A couple of days ago, in one of my pieces about Barack Obama, regular pain in the ass “bryanD” chose to make an attack on John McCain. It was a pretty despicable one, too, and I promptly called him on it. That propmpted him to double down and escalate the attacks, calling McCain a “traitor.”
That caught even more eyes, and a couple of people called for bryanD’s banning.
I strongly suspect that if I put the matter up for a vote, bryanD would be history.
But here’s where I remind folks of a fundamental truth about Wizbang: it ain’t a democracy.
Wizbang is an absolute tyranny, with one man wielding absolute power.
And well it should be. Kevin Aylward started this whole site, owns it lock, stock and barrel, pays all the bills, and holds all legal liability for everything and anything that happens here.
Kevin has chosen to delegate a great deal of the day-to-day power to me (and, to a lesser degree, others), and the management of such matters as banning commenters is one of my responsibility.
And that power is not subject to popular vote.
It’s my decision whether or not to ban bryanD for what he said, and I chose not to.
I weighed the matter very carefully, and I judged that bryanD did far more damage to himself and his causes with his beyond the pale rantings. than those he attacks. Allowing him to spew his bile shows not only the tolerance we hold for even the raving whackjobs, but gives us a glimpse into the diseased minds of the Loony Left.
This is not to say that I welcome his continued presence. If he were to suddenly choose to go elsewhere, I wouldn’t miss him in the least. But — at least at this point — that’s still his choice.
I take my responsibilities as Main Page Editor very seriously. (Although they’ve never really been defined, now that I think about it.) I like to think I operate with a very, very light hand, and while that can be partly attributed to laziness (I didn’t get into this racket to be an editor; it just sort of happened that way), it’s largely a matter of choice. Every time I am given the choice ot act or not act, I put the most effort into justifying not acting.
I don’t know how many commenters I’ve banned in the years I’ve had that power, but I’d guess it was less than two dozen. In nearly every case, I publicly announce the ban and cite the reasons for that ban. And I don’t regret a single one of those decisions.
On the other side of things, I am also empowered to revise or delete my fellow authors’ pieces. I’ve used that power very lightly, too, mainly correcting typos or technical errors in their articles. (That reminds me — Bill has a screwed-up block quote in one of his pieces I should try to fix. Whoops, someone else beat me to it — I think I see Kevin’s hand at work there. Bill’s ability to bork up the formatting of the main page is amazing — he’s only second to me in that regard.) Only once did I ever pull an article one of them wrote, and even that one I made as transparent as possible — I published an apology for it, and sent the author in question a private e-mail telling him/her why I did what I did.
As proud as I am of what I’ve written here, I’m almost as proud of my work as editor. And I take a perverse pride in touting how little I’ve done in that role. Kevin has done an astonishing job in recruiting folks who write for the main page, and they are the best colleagues I could imagine. They make me feel incredibly redundant as their nominal “boss,” and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You readers and commenters are also great. It’s so rare that I need to set aside my “author” cap and put on my “Editor” Viking war helm that it’s gathered quite a bit of dust.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. “He that edits best edits least.”
Thanks, folks, for making that part of my job easy. It lets me spend more time doing what I got into this whole blogging thing in the first place — thinking about stuff and writing about it.
Oh, and bryanD: if you were trying to get yourself banned, you failed. While we reserve the right to ban anyone at any time for any reason — or no reason whatsoever — we really don’t like doing it. It takes a very special effort to earn that privilege. Some of the reasons that have triggered Olaf The Troll God’s Hammer have been repeated personal attacks on the site’s authors and placing Wizbang in a position of potential legal liability.
I’d urge you to try harder, but 1) I’d rather you didn’t and B) I doubt you need the encouragement. But if you really, really wanna get banned, it can happen.
It’d be a lot easier — and get the same results — if you just went away. We promise to miss you.