when transparency does not equal erased

by Violet Blue on June 25, 2008


Image via reading.sexy.

This week I’ve been feeling like that episode on Buffy where things turn invisible, except it’s just on one corner of the blogiverse, and it didn’t really hit home for me why it means more to me than it did — especially as a blogger — than when I read the post about my deletion form Boing Boing, Violet Vanishes. Snip:

(…) And here’s where I make another disclaimer — when my responsibilities at the Chronicle involved SFGate, hell, even before that, when I was editing SFist, when people would send me enraged emails/post ranty blog posts about the policies of either publication, there was always a part of me that thought “Then don’t read us! There’s a lot of sites on the internet, and if you don’t like how we run things, well…” Just because a site is popular doesn’t make it a public utility, I get that, and folks can run things the way they want.

There are only a few people I would go back on that thinking for, and Violet’s one of them. So, I gotta ask: where the hell did her Boing Boing posts go?

Jackson suggests that she “rubbed someone at Boing Boing the wrong way,” which takes me back to hoping that their MT4 build is unstable, or maybe their site migration got fucked up (sorry, my 6A friends! Gotta consider all the possibilities!). Because, man, Boing Boing has been such a leader in web transparency, ethics, and decency (not the sex is bad! kind of decency, the be a good internet citizen! kind of decency) that if Jackson is right? That would totally fucking suck.

Of course, these questions are all just that — questions — because no one from Boing Boing is writing back to anyone who’s asked them what’s up. And maybe that’s because it’s none of our damn business, maybe it was a deliberate act based on an emotional personal decision. But if it was, I call bullshit.

My approbation or lack thereof isn’t going to impact Boing Boing a whit, and, like I said, that’s their house, and they can run it the way they want. But Violet’s my friend, and until I hear that Boing Boing’s archives are all fucked up, I’m not going to give them another damn pageview. And not just because, as Jackson says:

Because BoingBoing wields the awesome power of traffic and Google Pagerank, and to bestow such benefits on a blogger and then take them away can be a severe punishment in terms of advertising and affiliate business lost.

But because I know that — because Boing Boing taught me — that we’re supposed to call out sites that do shit like that. So that’s what I’m doing. (…read more.)

Update: See also, Boing Boing’d.

Update 2: More to read, especially this astounding post William Gibson Completely Deleted from BoingBoing Archives (also seen at worship the glitch). The comments on this post are also very thought-provoking and indicate more strange behavior.

Update 3, 06.30.08: In the comments of this post, people are noting that their (admittedly off-topic) comment queries on Boing Boing are being deleted, and over on Eve Batey’s blog a comment asking about it posted in the “comment moderation” post at Boing Boing have been deleted. Weird, weird, weird. Check out these posts: MetaFilter: Boing Boing Finds 21st Century Trotsky?, Violet Blue is Now A 404, Violet Blue Vanished From Boing Boing? (NSFW, Eros Blog), Drama Llama, Tech Macro: Boing Boing Deletes Blogger, Not the First Time?.

Update 07.02.08: Apologies for the delay in updating this post, I’ve been on deadline for my column while this has all been going on — though you’ll see I’ve been active in the comments here. I have only posted about this issue twice (including this post); a week after I posted my original item calling attention to the disappearance, BoingBoing responded to the LA Times blog post (indirectly, anyway), and admitted that it had happened (calling the removal “unpublishing”), without explaining why. My character was attacked by BoingBoing bloggers and BB’s comment moderator. There is much allusion to me being a bad person and that I had done something so egregious that I was a “strain[s] of evil”, among many other confusing things. I still have no idea what they’re talking about — except that it seems to be personal? — and really don’t understand why I’m being attacked, nor why they’re stating they kept it a secret (and are behaving this way) out of “kindness” toward me. I may have never been in a more bizarre situation. They revealed that this had actually happened a year ago. I didn’t notice the missing posts until a reader pointed it out to me last weekend. No one has explained anything to me, and no one is saying what the reasons actually are or are not, and the speculation is astonishing — and leading to more character attacks all around. Their post has over 900 comments and it is currently BoingBoing’s most commented post to date.

