Silencing the Lambs - From The Lost "Absolute Wrong"


If you're a member of Absolute Write, I guarantee you've seen the moderators sweep into a discussion where the topic is one of their pet peeves, use the unfortunate poster as a punching bag, invite long-time members to join them, and then lock the thread and sometimes boot the member.

It's never a straightforward warning about the rules, or a request for clarification. The moderators are not there to facilitate discussion, they're there to drive the discussion. If it ventures out of the bounds they like, even if the discussion is polite, it gets locked if for no other reason than "attitude."

It took me about five minutes to gather some examples. I went to a single topic and looked through the first few pages for locked threads. To be fair, two of the threads I saw were locked for legitimate (at least, what most forum admins would consider legitimate) reasons: resurrecting ancient threads. The rest were examples of moderators treating members like garbage.

P.S. Hi AW mods. None of these link to any discussion in which I participated, nor do I know anyone from these discussions. I purposely chose discussions to which I'm not linked in any way, because I don't want any participants getting blowback from my posts.

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Link goes to the last page, where Old Hack decides a certain poster should have interpreted a suggestion as her final word on the matter. For those who will accuse me of taking things out of context, you're welcome to read the entire thread. Old Hack does a pretty good job of copying quotes to keep context though, so I doubt you'll learn more than what you see here.

These are obviously polite suggestions. They have words like "I think" and "I hope." This is a moderator speaking as a member of the community and participant in the discussion.

But then we get some fuzzy rules. Since when are members not allowed to discuss a topic from one thread in another, or to include lots of links in their posts? I've read the posted rules several times and can find nothing that forbids that behavior.

Apparently, not taking gentle advice from a forum member (rather than plainly stated rules in a moderator capacity) merits suspension from the forums.

As an aside, the discussion from the other thread that isn't supposed to be discussed? It's okay to discuss it in this thread if you're a mod. The mod won't set an example of good behavior, though. Rather than PM the offending person and discuss the issue offline as the mod suggests, she'll bring it up in public and then lock the thread to ensure she gets the last word. I love the condescending "I'm disappointed in you." It rather messily sidesteps the need to address the content of the complaint.

But they're not done. I guess not taking gentle advice merits complete banning, as does not replying in a proscribed (but not forbidden) manner to a topic in another thread. They'll boot the lot of them. Publicly too, because getting booted from a forum should involve insults and public shaming rather than a confidential explanation.

"My forum. It's only an industry forum when I want it to be. Really, it's all mine, and I can do whatever I want. Including call people snotty. Because I rule."

Rather than deconstruct the rest of the threads I collected, I'll link them here. Keep in mind, this is five minutes worth of browsing. Feel free to peruse the threads at your leisure or find your own. It's simple. Go to any topic and look for locked threads. They invariably leave a snide comment or three to punish the member who dared annoy them.

1 comment:

  1. After nine years and 30,000+ posts at AW, I got banned a month ago for using the word "nutcase" in reference to the father of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen. His father had produced on a local TV commentary show in which he claimed, among other things, to be the President of Afghanistan, and ranted in a semi-coherent way on a variety of things. This had been reported by reputable news sources, and I simply made the comment and linked one article, either from ABC or NBC news.

    "AW Admin" called me on the carpet for using the word "nutcase" because if violated the AW rule about "respecting your fellow writer" When I questioned this interpretation, I was informed by "Admin", with a dictionary definition, that the word meant "crazy or eccentric person" and that it could apply to 80% of the AW commenters. I then pointed out, publicly, in another thread, that the word "n*tc*se" had apparently been banned at AW. That comment was instantly taken down, and I was banned for 30 days, with no reason given.

    The 30 days expired today, and just for fun (I have no intention of returning to the hellhole that site has become) I tried to log in. At which point I was informed, again with no reason given, that the ban is permanent.

    I have friends there, other long-term posters, who have wondered privately to me what the hell is going on with the site. It simply appears that Stalinism is what is going on. I'll pass along this quote, from "AW Admin", in a threatening response to one of those friends:

    “if I had any desire to shut down discussion, I could do it in ways which would not be perceptible to the users. There are in fact multiple methods of accomplishing this.”

    Both a non-idle threat and a boast. It is happening all the time there these days. The place has become a hostile nightmare to open discussion. The absurdity of the "reasoning" behind "Admin"'s comment to me is obvious and requires no further comment.

    I was close to leaving the place, anyway, so I'm dismayed only for the people still trying to populate it. I cannot recommend strongly enough that people stay away from it.