across Mutter, 1632, Politics and Ringo's. Had the moderators been around then, at least in their official capacity, we would have been banned. Instead, the argument began to change, as neither of us would relent, until it became the sort of argument that Ringo spoke of. The result was an online friendship that would prove to be the founding block, along with Eric Flint, of ReadAssist.

One moderator thought that the Bar could be made into a flame free zone of peace through the use of force. That she that moderator still thinks so today is sad. Since the advent of moderation things have gotten worse, not better. Let's remember that Ringo's remembrance of halcyon days was before moderation; and one person’s desire to make it happen.

QM

And the argument that the Bar was smaller doesn't fly with me, either. The fact is, most of the soi disant "moderators" have acted like buttheads more often than not. In the last few weeks, we've seen "moderator please spank [insert name]" more than ever before.

I hadn't known that Melissa quit the Bar. I mean, I only post nowadays to post snippets of Travis and John's book. I liked Melissa. I still like Melissa.

I went offline for about two months back in 05, and she emailed me wondering if I was okay. Nobody else even bothered. It really touched me and made me feel like I was a valuable member of a community.

I don't get that feeling anymore.

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