Open Thread: The Internet Infidels Situation

In light of the continuing, and in fact worsening, fiasco at the IIDB discussion forum, I’m creating an open thread to document the continuing misuses of power. The Internet Infidels Board of Directors is now engaged in a full-scale effort to rewrite history, shuttering feedback forums, deleting countless threads on IIDB that have been critical of their recent actions, and banning numerous members without warning as punishment for dissent. (The stated reason for those bans is “useless complaining“, which I think speaks volumes about the Board’s attitude.)

In response, I want to document their actions and disseminate that information as widely as possible, so that new users who are considering joining IIDB will have the best chance to make an informed decision. If you are a former or current IIDB member who’d like to post your story, please do so here. I’ll also compile posts and threads from other forums that are relevant.

Post from IIDB Board of Directors announcing that complaints about board management “will no longer be accepted as a topic for discussion”

• Reposted statement from II board member “The Other Michael”: “There’s only room for one prima donna in this ballet troupe, and that’s gonna be me

Thread on the RichardDawkins.net forum, containing numerous testimonials from veteran posters, moderators, and administrators explaining why they left IIDB

Detailed timeline of events at Rants & Raves

Another timeline at Rants & Raves

List of moderators and administrators who’ve resigned, at Heathen Hangout

I also recommend the following internet discussion forums instead of IIDB:

Rants & Raves

Freethought Forum

RichardDawkins.net Forum

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Stacey Melissa

    IMO, the complaining from most of people was worse than useless. It was outright malicious. IIDB was/is under concerted attack by people bent on destroying the community, all while falsely claiming to be “promoting community.” (Have you actually taken a look at the “Qauttro Formaggi” forum at RnR? Between the many one-sided accounts of “persecution” where bans are a badge of honor, there are threads dedicated to trolling tips, spamming, and more sinister forms of guerilla warfare. What little conspiracy theorist is in me says this whole furor could just be an RnR membership drive.) I say “most of the people” because there were a handful of people who were/are unhappy, but not malicious. It seems they got caught up with the bandwagon illusion created by the malicious complainers. The complaining has continued, like a broken record for two months. Nothing new to say; nothing unpredicted to say. We’ve heard their demands, their petitions, and their far less common polite suggestions. Thousands of times. We got plenty of input. We largely disagreed with the input, but people just wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They wouldn’t accept less than a scapegoat’s head on a stick, and control over IIDB policies. But II is a private organization, and doesn’t have any legal or ethical requirement to honor such unreasonable demands, or even to provide a soapbox for people to repeatedly shout those demands from.

    The malicious complainers were there solely to keep the illusion of a community in tatters going. Otherwise, the rest of us would just go back to business as usual, the community as usual, even if a bit smaller community. Prior to October, the community was oblivious to the fact that Michael was a self-described “prima donna” behind the scenes, because his demeanor had no effect one way or another on normal IIDB discussions. His demeanor still has no effect on normal discussions, although the malicious complainers will surely claim otherwise, for reasons they have yet to outline. The real reason they claim such is because their complaints are what create the illusion of major problems at IIDB. The mere fact that they are complaining, and that so many of them are complaining, for so long, fools unsuspecting IIDBers into thinking there really must be some substance to their complaints. And then the unsuspecting people join the crowd. The bandwagon effect in action. With this blog entry, you’ve joined them, too, Adam. You’ve been taken in by the illusion.

    Doesn’t it seem a bit strange to you that the people who are complaining loudest that the BoD wasn’t fostering a sense of community are the same people who have actively tried to convince admins, mods, and regular posters to abandon IIDB, and thereby destroy the community? Doesn’t it seem a bit strange to you that some people think they will need to inform people of problems at IIDB, or else the newbies won’t know there’s a problem at all? Doesn’t that indicate that there really isn’t a problem with the community? If there really were a problem, no one would need to inform the newbies of it. They’d figure it out pretty quickly on their own and then ditch IIDB on their own.

