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Such a Fuss

Miss those crazy, pointless EphBlog fights of yore? If so, see below. If not — if you have, uh, a life or something — do not click.

The Board is discussing various policy changes associated with this discussion from a few weeks ago. Kudos to President Dick Swart ’56 and other Board members for taking the time and trouble to make EphBlog a better place. It isn’t for me to publicize those internal discussions but, at one point, Derek Catsam ’93 claimed that I used “bad judgment” in deleting PTC’s comment from this thread. In a private reply to him (why waste’s the Board’s time with a fight over the quality of my judgments?), I claimed that, on the contrary, my judgment was excellent. He wrote (reprinted with permission):

Bullshit. You were butt ass naked wrong to delete the comment in question. You had no right to do so, and when you did it tellingly adhered to none of the principled we are putting forward. And if you really believed you were right, Mr. Transparency, you’d have replied to all and not just to me. When you post something by Karl Rove and someone makes note of and criticizes the fact that Karl Rove wrote what you linked to, it is entirely germane. You want to have this debate, Dave, bring it on. But don’t be such a pussy about it — make it public to the board if you think you are right.

Isn’t there a maximum amount of stupidity that one is allowed to stick in single paragraph? Apparently not!

1) “no right to do so” — Derek is probably too lazy to read our FAQ, but for the last 5+ years, I (and every other author on EphBlog, including him!) has had the “right” to delete/edit comments from his own posts. I have done so dozens of times. Other administrators, like Ronit and Ken, have deleted many comments, both on their own posts and on those of others. Comment deletion has been a standard part of EphBlog practice for many years.

2) “tellingly adhered to none of the principled we are putting forward” — As suggested by several folks in that thread, one option is to change the current policy so that anyone who deletes a comment must leave a note recording that deletion. I am comfortable with that change, as I wrote last week. So, “tellingly” here does not mean what you think it means. When policy X was in effect (no note was required), I adhered to policy X. If policy Y comes into force (note required), I will adhere to the new policy.

3) “Mr. Transparency, you’d have replied to all and not just to me.” — No. I did not want to waste the Board’s time on something — whether my deletion demonstrated good or bad judgment — which has nothing to do with the issue before the Board: What should the policy be going forward? Derek, on the other hand, seems to feel that every one of his utterances should be studied in detail by all concerned. I suspect that not all Board members would agree. Not cc’ing everyone on every e-mail that one writes is not a sign of being anti-transparency. It is an attempt to not bother people with off-topic spam.

4) “When you post something by Karl Rove and someone makes note of and criticizes the fact that Karl Rove wrote what you linked to, it is entirely germane.” No. It’s off-topic. The post was about the Krissoff family. The fact that Karl Rove wrote it is irrelevant and, even more so, the fact that Karl Rove is a bad guy who dodged the draft 40 years ago is irrelevancy on stilts.

Now, reasonable people might argue, in this context and others, about whether or not a comment is “off-topic” or “trollish” or “rude” or any other adjective you might name. If EphBlog is to function, we must provide leeway to editors to make these sorts of judgments. I certainly have a great deal of faith in folks like Ronit and Ken. Moreover, anyone who disagrees is welcome to join us and takeover comment-deletion watch. I am sure that they would appreciate the help! (History: I used to handle almost 100% of this work myself, but, in the last year or two, have left the chore to others.)

The key point is that EphBlog grants, at least as a matter of tradition, a great deal of latitude to individual authors to manage the comment threads in the posts that they start. There is a sense in which an author “owns” the comment thread which follows from the post he makes. First, he is the only one that is informed of every comment (via e-mail). If a comment is not caught by one of our filters, then I won’t even know if something objectionable has been printed. Second, authors have discretion as to the type of discussion thread they want to host. If someone wants to delete lots of off-topic comments (with a very tight definition of on-topic), then that is fine. If someone else wants to let the conversation goes where it wants to go, then that is fine too. Third, this might be a harder case if I had deleted a comment in a post that I did not author, but, since I did author this post, the decision is mine. I get to define what is “off-topic,” and PTC’s comment was.

