Laissez-faire moderating

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MegB
Laissez-faire moderating

As some of you may have noticed, my style of moderating has changed over the years - less confrontational, more laissez faire. So what do you think of the various moderating styles over the years? Your memory may go as far back as Audra, or I might be the only thing resembling a moderator you've ever seen on the site. Regardless, please let me know what you think.

Regions: 
ygtbk

I would characterize your current moderating style as "death from above, but only when necessary". That might be a little too pithy ;-).

I'm only familiar with moderation from Michelle to current date, but I think your current style works well and is an improvement over some previous moderators.

6079_Smith_W

I can deal with laissez faire, and my default is more open discussion.

The only things that piss me off are personal attacks rather than talking about issues, ignoring evidence and just going on ideology and not arguing in good faith. But that isn't all stuff that requires moderation.

And I think I posted my own rant about that not too long ago, so I don't need to repeat it.

That contrary to policy we are actually fighting some things at a 101 level? Well it's the internet, so we aren't going to avoid it. For me the bottom line is that if there is some actual productive discussion happening I think free discussion has to take precedence over the rules

Really though, I recognize your style is a response to what we asked for in a backhanded way when people freaked out over these rules being applied, and people being suspended. So when people complain about bad moderation and how things have deteriorated, I don't think they realize how we have all contributed to where things are now. And I think you have to also have to factor in peoples' own intolerance.

(though of course not all the problems we now face are because of that alone)

I know I have sent you three notices over the past month. Not something I usually do. Only in one case - the thread about Peterson - do I see it as a problem of a real impasse, and some pretty clear breaches of policy. And as I said I am not asking for closure, and I am not asking for anyone to be suspended , but my concern in that case is that since participants are clearly not interested in what the law is it runs the risk of being a magnet for people who really believe protection of rights is "leftist authoritarianism" and trans people are all just narcissists and abusers. Conversations seem to be spinning that way everywhere else Peterson's name pops up.

Come to think of it, I asked in the thread some weeks back that it should be for public view, rather than in reactions. In hindsight I think I was wrong to suggest that; I don't think we need a bunch of people inspired by Peterson signing on to babble so they can weigh in against the social justice warriors.

And I don't want to make your thread all about that one issue (so no, I don't want to argue those points here), I bring it up as an example of why I don't envy your job, and of a problem where there is no clear solution that doesn't go against some principle.

To be clear, when I have written you it hasn't been expecting that you swoop in and act, but they have all been cases where I think something has happened that you probably want to know about. And yes, to express frustration.

Your style is definitely an improvement. And you have far more patience than I do when it comes to dealing with people's verbal abuse.

I have never been suspended or so threatened, but one of the few times (might be the only time, actually) I was told to shut up by a moderator it was because I dared to point out that one can be a good worker and union member and also a slumlord.

So yes, things have changed.

I guess if there is one thing I'd suggest it is more calling out of actions which are not in good faith, and obstructionist. I used to let that pass because I didn't see it as my role since I am not a mod. In the past year I have started to just call it for what it is, because after a couple of years now clearly it is not going to stop.

 

 

 

lagatta4

It is difficult, just as moderating is a very difficult job. In general I think Meg does a splendid job, though I'd be loathe to compare her to Audra, Michelle and others. What I find very difficult here is the presence of a tag team. I apologise for calling them trolls, as I have no proof of that, but there is a group vehiculing a particular line and insulting a wide range of posters who disagree with them. Such situations have destroyed internet forums and other groups.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Laissez faire works well and if you attain the Old Goat gold standard of pithiness that would be great.  

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

lagatta4 wrote:

What I find very difficult here is the presence of a tag team. I apologise for calling them trolls, as I have no proof of that, but there is a group vehiculing a particular line and insulting a wide range of posters who disagree with them. Such situations have destroyed internet forums and other groups.

I don't think that 6079 and Magoo are trolling or working in consort although they do often appear to be tag teaming.

