Monday, August 21, 2006

Making Money on the Internet: The Blog Business, And The Power of Word Writers

In another thread, it has come to my attention that some may not understand how this blog business works.

I imagine that the vast majority of site owners are quite aware of this, but for the benefit of any would-be contributors to those sites, just in case you need to hear it, I wish to make a few things very clear.

Whether we are blessed with the gift of word writing, or whether we simply have an opinion and a desire to express it, we who write are in the driver's seat here. We have our choice of literally millions of internet sites on which to cast our words.

We can start our own sites. We can cross-post to a handful, a dozen, scores of them. That is entirely up to us. It is we who have that choice, that power. If we feel that we have something of value to say, we have the responsibility to say it on any public website we choose.

The pursuit of the site owner's financial or political interests is his own concern, not ours.

It is the prerogative of every site owner to keep his site "private," to decree who may publish there and who may not, or to open it up to the public for our comments. Whether he, or we, are American or not is irrelevant. Here on the internets, we are the public.

It is we who decide on which public websites we will express our views, share our sonnets, shyly offer our short stories and novels, proclaim our essays, holler our haikus!

He or she who wishes to run a site on which many people contribute do not have such power. We are the ones with the desirable goods, they are the humble petitioners who hope to be chosen to receive them.

While we, as noted, can freely post our work to as many websites as we choose, the only power the site owner has is to close his site to the public, or to "ban" specific users, to REDUCE the number of contributors to his or her site, and in so doing, risk his website being "banned" by yet more contributors and potential contributors.

In some cases, new contributors may arrive to replace the departed ones, however there is no guarantee that they will be any more pleasing to the site owner than those s/he lost.

On the subject of commercial websites, it is certainly no sin to wish to have one. Many, many people dream of running a website that generates for them so much revenue that they do not need to do any other work in order to meet, even exceed their expenses. This is, however, not an easy thing to do, and if this is what one aspires to, one's best bet is something having to do with online gambling or images, still or moving, of unclothed human beings engaging in sexual activity.

Or one can try one's hand at something like the enterprise recommended by no less than Dick Cheney himself: people who spend half the week scouring local flea markets for things like antique postcards which they then spend the other half hopefully waiting in line at the post office to ship out all they have succeeded in selling at a profit on eBay, or people who make children's swimming trunks printed with popular cartoon characters, which they then sell on eBay and preferably also an Amazon shop.

A website whose only "product" consists of the work of an indefinite and constantly changing number of individuals expressing their opinions on issues of the day, which one hopes will attract so much traffic that corporations will wish to purchase advertisements is a very poor choice.

However, if such a website is one's goal, one would do well to remember that the absolutely only thing one has to offer these corporations has nothing whatsoever to do with which opinions are expressed on that website, and everything to do with just how much traffic is attracted, because therein lie "page views," and "page views" are the path to "clickthroughs," and "clickthroughs" bring the possibility that someone may purchase the sponsor's product.

I should hasten to add that, in the case of the BooMan Tribune site, when it was quite new, in a thread discussing the site's future, I made mention of message content vis a vis sponsors. I was referring to arrangements more like those that some sites may make with politicians, where the sponsor simply "likes" the site and wishes to give the owner some money.

However since that time, I have been apprised that such arrangements are not as common as those which do depend on very quantitative data regarding the traffic, clickthroughs, etc.

And this may have been the case at the time of my former comment, and I was just unaware of it!

You will note that this is all a very iffy business, and if you will speak with people who have studied the science, if you wish to call it one, of page views and clickthroughs and purchases, you will find that a great many page views indeed are required before the likelihood of even one clickthrough, and in turn a great many clickthroughs are required before the likelihood of a purchase, so as you can see, one's site traffic is rather key.

Controversy, regardless of where the site owner, or the sponsor stands on whatever the controversy is, is more likely to increase traffic than the consistent presentation of one point of view.

It does not matter how important the site owner, or again, even the advertiser, may feel about the importance of unity, or staying on message, or where owner or sponsor fall along that four inch balance beam that passes for a political spectrum in the US.

What matters is how many people visit the site. And as anyone with knowledge of the subject will tell you, the phenomenon of ratio of clickthroughs and page views has nothing to do with where the viewer falls either.

Such a website may feature a written work that many people disagree with. Very few of the site's visitors will consciously NOT click a sponsor's link because the website has featured the written work.

A certain number of people who are interested in purchasing cellular telephones will click a link advertising such phones no matter where they see it, and while the crucial question of just how many and just how many dollars that means for the site owner, will be predicted differently according to every expert and every study, all agree that the number of page views necessary is large.

Thus, any website owner whose only value to advertisers consists of his traffic will not be acting in his own best interest by attempting to decrease the level of controversy, of "division," of "disruption" on his site. On the contrary, such things are his best friend, and his only hope of success.

As I said, such websites are not considered the best bet for someone who wishes to make money.

The case of kos is not unlike the case of the person who sold a domain name to altavista for some large amount of money a few years ago and in the wake of the sale sprang up a cottage industry of people buying up domain names in hopes of selling them for large sums to huge corporations. The vast majority of these individuals were disappointed with their investment, and wish they had purchased google stock instead. Or even just taken a nice vacation with the money they sunk into all those domain names.

If one hopes to receive money from politicians and political parties or organizations themselves, that is quite a different story, and if that is the case, the would-be money recipient's job is even more difficult, and his chances of success even slighter.

Like the corporations, the political sponsor is also interested in high traffic and page views, but since he or she will also be interested in having the website reflect a particular point of view, controversy will be counter-productive, and as we have explained, controversy is the single most likely factor in driving traffic to the site.

Political organizations frequently employ "ghost bloggers," or "virals," either paid or volunteer, for no other purpose than to give the appearance of increased traffic and increased popularity of a specific politician and/or political view. And it is quite amusing, on occasion, to watch them debate each other. One never knows if they are aware that their opponent is also "working."

Corporations, large and small also employ this strategy, it is a step up from the "spam" posts one sees these days on blogs and message boards. It is a product that is today routinely offered by public relations firms to their clients.

So it is into a most complicated and difficult to navigate stew that the aspiring recipient of political cash dives. His product must be a neatly herded horde of cats, and he might be better off using the Democratic Underground combination model of minimizing controversy by legislating permitted message content and allowed external links to such absurd lengths that posting anything there bears more resemblance to a text-based role playing game than anything remotely related to an exchange of ideas and information.

In addition to that, DU also depends heavily on "user contributions," offering "subscribers" access to a wide array of non-political forums, which has the added advantage of attracting the desired class of participant and establishing "community," all of this, they hope, will somehow result in a bloc of politically on-message and docile deliverables that will be deemed by politicians and political organizations, worthy of cash for the owner's wallet.

I have rambled on about this longer than even I intended, and if you are still reading, I thank you for your patience, and as a reward, I will offer, for what it is worth, my opinion that those readers and thinkers with their controversy and comment-provoking messages are an asset to any website on which they deign to participate.

And especially within the context of the American blogosphere, which "speaks with one voice," any political website that hopes to make money on traffic would do well to cultivate those readers and thinkers, because it is they who are more likely to diverge a bit from that one voice, thus creating all that controversy and division and disruption, and thus providing an increase in page views, an increase in clickthroughs, and thus increasing the chance that some small sum may find its way into the site owner's hand.

There is perhaps no better illustration of this than catnip, an especially good example for me to use, as she disagrees with me on a wide variety of topics, and naturally so, as she is significantly to my "right," yet even her writings have spurred that controversy, and her own blog immediately developed quite a remarkable bit of traffic of its own, and should she wish to do so, I imagine that any number of corporations would be interested in discussing some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement!

I cannot conclude without pointing out that while I neither judge nor fault those who seek to "make money on the internet," my own personal preference, and highest regard, are reserved for those who establish websites simply for the purpose of free and open exchange of ideas, without motives of personal gain, financial or political, for those who cherish the illusion that there is a difference.


scribe said...

I sincerely believe that if there really was a way to effectivly herd cats, I'd have found it by now, since I've been working at it for a lifetime, with absoutely NO lasting sucesses to show for it.

I can only see it as the worlds loss, for certainly my ideas and perceptions, and my top notch communication and ldeadership skills were far superior to most others, as was my far sighted vision for what was the best direction for a herd of cats to GO!

But tiume and time again, my efforts were sabotaged by renegade cats who absolutley refused to stay in the lines I had drawn for them. Harrumph. Ungrateful felines, the lot of them! Hee I was, devoting my whole life to them, and did I get any respect from them? Any sooperating? Any support? HELL NO! They just peed in my hibiscus plants!

Finally, I came to understand that I was clearly born before my time. Someday, this world of unruly cats will evolve enough to truly appreciate such as me, and happily line up in designatd rows.

