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Subject: The Banning of Michael Barnes rss

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Scott Alden
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Yesterday, I banned Michael Barnes from posting on Boardgamegeek. The decision was mine and mine alone. There has been considerable outside pressure to ban various users in the past, but I've never bowed to such pressure, nor did I do so this time.

Mr. Barnes had been teetering on the edge of being banned for some time, in my mind. I had made repeated public requests for civility in the past, requests he has ignored. Others have ignored the requests as well, but none, in my mind, as visibly and harmfully as Mr. Barnes.

It was this exchange that pushed me over the line:

Aldie wrote:

"Maybe you should put yourself in his shoes before taking a shot. Would you want to participate in a place that ridicules you day after day? I'm sure most people wouldn't - and I don't want BGG to be that place. "


crackedlcd81 wrote:

"if we're going to have these internet personalities, tastemakers, pundits, experts, or whatever in the gaming community then they're simply going to be subject to comment and criticism."


(Full link here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1384471#1384471)

The problem was not that he told me I was full of crap - anyone can do that at any time. The problem was that I made what I consider to be a very reasonable request regarding how people post in the forums, and he basically told me he would do no such thing.

At this point - I felt that I was out of options.

I'd asked one more time publicly for an end to personal attacks. Michael said, publicly, that he had no intention of doing as I requested.

You may disagree with my decision, but I am responsible for the well-being of this entire community and I feel that I made the right one.

Also, it is not my intent to do this regularly.

I know that Mr. Barnes had a lot of fans and I apologize if you feel like I've taken away his voice - but he has since started a blog at
http://fortressameritrash.blogspot.com/ and I wish him well.

Finally this has absolutely nothing to do with the Ameritrash fans and their opinions despite what you may think. Heck, I'm an ATer myself!
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Rik Van Horn
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Your forum, your rules. Anyone who expects differently should leave the forum and the internet as well.

I might have more of an opinion if I had an inkling of who Michael Barnes is. I guess that means I won't miss him much.
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Jay Little
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Thank you, Aldie. I appreciate your frankness in telling us as much as you can about the situation.
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Jeff Brown
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Thanks for the explanation.
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Tim K.
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It's your house (or classroom of brats in this case) and it is entirely within your right to decide who is welcome here and who is not.

You did what you had to do. sauron

[edit]
Can we pick a charity for Barnes' Geekgold balance of 14.73?
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Geoff Bohrer
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Hmm.

If the exchange above...the quotes, specifically, were the straw, then yeah, I'd say you did make a bad call on this one.

There's a reason that "public figures" are exempted from libel protection in most jurisdictions; simply that, if you desire to gain a certain degree of stature and public note, then part of the price you pay is to have folks throw cabbages at you. That applies equally to Rick Thornquist and to Mike Barnes (and certainly, to a lesser extent, to guys like me and Chapel).
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Randy Cox
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OK, Aldie, I can't resist...

You're full of crap.

I mean, El Grande, Billabong, and Werewolf all in the Top 10? What are you thinking? On the other hand, your comment has turned me onto Who What Where, which I'm hoping to play in the very near future. So, I hope you're not too full of crap.

Oh, and about all that forum stuff--I'm happy with the site and don't need tons of boat rocking to get my enjoyment here. Just keep doing what you're doing.
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Lajos
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Thanks for the explanation, but I still disagree.
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True Blue Jon
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Is there going to be a microbadge?
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Rik Van Horn
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Oh and anyone who'd care to frequent a forum where you can insult people in any way for any reason and never get banned, feel free to visit Asylumnation.com.
About the only thing that can get you banned there is kiddie porn or warez.
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Matthan Heiselt
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Aldie,

Your a good guy. Thanks for maintaining such a wonderful site. Even though many do not agree with you all the time, you still take a stand on what you believe is best for us. Thanks.

Now... I am on to look up Who What Where.
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(Mr.) Kim Beattie
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Aldie,

It's good to see someone take a stand and insist on civility in public communication.

It is possible to disagree and debate in a civil, courteous manner. The problem is that most Americans don't know that...



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Douglas S
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Aldie. I agree with what you did.

You may want to add in the guidelines for this site, that this site is about games and opinions on games & opinions on other opinions ...and that personal attacks will not be tolerated, no matter who the target, and may in extreme cases, result in banning.

People can often descend into rabble without guidelines from above.


Be well!

