This is not an intervention, it's a cry for help.
If it was any other site, one which was not full of close friends and respected opponents, or one to which we had not, each, devoted hundreds or thousands of hours contributing wholeheartedly and with consideration for the community - well then none of this would be happening. We would have quietly slipped away.
We love this place but we can't spend much time here with the way things are. A high proportion of threads are now argumentative and unhelpful. Few people are getting smarter here, they're stopping by for a fight, hidden behind an anonymous identity and with no consideration for the humanit of the people with whom they're arguing. They're not here to learn or to educate, and they don't care about the vine or the people who've put their heart and soul into it.
It's not just faceless people. The unpleasant and combative envirionment brings out some of the worst traits of genuine contributors. There are others who have a particular agenda of some sort and are quite willing to destroy anyone standing in their way.
You can brush this off as the whinging of some old-timers. But if we didn't know that it could be different, we'd assume it was another Digg, poisoned by unpleasant gangs. We DO know it can be better. We remember when the admins came in *before* things got out of hand and gently took the troublemaker aside for guidance, rather than coming in late and distributing arbitrary "justice" and sarcasm. We remember when people made an effort to be courteous with one another, by and large.
Many of us have been fighting this trend. Others have gone quiet. Some have left for good. This feels like "last chance" time, though, and it would be a pity to let everyones good work - admin as well as user - come to nothing.
We need a cultural change. We need less tolerance of hate speech and abuse. We need to get smarter here.
Want to help?
Djehuty (Martin Haywood)
Dennis P. McCann
Celestina / Amie Tracey
bluejohhnyd / John Dudley
ann in Texas
jdoyle / John Doyle
SthPacific (Albert Kyder)
Ron C Baker Sr.
Scott (Scoop) Butki
Chris from MN
Raat ki Raani
Behind My Screen
Dolores M. Bernal
I'm really sorry about anyone I've missed. Let me know, ok?
Look, guys, I know this is short on solutions, but I figure the first step is recognising that there's a problem. There is. I submit that we each do our best to be civil and considerate and moderate our columns impartially but firmly, and that we call on the admins to help us out in that - and particularly to take notice of the patterns of bad behaviour, especially provocation and trolling and gaming of the system. But that's me. I'm writing it down here so you know I'm not putting words in your mouths.
Finally: thank you. I really appreciate the goodwill expressed here. It's a precious resource.