There is so much media about this, it’s difficult to capture it all in one update. In no particular order… Boing Boing and the Unpersoning of Violet Blue, The Boing Boing post that launched (not quite) a thousand comments, BoingBoing explains Violet Blue posts (sort of) (LA Observed), Boing Boing Responds to Violet Blue Brouhaha (SFist), Violet Blue Purged from Boing Boing, Boing Boing Talks Back (AdRants), Boing Boing Speaks out on Blue (SF Weekly), LA Times: Violet Blue still in the dark about her ‘behavior’, Regarding BoingBoing’s factual dispute on Monday’s Violet Blue post, BoingBoing and Violet Blue: Game Frakkin’ Over; Valleywag: Did the Internet’s free-speech guardians try to hush up a girl-on-girl love affair? and How Xeni and Violet’s Boing Boing affair went sour (note: except for what’s in my email, there is a lot of stuff there that I have *no* idea what they’re talking about), Any sufficiently advanced information is indistinguishable from noise (ZDnet, UK), The Media Cool Kids: Never As Cool As You Think (Gawker), It’s Like Watching Your Parents Calling Your Teachers A Bunch of Doody-Heads, BoingBoing vs. Violet Blue. I think there is more, and I’m sorry if I missed anyone.

Blogging has given us the power to self-publish, and gives us concrete, findable voices in a world that used to have its information sharing controlled only by the powerful few. We were tired of locked down communication channels run by people who never had to give reasons or sources because they didn’t have to. Blogging has torn those walls down. In this light, the notion of “unpublishing” is antithetical to the exact empowerment that blogging brings. No wonder so many people are upset.

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

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{ 79 comments }

1 Bacchus July 1, 2008 at 6:31 pm

My money’s on Violet in the Violet v. Xeni match. Think we could get Kink.com to film it in their “Ultimate Surrender” ring?

Hell YA we could! ;-)

Violet, I share your astonished consternation about what’s been said about you today. TNH in particular has been coming in from Planet Xeta — I’ve been reading her blog since 2002 or so, and enjoying her level-headed forum participation since the creaky pre-internet GEnie SFRT days of the early 1990s. I’ve never seen her like this, even when she was decisively engaging the arch-crank Jerry Pournelle. Teresa, come back please, all is forgiven, we do not like this imposter using your name on the Boing Boings!

2 innocent bypasser July 1, 2008 at 6:21 pm

It feels like opinionated people are being forced to choose sides (most with limited information) on issues large and small (it’s the tacky deletion that bugged me, crime<coverup), getting grumpier and grumpier as the rhetorical holes they dig get deeper and deeper. No one can retreat without looking bad so the mud gets heavier. One obvious (re)solution is a VB vs XJ mud wrestling videocast. Is that me being selfish?

http://www.xkcd.com/438/

3 Mojo July 1, 2008 at 6:07 pm

More speculation from Melissa Gira via Valleywag

I’m still completely shocked at the bungled handling of this. Anyone need a drink?

4 gibby July 1, 2008 at 5:48 pm

violet, i must say i’ve always had a crush on your internet personality. i must say that because it’s in the interest of full disclosure.

what boing boing stirred up today, especially with their head moderator, well… you really don’t deserve that shit and i’m sorry. it’s because of boing boing that i found out about you and fleshbot, but since this move to the new boing boing they’ve really gone downhill.

it would be great, though, if (or when) they tell you what the fuck happened that you at least let us know that they spoke to you about it. then we’d at least know that they tried to be nice in some form or fashion.

5 violet July 1, 2008 at 5:47 pm

wow. I’ve been called some pretty awful things by BoingBoing staff and bloggers today. I’m really in shock. first thing this morning, the posts I was in were compared to “piles of shit on the floor”*. I was called “this person” by someone I used to have a close personal relationship with. now I have repeatedly been called a liar, had BB state that it would be “easy” to “trash” me, was called not a nice person (OW), called “desperate” to “attract an audience”, a “strain[s] of human evil”, had it stated that I have “no compunctions” about trashing BoingBoing, was accused of an “apparent campaign to turn this into some kind of a petty blog fight”, and that BoingBoing is behaving like this out of “kindness” toward me…

what the hell is going on here?

sources:

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/01/that-violet-blue-thi.html#comment-223265
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/01/that-violet-blue-thi.html#comment-224144
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/01/that-violet-blue-thi.html#comment-224193

* the “piles of shit” comment was non-transparently edited:

comment now:
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/01/that-violet-blue-thi.html#comment-223265

this commenter noted the change (see multiple comments):
http://dynamic.boingboing.net/profile/shmegegge

comment from user describing change:
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/01/that-violet-blue-thi.html#comment-224042

with cache linked:
http://www.elsewhere.org/tmp/piles_of_shit.html

wow.

