DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

the 'culture' of Libcom

164 posts / 0 new
Last post
lem
Offline
Joined: 25-07-05
Jul 6 2007 01:58

hey. probably covered already. but what is the purpose of the site anyway?

Smash Rich Bastards
Offline
Joined: 24-03-06
Jul 6 2007 02:00
Kevin Keating wrote:
"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.

Stop flirting, its embarrassing.

Nate's picture
Nate
Offline
Joined: 16-12-05
Jul 6 2007 02:52
thugarchist wrote:
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.

Yeah. "A little."

I'm one of the new supporters, by the way.

[Edit: removed dumb stuff I didn't need to say and which didn't help the tone of the discussion.]

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Jul 6 2007 02:55

This comment has been moved <a href="<em>http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/ffs#comment-208214</em>">here</a>.

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Jul 6 2007 02:57
Mike Harman wrote:
not being keen on being bought a pint/meal by me, John. or Devrim. etc.

john bought me a pint, and i'd be only too happy to have either catch or devrim buy me another grin
the banter here is often very good, but that's different from abuse. i think i've been abusive only a very few times and i hope not again. though when saddam defenders like 'armchair socialist' come on i'm sorely tempted. or head-chopper defenders...

bastarx
Offline
Joined: 9-03-06
Jul 6 2007 02:57
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.

Chris probably shouldn't have used those words but his criticisms as a whole were a lot more thoughtful and as far as I recall NEFACers never made any serious response, something which seems to be SOP for you guys.

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Jul 6 2007 04:05

This comment has been moved <a href="<em>http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/ffs#comment-208211</em>">here</a>.

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Jul 6 2007 04:15

This comment has been moved <a href="<em>http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/ffs#comment-208210</em>">here</a>.

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
Offline
Joined: 10-10-05
Jul 6 2007 05:57

This comment has been moved <a href="<em>http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/ffs#comment-208209</em>">here</a>.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jul 6 2007 06:55
lem wrote:
hey. probably covered already. but what is the purpose of the site anyway?

It's in notes/about somewhere, but we're in the process of a rewrite since we don't think the current one is very clear.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jul 6 2007 07:12

OK I moved some, deleted the rest, that's it.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Jul 6 2007 09:13

I think the 'culture' of libcom has greatly improved on the whole. The banning of flaming to the libcommunity category was an important step. There have certainly been a lot of regressions but the general trend is positive.

Dundee_United
Offline
Joined: 10-04-06
Jul 6 2007 09:57
Quote:
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.

Essentially Catch this was my point. I wasn't having a go and I think you guys do great work actually. I was just saying that there is actually a need for such a forum, but that libcom could not behave in this way and in any case you guys don't want it to and it is your site.

knightrose
Offline
Joined: 8-11-03
Jul 6 2007 11:50

I think it's time to stop and think about issues other than simple swearing. The environment on these forums can be very over bearing. New posters have got ripped to shreads. The Underground was a case in point. There's a general sense of arrogance that pervades. I've heard these comments made in the AF, which is why so few of us post on here any more, in IFA , around the Manchester anarchist crowd (how many of them bother to post any more?) and in the IWW.

People have to ask whether these boards exist to meaningfully discuss with others or simply to make posters feel good about themselves because they make others look small.

arf
Offline
Joined: 25-11-06
Jul 6 2007 13:19

didnt you used to have an introductory thought forum with stricter rules on being respectful to each other and talking more plainly? theres lots of stuff in thought id be interested in learning and chatting about but so much of the time the language and prior knowledge assumed is way beyond mine. is it possible for you to have two thought forums running alongside each other, one more academic and competitive than the other? i dont know if maybe you shut the old one down because it wasnt getting used? but like theres ideas in here that i wouldve been up for discussing in simpler terms but seriously ive been lost before ive even finished the initial post.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jul 6 2007 13:43

I rarely post here because of the atmosphere, especially some of the feeding frenzies that have broken out. And I know many, many, anarchists who feel the same way. I feel libcom , as regards the forums, has shot itself in the foot.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jul 6 2007 14:07
Battlescarred wrote:
I rarely post here because of the atmosphere, especially some of the feeding frenzies that have broken out. And I know many, many, anarchists who feel the same way. I feel libcom , as regards the forums, has shot itself in the foot.

