DUmmie FUnnies 07-12-05 ("A few words about the discussion of the London bombing on DU" ---Skinner)
LIHOP, MIHOP, BFEE, PNAC, etc., etc.. What would DUmmieland be without its plethora of wacky multi-initialed conspiracy theories? I know that I burst out laughing the first time I found out what BFEE stands for so I greatly appreciate the comedic material such DUmmie conspiracy theories provide. However, now Skinner fears for the “reputation” of DUmmieland as you can see in his THREAD titled, “A few words about the discussion of the London bombing on DU,” in which he tries to get the DUmmies to tone it down in the wacky conspiracy theory department. It is a hopeless task, Skinner, because the DUmmies THRIVE on conspiracy theories and the WACKIER the BETTER. However, let us now enjoy watching Skinner acting embarrassed by his own DUmmieland kook fringe (all those registered other than LOUSY FREEPER TROLLS) in Bolshevik Red while the commentary of your humble correspondent, who can’t wait to see the multitude of conspiracy theories hatched over there when the Rove “scandal” goes nowhere, is in the [brackets]:
A few words about the discussion of the London bombing on DU…I'm not a big fan of the term "conspiracy theory," because I don't think it accurately describes what it is supposed to refer to. I guess I'm just not comfortable with the term "theory," which has a specific scientific meaning, being used to describe points of view that are more accurately described as "speculation," or sometimes "totally baseless speculation." Nonetheless, "conspiracy theory" is the generally accepted term, and that is the one I will use here.
[Whew! All that USELESS explanation just to get the point made in the last sentence. But continue Skinner…]
Conspiracy theories present a thorny problem for those of us who administer popular online communities like this one, with a very diverse membership. We are required to balance the conflicting interests of (on one hand) openness and the free exchange of ideas, versus (on the other hand) the desire of members to be part of a community that holds itself to some minimal standard of acceptable discourse. For example, allow me to use an extreme hypothetical: I think it is safe to say that few of us would like Democratic Underground to become widely known as that place where people believe space aliens cause tsunamis. My point being that most of us recognize that we must balance the two conflicting interests of openness vs. minimal standards -- the real difference among us is where we each would draw the line.
[Yeah, conspiracy theories do present a thorny problem for you, Skinner, because they make DUmmieland look like the asylum that it is.]
Being one of the admins of this website, I am in the enviable (or, depending on your viewpoint, unenviable) position of being able to decide where that line is drawn. Some of you may remember that back in January, I made it clear that Democratic Underground was not the place to argue in favor of man-made causes for the Asian Tsunami. We have also made it clear, over many years, that bigoted conspiracy theories have no place on Democratic Underground. So there is a precedent for us setting some minimal standards for these discussions. And, in fact, it is very easy for us to draw the line in these cases. (Unfortunately, such decisions are not always so easy. Even though my job often requires me to censor people, I have never been particularly comfortable with doing it.)
[Bigoted conspiracy theories? Oh you mean like the many DUmmie conspiracy theories blaming the “neocons” (the jews! the jews!) for most of our problems?]
The issue gets more complicated when we're addressing conspiracy theories that enjoy some level of interest in progressive circles. In this category, I would include the many theories having to do with alleged involvement of the Bush Administration in 9/11. We have permitted a fair amount of speculation along these lines, and we still do here on Democratic Underground. I have read many of the posts here about this topic, and I will be honest with you: I believe that Bush deserves some responsibility for 9/11 due to incompetence, not because of MIHOP or LIHOP. Regardless of my personal views, we have permitted a fair amount of discussion of many 9/11 conspiracy theories, either in the General Discussion forum, or in the special September 11 forum, provided that members avoid discussing bigoted theories and avoid linking to sites that promote bigoted theories. This compromise has not made everyone happy, but that is the nature of compromise.
[GASP! You discount LIHOP and MIHOP! That puts you at odds with 75% of your fellow DUmmies (the remaining 25% being LOUSY FREEPER TROLLS).]
In the wake of the London terror attacks, a number of new conspiracy theories are starting to take shape. At this point, I don't find any of these conspiracy theories to be particularly credible. They seem to be based either on stories in the media that have since been corrected, or on the baseless speculation of websites that specialize in baseless speculation. The only piece of evidence that seems to have any credibility at all is this one posted on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website, but my impression is that at this point people are reading a lot more into the story than it deserves. I could write pages and pages on the topic of what it means to be open minded, and the importance of drawing conclusions based on evidence versus starting with a conclusion and then cherry-picking evidence to fit -- but I think that is a topic for a different post.
