the departed ones

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the departed ones

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:34 pm

So it's Simon E., Tobes - and now Malcolm; and perhaps there are quite a few others who also have gone totally silent or simply quit and whom I, hardly being a regular visitor, have either forgotten or never noticed leaving.

It feels that there's something profoundly wrong going on here.

Simon E. and Tobes handed in their towels in protest against what they saw, and quite correctly IMO, as the rise of crass prejudice, fundamentalism and general narrowmindedness at DW. I don't really know what's exactly the reason behind Malcolm's leaving, but I think it's general shape must be really fairly obvious to anybody who followed his 'coming out' and the astonishing shitstorm it caused.

The aformentioned shitstorm was as surprising as it was unnecessary. And it was both repulsive and profoundly disappointing, revealing a face of Buddhists and Buddhism that I had thought died with, ironically enough, the worst excesses of e-Sangha - the face that had already made Simon E. leave DW. Perhaps we should have reacted faster and more strongly against such campaigns as the one recently waged by username against Malcolm in several threads. I didn't want to fan the flames, and decided to ignore username's increasingly abusive posts; I shouldn't have.

In short, I think it's all a bleeding disgrace.

The people who've left are no rabble-rousers or agitators. They aren't any newcomers who want to stir things up for its sake, have a quarrel for the sheer fun of it, or play with other Buddhists half-naked in the mud. They didn't come here to wax intellectual, let alone reinvent or slander the Dharma (as some people have ludicrously suggested, implicitly or explicitly). And they are long-time, experienced and in all likelihood quite 'advanced' practitioners, whose expertise has been incredibly useful to many people here or elsewhere.

I don't think many people are unaware of for instance Malcolm's generosity. Lots of folks, me very much included, kept asking him for advice on both health and practice-related issues - not to speak of our constant use of his vast knowledge - and he'd always respond, with quite astonishing patience answering the same questions over and over and over again to the endless stream of newbies who trusted him. And for some of us - username has recently suggested that for merely very few of us, but I do have my strong doubts here - Namdrol's transformation into Malcolm was a life-changing event; I mean that it changed our lives, not (only) his. Certainly, seeing the dreaded authoritarian operator of e-Sangha turn into a broad-minded, warm, Jim Valby-like presence was for me a breathtaking and profoundly persuasive experience.

I'm focusing on Malcolm but those who talked to Simon E. or Tobes know very well that we need them here as much. We relied on them as well, whether we quarrelled with them or agreed with them or merely listened to what they had to say. It's patently obvious that their voices are well-worth listening to at the very least.

DW, being the biggest Buddhist forum out there, simply cannot afford to lose such people.

It's not only the forum (and the regular posters here) that lose, it's the Dharma itself which gets thus diminished. We're basically kicking out people we should be not only respecting but cherishing, no matter how different our views may seem to be. It's good to remember that while the laws of early Buddhist sanghas were very strict on those who didn't respect orthopraxy, they were also very lax on those who questioned orthodoxy - and yet Malcolm was hounded precisely for holding unorthodox views. That's our tolerant, no-longer-medieval kind of Buddhism, it turns out, our Dharma emancipated from its cultural swaddling. It's heartbreaking.

I find it particularly bitter because Malcolm's leaving seems to have been to an extent caused by his being hounded by his - and mine - Vajra siblings. Everybody knows what it means (check out Precious Vase, page 55) and everybody knows what the price for intentionally stirring unrest within a Sangha is - both for the troublemakers and their teacher (whose name has been lamentably misused and abused in some of those attacks).

WE SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE IT. WE SHOULDN"T BE DOING IT. No matter what. Even if Malcolm had been wildly unorthodox, even if he had started to stir the trouble himself, no one should have responded in the hack-and-slash fashion that has become way too common here since May.
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Re: the departed ones

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:45 pm

tobes, and I think Simon E have both posted here within the last few days... :thinking:

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Re: the departed ones

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:46 pm

This forum has grown and with ongoing developments in the real world a lot of volatile subjects have come to the fore.

Trying to balance freedom of speech with harmony is a challenge. In fact trying to ensure freedom of speech, people complain about posts that offend them. Trying to ensure harmony, we are accused of censorship. Hit the middle ground and still people are pissed for whatever reason.

Keep in mind we're all volunteers with real lives to live. Nobody is working full-time on this forum as a staff member. The expectation is that members should use self-restraint and act appropriately, though this is of course only an ideal.

The direction of this forum is actually not determined by the staff, but actually the collective membership. This is user generated content.
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Re: the departed ones

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:52 pm

viniketa wrote:tobes, and I think Simon E have both posted here within the last few days... :thinking:

:namaste:


Yup. They have. Simon E. in reaction to Malcolm's departure - now back to lurking mode, I guess. Tobes has also gone lurking, generally speaking, and it's the first thing he's posted in months.

Huseng wrote:This forum has grown and with ongoing developments in the real world a lot of volatile subjects have come to the fore.


I'm sorry Huseng, but that's the kind of statement I'd expect from a politician or a spokesperson. It seems to me pretty much meaningless.

Huseng wrote:Trying to balance freedom of speech with harmony is a challenge. In fact trying to ensure freedom of speech, people complain about posts that offend them. Trying to ensure harmony, we are accused of censorship. Hit the middle ground and still people are pissed for whatever reason.

Keep in mind we're all volunteers with real lives to live. Nobody is working full-time on this forum as a staff member. The expectation is that members should use self-restraint and act appropriately, though this is of course only an ideal.

The direction of this forum is actually not determined by the staff, but actually the collective membership. This is user generated content.


I know. Please note I didn't accuse the mods in particular. I was addressing all of us here.
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Re: the departed ones

Postby Jikan » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:58 pm

I think the octopus makes a number of important points on the culture of this board in particular (what we have and what we would like to have) that are, perhaps, generalizable to internet discourse overall. I would like to encourage everyone involved with DW to reflect with care on the OP.
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Re: the departed ones

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:01 pm

Jikan wrote:I think the octopus makes a number of important points on the culture of this board in particular (what we have and what we would like to have) that are, perhaps, generalizable to internet discourse overall. I would like to encourage everyone involved with DW to reflect with care on the OP.


Agreed. Thanks, Jikan, for volunteering your time. Thanks also to Huseng, who's caught in the middle a lot!

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