Dear readers, contributors, and other members of the Republibot Community,
I would like to start out by thanking you all for your contributions and participation in this website, and we hope that you know that we consider it collectively as our website, all of us, not just us three Republibots.
Our greatest pride, that we have taken so far in running Republibot.com has been that we've never had a flame war. Not one. None in the more-than-four-years we've been online. We've provided reasonably insightful, reasonably intelligent content, and we've gone out of our way to avoid name-calling and liberal baiting and the general jerk stuff that gives so many other Conservative sites a bad name. We just say what we have to say, make our point, and then discuss it like grown-ups. As an approach and general philosophy we've trusted in the basic civility of our readers and members and friends, and though there have been a few crises along the way, R2 and R3, have always managed to defuse them before they went off.
The fact that we're actually having a flame war kills me. The fact that it was started by one of our own – a regular and contributor, and not just some random outsider jumping on to troll us and throw stones makes it worse. I try not to get too involved in the day to day here (as you have probably noticed) and generally leave most decisions to our two stalwarts R2 and R3. On this particular issue I have been vaguely aware of the build up of passion and heat, but have been very surprised at how quickly the flames have gotten out of control. I've also basically been hoping I wouldn't need to step in, trusting in the basic decency that we've always relied on here to calm this down.
But, it looks like it is not going to go away and I would hate to see all of our collective work and effort so quickly fall apart. And this has saddened me tremendously. What saddens me even more though is how this behavior over the last little while plays right into the stereotypes The Left has of The Right. We've aspired to something more here, and with only a little bit of fanning we are all suddenly acting like hillbillies. Hillbilly trolls.
This has to stop now, before the damage is unreparable.
Firstly: Sheldon’s useage of the word "Retard" was out of place and found offensive. Sheldon, if you can't understand why, then you need to go and find someone with a mentally challenged child, look them in the face, and ask them why. Empathetic compassion isn’t something only the Left should be able to claim. In some cases Political Correctness is correct. Words do mean things and they do carry effect. That should be self evident and shouldn't need any more explanation than that.
Nextly: Republibot 3.0 was also very much out of line in publicly attacking Sheldon over this. R3, you should have discussed it with Sheldon offline in private and then corrected it with his acknowledgement.
I have had extensive discussions with R3 about this. And he has expressed contritement and realization that he made a rash and impolitic decision.
Additionally: We also hope that Sheldon realizes that his behavior since R3's apology has been an escalation of the original incident resulting in additional insulting and abusive behavior towards the other members of this community. You can’t ask people if you made a mistake and then go on the offensive when the majority of responses are against you. You cannot apologize and then use that apology to further exacerbate the situation and continue to fan the flames so to speak. Insulting and abusing others is not a correct response when you feel that you are being insulted and abused. There is no positive outcome in that scenario. Someone has to take the higher road, but it is better if both sides do. Otherwise people end up opposing everything you stand for simply because *you* stand for it, even if you are correct. No one needs to agree with this, nor do they need to accept it, but it's the way the world works. Be polite.
Finally: The administration should have stepped in faster to control the situation, but we didn't. I was too out of touch and disconnected with my other things that I have going on in my daily life to realize it was really happening, R2 has his hands full with the myriad of technical details it takes to run a site like this with little to no financial backing, and R3 is on a semi-hiatus at the moment as he tries to deal with a lot of things in his personal life that have demanded his attention lately (with which we are all familiar).
We screwed up.
To everyone who's had to suffer through this, we apologize. Up until now, we've gotten by with a happy state of semi-Right Wing anarchy, but unfortunately we will have to impose some guidelines. We, naturally, don’t want to shut down the forum, but right now, nothing is off the table. We are discussing damage control and as we make our way through this process and get feedback from the wider community here at Republibot (because this is your site, too) we will keep you posted. This is an uncomfortable situation for all of us, and we beg your patience while we figure out what to do next.
Sheldon is a gifted writer, and a valued contributor to our website. He's done great work, and we've been proud to have him as an integral part of what we hope to do here. We are grateful for all the content he's provided and the time and effort he has so graciously shared with all of us. He is also a good guy based on my interaction with him. But this current behavior is not something we can tolerate, especially if it continues to drive other people away. This kind of thing cannot go unchecked or else it will destroy the site and everything we've worked so hard here to accomplish for going-on half a decade. And then we will be like all of the other sites out there, and that is really the last thing we want to be.
And now to the point: For now, we will put have to put Sheldon on official notice (this feels so Grade School that I kind of resent both R3 and Sheldon for putting me in this position). He has two strikes against him. However, we absolutely want him to continue to be a part of this community, we want to continue to work with him, we think he has a lot of talent and we have appreciated all of his contributions up to this point, but we cannot tolerate those we trust to engage in this kind of behavior. It would be the end of Republibot, and that would truly be a sad thing.
Two Strikes. Only one left.
Let’s clean it up everyone and get back to arguing about things that are important. Like whether or not Arthur C Clarke was a pedophile, or Gene Roddenberry and Harlan Ellison should have faced off in a Kumite match to decide who was the better man. (I bet Roddenberry was a sneaky and dirty fighter, but Ellison is a pit bull.)
Thanks for your time and feel free to reach out to me with any questions or etc.