the 'culture' of Libcom

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Jul 5 2007 15:12
the 'culture' of Libcom

Part of a pm I recieved the other day:

Quote:
On the hostility, we are communists and we are faced with permanent hostility. And some of those who have found the level of abuse on Libcom hard to endure are comrades who have years of experience of standing up the Lefts, Stalinists and unions and placing themselves in real danger doing so, but it is the insults and hostility for the sake of hostility that has the effect. To be attacked by the Left is power for the course, but to be abused by those who basically agree with you on the fundamentals is something we have not faced before. Some posters on Libcom have complained about the abuse and the way it can make libcom look like a boys club sometimes. Please don't forget for many of us we are entering new way of discussing and there is also a generational element. To put it crudely, if my son talked to people the way that Revol68 does I would be horrified. I don't want to sound like an old foggy, but this abuse, insults etc is a real barrier to not only the older generation but others who are interested in discussion. We have tried to patiently oppose this atmosphere, but we have the collective support of the organisation to support us, whilst others do not have that daily support. We can discuss this when we meet as well, because it is very important that the forums are as open and welcoming to new elements as possible.

Devrim

admin - in the interests of keeping this discussion on topic, we'll be deleting, as much as possible, off topic posts and abuse, so start a new thread instead of posting in here if you want to respond in either of those ways.

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Jul 5 2007 15:13

Actually that is not signed by myself, I forgot to put the 'quote' in
Devrim
Edit: Not really relevant now someone has editted it, thanks.

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Jul 5 2007 15:27

I've definitely been too desensitised by messageboards. When I see people get offended by the language and "hostility" on here I always find it quite unusual, because it's never seemed overly "harsh" or anything to me. But this is because of general internet culture I guess, over a more regular day-to-day conversation where you wouldn't be shouting 'cunt' at everyone all the time (well i personally do, but i might be hesitant doing so with strangers. a bit of restraint PERHAPS).

I don't really post much, but I do read the majority of threads here. And I always find such "abusive" language fine and have always liked the attitude of libcom posters, including ol' revol. But I suppose that's just my own stupidity as it's probably alienating to a lot of people who post here...

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Jul 5 2007 15:28

That's a total dodging of the question, Jack. Not that I'm against all hostility.

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Jul 5 2007 15:31
Jack wrote:
To be honest, I'd rather have a libcom that has a percieved problem with hostility than one where Primitivists, Class War Federation, the wombles, and other assorted individualist fucks still felt welcome.

It's not just them though Jack.

This is a problem with internet forums as a whole, large commercial message boards, like the ones for the NME say are filled with personal insults, abuse, threats to rape and kill each other, etc. so in some respects libcom is pretty tame. Especially with the seriousness of the subject matter (as opposed to say music).

The atmosphere here has got steadily better over the past few years - the past 4-6 months especially, though I think we could do better. Especially with the influx of a group of new posters, some of whom were/are quite disruptive. But the worst of them is banned.

That's not to say people still shouldn't make an effort, and that people can still report abuses to us admins.

BTW we won't let this thread degenerate into a witchunt about any individual posters, so don't start.

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Jul 5 2007 15:33
Jack wrote:
To be honest, I'd rather have a libcom that has a percieved problem with hostility than one where Primitivists, Class War Federation, the wombles, and other assorted individualist fucks still felt welcome.

Did Class War leave because people were abusive to them, or because people argued clearly against their politics? Personally, I think it is bad that they are not here. I think it would be good to have the arguments openly. They obviously didn't.

Devrim

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Jul 5 2007 15:33

BTW I might be partly desensitised as well because I grew up with the internet, I also swear all the time, and it's very common in my peer group. Maybe it's partly a generational thing?*

* georgestapleton being an exception wink

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Jul 5 2007 15:36
Jack wrote:
My point was, there's a reason there's hostility - many of the people on here have come out of a mileau full of absolute fucking morons - at one stage you just stop being able to put up with the shit or try and debate the irrational rationally.

