ATTN JMS et al: Accountability - A Call to Revolution?

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Sat May 23 06:21:02 EDT 1998

From: "Ann R" <annr at>
Date: 21 May 1998 20:33:15 -0600
Lines: 69

Joe: My first response to seeing the unpleasantness occurring here was an
urge to tell you to ignore it, like the proverbial bully on the playground,
but the more I think about your comments on the subject and the situation
here in this playground, the more I realize you are right that isn't going
to work.

Here fame is at work and the lure of attaching oneself to it . There is a
double standard because of the fact that your name is out there and you
care what people think about you and that your integrity stays intact and
those attacking you don't have that handicap. You can't just ignore those
who "have no interest in explanations," because you worry about rest of us
listening in, don't you? Not to mention the fact that you're 'It' and so of
course you keep getting 'tagged' here. I think that sort of rules out the
possibility of a "level playing field."

If I were only to think of your mental health, I would emphatically tell
you to get out, 'GET OUT, NOW, and don't look back.' But 1) I would miss
you and I am not alone and 2) the principle of being one of the good guys
standing in the storm (feeling like King Lear ^V yeah, but every time you
say No...small victories).

I have seen enough now to see how posters will jump in and cover up a group
with messages designed to cheer up a poster who is discouraged or ill or
whatever. Yes, I would help someone being 'verbally assaulted on the
street' and I think the 'ants' are getting to JMS "Are you O.K., Joe?" 

I would like to propose going one step further. This is our street corner
and I don't want to decide to cross the street to avoid it for fear of the
crazies. That means we have to stay and be committed to staying as a group,
you know, support each other.

Joe, you said "...because there are little or no safeguards on the net, it
drives away civility, it drives away real discussion, it drives away those
who are tired of being attacked for daring to express a positive opinion
about something...and in the end, it drives away people like me."

This is not a new sentiment, but I am thinking about this in a whole new
way now. I am thinking it's that the civil people who leave. Those who want
real discussion leave. I am certainly not leading up to saying this rests
on your shoulders, but quite the opposite. You are one, albeit a very
influential One in this arena, but the rest of us lurking about quietly and
trying to ignore the fracas or leaving altogether....let's create so much
real discussion that we can happily drown out the other threads. Let's
refuse to NOT be civil!

You also said, "Free speech is a great concept. I make my living at it. But
free speech is only possible with accountability." 

Me too. And Amen. It got me started thinking about my personal
accountability since I have recently joined this on-line community. And yes
it's a community. And as such we do have a responsibility to it and each
other, so what is that? I think it means I can't sit quietly by and watch.
The empty and negative messages will definitely drown out the positive and
thoughtful ones if they never get posted. 

As you pointed out "...The net also allows people to fairly well conceal
their identities, and with anonymity you further lose
can say anydamnthing you want... "  Here's a radical idea: that means I
can, too. 

I think I have said enough for this one post. 

Oops, there I go again. "Evolving." And in public, too.

aka "maryfrancisframed"
I hope everyone here realizes the power of words; you can't have it both
ways either he's listening to us or not.

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 22 May 1998 09:47:21 -0600
Lines: 10

You're being far too reasonable, thoughtful and progressive.  Stop that, you
know the rules....

Thanks.  Good stuff.


(jmsatb5 at
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