Internet Infidels Seems To Be Melting

I spent a good bit of time over at Internet Infidels Discussion Board (IIDB) when I was working my way through my deconversion, and the people and threads there went a long way in helping me hammer out the details in my head. So it’s sad to see that there seems to be a major breakdown going on over there. I’ve been looking at the threads in the ~~Elsewhere~~ forum, along with comments in another group called Rants ‘n Raves (which seems to be an alternative board where many current and former members are heading to), and it appears that many people, including numerous mods, are jumping ship.

As best as I can tell, it started when one of the Admins (The Other Michael) banned EverLovingGodStopper, another long time member and mod, from IIDB, and it looks like the ban is permanent. ELGS, (Janice Rael) was (I believe) the Internet Infidel representative to the AAI convention in Washington DC last month. I don’t quite understand the ins and outs of the hierarchy and politics of the organization, nor the stated and unstated reasons for the ban, but it appears that it has pissed off quite a few people, to the extent that now it has spread across the board like wildfire, affecting many members, mods and admins. If you are a member at IIDB, here is the most current list, and at RnR, here, (you don’t need to be a member to view the latter). At least 11 mods have resigned, three admins, and there are numerous self-bans and suspensions. It’s taking on the appearance of a coup d’etat. It’s not something I would expect to see at a freethought organization like IIDB.

There is a lot of talk at RnR about setting up a new and better board to meet the needs of those who are leaving IIDB, and of course, there’s a lot of threads in IIDB about trying to fix the problem from within, before it gets worse, including demanding the resignation of The Other Michael. If you have ever frequented that particular board, you might want to check it out.

I’m not sure how it’s going to shake out, but at the moment, it’s not pretty.

17 thoughts on “Internet Infidels Seems To Be Melting

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  3. It will take months to read all that stuff. Maybe it’s time to shake it up.
    I will peruse it latter today if things are slow, which I really hope they are.

  4. I’ve spent way too much time on forums over the years, mostly cg forums though. I find it interesting that no matter what the topic is, be it cg, sports, philosophy, religion, dogs (yes, I used to frequent a dog training forum), there’s always the same cast of characters:
    1) the guy who always says what most everyone disagrees with (usually played by me)
    2) a group that is overly outspoken and usually gets their way
    3) overbearing mods apparently drunk with power
    4) at least one “nice” mod who is powerless to do anything
    Supporting characters usually include various ranting loons and a few “can’t we all get along” types.

    I will give the R’nR a try and see how that goes. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. My understanding of the matter is that there was a power struggle on the Internet Infidels’ board of directors, Janice Rael was kicked off, and then the board expected her to lie and say she resigned voluntarily. When she refused and told the truth, they banned her from IIDB for “revealing confidential information”.

    Really, what’s going on at IIDB isn’t a splitting of sects or anything like that: it’s a mass revolt against a few people who wield all the power and have abused it. The board of directors has consistently handled this situation in the worst way imaginable, and it seems they’ve even broken their own policies by permitting one admin to unilaterally ban someone from the IIDB. Unfortunately, it seems they’ve no intention of changing their ways, so many people (including me) have resigned in protest.

  6. I tend to think that purges like this are probably healthy every now and then when a group or organization becomes large and stagnant.

  7. Janice Rael had indeed been the Internet Infidels’ representative at the AAI.

    But what started off this whole disaster was her having been voted off of the Internet Infidels’ Board of Directors. Someone then changed her status in IIDB from “II Officer” to ordinary user. Ms. Rael then posted that she had been demoted, and II’s BoD banned her for leaking “confidential information”. That seems to me a rather technical sort of violation, since that information had already been implicitly leaked, and since it was intended to have been made public anyway. This led to the demotion of an admin who questioned that decision, and the hiding of some posts and threads on that subject (that hiding later reversed). This was followed by some leaks and public statements that struck many as being condescending, disrespectful, of dubious relevance, rambling, and narcissistic.

    So far, over 400 IIDBers have registered their disapproval of the situation in various ways; including several mods and admins who have resigned.

  8. Thanks Loren and Ebonmuse for the updates.

    I read Ebonmuse’s statement (which you can’t read unless you’re a member, here) and some of your comments, and I must say it’s somewhat sad to see the board break up in such a manner. There are a lot of fine minds no longer contributing to the mix, and it was the combined brain power of the place that always astounded and attracted me to IIDB, as I knew that I could find the answer to almost any question there.

    I got to watch and then meet Janice here in Harrisburg when she came to testify before the sub-committee on education which was holding hearings on a proposal to add Intelligent Design to the school standards (it never went anywhere). She is a dedicated free thinker, and the way she was treated by the Board at II is shameful.

    She’s posting as Stopper over at RnR.

  9. Spanish Inquisitor, thank you for your support of me during this time of tragedy for the IIDB. This situation was unfortunate, uncomfortable, and preventable. When my disagreement with Board member Michael Moore came to a head, I was willing to resign quietly in a way that would not negatively affect the II or the IIDB. However, actions taken in anger led to the dramatic turn of events that seems to have turned the IIDB upside down, driving hundreds of members to other forums.

    I remain as active in the atheist/church-state community as I can be. I’m running for Vice-President of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia. I am on the Board of Directors of the Atheist Alliance International, and am now one of AAI’s reps on the Board of the Secular Coalition for America, our nation’s only lobbying group for nontheists. I am also the President of the Delaware Valley Chapter (PA/NJ/DE), Americans United for Separation of Church and State, now in its 4th year. And I remain involved online in many internet communities for freethinkers.

    It is a shame that the II Board and I could not see eye to eye on my methods or practices, but while I was with them, I did my very best to keep them relevant and involved in the freethought community. I don’t know what will happen in the future.

  10. I was at II for a long time and finally got fed up with the arrogance and the censorship. They really can’t handle the truth there. In spite of all their claims of freethinking , they are really a bunch of dogmatic fanatics that tolerate no outside the box thinking.

  11. In just checking back today I notice they are still hemorraghing mods and members. They refuse to reinstate any complaint forum and moderation is even heavier handed than before. So lemme see, no improvements, just a lot worse, no more transparency but a whole lot more arrogance. IIDB is going to begin a long hard slog into irrelevancy.

  12. heathendancer permalink
    I was at II for a long time and finally got fed up with the arrogance and the censorship. They really can’t handle the truth there. In spite of all their claims of freethinking , they are really a bunch of dogmatic fanatics that tolerate no outside the box thinking.

    I have the same impression, got banned forever, for I am sure challenging the views of moderators.

    When I started there it was very open, they even had discussion about actions taken by mods and admins against any member, initiated by the member disciplined or third parties sympathetic to the member who could be banned.

    Later the powers there got more and more dictatorial and dogmatic.

    You can’t argue against their articles of faith without in the short or long term banned and forever at that.

    I had met however gentlemen and also psychotic haters there.

    I guess some powers there got so psychotically hateful of everyone who challenged their authority or thoughts, they would rather destroy the board totally than accommodate to free thought and free speech of these members.

    Pachomius2000 aka Mdejess

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