Yes, there is a reason for the hostility in many cases. There is no reason for the abuse. A post like that may well have stopped my mother, who considered herself to be a communist from posting here. Do you want to foster a culture that alienates these people?

Devrim

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Jul 5 2007 15:40
Devrim wrote:
Jack wrote:
To be honest, I'd rather have a libcom that has a percieved problem with hostility than one where Primitivists, Class War Federation, the wombles, and other assorted individualist fucks still felt welcome.

Did Class War leave because people were abusive to them, or because people argued clearly against their politics? Personally, I think it is bad that they are not here.

Dev, they were just as abusive - or possibly more so, than their critics over the years, with various threats and things like that. I don't think they left because of people's rudeness, but because they didn't consider the boards fertile territory for their ideas, which they weren't.

Jack, I don't think the kind of comments your making on here are very constructive.

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Jul 5 2007 15:42
Jack wrote:
Stuff that that is definitely generational - I didn't even think about posting that, it's just how I talk. It wouldn't even cross my mind that it wasn't normal.

About time you wised up then.

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Jul 5 2007 15:45

One of my first encounters with this board was Chris Wright's criticism of our workplace position paper, which called us "retards" and "dipshits," so that probably shaped my approach.

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Jul 5 2007 15:47
John. wrote:
BTW I might be partly desensitised as well because I grew up with the internet, I also swear all the time, and it's very common in my peer group. Maybe it's partly a generational thing?[

John, there are times when I swear all the time. It is about realising when it is appropriate, or not. As I child I remember that my father never swore in the home. The first time I went for a beer with him and his workmates, at the age of about 15, I learnt a lot more new words that I had in the playground at school. I am 100% sure that my father would have never sworn in a political meeting. Then he would have gone to the pub, and sworn like a trooper having a beer with his comrades.

The point is there are a huge number of people it does put off, mostly, but not all from an older generation:

Quote:
I don't want to sound like an old foggy, but this abuse, insults etc is a real barrier to not only the older generation but others who are interested in discussion.

It is not only the swearing. It is the whole culture of abuse. I would never call someone a 'moron' because they disagreed with my politics.

Devrim

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Jul 5 2007 15:49
Jack wrote:
John. wrote:
Jack, I don't think the kind of comments your making on here are very constructive.

Like what? I think it's better to be open about stuff. Most of the hostility is against people who are talking utter shit. I think that's fair enough, and isn't something to be ashamed of. I think the issue isn't that abuse exists, but that it spreads over the forums and ends up directed at people who don't deserve it.

Yes, but the initial post wasn't saying "no one should insult primmos," it was about a general climate of abuse. Your replies read like justification for generalised abuse.

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Jul 5 2007 15:51
John. wrote:
Dev, they were just as abusive - or possibly more so, than their critics over the years, with various threats and things like that. I don't think they left because of people's rudeness, but because they didn't consider the boards fertile territory for their ideas, which they weren't.

Yes, so do we sink to that level?

MJ wrote:
One of my first encounters with this board was Chris Wright's criticism of our workplace position paper, which called us "retards" and "dipshits," so that probably shaped my approach.

Yes, understandably so. So Chris wright is guilty of the same thing.I am not going to excuse that. In all of the arguments I have had with NEFAC, I have never called you '"retards" and "dipshits,"'. You might not like some of my political criticims, but they are all on a political level.

Devrim

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Jul 5 2007 16:00
Jack wrote:
The point was not that abuse was fine, but that there was a reason to it, and not just because everyone who posts here is a cunt!

Most of them are to be fair.

Right I'm off home.

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Jul 5 2007 16:02
Devrim wrote:
In all of the arguments I have had with NEFAC, I have never called you '"retards" and "dipshits,"'. You might not like some of my political criticims, but they are all on a political level.

You called Flint "foolish" and "stupid" for his decision to be a public figure, though.