6 waraw July 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Violet, dear, now they’re calling you a liar. This is getting uglier by the moment. As a longtime reader of both blogs (Yeah, reader-not-commenter, so what) this whole thing is just sad. It doesn’t matter what the truth is anymore, I don’t think. Sure, the rubbernecker/concerntroll deep within me would like to know what’s really happening, but obviously there are a log of hurt feelings here on both sides and that’s too bad. But there are always more pretty girls to kiss, at least.

7 Arun July 1, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Uh oh. Teresa has now accused Violet of lying “demonstrably”:
(and I’m sorry, Violet)

Teresa: “Violet Blue has demonstrably lied more than once about this imbroglio. Does that matter? Whereas Mark, Xeni, Cory, and David are getting trashed for not being transparent fast enough. And why did they hesitate to respond to that scurrilous story in Valleywag? Bizarrely enough, because they didn’t want to trash Violet Blue. They could have. It would have been easy. And unlike the people who are attacking them, the Boingers would have been telling the truth.”

She also attacks Boingers as being stupid-calls them hamsters:

“Is it okay if I mention that I find some of these comments astoundingly stupid? I’ve known hamsters that had more guile than the Boingers. Many of you guys have been reading them for years. Have you really not picked up on that fact about them, or do you just like hitting people you know won’t hit back?”

“And as for all this “Orwellian editing” crap — christ, do you take two seconds to think before you post it? You know the Boingers have a major commitment to transparency and open communication. Taking a stand on those issues, and writing and publishing a weblog that’s run on those principles, doesn’t mean the authors of that weblog are obliged to tell you about every little thing they think and do and decide.

If you think it does oblige them, and that the fact that they haven’t told you everything somehow transforms them into scheming weasels, then I’m sorry, but you’re a blockhead.”

Sorry to share this, Violet, I think Teresa is absolutely horrible as a moderator- glad to see a lot of people calling her on it. I bet she’ll edit this fairly quickly.

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/01/that-violet-blue-thi.html#comment-224144
(comment #553)

8 Arun July 1, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I saw your questions there, Pickles #41, thought you were pretty reasonable.

But i’m kind of fed up with the snippy condescension of the moderators there, really evident in this self-inflicted fiasco. I really hate the way they say they only censor “abusive” postings- they really do censor you if you disagree with what they say on a subject. Teresa Nielsen Hayden and her cutesy “disemvowellings” . Her Wiki says she invented them- quoting Cory Doctorow as a source!

I was “disemvowelled”, my words mangled- I’m the guy who wrote the “Steampunk! Steampunk! Steampunk!” post in pique, which an annoyed Cory quoted sarcastically for weeks after. But my post was made unreadable, so I don’t think anyone knew what he was being so snitty about. I was a bit comically dramatic- oy vey, enough with the steampunk!- but they truly seem a humorless bunch. My crime was pointing out how 20th century modernists couldn’t WAIT to get away from Victorian bric-a-brac: do we have to read about it every time some dork encrusts a PC with garish ornamentation?
I also got a stern, unfriendly email from Teresa, prissily informing me what an amazing and important lit genre Steampunk is. Hey Teresa- I like REAL literature, ok? Shan’t put down Nabokov for the stuff you’re selling.

Anyway, congratulations to Violet, many more people know of you now. Make it work!

9 Doctor Pickles July 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Well, I just got banned from commenting for asking questions.

Last time I’ll ever read Boing-Boing.

