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In My Own Sweet Tyrannical Way

A couple of days ago, in one of my pieces about Barack Obama, regular pain in the ass "bryanD" chose to make an attack on John McCain. It was a pretty despicable one, too, and I promptly called him on it. That propmpted him to double down and escalate the attacks, calling McCain a "traitor."

That caught even more eyes, and a couple of people called for bryanD's banning.

I strongly suspect that if I put the matter up for a vote, bryanD would be history.

But here's where I remind folks of a fundamental truth about Wizbang: it ain't a democracy.

Wizbang is an absolute tyranny, with one man wielding absolute power.

And well it should be. Kevin Aylward started this whole site, owns it lock, stock and barrel, pays all the bills, and holds all legal liability for everything and anything that happens here.

Kevin has chosen to delegate a great deal of the day-to-day power to me (and, to a lesser degree, others), and the management of such matters as banning commenters is one of my responsibility.

And that power is not subject to popular vote.

It's my decision whether or not to ban bryanD for what he said, and I chose not to.

I weighed the matter very carefully, and I judged that bryanD did far more damage to himself and his causes with his beyond the pale rantings. than those he attacks. Allowing him to spew his bile shows not only the tolerance we hold for even the raving whackjobs, but gives us a glimpse into the diseased minds of the Loony Left.

This is not to say that I welcome his continued presence. If he were to suddenly choose to go elsewhere, I wouldn't miss him in the least. But -- at least at this point -- that's still his choice.

I take my responsibilities as Main Page Editor very seriously. (Although they've never really been defined, now that I think about it.) I like to think I operate with a very, very light hand, and while that can be partly attributed to laziness (I didn't get into this racket to be an editor; it just sort of happened that way), it's largely a matter of choice. Every time I am given the choice ot act or not act, I put the most effort into justifying not acting.

I don't know how many commenters I've banned in the years I've had that power, but I'd guess it was less than two dozen. In nearly every case, I publicly announce the ban and cite the reasons for that ban. And I don't regret a single one of those decisions.

On the other side of things, I am also empowered to revise or delete my fellow authors' pieces. I've used that power very lightly, too, mainly correcting typos or technical errors in their articles. (That reminds me -- Bill has a screwed-up block quote in one of his pieces I should try to fix. Whoops, someone else beat me to it -- I think I see Kevin's hand at work there. Bill's ability to bork up the formatting of the main page is amazing -- he's only second to me in that regard.) Only once did I ever pull an article one of them wrote, and even that one I made as transparent as possible -- I published an apology for it, and sent the author in question a private e-mail telling him/her why I did what I did.

As proud as I am of what I've written here, I'm almost as proud of my work as editor. And I take a perverse pride in touting how little I've done in that role. Kevin has done an astonishing job in recruiting folks who write for the main page, and they are the best colleagues I could imagine. They make me feel incredibly redundant as their nominal "boss," and I wouldn't have it any other way.

You readers and commenters are also great. It's so rare that I need to set aside my "author" cap and put on my "Editor" Viking war helm that it's gathered quite a bit of dust.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. "He that edits best edits least."

Thanks, folks, for making that part of my job easy. It lets me spend more time doing what I got into this whole blogging thing in the first place -- thinking about stuff and writing about it.

Oh, and bryanD: if you were trying to get yourself banned, you failed. While we reserve the right to ban anyone at any time for any reason -- or no reason whatsoever -- we really don't like doing it. It takes a very special effort to earn that privilege. Some of the reasons that have triggered Olaf The Troll God's Hammer have been repeated personal attacks on the site's authors and placing Wizbang in a position of potential legal liability.

I'd urge you to try harder, but 1) I'd rather you didn't and B) I doubt you need the encouragement. But if you really, really wanna get banned, it can happen.

It'd be a lot easier -- and get the same results -- if you just went away. We promise to miss you.

Honest.