5) I have explained the background to the debate before, but Derek seems unwilling to take seriously how hard it is to create an inclusive on-line community. In a nutshell, the story was:

a) I write a post about the Krissoff family.
b) PTC writes a comment that is, from my point of view, totally off-topic and borderline trollish. Rove’s draft-dodging had nothing to do with the substance of my post.
c) I let PTC’s comment stand because I generally let off-topic comments stand.
d) A family friend of the Krissoffs — someone that I have known and worked with for years amd whose judgment I trust much more than my own — expressed concern about the comment and, in particular, about Mrs. Krissoff’s reaction to it.
e) I deleted the comment.
f) Since I was on vacation and rushing to meet my family for breakfast, I did not leave a note about my deletion. (I actually got so far as the editing screen and tried to quickly come up with something, but couldn’t quite make it happen.) But, since I knew that our policy/practice did not require such notes and since I knew that the comment was “off-topic,” at least in the view of most reasonable Ephs, I did not see this as a problem.

What’s funny is that most of the time I get criticized from the other side for leaving off-topic and trollish comments on EphBlog (and for making them myself).

6) Comments like this are what make Derek such a valued and thoughtful member of the EphBlog community.

You want to have this debate, Dave, bring it on. But don’t be such a pussy about it — make it public to the board if you think you are right.

Consider it brought.

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Comments Disabled To "Such a Fuss"

#1 Comment By frank uible On July 14, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

Oh, such language.

#2 Comment By rory On July 14, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

yep, i had better things to do.

#3 Comment By Mike On July 14, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

Single most boring Ephblog post ever.

#4 Comment By sophmom On July 14, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

Dave,

I daresay you have proven with this post, every single thing about yourself you seek to defend…”bad judgment” and “maximum amount of stupidity” notwithstanding.

#5 Comment By Jeffz On July 14, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

DKane just ordered a code red on DCat. God, core, Ephblog. Oh, and what Mike said.

#6 Comment By Jeffz On July 14, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

I take issue with only one claim in this post: that there is ANYONE whose judgment you “trust more than your own.” After four years of reading this blog, color me skeptical.

#7 Comment By David On July 14, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

1) You’re goddamn right I did!

You want me on that blog. You need me on that blog.

2) Exercise for the reader: Rewrite Colonel Jessup’s speech from my point of view vis-a-vis EphBlog.

3) When it comes to how people perceive things — like how Krissoff’s family might feel about PTC’s comments — it is hard to think of an EphBlogger whose judgment would not be better than my own.

#8 Comment By nuts On July 14, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

David has reframed the debate from being a debate about EPHblog policy of deleting comments to being about David Kane’s judgment in deleting comments… once again EPHblog undergoes a transformation from EPHblog to KANEblog – all things Kane.

As a person whose comment was deleted by Dave – a comment I wish you could read and judge for yourself – from a thread about EPH’s in military service, I would say Dave is overly sensitive to criticism of US foreign policy and military engagement, even though stated respectfully on threads about EPHs in military service.

Consider a holding thread called Speak Down! for deleted comments so that that contributors words can be judged on the merit and not just from Kane’s perspective.

The sacred cow of KANEblog.

#9 Comment By JeffZ On July 14, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

On a more serious note, David, you had me at “Mrs. Krisoff’s reaction.” You should have just stopped there instead of making it about your judgment or other extraneous factors. God knows, she has suffered enough — if you, apparently, had information indicating that she was upset by something in a post honoring her son, then that standing alone is dispositive.

#10 Comment By Dick Swart On July 14, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

Luke 6:45

#11 Comment By PTC On July 14, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

Dave- No drama. You were right to delete me. However, that does not make the post in question “right”.

Next time, please do not use a post about a fallen member of our armed forces to poke the current Commander in Chief and push a political agenda. You will get more bad reactions. If you want comments to be above board then the post has to be. It is really that simple.

Dave writes:

“3) When it comes to how people perceive things — like how Krissoff’s family might feel about PTC’s comments — it is hard to think of an EphBlogger whose judgment would not be better than my own.”

… fair enough- but what about the million plus men and women in uniform that may not happen to be fundamentalist Christian Republicans? You did not stop to think about them before you injected politics and religion into that thread. That is on you.

As far as Derek goes… man, he used to kick my ass on a weekly basis in here. I kind of missed that. Good to see he is still up and around… and reading Ephblog!

