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Do we really want to alienate casual visitors before they get to know us?

Well?

Do we?

Start here to get up to speed.

The comments get way off topic, leading finally to this posting.

23 Comments

  1. CountingCats says:

    In the space of a few words our minds merge with the poster in a shared experience of the whole horrible cacophony. If Nick had said “and is just as utterly dreadful as all the rest.” would that have conveyed the same visceral revulsion

    No, it wouldn’t have. But then I can’t imagine Nick saying that at all.

    He has the word skills to generate an image without the obscene violence, but he chooses not to use them.

    Instead we got that posting.

    If I went to any other website and saw that I would leave, and never come back.

  2. Bod says:

    Regarding I think, your last comment in the prior thread “the goodwill isn’t there .. or something like that.

    I’m sure that I could find quotations from unimpeachable sources such as Hayek that there are times when the grown ups must step in and provide guidance. With the joys of ownership, come some pretty odious responsibilities.

    Another smart guy said, “.. if the need arises – and it does – you must be able to shoot your own dog“.

    If the children won’t play relatively nicely, then reluctantly, you have to be the parent.

  3. John Galt says:

    If I went to any other website and saw that I would leave, and never come back.

    Fair point, but I would argue that you are being overly sensitive and that your reaction is atypical. CCiZ is not shipped as a desktop icon with every copy of WindozeHate…sorry Windows 8. People come to CCiZ from other libertarian websites (Samizdata, Anna Racoon, Tim Worstall’s blog etc.) or by Googling for issues which go to the very core of what it means to be a free-thinking Libertarian.

    By the very nature of how people come to CCiZ, they are both discerning and self-selecting. I believe they would look around the site and take from it what they find interesting and/or thought provoking. Things that they find uninteresting or repulsive they will simply click away from.

    The proposition that those who gain value from CCiZ would bolt at the first sign of an Anglo Saxonism is both naïve and insulting to the mature audience that populates the site today.

  4. CountingCats says:

    I disagree.

    I am informed and discerning, and pretty tolerant. After all, I have put up with this stuff for years. However, I know for fact that it alienates people.

    I would like the not so well informed to hang around. I would like the casual visitor to develop an interest. Where is the fun in preaching only to the converted? Hell, where is the value? I want to preach to the unconverted, and maybe convert them. That is what I am working on now, and I am trying to use Cats as a sorta showcase of ideas.

    This is a site like many. There is a load of so so stuff, some dross, and some real gems as well. I actively use those gems to lure people here, trying to increase visitors. Some, the great and the good, some, the man in the street. After making the effort of attracting them, I don’t see any value in slapping them in the face with piss flaps (Nicks rather repulsive new term although the dregs used to use it when I was at school – Haven’t heard it for decades tho) and alienating them on day one.

  5. Bod says:

    Again, re: earlier thread – thanks for the clarification, JG.

    To put my comments to rest for the afternoon – your night – this isn’t an anarcho-syndicalist collective – we’re in Cats’ parlour. His house, his rules (or not). If they don’t work for us and we can’t convince him to permit what we like, we reluctantly move on.

    I’ll be interested in what ‘courtesy’ and ‘respect’ mean in practice, absent some very specific policy guidelines (I’m no great fan of very specific policy guidelines, I’d rather have Cats say “Ahem. That’ll do, Bod (pig)“). Remember, there’s a disgusting chap in Westminster who keeps bleating about “Respect” – so the word in and of itself means nothing until you see what the speaker means.

    So, carry on. Ignore my bleatings.

  6. Thornavis says:

    What John Galt said and also human nature being what it is and the rather guilty pleasure that often comes from watching an outbreak of handbags, I’d say it was quite possible that people would be as likely to stay around as turn up their noses and walk away in search of moral uplift.
    I have to say that I’m somewhat perplexed by your attitude to Nick, he’s a real asset to this place and if he goes so will I probably, not that the others aren’t good or out of some misplaced sense of solidarity with the scorned but simply because I love his style of writing and would feel that the place had lost a large part of its heart, that post on the Co-op was brilliant.
    I think too, that to be honest, you have a rather unrealistic expectation of what this blog or most others can expect to achieve, the Chancellories of the world aren’t going to tremble at the sound of its name and we are always really going to be singing to the choir and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If I may finish on a completely personal note, I come here and to other similar blogs because I get very little chance to ever talk about the kind of things here with anyone else and it helps me both to learn a few things and to feel as though I’m not completely mad for being rather at odds with how most people think. There’s probably quite a number of people like me, most of whom probably never comment, that’s actually an achievement and rather more important, in my opinion, than trying to conduct a symposium of libertarian intellectuals who never resort to vulgarity. Going back to Nick’s Co-op thing, I read that after a rather depressing family gathering, all lefties, where I was subjected to a decidedly patronising and dismissive lecture and called “silly” for suggesting that maybe UKIP weren’t actually a bunch of knuckle dragging racists, it cheered me up no end.

