I hang out often in the 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…


Zukiwi told him that that wasn’t part of the “rational discourse” and he had to stop making comments like that.

Wait, what?

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.

18 responses to this post.

  1. […] has a more detailed account of her own banning up on Splendid […]

  2. Wow. The thing that baffles me, is that in many rational freethought discussion groups, if you try to make a funny and fail, the other companions in the forum will roundly chastise you for it (kind of like in science in general – the unsound hypothesis or analysis gets tossed).

    There’s not usually a need for banning.

  3. It’s apparently true: Freedom isn’t free.

    Very sad.

  4. Larry Niven said “F × S = k”, signifying that the product of freedom and security is a constant. I guess RDF is leaning towards security…

  5. Strictly speaking, what the mod said about “freedom of speech” in chat is true. It’s not like you’re all standing around on a street corner or in a public building, where you would have freedom of speech. It’s more like you’re all meeting in someone’s living room, and if you piss them off, they have every right to tell you to shut up or kick you out. Not that I don’t think they’re being a bunch of uptight fuckwads about this.

  6. Saying the phrase “freedom of speech” is a banable offense? Seriously? I wonder what Mr. Dawkins wold have to say about that.

    Anyway, it sounds to me like you were banned for embarrassing a mod by making him/her look stupid. Petty, if you ask me. Perfectly allowable, but petty.

  7. Posted by Rystefn on June 29, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Wow… That’s just sad. Seriously, I don’t even know where to start…

  8. Posted by uh huh on June 29, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Myxoma, who has only been an active mod for probably a grand total of 4 months, if that, (she was often missing for months at a time last year during her homeless periods), seems to be lacking the skills necessary to diffuse these very common chat room situations. But hey, since she’s screwing the former owner of the chat room, she’s clearly entitled to be The Iron Fist of Discipline. I didn’t know penises could transmit Nero complexes.

  9. Posted by Marsha on June 30, 2008 at 6:24 am

    That’s a real shame to hear… Have you sent your complaint to the other mods and asked for some clearer guidelines and a response to this? It really does seem like the reactions and ego of a few could destroy the feeling of that whole site. For a group of diverse people with different standards and view points, it does seem like a really harsh way to try to control situations. I guess some of the mods may be very inexperienced at caring for the atmosphere of a forum. I’m sure they think they are protecting users in some way, and the fact that it’s part of such a fast growing movement of our time makes them feel important, but what they will end up doing is alienate people if they can’t just chill out a bit.
    I hope you get a proper response from some of the other mods on there. It’s a nice forum in general, when the environment is of intellectual freedom and friendliness.. not so nice when it gets a bit full of itself however. :0(

  10. Posted by Electro on June 30, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Just a question here for budgetastronomer,

    Could you remind me which of Nivens stories refers to Anarchy being the most unstable form of government?

    It’s an honest question, I’ve just had a bit to drink tonight, and my memory is a bit iffy.

  11. Posted by Chap X on June 30, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Marsha: Those mods who try to be critical and inquire as to why this is the case are told to pipe down, and if they get uppity they are removed… The core few people who seem to have a stick up their ass are firmly in charge 😛

  12. Posted by mrmister on June 30, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    I have been on the chat for almost 1.5 years now … and its horrible what has gone down in the last few days.

    To anyone interested i have setup a chatroom in stickam. You dont have to download any software …

    Just go to and signup for an account.

    We got a few ex members in our ‘RD refugee’ room. Cya there.


  13. Posted by lightburns on June 30, 2008 at 5:45 pm


    Everyone is getting banned.

    Including me.

    And mrmr up there

  14. Posted by Ignorant Fool on June 30, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Mods are bastard.

    Now admins, that’s a different story. 😛

  15. Posted by Ignorant Fool on June 30, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Oops, how’d that slip. I meant the plural form of bastard, with an s.

  16. Posted by Vitriolkit on June 30, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    For recent developments feel free to read the recent forum thread on chat developments and if u feel you have been treated unfairly please add your story to the groing list. It is now obvious to all that complaining ot the admins does not help as they seem to be the problem.

    you may have to be a member of the forum to read it.

  17. Posted by dawkinswatch on July 3, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Thank you Splendid that is very communist of them is it not?

    Why is Scientology banned? because scientologist are apt to attack their critics and Richard does not wish to upset them.

  18. Totalitarian, yes. Stalinist, probably. Communist, no. Communism is an ideology that everybody should be equal and if somebody gets more stuff through hard work (though this is not ALWAYS the case) they should have all their stuff stolen from them.

    You missed the point about Andrew saying “ZUKIWI’S A SCIENTOLOGIST!” That was him being frivolous and Zukiwi was being thick.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: