The Talking Stick

For speaking your mind, a vessel for venting.

As @waetherman suggested, a new slate for fomentation, catharization, lamentation. A new fountain of lamneth.

Please forgive my eagerness in creating this safe space for grouching. But it had to be me, someone else might have gotten it wrong.

Go Ahead, Let It Out.


Can we start with an explanation of what happened at BB? I feel like I kinda missed the first half. Perhaps @tinoesroho can summarize?

I decided I was done with BB because of the way the Lounge got closed. Not because the Lounge was closed, but because it was closed in what I felt was an authoritarian way, and it seemed to coincide with some other bannings and a general air of discontent.
For me, all of that was really final straw, since I had already given up on BB for the over-commercialization (pumping the store full of crap, affiliate links, etc) and the content that had degraded to near clickbait levels. I hadn’t visited the front page in months for those reasons, plus I hated the interface. And the best substance seemed to come from the community bbs anyway.

So that’s it. I’m done with BB for now. I’m going there occasionally to check up on things, but I’m not going to post there anymore. I’m putting my energy here.


I’m still sticking around over at BB – to see how things evolve, if nothing else, as it seems like it’s in the midst of upheaval of some variety – but I’ll second what @waetherman said about the annoyances of BB and the BBS at the moment.

I was originally drawn there by both the community and by the content; a site led by a scrappy young wannabe-author who’d post long essays about tiki kitch, or Disney history, or his novel in progress… along with Mark, the mad scientist; Xeni, the perky media goddess, and a regular group of contributors.

These days I groan when I see a post by Cory, because it’ll inevitably be bitter angry clickbait based on something he likely misread. Mark and Xeni rarely contribute. The site’s interface went from a fascinating blog to random animated gifs barfed everywhere. So I stick to the BBS.

I’m waiting to see what happens, but it’s a strange place these days.


I’m sure some of the ‘spirit people’ will have their own perspectives. Here’s a concise view:



In accord with the grand ironies of the universe, tomorrow is 23 Aprile. Be sure to pour some on the floor for le priemer botteur.

Is he with us yet?


I wanted to write an indignant piece about how bOINGbOING today is not the one I knew. But the truth is, bOINGbOING, bOINGbOING never changed. The tools used for comment section did. And accidentally - undirected by anybody in particular and certainly not intended by bb - a community formed on the bbs.

What happened on St Elswhere’s Day was the release of pent up frustration; bb staff were annoyed at the behavior of the commentariat and after years of semi-participation, jlw could take it no more. So began the bannings. modusoperandi may have deserved it, but the Stalin-esque bannings of those who queried or protested were not justifiable at all.

So some regs set their avatars to transparent, a throwback to the day when banned members had their avatars deleted. A few TL2 folk asked wot was up, and that’s how the original ghost PM group was formed. There was anger, yes… but there was fear, too. Fear that something worse could happen that would drive the community out altogether. So planning began on an exodus; a few proposed setting up Discourse instances. And when the abolition of TL3 happened, @LockeCJ was the first to launch.

I still read BB, but now I only read specific authors by RSS feed. I’m still at the old bbs, but nowhere near as active as I had been in the week before the TL3 trashing.

othermichael has been invited by email (which he probably never checks) and I highly recommend a twitter-er to go DM him there with an invite.

To misquote an old show

We can rebuild it. We have the technology. We can make the first bionic bbs.

Together, together we can build a bright beautiful tomorrow. I bear not resentment - for though the actions of a certain owl are unnacceptable, they were the impetus for the commentariat to seize the means of production.


In addition to all you’ve said (which, I think, is a fair rendering of what when down…), I’d add this:
I no longer had much faith the BBS would stick around at all. Given the wrath of the owl (and some comments relayed by Ken), it seemed entirely possible the entire BBS could go the route of the lounge.


I’m with you. While I wasn’t involved in the community in any capacity until a couple of years ago when I started commenting on the BBS and got hooked, I’m a very long time reader of the site going back to the early aughts.

From day 1 after discovering the site through a friend, I almost completely read the site through my RSS reader so many of the front page changes were lost on me but on the rate occasions that I did go to the front page I definitely saw more and more space devoted to less and less content.

I still think it’s a great site with some great contributors, and I’m not leaving the community that I love so much but damn if the events of the past few weeks - if not months haven’t really left a bad taste in my mouth.

