Sunday, November 17, 2013
A warning from on high....
I'm sure that many of you have paid the infamous BlueBoard a visit at one time or another. It has been around for many years and is the forum part of a more expansive site called Goodlight. It is instantly recognizable for its awkward, Atari-like design and ghastly colors, and it is a basking bucket for trolls, with most posters signing in anonymously. That is, in part, because, although it was intended to be a place for WBAI Listener discussion, the habitués always include a good number of "insiders" who fear reprisals when they lash out at the station's management, or feel a need to tread lightly due to the highly polarized atmosphere in which they work.
All this has made the "snake pit" tag seem quite appropriate, but esthetic nightmare looks, ad hominem personal attacks and stalking by malcontents aside, the forum has in the past couple of years developed an additional and even worse characteristic: It has been taken over (legitimately) by a WBAI insider—R. Paul Martin, one of its stagnant fossils—who has a serious problem handling the authority webmastering entails. If anyone dares to criticize him, he invokes rules forbidding that and bars the dastardly person from posting and—sillier still—being mentioned by name in the forum.
We are not told who is banished, so the only way to find out is to include their name in a post. It will be rerouted to the master's throne for him to give a "go" or "no." The banished include people whose names are apt to appear in posts, such as LSB Secretary (former Chair) Mitchel Cohen and National Board member Carolyn Birden. I have no idea which rule they may have broken, but they probably used free speech where it isn't condoned.
I bring all this up, because I now stand on the brink of—oh dear!—banishment, and I want to show you how little it takes. First, here is an e-mail I received from the mighty R. Paul Martin this morning:
You would think I had posted something outrageous, vulgar, or exceedingly offensive, but such posts are commonplace on the BlueBoard. R. Paul Martin himself tends to post one-liners containing misinformation (usually in defense of management) or personal insults. Reading the offending, near-fatal post (below), an exchange between another poster and myself (indented bold print), I have to conclude that my crime was to post unfavorably about the moderator. You be the judge. Let me add that I can live very well without the snake pit, which is likely to become obsolete when the damage inflicted on WBAI by R. Paul and his "buddies" places it in new hands. I am sure that he worries about that—as do many insiders—but you reap what you sow, as the saying goes.
The original post has, of course, been removed from the BlueBoard. We will never know what thoughts have been suppressed by Herr Martin, but some of his outcasts have found their way to Nalini's list, Pacifica Radio Waves, which—like this blog—is a place for free expression. The aforementioned post and response is mild criticism, nothing more, but I obviously started "getting into the moderation of the board," whatever that means—it's a sin, to be sure. What do you think?
I don't know if R. Paul ever comes this way, but he may, and he doesn't even have to behave! I guess I can now anticipate joining the elite banished group. C'est la vie.