MegB

BTW, Oldgoat will be moderating over the holidays and for two weeks in January. Please be kind to him, being an Oldgoat an' all.

lagatta4

We promise not to mention the composition of our famous moussaka...

Hope you have fun on your break!

swallow

I think you do great. Meg. Thanks for taking on a thankless task! 

Are you on your own now, without a second mod? 

I'm going to suggest something that was suggested to Audra back in the distant mists of time, which she agreed to do - which is to make it very clear that you are speaking as moderator when you're doing so. Not everyone can always tell, since one risk of laisser-faire moderating is that not everyone here knows you are a mod when you post. Audra posted, I think, [mod hat on] and [mod hat off] to make it clear when she was moderating and when she was expressing her own opinion or gently poking babblers. 

I also think there's a collective responsibility. When someone is making personal attacks on other babblers, we all need to flag it, rather than expecting you to magically know about it. 

Have a great holiday, we'll try not to break oldgoat wile you're gone! 

6079_Smith_W

Yes, we''ll make sure to not interfere, and leave it to him to ban himself.

Unionist

I think the current moderating style strikes the right balance. I'm particularly pleased that bannings have gone way down and only happen in extreme situations. We all freak out from time to time, but it takes a lot of energy to keep up that level of self-importance. Ultimately the pot simmers down and the underlying common interest resurfaces. We are allies. And I think Meg's laissez-faire style helps us to stay that way.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

swallow wrote:
I'm going to suggest something that was suggested to Audra back in the distant mists of time, which she agreed to do - which is to make it very clear that you are speaking as moderator when you're doing so. Not everyone can always tell, since one risk of laisser-faire moderating is that not everyone here knows you are a mod when you post. Audra posted, I think, [mod hat on] and [mod hat off] to make it clear when she was moderating and when she was expressing her own opinion or gently poking babblers.

Good point.

Quote:
I also think there's a collective responsibility. When someone is making personal attacks on other babblers, we all need to flag it, rather than expecting you to magically know about it.

Babble has far fewer participants now. Maybe that is what is most important to remember. Babble is really quite tiny, and I think we would all wish that it were not so small.

OTOH, there were so many at one time that we, effectively, self-moderated, which probably made the mod's job easier. Yet we still had brutal disagreements, ending in the formation of new disc boards, etc. So size, diversity, and self-moderation were no guarantee of collegiality.

I'd really like it if babble had a kind of minimum anti-imperialism. Of course, what I think is anti-imperialist is viewed by some others as simple apologetic, etc. But a recent comment by the Syrian President, that he was surprised by the foreign influence and dominance over so many Syrians, makes me realize that we have the same problem here in Canada and babble, in spades. It is very, very difficult, unless you are an active participant with internationalist struggles (or were) , to be faithful to this perspective.

Long ago, as a young student, I read a book by a far off politician, over the mountains and across the prairies, from a country that I never knew existed, about their struggle to throw off the yolk of domination. It changed my perspective on everything and, from then on, it was the easiest thing in the world to come back to this understanding, and not be misled by imperial arguments,even ones very close to home. At least I like to think so. The politician was one Rene Levesque and the book was An Option for Quebec. It seems genuinely strange to me that more Canadians have not had this experience.

I won't make any apologies for criticizing and mocking what I think to be disdain for anti-imperialism. But I know I could go about it in a better way.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I think the current moderating style strikes the right balance.

I expect that it also strikes the right balance between fantasy (24/7 moderation in real time, instant chat window for grievances, etc.) and reality (I'm guessing probably about 6 hours per week of paid mod time, a mod with a life apart from modding, etc.)

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I'm fine with the babble moderation being relatively sparse. I seem to recall a thread a while back where MegB and Catchfire said they were each only being paid for 2 hours per week to moderate babble. I'll make an educated guess that Meg's paid moderating hours per week are still only 2.