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Jul 5 2007 16:12
MJ wrote:
Devrim wrote:
In all of the arguments I have had with NEFAC, I have never called you '"retards" and "dipshits,"'. You might not like some of my political criticims, but they are all on a political level.

You called Flint "foolish" and "stupid" for his decision to be a public figure, though.

Well, part of it was posting a picture, and another was writing articles under my legal name.

Anyway, "foolish" and "stupid" I'm actually fine with; they are subjective insults. Having NEFAC called "capitalist" is just one "ist" to far.

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Jul 5 2007 16:13
MJ wrote:
Devrim wrote:
In all of the arguments I have had with NEFAC, I have never called you '"retards" and "dipshits,"'. You might not like some of my political criticims, but they are all on a political level.

You called Flint "foolish" and "stupid" for his decision to be a public figure, though.

Jack wrote:
Didn't he refer to his decision as that, rather than his person? ;)

MJ, I just looked back at what I said and it was:

Devrim wrote:
Am I the only person here who thinks that Flint, and Rise are shockingly stupid, and naive to be posting their pictures up on a libertarian communist board on the internet?

Yes, so you are right. I am not saying that I am 100% innocent in this. It tends to spread, and you pick it up without noticing. I certainly do try to avoid it though, and I am sure that even you would admit that there is certainly more of this directed at me than comming from me.

Also, I don't think it is half as bad as the "retards" and "dipshits,"' comment you refered to earlier. That is my opinion though.

Instead of pulling out lines where members of NEFAC have been insulted, or abused could you answer a question? Do you think that it is a good culture?

Devrim

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Jul 5 2007 16:15
MJ wrote:
You called Flint "foolish" and "stupid" for his decision to be a public figure, though.

On the political point, it wasn't for being a public figure. I think if you read what I said, I didn't see a problem with that. It was for posting up pictures purely for showing off his girlfriend.

Devrim

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Jul 5 2007 16:17

Regardless of the origins and perhaps even the past usefulness of this 'culture', is there general agreement that Devrim's right that this is a problem with libcom currently?

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Jul 5 2007 16:28
Nate wrote:
Regardless of the origins and perhaps even the past usefulness of this 'culture', is there general agreement that Devrim's right that this is a problem with libcom currently?

If it's keeping people away, sure. It's certainly not going to keep NEFACers away, and most of us will do it right back without blinking.

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Jul 5 2007 16:28
Devrim wrote:
MJ wrote:
You called Flint "foolish" and "stupid" for his decision to be a public figure, though.

On the political point, it wasn't for being a public figure. I think if you read what I said, I didn't see a problem with that. It was for posting up pictures purely for showing off his girlfriend.

Devrim

For the record...

Devrim wrote:
Flint wrote:
Last two articles I published under my legal name.

Rather Foolish I think.

I have better site than libcom for showing pictures of myself and significant other.

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Jul 5 2007 16:35
Flint wrote:
I have better site than libcom for showing pictures of myself and significant other.

Yeah, and thank god anarchistvampirescatpics.com is blocked on my work computer.

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Jul 5 2007 16:36

Some low-level nastiness or a few clever swipes here and there can make discussion boards a little less stale, and in some cases reinforce a sense of comraderie among posters (well, you'd hope anyways). I personally get annoyed by the repetition of attacks and insults more than anything else, which does create something of its own negative culture in the long run (yeah, I know, I am as guilty as any of the worst offenders).

These days my participation is largely confined to responding to people talking trash on my group, which will almost always will promise a hostile response from me (its just a question of whether it will come in the form of light-humored sarcasm or total pissed off annoyance). Its definitely gotten to the point where I feel like I have nothing to learn from anyone here, no interest in actually networking with anyone, supporting their work, or putting serious effort into debates or discussion... or even necessarily presenting a friendly/positve public face for my own group here.

Which is ironic, and pretty sad, because it seems like most of us have alot in common and come from a similar background in our political development... dissatisfied with the mainstream of our respective anarchist scenes, critical of activist culture, class-struggle and communist oriented, pro-organization, etc.

