On May 23, 2008, TomWest posted an essay on poets.org, which was reposted on Poets.net forum: "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." More...
Evidently, Catherine (rogersc), a poets.org admin, was not happy about TomWest's discourse and promptly locked the thread, with this comment: "...I think I'll lock this thread right now, just because I can, so there."
On the Poets.net forum (July 10), dmanister responded with the following essay:
As a former mod at poets.org I can say that Catherine's attitude is not prompted by Tom West specifically, but by his expressed sense of his entitlement to criticize forum management ("picking fights" is the way management describes dissent.)
Tom was eloquent and precise in highlighting the injustices perpetrated by that forum's mods and admins. That makes him persona non grata.
"Take it somewhere else Tom" says it all; the poets.org management is unwilling to offer its members any say at all in how they are treated. I salute Tom for speaking truth to power, especially when his criticism is met with total dismissal and a suggestion that he go elsewhere.
I say that forums should run a slate yearly for mods. They should not be invited to join management by the site administrator, which is how it works now. That just produces tintypes of the admin. Anyone whose tendency to speak for members justice soon resigns or is drummed out. In my case on poets.org it was both.
Why is the membership not allowed to vote for mods? If that had been done at poets.org, kaltica would never have been made a mod and the entire Terreson injustice would not have occurred. I received many private emails during the wrangling over Tere from long-time poets.org members saying they were horrified when kaltica was made a mod.
In arguing for Terreson, I said (in the secret moderators' forum that is invisible to members) that if Tere were not treated justly I would resign. No one urged me to stay. One mod in fact posted a smiley face as his reply to my possible resignation. Now I see that my former colleagues are saying that "a good mod left" (they give my name) due to the flap over Tere, as if it were Tere who caused my resignation and not my disgust with their unjust and arbitrary treatment of him.
Mods at poets.org seem to be followers, not leaders. Any opinion the site admin has they back to the hilt. I call them suckups, but maybe they are just natural-born followers, otherwise known as sheep.
If Catherine reads this, I'd like to ask her to explain why the posting and of members Private Messages both in the public forum and in the mods/admins secret forum is not something about which the member should complain. If Catherine predictably expresses the poets.org ethos, she will describe complaints about that privacy-violating practice as just "someone wanting to pick a fight." Why not title the forum mailbox "Messages" instead of "Private Messages" if the mods and admin have no intention of keeping them private?
Why are private messages sent to mods and/or the admin used as a cause for banning? Catherine, if PMs can be a cause for banning, please cite the guidelines which say so.
A distinction needs to be made between private correspondence and posts in the public forum. They are treated the same, as if "private" means nothing.
The expression "pick a fight" needs to be unpacked. When all of its connotations are brought out it is obvious that it is used to smear dissenters by making them seem like schoolyard bullies who want altercations for their own sake, not because a principle of individual privacy or justice is being addressed.
The charge is laughable, because no member has any power at poets.org. Management can do whatever it wants. It is management which bullies the members, and yes, sometimes they "pick a fight" just to establish that they are in charge, as kaltica did with Terreson, deleting his posts almost as soon as kaltica received moderator privileges.
Tere's posts were not gratuitous nor off-topic. Those are other terms that management uses to dismiss member complaints.
Another loaded term is "tiresome." Recall that the poets.org site admin gave that as a reason for banning a member, as is quoted at the top of this thread.
"Tiresome" is not given in the guidelines as a cause for banning, it's another made-up reason for dismissing a dissenter.