That said, here's a couple of things I'd like to see with respect to the moderation:

  • Moderation according to rabble's posting policy, as opposed to the volume of complaints about a post and/or poster. Rabble supposedly has an anti-imperialist policy, which many babblers seem to not respect, especially where Russia is concerned. And yet the people who take the anti-imperialist view on issues around Unkraine/Russia are the only ones who get singled out by the moderator.
  • More moderator engagement with Rabble Reactions threads. My interpretation is that Rabble Reations threads are a way of bringing issues about babble and rabble to the attention of the moderator. I think that the "blogpost infested with rightwingers..." thread would have benefited from a response from Meg, so we could know where she stands on the matter, given that she may have more influence with the powers that be should she decide to take up the issue raised in the thread.

Caissa

I am fine with laissez-faire moderating not with laissez-faire economics.

MegB

swallow wrote:

I think you do great. Meg. Thanks for taking on a thankless task! 

Are you on your own now, without a second mod?

Yup. Catchfire has moved on to another role in the organization (though he still drops in from time to time).

Quote:
I'm going to suggest something that was suggested to Audra back in the distant mists of time, which she agreed to do - which is to make it very clear that you are speaking as moderator when you're doing so. Not everyone can always tell, since one risk of laisser-faire moderating is that not everyone here knows you are a mod when you post. Audra posted, I think, [mod hat on] and [mod hat off] to make it clear when she was moderating and when she was expressing her own opinion or gently poking babblers.
Sure, if it helps clarify things.

Quote:
I also think there's a collective responsibility. When someone is making personal attacks on other babblers, we all need to flag it, rather than expecting you to magically know about it.
This is really helpful. I check the flag queue every time I log into babble, which is two to three times a day six days a week. I try to take Sundays off when I can.

oldgoat

Yeah, I guess I'll never live down that banning myself bit. Looking forward to doing schoolyard duty here for a few weeks.  and to kropotkinn, yeth, I shall maintain the highetht thtandard of pithiness.

 

 

 

Timebandit

I think the larger problems on the board aren't moderating issues per se. The amount of fake news and links to clear propaganda sites is pretty disturbing, imo, but that's a policy issue that I wish TPTB at rabble would have a think about and perhaps adjust in the board guidelines.

I wouldn't mind a little heavier hand on the moderating, either, although I know that your time is limited and so there is only so much you can do.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

News Flash! "Heavy-handed babble moderator closes discussion board."

Silent Night, Holy Night!

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i'm content with the moderating and for the most part, have been all along. moderating has grown and changed..that's all that i ask.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Rabble supposedly has an anti-imperialist policy, which many babblers seem to not respect

rabble has lots of policies, which babblers seem not to respect.  Problem is, having a policy of being explicitly feminist does not actually make clear who moderators should silence when abolitionists and sex workers disagree.  The policy works fine if someone comes by to tell us all about "women's place" or whatever, but for other real-life things it's just not as cut-and-dried as some might think it should be.

I know that with only one mod, and almost no paid mod time, it might not be realistic to apply a clear framework to moderator activities, but that's about the only suggestion I'd make.  Could babble have a transparent progressive discipline model?  Something that ties behaviour to consequences, and would apply to everyone?  Because it sometimes seems like some babblers have been turfed or suspended without any kind of warning, while others are simply warned repeatedly, even as it becomes clear that they're not going to change their behaviour.  I wouldn't mind seeing something more consistent, e.g. two warnings, then a suspension, then a ban (if it comes to it).

Anyone remember a former babbler named after a Cuban statesman?  How many times was he warned, and how many times was he suspended?  At a certain point, it's like reading about some drunk driver who's on his seventh licence suspension but keeps driving drunk anyway.

6079_Smith_W

I remember.

But I also think any attempt at setting hard rules is ultimately going to run into hard reality, and get broken. And more than likely cause a big headache for the moderator and everyone else. We have done this a couple of times.

Really, the most important, and the simplest rule to my mind is don't be a fucking jerk. Everyone pretty much understands it even when they pretend that they don't, or are too caught up in themselves to recognize it. 