    These malicious complainers are jilted ex-lovers. “Hey IIDB, I’m just stopping by one last time to say how totally over you I am! I’m with my new girl, RnR, now, and she’s so much better than you. I’m gonna tell everyone I meet to stay away from you, because you’re terrible in bed. People need to know how terrible you are in bed before it’s too late for them.” These people are trying to destroy Michael or the whole BoD on trumped up charges, and if that requires destroying IIDB in the process, so be it. Much of the RnR crowd is simply obsessed with IIDB. It’s unhealthy. They’ve got a forum dedicated to discussing other boards, and its name is a jab at Michael and IIDB, as are many titles there. Its postcount is 14% of the total for all of RnR. RnR has plenty of potential as another non-theist community alongside IIDB, HH, FF, and others. But the infighting has to stop. Each board just has a different flavor. That’s it. So what if you don’t like vanilla? Maybe I do.

    These malicious complainants can’t just be happy with their own preferred flavor of message board. No, they have to constantly trash their former favorite as well. Given that we’re a bunch of atheists, many of whom are former religionists with chips on the shoulder, that’s not too shocking. It’s quite lamentable, though, since IIDB is actually on the same side as all those other boards. We’re all on the side of secularism; we should be working together for secularism and other goals that we largely have in common. But no, we’re infighting instead. For two months, I’ve been stuck dealing with near-constant e-drama, rather than posting actual useful stuff in my forum (the former brainchild forum of ELGS!) All this infighting is very much detrimental to the cause of online secularism. This is so utterly lame.

    On rewriting history: The real reason for moving all the dissent into hidden storage is because we’re trying our last option to get people to move on. Nothing new was being said; people kept dwelling on the same old things. Things that were off the discussion table anyway. We weren’t gonna give them Michael’s head on a stick, but some people just couldn’t accept that. It was severely distracting from the discussions that IIDB was created for in the first place – not to mention taking up an inordinate amount of staff time for no benefit whatsoever. We’ve always done just the same “rewriting of history” in the Positive Atheism & Secular Activism forum, since it’s one of the Secular Community forums. Those forums don’t allow promotion of theism, in order that we can instead focus on actvism, or church/state separation, etc. I edit out preaching from theists in my forum. Zap, it’s gone, disappeared, and an infraction goes to the theist. Countering the preaching via debate, as in the General Religious Discusions forum, would only be a major distraction. Well, all the complaining about IIDB policy and Michael and the BoD is in the same boat as preaching in PA&SA. It’s a distraction, and a mostly malicious one, at that. IIDB exists primarily to facilitate discussion of metaphysical naturalism – not its own policies or prima donna directors. After trying for two months to satisfy the unsatisfiable, the BoD finally said enough is enough.

    Stacey Melissa
    still an IIDB moderator, giving only his own take on events

  • http://passionateatheist.blogspot.com NoAstronomer

    I’m not much of a socializer so participating in discussion boards is not really my ‘thing’ so the whole IIDB fracas is a little over my head. But I would say that I never found the infidels.org site very interesting anyway. The material on ites like Daylight Atheism, Pharyngula and JREF is much more relevant and cutting edge. Perhaps it’s just time to let IIDB go?

  • Alex Weaver

    Stacey:

    I believe Adam has repeatedly requested that you provide substantive evidence to back up your claims about what happened and why. I note that once again you are not doing so, and in fact are attempting to justify your side’s attempts to hide the actual facts in the matter through a crackdown on dissent and removal of posts.

    Who do you think you’re fooling?

  • Mobius 118

    Been a while since I posted…

    Anyway, IIDB looks like what the theists want, an unorganized society with infighting and backstabbing. I’ve been perusing many different forums, both religious and non-religious, and the religious are having a ball, looking to IIDB and touting it as a paramount example of how atheism doesn’t work.

