Rory Litwin critical of LISNews


The most recent issue of Library Juice includes an essay by editor Roy Litwin. He reflects on Blake Carver's decision in February to encourage more conservative contributors to LISNews.

When Blake made his original announcement, I linked to it in Library Juice and called it "Batty." It seemed batty to me for Blake to describe his own site as a "liberal echo chamber" when to me it had for years seemed like one of the more politically conservative sources of information relating to librarianship available, in terms of the stories that were posted, but especially the comments that people were leaving. The belligerant, "AM Talk Radio" style of much if not most of the discussion on LISNews had led me to stop posting stories there roughly a year earlier and to stop reading the site almost completely. A year ago it already seemed, to me, that LISNews had, far from being a "liberal echo chamber," been taken over by a right wing librarian's militia group.

So, basically I am still disturbed by Blake's sentiments about his site and about politics in the library community. It comes as a surprise and a disappointment. If you are a reader of LISNews, I hope you will read it with a critical eye and an awareness of this development.

I would like to add that I have nearly stopped reading the comments in recent weeks. Mainly because my work load has increased and my free time has decreased, but also because it seems to be the same folks, beating each other up over the same issues. Sometimes I get the feeling that my moderate, left-leaning opinion isn't wanted here.


I've emailed Rory privately, and letting him know that I would posting this in this thread.

"Hey Rory--

(I will also be posting this as a comment to the LISNews story about your essay.)

While I get mightily annoyed by what Walt Crawford calls the "Right Wing Coven" on LISNews, I'm not sure what would be accomplished by, in essence, encouraging folks to steer clear of the site. Part of the reason I've chosen to stay active with LISNews is because I would hate to see it become a site with a particular slant.

I'd also like to personally defend Blake's out-loud ruminating. It seems that you sense something very subversive about his posts addressing what he saw as a lack of diversity. I think Blake's just a thoughtful guy--not in the Hallmark way, but in the general sense. He's constantly evaluating and questioning the site--from code to content. LISNews, as I see it, is not an audience-specific blog, except in that it is aimed at LIS workers. I don't see any sort of targeted agenda in calling for diverse viewpoints, odious or dumb-ass as they might be. As put-out as I get by some of the comments I read, I value the thoughtful conservative input on LISNews, because it forces me to think hard about what I believe and make reasoned defenses of those beliefs. I tend to shoot from the hip, responding emotionally to issues I disagree with. It's been a good exercise for me to be a part of the LISnews community where I am confronted with viewpoints contrary to my own. If we can't defend our viewpoints to our colleagues, how can defend ourselves to those outside our professional circle?

One effect of our increasing reliance on the Internet as a news source is that it, in my opinion, is that people are more able to seek communities and sources that they agree with. That's not healthy or smart. I honestly believe that you have completely misunderstood Blake's intentions. I've never gotten the sense that he's trying to make LISNews into a conservative enclave, from my daily, close reading of the site or from my conversations and communications with Blake off-list.

What I wonder is: what do you hope to accomplish by your criticism? Do you want LISNews to be more of a reflection of your viewpoints--a more comfortable place for you? If that's your wish, I don't understand how public badmouthing and finger-wagging is going to be particularly effective. I would hate to think that you, of all people, are trying to discourage a free exchange of information and opinion, loathesome, contrary, crackpot or dumbass as it might be.

I have to confess my disappointment and befuddlement over your LISNews beef. Please help me to better understand what the issue is.

Rochelle moderator

Bottom line: Litwin is made tremendously uncomfortable by dissent.

After each vote at the SRRT Action Council meeting I attended in San Diego, Litwin would beam as he announced "the motion carries, UNANIMOUSLY." On one occasion, an AC member had voted against, and this uncomfortable fact had to be brought to Litwin's attention after he had intoned his "UNANIMOUSLY," after which he gave a sour look at the offending member, and reluctantly acknowledged the accurate vote.

The belligerant, "AM
Talk Radio" style of much if not most of the discussion on LISNews had led
me to stop posting stories there roughly a year earlier and to stop reading
the site almost completely.

You stopped posting stories because you didn't like the comments????
I like your policy of "if I disagree with it I will not read it". I think more people should have that policy. If we don't like an idea we should ignore it and turn to places that support the ideas we already have. I am sure that will make everything better.