10 Al Billings July 1, 2008 at 2:51 pm

lotu5, I read your links and I think Cory was being perfectly reasonable. He says, basically, that O’Reilly does lots of things for different prices and that the conference costs that much to attend because of the costs to put it on. He also points out that various people have put on free or cheap unconferences around etech without it degenerating into polemics. I don’t see much to disagree with there.

At the end of the day, in spite of anything else going on here, people are not required to put the opinions or posts of others on their blogs. I have a blog and I freely delete comments that I think detract from it. It is my bully pulpit. If someone doesn’t like it, they can make their own blog and write there.

The real issue here is the size of the removal of material, the lack of comment on it, given that Violet Blue is somewhat well known and has been highlighted on their blog, and then the reaction when people tried to ask about it. Given what Violet has said here, I would say poor communication towards here is also an issue.

Let’s not try to turn this into something about the role of gender, race, etc. here. This is about the Boing Boing bloggers and Violet Blue. There is no reason to think it is some sort of sexist thing.

11 innocent bypasser July 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Re: #29

I hope it wasn’t me flat out insulting VB! Sure, I was obliquely insulting CD, XJ, and BB via sarcasm (in solidarity, because BB failed The Test and might suffer routing-around because of it), and one might accuse me of impugning the withholding of mighty mighty Cho-power, but I wasn’t insulting VB (if only because I’ve seen what SRL can do to a pile of pianos).

12 violet July 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm

@ Mojo, I forgot about that column, and I didn’t know they were pals. interesting. but I don’t think that piece got Congdon released from her duties, I don’t think it works that way. I’m not sure what her terms were. plus, I think Congdon was her own “exit strategy”.

13 violet July 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm

okay, @ gilbert: that “word” would be news to me. learn about the facts in the federal lawsuit I’m engaged in here:

http://www.jurisnote.com/Cases/blue5370.htm

and @ Al: no, no one has told me what the disagreement is, or was, or how I behaved to incur such extreme behavior from BB. I have no clue. maybe someone told them something untrue about me and they believed it, without asking me if it was true or not. maybe it’s a personal grievance and the person holding the grudge couldn’t come clean with me about it. but, mostly, I just keep thinking that if I had done something wrong or truly evil and had been told about it, I could have at least apologized or something.

the only thing I’ve been quiet about in my life and on these pages is the lawsuit, because it is the prudent thing to do until resolution. but even that is a matter of public record, if one wishes to look at the court documents.

I’m not hiding anything, and I haven’t done anything wrong.

14 lotu5 July 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm

I have to totally agree with that William Gibson post, that this is about sexism, and about deciding who is discardable and who isn’t.

Funny, this is from a website with a main editor who claims that talking about sexism and homophobia in the tech community is a “baseless critique” ( from http://deletetheborder.org/node/2057 )

boingboing refused to even mention freEtech, a grassroots effort to counter the race and gender dynamics that are still so much a huge part of tech culture. You can read more of cory’s post and more about freEech here:

http://www.mail-archive.com/nettime-l@bbs.thing.net/msg04114.html

the old freetech page has moved here:

http://sharingissexy.org/wiki/FreEtech2007

the most disturbing there here, to me, as a transgender person, is that it shows how much of this tech/blog culture is based on interpersonal relationships, and when rules and decisions about who gets posted where are informal, that means they can’t be critiqued and no one can be held accountable for them. it seems like a pretty fundamental problem to web 2.0 in general. i’m not advocating for some kind of explicit rules or code of conduct, but i don’t really know what the solution is. if someone’s decision to include you on a blog, or a conference, or a panel, is based on how much they “like” you, then what kind of oppressive social dynamics (gender, sex, age, weight, race, income, etc…) play into that decision? who gets to play in this wonderful new liberated web2.0 world?

it also shows the massive amount of centralization that still exists, even in this dynamic search based web, and the amount of power that sites like boingboing and slashdot have. but what’s the solution there? better relevance ranking?

anyway, sorry this happened to you, violet. i love your writing, as you know, you’re an inspiration to me. i deleted boingboing from my firefox toolbar a long time ago. hahah. and thanks for the awesome recent posts about transwomen.