(snicker)


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Comments (22)

What an interesting dichoto... (Below threshold)
Darby:

What an interesting dichotomy we have here at Wizbang.

On one hand we have the "main" page of right wing, Neo-Con Nazi-Fascists! Heil, mein Führer!

Who just happens to let anyone comment on anything and express their views with very little red tape to jump through. That rarely deletes or bans people for what they say no matter how dissenting it may be from the authors. I can only think of maybe half a dozen people who have been banned since I started reading Wizbang.

Yet, on the other hand... You got the "other" page which is populated by the compassionate left. I mean, they love to hear dissenting views, and they are more then happy to let anyone comment... right? I mean they're compassionate liberals. Freedom of speech! Yeah!

*sings* Can you feel the love tonight...

As racially insensitive as ... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

As racially insensitive as BryanD's comment was, I still agree with the decision not to ban him. (Had he been that insensitive to a specific poster, I would probably supported a ban, however.)

It's not only what people say, but how they say it. When someone supports the Fairness Doctrine (for example) but posts that piece of support where even a hint of disagreement results in bans, it tells me that the poster has not interest in "fair" exchange of ideas, but really wants it enacted as a method of controlling the speech of others.

If someone puts out an idea and is willing to take on all responses, then I know that they are actually interested in the idea they claim to support. If dissent is allowed, there is an EXCHANGE of ideas and everyone involved can be influenced by additional information. Even the original poster may modify their viewpoint.

Being willing to be open to new ideas takes guts.

I am on the fence with this... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I am on the fence with this one. You can make points by not being racially offensive. ww

Sometimes it is more useful... (Below threshold)

Sometimes it is more useful to let fools (rhetorically) expose themselves. Even seeing the Blue headlines shows me this is true.

I thought he had been boote... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

I thought he had been booted previously?

And I had to work so hard y... (Below threshold)
epador:

And I had to work so hard yesterday (a LOL and a ROFLMAO) to get Lee to threaten me with Offal's Toy Hammer.

Wait, you are in charge of ... (Below threshold)

Wait, you are in charge of editing the main page, and you have even corrected errors in other author's posts?

Who is responsible for correcting your posts when an error is made?
David

So I'm curious now...what <... (Below threshold)

So I'm curious now...what does a girl have to do to get a piece of Olaf The Troll God's Hammer?

;)

Well said, Mr. Tea. Its int... (Below threshold)
BPG:

Well said, Mr. Tea. Its interesting what passes without a lightning bolt from above on the main page, while the opposing side uses somewhat different standards for removing folks. Consider the following exchange from Blue:

Posted under "John McCain Strikes it Rich", on July 29, 2008.

COMMENT#1

"God forbid anyone help a US business. I hope you don't actually work for one of those.
Of course even if you are self employeed you are by definition a US business.
Business people are bad (unless they contribute to Democrats) ...
Community organizers are good ... (unless they are pro-life or pro-taxpayer or school choice organizers) ...
Wow, you guys really aren't smarter than a fifth grader ...
What a waste of blog real estate ...

1. Posted by Jeff | July 29, 2008 6:41 PM"

COMMENT #2

Like the oil companies need help?

2. Posted by Lee Ward [TypeKey Profile Page] | July 29, 2008 7:47 PM"

COMMENT #3
By the way, you've hurled your last insult on this blog - you aren't interested in discussion or debate -- all we hear from you is name calling and insults -- and you were warned -- so you are booted, banned and thrown in the can. Jeff is outtahere.

3. Posted by Lee Ward [TypeKey Profile Page] | July 29, 2008 7:58 PM"

BPG -Lee's been do... (Below threshold)
Jlawson:

BPG -

Lee's been doing that for quite a while. Dissent is encouraged and patriotic, until you actually disagree, and as far as insults go he's very, VERY thin skinned indeed.

Just who do you think you a... (Below threshold)
btenney:

Just who do you think you are? An adult?