    Pull yourselves together, and stop playing yourselves to their liking. You’re embarassing all of us, acting like children. Theists can come here and post what they think, without getting smeared across the boards. They go there, and your censorship gestapo edit or delete them from record. Even confirmed atheist members get smeared for having a dissenting thought. What is free thought if it’s stifled by the censor?

    Stop perpetuating the negative image of atheist communities, man.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    After trying for two months to satisfy the unsatisfiable, the BoD finally said enough is enough.

    In my opinion, the only reason the Board considers the dissenters “unsatisfiable” is because it’s consistently refused to give us any of the things we were asking for. If you’re not willing to make any concession on any issue, you hardly have a right to complain when people won’t pipe down.

    You would think that, when a petition for your resignation is running 20-to-1 in favor, when literally hundreds of veteran members have quit, when something like 80% of your own administrators have resigned in protest, these are signs that you’ve lost the confidence of the community and need to seriously consider what you’ve done wrong to draw such near-unanimous ire. Instead, TOM and the rest of the Board have only clamped down harder. They’ve made it abundantly clear that their managing philosophy is “our way or the highway”, and people are taking them seriously.

    The real reason for moving all the dissent into hidden storage is because we’re trying our last option to get people to move on. Nothing new was being said; people kept dwelling on the same old things.

    How dare you call yourself a representative of freethought when you censor what people are saying in order to force them to talk about something else? If people are still complaining, it’s because they’re not happy. Do you think it improves matters in any way to proclaim that henceforth this topic of conversation is forbidden?

  • Alex Weaver

    Additionally, while it is entirely correct to argue that you have no legal obligation to satisfy the complaints of community members, it is ridiculous to claim that you have no ethical obligations. You have an ethical obligation to hold to basic standards of civil interaction with others, and you have failed to do so, therefore you are subject to verbal condemnation and refusal to associate with you. You also have an ethical obligation to make good on your promises, including your stated intentions as a body and as individuals. As Adam has already pointed out, you call yourself a representative of freethought, yet you demonstrate an appalling lack of respect for its basic principles. To this I would add that you claim to be interested in the welfare and satisfaction of the community, and that you have been banned “useless complainers” in order to promote that. The “useless complainers” seem to be the community! You have made it abundantly clear that you don’t care what effect you have on your members or how they feel about the way things are run. As a word of friendly advice, when the first appropriate comparison for your actions and attitude that comes to mind is the villain of a kids’ movie, that’s A Bad Sign.

    You are entitled to run your board however you see fit. You are not entitled to be respected if you choose not to run it respectively. You are not entitled to be believed if you choose to censor discussion and refuse to answer demands for evidence to back up your assertions. You are not entitled to anyone’s support if you do not conduct yourselves as an organization worthy of being supported. And if you’re older than about 11 and think that having the legal right to do something makes the choice of doing it morally defensible, you probably are not capable of contributing to any productive discussion.

  • Alex Weaver

    *respectably, rather.

    As an aside, I have very little experience with the IIDB, but I’ve dealt with people who think the way you seem to before and object to such views as a matter of principle (the perceived necessity of the link being another instance of pattern-matching). At this point it’s difficult to imagine what evidence you could provide that would convince me that you’re in the right here, but I’m willing to listen if you provide something substantive.

  • http://stupidevilbastard.com/ Les

    I have to confess that my experience with the IIDB forums is minimal. I registered an account years ago, but haven’t really spent much time on the forums. I find the libraries there to be useful resources, but my contact with the community per se is limited at best.

    That said it’s somewhat troubling to think that the community managers would be so unresponsive to the community they’re supposedly supporting. The reasons behind the decision that sparked this whole situation may be perfectly valid, but by refusing to address them in an open and transparent manner and then actively trying to suppress dissent when people continued to be unhappy seems like a pretty stupid move to take. It leaves an outsider, such as myself, with the impression that The Powers That Be at II take their role a little too seriously and aren’t so much interested in fostering an open community as running a small empire by fiat.

