I’m taking a vacation from Straight Dope because I believe that it might help someone for whom I have enormous respect to get some work done. But I wanted to set two or three things straight before I go. Thanks for taking the time to hear me out.
First, I had nothing — zero — to do with any rumors about my being banned for allegedly hijacking a thread. The first I heard about it was in this thread, when I saw this post:
There, someone asked:
And the response was:
I have not ever — on any occasion whatsoever — participated in any Straight Dope chats. Nor have I ever made contact in any way with any Doper with respect to any chat. Anything I’ve ever heard about such chatting, or such banning, I’ve heard here on this board.
Therefore, if any time and bandwidth was spent, let alone a ton of it, correcting a misapprehension about whether I would be banned, it most definitely was not because I had “run around telling the world” that I was to be banned.
Period. Please get that straight.
Second, a hijack did occur in this thread at the Bbboy forum. It occured with this post, which happened to be authored by the person who opened the thread:
That post was logged after the thread had been moved to Great Debates. It was in response to this post by me:
That post was logged while the thread was still in General Questions. There, no one took exception to my correction of the record. If I had made a mistatement of fact in General Questions, I would expect to be called out for it as has happened before.
But when I respond — respond — to a post that is addressed directly to me in Great Debates, I certainly don’t expect to be called out for hijacking.
When I asked why I should be denied the opportunity to respond to an assertion made directly to me in Great Debates, I got this answer from a moderator:
So. I learned that I should be noble of spirit and refrain from responding to assertions and challenges in Great Debates, even when they are made by the people who opened the threads.
After an appeal in this thread, it became clear that no matter what the facts were, I was to be pinned with responsibility for the hijack, and it didn’t matter whether I ever posted again in Great Debates. I was advised to develop a thicker skin. And I haven’t posted in Great Debates since that time.
Finally, it is true that Kyomara’s ban was none of my business. But my understanding was that we were supposed to e-mail an administrator if we had questions about such matters, based on this post in this thread:
And so I did. I apologize for my misunderstanding of those instructions. I’m certainly not always right.
Blaming me for causing problems about any of this is like blaming the pinball because you tilted the machine. There might be problems with getting the board up and running, and there might be a lot of energy expended dealing with a controversy that arose around me. But that does not give anyone license to heap blame for this circumstance on me.
Wanna blame someone for spreading rumors? Then blame the chatters who spread them. Wanna blame someone for hijacking a thread? Then blame the person who raised the debate.
Clearly there is far more important business afoot at Straight Dope than defending my integrity, and so the task falls to me. Sorry for taking everyone’s time with this and for using bandwidth to express it, but fair is fair. It may seem like a trifling matter, unless you just happen to be the person whom it is about.
I’d like to thank the many people who expressed concern for me during my two prior vacations from the boards. I’m going to take another. I don’t know for how long. And please, please, do not e-mail an administrator and ask to have it forwarded to me. They are extremely busy (and apparently high-strung) right now. I finally have some work coming in possibly next week, so I’ll be busy anyway. Going for several months now without work has been really tough.
I love these boards. I love everyone here. I don’t think anyone ever means to harm anyone else. We’re all just human. Including me. And I just wanted to set the record straight.
All the best to all of you, and God go with you always.