Meanwhile, my own pesky cat is trying to see how much of this keyboard she can cover with her furry bulk, because she has deemed it time for breakfast. I must go now, or else I shall pay dearly for my incompetence.

canberra boy said...

scribe, you may already have seen this beautiful EDS commercial about herding cats: I go back to it every few months for another look. Warning: large download.

scribe said...

Soon we will have cable access and I can enjoy these things. Thants for the offering..I'll save for later viewing!

canberra boy said...

Ductape, while what you say about the link between traffic and click-throughs is true, the argument that controversy = greater traffic = greater advertising revenue only applies to certain forms of advertising such as google ads and possibly other syndicated advertising.

What I think dKos and BooTrib want most is display advertising booked and paid for because of the nature of the site and the audience. In the case of these two sites, that is likely to be from 'liberal' political candidates, activist organisations and a small range of commercial enterprises such as (you guessed it) bookshops. I don't have the data, but understand that this form of advertising pays many times the amount you'd hope to get from google ads. While audience size for this advertising is also important, this type of advertiser is much more likely to be offended by content: I think this is what the argument about damage to BT finances has been about.

I should say that I don't believe Booman is out to make his fortune, but rather to cover his costs and maybe make a living so that he can continue to be a political activist. And it's clear to me that he has put his principles about political positions ahead of appealing to advertisers. I think where he has qualms about your work is that he considers that it will discredit him and his site politically. Please understand, gentle terrorist, that this is my interpretation of Booman's views rather than a reflection of my views.

Nanette said...

I think where he has qualms about your work is that he considers that it will discredit him and his site politically.

I don't actually buy this, really. I mean, I know that that is what it has morphed into now, but I think that too is a sort of effort to cover up the real issue. Mind you, Ductape can post (or not post) wherever he wishes and the blog owners can be happy or sad, as it suits their nature and all that.

But for the longest time BooMan, while he didn't always agree with Ductape (or maybe never did), considered him more of a gadfly, would attempt to engage in debates with him and so on, and so did most of the people on the site. He was regarded with (sometimes exasperated) affection by a good number of people, some of whom actually read the words he said, others who did not, but didn't go insane over them.

What changed? Well, first the cartoon controversy, where some people realized for the first time that Ductape was Muslim! And not only Muslim, but he objected to racist cartoons and speech and opposed Susan. I think this was a huger deal than many of us realized at first.

Then came the Tracy or Sallycat diary about the military (I think Tracy as I just tried to find it and from what I can tell it is gone)where Ductape refused to declare love or even slight affection for the US military, or to even offer to say hi to them and buy them coffee if he met them in an airport.

The resulting display of nationalism and xenophobia in that diary was truly appalling and freaky. People were all but chanting "USA! USA!" (I think a couple actually did, can't remember), and some were inviting him to go back where he came from, while others were insistent on knowing where that was, and all that.

Things got to the point where when he advised someone to go to a mosque to ask questions about Islam, they considered that he was threatening them. Things just went downhill from there, with his every utterance now seen through the prisms of nationalism and racism.

I know I repeat this often and harp on it a bit, but I think it's important that the real reason for all of this is not allowed to be hidden under the "well he causes controversy" blanket, which puts the entire onus for everything on Ductape himself, regardless of what he actually says.

I don't think BooMan himself actually cares that he is Muslim or anything like that, but just like the latest thing where the horrific actions of Tracy, MWAC and whoever towards chatters who had nothing to do with anything were sort of scooted under a "But Ductape wrote a diary that offended them" rug, the reality of events and people's actions is being massaged in order to ignore the not only the actual actions but the roots of the sequence of events.

I don't believe Ductape is perfect or that he never makes mistakes or doesn't sometimes tweak with great intent, but the methods used to excuse and coverup racist/nationalist and so on views, and to blame the targets of those views instead of the holders of them, are very familiar, and have gotten good use over the years regarding any number of minority populations in different places, even among "liberals", or maybe especially among them, from what I've been observing at MLW and places.

scribe said...

The main differences I see between Kos's and Boo, is illustrated by what you interpret here. I really don't see Boo engaged in any personal quest for personal fame or fortune via Bootrib. Or for inclusion in any good ol/young boys club, for the sake of belonging to the strongest "pack". Nor do I see him as under the total thrall of corporate worship and servitude.

I know it took a hell of a lot of principled courage to allow the influx and aftermath of the pie wars to play itself out, as he did, and to actually read and HEAR the messages expressed by women who came over here. That required him to separate himself out even further from the progressive "pack mentality", and as he said, he learned, A lot. And his site grew as a result of his choices then.

I also can relate to wanting to be free to work full time in the area where ones passions and skills lie, and this does take a certain amount to green. As someone who has waited a lifetime to be able to write full time, but had to curtail all of that in order to work at profession that made mincemeat out of me, I know what the cost of this is.

If I had millions, I'd look for poeple with intact principles, who only needed enough to live on in order to pursure those principles full time, and I'd be subsidizing as many as I could.

As for mistakes made, well, sure he makes mistakes, how the hell else do we ever learn anything? Has he pissed me off at times, by taking positions I think are SO off base?! You betcha.

However, more I observe all of these dynamics, the more I think this is, to a large degree, a matter of trying to serve too many goals at once, with no clear communication on an ongoing basis, regarding what the PRIMARY goals of a site ARE, to the diarists and commenters, who are always coming and going, so may have no way to KNOW if they weren;t around in the beginning.

Thus, each writes from thier OWN perceptions of the main purposes of the site are , which are BOUND to differ wildly.

If diarist A is operating under the perception that an open site's PRIMARY goal is totally open, no holds barred expression of political opinion, then thats the focus they will be writing from. No holds barred.

Whereas Diarist B, who may have the understanding that the site exists PRIMARILY to align political allys to effect the outcome of an election, for purposes of unseating and replacing an out of control political party, he or she would autimatically write with that purpose in mind, and probably naturally avoid material that could be used to sabotage that shared purpose.

In order for folks to EVER work together effectively, there has to be a clearly understood SHARED MISSION, one that all involved know, andhave willingly signed on to.

I don't see that happening on these large community blogs, who seem to be trying to be everything to everybody all at once, thus insuring ongoing conflict that will absorb a LOT of the avaialbe positive eenergies of all concerned, and inevitably cause huge turnover of contributers.

If I am onto something here, then maybe NOBODY is "all wrong" or "all right" about any of this. Maybe its not even really aobut any of the personalities involved, or what they write, as much as it's about flaws in the struture of what people are trying to build?

(Well, with the caveat that viscious personal attacks never serve any good purpose anywhere.)

Anyway, fascinating stuff.

DuctapeFatwa said...

Well, first let me make it clear that as I said in a previous post, I no longer visit those types of websites, so what *I* write is not an issue.

I did "unban" one of them for an afternoon, and in so doing, did all of them a great favor in demonstrating how unified they are, which is what is needed if they wish the kind of advertising you refer to.

If he, or any of them want the kind of ads you are talking about, instead of clickthroughs, then no they do not need controversy, nor do they need readers and thinkers but consistent, on-message content produced by a docile participancy, and this is true whether the sponsors are politicans themselves, political groups, or businesses with an interest in promoting a particular candidate or view.

And I acknowledge that challenge, using as an example Democratic Underground, whose owner has similar goals.

And it is a formidable challenge, as it is not enough to be unified and on message on the subject of unconditional support for Israel, but on all issues, and there are some differences on some of those that pop up here and there, usually having to to with the devotees of one politician pitting themselves against the devotees of another.

Controversy in such a case is indeed a liability, not an asset.

Nor does it matter what the site owner's personal political views may be. It is the advertisers who will determine the permitted message content. If the advertisers prefer politician A, and the site owner prefers politician B, he can "campaign" for politician B on his own time, but if he wishes the money of the sponsors, his website must praise A.

As for members of the public who support B, the site owner's interests remain his own concern. It is not incumbent on supporters of B to refrain from praising him in order to please the sponsors.

Pleasing the sponsors is the responsibility of the site owner, not members of the general public who choose to participate on his site.

It is also incumbent upon the site owner to decide which he wants most: money from those sponsors or to use his site as an organ of praise for his preferred politician, and if it is money from the sponsors he wishes most, then he must decide how he will enforce the desired message content.

As Scribe wisely notes in a previous thread, it is not realistic to suppose that one can be all things to all people.

While it is certainly understandable that the owner may wish to attract supporters of both A and B, one cannot serve both God and Mammon, as it were.

Business is business, and just as his fincancial aspirations are not the responsibility of the politician B devotee sector of the general public, neither are his non business-related wishes to include pro-B participants on his website the concern of the sponsor who is seeking a site with both high traffic AND consistent pro-A content.

