Sayonara to all:
This is my last full day at Ricochet. Tomorrow morning is the end of my subscription.
Thanks to all of you who have gone through all of the travails and joys and discoveries that Ricochet has brought into our lives. Ricochet is a great experiment and I wish it and you all well.
I think the biggest single problem that I see here is the tone deafness of the management regarding the stakes we are facing as a country. I’ve written a lot about the ineptness and the incompetence of the major leaders in the conservative movement. I think that this is the result of the success of libertarianism’s influence on the conservative and traditional elements in America.
The early relationship of Ricochet with National Review seems to be where the problem was born and where it lies now. There’s a cabal here that is determined to insist that: “Winning isn’t everything, you know.”
Second on the list is the way that moderators are used here. From TKC’s dismissal to MJBubba’s to Robert MacReynolds’ I watched these ridiculous and immature and too personal attacks go badly awry. I especially hated seeing them dismissed for what ended up being process crimes during the back and forth.
And finally, I think it’s the old absentee landlords’ problem of getting a strong leader in the day to day work — the COO, so to speak. Sorry to say this but this place needs a strong editor and one with a vision, clearly expressed. But, these types are busy elsewhere and I doubt they would move here to be in what is effectively a middle management slot with hard limits on what can be said and done.
Thanks again and God bless you all. I hope to meet many of you over the years in real life.
Here’s my second post at Ricochet for my farewell.
Title of Post: So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night – Part 2 of 2
Re: Code of Conduct and its implementation:
What first interested me in Ricochet was Peter and Rob. I knew of them both and liked them both very much. Also, I trusted their judgment and professionalism. I knew Peter from reading about him and Rob from National Review (“The Long View”). I disliked the comment sections of most of the sites that I visited before coming here and never felt it worthwhile to spend time and effort in that morass. I was very intrigued with Ricochet having a fee to participate. This had real potential to weed out some of the worst of the web and also the idea of saying up front that the site was center-right. That had just the right ring to it.
The notion of the Code of Conduct seemed appropriate, too. Most of us get tired of the F-word and the other 6 bad words and nothing that I have ever written needed that level of emphasis anyway. The problem that I see here is that the process of moderation requires the “do something right now” heavy hammer attitude. Let things lie would be a better rule. Maybe draw attention to a bad comment or bad wording and let the community handle it in the full light of day. I think you will see that things are just fine.
Perhaps implement a vote about ambiguous wording and ambiguous trolling. Another idea might be to simply hide the offending remark that will require the member to uncover the evil that lies therein. Let the members decide these things more. The use of moderators as a small ruling cabal has pernicious effects here. I sometimes found it very hard to remember what was written before it got the redaction hammer. After that, it’s just “he said, she said” but with no appeals court. It’s hard to reconstruct things after the fact. Many times I have a series of things in mind and I write in a way that doesn’t best represent what I was truly attempting to say — simply because of the type of communicating that goes into a back and forth blogging environment.
I have never used the flagging feature and recommend that you do not use it and those who have I suggest that you stop using it. The mods get triggered and they have to “do something.” All sites need some policing, I realize. All sites have to kick people out and this is all well and good. We are all snowflakes in some realms. With regard to street fighting I’m a snowflake but with regard to arguments my skin is pretty thick. I think the snowflakes here are ruining this site. I hope you see that I recognize that, as I am using it, snowflakes is a relative term. So, with regard to this site and the fact that it’s a heavily politically-oriented site I say the snowflakes here are ruining the site. But, the implementation of their views about what is bad is done through the moderators and the too capricious interpretation of the CoC. I mean: I just want a place that doesn’t have bad words and name calling. I don’t want a place that reminds me more of pearl-clutching (that means faking a horrified reaction to you people in Rio Linda) than of real and serious (and serious is the important part) offense.
For what it’s worth, I recommend the following changes to the site:
Moderator terms be limited. I suggest no more than one year. This will give more people a chance to see what it’s like to be a moderator and it will give farmer citizens some experience of the thrill of power — and then go home afterward to a bucolic existence.
Remove the flagging feature. It’s just a temptation to too many people. Let people have a contact name or place that they can lodge any CoC issues with. Force them to make that much effort. I know that it’s convenient for the mods but the site shouldn’t be for the moderators, it should be for the members.
Remove the long suspensions as they are overly harsh and just too long. If the person needs a lesson it needs to be done in steps of one or two days. Institutional memory should be erased after 6 months. Don’t bring up a long list of previous offenses.
Since my last 2 posts at Ricochet will remain in the member feed I wanted you to see what I wrote there today. I did it in two parts so that in case they pull one of the posts the other might stay up.
Title of post 1: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night – Part 1 of 2
This is my first day after a one-month suspension. My subscription happened to expire during this last month so I have signed up for one more month just so I could say goodbye to my friends here.
I have not been happy here since the 2016 election and I find it’s just time to call it quits and move on with my blogging life. (Did I tell you that I’m semi-retired since last December 15th?)
I have so enjoyed being a part of this community. I’ve learned a great deal and met some people that I simply could not have had contact with otherwise. My sign up date is June of 2010 and I listened to almost all the flagship podcasts until just the last few months. I didn’t start reading or commenting or writing here until Spring of 2011. I heard @pilgrim and @kenneth on the podcast and was so impressed that I thought I better look into the member side of the site. Wow, was I surprised at how good the quality and range of the posts and comments were!
Thanks very much to Peter and Rob for this site. It’s taken a lot of effort from you both and this site seems well and truly launched and it is contributing to the country’s conversation in a positive and meaningful way.
I wish all of you well. I have only love and admiration for almost all the members here and I am very grateful for the opportunity that Ricochet has afforded me. Please PM me if you want my email address. I’ll be checking my Ricochet inbox until early June.