15 Mojo July 1, 2008 at 1:57 pm

From a comment at the LA Times:

Here’s the best theory I’ve come up with – and DO feel free to send this around the blogosphere, since hitting on the wrong answer will get the real answer just as surely as hitting on the real answer will get no response – it all comes down to this article on friend-of-boingboing Amanda Congdon:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/04/05/violetblue.DTL
This is a pretty blatant slam on Congdon for dishonesty regarding her corporate sponsorships, and may in fact have been related to Congdon leaving ABC ( I believe I heard a rumor about them getting upset when they found out about the side vlogging).
Essentially, Violet Blue possibly got Amanda Congdon fired, or at least that’s what it looks like. I would imagine that very likely, VB found out about this in a Boing Boing-related way. It could even be that VB didn’t get her fired, but betrayed their trust in revealing the info about her.
Which is why they’re not saying what the reason is. Because it’s actually the only thing that would make them look more hypocritical… because it’s anti-transparency.
But note that the only hint we get in their note of explanation is that VB’s posts were removed about a year ago – and this was the only really noteworthy thing she did around that time; at least, publicly.

16 Al Billings July 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Michaelk, there is no public indication that it has anything to do with trademark. That’s an assumption by some people.

17 reader July 1, 2008 at 1:40 pm

did you have a known bust-up with one of them? has a corporate sponsor of BB / federated media said “we don’t want an association with people who wear no clothes”

It was cool when it was all flaming sousaphones, but BoingBoing has really been kind of the suck recently. Cory kept posting stupid functional duplicate posts “I’m in place X with my book Y” – not even a picture of place X or anything interesting about the event, just the same boilerplate post.

BoingBoing is the Woolworths of the internet… UK people will know what I mean.

18 MichaelK July 1, 2008 at 1:38 pm

At what point did trademark become universally evil? Trademark is not copyright, it’s to protect against confusion. I see no reason why Violet should be ashamed for not wanting to be confused with someone else who is also doing sex/erotica-related work. It’s not like she tried to stop some person from using the name in a completely unrelated fashion that could never have lead to someone wondering when “Violet Blue” started doing “that.”

19 Mojo July 1, 2008 at 1:34 pm

The reasoning at BB is pretty hilarious. Especially the whole “it’s a personal blog so we can do whatever we want” bit. Well OF COURSE you can, dears. We all can. But at the same time, we are free to judge you (them, whatever, stupid pronouns) for your actions.

Much like when that douchebag made his “I hate Xeni” site and VB went to the mat about how offensive it was.

Saying a blog is personal doesn’t absolve you from consequences.

20 Al Billings July 1, 2008 at 12:58 pm

One thing that isn’t clear to me, Violet, is whether anyone has actually told you what the disagreement or behavior is that caused all of this to happen (at least from the point of view of the Boing Boing people).

Without asking you to say what it may be (that’s not my business), have you been definitively told what the incident or reason actually is by any of them now?

21 gilbert grundles July 1, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Word on the street is this has something to do with you suing that woman who was just trying to get by in a cold, hard world. I was under the impression that Minor Internet Celebrity Bloggers 2.0 don’t have lawsuit functions, as it was counter to the whole copyfight thing.

Like it or not, you chose to utilize the oppressive power of The Man against a fellow human being, and you should be ashamed of yourself. I don’t think it’s right for them to remain silent about their reasoning, but perhaps it’s the most graceful thing to do given the circumstances.

22 violet July 1, 2008 at 12:43 pm

…and here is where I let readers know I don’t approve comments that flat-out insult me. kthx!

23 innocent bypasser July 1, 2008 at 11:19 am

I skim BB, I’ve stumbled across VB before, and I am currently an unenslaved coder so I had the time to try and find out why BB chose to fail The Test. No public word so I am left guessing.

#1 grim-meat-hook-future guilt
#2 CD needs the buzz to improve book sales
#3 XJ is jealous because VB is hotter
#4 BB is jealous because VB has Cho-power

So, lacking further news, I blame Cho for not sharing the love with BB.

24 Mr Flibberly July 1, 2008 at 10:21 am

In case any one has missed it: http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/01/that-violet-blue-thi.html#comments

Xeni’s comment ( http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/01/that-violet-blue-thi.html#comment-223265 ) really makes me laugh:

“Blog fights are stupid, airing personal grievances in public is stupid”

Then why delete all the posts? Why not just not just cut future ties and no one will ever know the difference?