BooMan said...


My point about ductape is not really that I think he was discrediting the site. It's more that he wouldn't care if he did. It's not a lot more complicated than that. I didn't censor him, remember?

But if you want to know why his diary at MLW caused such a stir, it is because people sense that that kind of sentiment (that we are all Hizbollah) is so easily exploited by the other side that it is dangerous to the community.

At BT, it seemed to be a slightly different concern. It seemed to just be rank offense that was being taken by former and current military families.

As far as I know a total of three people got offended. Sally quit early on. MWAC was a new member who left as soon as the controversy died down. Tracy was a special case because we've known her situation all along, and we were put in a strange place in trying to deal with her anger.

I don't see how the actions of three members, only two of which we knew anything about, amounts to some kind of xenophobic or nationalistic outpouring or widespread dismissal of peace activists.

All three of them appear to have quit the site.

So, I just don't understand why this side of the argument is harboring this grievance. Your side won. The pro-military people were driven out.

I keep hearing it said, "but Tracy said something mean to so and so".

That's true. She also quit the site.

You said the following:

The resulting display of nationalism and xenophobia in that diary was truly appalling and freaky. People were all but chanting "USA! USA!" (I think a couple actually did, can't remember), and some were inviting him to go back where he came from, while others were insistent on knowing where that was, and all that.

If anyone cares to check the thread, I doubt you will find anyone doing that except the three people I have mentioned.

It makes no sense to me that the site, sans the offending parties, can be contrued as any of the things you suggest.

As for ductape's new post where he suggest that controversy is good for traffic, it is quite amusing since his actions have done more to kill off traffic at BT than anything else.

I remember the first time I became aware of ducky's 'you can't reason with Americans' diary. I got an email that said 'ductape is trying to help your pageviews again'.

I read it and laughed. Sure enough, that diary was going to generate a ton of pageviews. For a short time. Followed by the exodus of half the people that participated in it.

Is it all ductape's fault? No. But he quickly swore of BT and then caused a similar problem at MLW. Was that all his fault? No. But you get the point. He doesn't care.

DuctapeFatwa said...

The above was directed to canberra boy.

LOL Scribe is using A and B to mean different "diarists," and I am using it to mean different politicians, just so nobody gets too confused!

And to use Democratic Underground again as an example, on the issue of "supporting the troops," their rules require not only that the troops be supported, but participants must desire for them a military victory, whether the participants are Americans or not!

Yes, it is absurd, but it is certainly effective in making sure that message content consistently reflects support for the "troops."

So it would actually benefit BooMan, or any site owner with similar aspirations, to have more messages praising the gunmen and their activities, offering to buy them sweets, etc.

I realize there were those who took exception to my assertion that the most courteous (and prudent) thing that someone can do who cannot in good conscience praise and thank the gunmen for their activities, is to conduct one's business and quietly become elsewhere located as swiftly and unobtrusively as possible.

Is this not what any well-bred, loyal American would do should they see uniformed members of Hamas or Hezbollah in a foreign airport?

It would be inappropriate, in my view, to choose that particular time and place to make known one's opposition to the activities of the gunmen, or to try to persuade them to lay down their arms, and it would be equally inappropriate to attempt to appease them with sweetmeats.

catnip said...

As I wrote yesterday, I contacted MSOC to ask how she deals with the ad revenue situation on her site and any relationship that might have to controversial topics being discussed there.

She sent me the following response and gave me permission to post it here. (I did point her to the previous thread that sparked this discussion, so she's well aware of the context of my query.)

This is how she replied and I thank her for doing so quickly:

I have no idea if it[sic] ['We are all Hezbollah' and writings like that] a detriment to my ad revenue; but if it is, so be it. I am not about to censor or even SUGGEST content posted by people at MLW on the basis of my own financial situation as per advertisers. If advertisers aren't willing to come to MLW, then so be it. MLW is not a living for me; its ad revenue is negligible at best, and even if it BECAME my living, I hope to god I would NEVER try to steer content because of advertisers.

I don't know if that's a usable quote, but you're welcome to it.

Here's a more pithy one: I don't care if the content of MLW attracts or repels ad revenue; that's not why MLW exists.


Good to know and I hope that puts to rest any further suggestion that ad revenue or controversial ideas are a concern for her.

catnip said...

Whatever happened to all of this back in the glory days at BT?

sjct said...

I see something here at this site that is truly whacked:

DTF makes rabid offensive generalizations that provoke and offend others and then gets portrayed as some kind of victim.

Tracy was insulted to the very roots of her being, had a public emotional meltdown and that makes her a bad person? What about the person who provoked her? Is DTF guiltless? O, but the argument is, he was just expressing his free speech and is entitled to do so...

From my by-stander's POV, DTF punched Tracy in the gut and then she repeatedly slapped him in the face. That's what happens when you piss people off. No one should be surprised by her response or expect something different.

And how this situation evolves into a complicated meta blame game that involves Martin is beyond me. What the fuck did he do to deserve responsibility for DTF's actions and Tracy's reactions?

And I can't help looking at how the situation was twisted in regard to SusanHu. DTF was offended by a friggin' cartoon, for goodness sake, and along with Catnip and ManEgee hounded that poor sensitive soul until she withdrew from BooTrib, never to return. Why is it okay for DTF to be offended and hound Susan but it's not okay for Tracy to be offended and hound DTF? And what was Susan doing except expressing her right to free speech?

You can't have free speech -- the right to provoke others -- for yourself and not tolerate it from others. You can't expect other people to be tolerant and swallow their insults when you don't. DTF has more of a double-standard going than Martin does.

And this snide essay on how foolish Martin is to hope to pay his expenses for providing us all a forum for the "free" expression of our ideas and opinions... Why the fuck shouldn't he be supported instead of denigrated for providing a forum where people can be nice or nasty to each other. He'd prefer people to be nice but it's not his fault when people turn nasty.

You all expected him to step in and ban Tracy but the only way he could have done that fairly was to ban DTF at the same time. After all, DTF started it and don't tell me he wasn't being a prick. Calling ALL US soldiers cold-blooded murderers IS a personal attack to someone who is married to one.

Me, I'm married to a Vietnam Vet but I'm old enough not to care what DTF thinks -- he can have his opinion. And I'm free to have mine: DTF is a pompous, hypocritical asshole.

Nanette said...

BooMan, I didn't say that you censored Ductape, and I mentioned that your personal reactions to him were not of the insane variety.

I also think many people write what they write, without concern (or even belief) that they might be discrediting the site. Scoop type sites are odd things, but I get the feeling that some users are under the impression that they are writing for their own audiences, not that of the site owners, if that makes any sense.

As far as I know a total of three people got offended. Sally quit early on. MWAC was a new member who left as soon as the controversy died down. Tracy was a special case because we've known her situation all along, and we were put in a strange place in trying to deal with her anger.


All three of them appear to have quit the site.

So, I just don't understand why this side of the argument is harboring this grievance. Your side won. The pro-military people were driven out.

This is demonstrably unfair... no one was trying to drive out the pro military people. They were just trying to co-exist with them, and in many cases, the fact that they were pro military was not even part of the equation so much as the fact that they (mostly Tracy) were ... actually, no. I don't at all put Sallycat and MWAC in the same category... they simply hated Ductape himself (as well as his views, to an extent), no matter what, and they mostly confined their comments to him and sometimes to people who objected to this.

Tracy is in a category all by herself, and it has nothing much at all to do with her being pro military... she's always been a military wife on the blogs, and has always co-existed with those who were either anti military or anti this war or were peace activists and so on. She even joined some of them in Crawford and DC and all that. It's not her views that were the problem, it was her actions, and again there is the attempt to turn things around to promote a vindicating idea that the mess was a "pro military/anti military" blog fight and that the "anti military" faction won and pushed out the pro military people, when in reality, Tracy just went postal, attacked a bunch of people who were both pro and anti military, pro and anti troop, pro and anti Tracy, and in general behaved very very badly.

She has quit the site, yes, but the repercussions continue, and probably will do so as long as things are put in mitigating language that attempts to spread the blame for her actions among many people who are not at all to blame for them.

If anyone cares to check the thread, I doubt you will find anyone doing that except the three people I have mentioned.

We can't check the thread because that particular diary was deleted along with all the rest of them.

This is not something that started with the "you can't reason with Americans" diary, as I mentioned above... it was a progression that can't quite be followed without the "you must love the military" diary, but if you'll remember Sallycat left over that one too.

There were a lot more than 3 people in that (Tracy's) diary and the behavior was just awful... alohaleezy recently revisited it and has since apologized for her behavior and comments, after reading them again outside the heat of the moment.