LisNews is more diverse and inclusive than Library Juice will ever be. Although LJ had a global perspective when it was still a library school's now really just a personal blog focused exclusively on Rory Litwin's and Mark Rosenweig's exploits and whatever they consider interesting.If dissenting views get any space, they are attacked.LisNews is more successful and will be around alot longer than Library Juice. Perhaps some of Litwin's bitterness (some might say jealousy?)are inpsired by his realization that LisNews has far surpassed Library Juice.Blake's call for more conservative contributions seemed to me to be an invitation for increasing the diversity of articles and viewpoints on LisNews...not a request for conservativesto take control.Instead of participating in a community where diversity of content and ideas is welcome,Litwin decides to withdraw to the safety of his own blog where he controls the universe and no one is going to disagree with him.

...what Walt Crawford calls the "Right Wing Coven" on LISNews...

Crawford said that, did he? Such an inspiring commitment to the scholarly exchange of ideas one finds coming from our leftist colleagues!

Sorry. I prefer to remain one of the anonymous. It's kind of like the concept of the secret ballot. It keeps democracy safe and I feel more secure.

Alas, conservator...You really don't have any talent for sarcasm, do you?

I can't really add much that hasn't been said already here, nor could I have said it any better myself. Rory an I have always disagreed on just about everything, so this comes as no suprise. the fact that the story is here and being discussed is a good reflection on how open things are @LISNews, as they should be.

If I could moderate this as "Brilliant" I would.

As I said, I don't buy this argument. Reasonable people can differ.

I only note that my comment on Crawford's name-calling was moderated as "flame-bait," and the reply making personal reference to my "talent" was moderated as "funny."

Rory here....That's just patent BS from an ideologue whom you know from his other postings....

It 's not because I disagree with it that I don't read it. I don't it because the tenor of the discussion is unpleasant and the ideas are unenlightening and not very well thought out.Take this thread. In a forum that I would want to read, people would actually take the time to address the arguments I made in my editorial. I think I made some good arguments. They have been ignored here in favor of a lot of cheap shots, innuendo, unsubstantiated assertions, attacks on my character, and unintelligent sniping back and forth. I don't mind conservative opinion. I do mind hostility. Perhaps Blake, in making his call for more conservative posters, was hoping for a more peaceful discussion. That isn't what has happened.I suppose I should have distinguished the essence of my reason for no longer participating in this site a little better. I think I conflated the two separate things: conservative opinion, and the incivility of the people expressing it here. (I don't deny that people on the left can be uncivil, and it also bothers me - just not as much as when I am personally the object of it!)Rory Litwin

I haven't been here in a long time. I came to this thread because I found it in my server logs referencing the latest issue of library juice, and saw my editorial - and me - being discussed. I came here to defend myself.Editors criticizing each other's publications is in the best traditions of literary and political engagement. I criticized LISNews for my readers, not to discourage them from reading LISNews, but, as I stated, to read it with a more critical eye and an awareness of a) how it has changed and b) that it is not the neutral, "open forum" that Blake claims it is, as his action of inviting more conservative bloggers attests.- Rory Litwin

Thank you, I appreciate it. I understand that this was your intention; however, I think the way you felt diversity to be lacking and the direction you felt you needed to move in to increase it show that your decision was not as neutral as you would like to think. It is related to your own politics, and that is something that I have been trying to point out. You are claiming neutrality for your editorship of the site while moving it in a more conservative direction. Another editor might have felt that the site was imbalanced in the other direction back in February (it certainly seemed right-leaning to me already at the time).I have no problem with a publication - or an open forum - having a clear political frame of reference. I just don't think it should pretend to be neutral when it is not, and in claiming that you invited more conservatives to create more "balance" has the effect of claiming neutrality when it isn't there. That's my complaint. It's not intended personally.Rory

Regarding civility, I do want to be clear that I'm not opposed to publicly criticizing people. But when it comes to that I think it's something people should approach with seriousness, caution, and a lot of concern for accuracy and truth (as well as relevance), as strong as their criticism might be. There's been a lack of that concern for accuracy and truth (and relevance) in some of the posts about me and my character; some of them have just been baseless attacks that I think show that this thread and my editorial are partially in the context of something as simple as a political battle.I wasn't offended by anything Rochelle wrote, however; I'm not sure what she said that I called an accusation. I may have confused something she wrote with something someone else wrote in the heat of the discussion last night.I think part of the reason this thread looks like it does is the nature of online fora, but another part of it is that in my original editorial I used somewhat rhetorical language; I was a bit provocative, and I suppose should have toned it down.Because my responses to the attacks in this forum seem to be getting moderated down (for reasons that seem more related to that political battle than intellectual judgment, it seems to me) I am planning to write a response to this thread in the next issue of Library Juice. You can expect it to use cooler language, but also to restate a little more clearly what my criticisms are.To some of you, apparently, criticising this site seems to be evidence of an intolerance for discussion or discomfort with dissent or opposition to free speech or democracy. It's difficult for me to understand where this idea comes from. Editors criticizing - even attacking - each other's publications is in the best tradition of intellectual and political discourse - exactly what intellectual freedom intends to protect. I feel that I am simply exercizing my right to free expression, which I also feel is one way of defending that right. In online fora and especially in librarianship, a lot of people are uncomfortable with criticism and very quickly equate it with "attempts to stifle debate" and call critics censors, often with calls for their sanctioning (e.g. in "listserve acceptable use policies"). This is the great irony of the culture of unreflective IF philosophy in librarianship. For pointing out how this forum is less open, free and neutral than it pretends to be - not to drive readers away but to influence the way they read it - I am called an enemy of intellectual freedom and democracy. I hope that only represents the view of a small minority of LISnews readers.Rory Litwin