Come on you are another who gives as good as you get, battlescarred - and sometimes a fair bit better as well!

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jul 6 2007 14:14

I don't think that's true. I certainly don't talk like the likes of Jack or Revol, who are one of the reasons there has been a mass exodus from libcom forums.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jul 6 2007 14:16
Battlescarred wrote:
I don't think that's true. I certainly don't talk like the likes of Jack or Revol, who are one of the reasons there has been a mass exodus from libcom forums.

Hmmm possibly not on here, but then you don't post here that much, I was thinking mainly of u75, particularly your discussions with trot types.

Anyway jack and revol for the most part behave themselves on here now. jack hasn't been posting on here much at all recently.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Jul 6 2007 15:32

Yeah, but that's the Trots. Show no mercy!!

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Jul 6 2007 16:37
arf wrote:
is it possible for you to have two thought forums running alongside each other, one more academic and competitive than the other? i dont know if maybe you shut the old one down because it wasnt getting used? but like theres ideas in here that i wouldve been up for discussing in simpler terms but seriously ive been lost before ive even finished the initial post.

i second this

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
Offline
Joined: 17-07-06
Jul 6 2007 16:52

What strikes me is that I don't think this is an issue which will ever go away, for a very simple reason - people use the forums for different reasons. Without some sort of mandatory code of conduct there is no way the forums would ever be a utopia of friendly discussion.

The divide between posters is pretty clear I think, generalising there are two camps - both are very serious about their politics but use the forums and the internet in different ways. I'm sure everyone can figure out what the two camps are. One camp sees the net as a serious tool which has potential to reach 'outsiders' while others see it as a place to spend time during work. 'the serious' style people see libcom as a gateway to an outside world and want it to reflect that. But others will never accept that (the everyone should be thick skinned argument) and carry on regardless.

Fwiw i think it would be more productive to have a forum where people do not have to be thick skinned - but i don't think thats possible. I think the best we can do is try and limit hostility - stuff like libcommunity has done that to an extent, but it cant override it totally.

I know the admins will always try and keep things moving and keep tensions calm, but at the end of the day you have to take a bit from here and a bit from there and just get on with it. Being able to ignore people and get on with it is a powerful skill. At the end of the day everyone should be up for getting on with it and not looking to blame certain individuals who they can't seem to ignore.

Also I found interesting people's perceptions of where the problem stems from. People who have been on the forums for a while seem to like blaming a handful of posters from the beginning. But these people have definitely improved over time, but people are persistent in blaming, instead of just trying to ignore them and get on with it. Just because someone says something doesn't mean you have to reply to them or take it too heart.

At the end of the day, we'll keep doing the site and trying to make things run smoothly, we've done it for something like nearly 4 years now and no doubt in 4 years time we will still be doing it. New people will read the site and lots of people will say they don't. Good luck to them, I bet they still sneak in the odd look when they just cant help themselves wink

Nate's picture
Nate
Offline
Joined: 16-12-05
Jul 6 2007 16:57
knightrose wrote:
I think it's time to stop and think about issues other than simple swearing. The environment on these forums can be very over bearing. New posters have got ripped to shreads. The Underground was a case in point. There's a general sense of arrogance that pervades. I've heard these comments made in the AF, which is why so few of us post on here any more, in IFA , around the Manchester anarchist crowd (how many of them bother to post any more?) and in the IWW.

People have to ask whether these boards exist to meaningfully discuss with others or simply to make posters feel good about themselves because they make others look small.

I think this is the most important point made in this thread. When discussion stops being both substantive and enjoyable then that's a problem. It becomes point-scoring and really no one feels particularly good I think, I think even the ones who 'win' get a minor kick but don't really gain anything that matter. And other people are put off from entering discussion or from discussing seriously and honestly.

georgestapleton's picture
georgestapleton
Offline
Joined: 4-08-05
Jul 6 2007 17:13
rkn wrote:
What strikes me is that I don't think this is an issue which will ever go away, for a very simple reason - people use the forums for different reasons. Without some sort of mandatory code of conduct there is no way the forums would ever be a utopia of friendly discussion.

