Joined: July 2011
For the past few days I’ve been hearing about more admin abuse at The Skeptical Zone. I tried to ignore it, but I find myself still invested. When Elizabeth was active at TSZ, under her benevolent dictatorship it was one of the best discussion sites I've seen since Usenet deteriorated. While ID is moribund and discussions of it increasingly uninteresting, TSZ could be that high quality again if Elizabeth’s vision were followed. I’d be saddened if it continued its current downward spiral.
As briefly as possible, here's what I've been pinged on over the past few months:
1) Three admins (Alan, Neil, and DNA Jock) abused their privileges to settle a personal score with keiths. The details are a couple of pages back in this thread: http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=14;t=7304;st=1110#entry269299 The named admins edited other people's posts, removed comments, ignored Elizabeth’s explicit instructions on how to handle the issue, banned keiths for 30 days, and placed me in pre-moderation. None of what they did is allowed by the rules and much of it is explicitly prohibited. Alan ran away from the discussion here.
2) DNA Jock admitted to moving comments to Guano that didn't violate any rules: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-5/comment-page-41/#comment-240437 This is the most minor of the complaints I heard, but it's part of a pattern of admins ignoring the rules.
3) Neil abused his privileges to close an active thread: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/munging-id/comment-page-5/#comment-244706 This is not allowed by the rules.
4) Joshua Swamidass threatened to dox Gregory: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-5/#comment-244795 and not one admin said a word. He then followed through on his threat: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-6/#comment-244917 The unredacted version stayed up for days until someone responded to Gregory's complaint. Even then, Swamidass was let off with a warning. The double standard demonstrated by the difference in response to this bannable offense and keiths' post that didn't violate any rules is striking.
5) Finally, Alan removed Mung as an admin, a mere eight minutes after Mung undid the previous admin abuses by changing keiths' status: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-13/#comment-249845 There is nothing in the rules that allows anyone other than Elizabeth to take this serious an action. Alan, in collusion with Neil and DNA Jock, has basically staged a coup. He has taken TSZ far from Elizabeth’s goals and vision.
Mung provided a detailed explanation of the situation: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-17/#comment-250558 FifthMonarchyMan provided a succinct summary of why this abuse by the admins was particularly bad (http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-17/#comment-250657): “I don’t think any other rational theist would be willing to play along given the current dynamics that exist in which minority moderators are forced to be a token and a lackey for ‘the man’.” DNA Jock demonstrated his inability to see it in the following comment, so FFM made it more clear (http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-18/#comment-250670): “Look, if you don’t trust a moderator to moderate with out your explicit approval then he is not being a moderator……… you are being a moderator and he is being your lackey.”
Interestingly, it appears that Mung was the only admin interested in following the rules about doxxing. DNA Jock admits that he refused to enforce Elizabeth’s clear rules (http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-18/#comment-250675): “My defending swamidass from Mung’s campaign to get him banned . . . .” Once again it is FFM who points out DNA Jock’s bias (http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-18/#comment-250677): “It fits the narrative exactly. You see Swamidass as a ‘house’ theist. He does not act like the ‘field’ theists and that lets you feel good about how inclusive you are being.”
It’s clear that the heading at the top of TSZ’s Moderation Issues thread is a lie: “We remind participants that TSZ is a benign dictatorship, the property of Dr. Elizabeth Liddle. All decisions regarding policy and implementation are hers alone.” Alan does what he wants at TSZ, Elizabeth’s explicit directions, rules, and most importantly vision for the site be damned.