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From Max: State of The Mudcat Address

Max 13 Jul 11 - 02:08 PM
Max 14 Jul 11 - 06:31 PM
Max 14 Jul 11 - 07:10 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Jul 11 - 10:12 PM
Max 14 Jul 11 - 10:49 PM
Max 19 Jul 11 - 03:12 AM
Max 22 Jul 11 - 04:08 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Jul 11 - 04:18 PM
Max 22 Jul 11 - 04:31 PM
Max 22 Jul 11 - 04:57 PM
Max 22 Jul 11 - 09:56 PM
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Subject: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 02:08 PM

So, I'll keep this short. Mostly only relevant to UK mudcatters. I beg of the unaware, unaffected and uninformed to just keep moving, there is nothing to see here...

We have a troll. A very persistent troll. This troll is using a political affiliation (UK) as a very effective antagonizing tool. Actual religious or political affiliations, strategies, adamant personal beliefs, etc. are always uncertain and completely unimportant to the troll dilemma. Their religion and political party is Troll. They identify YOUR most sincere and adamant personal beliefs and stances and become the exact opposite... Sociopathic Judo Rhetoric... they use YOUR energy (dogma) to distress you.

Measures that are being taken until further notice:

Temporarily, we have to delete any mention of the political party or this situation until further notice. Trolls are using searches as a tool, and we cannot allow them to find anything.

New members are not being accepted until further notice.
Well, not completely true. If you come visit me, shake my hand, tell me a story, let me photocopy your passport... then I'll create one for you.

Personal Messages is in lockdown until further notice.
YES, we are sorry that you really need to get in and check something, and NO we will not let you in to get it nor get it for you. Sorry.

We will not discuss this, publicly or privately.
The reaction from members to the Troll has been significantly more damaging to mudcat.org than the Troll itself. We do not have the time to correspond with angry mobs AND fix the problems at the same time. Apologies, but I'm confident that we chose wisely.

*** This does not mean the Troll has won. The troll was already the winner when he got here. ***

Lastly, this is all my fault, my doing and bidding. Joe and the rest of the VOLS are standing down or operating at my direct and specific requests until further notice. They deserve no blame, please treat the VOLS nicely, they are working very hard in a troubling time FOR FREE. Do not engage them in debates or conversations about any of this, they cannot influence the situation and I've asked them not to talk about it.

In short, there's gonna be a lot of deleting going on, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. Our community is in trouble and we need to be aggressive now.

Thank you for your patience and silence during this endeavor.

It is not with pleasure that we wield the heavy hand.
    Note from Joe Offer: The ban on personal messages and new members was lifted a few days after Max posted this message in 2011. If you'd like to become a member, e-mail me, joe@mudcat.org
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:31 PM

So the smear campaign is in full effect. Oh, no, not from the troll.

The angry mob is taking exception with being (called) an angry mob.

"The reaction from members to the Troll has been significantly more damaging to mudcat.org than the Troll itself." Drew some serious ire.

I got emails containing…


If you had made sure that when people joined up, they had to verify their IP address and email etc etc, we in the Uk would not be in this position. It is all your fault and you need to sort it out...


I have much to say, and much to do, but now I have a two front war on my hands. So, some quick clarifications, facts from the horses ass…er, mouth, and some tips for survival in the weeks and months to come.

It is being said that I have a negative opinion of the UK and wants to reduce the number of UK members. Fact is:

A group of members, who happen to be in the UK, have been very vocal on mudcat about their opposition to our troll. They disrupt the community to get our attention and drive our action, when we do act they criticize the manner in which we did, they don't listen when we talk, accept anything as the truth, ever take our advice or heed our warnings, and blatantly disregard the initiatives we try to put in place to deal with this issue. This is the angry mob. Ironically, they have assimilated all of the same traits, strategies and characters of the troll, just with the exact opposite ideology.

They are creating Facebook groups and pages and fake profiles as we speak (sound familiar?). They are passing around an 8 year old list of member emails collected publicly by our members (not us) a decade ago, and saying that the database has been hacked and that I emailed it, etc. etc.

I have no uncertainty or prejudice or malice when I state that this angry mob is more destructive to the mudcat community than the troll could ever be. The people involved are not affiliated or organized or strategizing together or anything like that, but the same handful of folks always ended up at the center of every scuffle. This goes back years, well before any troll. They have been bullying our volunteers and members they didn't like with all sorts of grand reasons and were immediately outraged if I didn't share their adamance and shoulder their cause. So today, I'm a xenophobe and a fascist.

Breaking up is so hard.

So this gang, who I won't out publicly just yet (because they will out themselves with obvious and outlandish calls for attention such that Fred did this morning), is now saying that I am blaming the victims as a defense mechanism and coverup for my failures in the security and safety of the technical infrastructure of mudcat.org. So you'll hear a lot about that. Not the case, and we have probably 100 people who are directly aware or involved of perhaps 5 years of conversation about this, and about 1000 members who have complained and left because of them.