    Certainly you have every legal right to run things as you see fit and are under no legal obligation to give in to the demands of anyone you don’t want to, but, as has been pointed out already, that seems counterproductive when dealing with a group of people that are often characterized by their anti-authoritarian and question-everything tendencies.

    The folks at II have every right to run the site in whatever manner they feel like, but the path they’ve chosen doesn’t seem like the best possible course for the people they’re claiming are the whole reason they exist in the first place. It certainly does nothing to make me interested in becoming a more active member.

  • DamienSansBlog

    Stacey and Co.: This affair cuts to the heart of the “New Atheism”. If we’re just a herd of cats, by all means, your claims of being a private institution with no outside obligations are perfectly valid. But if we’re a public, political movement, then the charge that “you’re making us look bad in front of the fundies” is very serious business. You mention activism, which I applaud; but activism implies politics, and politics require compromise. Somebody, compromise already, and let’s get this tempest back into its teacup.

    Ebon and Co.: What exactly do you want from the Infidels, and what are you willing to give up for it? If they have to compromise, so do you; this is how deals and sausages are made.

    Mobius: I trust that on the religious forums, you’ve already pointed out the rich history of schisms and accusations of heresy in their own history? (Where, of course, “they” refers to Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, Pastafarians…)

  • Jet Black

    As an ex-admin and one of the people who was there when this started, one who took the BoD’s November 5th statement (deleted) to heart, and one who was seriously disappointed by their response since, and who isn’t one of the people that Stacey is decrying there, I think that Stacey is seriously underplaying events and focussing on peripheral issues. Creating an enemy to demonize and refusing to address the important concerns that so many people have had. Does Stacey really think that a >100% turnover of admins is indicative of there not being a problem really, and just a few malicious whiners on another forum?

  • lpetrich

    Mobius 118, could you please name names? I’d like to see what they are saying.

    As to IIDB’s moderators, about 40% of them have resigned as a result of this scandal. And an even larger fraction of IIDB’s administrators have resigned. Of the five original ones that are not on the Internet Infidels Board of Directors, four have resigned, as well as two additional ones that signed on during this scandal.

    If the II BoD’s critics are nothing but malcontents, then why have there been so many malcontents in high places?

  • http://www.rantsnraves.org/ Bright Life

    As a long time mod, I tried very hard to correct what I saw as abuse of power. I had to resign when I realized that the BoD was not only aware of the abuse, but condoned The Other Michael’s flagrant disregard for the principles and the Statement of Purpose for the site.

    I received a warning for changing my location to “www.rantsandraves.org”. It was the only warning I’d ever received in all the years I’d been there. Later that day (without a single additional post or edit by me), I was suspended without so much a PM.

    People *are* moving on. We’re looking for a place where egomaniacs with exceptionally poor writing skills do not have the power to make dissenting opinions disappear. I hope you can be happy there, Stacey Melissa. I doubt though, if you have a shred of ethical and moral fiber, that your tenure will be long. Good people can tolerate that kind of abuse of power for only so long.

  • alethias

    I consider stacey melissa a friend. At times he was a cohort moderator. I was a mod for over 2 years. But I dispute his assessment of the situation.

    I received a lot of value from IIDB. I donated money to the upkeep of that board and do not regret that donation; I consider it a small recompense for the value that I received when I posted there.

    What I have seen recently is what I consider a pattern of abuse of power that I didn’t see before. Dissenting opinions are disallowed. If someone has a respectful, honest, politely-phrased dissenting opinion, those are moved to private forums/storage in the same way that rudely phrased ones are. Polite dissenters or dissenters that have contributed significantly to IIDB have their posting privileges suspended; After a period of time many of those seem to get switched to a banned status. This status isn’t published anywhere. I know of at least one case of someone having their posting privileges removed, but every visible trace indicated he was a poster in good standing. Many recent bannees haven’t been publicly acknowledged as being banned; They simply have their posting privileges removed and title changed.

