Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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141 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Hey, lawyer types! I have a question about whether this case applies.

    Does it?Report

  2. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    I guess this attitude makes sense. I mean, it’s not like they refused to bake a cake for someone.Report

    • Avatar karennkc says:

      That is really a stretch. Can you find any examples on the site – Ravelry – that are in such bad taste as that which Donald Trump and his supporters display on a regular basis?Report

      • Avatar Lyn says:

        Actually there was one but they probably put it down by now. A plushie pattern of Trump was in the Ravelry Database. The note on the pattern is that the author of said pattern was not on Rav so yeah, the comments weren’t going to the author. Trump supporters flocked the pattern posting threats and unpleasant stuff that was against the ToS. Casey, the ravelry owner, had to shut the thread down personally.

        The stupidity was amusing:
        1. The author is Brit and therefore the threats of treason et. al. had all of us non-US folks in stitches(pardon the pun).
        2. To highlight again (cause the stupidity!) , the author is a rare bird that was not on Ravelry and therefore they were shouting in the void and violating the ToS for naught.Report

        • Avatar Karen Battiest says:

          Haha. I am still pretty much a beginner, myself, and I certainly would not go to all the trouble of making a Trump doll. Not even to burn it in effigy. It would be, necessarily, tacky.Report

          • Avatar Lyn says:

            Frankly, I only knew of the plushie pattern because it shot to number 1 on the crochet page due to the comments. The Irony! They were giving free advertisement to the free pattern *they hated* by commenting. I don’t like plushie crocheting as a rule because amirugumi is a bit on a strain on the hands with its tighter than normal stitches. Came into the thread because of curiosity stayed for mocking the stupidity.Report

            • Avatar Karen Battiest says:

              You know, my mother crocheted but I have never really taken to it. Last year I finally picked up the knitting needles and now I am hooked. I did try one of the amirugumi in knit and it is quite difficult.Report

  3. No we get to see every Trumpist dumbass on Twitter[*] arguing that section 230 applies because Ravelry is a monopoly.

    * But I repeat myself. Twice.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky says:

    It’s simple: you bar all political conversation, because that would strike anyone but the most self-righteous as fair.Report

    • I don’t see how saying that Mayor Pete seems like a bright guy is different from saying that those illegal brats shouldn’t get food, let alone soap.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        If you ban a topic, you don’t have to debate the merits of individual comments, and everybody knows what’s acceptable. There’s no appearance of, or risk of, playing favorites.Report

        • Wow, you’d think Highlights magazine would be above partisan politics, but they just came out against abusing children.


          • Avatar veronica d says:

            Mike is being snide here, but his point stands, and in fact generalizes in a big way against this whole conservative grievance discourse. When a site kicks off a conservative for bigotry, and then conservatives complain that they are being kicked off for being “conservative,” you have to ask: is “conservative” essentially “bigoted”?

            It’s an interesting question.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              What a bigoted view of conservatives you have there.Report

            • Avatar Pinky says:

              When did anyone here say anything like that? We’re responding to an article about a site that banned conservative talk on the grounds that it’s racist. It wasn’t anyone (any conservative, at least) on this site who equated conservatism with racism. If you want to have the exact same conversation about conservatism and racism that we’ve had a thousand and one times before, I may participate but I probably won’t, because it never goes anywhere. But it tells you nothing if you accuse someone of racism a thousand and one times and they deny it a thousand.Report

              • They banned support of Trump.
                I presume people are still free to champion small government, balanced budgets, and free trade, and oppose cronyism, corruption, and arbitrary taxation.Report

              • Avatar Bob Blaylock says:

                  My wife and I were briefly active on Ravelry, many years ago.  At that time, there were several forums on that site that were ostensibly open to political discussion; but I found that there was little tolerance for expression of even mildly-conservative opinions.  I kept having posts censored, and ultimately being banned from one after another of these political forums  I wasn’t there very long before I gave up on that site, deleted my account, and never looked back.  My wife left that site not long after I did.

                  I would assume that they have continued to censor conservative views on that site ever since, and that the only thing different now is that they are openly admitting to it.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                1.They did not specifically ban conservatism. They banned advocacy for Trump and his Administration, which is a different thing.

                2. I suppose we can parse things more closely, but Trump supporters need not themselves be white supremacists if they’re supporting the Trump WH for certain reasons, but you can’t argue solely on the basis of their good intentions to conclude that the Trump WH is not itself white supremacist.