For pointing out how this forum is less open, free and neutral than it pretends to be - not to drive readers away but to influence the way they read it - I am called an enemy of intellectual freedom and democracy.

Rory, is it possible that your shilling for the Castro dictatorship might have something to do with the latter accusations?

In this thread and in the article, I made some points that haven't really been responded to. There are ways to talk about some of this issues in the abstract, aside from the political fight.I can think of two underlying questions that I think really deserve to be debated. One is the question of how Blake determined the "political center" in deciding that the site was too far left. A question we should be able to discuss without a lot of heat is, rather than "was or is the site left or right leaning," how do you determine the balance point? The fact that Blake somehow did this while denying that he was doing it (stating that he would leave definitions of right and left up to readers) is one of my important points and deserves more than the request to "agree or disagree" that my friend Rochelle has given me. Part of my point is that any decision about where the political center lies necessarily involves one's own political orientation to begin with, and Blake doesn't really acknowledge that in regard to LISNews.The other related point that I think needs to be discussed is the extent to which an online forum like LISNews, and LISNews in particular, can really be said to be neutral and open, and the extent to which it actually has a cultural and political frame of reference. I pointed out that Blake, while claiming he was merely creating balance and greater neutrality and openness, was actively shaping that frame of reference when he called for more conservative bloggers. That is also a point that deserves more discussion than merely a request to "agree to disagree."

My link to Rory's essay didn't work, and even with ubermoderator status, I haven't figured out how to edit comments--even my own. So, here it is--definitely worth reading.

I think "left" is a misnomer. Progressives tend to care about people and the future of the planet and conservatives about themselves. Today the USA is so overwhelmed with jingoistic bluster and war and hate and torture and worse from the right that I admit when I see "conservative" I think ORCs, environmental destroyers, torture. They OWN the airwaves...Powell's son...Clear Channel...and I thought that it would make LISnews full of that same bragging empty limbaughian yap...but I jsut have learned who these folks are and ignore or delete. I think Rory was likely responding to that same gut check.

Rory, I don't think many of your responses are being moderated down. If you post as an Anonymous Patron (anyone posting as an Anonymous Patron) your post is automatically assigned a value of 0.
I think that most of your Anonymous Patron posts remain at 0, which means that NO ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN TO MODERATE THESE POSTS ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. If any of your Anonymous Patron posts have been set at a value of -1 or -2, then someone has been moderating your posts down.
I wanted to mod a couple of your posts up, because I think that you have some good points when you state your case minus the rhetorical language you used in your library juice piece but since I have already commented on this thread, I can't moderate other people's posts in this discussion.

I have long assigned items from Library Juice to students. The essays are very thoughtful, analytic, well-documented and the result is energetic discussion in my classes. Litwin's level of intellectual curiosity is seldom matched in the literature. It makes me hopeful that there is so much rich content.
I also assign LIS news. The articles selected expand issues to very local and world-wide sources.Carver's leadins and comments add a good touch of whimsy or seriousness as context. Some of the comments in LIS news have been, well, hostile to the point of discouraging me from posting. I don't mind discussing issues but the last post I made resulted in personal attacks from conservative posters that went beyond what seemed to be civil. I tend to feel that the conservative side is just meaner. I don't know why this is..but compare oh say Ann Colter and Molly Ivins.

I shouldn't have referred to you as "the Library Juice guy", which sounds dismissive. My "true believer" comment stems from my time in a Trotskyist group that was notorious for its sectarianism. There was no such thing as polite disagreement, and the slightest deviation from the party line was taken as a sign of either bourgeois or Stalinist thinking, and the perp was either browbeaten into submission or forced out. Your characterization of the conservative comments on this board brought back memories of my twenties, when everything seemed clear to me.

The essays are very thoughtful, analytic, well-documented and the result is energetic discussion in my classes.