-Douglas

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Michael Deems
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It certainly is your playground, so you make the rules. But the boat rocking (even to the point of capsizing) that Barnes provides is EXACTLY the kind of discussion I enjoy the most. I never saw any posts that any adult would find so far out of bounds that banning was necessary. We all know the saying " If you can't stand the heat ...."
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Alex Baker
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Thanks for the explanation, Aldie.
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Kyle S
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Thanks for the post, Aldie.

My main concern continues to be that no private and direct warning was given.

I do believe that public figures ought to expect more scrutiny - but I've said that before. To me, it's a simple numbers game. The more you post, the more criticism you're going to get. That's because more people are going to see what you post - not necessarily because people have it out for you.

I do agree that everyone deserves civility.

Rather than have admonishments aimed at the public in general, I think he should be given a very specific and direct (private) admonishment. If he crosses the line at that point, then he has nobody to blame but himself.

I know that I'd sure like a clear warning aimed directly at me prior to being banned.
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Jorge Arroyo
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I think you made a mistake. I don't think he deserves to be banned. His comments were quite insightful and when he did "attack" others it was never in a serious manner... I think you took him too seriously... c'mon...

-Jorge
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Douglas S
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kimbo wrote:
Aldie,

It's good to see someone take a stand and insist on civility in public communication.

It is possible to disagree and debate in a civil, courteous manner. The problem is that most Americans don't know that...





agreed
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Alexander B.
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I had no problem with him and I personally don't like that he got banned, but I really do know what it feel like to be putting a huge amount of time into a project and then someone constantly choosing to be an agitator: sometimes it is just not worth "working it out" with them when they don't want to work it out and are taking the attitude that their right to cause friction is equal to my right to keep pouring my own full-time efforts into a project.

So, I fully understand what Aldie did, have done similar things in the past, and will certainly do similar things in the future whenever I deem it to be required for my own business.

If this was a political 'site paid for with "public" money, then I'd have to say that equal rights to post are the ultimate "right". In this case, the peace of mind of those who actually run the business (and that is what it is) is an essential component to the business itself to keep running and that has to be considered as a very high priority.

Anyone who has actually run a business will know that, sometimes, it is better to refuse service to certain people than to deal with their "issues". This is not about being "fair", it is about staying sane enough to keep running the business instead of closing it down due to the gray hairs and stress hormones feeling like they are killing you forcing you out of it.
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Lajos
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quozl wrote:
Is there going to be a microbadge?

No.

I won't accept microbadges against BGG policy even if I disagree with that policy. I didn't accept anti-thumbs-down microbadges; neither will I accept anti-ban microbadges or a Michael Barnes fan microbadge (which was already requested).

Lajos
(still BGG's microbadge moderator)
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B B
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thumbsup It was probably a very hard decision Aldie, but a good one! thumbsup
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Matthew M
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gbohrer wrote:


If the exchange above...the quotes, specifically, were the straw, then yeah, I'd say you did make a bad call on this one.


The thing about the straw the breaks the camel's back is that people seem to ignore all the other straw.

-MMM
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Donald Dennis
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Is there an EULA or code of conduct for the site anywhere? Even something as simple as "be civil". I looked for such a thing, but couldn't find it.

If so, did he violate it?

If he did, then good on ya. If he didn't or there is not a EULA available, then I don't think banning was a good solution.
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Phil Shepherd
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Aldie, since you've been compared to a parent in other threads discussing this issue, I will say this:

Parents' decisions are not always right, but their intentions are.

I don't like this decision, but I know that you're doing what you think is right, and best for the site. Keep up the great work.
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Chris
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gbohrer wrote:
Hmm.

If the exchange above...the quotes, specifically, were the straw, then yeah, I'd say you did make a bad call on this one.

There's a reason that "public figures" are exempted from libel protection in most jurisdictions; simply that, if you desire to gain a certain degree of stature and public note, then part of the price you pay is to have folks throw cabbages at you. That applies equally to Rick Thornquist and to Mike Barnes (and certainly, to a lesser extent, to guys like me and Chapel).


Got say something about this. This is the internet and there is no such thing as free speech here. You want free speech then start your own forum. I am not flaming you so please just understand that This is Aldie's Forum and if he says that is the straw then that is the straw now a "Bad" call but it is His call. I also liked reading Barnes reviews and comments (although he is a bit harsh sometimes) I have to say that what Aldie says is the word on BGG is the word.

I just get tired of people thinking that they can say whatever they want and that they are being censored when someone deletes their posts or messages. Maybe in the near future Mr Barnes will be back I will check his Blog as long as he remains civil.
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