                3. In some fora (like this one!) long debates hashing out the differences may be appropriate or at least tolerable. In other fora, they’ll just be an annoying distraction that makes everybody counterproductively mad at anybody else.

                4. A lot of online advocacy from MAGA enthusiasts either crosses the line into overt racism (or other forms of blatant bigotry) or skirts get as close to the line as it can. Dealing with the former can be very unpleasant, and dealing with the latter can be both unpleasant and exhausting. There’s nothing particularly wrong with making a big dumb rule [1] in order to spare with your staff and your users that particularly icky sort of tedium.

                [1] When you get down to it, most rules are Dumb, Actually.Report

    • Avatar ExecutiveKnitter says:

      AGREE – BAR IT ALL!!
      I am there for knitting – not your opinion on politics.
      IS there no safe place away from politics anymore???Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      Fairness, especially of this sort, is extremely overrated. Individual communities, whether on or offline, are going to, almost axiomatically, develop norms around polite conversation that aren’t content neutral or viewpoint neutral. Now, “no political conversation” is a reasonable norm by that standard, and not a terribly uncommon one, but it is neither universally useful nor sensible.

      Web fora like Ravelry deal with some additional constraints, perhaps the most important of which is that they have to have a moderation staff explicitly enforce those norms, and often to a certain extent have to codify, which means we have Discourse about it in a way that’s much less common about offline social norms, at least IME.

      Nor are the boundaries of politics themselves an apolitical question with some objective answer. Is complaining about the kids today getting participation trophies [1], or that cops don’t get enough respect, political? I mean, I have my answers and you have your answers, and our answers may even align, but we both participate in an online community that’s all about arguing about politics and not-politics and the porous boundary between the two.

      But for a private board that’s not about that? Maybe the way to please the most users and avoid the most annoying discussions is to just ban some kinds of political expression, even if it’s mainstream in the broader world. It’s not fair, I suppose, but the people it’s being unfair to are not, generally speaking, part of the community the rules are meant to serve in the first place.

      [1] I thought this was a silly stereotype until I discovered some guys I’m friendly with are actually bothered by them.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        “Now, “no political conversation” is a reasonable norm by that standard, and not a terribly uncommon one, but it is neither universally useful nor sensible.”

        If only someone had been conducting a multi-year trial of this concept, say every Fri, Sat & Sun, nearby and we could assess how sensible that was?Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          That’s a very different thing from what Andrew’s post was talking about [1], and I’d argue that something that works for OT is still not necessarily universally sensible.

          [1] If Ravelry had instituted a “no politics on weekends” policy or designated specific threads or subfora “no politics” areas, it would have drawn zero attention from non-members.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

            I think the problem is too often sites that start out serving a niche community quickly become broader social clubs and then the politics slowly gets out of hand. Better to have the policy in place from the start IMO.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              So the idea is that a site which attracts nerdy gentlepersons who favor bowler hats, might become a template for America writ large?

              If only!Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              That happens.

              But a lot of people don’t realize that such rules will be necessary (or even at all useful) up front, and by the time you need them, it may well be that “fair” rules aren’t optimal for the community that you have actually built (instead of the one that you might have built if you’d nailed down the rules that you have up front).Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        I agree with the descriptions you gave in this comment, but not with its assertions. I could have written your paragraphs 2 and 3 and then conclude that my proposed norm is the best option. It’s fairer, by your own acknowledgement, and I don’t see why it’s more difficult to implement than yours. I think it’d be easier to implement, in fact. I’ve spent a lot of time on gaming boards that have tightly monitored gaming-only sections, and a more loosely-monitored conversation section. Enter at your own risk, but not the Wild West, or at least the Wild West but with a sheriff. The only difference between that and Ravelry’s new policy, as far as I can tell, is a ban on supporting the president.

        ETA – I posted before updating, and I see this conversation has moved along in Mike’s subthread. Sorry to anyone if this is confusing.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          It may be fairer, but at the same time might well make people on the board less happy as a whole.

          If 80% of your user base thinks that ${POLITICAL_POSITION} is obviously abhorrent, 10% don’t care, and 10% support ${POLITICAL_POSITION}, banning advocacy of ${POLITICAL_POSITION} may well lead to outcomes your actual user base likes better than banning all discussion of politics.

          Different communities break down in different ways. If your gaming board is more evenly split along relevant political lines, than banning political discussion entirely makes a lot more sense.

