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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fanning the Flames

We are an active member of the writing website Critique Circle. Recently the admins of the website sent messages to other members threatening them with expulsion if they did not refrain from voicing negative opinions on other sites like Facebook, Twitter, and personal weblogs. We believe admins have no business with what happens on another website. They are counting on people wanting their membership on CC more than on wanting what is right.

We posted the following quote from a film in the public forums on Critique Circle:

There were those who understood what was happening, who knew it was wrong but who kept silent. And in the vacuum of that silence, order was imposed.

It was removed and we were immediately banned from the forums, without any warning. When we questioned why we were banned for what we had posted, they told us that we know why. When we questioned their omniscience, they did not reply.

On top of the censorship issue, what bothers us is that they refuse to discuss this, or allow discussion. Their rules say to send a private message to admins if one doesn't agree with something. We did this, several times. We asked for clarification of their new rule that "what happens on CC stays on CC". They said we know what the rule means. We asked for further clarification. They said they will not discuss it further. We asked what the guidelines for forum posts are. They did not respond.

They have no cohesive plan. They don't consider how one decision effects the other. They don't apply their rules evenly. Their rules and judgements are purely subjective and arbitrary. They worry that members will be afraid to post things if they think those things will be ridiculed or quoted elsewhere. Well, members will be afraid to post things if they think those things will be monitored, censored, and possibly lead to their expulsion. But the admins can do no wrong.

In one message, they let us know that they wanted the website to be "pink, fuzzy, and full of bunnies". We placed that phrase in the signature line of all our forum posts. They deleted it, and immediately told us to remove the words from our signature. Such action clearly indicates they now have a personal gripe against us, and that everything we do, like several other members, is being closely watched.

They claim CC is supposed to be more than a critique site; it is supposed to be a community of writers. Our plight has generated much support from others. Why, then, if we have so much support within my community, are we being ostracized and even threatened with expulsion? What are the admins afraid of? Why can't they accept criticism of a critique website they constructed? These and other actions they have taken show they are not interested in the issues that real writers face and need help with; they are interested only in attracting and keeping hobby writers who find affirmation in purchasing a membership on a so-called writer's website.

We are sure our membership will be revoked before we ever find the answers.

1 comment:

  1. I run an online forum with over 45,000 members. It's in our rules/FAQ that we do not police the internet, and what is said about the forum outside the forum has NO bearing on how a member is treated inside the forum. It's utterly ridiculous to act otherwise.