Why was E-Sangha controversial?

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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:17 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:No wonder you didn't like E-Sangha, Songhill (aka Zennist).
... Dark Zen .....


Dark Zen, :crazy: - the worst of the worst. I thought it had died off.

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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:06 am

I know Lama Migmar he is very laid back it seems strange that you would take your philosophical beef with Namdrol to his teacher.

If you wish to challenge over 2,000 years of Buddhist root texts and commentarial literature, composed by some of the greatest thinkers of our time, you have to be prepared for people thinking your views are a little wacky. It doesn't seem like this bothers you all that much-so you can continue expressing your views. I personally have no problem with that and am always interested in people who think óutside the box. Expressing opinions in a way that welcomes feedback is a good method to ensure that the discussion does not devolve into argument.

I hope that we can have a more open way of dealing with these philosophical issues here than at e-sangha. At the same time, I feel like we are beating a bit of a dead horse. E-sangha is no more. I for one am a bit sad about that, even though it had its problems. But what does continuing to complain about a forum that has been defunct for several years by now actually accomplish?
Last edited by JKhedrup on Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby catmoon » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:30 am

Hokay, this thread is about e sangha and why it was controversial... so can we please drop the subject of Songhill's past conduct? This is turning into a tribunal or something. That's not a fit subject.

I'm trying to save the thread from imminent lockdown here.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:37 am

Will edit my post to help you with that :thinking:

It would be good if we could forgive Songhill, Namdrol, Dechen Norbu, JKhedrup, etc. and ALL SENTIENT BEINGS for all past offences- real or perceived (I am sure there are both with regards to all the people involved in the past dramas)- and move on. This is the practice of forgiveness and tolerance that helps us open our hearts wider to mother sentient beings and work for their benefit. I include myself in the list of people who need to train in this!

HHDL often mentions that when angry 90% of the faults we see in the other person are mental projections fed by our delusions. The same with attachment- we exaggerate the other person's qualities by 90%. Sometimes in the heat of discussion it is difficult to remember that.

I also want to say that I miss Namdrol's presence on the board. He knew where I could look up almost any type of information I was seeking. And I want to say that I am convinced in his attempts to transform into the kinder, gentler Malcolm. Of course he will still make mistakes, like all of us, but he publicly apologized and is trying to improve himself. Isn't that something we should encourage rather than re-hashing his past mistakes?
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby catmoon » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:34 am

So to summarize, E Sangha tried to restrict the propagation of wrong Dharma. However, they kind of lost track of where to draw the line and wound up banning a really major branch of Zen among other things. Of course we would never make such a mistake. Or would we?

The issue of censorship has been brought up. Some of us may remember the original Buddha Forum (not the current one run by Dharmakara) where the owner went on vacation without extending banning rights to any of his mods. Within a week people were just yelling and slinging epithets, and after a few weeks there were threats of stalking, physical beatings and lawsuits. The personal abuse was unbelieveable. Since that was my first contact with other Buddhists I just assumed that was what Buddhists did.

That experience convinced me that moderation is a necessity. I have always held that any act of moderation is also an act of censorship, to some degree at least. Certainly the moderee is going to see it that way. So I try to keep it to a minimum and tend to land hard on the ad homs and insults and rough language which so often precede an outright flame war.

Controversy may be inherent in the medium and the people who use it. The mod has not been born yet who can perfectly resist the temptation to advance one position or another and decisions on content will always upset someone. Look at Aro Gter and David Lynch and Stephen Batchelor. Are they dangerous heretics misleading the innocent, or are we looking at the embryonic forms of the major Buddhist movements of the future? Nobody knows really. The moderator has to call the shot, has to decide whether to let them advance their ideas or not. If we had a couple of years to infiltrate the organizations, compile data and analyze finances we might be able to come to a truly sound decision, but my operatives inform me we are way over budget again this year. So that won't be happening. Maybe we'll buy a case of beer instead.