It all seemed to start with the Pedant Pendant Incident along with the deeply unfair bans of @nemomen and @Melizmatic at around the same time. From there it’s all gone downhill with an authoritarian regime and bad faith decisions.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the actions we’ve seen are completely antithetical to the values of the site and many of its contributors. It’s exactly the kind of shit that they point out and make fun of.

I hope the community can recover but regardless I’m glad that we have this place, too.


It wouldn’t seem as likely to me, except that this wouldn’t be the first time there’s been rumblings of getting rid of comments altogether. I would hope they wouldn’t follow through with it, and it seems that Oren is working hard to hold things together for now.


I don’t see the BBS going anywhere but it’s definitely going through a rough patch. Time will tell if it can recover.


I survived the St. Elsewhere’s Day Massacre, and all I got was this stupid t-shirt!

I don’t know how far back some BBSers go, but I started with bOINGbOING as a print magazine in the 1990s, and it has definitely changed a lot since then. IIRC it was mostly Mark and Carla with Gareth Branwyn, Paco Xander Nathan, Jon Lebkowsky, Rudy Rucker, and generally more contributors. Did BB used to be more punk, or did I just never grow up? Probably a little of each. I love that some DIY ethos is still there anyway.

As for personality clashes, I get along well with the current staff. Early on there were more PMs between Falcor and I, probably trying to probe whether I was trying to cause trouble, or if was simply a natural skill on my part. Probably the closest I got to a non-self ban was from arguing with JLW. I don’t really relate to JLW, but I don’t “have beef” with them, as such.

Much of what passes for “topicality” I find is more aesthetic or ideological than anything else. Like how somebody who composes a movie or piece of music might intend to create a certain kind of association/reaction in the audience. That laughing at a horror movie or moshing to a string quartet comprise a failure to “get” the proper message, or else means that one is a disruptive annoying person. I think that’s debatable, and really pretentious. And doubly-debatable with regards to journalism, where quality means presenting the facts and trusting the readers to make up their own minds about what the significance might be.


I do the twitter


True story; Gareth was at my wedding, though I haven’t talked to him in years. Anyone know what he’s up to these days? He left MAKE, right?

I always felt like he was left out of the success of BB. Maybe we should invite him here!


left out of the success of boingboing?-- I wouldn’t care to comment. But he’s written up some fine material in recent months


Hard to say. I think that, if you moshed to most of my music, I would be quite rightly annoyed, not because you are supposed to feel a certain way or “get” a proper message (I’m not certain what my work is supposed to mean most of the time), but because the music was designed to reward listening (insofar as I succeed in making something listenable), not to reward moshing.

Call it more a matter of function than aesthetics. If I wanted to write something for moshing, then I would write something suitable for that. As it is, most of what I write is a wee bit slippery in rhythm and tempi, and has inner voices out the wazoo, and I suspect most of that would be superfluous to the mosh pit. Now, I can’t very well stop you from moshing to it, but, if I get annoyed, it would be because there’s an implicit diss to my craftsmanship in that. (Maybe a deserved one - not for me to say - but I’m obliged to operate on the belief that I know what I’m doing, or I’d never be able to write.)


The thing about social media is that they can potentially so easily replace one another.


Is it more of an insult if I engage with it even if that involves moshing, or if I stick it on in the background and ignore it?


Surprisingly, the former. There’s no such thing as music that everyone likes, and craftsmanship may or may not be a criterion for the listener’s pleasure, but is by no stretch the only one. So, yeah, you’re perfectly free to ignore my stuff if it fails to turn your crank - no insult taken.

Here, I’ll put out a couple of examples from works in progress, because they give the range of the work better than the finished stuff I’ve got “out in the wild”. (Spent the last couple of semesters editing papers, so I’m trying to get back in the swim of things now and finish the stuff hanging fire.)

Do you figure that moshing to either is really paying attention, or even particularly satisfying as an activity in its own right?


Perhaps we’re taking Popo’s example a bit too literally? I thought he made a fair point.


Not sure what he is up to. His kid all grown up now makes the occasional post to BB about miniatures gaming.


Hmmm… link please? I don’t remember this. I do remember the pedant pendant thing (or at least I did after searching for it on BBS) but all I found was an 18 comment thread on the pendant itself.