I hang out often in the RichardDawkins.net chat room… that is… I used to… until I was being too much of a freethinker.
So, here I was in the RDF chat when Andrew came in. I said something along the lines of “Hi chatbuddy!” and the chat resumed. Then, Andrew started joking about Scientology and as part of the joke he said…
andrew: ZUKIWI IS A SCIENTOLOGIST!
Zukiwi told him that that wasn’t part of the “rational discourse” and he had to stop making comments like that.
You’ll have to understand, I’ve been in the chat for a long time and I was used to it being a mixture of frivolity and rational discussion. The mods had never before kept us from fooling around once in a while.
I started asking why all of a sudden we were supposed to participate in nothing more than rational discourse. When I wasn’t getting a satisfactory answer, I said to another user (Servetus, who is Dan Barker’s brother FYI) “SERVETUS IS A SCIENTOLOGIST!”
There was no response from the mods. I asked Zukiwi why I didn’t get a slap on the wrist for it.
Zukiwi @ Elles: Elles – we are more tolerant to some users we know of 😉 but do not push it
Elles @ Zukiwi: Well, isn’t that a bit of a double standard if Andrew gets punished more for the same thing that I did?
At this point, Andrew had said the word “SCIENTOLOGIST” again and was banned. I was a little stunned. I kept asking why the chat couldn’t have any more frivolity.
JoelWildtree Elles: If you have a complaint … PM it. or email
Elles @ JoelWildtree: I think that since the complaint pertains to the structure of the chat it’s only fair to let other chat members at criticisms if they wish. That’s the point of a discussion, to share all ideas and viewpoints openly and freely.
At one point one of the mods accused me of trolling. I asked how I was being a troll.
myxoma: Elles for one thing you are arguing with mods in the public room. If you don’t take your complaints to PM that is a bannable offense in itself.
Elles myxoma: We’re not allowed to argue with mods in public? Isn’t publicly questioning authority – all authority- integral to free thought?
myxoma: Elles first warning. Take it to PM or email.
myxoma: This is not a public service. It is a private club and you are a guest.
myxoma: You dont have freedom of speech here
You don’t have freedom of speech here? I couldn’t believe that she had actually said that the chat no longer permitted freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
I persisted up until my second warning when I decided to give up. But, I didn’t think that they would ban me for saying this…
Elles: Freedom of speech…
Those were my last words when a window popped up which said that I had been banned by Myxoma.
I’ve recently noticed that the mods seem to have gone mad with power. Reed has some other examples of long-time users who have been banned for the silliest things.
It’s not that I have anything against the Richard Dawkins Foundation, but I kind of expected the chat on his website to embody the values which he holds dear and for some odd reason I think that Richard Dawkins would support freedom of speech. The mods certainly can enact whatever rules they want, and since it’s not a democratic chat system we can’t question it, but us grunts should be allowed to question their decisions since this is integral to freethought which RDF supports.
Taking away freedom is a poor reflection not only of the Richard Dawkins Foundation but also of Atheism.