The Title of this Diary is taken straight from a comment on this site.
When I woke up to that this morning I felt like I had been physically assaulted. I felt so bad that I wanted to write something ... not in anger or hurt, but something that would try to explain to others why it is important to maintain a level head and sense of proportion.
We bemoan the fact that this site is a messy community that cannot attract enough minority posters, and loses good people. We need to understand why and so I am going to explain why you very nearly lost me today.
Let me start by correcting my apparent mistake.
I am sorry I placed a Hide Rate in the Tip Jar of anneonymous670. I apologise unreservedly for any hurt I contributed to. It was not my intent to cause any harm or distress and if I did so, then I am sorry.
Now we are all quite clear on that, there are a number of matters we need to reflect upon. I cannot count the number of ways that the quote in the title is wrong, but wrong it is and there it sits, with two Tips as I write this. I will not link to the comment. It is easy enough to find and no part of this Diary is intended to call-out a single User who has done little more than "pile-on" [sic]
We need to go back to that evening to understand what happened, and what various folk were thinking and doing. If at the end of that y'all feel that I erred, then that is a judgement you are entirely free to make. I can only speak for myself, so I will tell you my story and you are free to make a judgement. I doubt mine is much different from some of the others.
That evening I was editing the Community Spotlight. What that means is that I was spending eight hours of my time working as part of a highly skilled and dedicated team, trying to find written material worthy of a wider audience. As part of that role it is my job, and the job of any editor, to ensure that Diaries postulating that "Fracking Causes 5.8 Magnitude Earthquakes" are not promoted on to the Front Page. Some of you will remember that :)
So I was spending my evening reviewing and discussing various offerings, and trying to help find the best. I know that most of you are very pleased about the work we do, and there is no need to say so again ... I am not looking for appreciation here, that is not the point.
Into that evening dropped a quite extraordinary Diary from a completely unknown User.
It was a video which purported to be Mitt Romney. We now know that it was Mitt Romney because it has been verified by David Corn of Mother Jones, and by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. At the time we knew nothing of the kind.
Over a fairly short period of time eight further Diaries were published making nine in total. All of them included a short video clip and little else. The Diarist made comments suggesting that the material was in the hands of the media and would become a big story. The Diarist was repeatedly pressed for something, anything that might speak to the veracity of the claims, and the only response was that we should trust the Diarist.
"I won't show you my tax returns, but trust me, I paid everything I was obliged to pay".
There is a conflict that arises. On the one hand, you would quite like to trust the Diarist because hey, the material was, to say the least, interesting. It was not quite as interesting as the stuff I saw on TV last night because the sound and definition have been cleared up considerably.
Yet last time the media "trusted" an unverified video, we lost ACORN.
That was my "hindsight" at the time. So I ask this community what you would prefer. Would you prefer that we occasionally get the Community Moderation thing wrong, or that we do nothing, even jump gratefully on any rumour or claim and end up made a laughing stock on Fox News?
So as the Diaries piled up, and the questions grew so did the Tip Jars begin to attract Hide Rates. At any point during this process Admin, or any Front Pager could have stepped in and stopped it. Indeed, I have a decent reputation around here, and could probably have at least slowed it down myself. Maybe I should have, I wrestle with that one because all I have is my reputation and while I do sometimes use that to chat to people, I do so carefully and sparingly.
Other things began to emerge too. Like the fact that the Twitter account of the Diarist had been suspended. Indeed, we now know that those videos were originally posted to YouTube by someone impersonating Rachel Maddow.
In the end I made a judgment that this material should be hidden from casual view. It was unverified, it was delivered in a manner that suggested spam, and the source was looking increasingly dubious. So I placed a single Hide Rate in the Tip Jar of the ninth Diary.
For that egregious offense I, along with the others who HR'd, had to face Kossacks including a Front Pager, calling for our Ratings Abilities to be removed, and in my case being likened to Todd Akin.
I have fixed it with the Front Pager concerned. He is a reasonable guy, and reasonable people can discuss, agree to differ and not fall out. Besides, he, along with many others are operating with what we know now, not what we knew then.
In the end I would have happily faced Markos while he ranted about this issue. We are all disappointed from time to time. We are human and we make mistakes yet in his ranting, Markos accepted what so many are failing to. He accepted that kossacks in good standing were simply seeking to prevent a major embarrassment to the site.
There was no "posse" ... there were just the TUs who were here at the time. They did not all "pile-on". They asked questions, sought verification and finally they used the only tool we have to remove just the Tip Jars from view. Some even waited until the ninth Diary to do so.
How many years have we been asking for the ability to refer Diaries?
The only "posses" in this whole sorry episode are those that arrived yesterday. With no knowledge or thought for the people here at the time who didn't have the benefit of the whole of MSNBC telling them that the videos were verified, they piled in demanding bans, rating restrictions, apologies all round. Even when those apologies were forthcoming, several times, they still saw fit to post comments one of which is directly quoted in the Title of this Diary.
Be under no illusion. At the time those Hide Rates were placed, they were completely justified under the custom and practise of this Blog. They were placed honestly and with no intent to trigger an auto-ban. Again ... how many times have we complained that the autoban is slow to trigger, even when it really needs to? Y'all banned a front page cartoonist last week with about 140 HRs in a Tip Jar, so you do not get to criticize twenty four Users by alleging "pile-on" That dog does not hunt!
The wider issue, and the one I find most distressing, is that as a community we are just not very good at examining issues like this. In the last twenty four hours I have been called a "concern troll", been likened to Aiken and had folk suggesting that I do not have the judgment required to use Community Moderation tools.
I found myself considering my position this morning. I accept that a mistake was made, and I own my part in that error. However, strong though my stomach is, it was turned over by the complete lack of any sense of proportion or decency displayed in the reactions.
I thank those of you who offered support. I am sorry that a User was banned when they were trying to tell us something important. I also hope that some of you who have taken great relish in abusing long-time Kossacks in good standing, will take a long hard look at yourselves before you vent your ire on others.