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the 'culture' of Libcom

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thugarchist
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Jul 5 2007 17:50
Flint wrote:

I used to be all sweetness and light.

You've always been a cock.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2007 17:52
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?

I'm all for hostility where warranted, but never contentless abuse (and I don't usually swear on here unless I'm drunk, or in libcommunity). I agree that there's a fair bit of contentless abuse, although much less than there's been before, and it's generally been a downward trend*.

Jack - I think the reason that the primmos and posters like crackfixpropaganda left was because people were writing parody short stories about them and otherwise ridiculing them on the basis of their ideas. To an extent it was similar with Class War and the stickers/bonfire. This is hostility/ridicule, but it's not flaming, and I think it's the flaming that's the problem.

Another issue is that we set libcommunity (or the bin) up to split threads that went in flaming back and forth to, but the software we use makes it a nightmare to split threads (each reply has to be cut and pasted one by one) - so that doesn't happen. We used to split threads all the time before, but then we didn't have loads of other cool shit, and with a bit of luck it'll be easier to do soon enough.

*I think with the NEFAC (and friends) (and Kevin Keating and 'enemies') discussions it's maybe slightly up again - not because of them particularly, but it's the first time for a while we've had a different social group come on at around the same time - so there's a whole extra set of in-jokes and banter, not to mention that some of the political discussions have got unnecessarily hostile (on both sides). The apartheid thread has managed to run with zero flaming though, and it seems to be settling down a bit in general.

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Jul 5 2007 17:53
Dundee_United wrote:
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 are 5 or 6 regular WSM posters here but at least twice that number who do look at the site sometimes but won't post here because of the standard of discussion. Actually libcom has become short hand for how not to discuss politics.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2007 18:00
Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
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.

Although I think many of those discussions have been overly hostile on both sides (and am disappointed that you feel so strongly about them as well, as we've discussed before), I don't think the people you named are simply responding in kind - the many, many pages of banter between edit: sorry MJFlint, Thugarchist and CH about who slept with whose wives for example, or the "scab" thread.

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Jul 5 2007 18:09
Mike Harman wrote:
Although I think many of those discussions have been overly hostile on both sides (and am disappointed that you feel so strongly about them as well, as we've discussed before), I don't think the people you named are simply responding in kind - the many, many pages of banter between MJ, Thugarchist and CH about who slept with whose wives for example, or the "scab" thread.

You love that shit. But to be fair, for people who don't know me I do come off as a little hostile, but its how I joke with my friends and isn't intended to be. Except for that fucker oliver of course.

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Jul 5 2007 18:17

I didn't sleep with anyone's wife confused

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Jul 5 2007 18:18
MJ wrote:
I didn't sleep with anyone's wife confused

Edit -> You haven't met [xxxxxxx's] ex-wife dude. Hawt.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jul 5 2007 18:20
MJ wrote:
(For the record I have the least movement experience of anyone in that list.)

Yeah, but you're our go-to guy when obscure Marxist theory discussions come up and we want to sound smart.

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Jul 5 2007 18:21
Devrim wrote:
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:

I think I mostly agree with Devrim here, when I am in a meeting I try not to swear. The question is are these boards a informal place for political debate (pub) or are they a political forum? Incidentally the example used in this discussion is always the pub.
In the pub I could say that.
No some one would hit you
etc etc
The fact is if some libcom behaviour was transferred into a pub there would be a brawl and into a political meeting the meeting would collapse (probably into a brawl)

I think as catch said ridiculing the politics of posters is a better tactic than insulting them. I think that there is also a very confrontational atmosphere at times. I don't want to get into the whole NEFAC issue but I did feel that NEFAC members responded in a very confrontational and aggressive manner. However this is because they believed their group to be under public attack. As it was the substance of the argument was about 10 posts, the vitriol 10 pages. That wasn't necessary and anyone who googled NEFAC and got that thread would probably have been put off both Libcom and NEFAC.

This is a public space so there must be an element of concern for the people that read what is written here. As John. has said, many comrades from abroad read the boards, although they post very rarely. The aim f this site is to be an anarchist resource and a resource must help to attract people to it.

