Saturday, January 01, 2005

I'm being moderated ...

So this guy on our neighborhood e-mail list objected to someone calling for tsunami aid donations to an organization called The Samaritan's Purse because it is an explicitly anti-Islamic organization. The poster went on to say that Christianity is "one ofthe evillest things this world has ever seen. Happy New Year to all!" I thought it was hilarious, of course, but I was astounded that nobody on the list said a word about it (this is the bible belt, after all ... oh wait, that's the entire country these days).

I, however, have been put on moderated status because I was, in the moderator's words, "sharp and critical" in a discussion about someone's proposal to radically reconfigure traffic patterns on two major streets. I'm not sure exactly what I said that was objectionable, except that one woman e-mailed me and said it was rude of me to post Ambrose Bierce's definition of history in response to a guy who said "history" proved he was right and the proposal would work. I felt a bit vindicated by another poster, whom I've never met, who read the whole exchange and posted that he didn't think I'd said anything rude to anyone. (And by Mark, who told me he thought my posts were uncharacteristically polite and restrained, and who posted a note to the list protesting my moderated status) (Anyone with far too much time on his or her hands can join the list and read the whole exchange, starting with message 2136, unless it gets "disappeared" from the archives as an entire previous topic has been)

Naturally, the patent unfairness of me alone getting moderated bugs the crap out of me even though I hate the stupid e-mail list. I know, I know, "hate" is a strong word ... I shouldn't hate the poor inanimate list. I should hate the really annoying people on it. And they are very annoying, being either whining complainers ("ooh, the Durham Blues Fest kept my precious toddler awake!") or arrogant assholes who are careful to include "Ph.D." in their signatures so that we don't accidentally mistake them for stupid. I feel like I should know about what's going on in my neighborhood, which is why I subscribe, thinking that I won't actually get involved. And usually it's a bunch of posts about lost kitties and toasters for sale (topics upon which the moderator welcomes my input, he has assured me). But then someone has to complain about the Blues Fest or post about seeing a "suspicious black man" in the alley and I can't let the stupidity pass uncommented. It's funny, but the same guy who has put me on moderated status once asked me if I would write a column in the neighborhood newsletter because he liked my outspokeness. I said no thanks, and I'm just now regretting it.

Maybe I should e-mail him and ask if the offer still stands?


andrew said...

Maybe his idea of admirable outspokeness is when you say something he agrees with? If you state your case with pithy witty quotes but it isn't what he thinks then you deserve to be moderated.

Lisa B. said...

I don't think the moderator actually has a strong opinion one way or another, he's just bowing to the pressure of the people who e-mail the list saying "ooh, can't we be more constructive and stop talking about this and be nice? I'm so tired of getting all these e-mails. Waaaah!" So instead of deleting the e-mails on heated topics or changing their subscription options they want to silence the discussion.

I should just be more tolerant of intolerance and stupidity like everyone else, I guess.