Someone is being honest and not railroading, attacking or trolling? I don't care too much if they happen to stray over the line of policy. And really, it seems to have been applied that way.

By contrast (and speaking generally), the thing about a good professional troll is that they know just how far they can go to play the rules, and butter wouldn't melt in their mouth. So just sticking to the rules doesn't always work, and sometimes you have to cut through it.

So I don't see hard rules alone working. That's why we don't have robots doing this job.

Speaking of which, why am I getting the sneaking feeling this thread is a nastly little time bomb set to go off as a present for Old Goat? Or maybe it's a test to see how naughty and nice we are.

 

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Magoo, ikosmos got asked by Meg in one of the Ukraine threads (I think) if he needed a break fro babble because of the number of complaints she'd received about him. This when ikosmos is one of the few posters on babble who have taken a clear anti-imperialist line on Russia/Ukraine. I see many posters on babble who simply parrot the U.S./Nato line on Russia, which I believe is every bit as much fabrication and lies as was the Bush administration's justifications for the Iraq war.

This doesn't mean that I'm any fan of Vladmir Putin, only that I don't think he's an imperialist warmonger.

lagatta4

There are also many who don't support either side, particularly given the rightwing, authoritarian nature of both the states involved. And Russia is no longer a Soviet state, a workers' state, or a socialist state. It is simply a capitalist state. Idem Ukraine.

Some times neither "side" warrants the support of anti-imperialists, and the best thing to work for is antimilitarism and defusing conflicts. And supporting progressive forces in both those countries.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
But I also think any attempt at setting hard rules is ultimately going to run into hard reality, and get broken.

What do you figure is going to be the hard reality that will break this?

I know that in the past there've been babblers who've been suspended for 72 hours, followed by an intense period of mourning for our best and brightest, who just can't seem to not insult others or the mods.  But why can't those mourners just be allowed to cry themselves out?  Or gently reminded that insults don't magically become not-insults when they're "telling it like it is" or "spittin' truth"?  That's what it seemed to always come down to:  a babbler whose abrasive and defiant posting style makes them a hero to the downtrodden, or whatever.

Quote:
Magoo, ikosmos got asked by Meg in one of the Ukraine threads (I think) if he needed a break fro babble because of the number of complaints she'd received about him.

Then in my ideal model, Meg would need to count not the number of complaints, but the number of transgressions of policy.

Quote:
This when ikosmos is one of the few posters on babble who have taken a clear anti-imperialist line on Russia/Ukraine.

So?  Can't one take this clear position while staying within policy?  What's the problem here?

Personally, I think babble needs a fairly coarse net for content or ideology -- one that will let the smaller fish swim through, while catching the "who needs unions in 2017?" or "women are biological nurturers who should stay home and raise their children" fish -- and then a much finer net for behaviour, to catch the "you're a piece of shit!" fish and the "glad to see you support Hitler" fish.  But this is just my $0.02 worth.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

lagatta4 wrote:

There are also many who don't support either side, particularly given the rightwing, authoritarian nature of both the states involved. And Russia is no longer a Soviet state, a workers' state, or a socialist state. It is simply a capitalist state. Idem Ukraine.

Some times neither "side" warrants the support of anti-imperialists, and the best thing to work for is antimilitarism and defusing conflicts. And supporting progressive forces in both those countries.

I agree with this. Canada is complicit in the current escalations around the globe including the spending of my tax dollars to influence poltics in the region. I think that there are people on this board who seem to cheer on these NATO incursions on the Russian border and to me that is not defusing the situation either in the Ukraine or on this board. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Of course anti-imperialism aside it seems these days that a significant percentage of the threads are started to trumpet the benefits of the oil and gas industry. I too worry about fake news sites and many of these threads are started with articles from US media known to have often published major lies in news stories.

Timebandit

Right, but what we also see is a vocal and broad dissemination of non-American fake news and defense of propaganda sites. Just because a POV is anti-US doesn't make it anti-imperialist. But that is a policy issue, not a moderating issue, so I'll leave the drift there.