    This is a consistent pattern of totalitarian abuse. It is certainly not free-thought;

    1. All dissent is removed.
    2. Dissenting voices are quashed and
    3. History is re-written.

    Thank you for the open thread in which to discuss this, ebonmuse. I received significant value from your site while going through the process of de-conversion; Some of your discussions of absolute vs. relative morality had a significant impact on my formation of a new basis for morality.

    Alethias, former mod and mod@large at IIDB

  • http://www.iidb.org RBH

    For Stacy Melissa’s benefit. I posted this on both RantsnRaves and RichardDawkins.net:

    I’ve been registered on RD for 14 months, though I have posted seldom. I was an Administrator of Internet Infidels Discussion Board (IIDB) for nearly two years, and have more than 15,000 posts there, with thousands of those posts in the Evolution/Creationism forum of IIDB.

    I was appointed to the newly created position of Lead Administrator in early November 2007. A month later, in early December, I resigned because I could not stomach executing the changed policies (described in the OP) mandated by the Board of Directors of Internet Infidels, Inc., policies that were an abrupt abandonment of a public statement (that has now disappeared) made by The Board of Directors on November 5, 2007. That statement had been written by a group composed of moderators, administrators, and Board of Director members, and was adopted by the full Board in early November and published to IIDB users by Maverick (Scott Wittman), the President of Internet Infidels, Inc., in the Announcements forum of IIDB.

    I was appointed Lead Administrator of IIDB in November 2007 with the understanding that the Board of Directors would remove itself from direct management of IIDB in accord with the November 5 statement mentioned above, execution of which was to be left to the Administrators. By early December it was apparent to me that was a meaningless title, since the behavior of the man with the dual roles — Board Member and Administrator — clearly indicated that he intended to retain the lead Administrator role (“first among equals,” in his phrase), regardless of job titles and descriptions. Execution of the policies described in the November Board of Directors statement was impossible under those conditions and it was clear that policy had been abandoned, so I resigned.

    When the brouhaha described in the OP began in mid-October there were six Administrators of IIDB, one with dual roles as an Internet Infidels, Inc., Board member and as an IIDB Administrator and five who were ‘ordinary’ Administrators. Of the five ‘ordinary’ Administrators, four resigned in November and December over the affair, and two more ‘ordinary’ Administrators appointed in November as replacements also resigned in December, shortly after I resigned.

    When 80% of an organization’s senior management resigns in a short period of time that’s a clear signal that something is badly wrong. Unfortunately, the Internet Infidels Board of Directors has ignored that signal and as a consequence has lost a large proportion of its most prolific content providers. Any discussion board depends on users to produce content, and IIDB has tossed away some of its best content producers and staff. It has clearly signaled that it prefers conformity over freethought.

    RBH

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    DamienSansBlog:

    What exactly do you want from the Infidels, and what are you willing to give up for it? If they have to compromise, so do you; this is how deals and sausages are made.

    With all due respect, I’m a little puzzled by this question. In my opinion, the II Board of Directors committed a serious wrong, and then compounded it. When you make a mistake, surely the proper course of action is to back up and correct that mistake, not to seek a compromise with those who pointed it out. It wouldn’t make sense for the BoD to, for example, unban only half the people who were unjustly banned for dissenting. To my mind, the position I and others were initially offering seemed more than reasonable: we want to know what’s going on with the management of the board and why; we want to be free to speak our minds about any topic we choose; and in exchange, we’re freely offering our time, our participation, and in some cases our expertise and money, toward building a real secular community and making the IIDB a place of fellowship and good company for all nonbelievers. If anything, I think we were offering far more than we were asking in return.

