Friday, 22 July 2011

Too Long for a Comment (Sorry)

Those who are doing the mocking on Circvs Maximvs and EN World are not completely wrong to mock, either.  Certainly, they are right to mock my faith in the AOTHS, or in the moderation staff, to do the right thing.  Mockery is, BTW, par for the course at Circvs Maximvs.  In this particular case, it is mockery of the rather ironic school:  "This is so unimportant that we must pay a lot of attention to it!"

I note as well that most of those doing the mocking are among those who contributed the least toward the site in the first place.  That isn't universal; there are one or two who have made very valuable posts in the past, and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.  But the AOTHS cannot be blamed for this mockery; he is actually being very civil, AFAICT.  Especially for posting to Circvs Maximvs.  I'm not happy to tar the man for something he hasn't done.

The general thread of the mockery goes along with "Those posts were essentially worthless; how dare he remove them!?!"  For the most part, but again not universally, the CM thread is "those who cannot" mocking "those who can".  That's very often the case on CM.  The funny thing is that there is no apparent cognizance of the irony.

It is also ironic that they seem to be mocking Pawsplay for....well, for mocking them?  That sort of need for self-justification should evoke our pity more than anything else.

In any event, I note that Morrus (belatedly) took down the PM....I assume in response to ProfC's comment to the last blog post.

Which brings up a related question, I suppose:  How valuable are the Rules themselves?  In terms of a business, a site is set up, with or without free access.  Posts on the site drive viewing statistics up, and in turn make the site valuable both for advertisers and for those who wish to support the site via membership, donation, or posted material.

For example, I have three times been asked by EN World if I could supply material.  Once was a faerie article for EN World Gamer (which folded before publication; the article later appeared on site and in an extended format in Dragon Roots), once by Morrus (to publish my Doctor Who game with the Doctor Who elements stripped out; I agreed, but Morrus then dropped the ball), and once to provide material for War of the Burning Sky (which I simply didn't have the time for when asked, although I had been otherwise willing).

A large part of the willingness to do these things is, IMHO, the idea that the Rules of the site act as a covenant between posters and the site.  Almost a form of contract.

You know that you are not going to have to put up with pro-rape wankery because the Rules prevent this from occurring.  You know that your posts will not be associated with such a site because the Rules prevent this from occurring.  You know that no one is going to be perma-banned without just cause because the Rules prevent this from occurring.

But what happens when the Rules are unilaterally broken by the site itself?

One could make an argument that the site is obligated to abide by the Rules, because it received material (posts, donations, membership fees, etc.) under the pretence that the Rules would be enforced.

To do otherwise would be rather like a hotel advertising a pool, without actually having a pool on premises.  Obviously, if the pool is important to you, you might want to take your money back.  Equally obviously, if the pool is important enough to enough people, those people can take a class action to rectify the problem.

When I was part of Golden City Comics, a class action suite was settled against Diamond Comics Distributors.  It named as the litigants all customers of Diamond Comics Distributors which did not specifically waive their participation.  In the case of Golden City, the cost to Diamond was somewhat over $200 US.  But there are a lot of people using Diamond, and I am sure that the suite hurt.  It certainly helped to ensure that Diamond stayed within set policies in the future.

(As far as I remember -- and I could well be wrong, because we were not directly involved -- the litigation was related to returns policies.)

So, "How valuable are the Rules?" may be a relevant question in the long run.  So far as I know, nothing like this has ever faced a legal challenge.  Sooner or later, though, some site will face just such a challenge.

I wonder just what the threads on CM would look like then?

I imagine that they would look rather like they do now -- a lot of self-justification, with no one apparently aware of how ironic their statements are.  Certainly, I don't imagine any sort of reflection that the Rules - when egregiously violated by the owner or staff -- are worth fighting for.  After all, if that was the case, we wouldn't be where we are now.


  1. Oh, and Morrus? I suspect that your six month timeline for removal of posts is about spot on.

  2. I just hope you consider acting on your project to basically have a second look at all these posts, reorganize them thematically in one fashion or another, to then post them here on this blog. That would be awesome, and that indeed *does* sound like fun. ;-)