Joined: July 2011
|The suspension was intended to stop the unwarranted abuse Neil and DNA-Jock were getting from Keiths for their efforts in trying to solve the problem of the arguably libellous OP.|
And let me just point out there were two separate issues. First keiths posted the arguably libellous OP. Then he was impervious to any suggestion that it was unacceptable, meaning TSZ admins had to take action. Keiths is being very selective in spinning his story.
Anyway, keiths is able to comment at TSZ. The only restriction is that his comments are being held in the moderation queue and will be released as soon as practicable. There are no restrictions at all on Patrick's ability to comment at TSZ.
This is the extent of censorship at TSZ.
Let's do this by the numbers.
1. keiths posted an OP that accused Joshua Swamidass of dishonesty at the blog peacefulscience.org.
2. The TSZ admins, including at least Alan and Neil, first modified the post (a violation of an explicit TSZ rule) then hid it along with all of the related comments (another violation of an explicit TSZ rule).
3. When discussing the issue with Elizabeth, she told them to "put him in pre-moderation, and explain why. If the problem recurs, ban."
4. keiths rewrote his post to address Alan's and Neil's concerns. Neil refused to allow it to be posted.
5. Instead of following Elizabeth's instructions, the admins banned keiths for 30 days. There is no rule that gives them that authority.
6. I got an email from another TSZ member explaining the situation. I caught up with the site after my time away and contacted Elizabeth by email to raise my concerns about abuse of admin privileges.
7. Elizabeth opened the Squawk Box thread to discuss the issues.
8. Alan, Neil, and DNA_Jock all refused to allow keiths to participate on that thread, despite Elizabeth asking for all members' input. Because of this continued abuse of their privileges and refusal to follow Elizabeth's directions, I volunteered to forward keiths' comments.
9. Alan, Neil, and DNA_Jock spent several days attempting to come up with a justification for banning keiths. As noted above, Alan first mentioned stopping the "abuse" of moderators, despite the fact that Elizabeth established the Moderation Issues thread explicitly to allow criticism of the admins' decisions. Alan then tried to argue that keiths' OP fell under the rule of accusing other participants of lying, despite the fact that keiths was addressing an issue at a different blog (that was topical at TSZ) and never tied anyone at that blog to their TSZ accounts. DNA_Jock then tried to make an accusation of "quasi-doxxing" stick in Moderation Issues. The fact that none of the admins could identify a specific rule that keiths' broke supports the conclusion that this was an exercise in settling a personal grudge.
10. When I forwarded one of keiths' comments to the Moderation Issues thread, it and a response to it were moved to Guano. This is not allowed by TSZ rules -- Moderation Issues operates under no-Guano rules because, again, Elizabeth supports open discussion and criticism of admins' decisions.
11. When I forwarded another of keiths' comments to Moderation Issues, Alan placed me in pre-moderation, despite my not violating any rule and despite there being no rule that allows any admin to do so.
12. Even after his banning was lifted, keiths was placed in pre-moderation, despite not breaking any rules and despite there being no rule that allows any admin to do so.
As I noted upthread, the correct way to have handled this issue was how the admins previously handled a racist comment:
|A member makes a post that doesn't violate any existing rules, but an admin thinks Elizabeth might not want to publish it. The admin contacts Elizabeth by email with a link to the actual post and asks for her opinion. If Elizabeth agrees, the admin makes the post unavailable and has a quiet word with the member to explain the situation. The admin updates the rules page. The member has the option to rewrite and resubmit the post within the new rules.|
That's how a steward of TSZ who supports Elizabeth's goals for the site would behave. What we actually saw was arrogance, egotism, personal animosity towards keiths, disdain for Elizabeth's goals, and petty authoritarianism.
The arbitrary abuse of admin privileges does far more to reduce participation in a forum than the occasional rude comment. Alan, Neil, and DNA_Jock have clearly demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with those privileges. They owe keiths an apology for their appalling treatment of him and they owe Elizabeth an apology for turning TSZ into Uncommon Descent, UK Edition.
If Elizabeth wants TSZ to truly be "a venue where people with very different priors can come to discover what common ground we share; what misunderstandings of other views we hold; and, having cleared away the straw men, find out where our real differences lie." then she needs admins who respect free speech, tend not to overreact, and have enough humility to admit when they're wrong. Alan, Neil, and DNA_Jock should be thanked for their time and their admin privileges should be immediately revoked.
Edited by Patrick on Sep. 07 2018,09:22