Awww, I'm glad you let Brya... (Below threshold)

Awww, I'm glad you let BryanD stay he's so entertaining and fun to play with. =)

Jay Tea,All you re... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

All you really had to say was, "I'm not Mr. Knee-Jerk Ejector Editor like a certain somebody over at Blue" and we all would have understood perfectly. ;-)

In all seriousness, you do a fantastic job not only editing, but writing too. I look forward to making this site one of my first stops on my morning rounds of blogs and news sites because of you. Keep up the stellar work!

Cheers!

Jay is all around fair, fun... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Jay is all around fair, funny, and a good
writer.
I enjoy reading his work, it's been a daily
for me, long before I came to work for Wizbang.

At the risk of stating the ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

At the risk of stating the obvious, I recall with the help of Google many commentators on this site and one host, not Jay, calling Kerry, in spite of his military service, "a traitor" for drawing attention to alleged American atrocities in Vietnam.
Jay made the right decision. I like bryanD for providing alternative links and comments that steer well clear of the manufactured consent of both the left and right.

"Who is responsible for cor... (Below threshold)
max:

"Who is responsible for correcting your posts when an error is made?" - LifeTrek

Foolish mortal, Jay Tea makes no errors.

Lifetrek, I need no editor.... (Below threshold)

Lifetrek, I need no editor.

Actually, I should say I need no formal editor.

I have legions of readers, many of whom nearly have orgasms when they catch me in a mistake.

(Which happens far too often, I'm ashamed to admit.)

When that happens, I graciously thank the person who caught my error and fix it -- but NEVER simply change it. I make a point of pride of striking out the wrong part and inserting a correction, and thank the first person to catch it by name.

I also have my colleagues who occasionally catch me in return. It works out fairly well.

If I banned people left and right, merely for disagreeing with me, I'd lose some of my best proofreaders, as well as the people who best keep me on my toes. Without them to constantly challenge me, my blogging would start to deteriorate and I'd end up... well, like Lee Ward.

And there's very little I find more frightening.

J.

Funny you should say that, ... (Below threshold)

Funny you should say that, Crickmore... in the interest of full disclosure, I did creep very, very close to that on one occasion -- but I think I was on solid ground:

http://wizbangblog.com/content/2004/08/21/john-kerry-peac.php

Unlike those morons who talk about "this illegal war," I cited actual US laws that I believe covered Kerry's actions.

J.

I wish I'd copied and paste... (Below threshold)

I wish I'd copied and pasted to file the tenets of debate that DJ Drummond used in a comment this past week. I try and remember that at all times, but I do find myself getting caught up in an off topic argument now and then. I also like the rule at EJECT! EJECT! EJECT!:

"This is not a public square. This is a dinner party on personal property. Good conversation is not only tolerated but celebrated here. But the host understands the difference between dissent and disrespect, even if you do not. Louts will be ignored until the bouncers can show them the door."

A simple and easy to remember rule-of-thumb for any blog one visits.

This is ridiculous, Mr. Tea... (Below threshold)
Herman:

This is ridiculous, Mr. Tea. At polipundit (www.polipundit.com) McCain has quite often gotten called "traitor," and far worse by the right-wing reactionaries themselves(!).

Interesting point, Herman. ... (Below threshold)

Interesting point, Herman. Allow me to rebut it, if I may:

1) This ain't polipundit.

B) I've never written for polipundit.

III) Several of our authors used to write for polipundit, but left it a while ago and chose to come here.

d) I don't read polipundit.

v) You're the first person to mention polipundit in this entire thread -- and for reasons unknown to even god.

So what, exactly, in this discussion about Wizbang's commenter banning policy and history, does what someone on another site says attempt to prove?

Besides, of course, the obvious -- that you're a blithering idiot who couldn't keep hold of the topic if it was smeared in superglue and shoved into your hands. That's always a given.

J.

You forgot that Herman lack... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

You forgot that Herman lacks any grasp of logic as well.




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