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Banned from "Critical Rationalist" Facebook Group

Matt Dioguardi owns a Facebook group with around 5000 members. The membership believes it's an open discussion forum with relaxed rules (just post all you want that's related to Popper "in some manner"), because that's what it publicly states, in writing.

However, I was banned because I didn't like some of Matt's friends' comments and blocked them on Facebook to stop seeing their messages. I don't need toxic people in my life.

I would never dream of banning someone from the Fallible Ideas forum because they set up a mail rule to block posts by my friends Justin and Alan. Some of Matt's friends, like Justin and Alan, were moderators – so what?

Prior to that I had some posts blocked for reasons like mentioning Ayn Rand (in addition to Popper) or mentioning parenting and education (from a Popperian perspective, and in addition to talking about how to spread Critical Rationalist ideas). Discussing the moderation had been unproductive (they refused to answer clarifying questions about the policies or update the stated rules to the actual rules). Some of the forum discussions had also been unproductive (e.g. I repeatedly asked some flamers to stop harassing me, and they did the passive-aggressive version of telling me to go fuck myself – then redoubled their efforts to harrass me). I didn't flame anyone.

So I decided it was time to stop engaging with the toxic people. I knew I was at risk of being banned if I did some further action that wasn't appreciated and there was no problem-solving discussion to address it. I decided to risk this because I thought talking with the toxic people wouldn't solve problems and could actually cause problems. But they wouldn't just leave me alone. For my decision to refocus on productive discussion, and ignore everything else, I was banned. (Dioguardi stated the reason for the ban, it's not speculation.)

Some of them clearly didn't like me (e.g. one of the moderators was also one of the repeat flamers) and wanted an excuse to get rid of me. But what kind of excuse is this? Nothing was wrong with anything I posted, and they banned me anyway!

Update: They also banned anyone from posting a link to anything I wrote.


Elliot Temple on October 9, 2017

Comments (21)

> I would never dream of banning someone from the Fallible Ideas forum because they set up a mail rule to block posts by my friends Justin and Alan. Some of Matt's friends, like Justin and Alan, were moderators – so what?

What does this mean?

FF at 9:17 PM on October 9, 2017 | #9102
I think I understood now.

FF at 9:18 PM on October 9, 2017 | #9103
> I would never dream of banning someone from the Fallible Ideas forum because they set up a mail rule to block posts by my friends Justin and Alan. Some of Matt's friends, like Justin and Alan, were moderators – so what?

Most groups think you can't moderate if you block the moderators. I used to block moderators to avoid getting banned in some groups.

FF at 9:20 PM on October 9, 2017 | #9104
#9103 I think I understood it.

FF at 9:22 PM on October 9, 2017 | #9105

Are you serious?

"But they wouldn't just leave me alone."... I guess the idea of discussing is that you discuss with people with a different opinion about sthg? To learn sthg, as I often do on the cr-page? If you start blocking people, discussion becomes impossible. My guess is that you should try and stop to take everything personal. If I tell you that an argument of yours is authoritarian (whether or not it's true), that's not a personal attack. That's an attack on your argument. I have had heated arguments with e.g. Matt. He never blocked me and has always been willing to help. Well, I guess 'they'll leave you alone' now? Doesn't that solve the problem?

Luc Castelein at 2:16 AM on October 10, 2017 | #9106
>Some of Matt's friends, like Justin and Alan, were moderators – so what?

What they would they say to that question? From their perspective, what's wrong with participants blocking messages from moderators?

Anonymous at 7:10 AM on October 10, 2017 | #9107

What's wrong

I just don't understand the logic here: you should be allowed to block other users and moderators; but nobody is allowed to block you? Is there some mysterious mystery that I don't understan

Luc Castelein at 8:59 AM on October 10, 2017 | #9108
Luc, do you think an individual choosing not to hear certain people on a forum. and someone being banned from participating in a forum entirely, are somehow symmetrical situations in which the same analysis should apply?

A Mysterious Person at 9:05 AM on October 10, 2017 | #9109
@#9107 they would say "omg what if i need to tell ET something and i don't want to email him?"

this was addressed in the post already.

there is a risk that ET does something wrong and then doesn't get told due to blocking a person who would have told him. He might then repeat an avoidable error and get banned for causing repeat problems. Considering no messages from moderators had actually been productive, and talking with them was actually triggering them and increasing their desire to ban him ... that seems like an acceptable risk. But ET did not actually get banned in that manner. His ban wasn't due to any actual problem he caused on the forum.

see ET's post where he explains this.

Anonymous at 9:10 AM on October 10, 2017 | #9110
the reason they banned ET on FB is they thot he had admitted he didn't like them, and they therefore banned him for breaking the social truce of pretending to like each other. what he did struck them as uncivil in their social metaphysics.

