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the 'culture' of Libcom

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Kevin Keating
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Jul 6 2007 19:26

I remember a UK ultra-left/libertarian effort called, "Intercom" in the early 1980's. This is so long ago that the bulletin was mimeographed, back in the days before the internet, obviously, and even before desktop publishing became widespread. This was also so long ago that I was still calling myself an anarchist, although I was beginning to come under the sway of the ICC, and of much better efforts than them like' Workers Playtime.'

Anyway, the exchanges in 'Intercom' were always on-topic, about wage-earners and claimants' struggles of the day, how revolutionaries could assert their anatgonism to the bullshit peace movement that was then a big deal back then and so on. I might not have agreed with all of what I read in 'Intercom', but it was on-topic -- got that, ON TOPIC,

off topic abuse deleted

martinh
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Jul 6 2007 20:26

I've not been able to be on here as much recently because of changes at work. I agree that there is a tension between the people wanting this as a serious organising /debating resource and those for whom it has a social role. And I also think that there may be a generational thing going on.

A few threads spring to mind - the John Bowden one, the KSL one last year, where some of the posts exhibited what I would call uncomradely behaviour. I just don't think that it's a good way to conduct yourself and certainly not good training for dealing with people in the real world. It is possible to disagree with someone without attacking them, and I'm pleased to see that most threads do do that (the apartheid/slavery thread was a good eg last time I looked).

I think the forums generally detract from the rest of the site, which is a shame, but I'm not sure how it could be avoided. I'd certainly recommend that the admins work out a way of splitting threads that's easier. Nor would it hurt for them to sit down and talk (possibly in real life) about where they see the forums going. As it is, I think some people would most certainly be put off from a random reading of some of the posts on here,

regards,

Martin

Terry
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Jul 6 2007 20:42

I note something approaching agreement on this between members of the AF, ICC, EKS, Sol Fed, WSM etc....

Mike Harman
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Jul 6 2007 20:56
solfed member for the title of a new thread wrote:
dipshit

, also don't forget Jack's in solfed.
Also, members of the WSM have said they "only come on libcom to troll", and then guydebordisdead is well known for his hostility (the underground thread if I need to point one out).
EKS: Devrim is well behaved, but he had to tell Leo off a couple of times.
Solfed: Jack's in it.
That leaves the AF and the ICC, apart from Battlescarred offering revol a clip 'round the ear a few times I can't think of anything obvious, although of course the ICC have their own feuds and acrimony (parasite etc.)

A lot of people have good intentions, and things have improved, but I think more than ever, the blame can't be put on a couple of individuals - even if that's the overriding impression for people who've been on the forums for a long time but not so much recently.

Personally, after the painful attempt to split this very thread this morning, I'm just going to delete pointless abusive posts on serious threads if it's going to derail. If you don't want your posts deleted, start a thread in libcommunity or the bin and post a link from the thread to it. I expect dozens of posts complaining about this if I keep up with it.

IDP
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Jul 6 2007 21:05

I think the admins do an admirable, but thankless, job of trying to keep things on the forums civil and from flaming out of control. So, to them, many thanks.

But having been on the receiving end of an endless string of abuse and attempted "outings" of my and my comrades' real names, accompanied with the same predictable canned one-liners and hackneyed one-size-fits-all insults mentioned above, I can attest that the forums at worst can be outlets for people's neuroses.

Recently, at a public forum in Oakland, California I was talking with a left communist woman from Poland who left there in 1970 to avoid imprisonment due to her involvement with militant workers' struggles. We'd both read Otto Rühle's biography of Marx and I was commenting on what an asshole Marx could be to political enemies (i.e. Bakunin, Lassalle, et al.) and she corrected me. She said that a lot from Rühle's bio was based on the personal letters between Marx and trusted comrades, mostly Engels, and that publically he never denounced his political rivals (I took her word for it; I stand to be corrected on this assertion). She said that Marx publically defended people like Bakunin as revolutionaries, because he felt that in so doing he was defending the revolution. He did this even if he hated their guts because he felt defending the revolution was more important. I really looked up to her for sharing this historical lesson and it taught me that, especially in these times of class struggle -- at least in the U.S. -- being in such a moribund state, making revolutionary ideas accessable depends on treating others in a comradely way and learning how to "agree to disagree" with other revolutionaries.

I rarely post on libcom because of abuse I've received on this and other boards and because only a few, like Devrim and the admins and some others, are principled comrades worthy of being called revolutionaries.

Dust
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Jul 6 2007 21:25
Mike Harman wrote:
members of the WSM have said they "only come on libcom to troll"

I am not sure this is true. I think G Stapleton said Gurrier only came on the boards to troll. I disagree, Gurrier has no respect for the politics of most of the dominant people on here, and has no problem winding ye up on ocasion, but i think he contributions are mostly serious and even when you consider he rarely posts here it is very rare for him to flame or derail a thread.

Maybe i missed a post by an angry Joe Black but even so it would be a "member", not "members".