#12 Comment By JeffZ On July 14, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

PTC, I don’t really see where DK did that in the post … I didn’t read the lone Obama-related comment as pejorative towards Obama in any way, merely aspirational … not saying it is inconceivable that DK meant it in that way, hard to tell tone from a blog post of course, but if he did, it was certainly subtle.

#13 Comment By JG On July 14, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

…resisting…resisting…resisting…

#14 Comment By PTC On July 14, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

Jeffz- I disagree. The religious part was especially troubling for me coming from Rove. That in combination with comments about Bush v Obama … and you have struck the match. Like it or not.

#15 Comment By nuts On July 14, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

@Dick Swart: I had to look it up so I thought I’d save readers the time. Luke 6:45

#16 Comment By Josh Ain On July 14, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

I can’t believe that ‘issues’ like this keep coming up. Honestly — who cares? A comment got deleted. It sounds like there was a reasonable reason, and a reasonable policy behind this change. Even if you disagree with the reason, does it really merit a controversy?

I enjoy reading EphBlog, but I continue to be shocked by he level of emotion and conflict that it generates. Contribute to EphBlog, or enjoy it silently.

Also, just for the record, I read EphBlog mainly for David’s posts. I don’t always agree with them, but I find them thought provoking and interesting.

#17 Comment By frank uible On July 14, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

Do we prefer John Wayne playing a Marine (Sands of Iwo Jima)or Jack Nicholson playing a Marine (A Few Good Men) or David playing a Marine (EphBlog)?

#18 Comment By Dick Swart On July 14, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

Nuts,

It is in reference to your visual: The parable of the Good Cow and the Evil Cow.

Dick

#19 Comment By ’10 On July 14, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

Ephblog definitely needs some forum which isn’t the main page for these sorts of silly meta-discussions. How do other online communities handle this? You never see this kind of stuff on the front page of Daily Kos, etc.

#20 Comment By David On July 14, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

Nuts:

1) Please provide a link to the thread that you are talking about.

2) I am 99% sure that I did not delete your comment. Did I leave a note? If not, how do you know it was me? I might have deleted it, but I certainly have no memory of doing so.

3) My point in this post is not to “reframe” anything. I am only defending my deletion. That’s it. Want to have a discussion about what the policy should be? Excellent idea! Start a thread about it, or ask someone else to do it for you. I specifically wanted to avoid that discussion in this post because I do not have the right to make public the private Board discussions that I am (sometimes) cc’d on.

#21 Comment By Sam On July 14, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

Kaneblog: a continual reminder of the veracity of Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comment.

#22 Comment By kthomas On July 14, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

So, how about those Red Sox? Gonna beat Toronto or what?

#23 Comment By kthomas On July 14, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

I hear the weather in Williamstown’s a little peaky these days, eh?

#24 Comment By Ronit On July 14, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

@‘10: We’re working on a forum. I hope to release a beta version of it soon.

#25 Comment By Vermando ’05 On July 15, 2009 @ 12:01 am

David,

I believe that what you describe as “funny” is why everyone else doubts your good faith. You generally show a willingness to sacrifice the feelings of others for the sake of generating discussion or speculation. Here, where it is something with which you have obvious (and, it seems, well placed) sympathies, you suddenly become a defender of others’ sensibilities.

The deletion in itself was not wrong – as JeffZ says, everyone understands deleting something on behalf of the Krissoff family. I only hope that in the future when you write something cruel about another member of the Ephcommunity that you maintain this sensitivity and don’t sacrifice their feelings for the sake of discussion or speculation.

Otherwise, as I hope you know, I very much enjoy your contributions here.

#26 Comment By nuts On July 15, 2009 @ 12:50 am

@David: I can’t find the deleted comment (naturally) or identify the thread on which I made it (a thread about five Ephs being deployed to Iraq?), nor was I able to find any of the comments that followed, by Lgeorge, you or me.

Above, I wondered if there is a way to hold deleted comments in a place so that post-deletion reviews could be made.

We already had a thread where commenters had an opportunity to voice opinions regarding the moderator’s policy. How about we shelf this discussion and pick it up when the board publishes the policy on contributors comment on its merits?

#27 Comment By sophmom On July 15, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

@nuts:

“Evan Bick ’06 Deployed to Iraq” is missing comments. There’s no note, but Dave commented that he wanted that post to be “friendly” and “apolitical”…it is about Ephs in Iraq, after all.

