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Piecing together the Starlin Castro thread deletion
Posted: 18 February 2012 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I would really like to know what happened at the close of the Castro thread that caused Dan S. to delete it, in particular what Dan himself was posting.

I was able to get post 7301 out of a Google cache, but not anything in the 7200s. None of it is in my browser cache. Can anyone find it in his or her browser cache and give us some details on what was happening in there?

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who the hell wanna battle the ill mathematical - my ############ brain is IBM-compatible

Posted: 18 February 2012 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]

Dan said something about teachers that was pretty ranty (Approx. 2/16 or thereabouts).  It was allegedly a reference to Fight Club, although I didn’t get the reference.

veer bender, several pages later, (morning of 2/17) took offense and said something to the effect of that people on ESPN probably wouldn’t like to see that, and that he’d like Szymborski to say something like that to his face. 

Szymborski replies in an over-the-top manner, accusing veer bender of making threats and saying ideological things about veer bender’s wife.  One poster (He’s bought a bat like Prince Fielder), comments in support of Szymborski.  He had not been active in the thread in the past.  He seems like a sock puppet account, but I don’t know that. 

Szymborski deletes the posts. (morning of 2/17) Two-hundred posts or so go by.  (evening of 2/17)Veer bender makes a statement apologizing.  Joe Kehoskie says something (stating that he missed the context) that threats to people’s livelihoods aren’t cool.

I, and formerly dp, state that we didn’t get the impression that threats were being made, but rather that someone was just calling Szymborski on acting like a dick.  I think I said that Szymborski’s post was dickish and deserved to be called out as such.  That was last night.

I woke up this morning, the thread was deleted.  I don’t think I missed anything.

Posted: 18 February 2012 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]

I had heard Dan had an issue with veer bender. I also heard there was some kind of threat involved. The posts had disappeared, though, before I could read them and, two hours later, the entire thread had disappeared. My experience of Dan is that while he’s more than capable of posting intelligently in political threads, it’s not rare for him to fly off the handle.

I posted in the Castro thread on a certain kind of libertarian of which we have three or four individuals. I mentioned no names, and in my mind wasn’t even including Dan in my criticism. Nonetheless Dan appeared and attacked me for my criticism. It would be nice to be able to quote the exchange, and my point isn’t that Dan’s statements were over the top, or especially vicious given the context of a BTF political thread, but since I hadn’t referred to him by name, or implied him, or said anything like “all libertarians do x”, I was honestly startled both at his sudden appearance (I don’t even know that he had made an appearance in the thread to that point) and the, I’ll call it, the “vigor”, of his response. In short, Dan took something very, very seriously and personally that wasn’t addressed to him at all. All of which is to say, Dan, if you’re concerned about your public image, which seems a reasonable concern, and take things that seriously, you might be better off either avoiding posting in political threads entirely, or not have political threads on the site. I’d prefer the former of the two alternatives, of course, but it’s not my site.

Speaking of deleting posts, twenty minutes ago Jim wrote:

19. Jim Furtado<=”” a=”“> Posted: February 18, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4064081)
Although I can appreciate your feelings about this issue, I ask that you leave this tread on topic.

I invite you to create a Forum Topic on the issue within the newly created Community Issues forum.

To keep this thread on topic I will be deleting the comments related to closing threads within the next 24 hours. I invite you to cut and paste your comments from within this thread to a new forum thread.

As soon as I finish off the server migration and tweak the server configuration I promise to jump in on the discussion.

It’s now 2:39 pm. Within 20 minutes of his post, above, Jim (I assume) deleted five posts.

Posted: 18 February 2012 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]

It’s now 2:39 pm. Within 20 minutes of his post, above, Jim (I assume) deleted five posts.

Don’t hassle the Jim.  He’s correct that a lab issues thread isn’t the place to address the issue.

Posted: 18 February 2012 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]

Don’t misconstrue me, please. I’ve had enough of that today. I’m merely reporting the facts, since that’s what this thread seems to be about.

Note I didn’t say anything critical of Jim. Thanks for your attention in this matter.

Posted: 18 February 2012 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]

Here’s one of my comments from the thread that Jim deleted:
Because there’s no where else to post this:

There needs to be an open conversation about disappearing threads and comments. What happened to the Castro thread is an inexcusable abuse of editorial power, both in the initial decision to remove someone’s post and in the subsequent decision to just erase the entire thread from BTF history.

Veer’s comment, which I read when it was posted, basically said: ESPN probably doesn’t care that Dan’s a libertarian, but they might care that he’s slagging public school teachers, since the latter is more likely to rub a lot of readers the wrong way, given that a lot of us know the people he was demonizing. There was nothing threatening about it, no implied promise to report Dan’s post to ESPN. It read more like a piece of advice from a reader who likes Dan’s baseball stuff and is having his opinion colored by Dan’s vitriolic comments about public school teachers.

