Sunday, October 07, 2007

Scott Tribe, Jason Cherniak, and the ProgBlog Code of Conduct

I consider most verbal displeasures expressed at ProgBlog symptoms of mainly three “problems”:

- perceived authoritarian behaviour by the ProgBlog moderators
- conservativeness at ProgBlog
- petty partisanship by some of the members
Sure a code of conduct can stifle some of the frustrations by force, but is there really no other way to deal with these problems?

Here are some simple solutions that I came up with:
a. make progblog ultra transparent, as progressives would envision the ultimate transparent and responsible government

b. oust those blogs/bloggers/moderators who continue to adhere to a right of centre political agenda (most obvious by promoting anti-social policies). This could possibly be done through use of a popular vote among the PB members, or some other transparent and democratic form. Perhaps give ousted bloggers the ability to reapply if they still feel they deserve to be part of PB*.

c. exclude members who predominantly post to promote their party (there are other blogrolls for that type of propaganda, not at PB please) and make it mandatory for future moderators be non-partisan (use grandfather clause).
That's about as far as I would go.

The above would make ProgBlog more transparent and accountable (suggested by many), and probably far less combative resulting in a more coherent community of bloggers.

I realize fully well that my suggestions will never be picked up by the moderators. Not that I think that Scott and some of his tribe is not “lefty” enough (Scott considers himself to be on the left side of the Liberal spectrum) but because the chief in question is a partisan Liberal, and partisans by definition are biased and loyal to their party and party members; that's what partisanship is all about.

My proposed code would give ProgBlog members the power to scrutinize and oust blogs (up until now the exclusive right for moderators), likely resulting in the removal of several Libloggers, especially those that daily spout their partisan, right of centre propaganda into the PB blogosphere (no names needed, we all know who you are).

This will prove to be inconceivable to a partisan Liberal moderator. Furthermore, chief Scott owns ProgBlog...

My two cents, for what it's worth.

*I realize that b. Could turn into a cycle of dumping and adding to ProgBlog, but who said that any democratic model would be easy?

My post "ProgBlog's CoC, Tutu and the Right the Offend" also deals with the issue in another light.

- Wiktionary: partisanship
- ProgBlog Proposed Code of Conduct


Scott Tribe said...

Actually, the proposed COC has been driven by the team of moderators - not I (and I'm not a moderator anymore, but the Site Administrator).

I've not intervened in their discussion, and what they put up for their proposed COC was from their efforts alone.

Check the list of moderators, and you'll find exactly 1 Liberal moderator there. So much for the Liberal conspiracy.

Erik Abbink said...

There's no question there's a level of neoliberalism (or rightwing Liberalism) at ProgBlog that goes far beyond Progressivism, and it is spouted daily by Liberal party hacks (we all know who they are).

The fact that you're not willing to see this as a contributing factor of "the problems" (by essentially calling my view on this a non-existing Liberal conspiracy theory) actually supports my point; it's YOUR partisan bias that's at the root of the "problem".

The resulting language used and sometimes leveled toward all moderators is caused by frustration, not by a lack of discipline.

Are you also telling us that the site is NOT owned by a Liberal (you)?

If you do own it, then it's time to read up on media bias and ownership, and on anticipatory censorship, Scott. Then you will understand the weakness of your argument (not intervening); the amount of Liberal moderators does not explain everything.

As long as you are an active promoter of the Liberal party and own ProgBlog we will see partisan Liberal favouritism, per definition.

Scott Tribe said...

Of course it's owned by me.. but the COC was introduced by the moderators - a majority of why are either NDP or Green supporters.

These are the same moderators who were the ones who were part of the unanimous rejection of your call to ban Jason from Prog Blog. I guess they're all neoliberals too, eh Erik?

It's also amusing to me that you blogpost saying that people should have the right to offend others, yet your subsequent followup blogpost is about wanting to kick people off the blog aggregate who you feel aren't progressive enough (read: anyone apparently who belongs to the Liberal Party or sympathizes with them). Talk about being all over the map on this.

Erik Abbink said...

Thanks for your message Scott.

You seem to be confused about what the problem is and how the suggestions I bring up can improve the situation.

My suggestions for the CoC deal with membership; somehow right of centre and partisan bloggers are creating an atmosphere at PB that results in language most of us would discourage.

You've already told me in earlier postings (some months ago) that not everyone gets onto PB; the moderators seem to decide who gets on or not.

Although this process is working to some extend (blogs like "small dead animals", a right wing blog, would never get on here) it is still letting on too many right of centre bloggers and ultra-partisan bloggers; THEY are causing unnecessary controversy followed by outrage which then reaches the moderators.

You (and moderators) feel the need to stifle that debate with a CoC that limits free speech, where I believe that's not progressive solution to the problem: limiting free speech (which I summed up in my "the right to offend" post), something a "progressive" blogroll should want to avoid at all costs.

With my suggestions I tried to shift some of the responsibilities toward its members and create a more democratic PB. I'm convinced (rightly or wrongly) that the members know damn well who are continuously spouting right wing or ultra-partisan crap, although many might not communicate this to you hence your affiliation and ownership (anticipatory censorship). Giving them some influence on membership (who stays on) could bring forward a more progressive ProgBlog, something we all want, right?

Yes, I did ask for Jason's removal, because I believe Mr. Cherniak is one of the main bloggers who is ultra-partisan AND far more right wing than progressive; how more unprogressive can one get on ProgBlog?

With his blog and his commentaries he's also the prime example of creating controversies, resulting in many of the outrages, which themselves resulting in freedom of speech issues on ProgBlog (removal of blogger and blogposts).

And to answer your question, no I don't think all moderators are neoliberals. And no, I'm not "all over the map" but bring a set of cohesive suggestions that can contribute to solutions for some of the problems at PB.

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