A couple of nights ago, during a night of John Coltrane, Black Sabbath, tequila and weed, I finally decided to email Melissa McEwan, blogmistress of Shakesville, for some clarification as to why my comments had been deleted in a post about gardening. I wrote a post about the incident in which I compared myself to an invisible rabbit, if you recall.
Today I was sorting through 140+ emails and found a reply from Melissa.
--- On Wed, 9/2/09, Melissa McEwan
Your comments were deleted and your commenting privileges revoked because we don't allow sock-puppeting.
In your July 15 comments, you said you hadn't commented in months at Shakesville, which was not true. You commented here under another account and name (your real name, but that's not something you've made common knowledge at Shakesville), a comment that would quite obviously not be well-received by most of the Shakesville community.
Returning to your old, familiar handle after opening and using a new Disqus account at Shakesville appeared to be an attempt to distance yourself from that comment, underlined by the contention that you hadn't commented in seven months. Creating multiple user IDs in order to leave comments with which one doesn't want to be associated is, obviously, the purpose of sock-puppetry and something that commenters can't be allowed to do.
Contrary to what you may believe, I did not orchestrate your banning because of anything you've said about Shakesville or me personally. It was a call made by one of the moderators, and upon review by both myself and all of the other mods, it was found to be consistent with our established commenting policy. We have previously banned commenters for sock-puppeting, including commenters who have been posting favorable or neutral comments. If we had allowed your commenting privileges to stand, not only would we be making an exception for you, but also tacitly condoning deception of the community. There was a legitimate violation of established policy on your part, and I stood by the mod's decision.
Yeah, sock-puppeting. And you know, I may be stupid. I have forgotten whether I did a tequila shot 30 seconds after I just did one. I have rinsed the shampoo out of my hair and then reapplied more shampoo instead of conditioner. I have applied conditioner to my hair before shampooing and wondered why the fuck I wasn't getting any lather. I have gone to the store for one item and didn't take a list and forgot why I was there. One time I even went to vote in a presidential election and forgot to vote for president! I shit you not!
But I'm not SOOOO stupid as to use my real name on a blog where I'd been chummy with many of the moderators and where I met the bulk of my blogging Facebook friends, in some attempt to "distance myself" from konagod.
For the record, here is the sock-puppet comment which I posted during a time in which my konagod Disqus account was locked into some kind of circular black hole of log-in-in-order-to-comment requests. My statements were not exactly the kind of opinions where I'd feel the need to deliberately want to disguise my identity in order to make them. As I pointed out to Liss in my reply, "it was directed to Deeky..." and most of you know me. Enough of them knew me to get my commenting privileges revoked.
Here is the reply I sent to Melissa this evening:
Well that's interesting. When I said on Petulant's post about not commenting in 7 months, I was referring to the fact that my konagod Disqus account wouldn't let me in and I had just figured it out. [Note not included in the email to Liss: I had been trying to comment to Deeky under konagod and couldn't post it, and resorted to setting up an account under my real name in order to get my point out to him.] I was always getting prompted to log-in when trying to comment and when I did it would prompt me again to log in and that cycle would continue indefinitely.
I tried again every few weeks with the same result and finally gave up until Petulant's post, and I don't recall what I did differently but it was similar to the sign-up process, they sent me an email and I had to log in through that link, and paste something in or some such shit.
And unfortunately since the comment is gone I can't quote it verbatim -- but I think I said I hadn't been able to comment -- as konagod. This was certainly not an attempt at deception or sock-puppeting by using my real name! LOL!
The comment was directed specifically to Deeky, not a generic opinion directed to the community at large, and if my intent was to disassociate myself from konagod, I believe I would have made up an entirely new handle since every mod at SV probably knows my real name as well as some old-time regulars. As a long-time dedicated reader of the blog, I felt compelled to tell Deeky why I and some others were "obsessed" with the blog while "not being part of the community."
A mistake that many of us made was attaching ourselves too strongly to the blog, making it our home in our minds and expecting nothing to ever change (another big mistake because things do change; they have to) and then being shocked to realize one day that we were merely squatting as the owner puts in new curtails, carpet and paint.
Anyway, yes, I see that technically I clearly violated an established policy and rules are rules, even if it was not my intent and never crossed my mind. That seems to be how I got into trouble on many occasions. Mindlessness. And Shakesville comment threads are clearly not the place for that condition.
I had a blast though back in the day and wanted to thank you for providing the warm friendly environment via Virtual Pubs and excellent content, not to mention the dozens of friends I have made online who can be directly attributed to Shakes.
Yes, I may be mindless but I'm not stupid; those are two entirely different conditions. I don't sit around trying to tie one series of comments on a blog to something entirely different in nature which might have happened months before, a week before, or a day before.
Hell, I'm lucky if I even remember commenting the day before. Anywhere.
What is really interesting about this series of events is that I have virtually no philosophical differences with Liss on political or social matters. I'm pretty anal and so is she -- especially as it pertains to "established blog policy."
Where we differ I suppose in on the concept of intent. And since we come from vastly different backgrounds on that subject matter, I can't be one to criticize. I am, however, content at this point to just let it go.
The real irony here is that, back in the fun, old days, I used to sock-puppet in the Virtual Pubs constantly, and humorously. And everyone could figure out it was me either by the fucked-up content of the comment, or the fact that I kept the link to my blog in the Haloscan comment. I guess between then and now, the rules changed somewhat. Damn me for not reading them.
I think the intro to this next one is a severe Violent Femmes rip-off, but still, you gotta give Conbain trauma some credit.