Hey, anyone remember the time the Eph daughter commented… asking us to remove the slanderous, gossipy post about her Eph father? I remember her request was considered not reason enough to edit the post. Dave thought that the request needed to come directly from the subject of the post. I think Dick and Ken mercifully trashed it finally.

But, I have decided to look at the positive side of all this. What an amazing precedent has now been set. If someone merely emails me and suggests that a comment just “might be offensive”, then I can delete whatever I want. Good to know. But I will leave a note… something like this:

*Comment deleted because my yoga teacher knows the professor being discussed and thinks she might get offended, SM.

(sheesh…that did take 7 full seconds…what a hassle)

#28 Comment By David On July 15, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

Is this the thread? I don’t see a missing comment but I am no expert in knowing how to tell if a deletion has been made. Perhaps there was a bunch of political stuff in nuts’ comment which I deleted? Could have happened!

But, if so, this is at the express request of Stew Menking. Stew is not the most technical guy in the world and has asked me to ensure that off-topic political comments be removed from his Adopt-the-Eph threads. Whether or not I did this in that specific thread, I can’t recall. But I have certainly done so in other threads and will do so in the future.

SophMom writes:

it is about Ephs in Iraq, after all.

No. The issue is not the topic of the post. The issue is the desires of the author of the post. Stew does not want political rants in his threads. So, I delete them. Authors get to decide what is “off-topic” in their own threads. Don’t like it? Start a new thread.

Hey, anyone remember the time the Eph daughter commented… asking us to remove the slanderous, gossipy post about her Eph father?

Sure. Discussion here, my key comments here and here, but the entire thread is a fun read.

I remember her request was considered not reason enough to edit the post. Dave thought that the request needed to come directly from the subject of the post.

Yes, that is what the FAQ said (and still says). Have you read the FAQ? Since you are on the Board, you (and the other Board members) can change the policy anytime you like. One change that would fix this situation would be to enforce removal at the request of either the person themselves or a family member.

But, I have decided to look at the positive side of all this. What an amazing precedent has now been set. If someone merely emails me and suggests that a comment just “might be offensive”, then I can delete whatever I want. Good to know.

How many years have you been at EphBlog? Through all that time, the FAQ has always said:

Why did you delete my comment? Because it was rude or obnoxious or off-topic or trollish.

You don’t need to wait for someone to e-mail you. You have the power! If you find a comment “obnoxious or off-topic or trollish,” delete it. Whatever “precedent” we have was set years ago.

#29 Comment By sophmom On July 15, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

@28:

The post I am talking about was deleted. What you linked to is the tame stuff.

The daughter’s reaction (in the link) is evidence of what was contained on the deleted post. And even then, you resisted deleting it. And yet here you refer to that discussion as “fun”. Slandering that particular family was “fun”, and yet a family you deem more worthy is completely off-limits. (Vermando @25, I guess your wise comment did not sink in, alas)

And for all of you who might want to tell me yet again that the Krissof family is worthy of the utmost respect and regard, I fully agree. But we have a blatant double standard being enacted here. And Derek is absolutely right when he implies that there is something very wrong when someone can cite “transparency” and “freedom of speech” as justification to post whatever he wants about one (human) subject, but then deletes a vaguely off-topic comment just because it “might offend” another of his subjects.

How many of those random deletions have occurred, I wonder? And please don’t tell us once again that you just don’t have time to leave a seven second note in it’s place. It is really a pathetic excuse, especially for someone who spends as much time on this site as you do. Hopefully, the policy that allowed you to do that will soon change.

#30 Comment By Derek On July 15, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

Wow. Ok. I’ll take this bait. But some context first, given that it comes from absolutely nowhere. The Board has been discussing policy for deleting comments on Ephblog. In the course of the lengthy email exchange I pointed out that deleting the original post was awful judgment (something which, by the way, it seems as if the critical mass of board members agrees, though they do not find assigning blame for the precipitating incident fruitful at this time — all fair points). At which point Dave sent me an email asserting that his judgment was perfect. But he sent that email just to me, not to the board, which is why I called him, yes, a pussy. Then he asked if he could quote me. I assumed he’d do so for the edification of the board. Instead, of course, in typical Kane fashion, he decides to make this a post, which must be about as irrelevant to anything anyone wants to read as I can possibly imagine.