I dunno, I am starting to think anarchists would do alot better if they didn't actually talk to each other in the spare time...

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Jul 5 2007 16:39

Flint, it started over the pictures, there as the above my above post shows, I called you stupid. It was wrong, and it isn't the right way to go about things.
The 'foolish', obviously refers to the action. Yes, I do think it is foolish, but I hardly think that saying an action is foolish stands anywhere near the general climate of abuse I am talking about.

MJ wrote:
If it's keeping people away, sure. It's certainly not going to keep NEFACers away, and most of us will do it right back without blinking.

Do you think that NEFACers, as an organised political group, should try to rise above this, or 'do it right back without blinking'. I wouldn't condone Revol's abuse even though he has been arguing similar points to me in those arguments.

Devrim

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Jul 5 2007 16:51
Devrim wrote:
Do you think that NEFACers, as an organised political group, should try to rise above this, or 'do it right back without blinking'. I wouldn't condone Revol's abuse even though he has been arguing similar points to me in those arguments.

In political spaces where there is a mutual respect involved I think we have always done well. This isn't one those spaces. Most of the people from our group who post here (Flint, MJ, Thugarchist, Nicolas, Rebelworker, Phebus, myself, etc) are very intelligent and dedicated revolutionaries, have tons of movement experience, generally friendly, thoughtful, etc. But I don't think any of us (well, maybe Phebus) is above playing in the mud if that's where the level of discourse takes us... which, unfortunately, is often the case with Libcom debates.

Flint
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Jul 5 2007 16:55
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
In political spaces where there is a mutual respect involved I think we have always done well. This isn't one those spaces. Most of the people from our group who post here (Flint, MJ, Thugarchist, Nicolas, Rebelworker, Phebus, myself, etc) are very intelligent and dedicated revolutionaries, have tons of movement experience, generally friendly, thoughtful, etc. But I don't think any of us (well, maybe Phebus) is above playing in the mud if that's where the level of discourse takes us... which, unfortunately, is often the case with Libcom debates.

I used to be all sweetness and light.

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Jul 5 2007 16:56

(For the record I have the least movement experience of anyone in that list.)

Dundee_United
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Jul 5 2007 17:04

I know a number of serious people who do not post here because they find the atmosphere too unfriendly to be conducive to serious debate and discussion. There is also a lack of clarity about what the messageboards are about - are they there for serious discussion (in which case they should organisationally accountable, with all that entails), or are they here for individuals to talk politics (which usually implies a certain level of nastiness on the internet and is predominantly something that young, and predominantly male, people do) which will attract that constituency of users.

My own feeling is that perhaps these problems in the current set-up are intractable and that libcom mods can't necessarily deal with them. It would require people to begin to discuss with each other as representatives of groups, it would require significant moderation, and it would require that the libcom admin team be accountable as a group to the organisations which make up the forums. I don't think that is possible without huge changes, and I don't think most posters would stand for it. I think therefore the forums will continually face these problems.

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Jul 5 2007 17:26

My girlfriend has had a look on libcom on occasion while I've been on the site. She was absolutely horrified by what she described as "the language". She's in her early 30s, like me, so not quite an "old fogey" yet. But I think she is probably indicative of many female workers who would find the culture of libcom (or rather some elements on it) intimidating, if not repulsive.

Although she is not particularly political and certainly far from convinced about communism, etc. she's attended our local discussion group on a semi-regular basis and also an ICC public meeting and found both interesting.

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Jul 5 2007 17:47
MJ wrote:
One of my first encounters with this board was Chris Wright's criticism of our workplace position paper, which called us "retards" and "dipshits," so that probably shaped my approach.

I only joined libcom cause srb let me know Oliver fuckface twister was mischaracterizing my political positions.

Oh wait... is calling Oliver a fuckface adding to the hate-culture?