The divide between posters is pretty clear I think, generalising there are two camps - both are very serious about their politics but use the forums and the internet in different ways. I'm sure everyone can figure out what the two camps are. One camp sees the net as a serious tool which has potential to reach 'outsiders' while others see it as a place to spend time during work. 'the serious' style people see libcom as a gateway to an outside world and want it to reflect that. But others will never accept that (the everyone should be thick skinned argument) and carry on regardless.

Maybe the collective could decide which 'libcom' it wants to be, and then develop an editorial policy to suit that.

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Jul 6 2007 17:14

In all honesty I think the fact that Revol gets a pass on everything sets a boundary. Lots of longterm posters allude to some point in the past when his behavior was challenged repeatedly and finally just accepted, and then can't understand why newer posters don't ignore him and instead follow his example in response.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Jul 6 2007 17:26
georgestapleton wrote:
rkn wrote:
What strikes me is that I don't think this is an issue which will ever go away, for a very simple reason - people use the forums for different reasons. Without some sort of mandatory code of conduct there is no way the forums would ever be a utopia of friendly discussion.

The divide between posters is pretty clear I think, generalising there are two camps - both are very serious about their politics but use the forums and the internet in different ways. I'm sure everyone can figure out what the two camps are. One camp sees the net as a serious tool which has potential to reach 'outsiders' while others see it as a place to spend time during work. 'the serious' style people see libcom as a gateway to an outside world and want it to reflect that. But others will never accept that (the everyone should be thick skinned argument) and carry on regardless.

Maybe the collective could decide which 'libcom' it wants to be, and then develop an editorial policy to suit that.

well, at the moment the main boards are meant to be the 'polite debating club' and libcommunity 'the pub afterwards,' though obviously you're never going to get a politics forum without some degree of friction. splitting threads is a pain at the moment which hasn't helped recently though

MJ wrote:
In all honesty I think the fact that Revol gets a pass on everything sets a boundary. Lots of longterm posters allude to some point in the past when his behavior was challenged repeatedly and finally just accepted, and then can't understand why newer posters don't ignore him and instead follow his example in response.

he certainly doesn't get "a pass on everything" - and since his most recent ban he's been far from the most vitriolic poster on the boards

Dundee_United
Offline
Joined: 10-04-06
Jul 6 2007 17:32
Quote:
What strikes me is that I don't think this is an issue which will ever go away, for a very simple reason - people use the forums for different reasons. Without some sort of mandatory code of conduct there is no way the forums would ever be a utopia of friendly discussion.

The divide between posters is pretty clear I think, generalising there are two camps - both are very serious about their politics but use the forums and the internet in different ways. I'm sure everyone can figure out what the two camps are. One camp sees the net as a serious tool which has potential to reach 'outsiders' while others see it as a place to spend time during work. 'the serious' style people see libcom as a gateway to an outside world and want it to reflect that. But others will never accept that (the everyone should be thick skinned argument) and carry on regardless.

I think there is actually a third position here Rkn. There are those who see a role for a kind of pomo international, with a forums which is not outward facing but is there for representatives of organisations to co-ordinate and discuss. As I've stated I don't think that's remotely doable with libcom but the very fact that we have a sizeable number of organisations discussing and co-ordinating to some extent, across the world, demonstrates the potential that such a forum might emerge. I don't think libcom can ever be that, but I think it has shown that such a thing can exist.

Apart from that agree with Mr Stapleton that you guys would probably be better off deciding what you want it to be to clear up the ambiguities.

Dust
Offline
Joined: 6-02-06
Jul 6 2007 17:51

I posted something on this a good while back. Reading back over it is ridiclously pompous but i stand by most of it.

Dust wrote:
edited to remove refrences to an individual
Personally i am a constant lurker, not necessarily because of revol, but because there are two competing currents at play within libcom at the moment. One wants to use it for organising, sharing information and have serious debate around topics. The other seems to see libcom as an extension of their social life where in jokes, snide oneliners,insults, personal vendettas and witty comments take precedence over any sort of serious contribution. These trends are mutually exclusive because it very difficult to have a serious conversation when there are so many disruptive and frivilous intejections. Unforunately the second trend usually seems to be more prevelant.