As for diaries and content, I think some of scribe's suggestions above could be considered. My point, though, is not about the controversy or non of diaries, or who cares about the sites they post on and all that, I just don't want some of the things that have gone on to be lost under the "But Ductape wrote a controversial diary" cover.

Nanette said...


And I can't help looking at how the situation was twisted in regard to SusanHu. DTF was offended by a friggin' cartoon, for goodness sake, and along with Catnip and ManEgee hounded that poor sensitive soul until she withdrew from BooTrib, never to return. Why is it okay for DTF to be offended and hound Susan but it's not okay for Tracy to be offended and hound DTF? And what was Susan doing except expressing her right to free speech?

I did some "hounding" too, I think. But what I wanted to ask was... in your view, what were people taking offense at with that cartoon?

DuctapeFatwa said...

sjct, would you mind posting a link to the messages where I punch anyone in the gut?

I know sometimes we are so eager to make a claim that it slips our mind to include the link. :)

catnip said...

And I can't help looking at how the situation was twisted in regard to SusanHu. DTF was offended by a friggin' cartoon, for goodness sake, and along with Catnip and ManEgee hounded that poor sensitive soul until she withdrew from BooTrib, never to return.

Why don't you contact Booman and ask him to tell you why Susan left BT? He told me via e-mail when I inquired and, believe me, it wasn't about me, DTF or ManEegee. (Although, since Booman is pissed off at me, he may decide to disagree with me just out of spite. I do have copies of the e-mails in which he told me what happened though. The spat involved Booman and Susan - no one else.)

If posting a diary with an opposing opinion is considered "hounding" then I'd submit to you that such "hounding" occurs on a daily basis on virtually millions of blogs.

DuctapeFatwa said...

LOL BooMan, yes, I consider the financial and political aspirations of any website owner to be his or her own private business, and it is for him or her to decide how best to achieve whatever he or she wishes to achieve with their websites.

DuctapeFatwa said...

And on the question of my "hounding" anyone, I believe that you will find that I consistently expressed the view that susan, like anyone else, has every right to express hers.

Yes, it hurt my feelings to see it there, along with an exhortation to paste it up on public fence-posts, because I had made a mistake regarding the nature of the site, but I was wrong to express that my feelings were hurt, and I apologized for that.

At no time, however, did I "hound" anyone, and I stand by my contention that she has the right to her beliefs, and to express them where she chooses to do so.

supersoling said...

It should be pointed out that Tracy's attacks were'nt reserved only for DTF and anyone who might have ever said anything nice about him, which appears to include her, per the link above. Damnit Janet was the recipient of Tracy's final outburst, and that had nothing to do with DTF. Show me please where Damnit Janet punched Tracy in the guts and why she deserved what she got from Tracy.

Raging Hippie said...

Count me among those who was deeply offended by Susan's suggestion that a "cartoon" portraying the founder of Islam as wearing a bomb-totin' turban should be blanket-posted to somehow "show them."

I was also offended at Susan's subsequent snide and dismissive remarks concerning anyone who chose to disagree with her approach to the issue.

So would I have been justified in visiting every diary she wrote to trash her personally, or to tell her to go "back where she came from," just because she took a stand that I found offensive? Having pissed people off, shouldn't Susan have expected that to happen?

I would like to believe that adults can discuss controversial matters without turning into vindictive, spitwad-throwing, tantrum-tossing five-year-olds. But apparently, some folks think that's too much to ask.

Nanette said...

The cartoon mess is yet another reason why I more value transparency, talking things out til they are at least understood, if not ended, and naming names.

I imagine any number of people not only think Susan left because of the cartoon thing (I did, until BooMan recently said in a comment that she didn't), but also still have no clue about why such a diverse group of people were upset, because the conversation was never finished. It just stopped, when Susan stopped participating in the site.

But then nothing was said as to why she stopped, so of course everyone assumed (and still assumes) it was the cartoon controversy and all the people "hounding" her about it.

I think it is the silence, secrecy, not naming names and not bringing things into the light, or at least not offering generalized explanations that is the "poison", personally.

Nanette said...

catnip, thanks for finding that link. I'd forgotten about that actual diary, but I did remember the general feeling people had of affection (some exasperated) although I am sure there were some that vividly disliked him even then. Funny that the most critical person in that diary is spiderleaf, lol.

What happened? well, I've already given my opinion on that, and the procession from his being a beloved (or at least tolerated) "anti american" gadfly to being a hated "anti american" terrorist.

But, I can't say it enough! racism, xenophobia, militarism, nationalism.

BooMan said...

Susan left the site for personal reasons. People may wish to know the details, but I am not at liberty to disclose them. And there is a certain degree to which even I am uncertain about her motives.

Given all the things that were going on in her life at the time, it isn't easy to point to just one thing. The cartoon controversy was a symptom and not a cause of what led her to leave.

But she did not leave because of the cartoons or her treatment. She was unable to write and did not write for months afterwards.

catnip is correct that is had nothing to do with her, although it is typical of her to suggest I would lie about it out of antipathy for her.

Maybe some of you are getting a better idea of why I feel the way I do about her.

catnip said...

I wish we didn't have to rehash these thing over and over and over but you're right, Nanette, the fact that what happened in the background was kept hidden has caused some major problems. I understand the need to keep some issues private but silence can be a killer.

I am considering posting the real reason I left BT here but the fact that I will most likely be viciously attacked by some revisionist historians if I do so is holding me back. I've had enough of being a target and if I were to blemish Susan's reputation, "that poor sensitive soul" according to sjct, I fear I would initiate a firestorm that would carry on for months on end.

That's what many have refused to understand in all of this: I chose to protect her reputation. By doing so, I've made her a martyr and have left myself open to hatred and scorn. I should have just been upfront about it at the time.

I'm not sure what to do now.

sjct said...

Catnip: I don't have to ask BooMan why Susan left. I asked her. And, yes, there were lots of reasons -- her health mainly. But, one of them was certainly the reaction to the cartoon and the way it kept being brought up by you and DTF among others.

Nanette: I didn't even know the cartoon was supposed to be the "founder of Islam" until DTF said it was. I thought it was Ali Baba. I had no idea the Prophet was fat! A Muslim with a bomb in his turbin shouldn't be any more offensive -- given the facts of current events -- than Uncle Sam with devil horns and rockets in his fists. Both of true portrayals of current events.

Super: Look, I said Tracy had a meltdown. She went crazy, no doubt, and she's responsible for letting what a pompous gasbag writes get to her. She's responsible for going ballistic on bystanders and spewing venom on peaceniks. She lost her mind. Couldn't we all just step back and feel a little sorry for someone who lost control instead of villifying her?

And shouldn't we hold DTF responsible for triggering her?

DTF: Links? har. You are the king of passive-agressive, aren't you?

When you stated that ALL US soldiers are cold-blooded murderers, that was a punch in the gut to Tracy who is married to one. It was a punch in the gut to SallyCat who used to be one. It was an insult to everyone who has served in the US armed forces and all the people related to them.

Let me see some links to support your statement. Show me how the US military is worse by far than any other military in history. War is hell, old man, SOME soldiers do terrible things and always have. One country's soldiers are no more or less murderous than other's are. It's a stupid statement meant to PROVOKE, OFFEND AND TRIGGER meltdowns in weak-minded people. Just like ALL AMERICANS would kill their first-born if Bush asked them to -- stupid, harsh rhetoric intended to stir up heated responses instead of a civil discussion. You're a verbal bomb thrower, DTF, and it's silly of you to pretend you aren't.

booman said...

Why don't you just say that you two had an argument and leave it at that?

What is your compulsion to air dirty laundry?

I'll even stipulate that you were treated badly and had ample justification for resigning under the circumstances.

I'd hope you would stipulate that I did my damnest to arbitrate it and ultimately failed.

Is that enough to keep you from taking private emails and making them public?

If you feel the need to do that you will be justifiably vilified.

catnip said...

Catnip: I don't have to ask BooMan why Susan left. I asked her. And, yes, there were lots of reasons -- her health mainly. But, one of them was certainly the reaction to the cartoon and the way it kept being brought up by you and DTF among others.


Booman just contradicted your version of events:

But she did not leave because of the cartoons or her treatment. She was unable to write and did not write for months afterwards.

His last statement, however, is untrue since she's been busily posting on Larry Johnson's blog since March as SusanUnPC. (see her bio - same person)

catnip said...

Perhaps Booman has forgotten that I will no longer reply to his comments since he considers me to be a "dumbass" and "poison".

Booman said...

you're right she started posting at noquarter a lot earlier than I realized.

spiderleaf said...