Dan’s a keen and funny witty baseball writer, and from the limited interactions I’ve had with him, a really nice guy, which is why this sort of behavior is even more frustrating. Veer’s comment was made in precisely this spirit.

Dan acts like a five year-old whenever this sort of issue comes up. He has no qualms about censoring and even erasing writing that people have poured hours of their lives into. And then we can’t even go back and evaluate what was said to form our own opinions. This is why every time he goes on about his libertarian values, I think he’s a hypocrite—he has the legal authority to erase our words on BTF, but he’s making the libertarian mistake of equating legal authority with moral authority. We’re not subjects who are being ruled; we’re members of a community having a conversation. That Dan feels the need to flex his muscles in these situations and remind us who has power in this community is troubling not just to me but to other posters here as well. That there’s not an open and transparent conversation about standards when this sort of issues comes up just feeds the problem, rather than addressing it. It is a childish response, the equivalent of flipping the board or taking your ball and going home.

Feel free to take this down. Or you could just explain to your subjects here why 7000+ posts, some of which I wrote, disappeared from the internet without the hint of a reason.

For reference, this is from Veer’s original post, one so heinous that Dan felt the need to remove it in its entirety:
I doubt that ESPN, for example, cares at all whether a writer is a Libertarian, Communitarian, or Rastafarian, but they may be concerned if someone posts ad hominem diatribes on a public website about a (very large) group of their viewers.

(thanks to another BTF poster for preserving what our nannies did not think was fit for our consumption)

Posted: 18 February 2012 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]

Also, notice that this whole conversation has been ghettoized by moving it to a less public forum.  I’d like us to have an open, transparent conversation about when it’s appropriate to censor someone on this site.  And it would be nice if Dan would explain his childish behavior to us children at some point.  Right now, it seems like he’s trying his best to make this whole thing go away, between deleting the thread and now having the references to Dan’s bad behavior on the main comments portion of the site wiped out.

Posted: 18 February 2012 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]

Don’t misconstrue me, please. I’ve had enough of that today. I’m merely reporting the facts, since that’s what this thread seems to be about.

Note I didn’t say anything critical of Jim. Thanks for your attention in this matter.

My mistake then.

Re: Dan deleting the thread:  It’s my impression that he deleted it because people kept on talking about it.  Which I have mixed feelings about—I didn’t think it was worth discussing a ton, but people were implying that veer bender’s comment was a threat.

Posted: 18 February 2012 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
tshipman - 18 February 2012 03:34 PM

I woke up this morning, the thread was deleted.  I don’t think I missed anything.

 

There’s a posted named “He’s Bought a Bat like Prince Fielder”—in the last post I made (around 12:30), I noted that he only seems to jump into threads where Dan’s being attacked.  He defended Dan and criticized Veer for going after him, despite the fact that he posted several hours after Dan had deleted both Dan and Veer’s post.  It did seem like He’s Bought a Bat might be Dan’s sock puppet.  The link between Dan and He’s Bought a Bat was suggested to me by another poster, and seems pretty plausible given the sequence of events.

Posted: 18 February 2012 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
tshipman - 18 February 2012 04:14 PM

Re: Dan deleting the thread:  It’s my impression that he deleted it because people kept on talking about it.  Which I have mixed feelings about—I didn’t think it was worth discussing a ton, but people were implying that veer bender’s comment was a threat.

There was no threat.  Dan deleting the whole thread was a childish, stupid and immature thing to do.  His comments on public school teachers were dickish, and making them on a public forum with his name attached to them doesn’t seem like a good idea for someone who has checks signed by the Disney corporation.  Veer pointed this out, I thought in a friendly spirit.  Dan did the dumber thing of doubling down on them and interpreting veer’s comments as a threat.  Just a series of increasingly bad decisions on Dan’s part, and rather than own them, he has pulled rank and made the whole series of events just go away.

Posted: 18 February 2012 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]

There’s a posted named “He’s Bought a Bat like Prince Fielder”—in the last post I made (around 12:30), I noted that he only seems to jump into threads where Dan’s being attacked.  He defended Dan and criticized Veer for going after him, despite the fact that he posted several hours after Dan had deleted both Dan and Veer’s post.  It did seem like He’s Bought a Bat might be Dan’s sock puppet.  I’ve made this point in three posts and they’ve all been removed from the site.  The link between Dan and He’s Bought a Bat was suggested to me by another poster, and seems pretty plausible given the sequence of events.

