My apologies for the lack of a daily thread for today. I was a bit too upset last night when I got home from work and saw the discussion that had unfolded. It is never pleasant to see yourself being described in the terms that have been thrown around here.
I'm utterly confused by how one comment asking long-time regulars to be a bit less hostile to newbies and Graun staffers has kicked off such a shitstorm. It was a gentle suggestion, not a fiat from the Supreme Overlord. What really puzzles me is that the people who are upset/offended are newbies and lurkers -- the very people I was hoping to make feel more welcome. Ah well, the road to hell and all that...
Just to clarify a couple of points:
This site isn't connected with the Guardian beyond the fact that the posters here became familiar with each other through Cif. I've never been to Matt's house for a dinner party, never invited to Polly's villa, never even met a Graun file clerk. I asked for a bit of politeness towards Graun staffers when they come here because my perception is, much as Thaumaturge said the other day, that people like Bella and Jessica probably not in positions that are responsible for the decisions that have made most of us angry. Look, I worked in Starbucks' corporate headquarters as a temp for awhile when I lived in Seattle. I think Howard Schultz is pond scum, but Starbucks was one of the most pleasant work environments I've ever been in. Even as a temp, I was made to feel like part of a team and even as a temp, there were some lovely little perks. I'm sure that, had I worked there longer as an actual employee, I'd have developped quite an affection for the place. I'm guessing that it's the same with Bella and Jessica. They like where they work. They see it in a different light than we do. Doesn't make them evil and it doesn't make them responsible for some of the more byzantine or hypocritical decisions that get made in Graun Towers.
As for the Phone Booth, yes it is a private blog. As I have said here before, it was originally set up to be a place where banned Ciffers could keep each other informed of their latest Cif IDs. Originally, I was granting readership to anyone who e-mailed me with a request to be allowed access. That became untenable for reasons that I don't feel obligated to explain to anyone. It has morphed into something a bit different, but I am not going to apologise to anyone for its existence. This current bit of unpleasantness here is precisely why I have no qualms about the private nature of the Phone Booth. For what it's worth, no one has been added to it for quite some time, precisely because I'm uncomfortable with the awkwardness of the logistics of adding people. In order to add someone, I have to have an e-mail address. I can't get an e-mail address for someone without asking here for the person I'd like to add to e-mail me. That adds to the sense of exclusion for some people here, I'm sure. But I hardly think that the fact that there is a group of people who enjoy being able to "chat" with each other without the type of unpleasantness that we're currently going through here constitutes an online Illuminati.
Last, as some of our anonymous posters may already have discovered (I've had multiple interruptions as I've been composing this and it has taken me far longer than I thought it would), I have changed the settings so that anonymous posting is no longer possible. Comments will continue to be unmoderated, but if you can't at least be bothered to get a pseudonymous identity and have the balls to put even a pseudonym to your comments here, I'm not sure why any of the rest of us should give a flying fuck what you think. My one regret in this decision is that I know that this will occasionally make it difficult for Deano to comment. I'm sorry for that, Deano, but I trust that you will understand my reasons.
Normal service will be returned tomorrow.