Of course posters aren't are neatly divided into either trend;a "serious revolutionaries vs bored tossers" type of binary as everyone has elements of both in them.

For me the more important question is which way will the admins allow libcom to develop. Taking firm action against the "disruptive" involves far more than simply banning a single posters. To a certain extent it is about which aspects of posters personalites does the website encourages to flourish.

Over the last while the website has grown hugely from what i can tell and people hope to use it as an organising resource. This involves a change in culture tho as older posters first became involved in libcom when it was something very different. One way of helping this proccess is to introduce strict admining and temp bans.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Jul 6 2007 18:42
Dundee_United wrote:
I think there is actually a third position here Rkn. There are those who see a role for a kind of pomo international, with a forums which is not outward facing but is there for representatives of organisations to co-ordinate and discuss. As I've stated I don't think that's remotely doable with libcom but the very fact that we have a sizeable number of organisations discussing and co-ordinating to some extent, across the world, demonstrates the potential that such a forum might emerge. I don't think libcom can ever be that, but I think it has shown that such a thing can exist.

I am not sure what 'pomo' international means. I think though that the sort of thing that you are suggesting is not, as you seem to agree, what Libcom is.

Quote:
a forums which is not outward facing but is there for representatives of organisations to co-ordinate and discuss

I think that there is a problem with this idea as you express it here. There has to be some sort of political limitations to these, otherwise you will end up with pages, and pages of polemic, and probably abuse. Would you want Stalinists for example, would you want Trotskyists, would you want us?

If the Platformists wanted a forum of this type, I think they would be best developing it around 'Anarkismo' with which incidentally I am very impressed with on an organisational level. Here you have groups from around the world co-operating, and co-ordinating their activity. If you don't want Anarkismo to go down that road you could attach a 'closed' forum for groups that you are close to to the sight, and invite others to join.

We have discussions with groups that we are close to (ICC, IBRP, as well as other groups mainly in countries in Europe, and the Middle East) as I am sure you do.

One of the good things about Libcom is that it allows for a discussion of ideas between groups that are not that close. Inevitably this leads things to turn into polemic. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't be less abusive, and I think that the abuse that Revol threw at you today was a good example of this. I think that what you are proposing, as you clearly say, is not what Libcom is, or can, or, in my opinion should be.

Devrim

Demogorgon303's picture
Demogorgon303
Offline
Joined: 5-07-05
Jul 6 2007 18:47

Some thoughts. I myself have been a forum admin in my dim and distant past and I see many of the elements I witnessed then playing themselves out on libcom. Dust's analysis above is quite cogent, but I would add to this the tendency for people to use the BBS medium as a place to work out their own neuroses rather than engage in serious discussion. This is partly a symptom of political positions such as ours being very isolated in society. In many workplaces (such as my own), even the simple act of piping up when asylum seekers are being slagged off can be extremely difficult. It's often the case that we are conditioned to react with a similar pack mentality when we're in the majority.

I think the reception that a firm Trotskyist would receive here is a crucial test, or even someone defending more conventional bourgeois positions such as Labour or even a Tory! It's easy to dismiss these people as simple hacks (and some undoubtedly will be) but if we're not willing to sit down and debate sensibly with them when they show willing, we'll never be able to convince our class of anything. And really that's what it's all about.

Alf mentioned earlier that he thinks the atmosphere on the forums has much improved. I think this is true to some extent, but I also think he's being somewhat subjective mainly because the attitude to the ICC has improved without this necessarily having a wider effect at the same level.

Abuse is also not the only problem. In the past week, three threads that have been up on the recent posts section have included "You Disgusting Fucks", "The Button Is A Cock", "The C Word". My impression is that threads consisting solely of banter have been dominant recently, with even serious threads degenerating into an exchange of mock insults, "cock" and "cunts" being the favorite.

I think there's a place for banter on the site - it relieves tension and can prevent us becoming overly serious for its own sake. But the juvenile quality of some of the banter currently dominant on the site detracts from its purpose.