A few years ago, I was reading the forum posts of one of the bigger photography websites. It was one of the forums that was supposed to deal with non-photographic discussions. So here was where people could talk about the world at large. Anyway, the discussion turned to gun control. I read about ten pages of comments and what I noticed was that anti-gun folks outnumbered the pro-gun contingent by about fifty to one. And this numerical advantage was used to good effect by preventing any of the anti-gun folks from having to complete any rational discussion of even their most outlandish statements. Whenever it looked like a pro-gun point was about to be made the anti-gun crowd dog-piled their opponent and shifted the argument to some new attack point and the whole process began again. Finally, when in exasperation the victim lost his temper and barked back at his attackers he was labeled as rabid and hateful and his comments were deleted and he was banned from the site.
It bothered me. Now, I didn’t know any of the participants from Adam. I had read their comments before and of course I had my own preferences on their opinions based on where I agreed or disagreed with them. But this was different. This was basically censorship. You were not allowed to have certain opinions. But that wasn’t a policy of the website. At least not a published one. It was an unwritten one. Basically, it was a private club. But only the members knew it. Every one else was there at the tolerance of the club members. And this club was very regimented. There was an orthodoxy about politics, religion, sexual orientation, environmental policies, climate change, gun control, race relations and especially culture. Any variance from these orthodoxies were handled in exactly the same way. The offender was mobbed and silenced and if necessary banned.
Well needless to say I went out of my way to be evicted. I waited for a topic that I was sure would trigger the mob and knowing that it was my last hurrah I went for the gusto. I didn’t attempt logic or even anger. I went straight for mockery and insult. It was glorious. Of course, it was deleted but not until a furor arose. Surprisingly, I was told I could return if I apologized and recanted. Hah.
Anyway, that’s why I built this website. I wanted a place where I could talk about photography and science fiction and movies that I liked and if I wanted to talk about politics I didn’t have to worry about being banned. I could have my say. But what I also recognized is that I should let other people have their say too. Now I don’t mean I have to allow trolls to trash a thread or allow them to tell everyone else what they can’t say. But it does mean that everyone doesn’t have to agree. Some of my readers hate Donald Trump. Okay, fine. If you want to say why, no problem, go ahead. By the same token, I think the Clintons are criminal grifters who also happen to be Alinskyite radicals. So we’re probably not gonna agree on politics. But maybe we both like Sony mirrorless cameras or classic horror movies or hiking in the southwest deserts. So, if we can agree to disagree then we can still talk about things we both enjoy.
So that’s how I see this site working. Because of my political slant I’m gonna guess that it will mostly attract people of the same general political slant. But based on some of the poll results I’ve seen there is a significant population of folks from the left side of the aisle. I have no problem with that. You can even have your say. Just don’t be jerk about it. And that goes for our side too. No need to be a jerk. Keep it decent. No dog piling. No ad hominems. Just opinions and no trolling. Life’s too short.
There, I had my say.