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
But I also think any attempt at setting hard rules is ultimately going to run into hard reality, and get broken.

What do you figure is going to be the hard reality that will break this?

I can think of a couple of times when there was an immediate campaign to rescind the suspension or banning, ranging from an attack on the rules to an attack on the moderator.  And another occasion when the way back was a bit more roundabout. And a couple of times when everyone pretty much realized it was the last straw.

Ultimately it is Rabble's board of course, but a forum like this can't function except by some form of consensus. This just happens to be one with members whose buttons get pushed by shows of authority, and who, with the exception of blind spots, favour open discussion even to the point of suffering rudeness . So I think that would be another strike against hard rules. Just my opinion.

(edit)

Also, it is really unfair to expect a moderator to enforce rules in our interests, or for us to complain about things being unwelcome here, yet when moderators act, have them and their authority be undermined and attacked (and some criticism definitely went into that territory). Another reason I am not into solutions that are supposedly cut and dried, but really aren't when it falls on a mod to enforce them and bear the brunt of that sometimes personal attack.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I can think of a couple of times when there was an immediate campaign to rescind the suspension or banning, ranging from an attack on the rules to an attack on the moderator.  And another occasion when the way back was a bit more roundabout. And a couple of times when everyone pretty much realized it was the last straw.

OK.  Not to be argumentative here, but I remember those too, and I'm not sure why babble should bend its moderation policies to accomodate that.  The more transparent and equitable the policies are, the less gravitas anyone has when they complain that their folk hero has been silenced by the authorities.

I remember much weeping and gnashing of teeth over the brief suspensions of several babblers, but it remains unclear to me why those babblers couldn't espouse their anti-(imperialism, racism, U.S., NATO, pornography, Capitalism, etc.) views without falling afoul of babble's policies.  Certainly, babble's policies don't prohibit anti-imperialism, anti-racism, anti-U.S., anti-NATO, anti-pornography or anti-Capitalist viewpoints... so it must have been something else, and something quite unrelated.

6079_Smith_W

Cross posted in my last post. But we should probably leave it at that or people might forget that we're a tag team.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Hehe.  High five, my bro.

MegB

Left Turn wrote:

This doesn't mean that I'm any fan of Vladmir Putin, only that I don't think he's an imperialist warmonger.

See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. I'm all for a Russian perspective, but not one that is completely blind to its flaws.

Mobo2000

I also agree Putin is imperialist and has his own strategic goals and ambitions.   But I don't think their imperialism is equivalent to US imperialism or foreign policy, morally or pragmatically -- the scale, ambition and actual results of American foreign policy can be seen and felt around the world.   The US stated aim of "full spectrum dominance" is unique.   The US is by far the most powerful military force in the world, and they've used it ruthlessly for over 60 years.   If you believe a multipolar world is better for world peace, as I do, then regardless of their own aims, Russia's opposition to US empire is a good thing.    I appreciate much of the info brought here by the resident anti-imperialists.    I don't think anyone is blind to Russia's flaws, but I do think people differ on the significance of them to the rest of the world.

/threaddrift

Re moderating style, I also like the laissez fair approach.   Smith mentioned above that sometimes we see more progressive 101 - type posts where people want to discuss the basic ideas/positions of the left.    I think this is a good thing.   Post Trump, there is a lot of stuff about "the left" floating around on social media from the alt-right, and I'm ok with dealiing with some of their 'arguments' head on.   

I think more broadly there is a window now where a bunch of apolitical people are becoming polticized, particularly on social media, and particularly millenials.   The divisiveness in the US post election has piqued interest.   So if new people come and regurgitate some of those arguments, I'd prefer the moderation let the conversation happen a bit, with an aim to persuasion.  

 

 

6079_Smith_W

To be clear, I don't mind seeing 101 if it is honest. As you say, there are always new people, and we all have stuff to learn.

If it is obstructionist, or trolling, I think it is fair to call it that and shut it down.

