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Subject:  Re: Email Message from Aj Date:  1/27/2008  10:40 AM
Author:  TMFOtter Number:  118646 of 188931

I don't really have a dog in this fight. I like AJ, and the interactions I had with the guy was extremely pleasant.

But he's fighting the wrong fight. And a bunch of you are throwing tantrums because you fail to want to recognize the fact that when all of you log in, you agree to a set of rules for what would be appropriate and what would not be for these boards. Neither these rules nor the application of them have really changed in a decade. You can challenge me on this, but know that I have access to every post ever pulled, posting histories, etc.

AJ's popular. He's a wonderful presence on this board. He also did not think that the rules should apply to him. This isn't a free speech issue. The Fool is not the government, and it's a complete misapplication of the term to use it in this case. Joe didn't like the rules that HE AGREED TO PLAY BY when he signed up, so he pushed the envelope. He, unfortunately, was wrong. He's not the first person who thought that lots of favorites and recommendations made him untouchable.

You might consider the broader consequences of what you're demanding of the Fool. Should someone else popular whom you loathe be given the same special treatment? And truth be told, if Joe showed up Day 1 and began linking to some of the things he posted, I doubt he'd have gotten as much leeway. Because he was popular, Joe got tons of second chances. It was never enough.

And if you think for a split second that this is somehow a pleasurable outcome for anyone at TMF, you're very much mistaken. It would be nice -- really nice -- if we did not have to allocate a nickel to managing the conversations on these boards. But I know of no broadly available unmoderated discussion board system where that doesn't devolve into least common denominator worthlessness. One of the things that the Fool holds near and dear is that financial education should be taught in schools. Not only do we assume that there are minors on these boards -- we invite them and want them to be here. Before breaking out the "we're all adults" argument, recognize that you actually have no idea whether it's true. And by the way: it's not true.

These boards are largely self-policing (which, by the way, you might think about before you respond with "uniformly apply the rules. Our board admins can't react to a post they don't see. Hmmmm?) Some boards seem perfectly willing to wallow in their own idiocy, with no one lifting a finger to notify the admins of obectively objectional posts.

So go, enjoy your new place if you must. I hope you'll stick around, and personally I'd love it if Joe chose to come back. But I'd hope that you will recognize the fact that Joe isn't currently posting is due to his own actions, and his own inability and unwillingess to follow the posting guidelines to which he agreed before he was ever let onto the boards in the first place. That's not a free speech issue. That's a contract.
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