Like I said, Maggie is Maggie.
Interesting you'd complain so much about our behaviour here and how the mods operate, but a theist like Maggie? She shows some pretty damn detestable behaviour, but she's just Maggie.
And then, of course, there are the many individual stories of members who felt mistreated over the years not related to that early drama. You see, when anti-WWGHA sentiment shows up on IGI, very rarely is it from someone who hasn't been here. Nearly every single post is from someone who tried this forum and came away with bad memories. Now, you can write off some of the above as exaggeration or hearsay, and I fully admit that I was not a first-hand witness to most of it, but my point is that this isn't just one or two pissed off parties poisoning the well. There are an awful lot of people who have had an awful lot of problems with this site, which is why it baffles me that you would make a comment like that.
You wouldn't believe how many theists come here and don't show our forum rules the right amount of respect and often don't allow themselves to be accountable for the things they say. THIS is when people end up getting banned or finding themselves becoming the so-called 'bad' guys. We get people who dodge, stonewall, preach, refuse to back up claims, throw strawmen, make innaccurate (and sometimes pretty insulting) assumptions, people when they receive heat suddenly start shifting goal posts and even lying. Sometimes atheists get banned for this, our most recent was Kymer...or I think, but it's difficult to tell because he wasn't very honest - he first claimed to be a theist and later an atheist. Frankly, we get pretty sick of it too. Nobody ever seems to consider that side of the argument. No we're the intolerant atheists who hate theists and aren't interested in an honest discussion with them but are intent on banning them.
We occassionally get a theist who doesn't break those rules and seeks to do their best to respect them. Our latest was Magic Miles, but nobody ever goes on about the theists who people grow fond of. Funnily enough MM was the theist Maggie accused me of treating like dirt. I'm sure even MM himself would find this ridiculous. He didn't give a reason for his leaving, but he did find himself not being able to offer the same level of dedication to a thread as others had - the guy seemed pretty active to me (always out & about doing things and not spending time at the computer) and it seemed as though he was spending more time here than he had hoped. I'm still in contact with him too as are ther forum members, he was one of the good guys. Even when I did engage him (and not banter in thread) I didn't treat him like dirt. Surprise, surprise, when I challenged Maggie to find one example of where I had treated him like dirt, she ignored me (and I kept asking too). Read MM's leaving thread
to get an idea of how people viewed him.
People like to make those kinds of accusations because they don't like the way we do things, we're strict, we hold people to account for what they do and say and we can be pretty vigorous, some can be rude and employ sarcasm. The Shelter now exists, which exists because we recognise that people don't like that style of discussion all the time, as it's time consuming and probably a wee bit demoralising in that all your arguments might be put under a high level of scrutiny. Heck, not even I always want that level of discussion.
Yes, I admit some members can be rude. Generally if I think if someone is stepping out of line then I will likely mention it (generally I don't because people are normally capable of standing up for themselves), though mods don't moderate people based on rudeness. Heck, Maggie wasn't even moderated on her rudeness, she was a chronic rule breaker and had no interest of sticking to our rules. I personally wasn't going to engage her properly in a real discussion because often she'd claim something, offer something rude and insulting and not properly back it up (often back up was more claims) - to me that would be a waste of time. She ignored posts of mine trying to reason with her, but instead went out with the s**t flinging and tried to bring other people into it (and some did). Believe it or not, she's not the first theist out there to display behaviour like that, I don't think we've had many that have been that extreme. It's no use passing her off as opinionated, her behaviour was out of order. I'm opinionated, but I know how to respect a forum's rules and its members.
You'll also see we give positive karma to theists when their behaviour is heading in the right direction and also try and offer them encouragement in that respect.
I have been on the receiving end of this forum's style. Guess what? I liked it. Why? Because I feel my points get a strong amount of scrutiny - I don't necessarily change my view (though I have done in the past) but I can see how weak or how strong my points are. Yes, I have been met with sarcasm and where I've made something like a strawman (perhaps unknowingly) or way back when I was a newbie here, when I posed some pretty poor logical fallacies they got stamped out. The difference with me being on the receiving end has been how I handle myself. You'll notice when people handle themselves in an honest & straightforward manner they don't encounter the problems people seem to complain about. For example, view the Buddhism thread or heck the 'Smacking Children' thread, they're a couple of recent threads where you've got atheists on either side of the argument.
Also, we've got ex-theists on here who also were on the receiving end when they were theists yet they don't seem to view our behaviour as intolerant or detestable. I won't speak on their behalf and put words into their mouth as they're perfectly capable of offering their opinion if they so wish.
But the arguments between IGI and WWGHA seem to be petty at times. We're different forums, but it seems not everybody accepts that or likes that fact. I like the way things work around here. Yes, you need thick skin here and it's not for everybody. If people don't like it, there's the door. It's as simple as that.
Not baffled that you personally don't see a point in it, of course. Moreso baffled in the overall message of what you're saying. Imagine someone telling a black man, "Anyway, once in a while we see this conflict between the two races and don't fully understand why it actually happens - we know what has happened and the reasons for it, yet see little point in it - at the very least I don't see much point to it (I can't speak on behalf of everybody else)." The point is that it's easy for one side to slight a group of people and then say, "My bad!" and expect them to get over it. It's a lot harder for the other side to ever trust them again, especially when the offending parties are still in charge.
So essentially as a forum we're prejudiced towards theists? It's interesting how many of the people we ban suggest that they're not being banned for their own
behaviour but because we're the big bad intolerant atheists. Generally people don't accept responsibility for why they were banned. They ignore the fact we hold our own to the same standard, ignore the amount of reasoning they've received and we often try to reason with theists and try and get them to stay so we can
have an fair and honest discussion. It's usually what we see in ER. Sometimes it is a case of a "you banned me because you can't handle the truth" sort of mentality. We've had cases of theists coming out of ER, even NATHAN (another recent case), who admitted to trolling, but he seemed to disappear off the map after he invited people to watch a 'faith healing' to encourage a discussion.
This isn't a case of "my bad". I don't even agree with the decision to unban you and I don't think anybody believes it was a 'bad' decision to ban you in the first place (though they're welcome to correct me if I'm wrong). I am willing to let that slide to give you a chance, because I understand that having war between 2 forums is pointless and trying to build bridges is a much better option. But I won't be dishonest about what I think - so I'm not going to say you were wrongly banned to help build that bridge, as I don't believe it. I don't know if it's something that makes you uncomfortable, but rest assured, it doesn't mean I'm gonna hold you to a different standard to anybody else.
If this results in us having positive discussions with you on these forums and you being seen as offering a positive contribution and there being little or no conflict, then I will be happy with the mods' decision. But, I will withhold judgment, because they don't always make the right decision (IMO), for example, the unbanning of DaveDave the theist slayer.
Well, that's all well and good. In the future I will keep in mind that when I see a thread that specifically says, "You can do x as long as you don't do y," it means that doing x while avoiding y is lawyering. That should steer us clear of any problems, right?
I'd suggest that you've still not learned. That's not even what lawyering is.
The mods ask you not to do something.
You pull out the rule book and dictate to them how you're not in the wrong. You find any loopholes in the forum rules or find some way to undermine their authority on how the forum is run. You cannot possibly be in the wrong.
You persist. Moderators act.
The exact same thing happens on other forums to keep things in order. Most people who are told not to lawyer on a forum usually cease because they realise that mods can ban them. A forum I am thinking of doesn't say "no lawyering" in their rules either. It's not a religious discussion forum like this one, it isn't theist vs atheist nor does it have a group type where mods could
be prejudiced towards people. People are judged for their behaviour and not their beliefs.
We're not special in this respect.