Yes, I was the most vocal critic in that diary. I definitely don't agree with everything Ductape writes and don't mind saying so. But I also understand his rhetorical style and can appreciate it. I also know he doesn't consider all Americans evil monsters... just the majority. So I can share a blog with him and yet agree that BooMan should be allowed to meek out a meager existence providing a forum for us to post our views.

I wish Susan hadn't left, but I'm glad she's found a calmer place to do what she does best.

sjct, I do indeed feel sorry for Tracy having a meltdown, but as the unwarranted target of a lot of her agression & lies I don't feel I should just stand by and take it. That's pretty much my bottom line.

Boo, not sure if you saw it, but I posted a reply to you in the last thread that was at 164 the last time I checked.

spiderleaf said...

And just to be clear, the evil monsters part was snark.

James said...

Truth of the matter is that we have no way of knowing what triggered Tracy's meltdown - we do not know what might have been happening in her life outside of blogtopia. It could be that DTF, Janet, et al were merely in the way at the time the meltdown started. The blaming of DTF for "causing" her meltdown thus seems like one hell of a rush to judgment.

Nanette said...


And shouldn't we hold DTF responsible for triggering her?

No. If her attacks had been on Ductape or even mostly related to him, then maybe so. But if you follow her comments (the ones that have not been deleted) you'll see that "Ductape made me do it" is pretty much just an after the fact justification and fiction.

Her targets, from the get go, were peace activists, people who do not approve of the military, and then those who attempted to calm her down and get her to be rational. She may have been (and most likely was) upset about that diary, but the majority of her vitriol was saved for and directed towards the people mentioned above.

Nanette: I didn't even know the cartoon was supposed to be the "founder of Islam" until DTF said it was. I thought it was Ali Baba. I had no idea the Prophet was fat! A Muslim with a bomb in his turbin shouldn't be any more offensive -- given the facts of current events -- than Uncle Sam with devil horns and rockets in his fists. Both of true portrayals of current events.

Yes, I kinda thought that's how you were probably viewing things, and it's one of the results of the conversation never being finished. We never got to a real understanding of how "my monitor is bad, I didn't see the bomb in the turban, it's free speech, people (halfway around the world) are rioting and we here can't back down" and all that obscures the main point that putting up racist stereotype pictures of anyone, but most especially marginalized and jeopardized minorities, with a sort of "you're not the boss of me!" text, and exhorting people join with conservatives and to put these posters on lampposts and buildings and everywhere with the apparent intent of silencing and intimidating any of said (non rioting, non death threat making) local minorities within various US cities was not only not liberal but was racist, unjust and downright dangerous to those being held up as a target.

catnip said...

You know - I have PTSD and I can be triggered by a sound, a smell, a colour, a tv show, Michelle Malkin...on and on it goes. I can't blame those things for triggering me. I can only acknowledge the source and decide how to appropriately process and deal with my reaction.

As for Tracy (who does not have PTSD that I know of), she - like everyone - is capable of being triggered into an emotional reaction by a myriad number of things as well. Sometimes people who are triggered can't really quite process what set them off, so unless they are able to do so for themselves (which I have come to learn how to do in order to control my emotions) it would behoove anyone to explain what might trigger someone else.

catnip said...

I sincerely believe that if there really was a way to effectivly herd cats, I'd have found it by now

I can herd cats. I am "catnip" after all. The problem is what to do with the drooling little furballs once I've attracted them. That's when they become quite unruly.

DuctapeFatwa said...

sjct: I do not consider you uninformed about the activities of US gunmen. If you wish links, I can suggest that you google "Iraq atrocity," "abu ghraib" "iraq torture" "iraq rape" "seymour hersh" just as a starter and I am confident that the results of such a search will provide you with a wealth of links from a wide variety of sources.

While I would not feel comfortable accusing any individual of being "weak minded," I will certainly concede that the internets are not for everybody.

There are many people who have been harmed by US policies, in many ways. And there are individuals who, for reasons quite unrelated to US policies, might find many things on the internets, including those quite unrelated to US policies, so disturbing that a better choice for them might be to choose offline leisure time activities, or choose websites to visit that are not likely to contain material that will be upsetting to them.

For example, someone who is recovering from an abusive situation might find that visiting websites that are unrelated to issues of violence or abuse, and unlikely to contain material on that subject or even jsut as an example, online games of a violent and graphic nature.

It is called the "world wide web" for a reason, and it is true that if one ventures out into cyber-space, one will invariably find individuals whose views, attitudes, opinions, beliefs, perspectives, and realities are different from one's own.

While I most certainly do not hesitate to express my opinion of US policies and their implementation, it would not be realistic for me to go to any internet site dealing with current events and expect to find only opinions that were in agreement with my own.

Even though the website might not be an American one, there well might be Americans on there expressing their support for the decisions of their warlords and the activities of their gunmen.

Conversely, you and anyone else should expect that on any website that allows public comment there may be non-Americans, and even some Americans, who do not agree with US policies, and who do not applaud or support the activities of American gunmen, torturers, et al.

In my opinion, you have the same right as anyone else, including myself, to hold your views and to express them.

The notion that it is somehow discourteous to express opposition to US policies simply because one's readers may include Americans who for whatever reason, support those policies, their implementation, etc. is one that I have heard expressed only by Americans. Maybe it is an aspect of the Exceptionalism doctrine?

I ask because I have never seen anyone from any other country suggest that it is insensitive or impolite to express one's opinion because nationals of that country might read it and be offended that you oppose their country's policies.

While I recognize the popularity among Americans for this doctrine of exceptionalism, I do not think that it is realistic to suppose that non-Americans will have the same enthusiasm for it, therefore we are unlikely to refrain from criticizing US policies in order to spare the feelings of American nationals who support them.

Please note that I am in no way saying that you have no right to your opinion on this matter, merely stating the obvious: namely that not everyone, especially non-Americans, can be expected to share it. It is worth noting that Bush himself has recently repeated after his earpiece that he finds the fact that the Iraqis are ungrateful to be upsetting.

I personally find the invasion and occupation of the various crusade lands, and the attendant atrocities, to be beyond offensive, and I would love it if the US would cease aggression and disarm in order to accomodate my sensitivity in this matter.

DuctapeFatwa said...

I think that I should make it clear that I don't think that I or anyone else will deny that running a website of any kind is "hard work."

I have also, on more than one occasion, given BooMan all props for allowing people whose views differ from his to post those opinions on his website.

However, that is merely my personal opinion, the decision to do so is his and his alone, as the owner of the website, and whether that decision is favorable to his personal financial/political aspirations is his own call to make.

And I have even acknowledged sympathy for his plight, on more than one occasion it has appeared to me that his decision to permit message content that diverged not only from his own opinion, but from what I perceived to be the prevalent ambience, or zeitgeist of his website had not served him well, that many times I would visit the site and find that the people disagreeing with BooMan outnumbered those who agreed with him! And I am talking about discussions in which I did not participate at all!

As with anything, there are trade-offs, and if BooMan or any site ower is conflicted with regard to what they wish their website to be and to do, that also is his own private business, not the concern of the general public.

I do not have a problem with admitting my own errors.

First of all, I erred, and did so not once, but over time, by failing to be as selective as I should have been regarding which websites I visit.

Furthermore, on the BooMan site, I inappropriately expressed that my feelings were hurt by content the site's administrators chose to feature on the first page. That was wrong, and I should not have done it. What content the site owner wishes to have on his site is not my business, and how it might make me feel is mine, and not the site owner's concern or problem.

Because I noted that the cartoon issue was one that many people appeared to have strong opinions on, in addition to publicly apologizing for having said that my feelings were hurt, and repeatedly stating that I fully supported the right of susan or anyone else to hold and express any opinion, I also publicly asked her to tell more about her opinion, not to defend it, no one has any obligation to defend an opinion or a belief, but it was, and still is, my opinion that a more productive discussion could be had about the issue if I and others who did not share those beliefs could learn more about them.

As I recall, susan declined, and BooMan did his best to share his understanding of her views, but obviously he is not her, and it would be very unfair to expect him to be able to enlighten or educate me or anyone else on what someone else thinks!

I regret susan's decision. I believe that regardless of our stand on the question, we could all have benefitted greatly had she chosen to tell more about her beliefs, so that those of us who do not share them might at least come to understand them a bit.

DuctapeFatwa said...

To correct a screwy sentence: I mean that someone recovering from an abusive situation might wish to choose websites that do NOT contain material of a graphic and violent nature, including games that contain graphic depictions of violence.

Janet said...

I can only speak for myself. So here goes.