They are trying to make this ideological and larger than it is. I'm prejudiced against and look down upon the UK, I support extreme political parties, etc. etc.

We're dealing with maybe 10 people here, longtime entrenched members. I've already heard things like "well if he/she isn't welcome here, I'm leaving too." That's OK with me. We are prepared and willing to take a significant hit in membership and believe with all sincerity this is the only way to save this community. Nothing personal, unfortunate, but I serve and am trying to save the whole.

I have other pressing matters in my life, so I'll have to pick this up later, but must leave you with some survival tips…

If you hear "Max says this" or "Max is going to do that" or "Max believes in blank" and you didn't see it come out of my mouth, question it. If you really need an anwer and can't wait for this to blow over, post it gently in an active thread, if none are active wait for one to be opened. Be patient, be prudent. The truth will come out.

Remember they are using misinformation, sensationalism, fake identities, misrepresentation, manipulation, references to technical and legal matters that are fictional and just plain ignorant and coming up with new stuff every day.

If you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, unhappy, at any time, you should log out and walk away.

If you have an issue on Facebook, there is absolutely nothing we can do. We have no power or influence with them. I cannot stop fake mudcat groups or influence their policy or help get anything removed, etc. I am just one of their 600 million customers. Their safety, privacy and security page is here. Use it. Report all fake groups and identities. And protect yourself.

Good luck gang. Hang onto your hats, she's gonna blow. I'll see you on the other side…

If YOU don't make it back, let me say that it was MY pleasure and an honor to have been in your company, thank you for hanging out, and I am sorry I couldn't make it last forever.


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 07:10 PM

I could care less about blame. I am completely willing to accept full responsibility for this.

IT IS MY FAULT.

So now...

We're in trouble. Our community is at risk. My commitment is at risk. Your trust is at risk. Your privacy and safety is at risk. Our identities are at risk...

We have a violent, fascist, well funded, clever, technically capable, hate group as an enemy.

This is a state of emergency and I can only serve, protect and make promises to people who will listen and cooperate right now. I'm going to do what I have to do.

The behavior of the angry mob is angry, spiteful, reckless and counterproductive and I'm severing the limb to save the body.

PERIOD


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 10:12 PM

I am concerned by what appear to be misunderstandings between those on the one hand being criticised by Max, and those on the other hand criticising Max and Joe, and indeed by apparent internal consistencies (no names, no pack drill) in what has been expressed.

But there is one thing that needs to be said, and said loudly. If it is right (and I think that it is indeed right) that a specific hate group has become an enemy of the mudcat (as distinct from there being simple trolling), it is because what has been said on the mudcat has for the most part been right on two levels. First the mudcat has mostly observed that most American of virtues (in my mouth this is a term of not wholly unalloyed praise) freedom of speech; and secondly because the preponderance of mudcatters expressing relevant views have expressed very proper views of opposition to that hate group.

I'm not going into more detail here.

Richard, it seems the one thing we are all agreeing on is that mudcat is not fit to fight. -max


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 10:49 PM

I feel compelled to make a clarification of my own ambivalent actions and language. Or maybe just because of an email I got tonight stating:

"I will take a legal case against you... unless I get an apology"

Whatever the reason, I believe the following to be true.

I am not making any comments, assumptions, declarations or opinions about anyone's person, character or integrity outside of this Web site, as in the real world.

From everything I know about them, they are fine people who do good work and have a positive influence on folk music. I have defended them in the mudcat community for years because of this.

For whatever reason, this group is incompatible with the mudcat. Maybe it's me (they sure do complain a lot about me) or the VOLS (lots of tension), the freedom this site provides, the technology...

Lots of members have complained and left over the years. These were friends of mine for 10 years or more. VOLS have quit, the dumb one's that stayed are frazzled. People I've met in my travels and my life here would say "Oh, yeah, I know mudcat... the vitriol, I'm scared to post, they'll jump down my throat."

So I did the same thing then to those who complained, that I am being accused of now by the ones that were complained about. Complacence, inaction, not protecting my members, incompetence...

My contention is that it wasn't inaction, it was idealism. It was my belief, my desire, my hope, that a community can correct itself with a little love, crazy philosophical waxing, and enthusiasm.

So yes, the reality persists that there is a troll here who adheres to a vile political party with insidious strategies and a hateful vengeance. A lot of folks are saying the troll's problem is with the mudcat. However, reading the news, details of the political party and its history, leaders and strategies, our own trail of emails and deleted posts and correspondence, my conclusion is that the target was folk music.

Furthermore, members of a vocal and active opposition group to our troll's beliefs, Folk Against Fascism, are also members of mudcat, and still openly lament that my actions have "closed off the potential for Folk Against Fascism to use the Mudcat to spread its message".

So there it is. The whole point, and why it is necessary to work from both sides. I am unwilling to let mudcat be a battle ground for an issue that is only relevant to a quarter of our community. We are just not strong enough to survive it.