And that means controversy will continue.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Caz » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:21 am

I could add some reasons, But ive moved past it and started trying to apply Dharma, Its dead let it remain dead a place cannot accumulate such non virtue and expect to remain functioning.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby plwk » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:28 pm

Some of us may remember the original Buddha Forum (not the current one run by Dharmakara) where the owner went on vacation without extending banning rights to any of his mods. Within a week people were just yelling and slinging epithets, and after a few weeks there were threats of stalking, physical beatings and lawsuits. The personal abuse was unbelieveable. Since that was my first contact with other Buddhists I just assumed that was what Buddhists did.
Buddha Chat I believe.... the owner finally gave up the ghost on Buddhism and eventually BC went into clear light and yes I still recall the opened pandora's box there like what happened to E-Sangha's pseudo cousin, Buddhist Community. Buddha Forum as I remember was given over to new management by 'thecap' eventually, it was a ghost town for some time and in the opinion of someone I know, the new one became a 'shrine' to 'agnostic Buddhism'...
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Yudron » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:46 pm

When E-sangha started--after so many Buddhist sites had gone down in flames--it was such a relief to have the extremely aggressive people banned so that civil discourse could take place.

It's totally understandable that it got a bit out of hand on the "tight" end of the scale, when the "loose" end had gone so incredibly badly.

The point of talking honestly about the biggest previous forum is to reduce the chances of making the same mistakes over again, on either extreme, not to point fingers at the volunteers who ran that forum.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:17 pm

Yudron wrote:When E-sangha started--after so many Buddhist sites had gone down in flames--it was such a relief to have the extremely aggressive people banned so that civil discourse could take place.

It's totally understandable that it got a bit out of hand on the "tight" end of the scale, when the "loose" end had gone so incredibly badly.

The point of talking honestly about the biggest previous forum is to reduce the chances of making the same mistakes over again, on either extreme, not to point fingers at the volunteers who ran that forum.


Not many people would find anything wrong with two aggressive people like Stephen Batchelor and Alan Wallace fighting toe to toe over secular Buddhism vs traditional Buddhism. This leads me to say, there is not a fine line between disagreements over doctrine and an ad hominem attack (there are five different forms of this attack - the one most often used on a Buddhist forum is "poisoning the well ad hominem attack"). Moderators should know the difference between a dispute over doctrine and an ad hominem attack. Not knowing the difference is critical. This might be why E-Sangha had a problem. The unstated mission statement of E-Sangha seemed to be: We run an orthodox forum. If you are heterodox you're banned. But this is censorship—not genuine moderating.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby catmoon » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:28 pm

songhill wrote: This leads me to say, there is not a fine line between disagreements over doctrine and an ad hominem attack


Clarification please. You might be saying no line exists, or you might be saying it exists but is very broad.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:32 pm

Caz wrote:I could add some reasons, But ive moved past it and started trying to apply Dharma, Its dead let it remain dead a place cannot accumulate such non virtue and expect to remain functioning.


In the main, E-Sangha's moderating became censorial. Moderating is about trying to maintain a reasonably sane place in which to exchange ideas and information, ask questions and debate. Ethical moderating tries to cut back on the ad hominem attacks such as the abusive type the bias and the tu quoque.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:35 pm

catmoon wrote:
songhill wrote: This leads me to say, there is not a fine line between disagreements over doctrine and an ad hominem attack


Clarification please. You might be saying no line exists, or you might be saying it exists but is very broad.


One might think there is a fine line between disputes over doctrine and hominem attacks. But there is no such fine line. It is more like a broad ugly ditch.
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby byamspa » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:19 pm

I remember when I got banned from esangha it felt really weird. First time something like that had happened to me. I was critical of some of the moderation and didn't hesitate to mention when i thought it was getting heavy-handed. Didn't use profanity or anything like that, but someone didn't like what i had to say and my account got booted.

Looking back, i think they got into 'twitch-hammer-boom' mode. There was SO much goofy stuff going on the forum, it was easier to use a hammer ala 'whack-a-mole' instead of a finer tool to keep us all in line. Critic pops up, out comes the hammer and 'whack'.