And even if it is an honest disagreement I think there is a time to cut down the mulberry bush, especially if things start getting heated or personal.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

MegB wrote:

Left Turn wrote:

This doesn't mean that I'm any fan of Vladmir Putin, only that I don't think he's an imperialist warmonger.

See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. I'm all for a Russian perspective, but not one that is completely blind to its flaws.

I presume that this is your personal opinion and not actual babble policy that one has to adhere to.

I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing an ass grabbing asshole to a serial rapist. They are both guilty of sexual assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in misogyny. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Quantity becomes quality. Now you'll get denounced for Hegelian sophistry.

ETA: The reply that I find most entertainingly stupid  is that the Russian Federation (or its "heinous" President) WOULD be doing the same thing as the USA in foreign policy. "They would if they could, I know it!" Or fill in the blank for other countries.

"Can't trust those Chinese," etc. This is a great reply because it requires no evidence and can't be disproven. The Russophobes are always right! lol

Timebandit

kropotkin1951 wrote:

MegB wrote:

Left Turn wrote:

This doesn't mean that I'm any fan of Vladmir Putin, only that I don't think he's an imperialist warmonger.

See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. I'm all for a Russian perspective, but not one that is completely blind to its flaws.

I presume that this is your personal opinion and not actual babble policy that one has to adhere to.

I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing an ass grabbing asshole to a serial rapist. They are both guilty of sexual assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in misogyny. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

kropotkin, I think that's a dangerous analogy.

Think it through. Do you really want to tell the female posters on this board which kind of sexual assault qualifies as bad enough for action and which is, y'know, offensive but harmless? Are you really going to be that guy?

Because if you've thought this through, and you really are committed to making that kind of analogy, if that really makes sense to you, here's my advice: Go home, you're drunk.

 

Timebandit

ikosmos wrote:

ETA: The reply that I find most entertainingly stupid  is that the Russian Federation (or its "heinous" President) WOULD be doing the same thing as the USA in foreign policy. "They would if they could, I know it!" Or fill in the blank for other countries.

Except that they demonstrably *are* doing the same things as the US and have been for years.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Timebandit wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

MegB wrote:

Left Turn wrote:

This doesn't mean that I'm any fan of Vladmir Putin, only that I don't think he's an imperialist warmonger.

See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. I'm all for a Russian perspective, but not one that is completely blind to its flaws.

I presume that this is your personal opinion and not actual babble policy that one has to adhere to.

I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing an ass grabbing asshole to a serial rapist. They are both guilty of sexual assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in misogyny. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

kropotkin, I think that's a dangerous analogy.

Think it through. Do you really want to tell the female posters on this board which kind of sexual assault qualifies as bad enough for action and which is, y'know, offensive but harmless? Are you really going to be that guy?

Please point to the line that you claim says that any sexual assault is harmless. Please stop reading the worst vilest shit into my posts when it doesn't exist. I suspect your method of reading into peoples posts the worst that you can imagine is you actively trying to stifle debate on subjects that you think everyone should share your opinion on.

Putin is an asshole but Obama is as well. Russian nationalism is one of the characteristics of Putin's party that I dislike but it is not as prevalent as American Exceptionalism. In America both the major parties openly campaign on who will do better at running the world in the US's interest. One is nasty nationalism with expansionary tendencies and the other is openly bent on global domination. For the likes of me I can't figure out how you can't see that one is way more harmful to the residents of this planet than the other. Of course when you live in the belly of the beast like we do you get the benefits of the imperial system so it's way easier to point fingers at the Imperium's enemies than bite the hand that feeds us.

Timebandit

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I presume that this is your personal opinion and not actual babble policy that one has to adhere to.

I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing an ass grabbing asshole to a serial rapist. They are both guilty of sexual assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in misogyny. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

Timebandit wrote:

kropotkin, I think that's a dangerous analogy.

