Off the keyboard of RE
Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 20, 2014
A couple of years ago with my friend Peter and a few other folks I chatted with on my Yahoo Group Reverse Engineering, we put up a Blog and Forum called the Doomstead Diner. The Diner was an evolution from years of time spent managing forums and years of time chronicling the Collapse of Industrial Civilization.
The main reason we created this blog & forum was because of issues I have had over the years with Censorship and Banning on other websites, including in fact the Reverse Engineering group itself, which had issues with Yahoo Bots doing the censoring.
The goal was to allow Free Speech to the MAX, eschewing the typical Banning and Deletions of posting you find on just about all Blogs and Forums. This wasn’t always easy, but for a good 2 years it mostly worked. However, in recent weeks it has succumbed to Godwin’s Law, (the longer a forum goes, the more likely Nazi comparisons are made) among other typical Trolling issues.
Forums are a kind of microcosm of society, which generally no matter how large the website, tend to have a fairly limited number of “regular” posters. It seems to range from about 10-50 people no matter where you go. There are exceptions of course like Zero Hedge, which is SOOOO HUGE 100s of people post every day in the commentary, but that is very atypical.
During its most successful period, the Diner developed a small but tightly knit community of people with similar interests and similar perspectives on the collapse we see occuring around us every day. Initially it was just meant to be a Newz and Discussion blog, but as time went by the realization came that we needed to come together not just in Cyberspace, but IRL as well. IRL is “In Real Life” for those of you not conversant with internet acronyms.
This need to come together IRL finally culminated in the 1st Diner Convocation, which occurred last week down in Texas. It was a time of great celebration amongst those who attended, but it had an unforseen Blowback in Cyberspace on the Diner itself, where all these folks found each other to begin with. Trolls took control of the Diner commentary, and any semblance of reasonable conversation went to the Great Beyond.
On any forum, factions develop and the Diner is no different there. The faction on the Diner which views negatively the efforts to form community and to develop sustainable systems took the opportunity to troll the Diner to death, and this put a cloud over the IRL celebration. The acrimony over perceived and fabricated “injustices” persisted (and still persists) a full week after the Convocation, leading many Diners including myself to be completely disgusted by the conversation taking place on the Diner Forum.
The No Ban/No Censorship policy has its own Blowback, and trying to find a work around to this short of reneging on this policy has consumed my time in the aftermath. I still want to have friendly conversation with my friends, and I still want to bring the message of Collapsing Industrial Civilization out to more people. The toxic environment the Diner Trolls were bent on perpetuating was making both things impossible.
Having spent so much time, energy and money to get this thing rolling, giving up on it is not an option for me. So I am developing still more work-arounds to the Trolling issue, and hopefully the latest changes will clear things up. The solutions won’t make everyone happy, but some good results have already come from this.
First change is that we opened up the WordPress Comments on the Diner Blog, which makes it a whole lot easier for casual readers and newbies to comment on the Diner. Second is that it provided motivation to open up a New Forum on SUN4Living, where Diners can go to post up material specific to developing sustainable communities.
The most important change here is that the Diner needs a place where the folks who are perpetually dissatisfied with the way the Administration of the Diner is done have their own spot to freely air their grievances, without monopolizing the Diner forum itself. Basically an Op-Ed page on Steroids, where Diners can go to complain about the Diner.
To this end, we now have a Doomstead Anti-Diner with it’s own set of Anti-Diner Admins to run it as they see fit. You can access the Anti-Diner from the Diner Forum menu to read the latest in complaints about the Diner. You can view the Anti-Diner as a kind of Doppelganger, the Evil Twin of the Diner.
Hopefully with all these changes, we can return now to discussing the issues of the day WRT the collapse of Industrial Civilization, without devolving into endless bickering over complete nonsense. Granted, this is a fairly complex solution, but at the moment there is sufficient Available Energy to implement it. I look forward to reading the endless series of complaints on the Anti-Diner and may even contribute myself on those pages periodically, assuming the Admins over there grant me posting priviledges.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Diner Admin