But then again this is Dave’s modus operendi, is it not? Dave is not a particularly noble person, though he plays one when he hides behind Eph veterans who deserve our respect, and then believes that in so doing he gets some sort of reflected nobility. So Dave grinds his axes, from which the sparks fly, and he goes after undergraduate writing, and he uses any excuse to titillate rather than inform, and he insists that he is the one bearer of all wisdom when it comes to matters related to Williams’ finances even though Dave, whose business it is to deal with economics and finances, never had any sense that any of this economic turmoil was coming in the first place. Or at least he never shared it with us, which is quite remarkable given that he drools every fucktarded little idea he has ever had onto Ephblog.

But let’s move on to the substance (sorry, “substance”) of Dave’s response to my apparently very stupid email to him, which was, nonetheless, right on all of the particulars. By the way — I don’t blame any of you for ignoring all of this. I do, however, want to hear Lowell’s response, because he thought that the discussion was too stupid and irrelevant for the members of the board to address, so surely he is even more outraged that Dave decided this was worthy of a post.

OK, Dave’s responses — I will place them in quotation marks while I will preface my responses with ***:

“1) “no right to do so” — Derek is probably too lazy to read our FAQ, but for the last 5+ years, I (and every other author on EphBlog, including him!) has had the “right” to delete/edit comments from his own posts. I have done so dozens of times. Other administrators, like Ronit and Ken, have deleted many comments, both on their own posts and on those of others. Comment deletion has been a standard part of EphBlog practice for many years.”

*** This is actually a pretty good encapsulation of Dave’s world class douchebaggery. Naturally I am too lazy to read the FAQ’s that Dave hides behind as if the FAQ was an unassailable Platonic Form of how to live a good and virtuous blogging life. Of course if the FAQ was that wonderful, the board would not be addressing the issue of deleting posts brought about by Dave’s wonderful judgment. This is at the crux of the matter — if Dave’s judgment was so good, why has the board spent the better part of a week and well more than three score emails addressing it? So it is my fault for not reading an FAQ that clearly the entire board sees as woefully insufficient. And why is it woefully insufficient? because it obviously did not account for Dave deleting a post — the sole example that caused all of this. We know that deleting various forms of spam and other trollery is standard operating procedure. But The post in question does not fit — if it did the Board would not be discussing these matters now, would they? Or, Dave, is the board simply wrong to be addressing the question, or too lazy to read the almighty oracle that is the FAQ? I’m just curious.

“2) “tellingly adhered to none of the principled we are putting forward” — As suggested by several folks in that thread, one option is to change the current policy so that anyone who deletes a comment must leave a note recording that deletion. I am comfortable with that change, as I wrote last week. So, “tellingly” here does not mean what you think it means. When policy X was in effect (no note was required), I adhered to policy X. If policy Y comes into force (note required), I will adhere to the new policy.”

*** But we have an FAQ. So why the need for a new policy if your judgment was so sound? You think you are clever by asserting that I do not know what “tellingly” means, but, tellingly, why the need for a change in policy? And again — why is it that the event that precipitated all of this was your deletion of a comment? There was obviously a flaw in the system, and your terrible, awful, self important judgment is the reason for it.

“3) “Mr. Transparency, you’d have replied to all and not just to me.” — No. I did not want to waste the Board’s time on something — whether my deletion demonstrated good or bad judgment — which has nothing to do with the issue before the Board: What should the policy be going forward? Derek, on the other hand, seems to feel that every one of his utterances should be studied in detail by all concerned. I suspect that not all Board members would agree. Not cc’ing everyone on every e-mail that one writes is not a sign of being anti-transparency. It is an attempt to not bother people with off-topic spam.”

*** So naturally, in that unassailable Kane logic, you decided that what was not worthy for the board was naturally worthy of a post. I’ll give you points for audacity Dave. Of course you have this tendency simply to assert things. So my email was off-topic spam rather than addressing what I perceive as the main topic: I wanted to know what assurances we had in putting together a policy that you would not simply ignore the policies. Given that it was your behavior that got us all into this, that seems germane. While you believe that your judgment is iron clad, I’m afraid a lot of us are too familiar with innumerable incidents (the Princess coming to Williams situation anyone?) to have similar faith.