          But unless the people are actually coming for some sort of “political fairness”, than fairness is likely not a tremendously useful goal in and of itself.Report

          • Avatar Pinky says:

            It might lead to outcomes that 90% of your base likes better. It’s going to alienate at least the 10% who support the position, as well as anyone in the 90% who find the banning abhorrent. And we can’t pretend that this is only going to happen with one issue. Once you set the precedent that you’re willing to alienate people via unfair bannings, then people are going to want to keep using it. When all you have is a banhammer, every problem looks like a nail. And with each iteration, you’re increasing the percentage of intolerant people in your base.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              It might, but at the same time if 90% of your users actually really detest that position, you may find yourself losing more people overall by insisting the two are on an even footing.

              Generally I think everybody would be a lot better off just rolling with the assumption that these situations just aren’t going to be resolved in particularly fair manner, and console themselves with the fact that the stakes are generally quite low.Report

  5. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    Warning: this is very personal and probably not very illuminating.

    I’m on Ravelry. I consider myself….well, kinda purple. I don’t fit in any political camp right now; I privately refer to myself as “a woman without a party” ‘cos that’s how I feel. (Part of my distress is that I have friends on both sides of the divide…so I guess I am also a woman without a tribe, and that awakens a lot of bad childhood memories and old fears in me)

    I dunno. I have really mixed feelings. Someone I know well is probably leaving the site due to “no longer feeling welcome” even though they aren’t in the group that was considered to be causing the problems. Some people are leaving in a protest over what they see as an abridgement of free speech. (It is a private company) My understanding of the issue is that a few people – in a particular political group – harassed and even doxxed another member. Also, in 2008, apparently the FBI visited the founder and his wife over some threats against then-President Obama that someone posted on one of the groups in the site.

    My assumption is, the fairly small team that run it, just got fed up, got tired of playing whack-a-mole with the few really difficult members, and instead of banning individuals for acting badly, put a broad banhammer down on certain speech.

    Personally? I’d much rather see direct troublemakers be banned (e.g., violating the TOS, of which doxxing other members is pretty much the poster-child).

    Like a lot of these things, there’s some spiking-of-footballs and also rushes to judgement and armchair-quarterbacking. And also members who are disgusted by all the endless discussion of it being told “Yeah, but you have the Privilege of being able to exist without always worrying about politics.”

    I dunno. Most of the places I hang out there tend to have a big “this is a politics free discussion board” banner hung up and most people respect that, and people who don’t get their posts taken down and a moderator note sent to them. I know this because I AM a moderator on one of those “let’s just have fun, folks” sub-boards, and we mods have had to squash some political stuff – and some anti-religious stuff – and also one member who got stalk-y of an ex who happened to be on the board (that was a wild ride, let me tell you what)

    I also asked to be – and was – de-modded from a different board because two members got in a fight, when I basically told them “either play nice on-board or take this to private e-mails to work it out” one came after me and it was upsetting.

    Because another thing: being a volunteer mod can suck. It sucks big time when you get someone that you’ve had to moderate, and they decide that you have it in for them (even when you show them the rule they violated). It sucks when you have someone coming to you going “this person is my ex, you should know this, and they are stalking me online”

    So I’m not surprised TPTB took the step. Maybe it wasn’t the best way of dealing with it, I know a lot of people are upset with it and it’s gotten way more news coverage than I thought it would (but of course: it bleeds, it leads, I guess, and it’s been a slower social-news week)

    I dunno. I’m gonna stay there. I DON’T talk politics on there and I tend to avoid the really really political discussion groups because I hate fighting. But I feel like this site I once loved is kinda imploding, and that there are a lot of people who never even knew about it before standing around on the fringes, some of them screaming FISH YEAH BAN EVERYONE WHO THINKS EVEN 5% NOT-LIKE-ME and others rubbing their hands together and hoping for the total demise of the site.

    It makes my heart hurt, that’s all I can say. I tweeted something this morning about MAYBE I JUST GIVE UP ALL MY HOBBIES NOW because I am getting so sick of the coverage, and it’s hard for me to avoid, without me not hanging out the places I usually hang out online.

    I dunno. I had a couple of ex-Christian friends once who claimed that religion poisons everything it touches, but in my experience, politics seems to do a better and faster job of it.

