Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Banned At Digby's!!!
Well, this one sure goes in the Blogospheric Quirks file.
Around or about August 11 but beginning earlier, it appears that dozens, ifnothundreds, of commenters at Digby's Place were banned -- without even so much as a "have an apple." To this day, many of them may not be aware of what happened, nor would they necessarily be able to find out. While complaints have been raised from time to time about "disappearing comments" at Digby's, the excuse has always been that "there's something not working right with Echo/Halsocan, oops." But when David Atkins ("thereisnospoon") was brought on as co-blogger there, all hell broke loose. Dozens, ifnothundreds, of David's non-fans from Daily Kos migrated over to Digby's and blasted away in her comments at what a damfool David was, and a tool besides. A tool worse, if that were possible, than the heavily blog-scarred head of Ezra Klein. But I digress.
First, a little history. Digby and I go back a long way in blogtopia (h/t Skippy the Bush Kangaroo), I like to think back to the days of the Clinton Impeachment (good times!) but maybe not that far. I first remember meeting up with her in comments at the Bartcop forum, around the same time as Duncan Black, aka "Atrios", started posting there. Bartcop's forum archives only go back to 2002 which is when they switched over to different forum software, so I'm not sure exactly when I started posting at Bartcop (under a different user name than the one I mostly use now), but it was probably well before the 2000 election because I remember posting pictures I took of the Rightist demonstrations to end the recount. Gun-toting Rightist demonstrators, no less. The TeaBag hostile attitudinalism if they don't get their way IMMEDIATELY goes back at least that far (and Hate Radio jocks and right wing lobbyists were in the vanguard then, just like they are now.)
So anyway, that's where I first remember encountering Digby and I always enjoyed her posts. Whether she even noticed mine, I have no idea, though we seemed to be engaging in forum conversation periodically. When she opened her own blogshop in January of 2003, it was all very exciting. Atrios had just won the 2002 Koufax Award for Best Blog Writing at his own Eschaton, and Digby herself (though at the time most assumed she was a he) had won the Koufax for Best Commentator of 2002. Yess. She would later pick up a couple of other Koufaxes for Best Blog Writing herself in 2004 and 2005.
Things got kind of tense for me at Bartcop during the 2004 election because I was working on the Howard Dean campaign (volunteer) and getting more and more heavily involved in Progressive Democratic politics in California -- and the Bartcop crew wasn't all that thrilled by my posts about it. It caused some friction, to say the least, especially with partisans for Kerry and Clark. Eventually there was a kind of purge from the ranks of Bartcoppers, most of it voluntary by people who didn't want to deal with the hostility either from other posters or the management any more. Apparently some posters were unceremoniously booted as well. I migrated away from Bartcop in 2006, to another site that had been established by exiles from the Bartcop Forum -- where I occasionally post to this day (as long as I don't lose the bookmark!)
Once she had her place up and running, Digby didn't post at other places any more. Why should she? She had quite a following of her own by then.
Meanwhile, I'd been posting at Daily Kos almost since its inception and I also posted at Salon's Table Talk; I had tried to start a couple of blogs of my own during that period, but did not have the time or energy to stick with them. I think the first was in 2000. I tried another sometime in 2002. This one is the third attempt, started in 2007 when I finally made some time for it.
But I've long been a commenter at other places as well, including Digby's where I've been both a strong supporter and a sometimes scold. I've been particularly strenuous with her about her obsession with Chris Matthews (who cares what an idiot he is?), and with what I regard as the inappropriateness of her "Village" metaphor for the Palace culture and its courtiers in DC. But that aside, I think she's a good writer, a sensitive and genuine liberal (one of the few A list bloggers who is a genuine liberal), and an insightful observer of the haps.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered last week that all the brilliant posts I'd made in comments at her place after August 11 were... gone. Vanished. As if they had never been. Whut? I was not logged in to Echo when I made this discovery, but as soon as I did log in under my Blogger ID, behold, all my brilliant posts re-appeared as if by magic. How bizarre. Obviously they hadn't been deleted, so those who had been accusing David and Digby of "censorship" must have been wrong. But how could the comments not be there when I wasn't logged in to Blogger and suddenly reappear when I did log in? Mystery. I emailed Digby about it and what my theory was at the time, giving her credit for not deleting posts (no matter what her accusers were saying) because I could see all of mine so long as I was logged in to Blogger.
But then something strange happened. If I posted without logging in, I could see that post until I did log in and then it would disappear -- and not be retrievable. No one at all was responding to any of my posts, which wasn't all that odd in general, but it did seem a little strange even direct questions to people I'd chatted with in comments at her place got no reply. Also the number of commenters radically declined, and many of the regulars were simply gone, along with essentially all of the Spoon-haters from dKos.
Hm. Very interesting.
Something was going on, but I couldn't honestly say what. I know that I posted the story of the California Democratic Party's attempt to purge its Progressive Caucus repeatedly, and asked David specifically about it, but not only did he not respond, no one did. It would seem to me it's a fairly important story. Especially where anti-Obama/anti-Democratic Party people like to hang out (a fair description of Digby's comment section under any circumstances, even now with far reduced numbers.) I even emailed Digby about the story together with contact information for Karen Bernal. She did reply to that one with at least the suggestion of interest in "running with it." But she's written nothing about it, neither has David, and so far as I know, neither of them have contacted Karen or the Dem Party Headquarters for comment.
At least over there, it looks like the story of the Progressive Purge of the California Democratic Party went right into the memory hole.
Today I did a little sleuthing and made a discovery. My goodness, I do believe my IP has been banned from Echo comments at Digby's! I do declare!
I can post all I want, logged in or not, and all of those posts will appear on the computer on which I have made them, but not on any other -- unless I am logged in to Echo with the same ID I used when I posted the original comment. I did several tests with other computers in the house to see just what would happen. If I log on to Echo with my Blogger ID, apparently on any computer, the posts I have made under that ID will -- magically! -- show up, but they are gone again the instant I log off and clear cache. If I am not logged in at all, and cache has been cleared, none of my posts (after August 11) will appear on any computer. If I log in with a different ID, such as my Twitter account, once again I can post at will, but none of my other posts will be visible if I've cleared cache in between log ins.
So. I've been banned. By Digby of all people.
Clearly the advent of David Atkins over there has had something to do with it. I am not a Spoon-hater, though I might challenge some of his premises sometime. Those who went after him hammer and tong seemed to be carrying a lot of baggage from dealing with his posts at dKos, and the truth is, I read very few of them and never got too hot or bothered by what I read in them. Mostly it's very conventional Democratic Party partisanship, and that's fine as far as I'm concerned. The only time I really get exercised by something someone has posted (whether or not I agree with it) is when they become really hostile and unfairly hostile with others -- such as the way Armando and some others behaved at dKos a couple of years ago. It's the internet, people. But there are (usually) real people behind the screen names, and going apeshit on somebody just because you can and think you can get away with it because it is the internet is like sucker punching a blind person, and I will come down on that kind of shit.
But otherwise, it's conversation, conversation that can sometimes become heated argument. Argument is one thing but there's no reason to be offensive or cruel or unfairly hostile to those you are dealing with online. Ultimately you can't win whatever it is you think you MUST that way, and it reflects badly -- very badly -- on you. So I don't engage in it (at least I hope I don't) and if I am around people online who do it on a regular basis I will typically either intervene, or just let the place go. I don't need that kind of poison in my life. No one does.
Nevertheless! I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!!!
As if there wasn't anything more important in the whole wide world. Priorities!