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Devrim
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Jul 6 2007 21:36
Catch wrote:
EKS: Devrim is well behaved, but he had to tell Leo off a couple of times.

I think the point is though that I did 'tell him off'. He has actually changed a lot. He posts on Revleft more than here, but the change has been quite marked. Also Mikail Firtinaci when he occasionaly posts here has been fine.

Devrim

Dundee_United
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Jul 6 2007 22:06

This comment has been moved <a href="<em>http://libcom.org/forums/thought/ssp-split-culture#comment-208722</em>">here</a>.

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 6 2007 22:12
Kevin Keating wrote:
And its nice to see that Olivertwister is up to his usual high level of debating standards.

ironically, i'm not sure i've seen you post something which isn't a personal attack, and you're complaining about the tone of the boards neutral

Kevin Keating
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Jul 6 2007 22:45

To Joseph K: then you need to look less selectively.

Start with any of the stuff about the bungled transit system fare strike.

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 6 2007 22:52
Kevin Keating wrote:
To Joseph K: then you need to look less selectively.

Start with any of the stuff about the bungled transit system fare strike.

the forum posts on that made me lose the will to live, though i'm not omniscient and may well have overlooked stuff

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pingtiao
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Jul 6 2007 22:52

Kevin Keating: I am going to start deleting posts of yours that I deem to be contentless slurs.
Carry on

Dundee_United
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Jul 6 2007 23:17
Quote:
I am not sure what 'pomo' international means.

Post modern.

Quote:
I think though that the sort of thing that you are suggesting is not, as you seem to agree, what Libcom is.

Yeah agreed, libcom is just individuals from a certain ballpark, who feel so inclined posting what they think about things. As you point out that actually has its uses.

Quote:
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.

Is there a left communist/councillist international (beyond groups which are their own wee internationals like the ICC)? A Russian Trotskyist tells me you guys have a lot of influence throughout Russia and Kazakhstan at the moment.

Quote:
One of the good things about Libcom is that it allows for a discussion of ideas between groups that are not that close.

I agree. I appreciate reading your contributions here, and holy of holies I even managed a decent dialogue with Ernie, of the ICC on the question of unions last week. We're not going to agree on the finer points but it can be quite helpful to see where the positions of yourself and those of EKS and are situated. I get the same thing (but coming from a different tangent) from posting on the Scottish Socialist Youth Forums as there are a number of posters there from the AWL, CWI, Socialist Appeal and the ICL as well as the odd Stalinist. It can sometimes be good to know where the various Trots groups are coming from, and what is attainable, in that respect as well.

Quote:
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.

I'd be very much in support of such an initiative, if it was taken. On a personal level I think a platformist international is necessary, and that would bring such a thing a great deal closer and pratically, in actuality, could achieve it. It seems, now, to be more or less a natural time for it. Anarkismo though is ran by a crew of people from the WSM, and the ball is in their court on that one. I guess there'd be technical issues there as well as the site is really set up more as a kind of "indymedia" which is actually good. And I'd suspect it would be a lot of work for an already busy group of people.

On the question of internationals and international co-ordination what is happening with the IFA, AF people? We don't hear so much about them.

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 7 2007 07:09

admins might have to reassess the policy on baseless slurs since demonstrating at length that they're indeed baseless just bumps their google rank neutral

knightrose
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Jul 7 2007 07:48

Read through this thread. It is beginning to show the kind of personal insult and smug one-liners that are destroying this forum as a place others want to visit.

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Alf
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Jul 7 2007 08:32

Yes, this thread has become a pretty good example of what the libcom culture should not be, although I still think things have in general got a lot better. At some point soon the ICC will publish a text on the culture of debate and why it has always been an essential part tof the proletarian movement.
Kevin: I got the impression that Devrim's previous suggestion that you engage more positively with people on the west coast (and elsewhere) did make you try a different approach. From what I have had the patience to sift through on this thread you seem to be going back to the 'culture' of personal abuse. I am not saying you're the only one who does it, but you're the only one doing it in the name of 'left communism'.

Mike Harman
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Jul 7 2007 12:28

I'm going to delete the off topic crap on this thread.

If that doesn't work, then it'll be temp bans in the absence of time to delete further crap.

Might as well start somewhere.

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 7 2007 14:07

for the record Kevin Keating's been banned. he was on a warning already for posting up personal details of others - whether this is temporary or permanent is waiting on the rest of the other admins as there's only been two about today

arf
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Jul 7 2007 14:19

can i ask again what happened to the introductory thought forum, you did used to have one right? and if maybe youd consider trialling one again, alongside this one, so you could have one more competitive academic thought forum and one for those wanting to explore ideas in more of a our minds arent made up/less jargony/more respectful/working together to make sense sort of way? because i dont think im thick but im also not educated like many of you are and really i get lost a lot in some of these discussions. and its all very well to give out reading lists but i dont always have the time and sometimes i cant even understand the essays and that linked to. so it would be great to have a space where topics are discussed in a more accessible way.