    I can’t adequately convey how profoundly sad the whole thing makes me, but it does. It’s stolen a little of the joy I used to take in my primary hobby. (Maybe I go back to piecing quilt tops for a while, and store the yarn away).Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      The thing is, you can do “we’re banning all shit-starting emotionally-charged posting because shit-starting emotional arguments are not what this site is here for”, and they…didn’t do that. Like, this is very much Picking A Side.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        That’s the problem though – you can set up rules like you describe that are inherently subjective and rules-lawyer-able, so people can play stupid dog whistling word games etc. etc. and very little reduction in the harassment is accomplished.

        Or you can just notice if almost all of the objectionable harassing shit-disturbing takes off from a starting point of this particular topic, and ban that topic. It’s unambiguous.

        And, you know, this is one where I think picking sides is OK. Because when they say that support for Trump is an instance of open white supremacism – I think they’re right. And if one of the sides is openly white supremacist, “picking sides” isn’t a bad thing.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          “you can set up rules like you describe that are inherently subjective and rules-lawyer-able”

          yeah, no, subjective rules are inherently not rules-lawyerable. If you make “this rule applies how the mods feel like it does” then that’s not something where you can say “well this NEUTRAL AND OBJECTIVE RULE means you HAVE TO DO THIS THING”, and that latter is what rules-lawyering is about. If the only real rule is “whatever the mods say goes, and I pick the mods, so they agree with me about what stays and what goes” that is inherently more stable for a message board.

          Now, you’re right that you cannot both have a free-fire zone and proper moderation, and people who insist on Neutral Objective Rules want to do that, and it never works. They imagine that there can be strict clear definitions of Harassing Conduct and Offensive Posting, and that people who do these things can be automatically banned, and people who don’t are no problem.

          “this is one where I think picking sides is OK.”

          Picking sides is always OK. Go for it, kicking other monkeys out of the tree is such a dopamine rush. Just don’t tell yourself that you’re engaging in some neutral and objective winnowing of persons who simply cannot abide by the neutral and objective and clear and fair rules that apply the same way to everybody. Pick sides! But own the picking.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            Objective rules mean that there is some objective good and bad
            But of course, what is or isn’t objectively bad is itself somewhat subjective.

            I think what we are seeing now is a breakdown of a shared consensus on what is objectively bad.

            Ravelry, and progressives like me, view the entire underlying premise of the Trump base as objectively bad.
            In our view, their entire worldview starts from the premise that certain races of people are lesser, unworthy of respect or dignity.

            Obviously they disagree.
            But asking us to not pick sides sounds to our ears like asking us to be indifferent and neutral between a woman and the man who forces himself on her in a dressing room.Report

            • Avatar Pinky says:

              I have trouble considering people who vote for pro-choice politicians as members of what I would call “civilization”. The firmness of my belief, or even the correctness of it, doesn’t keep me from treating them civilly.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                How do you treat people who, instead of murdering babies, merely have sex with them?

                Civilly, I am sure.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                What’s that even mean?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                For some people it would preclude it.

                For other people, it wouldn’t preclude it, but it would be frustrating and draining.

                For still other people, they just don’t want to deal with the mess caused by the fighting.

                All of these would mean it might make sense, in some hypothetical online context, to ban advocating for pro-choice politicians.

                (Why not ban advocacy of pro-life politicians? I dunno, maybe 95% of the posters are pro-life.)Report

            • Avatar JoeSal says:

              Just saying Objective rules does not account for the framework of the truth components involved. Empirical objectivity doesn’t assign value to good or bad, as empirical truth isn’t good or bad.

              Good or Bad arises in social (or religious) truth. The problem with Progressives, or those social leaning folks is that they think they have resolved the social truth components enough to have social objectivity.

              This in itself is a form of self deception, and to most outsiders eyes appears as a religion as they are believing what they believe in a cultish manner not concerned with resolving the social truth components.

              There is even contradictions within the parameters of their own beliefs. They both think that everyone is part of the herd, but have no problem forming boundary between their faction and others.

              At least with the nationalists they admit at the very threshold that they are a distinct faction, not drawing a circle around everyone while also excluding a quantum.

              It looks a lot like a incoherent religion.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              “asking us to not pick sides sounds to our ears like asking us to be indifferent and neutral between a woman and the man who forces himself on her in a dressing room.”

              It’s cool how you have a new metaphor but I kinda liked the Flight 93 Narrative thing

              also I’m not asking you to not pick sides. I’m not advocating that you, or that anyone, not pick sides. Pick sides all you like. I mean, you pretty much have to. Just don’t pretend that you aren’t picking. Don’t engage in the guilt-washing of saying that your actions are based on guidance from an objective neutral third party.Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      That was nicely stated.