I also got banned from a tea party forum for using big words and being a 'liberal intellectual'. Have to admit i was proud of that one :)
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby KeithBC » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:19 pm

Criticising the moderators in public will get you banned on most forums. It is to be expected. A forum that allows open criticism of moderation will crash in flames pretty quickly.

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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:38 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I know Lama Migmar he is very laid back it seems strange that you would take your philosophical beef with Namdrol to his teacher.

If you wish to challenge over 2,000 years of Buddhist root texts and commentarial literature, composed by some of the greatest thinkers of our time, you have to be prepared for people thinking your views are a little wacky. It doesn't seem like this bothers you all that much-so you can continue expressing your views. I personally have no problem with that and am always interested in people who think óutside the box. Expressing opinions in a way that welcomes feedback is a good method to ensure that the discussion does not devolve into argument.

I hope that we can have a more open way of dealing with these philosophical issues here than at e-sangha. At the same time, I feel like we are beating a bit of a dead horse. E-sangha is no more. I for one am a bit sad about that, even though it had its problems. But what does continuing to complain about a forum that has been defunct for several years by now actually accomplish?


Dear Bhantes, I was never on the defunct E-Sangha but for maybe an hour or two. A zealous moderator banned me from posting further comments because I posted something from J.C. Cleary's book, Zen Dawn (with citation). As you must know, Dark Zen, was pre-banned. The only representative of my views was Vacchagotta (I believe that was his handle). As a humble bodhisattva I don't mind abuse—in fact, most of it is quite comical. :rolling:
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby songhill » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:44 pm

byamspa wrote:I remember when I got banned from esangha it felt really weird. First time something like that had happened to me. I was critical of some of the moderation and didn't hesitate to mention when i thought it was getting heavy-handed. Didn't use profanity or anything like that, but someone didn't like what i had to say and my account got booted.

Looking back, i think they got into 'twitch-hammer-boom' mode. There was SO much goofy stuff going on the forum, it was easier to use a hammer ala 'whack-a-mole' instead of a finer tool to keep us all in line. Critic pops up, out comes the hammer and 'whack'.

I also got banned from a tea party forum for using big words and being a 'liberal intellectual'. Have to admit i was proud of that one :)


Later, just before the fall, they seemed to be operating from a Buddhist version of the Malleus Maleficarum ("Hammer of the Witches").
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:45 pm

catmoon wrote:Controversy may be inherent in the medium and the people who use it. The mod has not been born yet who can perfectly resist the temptation to advance one position or another and decisions on content will always upset someone. Look at Aro Gter and David Lynch and Stephen Batchelor. Are they dangerous heretics misleading the innocent, or are we looking at the embryonic forms of the major Buddhist movements of the future? Nobody knows really.


Leave David Lynch out of this! :guns:

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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby byamspa » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:55 pm

KeithBC wrote:Criticising the moderators in public will get you banned on most forums. It is to be expected. A forum that allows open criticism of moderation will crash in flames pretty quickly.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


i was attempting to be careful to be critical at the time of the 'moderation' not the 'moderators'. Big difference there. However, the end result was the same no matter my intentions. Hammer time ensued.

The goofy part was i didn't even do it 'on the forum' but on a blog!
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby catmoon » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:02 pm

[quote="Dan74"]

Leave David Lynch out of this! :guns:

OMG I didn't... I surely could not have...

Yup I did. DANG!
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Re: Why was E-Sangha controversial?

Postby Jikan » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:03 am

Yudron wrote:When E-sangha started--after so many Buddhist sites had gone down in flames--it was such a relief to have the extremely aggressive people banned so that civil discourse could take place.

It's totally understandable that it got a bit out of hand on the "tight" end of the scale, when the "loose" end had gone so incredibly badly.

The point of talking honestly about the biggest previous forum is to reduce the chances of making the same mistakes over again, on either extreme, not to point fingers at the volunteers who ran that forum.


:good:
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