Showing posts with label discourse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label discourse. Show all posts

Guest Writer: Jepson Responds to Christopher Woodman

I go by Jepson on I am new to the site. Sadly, I joined shortly after your departure. I have enjoyed my time so far there. The moderators have been very helpful and friendly with me so far.

I respond to you [Christopher Woodman] as a gentleman representing nobody but himself. I have no sides in this argument. I’m here out of my own personal interest.

Would it be fair to say that the discussion you bring to the table involves the ethical and business reputations of some well known individuals? If I owned a forum I would be wary to allow personal attacks to continue. A site is not obligated to give any individual a platform for public defamation, especially at the expense of the organization’s own reputation, whether it is credible or not. You’ve listed names and have drawn some very convincing dots, but do you believe it is a ‘me vs them’ fight going on? Maybe the site wishes to remain neutral for now. It would be impossible to remain neutral when a member is ‘naming names’ while calling the reputation of American poetry into question. The situation might’ve been that you flew a little too close to the sun. The actions of the AAP might not have been to cover up and protect a couple of individuals, but an attempt to keep their own integrity intact.

Of course, all of that is speculative. I don’t know the specifics surrounding your banning. The best I could gather from the threads is that it dealt with a PM behind the scenes. However, all of this becomes a distraction from this message that you have been campaigning.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you are accurate in your discussion. There is corruption in poetry from the very top. A massive cover up operation has been taking place, because they don’t want the truth out. The question now is this: What do we do about it? Should we aspiring writers grab our pitchforks and torches and riot outside the gates, demanding the heads of those leaders responsible? Should the ‘who’s who’ in today’s poetry create a committee to investigate the matter internally? Should we do away with poetry contests? What direction should we move in? What is your solution to the problem?

Eliminating poetry contests won’t solve the issue that dominates in almost every field of entertainment and politics: It’s not what you do, but who you know. People are people both good and bad. There will always be an ‘in’ circle. Will taking down the reputation of a few individuals save poetry?

Will it hurt it?

If I submitted a manuscript to a contest for publication and was rejected then began hearing about ‘corruption’ that would make me wonder. Did my manuscript get turned down because I wasn’t sleeping with the judge, or was it really crap anyways? It would be easier to accept the first scenario. I’m not implying you in this situation, but a hypothetical “me” instead. Regardless, the fact is that hardly anybody in America is reading poetry today. They aren’t turning it down because of conspiracy theories either. There aren’t many outlets of poetry publication anymore. What will fill that void if we tear down what’s left? Will it get people reading again?


This comment has been elevated to a post because Jepson has raised some good questions and is deserving of his own thread.

Posted with author's permission.


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.

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