The Part Of The Job I Hate
Up front, let's make sure something's clear: I liked and still like picklewalsh
I think he's a great guy, which might seem odd in this context, but I don't see a conflict. We don't ban people because we don't like them.
That's not what this is about.
This is also not a case of us just going along without a care in the world, suddenly discovering something amiss out of the blue and reacting by
saying "Ah ha! A T&C
violation! Just the excuse we were looking for! We have
you now! Banned! Buahahahaaaa!"
Nope, that's not how we operate either.
If anything, this went on as long as it did because we weren't
out to get him. Ironically, if we would have been more suspicious and zealous
about it when the "Order of Watchers" appeared (recruiting on ATS in violation of the
, by the way), maybe it wouldn't have come to this.
I note that some members suggest that if we stand by this decision, we should ban every member for any
But again, that's not the way we do things. We don't ban people for minor infractions any more than cops shoot people for jaywalking. That would
itself be a crime, and ATS would quickly die as a community if we abused our members so callously.
This is also not a case of being "holier-than-thou". Nobody's perfect. I've violated the
plenty of times, and so have many other members. We don't ban people for
honest mistakes -- or even dishonest mistakes, if they're not truly serious.
This is truly serious, and it wasn't an honest mistake.
You don't "accidentally" copy entire threads from ATS onto your board without attribution, nor should anyone reasonably be expected to think
that's "okay". It's not, and though ATSers hail from many different places around the world with different moral codes and customs, this is
something I think we can all agree on.
Also, for anyone wondering, this is not a decision the Amigos just whipped out off the cuff on an idle whim. They consult the moderator staff
about issues like this, and weigh our opinions carefully when making decisions.
We're a team
. I think of it as the "ATS staff tribe" approach, and I am so fond of it that I have used this model for the PTS Forum Subject
Matter Experts (FSMEs), whom I consult for opinions and suggestions on matters affecting PTS.
Not every staff member is online or is aware of this situation (we all have lives and log in when we're able and feel like it, not because we must),
and we don't talk about what's said behind the scenes (what's said in Cosmic stays in Cosmic), but I will volunteer that every staff member who has
commented on this behind the scenes (and I assure you we're not shy about disagreeing on things) has supported this decision.
That includes me.
Discretion And Valor
There are many good reasons why we don't usually discuss account bans publicly, and while I think it's healthy and cathartic to discuss this
particular case (did I mention I think picklewalsh
is a great guy?), this is also a reminder of why we normally don't.
Yes, this is just the Internet and ATS is just a discussion forum where we talk smack about this and that, but it's more than that.
ATS really is a community, and admit it or deny it, like it or not, for good or ill, we get to know each other over time, and meaningful relationships
So when we have to ban someone, it hurts, because we're losing someone. No, we're not "killing" someone -- they can go on their merry way, travel
the entire Rest Of The Internet and do what they please.
But it still hurts, especially when it's someone we know and care about.
I've permanently banned many accounts since I became a super mod. It's one of my duties.
But even in cases of new members who are clearly here to disrupt discussion, I always wonder if there could be a way to bring them around so they
could see what we have to offer and decide to abandon their trollish ways and choose to stay -- and share their opinions with us.
Each ban, no matter the circumstances, feels like another loss in the battle to Deny Ignorance, and I'm always looking for other alternatives, other
ways to get members to understand that the T&C
are less of a restriction than a
to share candid opinions on the issues that matter.
are our social contract. They are neutral on the issues. Whatever you
may be pro- or anti- about, if you're posting in accordance with the T&C
you're protected here.
That's why I keep pushing them and linking to them. A member who understands and honors them can post damn near anything
on this site, and
that is a powerful
foundation for meaningful discussion.
But some things cannot be tolerated, and plagiarism is one of them.
And that's why -- though I'm definitely not happy about it -- I agree wholeheartedly with this decision and support it without reservation.
This is the part of the job I hate, but it's still part of the job.
I hope my fellow members can understand.