I think the creation of libcommunity has worked fairly well (although I didn't think that it would.) but I think that there is an aggressive and abusive element side to libcom which a lot of posters perpetuate.

Before posting we should think about what the point of the post is and how it will appear to someone not involved in the discussion.

The other thing is many posters cite frustration as a reason for insults. In which case don't post. Despite all the rows there is a consensus on the boards about many points so if you think someone being a dick then don't call them a dick, someone else will dismantle their argument, if they're not actualy being a dick then it's probably best you don't call them one.

One of the better respected posters on here is Devrim who rarely swears, in fact the Devrim smackdown has become a running joke because it is so effective.
A while back Revol made a bet or something not to swear, and it was pretty much universally acknowledged that he was on excellent form and took a lot of people to pieces. It comes back to motivation, do we want someone to be thinking about their positions after a discussion or to be defensive because they've been insulted. It is a lot more effort to actually engage with someone, especially if their arguments are severely flawed however if the aim is to help them to develop better arguments then engagement is the only way to do it.

I also try to avoid swearing outside of libcommunity in case people have filters at work, another way of improving access to the site.

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Jul 5 2007 18:23
SRB wrote:
Yeah, but you're our go-to guy when obscure Marxist theory discussions come up and we want to sound smart.

embarrassed neutral

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Jul 5 2007 18:27
jef wrote:
As it was the substance of the argument was about 10 posts, the vitriol 10 pages. That wasn't necessary and anyone who googled NEFAC and got that thread would probably have been put off both Libcom and NEFAC.

On the other hand two people who post here have just joined as supporters. grin Not saying who of course, that's up to them and we haven't even got their manuals in the mail.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2007 18:32
Dundee_United wrote:
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.

Talking politics is serious, even when it's not, let's just get that clear.

Where threads are trying to deal with serious issues that have immediate practical application we've often moderated heavily and temp banned people where necessary - a lot of threads aren't like that though, and the only way it's possible to have threads co-ordinating pickets around the university strikes (for example), is the relatively wide range of the forums in general. We don't consider the forums serving a political purpose in themselves apart from how individuals choose to use them (i.e. developing politics via discussion, getting information, advice etc.), outside of very specific circumstances.

Quote:
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.

I think there's a very slow process of culture change going on, as the number of posters (especially those who joined post name-change and post-cpe) has increased. However, as with any forum, new posters also pick up the existing culture of the forums as well, so it's a two way thing. If things continue to improve at the same rate over the next 6-18 months, we might even see the end of threads like these, maybe.

Quote:
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.

The forums aren't made up by organisations, they're made up of individuals: some of whom happen to be in organisations, some of which happen to have a number of individuals who post on here. Whilst we host forums for groups, we don't have any kind of organisational relationship with them as a site.

Having said that currently host forums for NEFAC, Solfed, the AF, Freedom Newspaper and EKS (and an unofficial wobbly one, and local groups) - and used to host Class War, some anti-G8, other ones as well, it'd be a ridiculous state of affairs to have a website that was "accountable" to that combination of groups - even ones we've hosted within the past two years.

If you look at the posters who 'represent' groups who we don't host anything for, there's the ICC, the Irish Socialist Party, Praxis, the Communist League, Aufheben, Infoshop, CNT (Spain), CNT-AIT, the IBRP, the ex-WOMBLES, some social centre groups, PGA types come on occasionally, BNP members occasionally troll. Apologies to anyone I missed off the list.

Then there's all the (living) individuals and groups with stuff in the library (some of whom post, some don't) - prol-position, Chris Wright, Ret Marut, the ICG, Negri, John Holloway, Echanges et Mouvement, Wildcat, Red Action, Kevin Keating, the San Franciso fare strike guys, Chomsky, Dave Douglass.

Some of these groups and individuals absolutely hate each other, and have had long running disputes for about five times as long as the site's existed or before the internet or even home PCs were around in some cases. The only reason that they're able to co-exist in one place is because 1. libcom isn't the website of a political group 2. it's not a unity project and there's no pretence to accountability to 'the movement'.