“4) “When you post something by Karl Rove and someone makes note of and criticizes the fact that Karl Rove wrote what you linked to, it is entirely germane.” No. It’s off-topic. The post was about the Krissoff family. The fact that Karl Rove wrote it is irrelevant and, even more so, the fact that Karl Rove is a bad guy who dodged the draft 40 years ago is irrelevancy on stilts.

Now, reasonable people might argue, in this context and others, about whether or not a comment is “off-topic” or “trollish” or “rude” or any other adjective you might name. If EphBlog is to function, we must provide leeway to editors to make these sorts of judgments. I certainly have a great deal of faith in folks like Ronit and Ken. Moreover, anyone who disagrees is welcome to join us and takeover comment-deletion watch. I am sure that they would appreciate the help! (History: I used to handle almost 100% of this work myself, but, in the last year or two, have left the chore to others.)

The key point is that EphBlog grants, at least as a matter of tradition, a great deal of latitude to individual authors to manage the comment threads in the posts that they start. There is a sense in which an author “owns” the comment thread which follows from the post he makes. First, he is the only one that is informed of every comment (via e-mail). If a comment is not caught by one of our filters, then I won’t even know if something objectionable has been printed. Second, authors have discretion as to the type of discussion thread they want to host. If someone wants to delete lots of off-topic comments (with a very tight definition of on-topic), then that is fine. If someone else wants to let the conversation goes where it wants to go, then that is fine too. Third, this might be a harder case if I had deleted a comment in a post that I did not author, but, since I did author this post, the decision is mine. I get to define what is “off-topic,” and PTC’s comment was.”

*** This is simply nonsense. Imagine the outrage if I had decided to start deleting hwc’s comments in January in my post about finances in higher education. I have been writing for Ephblog off and on for more than four years now and never even considered censoring the things I disagree with. And I am not the one who constantly jumps on my soapbox about openness and transparency. It tells us a great deal about your sense of an open community that you feel the need to close down those conversations you don’t want to have.

“5) I have explained the background to the debate before, but Derek seems unwilling to take seriously how hard it is to create an inclusive on-line community. In a nutshell, the story was:

a) I write a post about the Krissoff family.
b) PTC writes a comment that is, from my point of view, totally off-topic and borderline trollish. Rove’s draft-dodging had nothing to do with the substance of my post.
c) I let PTC’s comment stand because I generally let off-topic comments stand.
d) A family friend of the Krissoffs — someone that I have known and worked with for years amd whose judgment I trust much more than my own — expressed concern about the comment and, in particular, about Mrs. Krissoff’s reaction to it.
e) I deleted the comment.
f) Since I was on vacation and rushing to meet my family for breakfast, I did not leave a note about my deletion. (I actually got so far as the editing screen and tried to quickly come up with something, but couldn’t quite make it happen.) But, since I knew that our policy/practice did not require such notes and since I knew that the comment was “off-topic,” at least in the view of most reasonable Ephs, I did not see this as a problem.”

*** Well, Dave is consistent in his foolishness. I’ll give him that. You see, this is naturally about my inability to understand the dire difficulties attached to developing an online community (Dave is remarkably quick to lament his poor beleaguered self when it is convenient to do so) even though actually all of this evolved from one action on Dave’s part that had nothing to do with developing an online community and everything to do with his lousy judgment. But if Dave can feign that this is about larger principles, well, then suddenly he can also take on the mantel of being the put upon leader of men (breakfast with his family! His family! Don’t you people have any considerations for the burdens running a blog can have on a family man! Meanwhile, I am sorry that someone in the Krissoff family was offended. But if we are going to have sacred cows (ahem) at Ephblog then we should shut off the comment feature, and perhaps not cite loathsome gasbags like Karl Rove and then pretend that the writer of an article does not matter. The sole reason Karl Rove had his op-ed published was because he is Karl Rove. To pretend, then, that Karl Rove is irrelevant is not only inane, but reveals a fundamental tone deafness. Rather than delete the comment, then, the right thing to do would have been to have defended its use, to have made the argument that in fact the author of the piece did not matter, and to take the extra minute when you aren’t downing your bacon to bring the focus back to what you thought was important. But you are too important for that, and so you hid behind the all-powerful position of being author of the post to shut off ideas with which you disagreed. And this is why, again, the board is discussing this policy: because you were wrong. And because the board recognizes that you were wrong. And so the board is going to change policy because the previous policy was wrong and flawed and allowed you to do something that going forward you would not be able to do.