[Don’t you know, Skinner? The BFEE caused the London bombings. Just ask Pied Piper Pitt who made that very claim.]
Since the bombings, there has been a lot of confusion about what is permitted here and what isn't. I have contributed to the problem because so far I have not articulated any clear guidelines -- to you or to the moderators -- about what is appropriate and what is not. The mods and admins have been discussing this issue, and we will continue to do so. For the moment, here is where things stand:
[For the moment, here is my own conspiracy theory about YOU, Skinner, based on your photographs: You are a 16 year-old kid trapped in the body of a 15 year-old boy. You never seem to be authoritative enough to lay down any sort of guidelines in DUmmieland.]
You are welcome to post links to credible mainstream news sources that are related to the London attacks. But we would prefer that you refrain from posting links to highly speculative conspiracy websites in our main forums: Latest Breaking News, Editorials & Other Articles, or the two General Discussion forums. We don't have an official list of such sites at this point, but I think most DU members are capable of distinguishing what constitutes a conspiracy website. If you feel the restrictions on discussing this issue in our main forums are too strict, you are encouraged to visit our September 11 forum, where we give members some greater leeway to discuss more speculative topics.
[Translation: “Please go to the September 11 forum to post your wacky conspiracy theories out of the public eye so as not to embarrass me with your nuttiness.”]
Furthermore, I believe we should permit members to share personal "gut feelings" about what happened in London, as long as you aren't using it as an excuse to link to conspiracy websites or to pass off baseless speculation as fact.
[Passing off baseless speculation as fact? Isn’t that what DUmmieland is all about?]
I hope that this post will give you some idea of where we stand. Don't worry -- nobody is getting banned. But we hope that everyone will make an effort to respect the guidelines we have laid out here.
[Nobody will be banned but will they be committed? The name “mopaul” leaps out at this point with “benburch” not far behind.]
Thank you for your understanding.
[And thank you for the many laughs, Skinner. And now let us listen in to your fellow DUmmies who are SURE to relapse no matter what you say.]
Thanks for the clarification. I know things got pretty crazy here yesterday and that you folks are trying to do your best. However, I do hope that you have resolved the problem with whoever it was that was up bright and early yesterday, making threads disappear (not just locked. It really freaked people out and IMHOP made the situation worse, rather then better.
[It wasn’t just yesterday that things got crazy in DUmmieland. Try EVERY day. BTW, I am behind in my DUmmie conspiracy theory updates. Just what does IMHOP stand for? I Might Hallucinate On Purpose?]
With respect to disappearing posts... I think everyone needs to understand that moderators rarely act alone. On calls like this, they are required to get a consensus before taking action. So, to be clear, there was no single moderator making threads disappear. They were acting together, on consensus, based on their understanding of the DU rules and the wishes of the DU admins.
[It sounds like you are trying to SANITIZE DUmmieland by trying to delete the normal insanity prevalent their. Sorry, Skinner, it WON’T work.]
"pass off baseless speculation as fact". Thanks, Skinner.
[You’re welcome, Pied Piper Pitt. And speaking of “baseless speculation,” would you mind giving us your hockey puck theory geopolitics again where you baselessly speculated that the “Third American Empire” began when hockey fans at the 1980 Olympics yelled “USA! USA!”]
So that explains what you did to the election 2004 forum? You believe it is "wild speculation" that we no longer have fair and free elections?
[Damn you, Skinner! Don’t you know the 2004 election was stolen via Diebold machines?]
Thank you Skinner and a list of sites not exceptable would really help a lot.
[If there were any sense of rationality over there, Skinner would list DUmmieland as not “exceptable” due to the perpetual outbreak of terminal nuttiness.]
Thanks for letting us keep the tinfoil hats Skinner! and not purging us out....
[Tinfoil hatters are the meat and potatoes of DUmmieland. Without you types, all that is left are LOUSY FREEPER TROLLS!!!]
Just for clarification, where do you stand on Greg Palast?
[I consider Palast to be a rabid moonbat leather strap biting nutcase…which means he is perfectly acceptable to Skinner.]
We approve of Greg Palast. I would consider him a permissable source in GD.
[WHEW! Thanx for maintaining my confidence in you, Skinner, as a nutcase enabler.]