      I read an interesting book on eating written by a woman who’d gone through just about every phase and fad. You must eat organic. You must eat vegan. You must eat free-range. You must eat local. You must eat food from our artisanal co-op. You must not eat tuna because save the dolphins. She’d been heavily involved in co-ops, neighborhood gardens, protesting, petitioning, organizing, and trying to raise people’s awareness. Activist food politics had consumed her. Much later in her life, she just gave up from exhaustion at trying to save the planet through political eating, and just decided to eat food that made her happy, which finally gave her peace.Report

    • Avatar Jay L Gischer says:

      I really love this comment. It serves to remind me that online communities MUST be moderated in some way, or things will get out of hand.

      And the sooner you set limits the less trouble you will have in the long run.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David says:

      This is a great comment, thank you Fillyjonk.Report

  6. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    oh crap, that was really long. I’m sorry. Take it down if you want.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I support this decision. An rpg site made a similar one. The truth is we are well beyond simple R and D disagreement those days are long gone. They are not coming back.

    What does exist is a large contingent of professional media types, pollsters, business types that want the grand old days of simple compromise to come back. I think they cognitively need it or they will collapse in depression and wah wah about the money line.

    Democrats and Republicans don’t merely misunderstand each other. They have profoundly different visions of what this county can and should be.

    I just read that a Republican rep made a statement regarding the kids in concentration camps. He said that the kids are free to go back to Central America if they want toothbrushes. This rep is also an ob/gyn. He was trained to deliver babies and care for young mothers.

    This is why reports of Trump supporters rolling their eyes and claiming an overblown reaction piss me off. They make me so angry. But Trump supporters and their enablers (aka people who hate liberals and Dems more) want absolution and to downplay the importance of their vote. They want it to be just like everything else. But it wasn’t. They made their bed and don’t want to lie in it. Others don’t want to grapple with the fact that they know and love people who support this horrible admin and the cruelty. So they continue.

    Something needs to happen to make people understand that votes and consequences with actions. At this point, only social shunning seems to work. Countless attempts at dialogue fail because the other side never responds in good faith.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      So, like BDS but for Republicans?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I think BDS has a right to do what they are doing. Why did you think otherwise?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I wasn’t arguing about “rights”.

          Of course people have the right to oppose Apartheid (only racists would argue that they don’t).

          I was asking if we’ve reached the point where we have a moral obligation to treat Republicans like Israel.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


            Did you read anything I read? We have children being detained in concentration camps in form and function. Every report I have read says that the oldest ones are doing the best they can to take care of the youngest ones but they are kids themselves. They are all cold and hungry and scared.

            This is a real moral staihttps://ordinary-times.com/2019/06/25/un-ravelry/#comment-3079061n and you are playing trollish games.

            You lack prospective.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Saul, I am not arguing that they are Concentration Camps. I am wondering what we, as a society, need to be doing given that they are Concentration Camps.

              Ravelry has decided that they have a moral obligation and they have spelled out what that means to them.

              Personally, I think that these things aren’t happening quickly enough. We need to help speed it up.

              There’s an election coming.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              So, yes, like BDS for Republicans.

              Saul, why are you so angry about a comparison to BDS?Report

      • Worse than BDS. Like a big gulp ban that never took effect!Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          According to Wikipedia it *WAS* passed but the court said that the regulation exceeded the authority of the authorities before it was enacted.

          Like, they said “we’re passing a law, you have X months to get compliant and then we’re going to start busting heads!” and then the courts said “nope, not a good law” before the X months had passed.

          So the soda ban remains an example of overreach. It’s just an overreach that was remediated by unelected druids.Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      I think its the aftermath of the 1968 student movement, where all things had to be political to raise people’s consciousness and bring about a revolution. It’s gotten much worse with virtue signalling, guilt shaming, and moral posturing to either lead or avoid an outrage mob.

      if all things are political, and politics is war, then nobody can escape the battlefield.

      Conservative hobby groups are quite good at not allowing politics to enter in, except on things that directly impact the hobby. Hunting, fishing, cars, and until recently, sports, were apolitical zones where most members didn’t know or care who other members voted for. There is no “cause” to push. Voting the “correct” way was not a measure of morality.