Anonymous at 10:11 AM on October 10, 2017 | #9111
#9111, well said

A Mysterious Person at 10:44 AM on October 10, 2017 | #9112
they assume you hate them 100x more than you admit, and they saw ET blocking them as a large escalation in how much he admitted hating them. so they went from thinking he was internally civil to estimating him to be internally murderously hateful.

they assume this b/c it's how they run their own lives and deal with their friends. they lie heavily to downplay how much they hate people, and they are quite hateful people in general. it's so middle school, if you know what i mean...

ET is more like Howard Roark and doesn't think about them much, hatefully or not. he was focused on ideas.

Anonymous at 10:48 AM on October 10, 2017 | #9113

why?

"Luc, do you think an individual choosing not to hear certain people on a forum. and someone being banned from participating in a forum entirely, are somehow symmetrical situations in which the same analysis should apply?"
Do you understand how facebook works? If you block me (which you did), I can't see your posts anymore. I even can't see my owm post replying to your comments any more. I could see Andrew discussing with himself... How productive is this? There has always been an unwritten rule on the cr-forum that you don't ban others. It's a basic principle of cr that you listen to others. Jeezes, if sbdy steals 10 € it's not the same as stealing 100,000 euro, but there is something comparable...
And as I said before: stop taking everything personal. Nobody has anything against you. Unblock everybody and see if you are accepted again. How exactly is a moderator supposed to be able to moderate if he/she can't see what you post? And.... well... could you please stop pretending that Rand has anything at all to do with Popper?
If even somebody like David Miller doesn't want to discuss with you, maybe, just maybe, you might start to think that this has sthg to do with your behaviour?

Luc Castelein at 1:28 AM on October 12, 2017 | #9160
> If you block me (which you did), I can't see your posts anymore. I even can't see my owm post replying to your comments any more.

I didn't know that. That's dumb.

FYI you can still see stuff if you open a private browser window (or otherwise log out) since it's a public group.

> There has always been an unwritten rule on the cr-forum that you don't ban others.

I repeatedly asked the moderators to write down the unwritten rules. They repeatedly refused. So something like this happening was inevitable – and their fault.

Elliot at 8:47 AM on October 12, 2017 | #9162
>There has always been an unwritten rule on the cr-forum that you don't ban others. It's a basic principle of cr that you listen to others.

why unwritten? especially if it's a "basic principle"?

btw the proper, rule-of-law way of dealing with forum issues is:

1) a problem comes up
2) mods realize there's a problem
3) mods make and codify a new rule
4) warning is given that there's a new rule
5) new rule is enforced going forward

and not:

1) a problem comes up
2) people are banned without warning
3) an unwritten rule is appealed to as the basis for the ban
4) the unwritten rule remains unwritten

Anonymous at 9:00 AM on October 12, 2017 | #9163

blocking on cr forum

"why unwritten? especially if it's a "basic principle"?"
You should know that it's a basic principle of critical rationalism... It has nothing to do with the facebook-group especially:
“So what I called Critical Rationalism is an attitude which I described only in a roundabout way, namely I said it is the attitude 'I may be wrong, and you may be right, but let us sit together and discuss matters critically, and in the end we may not agree but we will both have learned something'. That attitude I called Critical Rationalism.
The attitude of rational discussion, perhaps with the hope that it leads to agreement but with the clear realisation that it may not lead to agreement. (…)
It is the break with my trying to convince my neighbour and the break with the idea: In the end we shall come to an agreement. It leaves it open that we may not come to an agreement. (…)
It is not a thesis, it is not a theory, it is not a dogma. It is the attitude that if we devote ourselves to problems critically we may learn. That is what I call Critical Rationalism. It is very important that it is not a theory.”
Karl Popper
In Niemann's lexikon, his definition of cr starts like this:
"Critical rationalism: name for a philosophical attitude that finds it more important to learn than to be proved right."
Hans-Joachim Niemann, 'Lexikon des Kritischen Rationalismus'.

"FYI you can still see stuff if you open a private browser window (or otherwise log out) since it's a public group."... Not at all. Just try. On the other hand, there was a trial in Belgium, and you can't see a lot on facebook if you're not logged in; so this might be different in a different country. The trial was about privacy. It was their way to solve this...

Luc Castelein at 10:15 AM on October 12, 2017 | #9164
In the US, you can read public FB groups while logged out.

Anonymous at 10:19 AM on October 12, 2017 | #9165
>something like this happening was inevitable

If it was inevitable, why didn't it happen to anyone else?

Anonymous at 1:44 AM on October 13, 2017 | #9166
i have no records of who has been banned at what times in the group. do you?

the group has low activity, mostly docile people who defer to mild social pressure and aren't doing much.

Anonymous at 6:47 AM on October 13, 2017 | #9167

Now I understand

"the group has low activity, mostly docile people who defer to mild social pressure and aren't doing much."

Now I understand why sbdy would make a big fuss when banned from the group...

Luc Castelein at 9:47 AM on October 13, 2017 | #9168
> Update: They also banned anyone from posting a link to anything I wrote.

Jesus christ. Think they'll ever update the written rules so members can be aware that some views about CR are being censored!?

Anonymous at 2:38 AM on October 14, 2017 | #9176

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)