I did not punch anyone in the gut. In fact, I never even argued or fought back with Tracy. I, several times, even acknowledged that she was in pain. I tried to reach out to her many times. My diaries did not change. My stance on the war did not change. In a year's time I did grow and become more focused but the labels I've been given in a hijacked diary of mine about supporting War Resisters and Lt. Watada... they don't fit me so I refuse to wear them or think on them too much. It hurt terribly at first because they came from someone who was in so much pain and someone who was once a friend an ally... But having grown up in an abusive home as a child... I try not carry the baggage of other's issues.

Booman has been very supportive when it comes to extremely personal diaries of mine. Autism and the rape diary that started an avalanche of stories and letters to the Rape District of Kansas. We disagree about the draft, about some aspects of the military. Doesn't mean he's my enemy or that I'm mad at him - just that we disgree on a few things. He much to share and knows about things that I just don't have the time to delve into.

I love you all independantly and abundantly - and for splendidly different reasons.

catnip said...

DTF wrote:

Furthermore, on the BooMan site, I inappropriately expressed that my feelings were hurt by content the site's administrators chose to feature on the first page. That was wrong, and I should not have done it. What content the site owner wishes to have on his site is not my business, and how it might make me feel is mine, and not the site owner's concern or problem.

I disagree. Afaic, if someone posts something on the internets, it's fair game for criticism (reality-based, rational criticism). If that is spurred by one's feelings, as I wrote above, it is up to the critic to respond appropriately (which you did), not irrationally in a screaming banshee kind of way, however. And it is then up to the site owner or author to respond in kind if they choose to do so. It's when feelings become extreme in their expression that problems are sown and reason is lost.

catnip said...


I'm unclear on the timeline of Tracy's "meltdown" but it seemed she still shared many of your opinions when she wrote this May diary. What happened after that point to change her opinion is beyond me.

Janet said...

Feelings... long time ago I was hospitalized for anorexia and drug abuse - basically it was a safer place to stay than in my childhood home. A nurse said something to me that I still carry with me after all these years...

"Your feelings can't hurt, only your reactions to them can."

I'm very passionate and run by emotions and empathy for the most part. (an internal flaw of a Scorpio :D) but I choose to not allow my feelings to verbally assassinate another or ... myself.

Janet said...

Catnip, OMFG!!! baby killer!!! I dunno either.

Sometimes when my dad would come home in a complete rage, he'd accuse us of doing things HE had done himself. It's called projection.

I remember one time he beat me with a hoola hoop my mom had just bought me. He was in a tirade because Mom was spending too much of his money on frivolous stuff. He'd break it on me... then she'd run out and buy another. He'd break it on me... this went on for several trips. Finally the MPs showed up. Nothing was done of course... but it turns out my dad had spent alot of money at the base club...

Misdirected rage. That's all I can chalk it up to.

DuctapeFatwa said...

catnip, I agree that any material or article on any public website is "fair game" as far as expressing disagreement with the views and opinions contained therein.

Where I erred was in saying that it hurt my feelings. My feelings are my own personal business and irrelevant to a productive discussion of the cartoons, calls to post them on telephone poles, or any other topic.

In addition, no website is under any obligation to choose its content based on whether or not it will hurt my feelings or anyone else's. In fact, to do so would be counter-productive for a website that is in any way focused on current events.

In a way, what I did was no different from saying that people should refrain from criticizing activities of US gunmen in Iraq because it might hurt the feelings of some Americans.

While I did not directly make such a statement, by posting material about my hurt feelings, the implication was that I believed my feelings were in any way relevant to the site's content choices, which is simply not so.

And I believe that expressing my own emotions in that way did not have a good influence on the discussion itself, as too much of that discussion became about my feelings, and not the actual issue, and unfairly distracted other people who also disagreed with susan's comments from making an attempt to understand the opinions and beliefs behind them, and may have influenced susan's decision not to discuss her views further.

What I should have done is ask her to share more of her thoughts, so that I, as well as others who disagreed, could perhaps come to a better understanding of her views, although we might still disagree.

A very good opportunity for a very productive and helpful discussion was presented, and instead of doing what I could to help that happen, I said my feelings were hurt, and I regret that very much.

catnip said...

Okay. That makes sense now. Thanks, Monsieur Ductape.

James said...

Your side won.

Nobody won a goddamn thing, Martin. Opportunities for dialog and/or understanding were lost. Bridges were burned. That's about the extent of it.

Whatever triggered Tracy's meltdown, and God knows what that might have been - none of us is sufficiently omniscient on that one - her tantrum affected a broad number of folks. It was pathetic. Nothing victorious in that.

DuctapeFatwa said...

LOL James, my perception is that if indeed I was the problem, I have also ceased visiting the site, in fact, I have ceased visiting all sites of that ilk, so there should be no more controversy, and if the revenue model BooMan wishes is indeed, as canberra boy has indicated, the one I note as being the more difficult-to-manage one of straight up space sales, then BooMan should be able to confidently offer a website with consistently pro-Exceptionalism message content, where the activities of US gunmen are praised, and unconditional support for Israel unconditionally unquestioned. Right?

It has already been clearly established that I could post a page of the Jakarta phone book, a rant against US policies in general or some specific atrocity, or high heeled shoes or a recipe for lamb korma and a hefty chunk of the comments would be the same in all cases, and only a handful of active participants would even read it before commenting anyway.

However, as I recall, one of the interesting phenomena that I have noted is that I frequently saw on the site, views expressed that did not differ substantially from my own on some topics. Steven D in particular stands out, as do you, as does Janet, CookTing, Nanette, I could go on, and forgive me for not naming more names.

So while we might all be able to agree that it is quite naturally considered more acceptable for an American to criticize US policies and their implementation than a non-American, whether advertisers, especially politicians and political organizations, will see it the same way is another question.

I will even go so far as to suggest that BooMan himself may not be without the occasional something resembling a bit of inner conflict on some particularly sensitive issues.

So from my perspective, I would have to agree with you. I am confident that anyone whose participation on the site is truly dependent on my absence can be easily persuaded to return.

However, I don't think that BooMan's challenges regarding what he wants to do with his site are as easily solved.

Scribe has twice very astutely noted that there are some definite trade-offs and choices to be made.

I would say that those choices begin with the question of allowing posts and comments to be made by the general public.

Whether he allows public participation or not, he must also decide to what extent he wishes to enforce message content. Consistency of message will be more likely to appeal to politicians, but will also require extra work for BooMan, and since the site's inception, he has allowed participants to express a variety of views, it is reasonable to suppose that he has a preference for that, so there is one issue he will have to work out.

Whatever goals or aspirations he has for his site, he has been very candid about his view that helping to attain it should be the responsibility of his participants, and I am of the opinion that this is not a view he can be confident that the general public will share, and I will go further and say that would apply even to members of the general public who agree with BooMan about everything from exceptionalism to womens' reproductive rights and school vouchers.

So I guess for BooMan, whoever won, his is a zero-sum victory. He has won a "hard row to hoe," which is not subtantially different from what he had to begin with!

catnip said...

I've won some pretty interesting names. Why, just tonite I was reminded of the fact that sybil once called my style "word-explosion writing" and labeled my cartoon diary a "self righteous attack diary" - a label which I embraced in all its glory as far as some of my other writings were concerned.

Reading the comments to my post on my place back then, I see things sure haven't progressed much, have they? That's putting it mildly.

Same old shit. New wrapping paper. Still stinks. (That was crude - it's late - oh well).

But really, what has been done since then to change anything at BT? Damned if I know. And perhaps I just shouldn't concern myself with it anymore, especially when I continue to experience so much animosity over it.

What's the point? I'm tired of fighting old wars - especially with people who will most likely consider me some sort of terrorist dumbass enemy til kingdom come and who continue to attempt to write revisionist history. I mean - really - it's all in print over there (except for Tracy's stuff and we all know what that consisted of). So, what is the point, exactly? I don't know.

I should probably just leave it to you who actually still participate there to figure it out. I've tried to contribute my 2 cents worth about how a blog community would function better, but will that make any difference? I doubt it. Plus ca change... as they say. Although, in this case, nothing really has changed and I don't see a new reality happening any time soon.

You can only bang your head against a wall so many times before it actually starts to really hurt. (That was a metaphor. I am not feeling 'hurt' - just tired).

booman said...


you are absolutely right. I am known for tailoring my message to please advertisers and censoring my members for the same purpose. I am also known as an unfliching advocate for American Exceptionalism in all its imperialistic glory and as a staunch defender of Israel, right or wrong.

You have beautifully summarized my body of work. Thank you.

It's probably not worth the kinetic energy to write it, but all I wanted to point out is that you don't give a rat's ass about electing progressive/Democrats, you could care less if something you write would show up in the national press as an example of how all the BT members are terrorist sympathizers that hate America, etc. And my point wasn't that you have no right to post that under the rules of the site, but that someone that gave a shit about the mission of the site might take care to make their points in a less inflammatory manner. And if you post that stuff you will cause damage to any community site that has a mission to work in a synergistic manner with Democrats.

