26 May 2009

Internet Users "Capable of Pettiness, Idiocy," Study Claims

T'sk. I don't post anything substantial for ages, and then I pop up to denounce the organisers of an online forum. I can feel the process of accelerating détournement as I morph into an internet caricature of myself.

The executive summary is that, as of today, I'm quitting the primary web forum for Doctor Who fans, imaginatively known as The Doctor Who Forum. It's a wrench, to be honest, as I've been a member since the olden days when it was known as Outpost Gallifrey, but I can't put up with the endemic immaturity, cronyism and self-regard of the moderators and the forum owner any more.

There's a long, long backstory behind this, which most readers of this blog would find insanely dull. It's your standard tale of Doctor Who canon disputes[1], internet acrimony and personal vendettas, relatively few of them actually involving me. Nobody comes out of it looking terribly good, to be honest, but some have ended up significantly more tarnished-looking than others.

The slightly longer abstract is that of late the Doctor Who Forum's officials have:
  • Persistently demonstrated arbitrary, petty and partial judgement in moderating posts, to the extent of suspending one user for banter with a friend while allowing another to remain after posting potentially libellous insinuations against the aforementioned poster (now deleted, fortunately, but sufficiently scattershot that at one point I though I might be a target too). [Edit to add: All the links to DWF posts originally included in this post no longer work, so I'm deleting them.]
  • Vindictively banned any mention of the suspended user's small press (to the likely detriment of said small business, as its first book is primarily aimed at Doctor Who fans), after he made representations to them about these potentially libellous post.
  • Edited contributors' personal signatures, including mine, without notification or permission, in order to remove any mention of said small press.
Now, I'm partial in this myself (although I don't, of course, aspire to the exalted status of a forum moderator), because the poster in question is Stuart Douglas -- a personal friend and the owner of Obverse Books, the publishers of Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus.

For what it's worth, though, I've seen the correspondence between Stuart and the Forum's owner, Shaun Lyon, which appears to have been the immediate catalyst for the ban. Stuart's representation to Shaun (made after several indirect and independent approaches had been ignored) is polite and adult, expressing a hope that his issues can be dealt with without recourse to legal action. Shaun's is hysterical, childish and obnoxious, and employs the words "fuck" and "twat". I know who I think comes out of the exchange looking better.

I can't be doing with a forum where that kind of thing is considered sane or rational behaviour, and am about to tell them so.

[1] This is particularly stupid, as there's no such thing as canon in Doctor Who. Some people don't like you saying that, for some reason.

No comments:

Post a Comment

(Please sign comments -- it helps keep track of things. Offensive comments may occasionally be deleted, and spam definitely will be.)