25 violet July 1, 2008 at 10:05 am

so, again, why was I deleted? oh, and it wasn’t just a “few” posts:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pzVyO44trg7yCes1ugr7DFg

digging things out of the Wayback Archive is really difficult. you can’t specifically search for anything. that spreadsheet only has a slice of results (limited date range, Archive retrieves irregularly, sometimes leaving gaps of ten days). this spreadsheet was created by a skilled software engineer (Jonathan Moore) who spent 2 hours writing programs in Perl — it took a seasoned professional to find the posts. the software searched pages within a date range for posts that contained my name — there is no way to do this on the Wayback Machine (basically he wrote his own custom search engine for their archive). it totals 72 posts, only from Jan 1, 2005-August, 28 2007. that’s a lot of valuable content. how can deciding someone’s character is “bad” — after knowing and trusting me for many years — make it okay for a news and culture organization to remove content?

so basically, looking over the BoingBoing post, they used a nuclear option for secret personal reasons.

and any characterization of me trying to pick a fight over this is erroneous, I simply pointed the disappearance out.

26 Bacchus July 1, 2008 at 8:15 am

OK, looks like the “Xeni” comment that made me laugh was probably a fake, but that Cory’s input probably wasn’t. In the comment that closed the thread — and when was the last time you saw Making Light close a thread? — Patrick originally wrote “I’ve been told by a credible source that message #158, supposedly from “Cory Doctorow”, is also a forgery. I’m unable to immediately confirm this; I’ll update when I’ve heard from the real Cory Doctorow on the subject.”

He’s now deleted those two sentences without leaving any evidence they were ever there; that’s an update, suggesting he heard from the real Cory, from which I conclude it really was Cory who made the post in question.

27 violet July 1, 2008 at 1:08 am

hi everyone! @ Emily — when I wrote that update (#2), I was indicating the commenters here (F. and Nemo) who had first brought up that comments about the topic were being deleted (from BoingBoing). that was the odd behaviors. and @ Bacchus, if it’s an issue about the federal trademark on my name, it’s news to me. I’m pretty overwhelmed by all of this, and have more links to add to the update pile. like these:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/webscout/2008/06/violet-blue-scr.html
(I see one of my site-to-site harassers in the comments there, hi stalker!)
http://sfist.com/2008/06/30/what_happened_to_violet_blues_posts.php
http://gawker.com/tag/boing-boing/?i=397522&t=the-media-cool-kids-never-as-cool-as-you-think

this comment really got me:
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/010393.html#278124

I’m still really confused about all of this, and absolutely do not understand what is going on. and I have no idea how someone is supposed to behave in situations like this. though I’m really glad to see this emerge out of the day:

http://www.edrants.com/statement-of-intent/

28 Bacchus July 1, 2008 at 12:16 am

Hard to believe anybody at Boing Boing would think that.

29 MichaelK June 30, 2008 at 10:22 pm

@Bacchus Indeed, I was surprised at that. Apparently there is dissent in the ranks of the Boingers?

It’s *still* going to surprise me if this was done on purpose though. Did they/he/she/whatever think no one would notice?

30 Bacchus June 30, 2008 at 10:03 pm

“Commenters with evidence” including Xeni Jardin, which is the first thing in this particular bunfight that’s made me laugh.

31 Mojo June 30, 2008 at 9:31 pm

So Cory just showed up in the Making Light thread to make a point, before being completely countered by the commenters with evidence.

32 Emily June 30, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Violet, I’m the Emily posting in the comments of the Tomorrow Museum post. You said, above: “The comments on this post are also very thought-provoking and indicate more strange behavior.”

What kinds of strange behavior? Could you elaborate? I’m interested to hear what thoughts you have.

33 Jodes June 30, 2008 at 6:50 pm

I once protested against some size discriminatory comments made by Cory and had my comments deleted (not rude ones, a polite rebuffal) and my account banned. Haven’t been a reader since then.

Im sorry to hear that you are being treated this way. If BB were smart they would answer the issue promptly, both to you and on their website, because they’re going to lose many readers over their hypocritical stance.