“6) Comments like this are what make Derek such a valued and thoughtful member of the EphBlog community.”

*** Let us all keep in mind that the comment came in an email to him that came after he decided to defend his judgment not to the board that clearly saw his judgment as flawed but only to me. And this was in the email back to him. But fine — you are a pussy Dave. A good example of this is asking me if you can quite me and then turning this into a public post, a fact I only discovered today at about 2:00 because I had not looked at Ephblog since yesterday morning. This sort of bush league shit is just about the embodiment of fecklessness, of the sort of nonsense you’ve been pulling here for years.

So yeah, Dave, continue to bring it on. Because when all is said and done, for all your misdirection and self pity and obfuscation and self justification, the board is changing its policy on comment deletion and it is doing so because of your deletion of comments. You can spew your cliche-addled verbiage and try your hamhanded machinations all you want. You were wrong, because if you were not wrong the board would not be engaged in hours of trying to address an issue that has one and only one cause: Your judgment.

And, by the way, this is a stunning example of your judgment at work. What, you couldn’t find any pictures on an alum’s suburban wife to post about? No undergraduate writing to eviscerate? I actually don’t give two shits and a shake if you don’t value my thoughtfulness, Dave. I’ve got a demonstrable record of my thoughtfulness in a whole host of fora. I do not actually need your validation. In fact, your validation would probably, when all is said and done, go down as a check mark against me. I’d suggest that you go back to doing what you do best that might be worth someone’s time, but I am afraid that I have no evidence of what that is.

dcat

#31 Comment By Vermando ’05 On July 15, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

Wow.

#32 Comment By rory On July 15, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

have i mentioned how happy i am that i’m not on the board any more? PHEW!

#33 Comment By sophmom On July 15, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

To whomever edited the title, may I suggest Wuss instead of Hussy? It is closer to the intended meaning. ;-)

#34 Comment By nuts On July 15, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

Pussy Hussy
Wuss Wussy
Wook Wookie

#35 Comment By JeffZ On July 15, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

Wow, that was intense — one thing is for sure, no longer is this the most boring thread ever. I gotta give Derek credit for using the terms “fucktarded” and “douchebaggery” in a single post, among several other choice tidbits.

#36 Comment By David On July 15, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

Who edited the title of this post? We have procedures for this sort of thing . . .

If “Pussy” is unacceptable (and I could understand that judgment), I would prefer *ussy (with a star). Don’t want to stray too far from Derek’s own words.

#37 Comment By sophmom On July 15, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

So, if it’s *ussy, does that mean that the “a” (as in “Such a…”) should be changed to an “an”?

Or do you title it like this:

“Such a *ussy”
(*=P)

As for *rocedure, I think it all de*ends on who is carrying out the edit. If it’s the ombuds*erson, he has s*ecial *rivileges…I think.

*erhaps I’m wrong, though.

#38 Comment By frank uible On July 16, 2009 @ 12:08 am

I f you’re going to say, then say it. If you’re not going to say it, then don’t. *ussy is pusillanimous!

#39 Comment By nuts On July 16, 2009 @ 1:36 am

dcat, I’m glad you got sandbagged but only because it moved you to address the issues as you see them. Your frustrations, observations and arguments are compelling. Thanks for spending the time to spell it out.

#40 Comment By frank uible On July 16, 2009 @ 6:14 am

Add “it”.

#41 Comment By sophmom On July 16, 2009 @ 9:34 am

Derek,

I agree with nuts @39, and I hope to hear more from you here on EB. You make a difference.

#42 Comment By Derek On July 16, 2009 @ 10:30 am

A lot of people at the board and elsewhere have chalked all of this up to Dave and my personal issues. I think it’s more than that. I only know Dave via Ephblog. I do not dislike Dave because I do not really know him. Indeed there are times when he has been tremendously personally gracious to me and I know to others as well. And there is no doubting that he loves Williams and that he does his homework and probably “knows” Williams, at least at the operational level, better than just about any of the rest of us.