  7. John Galt says:

    If the children won’t play relatively nicely, then reluctantly, you have to be the parent.

    Perhaps, but there are ways and means of being a parent and as the worlds [SELF CENSORED]-iest parent I have done most of the worst things to you could do to raise and nurture a child, so I know where I am coming from.

    1. Know the rules?

    CCiZ does have rules and they are here: http://www.countingcats.com/?page_id=2 I have been a commentator on this site for about 2-years and this is the first time I’ve read them (yes I know it’s my own fault for not looking before, but they weren’t INTERESTING before).

    The rules are reasonable and humorous, however in the last 2-years I have no recollection of anybody ever being told “Oi! remember the rules and pointing them in that direction using a URL.

    I’ve even Googled for “link:http://www.countingcats.com/?page_id=2” and there are no obvious comments pointing there. Admittedly my Google-foo skills are meagre.

    2. Carrot versus Stick

    Rather than Cats getting annoyed, but holding in his annoyance until it breaks forth in a wall of what (no offence) seems like an outburst of petulance, if things start getting too vulgar or childish (I’m guilty as well) then perhaps a quick comment “Errr, Rule 3 Guys – http://www.countingcats.com/?page_id=2 would be a better way of doing it rather than pissing Cats off until he goes off on one (again).

    This is not something that Cats should be forced to do, it’s his site, but our commentary, we should deal with these issues ourselves, preferably without resorting to pedantry, after all, we are all technically adults, even though I feel like Tom Hanks character in “Big” most of the time.

    3. Self Censorship

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve said something inappropriate or out of context on CCiZ, but with no ability to change it or delete it. :-( It really sucks, but that’s the technical limitation of the platform CCiZ is running on, so I presume we have to live with it. If we have a problem with this we can either dip into our pockets and pay Cats to upgrade or issue an apology / retraction and suck it up!

    It’s all too easy to post something and then try to defend the indefensible just because you’ve posted something that you wish you hadn’t. We’ve all done it, so suck it up and be a man / woman / LBGT / dog / {FILL IN BLANK}

    4. Transparency in Editorialising

    When an “Admin” or “Editor” deletes or retracts a published post that has been in circulation and has had comments attached, then it would be helpful to the commentariat to explain why that decision has been made.

    This would stop idiots like that commentator John Galt from getting all up himself because he thinks his legitimate views on fire-bombing a nest of Marxist vipers at the BBC is being censored rather than in-house editorial matters concerning the comparison of a musical composition on the radio with the female labia majora

    Those are my initial thoughts, anyway…

  8. John Galt says:

    @Thornavis:

    I come here and to other similar blogs because I get very little chance to ever talk about the kind of things here with anyone else and it helps me both to learn a few things and to feel as though I’m not completely mad for being rather at odds with how most people think.

    Bingo! Have all my internets.

    Although Cats is quite correct about not wanting to preach to the choir, we should also remember that it is we (the sane) that are fighting an uphill battle against the totalitarians and collectivists of the state.

    My analogy is that we are like the first Lutherans, surround and overwhelmed by the power, might, wealth and majesty of the Catholic church, we are questioned and pilloried from every corner and the only reason we don’t give in is that we are positive to the very depth of our being that we are right and that the rest of the teeming multitudes are wrong.

    Is it unreasonable that some of us should gather together with others who share our Libertarian heresy, just to make sure we’re not stark, staring bonkers.

    The followers of Martin Luther were eventually successful, so why shouldn’t the followers of our Libertarian heresy be as well.

  9. Mr Ed says:

    I feel that I should comment to inform, or, occasionally, with a hope to amuse. Inform includes taking issue with fallacies, errors and plain viciousness.

    Always remember the People’s Front of Judea.

  10. RAB says:

    This is all getting rather Schizophrenic now Cats. First you asked my advice about Nick’s post and I told you not to take it down without talking to him first, but you did anyway to supposedly curry favour with some folk I have never heard of, and could care less about. Now you are happily linking to the Post you hated so much with gay abandon. Not only that but put up this Post to continue the catharsis. What do you think your new found heavy hitting friends think of this?

    This is a good site, with damn fine writers. We have a dedicated readership, folk like John Galt and Bod. I value their opinions higher than some supposed target audience I may or may not attract. The audience chooses the Site, not vice versa.

