TomWest: On Locked Threads

Locking a thread affects all who had anything to do with that thread—readers, as well as posters. Locking deprives all rule-abiding posters from participating in a thread they intellectually own.

Even banned posters have intellectual validity in the atmosphere of reflective discourse, for both the good and the bad help to formulate those ideas which make any discourse valid. All ideas, even ideas which give rise to discourses (and even behavior) we don’t like, feed the atmosphere of self-conscious, universalizing discourse which should be held sacred in any community which values intellectual freedom.

We have laws, prisons, and the military for state defense; we have police, laws and manners for community defense. permits powers to revoke membership and silence speech to defend its internal integrity.

Locking a thread, however, can only be compared to shutting down a newspaper, for it censors general discourse, the protection of which ought to be unquestioned.

This goes beyond the issue of ‘moderator power’ or ‘rights of members.’ Shutting down discourse violates a principle both human and universal.

If moderators can ban posters and delete posts at will, what possible defense, or just punishment, or good, is served by locking/ending a current and active thread?

Locking a thread not only capriciously punishes, it violates a bedrock principle of civil and intellectual life.

Once a poster crosses a certain line, that poster gives up their rights to exist on

When a post is deemed inappropriate, that post is whisked out of sight.

But a thread is different; a thread belongs to all; to censor a thread is to turn the will of a community--a principle which defines the very existence of the Academy--against itself.



(This thread appears as a LOCKED thread on as Locking Question. Reposted here with permission of the author.)

This thread is open for comments.


  1. Locking a thread not only capriciously punishes, it violates a bedrock principle of civil and intellectual life.

    Blah, blah, blah...

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    The "blah, blah, blah" burble of your brook can no longer sustain life. Rather than ignore that sad state of affairs, why don't you work to clean up your own intellectual environment?

  3. Thank you for that, Anonymous--you make an activist's life easy!

    Indeed, the cynicism of so many of the Comments posted anonymously on this site make me quite happy, it's so easy to reply to them!

    Easy but at the same time painful, of course it is, as I get banned for my efforts each time, twice at Poets. org and once at so far no less than seven threads I have worked on have been locked and/or deleted in the last 3 months at Poets & Writers and at The Academy of American Poets. Makes you think!

    On you can still read through the thread called "Does a Poets Behavior Matter," though due to inactivity it will eventually drop out of sight/site and vanish. Even more importantly, the "Mediation" thread containing a full and effective defense of my views as well as my actions has been put out of bounds with a padlock--it's called "Re: [motet] Posting Related Question"--you can still have a look, but do hurry.

    The other thread I worked very hard on for four months, "What is Poetry," was the most popular thread on the Speakeasy by far. It remains unlocked but is being studiously boycotted now by the regulars, even though the last post is addressed specifically to one of the veterans, Pongo, and concerns a subject that he proposed himself. Do have a look while you can--there's some wonderful TomWest on that thread too, by the way--or Sawmygirl as he was known there. But of course he too was banned in medias res!

    My initial thread on, "The First Amendment & Forums," was locked down the moment I responded to a copy of the controversial Nov/Dec 2007 P&W Magazine letter called ROTTEN GRAPES. It's "blah, blah, blah" polluted gurgle for sure, but I was still banned for attempting to address it, and the thread was first locked and then deleted altogether--to be sure you couldn't go back and check it out!

    After a public outcry, including threads with picturesque names like "On Pruning," "Delete this Account, Please," and "Just One More Point Re: First Amendment...May I," I was reinstated, but the whole record of the process was trashed at one go. The sad part about that is that some members are now e-mailing me and asking me if I kept copies, because the subsequent discussion of the whole issue is limited by a lack of information!

    And now Homprang's thread is locked too, and will make its merry way to oblivion, as will TomWest's attempted thread called "Locking Questions," which wasn't even allowed to question!

    Is that all "blah, blah. blah" too, then Anonymous? Or does it spell C-O-V-E-R -U-P?


  4. The Ballad of Catherine Rogers

    Blessed are you, CATHERINE ROGERS,
    I kiss your robe and your rings.
    Poets throw petals before you
    As the moderator priesthood sings:

    No filthy democracy will stain
    The purity of ROGERS reign and crown,
    Whose radiance is most professional,
    Bright, as when heaven shines down.

    A wisdom cannot dazzle if that dazzle
    Is out-dazzled by the dazzling day,
    But ROGERS dazzle is more dazzling
    Than sun in highest dazzle, with every cloud away.

    ROGERS, catch my eye that longs
    To meet yours as yours turns my way
    Eternal, sunny victory
    Is yours as you pilot our day.

    ROGERS, your brilliance makes possible
    Night changed by POETRY into day,
    For TROLLS own the night and night
    Protects the TROLLS dark authority.

    Insidious TROLLS will threaten,
    Smile, beguile, but you scare them away.
    Your bright rule must remain
    While TROLLS are left to slay.

    Let me touch your purple garment, ROGERS,
    As it sweeps over this ground,
    As it strikes the poet's lyre,
    As now the next TROLL is found.

    ROGERS of the Academy, you shine,
    The sun your brightness stole,
    I am dark--but I do not doubt,
    You love me--for I am no TROLL.

    When was there ever such light
    To bring such joy to my soul?
    When was there ever such light
    To pierce absolutely the TROLL?
    To hurt and kill every TROLL?

  5. Yikes! Is doggerel allowed here?

    There was a fellow from Thailand,
    who kept tilting at windmills in Whyland.
    Didn't have much to say
    but went on anyway,
    adept at keeping the lie fanned.

  6. There was a young lady from Myland
    Who kept flirting with some old guy in Thailand,
    Didn't have much to say
    But went on anyway,
    Her business was becoming his byline!

  7. Queen Rogers does NOT inspire ‘doggerel.’

    The Iron-fisted Queen of the Academy of American Poets deserves better than Limericks.




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