    However, I have to make one thing clear: At this point, I’m no longer seeking any compromise with the BoD. I’m not seeking anything from them. As far as I’m concerned, they had abundant opportunity to negotiate, to address people’s concerns, and to improve matters. They threw that opportunity away, and they made it quite plain that they had no intent of dealing with us in good faith or otherwise. (I’m thinking specifically of the initial draft statement addressing the users’ concerns, which was subsequently retracted and replaced with the draconian, dogmatic proclamation referenced in my original post here.) They’ve made clear their position that they have no desire to foster a community and that, to them, the IIDB is a private fiefdom over which they intend to exercise absolute and arbitrary power. Given all this, the only thing that would make me reconsider at this point would be the resignation of the Board of Directors. Since that seems unlikely, I’m making it my goal to spread the truth about this fiasco and encouraging freethinkers to avoid IIDB and seek alternate forums for expressing themselves where their presence is valued.

  • http://IIDB Toto

    If you don’t like the way the game is played, pick up your marbles and leave. You are all a bunch of whining children, here, in my opinion.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    If you don’t like the way the game is played, pick up your marbles and leave.

    We have done so, in case you hadn’t noticed. I, for one, believe in making the reasons for my decision clear, so that others who are contemplating the same choice have as much evidence as possible to guide them.

    You are all a bunch of whining children, here, in my opinion.

    Your attitude does much to reinforce my contention about the arrogant, contemptuous tone with which IIDB management has treated its critics.

  • lpetrich

    There’s an on-running thread at IIDB, Antony Flew, and you can see for yourself. Antony Flew is by no means “the world’s most famous and published atheist”; certainly not as well-known as Bertrand Russell, let alone Richard Dawkins. And agnostic turk, what censorship has Don Morgan done?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    This thread is getting too heated, and I ask that people of all opinions confine their comments to what is strictly supported by the facts.

  • DamienSansBlog

    Given all this, the only thing that would make me reconsider at this point would be the resignation of the Board of Directors. Since that seems unlikely, I’m making it my goal to spread the truth about this fiasco and encouraging freethinkers to avoid IIDB and seek alternate forums for expressing themselves where their presence is valued.

    I see. Cry pardon, sai. I see words like “fascism” and “totalitarian” (though not, I’m glad to see, in your own posts), and I immediately think “What’s this guy’s angle?” I came of age during the Bush Administration, and was trained in marketing; please understand.

  • Alex Weaver

    You are all a bunch of whining children, here, in my opinion.

    Unlike, say, people who refuse to tolerate any criticism of their actions in the space they do control, and who apparently feel they’ve been wronged for having their unconscionable decisions publicly decried. Give me a break.

    The mods at IIDB seem to have no diplomatic or people skills.

    Please. *I* have almost no diplomatic or people skills, at least without the time to think the internet provides, and even I can see the problem here.

  • Alex Weaver

    He censors out anything which sugggests Flew is entitled to his opinion.

    While the rest of your description sounds quite obnoxious, I can honestly say that if I ran a community I would discourage (but not censor except in blatant cases) comments to the effect that anyone “is entitled to their opinion,” and this is not because such statements are offensive but because they are pointless. Interpreted literally, “x is entitled to their opinion” is trivially true, and in a discussion between reasonable adults literally goes without saying. If, as it usually seems to be, the phrase “x is entitled to their opinion” is really meant to say “x’s opinion should not be criticized, nor should the fact that they hold it be held to reflect on their judgement or character,” then it is wrong and actively detrimental to any kind of reasonable discussion. Either way, such statements take up bandwidth to transmit, time to read, and disk space to store, while adding even less to the discussion than pointing out the of-course that people have the legal entitlement to run their private communities the way they want to.*

    *(Pointing this out does have the minor utility of preemptively countering the sort of arguments petty tyrants invariably engage in when taken to task for their reprehensible policies, which typically consist, in my experience, of trying to discredit the opposing position by pretending that it is motivated by confusion on this point.)

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    In my understanding, some of the people who donated to support IIDB and who were angered by the BoD’s behavior have asked for their money back. Without exception, they have been refused.

  • Alex Weaver

    I’m curious; what kind of precedent is there on requests like that and appropriate responses?