If you want group accountability, or open publishing, then I'd suggest anarkismo or indymedia respectively. This isn't the place to discuss those sites, but they have a different purpose to us.

Flint
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Jul 5 2007 18:40
MJ wrote:
On the other hand two people who post here have just joined as supporters. grin Not saying who of course, that's up to them and we haven't even got their manuals in the mail.

Please don't reveal who! I can't take another 20 pages of defending "X" and "Y"s choice in union membership.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2007 18:40
thugarchist wrote:
You love that shit. But to be fair, for people who don't know me I do come off as a little hostile, but its how I joke with my friends and isn't intended to be. Except for that fucker oliver of course.

FWIW, we've had at least three threads over a two year period almost entirely discussing revol's swearing/insults, and even threads on other boards about it, and this was his defense almost word for word. This thread will be neither about revol nor you though, like John said.

As someone who uses the site, it doesn't bother me in the slightest, as an admin, it really pisses me off - not least because I've spent the past hour reading/responding to this thread instead of either 1. discussing politics 2. posting new content 3. doing admin/server stuff - and I wouldn't have to if people could take things to pm/e-mail or just start threads in the bin even.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2007 18:42
MJ wrote:
I didn't sleep with anyone's wife confused

Sorry, Flint I think. I just remember having to delete loads of posts in the main forums, and biting my tongue in the NEFAC forum, not so much who said what for pages and pages of complete drivel.

Flint
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Jul 5 2007 19:37
Mike Harman wrote:
MJ wrote:
I didn't sleep with anyone's wife confused

Sorry, Flint I think. I just remember having to delete loads of posts in the main forums, and biting my tongue in the NEFAC forum, not so much who said what for pages and pages of complete drivel.

I've never had a wife and never slept with anyone's wife.

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Jul 5 2007 20:11
Jack wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
Jack - I think the reason that the primmos and posters like crackfixpropaganda left was because people were writing parody short stories about them and otherwise ridiculing them on the basis of their ideas. To an extent it was similar with Class War and the stickers/bonfire. This is hostility/ridicule, but it's not flaming, and I think it's the flaming that's the problem.

I disagree, actually. I think the level of hostility on some of the NEFAC threads was a "problem", but it wasn't really flaming that did it.

The nefac threads are fine. We're all big boys and girls. Christ.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2007 20:16

Actually I think the root of that was that NEFAC have their own culture of hostility and ridicule towards post-leftists and other american anarchists, and transposed that to dealing with regular posters on here. I reckon if you look at our somewhat surprised responses to SRB's reaction to those discussions, it's probably not all that different from the reaction of non-posting lurkers (that we over-react to people who disagree with us, that we're hostile, unfriendly etc.)

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Jul 5 2007 20:19
Jack wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
The nefac threads are fine. We're all big boys and girls. Christ.

and I'm sure no one from the "anti-NEFAC" side let it bother them either.

However, to anyone reading it and not involved, it looked mental.

I thought it was fun.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2007 20:19
thugarchist wrote:
The nefac threads are fine. We're all big boys and girls. Christ.
Quote:
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.

Not to mention wanting to punch revol when he meets him, not being keen on being bought a pint/meal by me, John. or Devrim. etc. I think it's an over-reaction, and have said as much, but unless it's some kind of uber-sarcasm on SRB's part it appears to have had that effect.

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Jul 5 2007 20:21
Mike Harman wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
The nefac threads are fine. We're all big boys and girls. Christ.
Quote:
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.

Not to mention wanting to punch revol when he meets him, not being keen on being bought a pint/meal by me, John. or Devrim. etc. I think it's an over-reaction, and have said as much, but unless it's some kind of uber-sarcasm on SRB's part it appears to have had that effect.

SRB networks with everyone. He's like a little old lady with a fucking revolutionary sewing circle.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2007 20:34
Jack wrote:
However, to anyone reading it and not involved, it looked mental.

Actually that one guy registered after reading it to say how interesting it was.