So, it is about you. It's about why what you write will predictably drive a wedge within communities where some people are more interested in a completely anything goes free exchange of ideas, and people that are more activist orientated and want to use the community to achieve specific goals.

And it won't matter what the rules of the site are, so long as the mission is the same.

That is probably why MLW reacted in such a hostile manner, even though MSOC, like me, doesn't ban any language provided it isn't just Rove's talking points.

DuctapeFatwa said...

Well BooMan, you are right and you are wrong. What I actually said is right in front of you, but I understand that actually reading anything that I write is considered a violation of the Patriot Act. Maybe someone else can read it and paraphrase. All laws have loopholes.

(What I said is that you will have to choose whether you wish to tailor your message to advertisers).

The reason that I chose, a few years ago, to participate on American websites, was because I incorrectly thought that there was something of an ideological divide. I doubted that America spoke with one voice. I freely acknowlege that I was wrong.

Now you are quite right that I do not give a rodent's derriere about US domestic political hijinks.

And while I did violate the guideline that I had set for myself, namely that I would be very selective about which websites I would visit, I have been privileged to come to know a number of Reform-minded Americans.

I would like to have seen an actual Reform movement develop in the US, that could have meant a move toward advancement, modernization, a move toward democracy, and maybe eventually, legitimate statehood.

However, the number of Reform-minded Americans never grew large enough to make that a realistic possibility, and I regret that very much.

If you are re-thinking your belief in American exceptionalism, I will not jinx it by encouraging you.

Your beliefs, like how to achieve your goals and aspirations for your website, are yours alone to work out.

Since I no longer visit your website, I would have to disagree with your contention that it is all about me, though I am naturally flattered that you would ascribe to me such great and magical powers as to suggest that it ever was.

I wish I really did have that kind of power. If I did, I would use it to save the world from The Situation, so that you, and your descendants, as well as mine, might have a future.

catnip said...

Since I no longer visit your website, I would have to disagree with your contention that it is all about me, though I am naturally flattered that you would ascribe to me such great and magical powers as to suggest that it ever was.

'Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

Bullwinkle: Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.

Rocky: Again?? That trick never works.

Bullwinkle: This time for sure.


Rocky: Wrong hat!

Bullwinkle: I take a size seven and a half.

Janet said...

Today I am trying to raise money...

My full diary and plea for help at MyLeftWing

Thanks :)

catnip said...


Techie question: how do you change the settings so that when you click on a link in a comment a new page pops up? Is there some 'target _blank' option to be added somewhere in the template?

canberra boy said...

Janet, I don't post at MLW, so I'm indicating here that I'll e-mail you for details and send something.

Militarytracy said...


I guess you forgot about the disagreement that we had about defining that Lt. Watada was breaking the law and it looks like you also forgot about claiming that the UCMJ is outdated and quaint though my husband would tell you that you're nuts and he would be happy to explain how and why every single code exists and what purpose it serves and what would happen if that code were removed. I live as a military spouse right now among many other military spouses, their children and their soldiers. We deal with intense stress, all of us right this minute......and going to jail for many many years instead of deploying does not make anything less stressful for any of us either. Trying to rewrite facts in your diaries so that it fits with your personal rhetoric grates on me a bit, and when soldier perception means so much these days because it is life and death for them I have no patience for it Janet. None at all! I don't have to worry about such things so long as I stick to DKos and do whatever work I do out of there. There are a lot of other military voices there and they aren't partial to letting people make up their own facts to suit their diaries and what they want other people to believe. I'm safe there in the midst of a lot of daily stress that probably isn't going to be diminishing much any time soon. I was overly attached to the Bootrib community because I blogged there about my Uncle's suicide and I went to Crawford blogging there. Those were big moments in my life and very defining for me. I'm just not interested though in making facts up concerning the military for a diary and I don't want to be a part of a blog community that desires such things and nurtures and grows such things because without all the facts that we have on hand in the real world we only end up looking like fools and marginalized when it comes to making a real political impact. I didn't attack peacenicks......I attacked peacenicks that lie and distort the truth. I have protested myself and I have plans for future protesting so it isn't protesting for peace that I take issue with. I read here tonight that you are thinking about writing a diary about losing friendships and lies and I hope I'm not considered this huge friend that you lost. As I have processed things further my husband pointed out...and it is true...that a real friendship requires more real life experience and caring about each other and cyberspace can be very make believe sometimes. I would consider you an acquaintance that I happen to know a bit about and who knows a bit about me, but I wouldn't consider us as having a great friendship that was lost or anything along those lines.

catnip said...

Yes, dkos is military cheerleading heaven, isn't it? And facts are incredibly important to you Tracy, aren't they?

(I had some surfing time to kill while I'm watching the Daily Show. I don't actually archive your comments for future reference, although I did bookmark this for reference because it comes in handy so often - most especially when you trash Janet by beating the same dead horse over and over with her.)

When we show up en masse when they jail a soldier refusing to do duty in Iraq and we all demand to be jailed with him we will all heal together and end the craziness at once! If your soldiers thought they could trust you to stand up for them the same way they stand up for you, you all would be the most powerful nonviolent military force this planet has ever seen!
Tracy, May 2006

Exactly how long are you going to hold these stressful grudges, Tracy? You want peace in your life? Be it.

NLinStPaul said...


I'm happy you have found a home at dkos that gives you less stress. God only knows you've got enough of it in you life. Believe me, we all understand that. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have a family that includes a son with such serious health issues and a husband who is about to have to go back to participate in a war where other people's children are being killed. It really must be too much to bear.

But can't you just give yourself and everyone else a little peace too? After all, people like Janet are doing everything they can physically and emotionally to stop this atrocious war. I know you don't agree with everything she has said - but she's doing her best - that's pretty damn good and more than most in this country are doing right now.

Why not give it a rest, go back to dkos and let everyone get on with it?

supersoling said...

I don't have a problem with Tracy posting here. The whole reason for this blog is for meta. There's no rules about who can or cannot post here. In fact, if I were her, I'd want to answer to what's been written here since so much of it has been about what happened with her at BT.

I've been thinking the last couple of days that a lot of what is written here is petty. More of it not though. I still have trouble seeing this medium as a legitimate means of interaction and communication. But as long as the potential is there for the internet to really effect change in politics or to help facilitate faster and wider communication for organizing anti-war efforts, then I think it's important to pick apart the problems that are encountered between people and between competing ideologies.

A lot of the nastiness though, I really could do without. I have a hard time envisioning most of us talking to each other face to face the way we do here. I think that a lot of consideration for the opposite opinion is thrown out the window when we aren't able to see a person's eyes and how their emotions play out on their faces. Something that DID influence my early opinions of Tracy, because we did spend a good amount of time together.

Militarytracy said...


Daily Kos isn't military cheerleading heaven for God's sake, how ridiculous....but throwing that up there certainly fits in well with your daily rhetoric. There does seem to be someone around there most of the time though who will point out distorted rhetoric, and there are enough soldiers there who understand how important full truth is where matters of the military are concerned when our soldiers are involved in a War. A war that was founded on a very large assortment of lies and distortions. People every where are hurt, angry, upset, and dead and joining the liars to attempt to Champion our own causes will help no one in the end and only discredit us. nlinstpaul, thank you for pointing out that Janet is doing her best as many of us are. I was very poor in dealing with the Lt. Watada issues as they took place so soon after the DTF episodes. I was too attached to the "idea" of the Booman community. It had meant something to me in the past but at that point the community wasn't the same anymore considering who had left and I wouldn't accept the change. I kept attempting to woo people back and have things be the way they had once been. I'm not sure that online communities are well suited for strong emotional ties anymore. It isn't a "home" that I seek and feel I have at DKos, it is a place to continue working from where I can do that with some credibility as a military family member. It is very unlikely that I will ever again have the situation that was created on post here with the people my husband works with as long as I stick to DKos or other such sites that have a larger pool of military voices on them and that demand more accuracy in what we put out there. It is true that Janet has worked hard to make an impact on the Iraq War situation.

Militarytracy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Family Man said...

Super I always stay out of these things, but I think you bring up excellent points. I’ve seen a lot of anger and nastiness from all sides and just one thought keeps hitting me.

If we all want peace in the world, how can we work toward that, when we can’t work together to facilitate peace on a blog.

Obviously I have no answer to this, but I would say when anger hits you, stop and think first before jumping in with both feet.

supersoling said...

I deleted the post at 7:30 because it was a double of Tracy's latest post above.

supersoling said...

many of us have legitimate differences in how to go about bringing an end to this war. Unfortunately, some of those differences are so far apart that we can't all work together, even when our goal in the end might me the same.

