Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The first nail in the coffin..

We frequently hear that old cliche "the last nail in the coffin" and it certainly has its place, but some recent events got me to thinking: "What about all of the rest of those nails?"

A group of which I was a part until recently has a few members who appear to be dead set upon killing the organization through bullying, intimidation, and by shutting off all discussion of issues. Now you are probably saying to yourself: "yeah, what's new" and you could not possibly be blamed for thinking this way since this sort of behavior shows up all too often especially given the move to organizations being predominantly on the internet. Still, we should not be so jaded as to be unwilling or unable to recognize such individuals exist and are a very serious problem for any organization in which they are allowed to run wild.

But that said, I would not call the existence of such persons the first nail in the coffin, because after all usually mild control used by the administration will keep such bullies in check. No, the first nail in the coffin for any such organization is when the administration opts to support such individuals and their behavior. This is the first and perhaps strongest nail.

Such is what has happened recently to one of my favorite organizations. One individual in particular took to using personal attacks and insults which were overlooked by even the ones attacked for the sake of the organization, but sadly also by the administration whose sole purpose for existing is to prevent such activity. Still, mature individuals can live with a bit of this uncivil and uncouth behavior, though of course we should never be asked to do so.

No, the problem arises when the administration then lashes out at the behest of such uncivil dishonest individuals at those who dare to not kowtow to those individuals. The moderator who chooses not to moderate, but rather to be the weapon of the uncivil and dishonest, is the first nail in the coffin of any such forum, and eventually the organization if no changes occur.

The one remarkable element of this particular case is that the reasons cited, and the posts which were used as excuse for this use of force, simply called for civility as a necessary element of honest intellectual discussion. It was not the insults and personal attacks which the moderator took issue with, but rather with the requests for calm, civility and honest discussion.

The organization? Kitchen Gardeners International. The immoderate moderator? Roger Doiron. The idea upon which this organization was started was a good one, the behaviors endorsed, celebrated, and promoted abhorrent. To all of my fellow gardeners, whose love of growing one's own food is strong, do not be fooled into giving to this organization, for if they will actively lie to founding members and engage in direct personal attacks, certainly their objectives are not those shared by all who have a love of gardening.

This first nail, is but one of many to come, and I can only hope that a honest, civil, reasonable group of individuals survives to take up the idea of spreading the love of kitchen gardening but leave behind all of this nastiness, dishonesty, and antagonism to civility which now is so celebrated by this organization, its founder, and the sad scared individuals who choose to attack others instead of discussing issues like adults.


Tovi said...

Good words.

Brian said...

Thanks.. I was truly saddened to see the potential for greatness lost in this organization with the choice to engage in hostility instead of civility..