  • Stacey Melissa

    RBH and Alethias have mentioned the only two things that have significantly bothered me. Several recent bans and suspensions have left me confused as to the status of those IIDBers. That has been cleared up on some, but not all of them. I know quite a few people who were only there to solely to soapbox about the ELGS thing and subsequent events were suspended for that reason. The Castorama precedent was being used, AFAIK. That is, one-trick agenda ponies got their soapboxes taken away. That much, I think, is reasonable. I just don’t like the poor communication of status for those users.

    RBH, I appreciate you posting that for my benefit, but I must say it’s only what I had already surmised on my own regarding your resignation. The only difference being that I also factored in a heaping dollop of burnout, since you were busting your butt in superhuman fashion for several weeks straight. My opinion on the admin turnover is that it takes a certain kind of people to work effectively with the BoD, and those kind of people have been, until very recently, in the minority in the ACR and MCR. The current makeup in the MCR/ACR is substantially more homogeneous after all the resignations, and while that’s good for getting things done a bit quicker, it has also led us into making moderation mistakes that we wouldn’t have three months ago.

    Re: The creation of “Lead Admin”, etc… I don’t like how that was handled. After the announcement of the new/rearranged positions, I thought, as did many people, that the BoD would distance itself from daily admin duties, and Michael would be relieved of his daily admin duties. From the view in the MCR, it did seem as though you (RBH) were “above” Michael, but I suppose things could have appeared differently in the ACR. In any case, Michael remained an admin – something that I did not expect. I can see advantages and disadvantages to distancing the BoD from daily operations, and I think there would be a small net advantage to letting regular admins/mods run the daily show, but the denial of that advantage isn’t something I’m terribly upset about. I’m actually more annoyed with being misled (purposely or not) by the creation/rearrangement of positions.

    Laurie – Re: The $12,000 from 2006 fundraiser and $10,000 from the 2007 fundraiser… $10,000 per year goes to the web host, Rackspace. The remaining $2000 was an unexpected bonus, and will be used for hosting in the event that future fundraisers fall short of needs. The MCR/ACR, unfortunately, are BYOB, as you no doubt noticed while you had access to MCR. Adam is correct, AFAIK, regarding refunds.

    Adam – I don’t think you should have to make any concessions. If you like using IIDB and are willing to follow the rules as set by the BoD, you’re welcome to use it. If not, then don’t use IIDB, but find some other home that’s more to your liking instead. Gotta love the free market of heathen message boards.

    We actually did implement several things that people had been clamoring for. The Town Hall was opened, in part because many people complained of having their policy discussions sent the the ~E~ “garbage forum”. Unfortunately, without the manpower to keep order in TH, things got out of hand, and now TH is shuttered for awhile. Another concession we made, admittedly token as it was, was the changing of the custom titles under screennames from “Veteran User” to “Veteran”, and so on. Lots of people found “user” insulting, so we changed it. Many further concessions by the BoD happened in the MCR. One of those drafts was leaked before we had the opportunity to obtain our concessions. You probably know the one I’m talking about – the harsh draft that Michael posted, which was completely rewritten by the mods and admins. That rewrite was a concession. Unfortunately, the rewritten statement didn’t have the desired results, so it got tossed in the bin. One thing I misunderstood going in – as did many people, I suspect – was that I thought the statements by the BoD somehow bound the BoD to a set course, when, in fact, they only reflected the thinking at the time. The statements are descriptive, rather than prescriptive, contrary to what I had assumed. The BoD can change its collective mind and write some other statement at any time, as they did around the time RBH resigned. The BoD is bound by the articles of II’s incorporation and U.S. and Colorado law, but not anything else.

    In my experience, the BoD is quite amenable to hearing new ideas and constructive suggestions, but they very much dislike demands and beatings of dead horses. They don’t respond with acquiescence to people’s pet causes after they’ve already said something is off the discussion table. They place quite a bit more value on mod/admin input than they do on regular poster input. They don’t respond to petitions – even ones with oodles of names – since IIDB is purposely not run by popular vote, in order to prevent its takeover by hostile groups.