I do not like many of the things that Dave does here, however. And it’s not just politics, or really about politics at all. To intentionally evoke a cliche, my two best friends from grad school are conservatives and as a result of that I would bet that I do a lot more than most history professors to reach across the aisle and take the other side seriously in my work and in my teaching. Dave does a great deal — again, probably more than anyone — to drive Ephblog forward. But he also does a great deal not only to drive it back, but at times to do direct harm either to the blog or to individuals. It is this latter aspect that many of us — and since this is my first participation on Ephblog in more than six months I am far from the forefront of this pack — wish we could curb.

I guess now I’m back in the public Ephblog fold (I’ve been on the board all along) because it would be a bit selective to be drawn back into public and then to disappear again. But I’ve said all I am going to say about the content of this particular post and am going to do my damndest not to let the desire to have the last word kick in no matter what follows.

dcat

#43 Comment By Loweeel On July 16, 2009 @ 11:34 am

Derek, I really don’t care about Dave posting this, and I would have cared at all about you posting what you emailed.

My problem, as Dick and Ronit also commented via email, was that you were attempting to hijack a discussion about the merits of a proposed commenting proposal that was presently before the board by ranting and raving about DK’s personal email to you via email to the rest of the board.

I’m not saying that your concerns weren’t valid or that they were incorrect — just that DK’s judgment or lack thereof was ultimately irrelevant to the comment policy before the board; in essence, you were attempting to establish guilt first (without any standards or policy violation, just from DK’s assertion that he did nothing wrong and had excellent judgment BASED ON THE COMMENT POLICY CURRENTLY IN PLACE), and we were trying to focus on writing the rules and standards to be able to assess such behavior as wrongful (or at least requiring explanation) in the future.

We may disagree with what DK did, but by the policies currently in place, he did nothing wrong. That’s why we were discussing the proposals to amend the comment-editing policies.

#44 Comment By Loweeel On July 16, 2009 @ 11:34 am

*wouldn’t have cared at all.

#45 Comment By sophmom On July 16, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

@ 43:

I am a board member. I was part of the discussions to which Loweeel refers. Without going into detail, I feel it is very important to say that the above representation of board matters is from one perspective. It does not match mine, not only in the opinions expressed, but in the description of what took place.

That said, I ask that we not air the details of board matters here on site, especially since we have not resolved the issues we are currently discussing.

#46 Comment By Parent ’12 On July 16, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

I skimmed this because the title of the thread kept changing.

As a non-board member, I’m not that interested in the behind-the-scenes discussion. (Without meaning to be snarky, maybe some board members feel the same way.)

It might be more interesting if it were more like the point in the Wizard of Oz when the wizard is exposed.

#47 Comment By frank uible On July 16, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

When in doubt, be snarky!

#48 Comment By nuts On July 16, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

@Derek: “A lot of people at the board and elsewhere have chalked all of this up to Dave and my personal issues.”

That would be a shame.

@Parent ‘12: “It might be more interesting if it were more like the point in the Wizard of Oz when the wizard is exposed.”

You might give it a closer reading.

@frank uible: “When in doubt, be snarky!”

Is there is no snark as snarky as pithy snark?

#49 Comment By Alum-Guy On July 16, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

“As a board member”; “I am a board member” — seriously, is that on your resumes?

As a bored member, I look forward to this blog getting back to “all things eph.”

#50 Comment By frank uible On July 16, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

nuts: Your lisp is showing.

#51 Comment By sophmom On July 16, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

@frank uible:

Nutth hath a lithp? I hadn’t notithed.

@Alum-Guy aka “Bored member”:

Please don’t air your love-life problems here. It isn’t becoming.

And to answer your question, no, I don’t list “EphBlog Board Member” on my resume. After all, resumes are meant to impress, nay?

#52 Comment By Alum-Guy On July 16, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

Sophmom: Well played :)

#53 Comment By Ronit On July 16, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

@Alum-Guy:

As a bored member, I look forward to this blog getting back to “all things eph.

As a board member, I agree. Meta discussion kills online communities.

#54 Comment By Parent ’12 On July 16, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

nuts @ 48- certainly you &infin ly jeth

#55 Comment By nuts On July 16, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

@frank uible: Thlip is showing?

#56 Comment By Mike On July 16, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

@3: You really called it on this one.