Think it through. Do you really want to tell the female posters on this board which kind of sexual assault qualifies as bad enough for action and which is, y'know, offensive but harmless? Are you really going to be that guy?

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Please point to the line that you claim says that any sexual assault is harmless. Please stop reading the worst vilest shit into my posts when it doesn't exist. I suspect your method of reading into peoples posts the worst that you can imagine is you actively trying to stifle debate on subjects that you think everyone should share your opinion on.

Putin is an asshole but Obama is as well. Russian nationalism is one of the characteristics of Putin's party that I dislike but it is not as prevalent as American Exceptionalism. In America both the major parties openly campaign on who will do better at running the world in the US's interest. One is nasty nationalism with expansionary tendencies and the other is openly bent on global domination. For the likes of me I can't figure out how you can't see that one is way more harmful to the residents of this planet than the other. Of course when you live in the belly of the beast like we do you get the benefits of the imperial system so it's way easier to point fingers at the Imperium's enemies than bite the hand that feeds us.

This is no longer about Putin vs Obama.

This is about the bolded passages of your comment above.

You are using sexual assault as an analogy. You are claiming one as greatly less severe than the other, a clear value judgment.

Can you please explain how "there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour" doesn't mean that one form of assault is more okay than the other?

Or if not harmless, then certainly less harmful? Was my error a matter of degree as well? Please note, I was not "reading the worst vilest shit" into your comment - I asked you if maybe you want to retract something that is exceptionally offensive, thinking that you maybe just hadn't thought it through. I was giving you some benefit of doubt.

But, hey, double down on that misogynist analogy if you really want to own it.

ETA: What the hell were you thinking using sexual assault as some kind of useful analogy anyway? This is, in itself, misogynist. Can you find no other analogy to make?

Webgear

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I think that comparing Russian imperialism to US imperialism is like comparing an ass grabbing asshole to a serial rapist. They are both guilty of sexual assault but I have no problem seeing that there is little equivalency in the severity of the behaviour only similarity in being rooted in misogyny. Similarly while they are both rooted in imperialism the scale of the US imperial project sets it apart from all the run of the mill bullies in the international sphere.

 

Speak about offensive postings.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

If there's any good "take-away" from this it's that Russian Imperialism versus American Imperialism is a difference of degree, not a difference of kind.

In a materialist discussion, the difference of scale matters, but in a moral discussion it doesn't.

Unionist

Comparing Russian imperialism to U.S. imperialism is like comparing Canadian imperialism to Nazi Germany. Putin is a wannabe world ruler and love slave of billionaires. But the comparison is odious. I can't believe any progressive-minded person would mistake one for the other.

And kropotkin - give up your stupid offensive analogies. Your point is unassailable. By clothing it in metaphor, you leave the content exposed to gratuitous attack. Just a friendly comradely piece of advice.

Mr. Magoo wrote:
If there's any good "take-away" from this it's that Russian Imperialism versus American Imperialism is a difference of degree, not a difference of kind.

Correct. But if the world united to destroy U.S. imperialism, it would be a wonderful thing - consider the millions that it has slaughtered and deprived of sovereignty and freedom - even if it were only a victory of "degree".

I'm having a hard time with progressive folks putting U.S. and Russian imperialism on some kind of equal plane here. It bespeaks our evil times, when the U.S., with a straight face, can accuse foreign powers of engineering regime change in Washington to install an anti-people right-wing dictatorship. It would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.

Let's focus, shall we?

Unionist

Oh, and Timebandit: You know how much I respect you and your views. So please forgive kropotkin's foolishness and deal with the real issue here. Preferably in another thread. The real issue is the danger posed to the world by the U.S. vs. that posed by Russia. You're entitled to your view on that, but it doesn't come via krop's foolishness.

Unionist

MegB wrote:

Left Turn wrote:

This doesn't mean that I'm any fan of Vladmir Putin, only that I don't think he's an imperialist warmonger.