    Well, I had some more to talk about, but I see I’ve already written a small novel, so this post will end now.

    Stacey Melissa
    still an IIDB moderator, giving only his own take on events

  • Friday

    The general discourse from Stacey seems to be ‘we are in charge now – get over it.’

    I would be very interested to see the results of the 2008 fundraiser.

    Gotta love the free market of heathen message boards!

  • http://worldsandtime.blogspot.com/ Spherical Time

    I have a much different interpretation of events than anyone, but then I was sacked rather than resigning in protest.

    When I was asked to join the Administration, I was happy because I thought I could curb some of the disturbing trends that I saw taking hold at IIDB. When Maverick and ToM decided to unilaterally ban ELGS I had a serious problem with their conduct. I haven’t tried to hide that me and ToM had previous conflict, but I was shocked when I was removed from my position without warning or a chance to defend myself. My primary objection with Michael’s actions is that he let the heat of the moment overwhelm his common sense and then refused to admit that he’d made any mistake.

    I was further heartened when people who supported me (and the vast number who supported ELGS) called for Michael’s resignation, and saddened when the Board and the administration ignored those people.

    Still, during this exchange, my primary motivation was to do the right thing. Even though I got removed from my position I stand behind my actions.

  • DamienSansBlog

    I have to disagree with you, Got Banned. I hadn’t even heard of American Atheists until your post, nor has anyone I know so much as mentioned it in passing. Doesn’t quite qualify as nation-wide laughing stock material.

    The reader is left to draw their own conclusion, concerning the greatness of falls.

  • Jet Black

    Stacey melissa says:

    “My opinion on the admin turnover is that it takes a certain kind of people to work effectively with the BoD”

    Well then I am afraid to say that your take on the admin turnover is fundamentally flawed. In the run up to our resignation, there was little to no interaction directly with the BoD. As the people who had been put in place to ensure that things ran smoothly at IIDB the majority of the administrators, all of whom had significant experience and tens of thousands of posts and spent many hours dealing with the users of the IIDB board, decades of cumulative experience, we realised that one of the major sticking points that was contributing to the unsettlement was the continued presence of “The Other Michael” in a dual admin/BoD role. As a result, we collectively and privatedly asked him to resign from his position as adminstrator and we were completely ignored by the BoD.

    if by homogeneous, then perhaps yes, you now have a homogeneous group of people who will pander to whatever is said, regardless of its effect on the community. Since the breakdown we have seen wave after wave of utter disaster. E/C is now a shadow of its former self, and other fora have suffered.

    Quite frankly I am insulted by many of the insinuations you have made in your posts, particularly the first, and I feel that it demeans the strong efforts that people have put in, which were ultimately brushed aside and ignored by the IIDB BoD, and effectively making them look blameless in this whole affair.

  • Jet Black

    I do have to say though that I should add an addendum to the comment made by Spherical Time here:

    “I was further heartened when people who supported me (and the vast number who supported ELGS) called for Michael’s resignation, and saddened when the Board and the administration ignored those people.”

    it has since been revealed that the adminstration of the time (specifically myself, Octavia and Dean) resigned precisely because we asked ToM to step down, and precisely because the BoD ignored us, and ultimately RBH left for the same reasons. I can say for myself, and most likely for the others, that we disagreed with ST’s removal from the adminsistrative staff, but as is clear, we were never in a position to do anything about it. As administrators, we were rendered impotent by the decisions of the BoD.

  • Centurion13

    WOW. I am a Theist with strong leanings towards Christianity. I was going to sign on with II tonight, and actually went through the process, but it doesn’t seem I will get a very good reception – especially since the sign-in requires you state your philosophical leanings. Visiting that place – especially since I read some of their threads and detected a strong flavor of ill-informed fanaticism in several of the posts – would be a waste of my time.

    Thanks for outing this mess. It would seem that corruption is corruption, regardless of the philosophical leanings of the corrupted.

    Cent13


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