That Tracy acknowledges Janet's efforts above is encouraging and I wish, like you, that we could just keep it as simple as that. But each of us have to do what we can do, even if it means being estranged from people who are basically on the same side.

catnip said...

super wrote:

But as long as the potential is there for the internet to really effect change in politics or to help facilitate faster and wider communication for organizing anti-war efforts, then I think it's important to pick apart the problems that are encountered between people and between competing ideologies.

There comes a time when that picking apart has to stop because it detracts from the larger goal. There has to come a time where people simply agree to disagree with others opinions/perspectives for the good of the cause. There comes a time when personal hurts have to be dealt with by the person who holds those feelings so they can refocus on the political aspect of the fight everyone is in together. These circular firing squads serve no one. When one or two people keep opening up old wounds because they refuse to heal themselves, the political fight is threatened.

People have left BT. The site is calm. The "shit disturbers" have left the building. It does however, behoove everyone who is still there to take a rational look at effective community building - without involving personalities.

And the site's goals and rules must be crystal clear and must be enforced - not months after things have gone off the rail but immediately. If that means posting a reminder that everybody needs to write in ways that will not offend the advertisers or create controversy in national newspapers, then that should be done where everyone can see it every day. If that means reminding trusted users to troll rate comments that fit the troll definition, that must be done as well. Otherwise, why have a rating system at all? Just to pat each other on the back?

Doesn't everybody know all of this by now? What's stopping people from moving forward? "Feelings"? Well, process them and get on with it. Bush doesn't care about your feelings, I can assure you. What the Republicans do care about however is the potential and real power of the blogs. Why squander that on fighting with each other long after it's obvious that that personal wars are pointless?

Why does that reality have to go on and on, day in and day out on community blogs? They should be treated like committees with an impartial chairperson whose role is to enforce the rules of order to get the committee work done. Instead they devolve into 4th grade schoolyard brawls where the teacher just looks the other way because they have too many other things on their mind because they're underpaid and overworked.

There's an American election approaching quickly. But, if it's more important to slam those you're supposed to be working with to change things, keep at it. Just don't complain when the Democrats lose again.

/end 'o lecture

Janet said...

Call me a liar. I don't care. Call me names and scream at me. I don't care. Tracy, I am not your enemy and I will not engage with you. As to the friend I lost... not everything is about or for you. Be well and be safe.

For others though, I'd like to explian.. reexplain: I said the UMCJ was "quaint" and I have since then tried to explain that I was using the same snark as the White House calling the Geneva Convention's quaint. Plus the military uses the UMCJ when it SUITS them. They don't look at it when female troops are being harrassed, raped... etc.

I have things to do today... be well everyone.

While children die today and soldiers carry on without an agenda or proper tools.. people can attempt to tear others apart.

Janet said...

Plus I think a few people forget that they aren't the only ones with loved ones in Iraq. But it's a moot point who has whom in a war arena, who is in the military, whose retired, who was a "hippy"... it's all moot. We ALL have a right to live our lives according to our way...

I have every right to say I want to stop the killing. I have every right to support Lt. Watada and Veterans for Peace.

I did not change from the last time many of you met me in DC. I have grown, but I haven't changed. I have become more focused, but I didn't roll over and become a different person. I still want peace. I still want "Bring them home NOW".

I can only hope that the verbal assaults will cease because I think many here have more important things to attend to. Like their families, their friends and for peace and for ALL our children.

Arcturus said...

I just discovered this site & read throguh all the posts/comments yesterday. Just wanted to say thank you to spiderleaf for noticing this:

Okay, here's why I think it was a purge.

He started with Arcturus a while ago. He has in recent months gone WAY to the centre in his posts and the stupid "american exceptionalism" crap ad nauseum.

I must admit I naively treated the site for what I wanted it to be: a community forum that presented a wide-range of views. While I never expected Booman to agree with my POV, I was more than a little surprised by both his childishness ('I'm right; you're wrong, end of discussion' -- only to then post a whole friggin' Paen to Exceptionalism the next day) & the red-baiting. I often learn more from talking with someone I don't agree with -- or at least sharpen my own points & perceptions from the exchange. Abuse masquerading as "debate" doesn't do much but irritate though, & life's too short to be irritable all the time. It's a bit disingenouous for Martin to bitch now about people not being prioritized to electing his so-called "progressive" democrats when the site's FAQ invites participation from progressive non-partisans. Just don't have too progressive a world-view, or wander too far off from mainstream liberalism, huh?

James said...

Hi Arcturus! Glad you found this place.

Yeah, I think I've made the same mistake as you did, and have had my own run-ins with Martin that I think are fairly similar to what you experienced around mid-to-late July. As I found out, not being an American exceptionalist is apparently a "privileged" position - one not to be discussed but rather merely dismissed. So it goes. That dismissiveness isn't so much a reflection of the site's owner as it is a reflection of the general Zeitgeist of the Democrat party.

Once one goes outside the bpunds of what is considered politically correct among what passes for leftist forums, discussion is not even a possibility. Just the way it is.

catnip said...

Just don't have too progressive a world-view, or wander too far off from mainstream liberalism, huh?

This is a tad off topic but after I'd read the article in the NYT yesterday about Hillary's challenger, Tasini, I wandered over to dkos to see how much support he might have there since he obviously exemplifies so-called "progressive" values. I only read one diary by NYCee on the topic but the conversation seemd to be (paraphrased) "well, Hillary isn't Lieberman and she might run for pres in '08 and I'd never vote for her but we don't know this Tasini guy and he doesn't have any money to run a good campaign and, not only that, some of his views are bullshit" (or variations thereof - despite the fact that NYCee had linked to how liberal his positions are).

Anyway, I don't know what the majority think of Tasini over there but it would surprise me (althought it shouldn't, really) if they don't back Tasini since the site has been so overwhlemingly anti-Hillary all this time.

I'll add one thing: there's a difference between "mainstream liberalism" and "mainstream Democrats". Very few Democrats are liberals. You can count them on your toes. As for progressive politics on the left, I still don't even know what that means in the US, but it sure isn't about liberalism, imho - not my brand of it anyway. There's the right-wing and the lesser right-wing and the "kooks" like Nader - who is definitely a real liberal. And you know how much he's loved at the mainstream Dem blogs.

Arcturus said...

catnip: What happens in progressive politics in the US is largely outside the electoral realm. Which alone speaks volumes.

In my private lexicon, "liberal" is generally a perhorative.

Tassini? I'd be shocked if the Kossacks et al support him; most seem to hope he'll go away quietly. Remember his words on Israel after the invasion of Lebanon?

DuctapeFatwa said...

For those who are just reloading this page, I have started a new thread, since this one has gotten large, and there are also some new links on the right side of the main page for your edification and enlightenment.

catnip said...

Remember his words on Israel after the invasion of Lebanon?

This principled stand? Or did he say something else that I missed (which is highly likely since I didn't even know about this guy until Tuesday.)

Nanette said...

lol arcturus, and here I was startled to learn that you were practically the KGB, with all your leftist propaganda and all :).

catnip said...

Ah, yes, I remember that. Good times. Good times. ;)

DuctapeFatwa said...

Hey I thought I was the KGB. First I hear that I am not sybil's one and only stalkee and now this.

What's a terrorist to do?

catnip said...

Start a fan club? ;)

Janet said...

Oh my gawsh... that just added to an idea of mine that's been simmering in the dark recesses of my grey matter that some would call a brain.

We should all make our own "Wanted Posters" of ourselves :)

Janet said...

and this group is not being monitered by the "NSA"

This site is full of lies ... they are probably the same that send us death and rape threats via the email.

catnip said...

Whoever runs that site is truly delusional. Has Codepink tried to get it removed?

Anonymous said...

What was incorrect or inaccurate on the site? I did see a lot of what could be considered irritating, but I did not see anything that would constitute a lie.

Anonymous said...

It seems that you would try and stand up against what you do not like to hear. So much for tolerance. You never did say that anything was actually wrong or inaccurate with that website. You just did not like what it had to say. As for the question "Has Codepink tried to get it removed?", they probably have because they do not like anyone challenging their beliefs. That in itself proves that their Marxist beliefs cannot stand up on their own. They never can. The fact that you want someone to try to remove that website proves that you do not respect the rights of others to have different opinions. It seems that you believe that only you should have the right to speak and give your opinion. Thank God that this website is there to counter your beliefs and tell the truth about what Codepink really is.

And who cares if the NSA is monitoring that website. It seems that you would want the government monitoring that website, but not website that you care about. You speak ill about the government monitoring activities, yet you want the NSA to be monitoring this website, but not any website that you are affiliated with. You are a hipocrate!

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