34 F. June 30, 2008 at 3:23 pm

People are also using a thread at the blog of Teresa Nielsen Hayden (comments moderator at BB) as a place for discussion. (nothing ‘official’ though, far as I can see) http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/010393.html

35 F. June 30, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Those comments quoted here, this is brilliant http://www.metafilter.com/72928/Boing-Boing-Finds-21st-Century-Trotsky#2166054 – “It’s interesting reading the comments in BB’s current top thread. People are trying to slip references to this in sideways.

They’re real(ly there, as of now). Currently there’s also #36 posted by debacle “Funny how innocuous color-related comments keep getting deleted from here. Go, my anti-censorship friends, go!

Seems there’s an underground movement forming. :)

36 F. June 30, 2008 at 11:53 am

…nothing yet. Their e-mail reply queues aren’t longer than 48 hours, do you suppose? (yeah that’s a rhetorical question)

The case is now getting some exposure at http://www.metafilter.com/72928/Boing-Boing-Finds-21st-Century-Trotsky too, for whatever that’s worth

37 F. June 30, 2008 at 3:13 am

Since the main intent of my first e-mail might have been mistaken to just wanting to alert them of an off-topic post, and my short request about “what’s going on here” might have been taken for an incidental question not needing an immediate answer, I thought I might send them a second, more specific inquiry. Pointing out, in a nonaccusational manner, that the incident already raises questions at other websites and that faithful boingboing readers like myself would really like to know.

Just to make sure. Still waiting…

38 synistyr June 29, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Hmm.. still no news on boingboinggate? This is kind of depressing. Makes me want to rant on and on about absolute power and corruption and poor judgement and taste.

I will have go console myself with more Violet Blue posts and podcasts now.

39 Zealot June 29, 2008 at 1:21 pm

I have been noticing a lot of strange things at Boing Boing of late, and have been going there less and less.

To be honest, the main thing that has turned me off recently were the multiple posts a day flogging Cory’s new book, or announcing every stray fan translation of his existing works. Self promotion is understandable on any blog but it seemed to cross some kind of line, as did the degree of rage and condescension in Cory’s comments answering those who asked that he tone down the hype.

The possibility that the editors at Boing Boing would use Stalinist tactics to appease secret personal grievances is saddening but what is more saddening is it doesn’t surprise me. It seems…typical. That fact alone has caused me to cancel their RSS feeds.

Thanks for posting about this, Violet, and good luck. As always, you fight the good fight…”In your satin tights, Fighting for your rights, And the old Red, White and Blue.”

Z

40 Bacchus June 28, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Violet, could this have something to do with the “TM” you now have flying by your name, and the steps you have taken to protect your mark? This is just way-out wild speculation here, but I know the Boingers have some pretty avant guard ideas about intellectual property, maybe there’s some esoteric level on which they are offended by your dispute with that lame porn girl? I’m confess I’m at a loss at how that would work in the fine intellectual details, but hey, it’s a possible angle I hadn’t seen anybody mention.

41 Samantha June 28, 2008 at 6:14 pm

I posted the follow-up response F. speaks of (I believe. Perhaps there was a third comment I didnt see).

To be honest: both mine and nemo’s WERE off topic. Deletion is very clearly in moderation policy.

I should have emailed the BB staff directly with my question, as should Nemo.

This is not to say what’s going on is clear or right; only that in the case of these comments, its pretty clear why they were deleted. Totally off topic.

42 Michael R. Bernstein June 28, 2008 at 5:17 pm

About the only case I know of where BoingBoing deleted *their own posts* (as opposed to comments) wholesale to consign something to the memoryhole is this:
http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/14/an-apology-to-ursula.html

And of course, this was reasonably transparent and public.

So, even now, I would not *yet* assume that this was done deliberately by the BB crew themselves. This may be a case where some newbie at Federated Media deleted a bunch of posts at the behest of an advertiser, and there is an epic wrassle going on in the back rooms about it, in which the BB crew will win the day and the forces of light prevail and the forces of darkness will be crushed (though possibly not outed).

It’s also possible that this was done deliberately, but as a result of some sort of legal assault + a gag order.