      But for some it is just that. They’ve become in-your-face inquisitors, church ladies, agitators and propagandists, Brownshirts, or Mao’s children brigades. They feel that everything people do is socially important, and since their cause is righteous, there shall be no personal space, just judgment and condemnation of anybody who isn’t fully supporting the great cause with all their heart and soul. The righteous do not rest as long as there is even one sinner or non-believer among us who might doom their quest to bring Heaven to Earth.

      And then there have always been those of us who say “Screw ‘the cause’. You people are eat up with crazy.”Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        That’s… not at all what it sounds like is happening at Ravelry.

        They’re not demanding to know how each person voted so they can know whether to ban them (that would be what you’re describing as “the after math of 1968”).

        They’re insisting that partisan politics be kept out of it. i.e. what you’re describing as the norm in hunting, fishing, and automobile forums.Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    The precise legal answer to this question is, as always, “It’s complicated”, with a corollary of “It depends”.

    The boundaries of free speech and property have fluctuated over the years. I know a lot of laypeople like to imagine there is some binary line between “Public” like a sidewalk where speech is absolutely free, and “Private” like your bedroom where it isn’t, but generally courts have created all sorts of gradations between wholly public and wholly private, and gradations of what sort of speech, when, and in what manner, is to be protected.

    Speaking as someone who was banned from RedState back in 2009, I am content to let private websites ban anyone they wish.

    But again…its complicated.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      I don’t have a problem with websites banning things; all the things, or even a certain flavor of things.

      I mean, I actually prefer Ravelry’s action here, because it lets everyone know where they stand (or, possibly, where they aren’t welcome.) It’s what I’ve wanted all along. Own the fucking attitude, don’t sneak around and avoid eye contact and pretend that you aren’t fighting.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        To be Excruciatingly Fair, though, lets imagine Amazon or Google banned anyone who was a registered Democrat, or Republican.

        As was one of the issues raised in Prunefield, a shopping mall is expressly designed for the public to freely enter and exchange ideas and conversation, like a town square. Different than say, the areas designed expressly for people to park or shop.

        I can imagine an argument saying that the product reviews section of Amazon can be tightly regulated for content, but say, Google can’t ban all opinion blogs from searches.

        Or something like that.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          That’s not at all like what’s happening here.

          They’re not banning “registered Republicans” or “registered Democrats”.

          This is more like banning T-shirts that read “registered Republican” or “registered Democrat” – and if people repeatedly insist on showing up wearing such shirts and have to be repeatedly sent home, only then will they ban those particular people.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            Right, which is why I expanded it to “lets imagine”;

            My point being, that the boundaries of speech aren’t obvious and easy to find.

            As much schadenfreude as I get in seeing conservatives recoil from “private entities can do what they like” it really isn’t as simple as all that.

            I can imagine a Prunefield sort of decision regarding online public squares.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          Yes, if that sort of political discrimination became widespread, it would definitely pose a Real Problem, and we would need to sort out the precise way we want to deal with said Real Problem.

          But so far nothing like that has actually happened.

          And we won’t know what an appropriate response is to the real problem without knowing its actual (rather than hypothetical) details.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        I find it frustrating the way our own OT deletes certain comments. There’s a Stepford quality to it. This appears to be a site where people of every political opinion who agree on LGBT issues get together and discuss topics in an open forum. I’m sure it would be close to that if allowed to develop organically, but that’s not really what’s happening. It makes me wonder if there’s any other manicuring going on that I don’t see.Report

    • Avatar Jim Matthews says:

      The clearest corrolary I’ve heard is this:

      Would you tolerate a political sign, from a candidate you loathe, in your front yard?

      It’s a property rights issue.Report

  9. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    So, will there soon be a sort of “Gab but for knitting”? I’m sure it will be delightful.Report

  10. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    I suspect that the site might have done a bit better by identifying the problem behavior as behavior (doxxing and harassment) and banning individuals it feels were engaged in that behavior.

    That’s very confrontational though, many people don’t feel capable of doing that.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

      I think the problem also is that individuals who choose not to follow the stated rules/social contract/whatever are sometimes much more difficult to deal with safely.

      We had a history on my campus of the rules being ramped up, and restated, and made more draconian – at one point, the sick-day rules were such that if you were a person who lived alone and taught the first class of the day (before anyone else was in), if you were sick, a strict reading of the rules would imply you had to either call a friend who had a key to the building (good luck with that) or go up there and post the required “class is cancelled, I’m sick” sign (a minimum of 15 minutes before the class) or else you would be charged with “insubordination” (which is the magic word that allows revocation of tenure).