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 7 2007 14:25

iirc the introductory forum was scrapped for a couple of reasons. firstly it was the only no-flaming forum, and this ratio was inverted with libcommunity becoming the only flaming forum. secondly people would regularly post complex questions in intro and n00b questions in thought, so there wasn't much practical distinction. taken together the reasons for its existence didn't hold up.

however, personally i'm not opposed to the idea in principle as it might make the forums more accessible to those who haven't swallowed a copy of Capital, though i'm not sure if the other admins thoughts have changed since it was deemed pointless and removed.

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AndrewF
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Jul 7 2007 14:37
Dust wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
members of the WSM have said they "only come on libcom to troll"

I am not sure this is true. I think G Stapleton said Gurrier only came on the boards to troll. ...

Maybe i missed a post by an angry Joe Black but even so it would be a "member", not "members".

If so George should probably avoid ascribing motivations to others as his speculations are liable to be seized on and repeated as fact as naseum.

I don't think its a reference to anything I posted. However I certainly don't take libcom seriously in the way I first did . On the other hand when I noticed how I was starting to ape the accepted posting style here I took action and decided not to directly respond to the worst offenders as I noticed that was where my own posts tended to degenerate. I think my only bit of bad behaviour since was playing John. at his own game for illustrative purposes.

Mike Harman
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Jul 7 2007 14:38
Joseph K. wrote:
iirc the introductory forum was scrapped for a couple of reasons. firstly it was the only no-flaming forum, and this ratio was inverted with libcommunity becoming the only flaming forum. secondly people would regularly post complex questions in intro and n00b questions in thought, so there wasn't much practical distinction. taken together the reasons for its existence didn't hold up.

however, personally i'm not opposed to the idea in principle as it might make the forums more accessible to those who haven't swallowed a copy of Capital, though i'm not sure if the other admins thoughts have changed since it was deemed pointless and removed.

I was one of the people that suggested we scrap it, even though I thought in principle it was a good idea. The problem was that people used both forums indiscriminately, and it made things more confusing having two.

Something like an "introductions" forum, which was "zero-flaming, be nice to n00bs, explain everything, no acronyms" etc. could potentially help, but it might also be a bit patronising.

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Sam
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Jul 7 2007 14:38

Haven't read all of the thread due to the length and i will so in a sec.

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.

I don't think its a barrier to the older generation, but even moreso a barrier to the younger generation. And also those who may be new to anarchism, class struggle anarchism, libertarian communism etc. Theoretical discussions are very exclusive and is pretty much the same people on them, although i think many more do have the potential for discussing in them, i don't know any solution to this but i may as well point out that it is there, from my perspective at least. I agree with him on some things, but i think the forums are more moronic than it is agressive. I get what the guy's saying.

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Devrim
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Jul 7 2007 14:41
Quote:
n00bs

What does this mean?
Devrim

Mike Harman
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Jul 7 2007 14:59

revol, MJ, funny, wrong thread, start new one, thanks.

Devrim, it's derived from "newbie". It means anyone who's new to any form of internet based discussion (and sometimes software). It's derogatory, but people often use it to refer to themselves (i.e. "sorry, newbie here, but how will anyone get any work done in communism if they don't get paid for it?"). It's not something we'd use in the text for the forum, but it's generally understood short-hand, and refers to people new to discussion forums as well as those new to politics, so describes the particular problem of how to be welcoming to new people (even if it's not very welcoming in itself).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newbie

Barkan
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Jul 7 2007 15:03

The problem of Libcom is that you make a joke out of serious subjects... and you're governed by a bunch of individualists... and i'm posting on here. Thats a big problem.

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 7 2007 15:30
Barkan wrote:
you're governed by a bunch of individualists

are you making a joke out of a serious subject or have you left your political compass next to a magnet?

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Tojiah
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Jul 7 2007 16:10

I've found myself discussing things with my friends as I sometimes do on libcom, and they found it very offensive. It's been somewhat of a bad influence in that sense, though the merits outweigh it.

I try not to take things too personally and extract whatever useful data or ideas I can even from the most abusive posts. I don't know, I just have that kind of mentality, maybe that's why I'm doing so well as a retail worker.

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Tojiah
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Jul 7 2007 16:12

I've found myself discussing things with my friends as I sometimes do on libcom, and they found it very offensive. It's been somewhat of a bad influence in that sense, though the merits outweigh it.

I try not to take things too personally and extract whatever useful data or ideas I can even from the most abusive posts. I don't know, I just have that kind of mentality, maybe that's why I'm doing so well as a retail worker.

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Steven.
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Jul 7 2007 16:46

the intro thought forum is something we could bring back. i think we wanted to simplify the forums, and make them match the rest of the site - organise/org forum, thought/thought forumm etc. but we could do that again, that might be a good idea.

I think the only stuff worth talking about is practical stuff that we can do to make things better. Lots of people on here "complaining" are not genuine but are weirdos with their own agendas - like Kevin Keating, a petty smear artist, Barkan a head-banging supporter of Hezbollah, etc.