Meanwhile, it’s the weekend. Let’s see how long the silence on the subject continues. My bet is Monday.

43 F. June 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Talk about post timing. Yeah, that’s the guy. :)

44 F. June 28, 2008 at 12:58 pm

A few hours ago there was a user comment at http://www.boingboing.net/2008/06/27/arrow-bookends.html#comment-221610

All I could salvage from my browser cache, it was “posted by nemo”, the content began: “sorry to post off topic comments, but does anyone know why all violet blues articles on boing boing …”

He was asking for information about this case and about http://valleywag.com/5019738/blogger-completely-deleted-from-boingboing-archives & http://eve.vox.com/library/post/violet-vanishes.html

There also was another short comment from a poster whose name I can’t remember, saying something along the line that they’d like to get more information too and that they’d find it pretty disturbing if a thing like this was really happening at boingboing.

Both posts “have been disappeared”.

Okay, these posts were off-topic, but even IF they explained it to Nemo in a private mail–which I don’t even know if they did–other people would like to know too. But no, these posts have never even existed. Now play along with it, Orwell-style? This is just not typical for boingboing.

I have sent an e-mail to 4 of boingboing’s editors, asking them what’s going on. I’ve been an active member in good standing for many months. At least one of them should recognize my screen name, realize that I’m not involved in the case and aren’t trolling, and that I DESERVE some honest information. I should expect at least an evasive “we have our reasons but we won’t divulge them to you, shrimp”. ANY kind of answer.

I’m waiting for a reply now…

Because, fuck, yeah, my continued participation at boingboing hinges on this. I do not tolerate people who covertly exert their powers of authority and then clam up to all questions about it.

It would be really disgraceful if boingboing, of all sites, had been undermined by …this kind of people. I’m still clinging to the hope that I’m lacking some important piece of information here and the circumstances are not what they seem…

45 Nemo June 28, 2008 at 11:45 am

Just out of interest I posted comment on boing boing asking for an explanation. I apologized for it being off topic (having posted it in the most recent article: http://www.boingboing.net/2008/06/27/arrow-bookends.html).

It lasted a few hours before being removed.

Should have taken a screenshot, but I was more interested in whether it would be censored. I wasn’t rude, so it could only have been removed because it was either off-topic or being censored.

I’m very sorry to see this on such an important and significant site, what ever is going on I hope you all get it sorted out.

46 Lewis Haidt June 27, 2008 at 9:40 am

Violet,

First, thanks so much for the GENDER BLENDER love. If you’re interested in interviewing Harry or Joe Gantz, let me know. They’re definitely one of the most provocative working documentary TV, film, and video creators stuck in the death-pit of Hollywierd (actually, we’re based in the Valley, the luvly porn capital of the world).

But to get on this BoingBoing point. I find this extremely disappointing given that Cory Doctorow was a visiting Fulbright professor at the USC Annenberg School of Communication in the Public Diplomacy program. Needless to say, there is a great deal of irony in Cory assuming such a “public”, democratic position, and yet for BoingBoing to censor voices like they seem to be doing.

I took Cory’s graduate seminar, which was a life-altering experience, but he clearly is stuck in larger “networks”, I guess.

47 violet June 26, 2008 at 2:07 pm

I’m still waiting to hear that termites ate their servers. except someone in the Valleywag comment thread said today that the same thing happened to him — and I’d been wondering privately if Boing Boing had silently (in ironically Orwellian fashion) “disappeared” anyone else. perhaps they have:

http://valleywag.com/5019738/blogger-completely-deleted-from-boingboing-archives

in the meantime, today I’ve been told that the podcast of theirs I was in has also been deleted.

48 oscarpatrick June 26, 2008 at 1:56 pm

this just doesn’t make any sense. i first came here years ago because of boingboing. i hope it is a mistake, or a technical issue or a brain shart or some other explainable action by who i wish to think of as mature, reasonable adults.

49 Doctor Popular June 25, 2008 at 9:15 pm

What a crazy story. Hope there is a good explanation. You can digg the story here.

50 Michael Kerney June 25, 2008 at 8:35 pm

I’m insanely disappointed that BoingBoing would even let it appear that they’re behaving in such a way… and that they won’t even talk to you about it?

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