      I was complaining about it to a colleague – in those days, I often taught 8 am classes and was the first one in the building – and said “FINE. If they want me to teach sick, I’ll teach sick then.” He noted that it probably wasn’t aimed at someone like me – who only took a sick day when she was genuinely throwing up or running a fever of 101 – but at a few people in another department who “called in sick” several Fridays in a row….

      but dammit, yeah. I get not wanting to confront difficult people but it makes life harder on the literal-minded. I think the friend of mine who’s talking about leaving falls into this camp.

      the whole thing is such a damnable mess, though. Our whole society is a damnable mess right now.Report

    • Avatar Jim Matthews says:

      It has more to do with identifying the vector (in an infectious sense).

      When 80% of your moderation deals with 20% of the topics, the solution is obvious.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

        I get that there’s an association between undesirable behavior and ideology. And yet, I think it’s super important to make the distinction.

        Sites like this very one depend on that distinction to survive. I think it’s particularly important for a site that has an avowed purpose that isn’t political and has users from across the spectrum.

        In my extended family are both very liberal and very conservative people. The conservatives tend to be Mormon, which does not generally make them huge Trump fans.

        But this is important to all of us: We like each other and want to continue to be able to get together and hang out at reunion picnics.

        At a recent reunion, one cousin (a liberal and stalwart Democrat, his grandmother was a key D organizer in Bellingham, WA) started complaining about Trump. My other cousin, a Mormon and Republican, said, “Do we talk politics at these things?” Which ended the conversation.

        Nobody is trying to change anybody’s mind about politics at our reunions. That’s not acceptable behavior. But they get to believe what they want to believe and we still love them.

        Here at OT, we’re a bit rougher – we do try to change each other’s minds, but there are still lines we don’t cross – which is to say, behaviors that are unacceptable.

        I know some people who support Trump because they are scared of North Korea. I’m ok with them being scared of North Korea, I think Trump isn’t helping, but they don’t get that.

        I know other people who like Trump because they think we need to “do something” about China and all the jobs. This is a real problem, and I care about it.

        I want people’s concerns about things like this to have room at my table. Toxic behavior doesn’t have room, though.

        The bullying and baiting contains a trap, and it has long been used by insurgents. One guy starts something, and the retaliation is against a group identified by ideology. This tends to push the rest of that group together.

        But one’s political goals are probably better served by driving a wedge between the people trying to start something and the rest of their ideological group. One should always be trying to drive a wedge there.Report

  11. Avatar George Turner says:

    Here’s something that is a bit more disturbing from Todd Starnes

    Apple threatened to kick Parler off its App Store if the social media website did not ban content they deemed inappropriate.

    Parler, an alternative to Twitter, has become extremely popular among conservatives. []

    Parler founder John Matze told me on Starnes Country, that last week they received a notice on their account from Apple.

    Matze said they were told they had to change their community guidelines so they reflected Apple’s. They were also told to remove certain kinds of individuals.

    Conspiracy to deny civil rights comes to mind. It’s one thing to limit speech on your own property, but Apple is threatening a company with economic consequences if it doesn’t shut down the speech of someone who is on that company’s property, not on Apple’s. Apple might find that a jury will treat them far worse than Oberlin College.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      The “economic consequences” here being that Apple won’t sell their app on Apple’s own storefront.

      Which, well, it is Apple’s own storefront.

      And it’s not like they haven’t banned (or threatened to ban) zillions of other apps for the same reason. You’ve heard of Tumblr, right?

      Well, actually, you probably haven’t heard much of them lately.Report

    • Avatar Bob Blaylock says:

        It’s particularly alarming when you consider Apple’s origins, out of the hacker movement of the 1970s.  Freedom of information as one of the most essential principles of that movement, and one that, in its early days, Apple wholly embraced.  Who, from that time, would have ever believed that Apple would one day have such a role in not only itself engaging in such barbaric political censorship, but in acting to compel others to do so as well?  Steve Jobs must be rolling over in his grave.

        Ravelry is no surprise.  As far as I know, it has always been run by pathetic Gillettized, intellectually-dishonest cowards, who are horrified of opinions contrary to their own.  Apple is different.  Or at least it used to be.Report

  12. Avatar LFox says:

    I think them calling Trump supporters white supremacist could be grounds for law suit. Just saying.Report

  13. Avatar JFox says:

    I think them calling Trump supporters white supremacist could be grounds for law suit. Just saying.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:

    It is important that webpages can police their borders in such a way that keeps people undesirable to the community *OUT*.