HBaBlPF seems like a sock puppet to me, given that he frequently shows up in the political threads, insulting posters while trying to make claims to reasonableness.  I’d like to think that he isn’t Dan’s sock puppet, because that would be pretty scuzzy.  I imagine The Jim can check that, though.

Posted: 18 February 2012 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]

As I mentioned in the original thread, I never saw the messages that caused this dispute and were subsequently deleted, as my first trip to BBTF yesterday was many hours after the fact. I noticed the thread had disappeared in the early hours today but thought maybe, just maybe, it was related to the site updates and would reappear. I guess that was wishful thinking.

Some of the post-dispute messages stated that someone had threatened Dan, and I simply chimed in and said that what happens in a BBTF political thread should stay in a BBTF political thread. Unless simply talking about the dispute was a violation of site policy, I didn’t see anything in the last 50 or 100 comments of the thread that warranted locking it, let alone deleting it.

I lurked at BBTF for years before starting to comment, and I’m probably going to return to that status. I see little point in investing time in discussions that can be wiped off the internet on a whim. The BBTF owners/admins are obviously free to run the site as they see fit, but this was a very disappointing experience. As examples of throwing the baby out with the bath water go, this was one of the most blatant I’ve seen on an online forum.

Posted: 18 February 2012 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Joe Kehoskie - 18 February 2012 07:44 PM

As I mentioned in the original thread, I never saw the messages that caused this dispute and were subsequently deleted, as my first trip to BBTF yesterday was many hours after the fact. I noticed the thread had disappeared in the early hours today but thought maybe, just maybe, it was related to the site updates and would reappear. I guess that was wishful thinking.

Some of the post-dispute messages stated that someone had threatened Dan, and I simply chimed in and said that what happens in a BBTF political thread should stay in a BBTF political thread. Unless simply talking about the dispute was a violation of site policy, I didn’t see anything in the last 50 or 100 comments of the thread that warranted locking it, let alone deleting it.

I lurked at BBTF for years before starting to comment, and I’m probably going to return to that status. I see little point in investing time in discussions that can be wiped off the internet on a whim. The BBTF owners/admins are obviously free to run the site as they see fit, but this was a very disappointing experience. As examples of throwing the baby out with the bath water go, this was one of the most blatant I’ve seen on an online forum.

This wasn’t the first time that Dan has Mercadered a thread, but it’s the first time in over a year.  As I said in a Lab Notes comment, it’s ironic in that this was one of the more civil political threads we’ve had in a long, long time, in spite of Dan’s rather nasty comment about public school teachers.

I also think that the ghettoizing of these discussions is a cheap trick.  I can understand not wanting the discussion about thread shutdowns to disrupt the Lab Notes discussion, but the comments could have been simply transferred to a new thread on the main page.

Dan contributes a lot to political discussions, but he really needs to take a chill pill sometimes, especially since in this case it was his over the top comment that instigated the whole incident.

Posted: 18 February 2012 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Jolly Old St. Neck Wound, Moral Idiot - 18 February 2012 08:36 PM

I also think that the ghettoizing of these discussions is a cheap trick.  I can understand not wanting the discussion about thread shutdowns to disrupt the Lab Notes discussion, but the comments could have been simply transferred to a new thread on the main page.

Agreed. I was online for several hours after the thread was deleted very early this morning, but no explanation was posted anywhere and I didn’t want to threadjack any of the other topics to inquire about it. A power outage then kept me offline until about an hour ago, but it appears the whole thing was being swept under the rug until someone threadjacked a Lab Notes thread and the discussion was kicked over here.

I never read or post in the forums — the comment above was my first ever and this one is my second — and I’m guessing the same is true for a large number of BBTF members, as it’s otherwise hard to believe only four or five people are talking about the deletion of a thread that had over 7,300 comments.

Posted: 18 February 2012 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I barely posted in that thread, but I checked it frequently because there was a lot of thought-provoking stuff in there on a whole variety of topics.

Summarily deleting it is crap. It should be restored.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]

Some of the post-dispute messages stated that someone had threatened Dan, and I simply chimed in and said that what happens in a BBTF political thread should stay in a BBTF political thread. Unless simply talking about the dispute was a violation of site policy, I didn’t see anything in the last 50 or 100 comments of the thread that warranted locking it, let alone deleting it.

Well, I think it was probably in part my fault because I said that Szymborski did a dickish thing around 50 times, but yeah, I agree that there was no real reason to delete the thread, unless he just didn’t want it traced back. 

I think it’s clear that if Dan’s worries about his ESPN gig affect how he edits on this site, he should stop editing on this site.  Doing this nonsense of deleting posts and threads is unethical if it’s only being done to protect his reputation.

Most of us have jobs and reputations, too.  We don’t have the option to delete posts that other people make about ourselves or get rid of the thread.

   
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