    I have told you before that I am an Entertainer not an Activist. I aim to tell the truth with wit and humour. To amuse and elighten if I can. If readers like what I have to say, and the way I say it, then I retire to bed of a night a happy man.

  11. John Galt says:

    Now you are happily linking to the Post you hated so much with gay abandon.

    In fairness, that’s my fault for accusing Cats of censorship by pulling that same post in the first place (even though I was talking out of my Arras).

    It’s hard to have a conversation about censorship on a public forum if the majority of the readers have never seen the original.

  12. Stuart says:

    I’m pretty much the definition of a lurker, having probably posted a comment on here about 6 times in as many years, but reading it daily. I don’t know about any one else, but i came here (when i was 18 iirc) from samizdata (the reason i remember is that between samizdata, counting cats, reason magazine and FA Hayak, are probably the 4 things that turned me into a libertarian(so kudos your officially as influential as Hayak)). When i did start reading countingcats and samizdata and what not, i felt like we where winning, we where winning the argument on trade, on women’s rights, the rule of law and the importance of sexual freedom. The Washingtonian consensus meant that the political class for all there hollowness had largely bought OUR arguments, the the almost irreversible decline in tariffs on trade and international commerce combined with the rise of the internet, just in time logistics and what not, made the arbertary boundarys of state power and what they meant for human freedom less and less relevant and therefore harder to justify, and the increasing determination for people not the law to develop there personal social and sexual lives with out interference form the state or society at large brought about by the legalization of civil partnerships and so forth and even the war in Iraq and Afghanistan might of been counterproductive to the causes of freedom in those country’s (even though its still to early to tell in Iraq) the point still remind that the most powerful and advanced nations on earth where making the statement that country’s that are illiberal and unfree had effectively forfeited there right to be sovereign, it was as if we where about to both domestically and globally punch through the last vestiges of the defense of socialism statism and tyranny in all it forms and finally the world would be truly free.

    Unfortunate that inst whats happened, where now going backwards as faster than we where forwards, the new economic liberties of the peoples of Asia and sub Saharan Africa haven’t leas to a meaningful increase and there political and social freedom. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t lead to liberty and freedom blooming across the middle east, but undermined there tyrannical (yet at least notionally secular) dictatorships to be, apparently replaced by potentially even bigger tyrants, ones that do care what god you pray to and what kind of hat a woman wares, not just who you voted for in the rigged elections.

    The Point is, it times like these, especially in a movement such as libertarianism where its advocates and adherents are few in number and spread so widely there is a value in speaking to the choir, there is a value in rallying the troops as it where. We as a group relentlessly argue for freedom and liberty where outnumber and outspent by are opponents and besieged on all sides, yet we must win. So don’t view “speaking to the choir” as being valueless or even counterproductive, especially when some of your choir like me are a sole libertarian in what feels like a field of apathy, totalitarian torys and socialists scum (or as its more precisely know, 3 miles from Woodbridge, Suffolk, somewhere in a beetfield).

    Also i should take this moment to say thanks to the people who do write and post this blog and comment on it, the world would be a colder and less free place without it.

  13. NickM says:

    No Cats… You may have noticed I don’t always swear. But sometimes I do and I do because that is how I think… This is not a site for kids. You ought to see me with kids. I’m great with them. But when it comes to our current political “consensus” (emphasis on “con”) no, I can’t keep my trap shut and yes, that means the free use of the demotic Anglo-Saxon that is my birth-right, my Viz-right. It’s how I think Cats.

    Please send me the disc and I’ll re-read. Then we’ll talk. I have always been re-jigging. It gets difficult to appraise though. So I wanna see my stuff over the years.

  14. Lynne says:

    Give it a rest, Cats.

    Please.

    This insane infighting is not doing us or CCiZ any favours.

    None.

  15. CountingCats says:

    Good morning all,

    RAB,

    First of all, have a look at what I wrote in emails and reword the questions without the sarc. That you may never have heard of players in another polity is both hardly surprising, and hardly relevant.

    As you know, at the time , time was an issue. and by time, I don’t mean days but short hours and minutes. As Nick was in bed, speaking to him first, within those time constraints, was impossible, unless you were prepared to jump into your handy dandy short range matter transporter and shake him awake. Actions based on your advice would have been no different if you had said “Let Nick do what he wants, any objections we may have, or any damage or harm he causes, is irrelevant. He is Nick, let his whims determine our fate”.

    I also point out, I turned to you for advice and opinion, but advice is not binding instruction. I had to make a decision taking your advice into account, but that is not the same as doing what you told me to. You know that.