    If too many undesirables come in, it can change the community. This is why it’s important to have rules at the outset and if people don’t follow the rules, wham. Go somewhere else.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

      I once saw someone – years and years ago – explain their comment policy on their blog. they pointed out that their blog was, in a way, analogous to their living room. And while they might be fine with letting people disagree and even discuss a little heatedly, that person who come in and (figuratively) poops on the floor – well, they’re gone. The writer pointed out: you wouldn’t let someone in your house that you knew was going to poop on the floor and drive all your other guests away; why should I be expected to do the equivalent on my blog.

      Yes, a public-forum type of thing is a bit different from a blog. But still. I prefer to be where there is less poop.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      Well, yes, actually.

      What’s your point?Report

  15. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    It’s interesting that they are going after people of a certain political persuasion while at the same time SJWs are waging a war on the knitting community over race.


    • Avatar Madame Defarge says:

      Since I’m an official SJW, how do I go about waging war on the knitting community?

      (asking for a bowler-hatted friend)Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        I denounce the use of guillotines as part of the class struggle.

        Spitting in restaurants? Yeah, sure.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          In one year: “Nobody is arguing for the use of guillotines” (in a thread where people are arguing for the use of guillotines.)

          In two years: “I don’t see how anybody could reasonably oppose guillotines when the other option is *NOT* using them.”Report

          • Avatar Jesse says:

            Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll be explaining to us, Jaybird, why it’s all the fault of people to the left of you, no matter what happens.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              As if I won’t be one of the first against the wall…Report

            • Avatar Madame Defarge says:

              I used to be a moderate.

              But i got so tired of shrill rightwing people calling me a “Guillotinist” that eventually the alt-lefty arguments about guillotining Republicans just sounded, y’know, reasonable.

              Now look, I am just a friendly person- I eat at Panera Bread, and go to the salad bar at Applebees.

              But that professor guy who makes all those Youtube videos has a point- that in nature, lobsters have no hesitation about snipping off the heads of inferior types.
              Once I took that red pill, it was like the whole world just opened up, man.

              Knit one, purl two…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                (I do kinda wonder what happened between “nobody is arguing for open borders” and “hey, have you guys ever read this poem on the Statue of Liberty?”…)Report

        • Frankly. my biggest fear is when the revolution comes and Chip puts me against the wall, he doesn’t even offer the common courtesy of a “good game” before the coup de grace….Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          France hasn’t guillotined anyone since the late 1970’s, but they’re probably keeping it oiled.Report

      • Avatar Mikel Schilling says:

        Just needle them.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      Waging war?

      That seems overwrought. To me it looks more as if some people are engaged in healthy criticism of the knitting community.

      And yes, no doubt you can find an instance of a “heated conversation, gone too far,” but I once watched a guy throw a cup of hot coffee on another guy because they disagreed on some obscure point during a code review. The fact that social media is a terrible medium is separate from the validity of the criticisms being made. The fact that (some) white people become defensive and (some) minorities have little patience with defensive whites is — well, it’s unfortunate. But again, that is separate from the validity of the criticisms being made.Report

  16. Avatar Karen says:

    “The one thing that people on all political sides who are active users of Ravelry agree on is that they will lose users over this, it’s unfortunate, and oh by-the-way did you see that great new pattern.” Best summary ever.Report

  17. Avatar Jaybird says:

    It’s speeding up.


    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      heh. this will collide amusingly with “women- or minority-owned small businesses”. If you refuse to do business with them, isn’t that a Title VII violation?Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      I guess the Bank of America no longer needs the business of the Federal Government or any company that gets government contracts.

      This will be quite amusing, and an example of why we don’t let banks overtly dictate US policy.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        “why we don’t let banks overtly dictate US policy.”

        Oh, honey…Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          So you see the point. With everyone already thinking banks are doing it covertly, doing it overtly is absurdly stupid.

          It also strips them of the standard defense that they’re not responsible for things the government funds, via contractors, such as DoD spending, prisons, police equipment supplies, etc.Report

  18. Starla Jackson Starla Jackson says:

    In that case the two articles I read about this situation did a very, very poor job of reporting it.Report

  19. Avatar Gary Kemper says:

    What Ravelry did was call Trump a ” White Supremacist ” Trump has been trying to uphold the laws of the U. S. If Ravelry wanted to be a knitting site they could just ban political speech. They want to be a political site and will use their members to advance their political agenda and will try to make money off those willing to be used.Report