The angry mob isn't backing down. The angry mob demands that mudcat champion and host their cause. The angry mob disagrees with everything I say and the manner in which I say it. The angry mob wants names and IP addresses without regard to their validity. The angry mob is not nice to me. The angry mob is being deceitful, threatening, manipulative and rude to me and the vols. The angry mob refused to cooperate with our advice, our warnings, our rules and our strategies for dealing with trolls.

The angry mob has been an irritant at least as long as the troll. We warned them years ago and asked, demanded, begged and pleaded to not post about that political party so that the fight wouldn't come here. It's a hot button issue and it'll show up in Google searches, we said over and over again.

But angry mobs hear no voice of reason.

And here we are.


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:12 AM

Personal Pages, Personal Messages and Logins are now permitted. New Membership has new terms. All subject to change at any moment with no notice.

We are enforcing a zero tolerances policy on that-of-which-we-do-not-speak. Suspensions for violations are guaranteed. If you do not know what that is, you probably don't have to worry about it, but avoiding polarizing ideologies and hot button subject matter is strongly advised.

If you have any questions about this email me.

Let us tread gently forward.

Have a nice day.


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 04:08 PM

Great new hobby that a whole new batch of mudcatters have come up with now.

I hear: "Who me?"

I'll get 47 emails saying "Who me?"

Two sides weren't enough to this dispute, now you want to poke at the rules and see what you can get away with? Checking for duplicity? Checking for weakness? What? "Guests can't do this, I can't do that... It's not fair, that should be this-n-that, move that to BS why not this?...Delete this? Why not this?" Like children who need attention because someone else got some.

Bloody hell.

Look, these mods work hard. This past 10 days tenfold so. You contact them way too much. And now you have our email addresses, and the pedantic bullshit fills those inboxes too. We are not your personal army.

Mind your own business!

You are one of 30,000 people, can't you imagine the number of messages we get in a day?

The mudcat is big. You are one. When you see something a little off, or someone snarls, it's actually probably not about you at all. Get over yourself.

All rules are being rewritten now. No need to point out the inconsistencies. We are aware of them, thank you.

Rules will be published, rules will be enforced.

With exception to that-which-shall-not-be-discussed...

Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.
Our deletions are about HOW people are engaged and not WHAT they are engaged in.


"I demolish my bridges behind me - then there is no choice but forward" -Firdtjorf Nansen

We can't go back. We won't look back, so don't ask us to. No, we don't remember when...

We are not left or right, liberal or conservative, and we really don't give a fuck what you believe in. This is our home that we cry and sweat and bleed over, and you WILL be civil.

As will soon be published and you will have the choice to agree to or depart: The New Membership Terms state that:

Violations of basic human decency gives us the right to deal with you and your content arbitrarily, sardonically, whimsically, randomly, dogmatically, sarcastically, ironically (but not passive-aggressively) or any other way we feel like it.

That's the mother fucking rules. OK?!! Got it??!!

(wow, so that's what it feels like to be an online ass? well, I learned from watching you)


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 04:18 PM

If you want to start a crusade, build your own platform, don't hijack someone elses.
Just because we like the same music, doesn't mean we share the same political beliefs.
Mudcat isn't a lamp-post, and pissing on it doesn't make it yours.You know what happens when a dog does that, another dog comes along and pisses on top of your piss, to obliterate your smell.
So go get your own lamp-post.
Maybe we could do what used to be done in my old local pub.
BAN ALL DISCUSSION OF SEX RELIGION OR POLITICS.
Except in relation to the words and content of songs ;-)
When I said some time back, that the use of a certain word in a thread title, might attract the wrong type of people, who might put said word in a search engine.
I was dismissed as being overly cautious!!


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 04:31 PM

Close, but you are missing a key point John, just as you did then.

We don't want to delete or ban anything and the ONLY reason we do is because of (collective)YOU.

Our mistake, our mistake, we let the squeaky wheel get the grease for too long and now we have dozens of spoiled brats on our hands.

Moderating is work. It takes hours and hours a day. I will not run a site that keeps moderators busy with circular logic, pedantic idiocy and political disputes in which it's obvious at least one of the participants doesn't actually care about the ideology and is just going along for shits and giggles.

We're people. And you're fucking with us, and you're wasting our time when we've already offered it to you in service of Folk Music.


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 04:57 PM

While we may defend the liberty of even the most odious of individuals, that does not mean we support their anti-social behaviors. All lovers of freedom, have firm, historical reasons for challenging intrusions into their lives. We do not need to be ideologues to do so, and the practical effects of that suspicion of power has led directly to the greatest expansion of wealth and prosperity for the largest number of people in history. Freedom, at times, may be ugly up close, but it is still the most beautiful thing that has ever existed, bar none. Defense thereof requires an adherence to reality, not flights of fancy. -MichaelW


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Subject: RE: From Max: State of The Mudcat Address
From: Max
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:56 PM

"The purpose of a good education is to show you that there are three sides to a two-sided story." —Stanley Fish


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