tl;dr: If you’re looking for The Banned Of
Lum the Mad Tom Chick forum it’s over here.
Quarter to Three is a forum I have posted on quite often over the past decade (yes, that long). It’s a forum loosely based on gaming with a literate group of followers, founded by two fairly clueful gaming writers, Mark Asher and Tom Chick. Mark eventually drifted away and Tom took over full time.
There was the usual drama, as often goes with such things. Earlier this year Tom had clearly had enough and turned the forum essentially unmoderated. A lot of previously unbanned users came back, and some people took advantage of the Lord of the Flies atmosphere to run riot.
Obviously this was unsustainable for an enterprise that actually costs someone a non-zero amount of money to host, so Tom announced that he would be returning to moderator status, and then today posted a thread that said in so many words, “Yep, I’m back, and a lot of you are on notice, and this gaggle of people that can’t stand my moderation are gone period.” Some were surprised by this list, both by its inclusions (some apparently were only included for vocally disagreeing with choices Tom had made) and its exclusions (the worst offenders of the previous months of unmoderation were pointedly not in the “You’re gone NOW” list). The obvious conclusion was that Tom’s first action was to simply get rid of the people that got on his nerves, a conclusion that Tom later tried, with some effort but not complete success, to disprove.
It’s safe to say I would do things differently – and I suspect the suspects complaining would complain more with my method, which is less soul-searching “look, here’s all the people I don’t like, let’s talk about it here” and more “while you weren’t looking yesterday three people were shot in the head. MOVE ON CITIZEN”. Like Tom, I am a firm believer in the This-Is-My-Living-Room-You-Yutz theory of forum moderation – if I don’t want you around, you’re not around, and no, you don’t get a vote. If you don’t like it, well, you know, you do have a living room.
So given all that, why did I make a refugee camp for people recently banned and looking for shelter? Well, mainly because it was needed and I had a forum I wasn’t using. I agreed with some of the names on Tom’s list of People Shot In The Head, disagreed with others. This is entirely normal, given that my name isn’t Tom and it’s not my forum. And again, while I believe I would have handled things differently, I don’t disagree that’s entirely his prerogative to handle things the way in which he deems best.
As one of the admins of Quarter to Three put it, “I find it endlessly ironic that Lum himself is setting up a “banned of lum the mad” type-site. It’s the circle of life!” And so it is. As I said, I mainly did this as a short term favor for people hit by surprise by The Great Bannination Of 2012. I just got word that Matt Gallant (another Banned of Tom the Chick whom I respect and whose contributions I valued far more than others left standing) is setting up his own refugee camp of sorts at his own site. I certainly have better things to do than hold the hands of whiny forum babies, maybe he’s not that busy!
In any event, it’s a series of events rich with irony, pathos, and unintended humor, much like Rick Santorum winning a caucus.