Flint
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Jul 5 2007 20:35
thugarchist wrote:
SRB networks with everyone. He's like a little old lady with a fucking revolutionary sewing circle.

Did I hallucinate it, or did SRB once have nice things to say about some primmies because they liked metal?

Kevin Keating
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Jul 5 2007 22:07

"Smash Rich Bastards" claims:

"Most of the people from our group who post here (Flint, MJ, Thugarchist, ...myself, etc) are very intelligent and dedicated revolutionaries..."

And where on earth is the evidence for this?! In any thread i've posted on the aforementioned characters have had absolutely nothing of substance to say , and done a piss-poor job of saying it.

You don't have to believe me, either; go back over any threads that I initiated and see for yourself. Go get the picture of the NEFAC functionary slurping cans of beer in his Easter Bunny bunny suit; no doubt taking time out from his busy schedule of organizing all the vacuum tube factory workers into Industrial union 450 of Ye Olde IWW.

The juvenile droolings of the NEFAC crowd have definitely dragged the intelligence level of these discussion forums down to the low two-digit I.Q. zone. That's appropriate coming from a comic opera leftist sect like NEFAC, whose anarchism is a 19th century horse-drawn buggy with square wheels.

Note: nothing I've said here is any kind of personal insult, but a political characterization, and I think a very accurate one.

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Jul 5 2007 23:28

Actually the NEFAC threads have put me off of posting on LibCom except for occasional posts.

I'm not claiming innocence, but A) I at least raised political points, which the NEFACers did not and B) I'm not calling MJ, thugarchist, rise, or SRB "fuckfaces" in this very thread.

Not to mention dozens of other hostile comments made about since those discussions, or the fact that they kept making jokes about an undercover cop who I'd known, even after asking them to not to.

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Jul 6 2007 00:49

You said all sorts of ridiculous stuff like "there is no mass organization worth having." I said I'd check for you on "Anti-politics" in 6 months, and asked if it was true you'd like to kick all the shops with contracts out of your union, and Thugarchist and I have a bet as to how soon you'll be issuing denunciations of it. That's plenty political and you never responded to any of it politically.

Dundee_United
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Jul 6 2007 00:57
Quote:
I'm not claiming innocence, but A) I at least raised political points, which the NEFACers did not and B) I'm not calling MJ, thugarchist, rise, or SRB "fuckfaces" in this very thread.

Not to mention dozens of other hostile comments made about since those discussions, or the fact that they kept making jokes about an undercover cop who I'd known, even after asking them to not to.

Oliver, I can't speak for NEFAC, but the way you've related to me has certainly not been too bloody charming. You have consistently asserted, without any evidence, that I have urged anarchists to join the SSP. You have innuendized and insinuated a whole host of things about which I am supposed to have said or made statements on, in order to try and undermine things that I have said and written, and you have done this all without ever having met or worked with me on anything, purely on the basis that you are hostile to my politics. You reap what you sow.

Dundee_United
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Jul 6 2007 01:42

This comment has been moved <a href="<em>http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/ffs#comment-208213</em>">here</a>.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jul 6 2007 01:55
Mike Harman wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
The nefac threads are fine. We're all big boys and girls. Christ.
Quote:
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.

Not to mention wanting to punch revol when he meets him, not being keen on being bought a pint/meal by me, John. or Devrim. etc. I think it's an over-reaction, and have said as much, but unless it's some kind of uber-sarcasm on SRB's part it appears to have had that effect.

Yeah, pretty much. I'm generally not one to turn down a pint, but it seems like it would be more headaches than its worth with some of the would-be hosts from Libcom. But who knows, maybe we'd meet on friendlier terms and be able to ignore some of the conversations that have gone down here. As for Revol, if he talked to me in person the way he talks here I wouldn't be above socking him in the face. Sorry, just being honest. [note: if he were civil and comradely there wouldn't be any problem]

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Jul 6 2007 01:58

SRB claiming he'd turn down a free pint is the single most extreme, vindictive thing I'd ever heard him say.