Like a Moth to a Flame

So the duh-rama continues between Freedomain Radio and Liberating Minds and I cannot take my eyes off it. I hope this candle that holds so much of my easily gained attention flickers out. Sonia Mansour-Robaey, a woman who had read the article in the Guardian newspaper, joined the Freedomain Radio forum in order to publicly announce that she disagreed with what Stefan Molyneux was doing. She made some statements regarding the psychological process that young adults undergo during the transition from childhood to adulthood, and criticized the way Molyneux was handling it. The wagons circled around him. She held her ground and made some pretty good points, but was pretty quickly permanently banned from posting. People criticized her for a while, but it has more or less died out. My favorite part was when they haughtily asked her what doctorate she holds, suggesting she lacked the authority to comment on the issues she identified.

Turns out our Sonia Mansour-Robaey has two doctorates! One in philosophy (ch-ching!) and one in neuroscience, and is teaching a university course on the development of the self or something (I just read it, and then paraphrased it, and then forgot it in my effort to find her blog and link to it, and then laziness keeps me from double-checking this fact). She posts a copy of the banning letter she got from Freedomain Radio in the blog entry, and there are a few comments, including a message from the mother who was interviewed in the Guardian article, but not a lot of salacious details or recriminating rhetoric. (Nor should there be, because she is a grownup and a professional.)

What was sort of disgusting at Freedomain Radio was that once SMR revealed herself as an actual expert of sorts, they found other things to pick on her for. They mocked her for spelling and punctuation errors, and then they did some calculations on her age and dismissed her as probably a mother. That’s just about the worst thing you can be, apparently. Needless to say, it ended the conversation about her. But not the duh-rama…

She surfaced at the Liberating Minds website, a place quite a few people have turned up at after being banned. (It seems that quite a few people are banned for turning up there too, but that’s just the circle of life.) We’re not talking banned her user account was deleted–we’re talking banned her IP address has been blocked and she can no longer view the discussion board at all. (I don’t know if she can access the rest of the site.) She announces it in a thread on the Liberating Minds website forum, and links directly to her blog there as well. I don’t think she’ll probably participate much more there (grown-up, professional, yadda yadda), but I would still like to raise my glass to her!

So, Dr. Dr. Sonia Mansour-Robaey,

…this early morning DC fix is for you!

The women of Jezebel have moved on to other topics. The comments totaled to 50 but the article about the Guardian article no longer appears on the first page. You have to search for it.

Regarding the question of banning. I tuned into this program because I was happy to see someone criticize a website that I had already decided was full of itself, and for the worst reasons. So I am biased against Freedomain Radio, and it was frankly a delight to find Liberating Minds. (Thanks, Freedomain members for linking to that site in several places.) Liberating Minds is the underdog, and who doesn’t like an underdog? It’s funny to me that the banning of people from Freedomain radio is so openly acknowledged as a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I have looked up some of these hostile and aggressive people, and they just don’t seem that aggressive. And since the word “chilling” has been bandied about a lot on both sites, I’ll use it now. It is chilling that people who visit both websites are being banned from Freedomain Radio. It was chilling enough that, if the posters at Liberating Minds are telling the truth, people who participated in both communities were being banned, but all you supposedly have to do to get banned now is go to Liberating Minds and click through one of the links to Freedomain Radio and your IP address is put on some list. I guess it would be a computer function that takes care of it; I doubt there’s a spiral-bound pocket notepad lurking around with names written in black ink.

It’s all so noir. I can see the appeal, sometimes, of notoriety. I would be thrilled if people were getting banned from clicking through my site to another! Then pissed. Then distracted by a kitty.

12:33 PM UPDATE: Infighting!

A Freedomain Radio member has had enough of the banning.

The pat answer of gee, well, I wish you’d brought that up during the Sunday call-in show but you didn’t call in and opportunity lost is sort of ignoring the fact that the topic of the call-in show was to respond to the publication of the article in the newspaper, not to address problems on the board. Perhaps the next Sunday call-in show can address trolls and bans, and thirdear can call in if he promises to use polite language.

It still doesn’t answer the question of where eye2i2 is, though. You wonder if when eye2i2 and thirdear get together if there will be some kind of cataclysm of Gatekeeper/Keymaster proportions.

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  • Karen  On November 19, 2008 at 9:57 am

    To be perfectly fair, they didn’t say explicitly in that post that because you were a mother you were unqualified to participate, but the implication is that because mothers are bad, your opinions are wrong and suspect. They blame mothers for just about everything there, and the speculation about your age came after the comments about other ways your information was inadequate (like containing typos).

  • QuestEon  On November 19, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    The duh-rama has found you! I’m one of the denizens of Liberating Minds and I found your blog through Google. Sadly, I have never been banned from FDR (but only because I never joined). I LOVE your light-hearted take on it all–it made me laugh. As the drama escalates–first the Guardian article and then Stefan Molyneux’s self-serving rebuttal–I’ve made my own contribution. It’s an article that dissects Molyneux’s reply point-by-point, while giving you a very clear picture of what FDR is really all about. It’s stupidly long (I clearly need an editor), but if you have a few DCs chilled and want to get the big picture, you are cordially invited!

  • QuestEon  On November 20, 2008 at 10:36 am

    I would be honored! I admire the courage you displayed in debating FDR on their Web site. (And I love the fact that we have sucked Karen into the duh-rama! No one is safe….)


  • By The defining of Liberating Minds « on June 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    […] how serious the squabble seemed, millions and millions of people just couldn’t care less! Her opinion of Liberating Minds more or less matched mine: Regarding the question of banning. I tuned into this […]

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