See, here's where we fundamentally disagree. I feel that Putin is every bit as imperialist a warmonger as the US and its allies. I'm all for a Russian perspective, but not one that is completely blind to its flaws.

For the record (in case anyone is still producing any), I agree with your second sentence - but equivalency between the relative horrors committed by these two imperialist powers?? Give me a break. In one of the last "debates", Hillary Clinton said at least 4 times (that I counted) how "we" had to stand firm against Putin and Russia. It's hard to imagine more grotesque warmongering than what is coming out of the U.S. And with the CIA now discovering more weapons of mass cyber-destruction attributable to Putin of course, we progressive people are going to have to make some decisions pretty soon. I've made mine. The U.S. can fuck off and die. No way will the people of the world participate in another genocidal World War just because the filthy arrogance of the U.S. billionaires has been temporarily punctured. And the only power likely to trigger such a war is Washington, D.C. They have their fingers everywhere. They should be surgically removed.

Timebandit

Unionist wrote:

Oh, and Timebandit: You know how much I respect you and your views. So please forgive kropotkin's foolishness and deal with the real issue here. Preferably in another thread. The real issue is the danger posed to the world by the U.S. vs. that posed by Russia. You're entitled to your view on that, but it doesn't come via krop's foolishness.


Yes, Unionist, and you know I love you, too. We do disagree on this, but heres why - While I roundly condemn American imperialism, it's also the case that American journalists don't wind up dead for criticizing their president, which is sadly not the case for Russian journalists. I'm also not aware of American law being changed to prolong the tenure of its president, while that has happened in Russia. There are reasons to regard Putin as a sinister figure and the government that supports him as corrupt in their intentions. IIRC, there's also been some intimation that Russia wouldn't mind reabsorbing some former soviet states, and don't blame those governments for being worried about the benevolent bear. So in my estimation, the balance sheet comes out pretty damned close.

Timebandit

PS - If I see bullshit misogyny in a thread, I will call it out where it stands. I'm not taking it to another thread where opposition can be easily ignored. The best way for everyone to avoid that kind of drift is to just not use rape analogies. It shouldn't be that hard to do.

quizzical

this thread is about laissez-faire moderating not some lengthy Russia good or bad debate.

i agree with Timebandit on all she said. i grew up living next door to the most wonderful Hungarian refugee family who fled for their lives when the USSR, i know i know it's Russia now nfd to me though, invaded. i admit my thoughts on Russia were formed from their stories but i see them no different than the USA.

Unionist

Timebandit wrote:
PS - If I see bullshit misogyny in a thread, I will call it out where it stands. I'm not taking it to another thread where opposition can be easily ignored. The best way for everyone to avoid that kind of drift is to just not use rape analogies. It shouldn't be that hard to do.

Yeah, TB, I meant take the discussion about Russian vs. U.S. imperialism to another thread. This one is about moderation style. Sorry if you misunderstood me. I'll try to be much clearer next time.

6079_Smith_W

Geez, we're kind of drifting.

I suppose my first question is about LeftTurn's point at #22. Does presumably having the right politics give someone a free pass on behaviour around here? I don't think so. And personally I think the poster in question has had a hell of a lot of freedom.

And if it is a question of babble's policy (which isn't strictly about moderation, since all that stuff is discretionary)  - whether "anti-Imperialist" should be strictly interpreted as "anti-western" - I have to ask if this is about criticizing America, or shielding others from criticism.

or back to that thread about how we have to give our "unconditional support" to the opponents of America like Rodrigo Duterte.

There''s a comment upthread about Putin being bad, but Obama being bad too. Is criticism of the U.S. government something that is being suppressed or ignored here on Babble? I think a quick thread search of "Obomba" or "Killary" will put that one to rest.

Seems to me people are pretty free to say what they want around here, so long as they aren't jerks about it. The question being put by some here is whether there is stuff that we shouldn't be allowed to talk about. Or maybe it is an implication that moderation is being swayed by presumed biases, or that it should be.

But again, I think we are drifting from what Meg asked our input about.

 

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