This song is perfect for the current situation. Look it up online, or at least the lyrics.
I'm not covering Holly Lisle's ass anymore. I'm not covering anything up here for her. You can shovel the shit under the rug, but sometimes it's got to get cleaned up.
If you've read the Moderator Changes thread at Forward Motion,
you have at least one side of what happened. Heavily slanted in the worst possible way to make Shay and I look bad. I expected this. It's not the first time I've seen a smear campaign go on Forward Motion, but last time, I made the mistake of siding with Holly. I want to make a public apology here to Jennifer St. Clair, who was banned from FM last year. I still don't know the full story behind why she was banned, but given my recent experiences, I'm liable to believe she wasn't in the wrong.
When I first came to Forward Motion, I was 17. I've never acted my age, but whenever anyone found out how old I was, they suddenly treated me different. Either they avoided me or they patronized me; a few honestly treated me like an adult. I don't believe in judging people by the calendar. I've known too many people who're well over legal age who act like spoiled grade school kids and too many underage kids that act like adults to ever do that.
I saw underage kids on FM get similar treatment. Allikat and Julia would get teased about shit that adults didn't, just because they were underage. I saw people support Alli's father's verbal and emotional abuse because she was underage and "it's natural
for children to feel that way towards their parents." I didn't want to get treated that way. So I stayed silent about my age. When asked, I would say I was a college sophomore. Which I was, because of WA State's Running Start program which provides college tuition for gifted teens.
Omitting my age out of fear of discrimination is just as valid as if I were pagan or gay and feared the same. Actually, I would have felt safe coming out pagan or gay (I did
come out bi in FM and no one had a problem with it). Age is the real discrimination issue on FM. Moderators would deny it, but look at some of the posts and blog entries about children and their views towards them. I don't trust overprotective parents, no matter how well-intentioned they are, because I lived with mine for 18 years and went through a lot of hell. Overprotectiveness often causes the exact opposite desired effect. It's not right to patronize people and distrust their judgement based soley on their age.
In September 2002, Holly Lisle asked me to become a moderator on FM. I was honored that she thought that highly of me. There was nothing on the site that said you had to be 18 to be a mod, so I agreed. I acted with decorum as a moderator, and I was active both on the boards and in chat.
When I turned 18, I wrote Holly a request to join Writerotica, and apologized for any trouble that my omission might have caused her personally. Not because I regretted what I'd done, but I'm prone to gratuitious apologies for other people's feelings, something I'm working on.
I'm not apologizing for anyone's feelings here.
Holly wrote me back and said that it was fine, that everything was going to be okay. Things got back to normal and I figured she understood.
About a month and a half later, a thread was posted on the moderator's board about problem moderators. In it, Holly desrcibed a moderator that had lied about her age in order to gain moderator privilages, that she should have been a Junior Moderator. I wasn't aware the position existed, except that I vaguely recalled Julia and Nathan being Junior Mods, but they were active on YWS--something I never joined because I didn't fit there. Holly also said that moderator had been writing erotica and talking openly about it in chat, and who'd become romantically involved with an adult member of the site. She then went on later in the thread to say that I had written her, knew that I'd done something wrong, and apologized for it. Which I hadn't done, and I still don't know how she managed to interpret my letter that way.
But--there was no other moderator that fit that description. It could only be me, and I couldn't respect myself if I ducked my head and pretended it wasn't. So I posted to the thread and said outright that she was talking about me. I said that I hadn't lied, and that I hadn't been aware of any age requirement to be a moderator. I went up and looked around the site again to be certain. No age requirement. But apparently I was breaking rules?
You can't bind people by unspoken rules. People aren't mind-readers.
I also said that I didn't believe I'd done anything wrong. Omission isn't lying. I said that if I had it to do over again, in the same situation, I would have done the same thing. Somehow that became "Nonny would lie to Holly and not have a problem with it." I don't lie, and as I said on that thread, that was the only thing I'd been hiding. I gave her my word of that. I had nothing else to hide about myself, and I was glad of it.
Holly flamed me in response on the thread. She said multiple places that I didn't have integrity or ethics--or words to that effect. She chat banned me, then banned me from the moderator's board while I was ruminating on my reply. I don't like to make angry posts. They never solve anything. I didn't know what was happening. I was terrified of losing the community. The timing of the incident royally sucked, because it was just before I thought I had to make an emergency evacuation from my home in WA. Thankfully, with that situation, my parents chilled, and I didn't have to. But I posted about it on my blog. I still don't know if it was intentional or just bad timing. I'd like to believe the latter.
But--at the time, I didn't know if I was going to lose FM totally, when they were all I had left. Without access to the mods board, I couldn't do anything. The only thing I could really do was email or post publically. The latter would have gotten me booted. The former--I'll be honest. I didn't and don't trust Holly enough to want that to be private. Without other witnesses, it soon turns into a game of "He said, she said."
I got banned completely from the site that night, with my access removed. A moderator--I'm not going to say who--told me that Holly had posted on mods board and said that I'd reacted with militant rage in my post and was no longer welcome at the site because I didn't have any integrity.
I don't rage in posts. Like I said, it never does any good. I've found cold logic more than anything else works. It didn't in this case.
The only reason my access was returned was because Robert talked to Holly in private chat and managed to talk her down. I'm incredibly grateful for that. I don't know what I would have done then if I'd lost FM.
I didn't say anything about the incident after it happened because I was so afraid of being booted. The reason I was banned in the first place is that I disagreed with Holly on what constitutes a lie. I'm honest to a fault. I don't lie. I'll omit, but that's it, and I'd said as much on the mods board, and then only if I have reason to, closet being one of the few. Being underage is as much a closet as anything, and I respect closets.
