For the sake of privacy, I’m leaving real personal names completely out of this. Instead, I will use pseudonyms.
This past Sunday, I was abruptly fired from a hosting position in an internet discussion group, which I’ll call Defending Rights . I was not informed of the action before I discovered it by going to Defending Rights to do my hosting duties there and as far as I knew I had done absolutely nothing to merit the dismissal. So I sent a note to the owner of the group, Maria, asking her to explain her actions. Then she accused me of betraying her because I had said nothing in her defense in another group, Bookworms, owned by an enemy of hers (Paul) , even though I had been a member of Bookworms for a short time! But in fact, I had already left Bookworms in disgust and told my friends exactly why. And Maria knew about that.
Maybe she was confused because I seemed disloyal to her by not attacking Paul on his own territory. But in fact such an action, if I had taken it, would have been completely against my previously stated principles. First, I must refer the reader to one of my earlier blogs:
That statement says, among other things: “Another thing I am adamant about is my sense of honor, which I hold more dear to me than my life. It allows for no exceptions whatsoever…. I choose my friends according to my ideals; I never bend my ideals for the sake of keeping friends.” (emphasis mine)
Indeed, I meant that and I still do. I cannot compromise myself even to defend my friends if they are being attacked on someone else’s territory. That someone else would simply delete my posts and block me from the group, making my efforts useless.
A long time ago, I became disgusted by the habit of certain Conservative agitators breaking into groups made for Liberal Democrats and attacking them. I wrote a blog in protest against such abuses:
Two critical points I wish to make:
First, I think the best way to punish a bad host or owner is to not only abandon the group (if you haven’t been blocked from it already), but to create a group of your own on the same subject and then invite all your like-minded friends to it in order to shame the bad host.
Second, different groups exist for different purposes. For example, if there is a group that has a title like Christian Faith and Bible Study, and an atheist joins the group merely to bash Christianity, I feel strongly that it is the right and the duty of the hosts of that group to block the atheist………and I’m not even Christian!
If you wish to debate politics or religion, look for groups that have that as its specific purpose. It sickens me when I see members of one party/religion invading a group made for another party/religion to start fights. That strikes me as dishonorable.
So when I hear someone complain that they were kicked out of a group merely for expressing a dissenting opinion, I think, “Didn’t this fool have sense enough to EXPECT such treatment?” If you break into my house to start an argument with me and I didn’t invite you there for the purpose of the argument, I DO have the legal right to not only throw you off my property, but to have you ARRESTED for trespassing!
Soon after writing that blog, it occured to me that the same standards I wish others to have must also apply to myself. So I said nothing to Paul in his own group about his attacks on Maria. However, when I saw him attacking her in another group owned by neither myself, Maria, or Paul, which I’ll call Ass Kickers, I went after him with a vengeance and spit a gallon of venom at him over it. And I vowed never to return to Bookworms.
Maria and I were friends for years and I thought she knew me better than it seems she did. I’m not a hypocrite, even though Paul called me one, and I guess if my being fired from a hosting job for not contradicting my standards is what I must endure, so be it.