    As to putting the posting back back up, you are aware that one of the sensitive issues was time. That time has well passed now, so the arguments I put then are moot. Otherwise, wot John Galt said.

    @JG & @Thornavis

    I have no problem preaching to the choir, don’t get me wrong there. However, the choir, or even the regular congregation, are not the only people I wish to preach to. I also wish to work at bringing lambs into the fold.

    If that is an aim (note – AN aim, not THE aim) it doesn’t help to stand in front of the fold yelling YAR, YAR, YAR at any approaching sheep, jumping up and down and waving your arms around. Waving your willy at them will only make it worse.

  16. CountingCats says:

    Nick,

    Happy to forward it, but, as I said before, if you want the sodding disk then send me your sodding address.

    I can do naught without.

    I suppose I could put the zipped image up to download. It would kill the connection tho.

  17. John Galt says:

    @Cats:

    Since you’ve now got your shiny new ADSL2 up and running, any chance of a little “moderation”? My litany is still pending… :-(

    http://www.countingcats.com/?p=13503&cpage=1#comment-245034

    Update: Sorry, don’t know why you went into moderation – CC

  18. Thornavis says:

    Cats

    I’ve never waved my willy at a sheep in my life, no point they’d only laugh :-)

  19. RAB says:

    “Let Nick do what he wants, any objections we may have, or any damage or harm he causes, is irrelevant. He is Nick, let his whims determine our fate”.

    But I didn’t say that did I?

    What I advised was for you to talk to Nick before taking down his post, it was only polite given that there have never been many rules around here. We privileged with the keys to the Kitty Kingdom, post what we like, when we like without let, hindrance or even consultation with each other, until now.

    I also said that taking it down was pointless. It was already up and drawing comments. Whoever you were concerned with concealing it from more than likely would have seen it too. We just looked even more foolish disappearing a post on what is supposed to be a Libertarian site.

    And in fact I was proved correct, because the only reason we are having this conversation now is because some of our regulars noticed and questioned it on an earlier unrelated thread.

    If we are talking ill advised Posts, then in my opinion, this is one. We could have done this in house via email, as we have actually been doing (which is an incredibly rare occurance) without airing our undies in public. However, be that as it may…

    Anyway you know how I feel. You and Nick are friends of mine, that’s where my loyalty lies. You know only to well how hard I worked the last time we had a bit of ritual bloodletting, to keep CCIZ together. I am proud to be even a small part of this team. But this is your Gaff and your rules. If you wish to set guidelines, I will do my best to follow them.

    Now let’s get back to kicking the shit out of those who really deserve it, not each other.

  20. NickM says:

    Addy will follow Cats.

  21. CountingCats says:

    What I advised was for you to talk to Nick before taking down his post,

    I would have loved to. However, Nick was in bed, unavailable, and a decision had to be made right there and then.

    Let me repeat this. I couldn’t speak to Nick, because Nick was unavailable to speak to, and a decision had to be made right then.

    One of the considerations I took into place was that Nick knows how much I loathe violent and obscene abuse, and keeps demonstrating that he doesn’t give a toss. Consideration works both ways.

  22. NickM says:

    Cats,
    I do have a life beyond this blog. Is it co-incidental that SAoT and Julie (good picks BTW) were both hired when I was on holiday? And with zilch consultation? No it bloody well isn’t. Is it? I’m not a nice guy. I don’t pretend to be other than and neither did you until you decided to use this here saloon bar to further a political career. I am though fair if not nice.

  23. Plamus says:

    Lynne: “Give it a rest, Cats.

    Please.

    This insane infighting is not doing us or CCiZ any favours.”

    I actually think it does CCiZ a huge favor. It demonstrates how libertarians deal with thorny issues overlapping property rights and freedom of speech (and transparency) in a mature way. By “mature” I do not mean free of naughty words – I happen to be a fan of Nick’s style. I also fully appreciate that Cats may wish to gently guide his creation in a direction not everyone associated with it likes – all the power to him. What I do mean by “mature” is – talk about it, get input, address grievances, clarify positions and rules. This kind of discussion is not the kind to hide and hope it’s well forgotten – it’s the kind to be proud of. This is how free, smart, independent, different people work together. It’s not perfect and squeaky clean – try North Korea for that, with the stadia of people raising colored cardboard in unison – but the outcome beats any other in the long run. I think this kind of discussion will in time bring over and keep thinking people who look for an unvarnished look at libertarianism in action, and not just in word.

    Hat off, and cheers to you all – keep up the good work!

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