Monday, June 27, 2011

And So I Am Banned

I strongly object to the "off-topic" content being thumped. That part of the discussion was relevant and germane to the argument of whether or not Double Standard should be unlocked, and I'm going to explain how.

First, what --------- wrote that set this off was that he argued that the page should not be unlocked. Some of the evidence cited for this point was that my edit history is such that I have a history of "bad ideas". Other tropers promptly exclaimed that his post was inappropriate because it "attacked my character". That wasn't my response at all. I wanted to know why his argument was not being seriously considered on its own merits.
Throughout this discussion no one has argued that the page, as is written right now, is a good page. There has been no defense of the description, the examples, or the image. In fact, several tropers, even those opposed to unlocking, have cited specific examples of possible fixes that would substantially improve the article's tone.

The only argument presented this far for why the page should remain locked is the assumption that if released to the wiki proper, "nothing good" would come of this release, even though all admit that the page at present is at best imperfect. No evidence has been cited for why bad things would happen if the page was unlocked. In fact, the same arguments were presented against unlocking Barack Obama and Useful Notes / Atheism. None of the bad things prophesied have happened to either of those pages, and both have been substantially improved thanks to the Wiki Magic.

This brings us to ---------'s comments. Were they insulting to my person? Yes, but that's besides the point-
they were an actual argument. The OP clearly states that if this page were to be unlocked, I would re-write the Double Standard description in such a manner that I believe it would encourage editors to be more even-handed in tone. If my edit history is indeed controversial, then it stands to reason that whatever edits I make to the page would be to its detriment.

So far as I can tell, it's perfectly acceptable to tar the entire wiki proper with the broad brush of being troublemakers who will ruin a page like Double Standard given half a chance without so much as a whiff of evidence. I intuit this because comments along those lines were not deleted.
But, when --------- brings up an issue of competency as regards the only troper who's expressed an interest in rewriting the description, this is somehow crossing the line and warrants a massive thumping so that no even knows what was discussed?

I want a clarification on this point because you can't have it both ways. It makes absolutely no sense to punish someone for making relevant, substantiated claims about a single troper, but to declare broad, unfounded accusations against the hoi polloi fair game.

The above post is the one that I believe caused me to become "super-banned". I can't know this for sure, as per administration's policy of not explaining things, but given circumstance it's the most likely. This post is the final one of the thread Unlock: Double Standard. I backed this text up because I thought it would be thumped. I did not anticipate that reaction to this post would be as extreme as it was.

This proposal started the same as most of mine did. There were complaints on the discussion page about the way the page was written, but as the page was locked, there was nothing anyone could do to actually change the page. I offered an argument as to why the page should be unlocked- basically, I criticized many of the assumptions in the writing, and paid particular attention to the atrocious page image, which showed a bunch of Twilight fangirls with "we love Edward" signs or some such nonsense and the caption "if these were men they would be called pedophiles!"

At first the discussion was just bogged down in the regular silly paranoid minutae of Trope Repair Shop, and I didn't pay it much mind. That changed when a casual troper (whose actual handle is represented by --------- above) stated that because of a couple of negative comments on my discussion page, it stood to reason that I had bad ideas and that this was one of them. This person was swiftly chastised by the thread's forumites (though not the other casual tropers who didn't see what the big deal was). Then the original critical post and all others referencing it were promptly thumped.

This all happened a relatively short time after the forum-critical thread mentioned in my last post. This created a starkly absurd contrast. There were the moderators, who went to great lengths to avoid making coherent statements that could actually be translated into effective wiki stewardship. And here was a casual troper who, like most casual tropers, displayed frank, open opinions that could easily be understood. For this, the casual troper was thumped and any information that could explain why the thumping had occurred was also thumped.

Ever since my edit-ban I'd minced words when dealing with the moderators- I didn't have any choice, since they wouldn't explain what specific thing I'd done to warrant an edit ban. But seeing their ridiculous treatment of this casual troper, exactly the kind of person they claimed they wanted to have participate in Trope Repair Shop, put my patience at an end. I decided that if anything was worth risking a ban, it was this. If nothing else, I could force a conversation and a specific example on the troubling paranoia everyone on the wiki was starting to take for granted.

I did not anticipate, or was even aware, of the ban I ended up receiving. So far as I knew, there were edit bans (a user cannot edit), and IP bans (no access from a specific computer). The ban I was hit with only made it impossible to access TV Tropes using the specific "Some Guy" handle. This ban, coupled with the cutting of my contributor page, sent a very clear message- I was silenced. Which ironically enough wasn't that different from my edit-ban. It was just that this time, administration didn't have to put up the pretense that my opinions mattered.

All of the efforts I made in trying to improve the quality of the wiki's content were presaged on a simple assumption- that the moderators were reasonable people and would not ban people for disagreeing with them. I believed this was the case because as erratic as their behavior had been since I left the forums, I had still known them as Internet acquaintances for nearly as long as I had worked on TV Tropes. This, it was now clear, was foolish sentimentalism. I realized there wasn't any point in trying to fight the ban. No culture this hostile to divergent points of view could have any kind of meaningful scholarly future.


  1. Oh, wow. Having drifted away from TV Tropes since last year (despite making an account) I really didn't know it had become this bad over there.

  2. It is easy to get banned from TV tropes.

    I was banned for questioning their US bias.

    By the way I mentioned this blog entry on a article I'm writing for a wiki.

    Hope that's okay.

  3. You aren't the only one who got banned; I just got banned because I complained about a series of natter warnings I kept on getting, over the past couple of weeks. It seems like the mods are more interested in keeping their professional reputation than doing any actual legitimate work on the site.

    The ironic thing was that I had gotten in trouble with being involved with an edit war a while back, and I wasn't banned with that, just given some stern remarks and having the page the war was happening on locked for a good long while.

    I feel your pain, man. I feel your pain.

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