In retrospect, I'm glad that Holly stripped me of moderator status. Mods board is a huge fucking soap opera, and it took a lot of time and effort. I'm sick of soap operas. Being removed from mod gave me distance to really look at things.
The rule Holly states on Main about moderator's board business staying on the mod's board was never posted anywhere when I became a mod. It didn't go into effect until after I'd been booted. It'd been an unspoken rule. I'm not bound by unspoken rules. Holly said on the Site Rules
post on Main, "If you were ever a moderator, even if you aren't now, material on the moderators' board remains confidential. That's Shay, Nonny, anyone. If you decide you want to take confidential material public in an effort to argue with site policies, you'll (generic, not personal, you) be banned, right then and right there."
Sorry, but you can't bind people who are no longer moderators by a retroactive rule. They have to agree to it. And given as how I've already been banned, there's not much holding me back, is there?
I'll be honest. FM isn't what it was when I first came there. It's become more and more policed by moderators. Robert and I, and Alli and Erik, have been warned in chat for "Public Displays of Affection." One incident, we'd just said "Love you! Sleep well! *snuggles*" to each other. The no-PDA rule is only on the mods board. I have a problem with rules being kept secret so people don't know they're breaking any. After I was booted from moderator status, I'd been talking with someone and mentioned Holly had said there was a possibility I might be reinstated in the future. That person told me she'd made a rule that moderators have to be 21 now.
Funny thing is, I'm pretty sure some of the current mods are under 21. I might be mistaken. But this sort of thing should be openly posted,
not squirrelled away on mods board.
I've talked multiple people out of leaving FM over Holly's site rages during the past months. She flamed PL on the saving the world thread back in February. I was a mod at the time and protested. If anyone else but her had behaved that way, they would have been banned. Shay had it right when he said that the site host should be more subject to her own rules than members. Otherwise you have a tyranny.
When Holly posted that FM isn't a democracy, that it's her living room and her rules--fine. I can understand and respect that. That's part of why we're starting Evolution, we're tired of the unilateral rules that're subject to whatever mood Holly happens to be in at the moment.
A couple weeks ago, I received a letter from Holly that insulted someone very dear to me. She further showed me who she was in that letter, and I started to get the feeling that things were going to hell, especially when Shay mentioned leaving again, after the ACLU thread from hell where Holly pretty much spoke out against free speech. That time, I didn't talk him out of it, and we both knew that he would be banned, given that anyone who dares disagree publically with Holly risks banning.
Holly posted that Shay and I were going around trying to get people in private IM in order for some sort of site conspiracy. That's not entirely true. Robert and I, along with some other friends, had decided to start a sepate branch writing site dedicated to free speech and creative expression in all genres. Evolution
is that site. I went into chat and PMed friends and asked them into private IM to discuss development plans. I didn't have the site ready yet, and I didn't want to talk about it openly until it was closer to completion.
Is it now against site rules to ask people from chat into off-site IM conversations?
I'm glad I decided not to grab a private room on FM for Evolution discussion. Anything I happened to say to friends when venting would have been posted publically on FM out of context, as evidenced by Holly posting Shay's PMs.
People have said that Shay posted information about me without my consent. For the record, I okayed his resignation letter and didn't consider anything in it inflammatory. I also want to say I trust him implicitly and am proud
to call him my friend. If site policy can't be criticized in public without the poster getting banned, there's something wrong. People who feel the same way as the banned aren't going to speak up. They'd be too afraid to.
I want to publically commend Big Mikey for having the courage to speak up on that thread and stand up for Shay. Thank you. That took a lot of courage.
Read the whole thread on Main. It's a doozy. Shay and I've been accused of being childish and playing games. Keeping a site that's early in development under wraps isn't a game. Apparently someone in a PM had said that I was afraid Holly would be mad. That's not entirely accurate. Holly has proven herself to be unpredictable. Actually, no, she's proven herself to be predictable in that imagined worst case scenario is probably the most likely response. I didn't know how she would take it, and I didn't want to say anything to the group at large anyway until I'd gotten Evolution up.
We also've been accused of trying to "steal members." That was never my intention, and I posted that on the thread. I was planning it as a branch community. There'd be FM members, there'd be Evolution members, and there'd be members of both. I was planning on being the latter, because I love the people at FM and didn't want to leave.
I posted that explanation on the thread. Actually, this is what I posted, word for word: "The reason I haven't been publically open about Evolution yet is that it's been in development and was in planning stages. I wanted some help with the site and brainstorming, but didn't feel comfortable discussing it openly. So I asked some friends into IM to brainstorm.
"I don't know what other people have been saying in PM. I can't speak for them. FM means a lot to me, and I don't want to "steal" people away. I don't think you can "steal" people. There were people who expressed concern in development chats that I and/or others would want them to abandon FM, and, to be honest, I was shocked at that, because that's not been my intention. Shay, Robert, and I intended it to be a branch community, with people in FM, people in Evolution, and people that are members of both. We aren't out to "steal" members. There's no real point to that. The last thing we would want to do is tear up the community."
I received this reply from Holly: "You've worn out your welcome here, Nonny. Between the lies and the theatrics, I've reached the end of my patience. You can either leave on your own, or I can kick you out, but I don't want you back here."
I don't see how keeping a site under wraps is theatrical. That single post was the only post I made on the thread at all. This reeks of projection. But ... I had a feeling when I posted, no matter what it was, that I would be banned. After the way things blew up, I honestly didn't expect anything else.
I don't agree with a lot of Holly's policies, but I'm incredibly grateful for all the writing help I've received, and the community is probably the best thing that's happened in my life. I'm going to miss that.