They also reliably, stridently left-wing, comporting very well with Dr. McCooks own political views. Fancy that!

Dr. McCook, do you assign in your classes anything that one would reasonalby term as "conservative"? If not (and I assume you do not), then you are engaging in political indoctrination, not education.

I can see why if your logs had a great deal of traffic from here it would pique your curiosity.I do enjoy Library Juice, I don't have to agree with everything printed in something to enjoy it, heck I even get the local newspaper. I'm not sure you need to 'defend' yourself. There are people who are going to find you a jerk no matter what you write here or on your site.

Indeed LISNews has changed in the last few months, and I'll agree that some of the comments are childish - you're an idiot, no you're an idiot- kind of things; that is truly unfortunate because as you suggest it makes reading the site a chore sometimes seperating the chaff from the wheat.

However I am glad you participate. Perhaps you can be, should be, an anchor to the left to keep LISNews more toward center. As one of the more conservative, and in the last few months one of the more frequent posters, I welcome differing opinion -and yours frequently differs from mine!

I do think academia is a bit left wing. However I suppose in the overall scheme of things it balances out.

Dr. McCook while you and I may have different political views, what I know of your work -especially the community building- is remarkable as it shows what great difference a librarian can make. I chose FSU for my MLIS because of my experiences as an undergraduate at USF; not that USF does not produce fine graduates: undergraduate and beyond, but the political climate at USF was remarkably too liberal for me. Tallahassee had a somewhat more tempered crowd. However, we read your work in class at FSU SLIS and I hope are better librarians for it.

We do agree on some things as I belong to REFORMA and the Catholic Library Association and FLA by choice, of course ALA because it is career suicide not to.

However you do have a point that some of the postings are hostile. If I have made any towards you that you felt hostile, I apologize. I try to make reasoned replies that illuminate my point of view without attacking those with opposing viewpoints.

Will you and I ever see eye to eye on everything, no I am certain we won't Dr. McCook. However as to the core mission of libraries and librarianship, to encourage freedom and self-sufficiency through involved library service, I think we will never part.

It is unfortunate that I was not able to take any of your classes, I would love to have discussed some of topics of library juice or LISNews in class. Debate fosters learning, and I am sure it would be a spirited debate in your class.

"Editors criticizing - even attacking - each other's publications is in the best tradition of intellectual and political discourse - exactly what intellectual freedom intends to protect."

You know it's ideas like that that do more to destroy the Fascist ideals I hold so dear.
I just hope you're happy.

Yep, we only read Hegel, Kant,Gramsci, Lukacs, and Adorno.

I think that FSU has the "Rule of Law" center that the IS school develops...but don't forget they also have Dr. DeHaven-Smith (another dept.)
Glad you are connecting to the museum/library movement. It's going to be important and public history is a new venue for us.

Based on Rory’s response, I’d like to respectfully suggest that he did not articulate his concerns particularly well in the piece, titled “LISNews Veers Right.� His commentary really does focus on the issue of political viewpoint. I was responding to that piece in particular, and still just flat-out disagree with his perception that LISNews has become a more conservative site via subversive orchestration. Where he filled in the blanks (for me, anyway) was in his larger piece, Four Delusions about Free Speech, and through email. While Rory and I will likely always have a difference of opinion about a variety of political issues, I think that we can have those differences and disagreements in a collegial, civil and even friendly way. This thread has been a perfect example of how the slashcode can hamper the open and, more importantly, civil exchange of diverse viewpoints. At this point, in what has turned into something of a pissing war, I don’t see the issue as being about liberal vs. conservative, but rather about thoughtful and fair participation in discourse. While several folks have contributed truly insightful and thoughtful comments, there are the usual suspects whose contributions have been nothing more than the online equivalent of playground bullying. I am disappointed to see that, in some cases, mudslinging appears to have trumped honest, if difficult and contentious, discourse.

LISNews, as a forum, should be an inviting and welcoming place for anyone who is willing to take some intellectual heat for viewpoints expressed. Trolls are trolls, and I’m not sure how to address that issue except to ignore them. As site owner, Blake is able to prohibit people from participating. As an uber-moderator, I have that same authority. I’ve never done that and would not do that unless there was clear and ongoing harassment. I'm quite sure that Blake and any other moderators with similar power feel the same way. My advice to my daughter, who has experienced significant bullying at school, is “Please Don’t Feed the Jerks.�

One of Rory’s questions to me via email was about low-rated comments “disappearing.� He seemed to think that some of his responses had disappeared. Perhaps to those not registered, anything below a zero doesn’t appear in the thread…..? As I explained to him, my interest in LISNews is strictly from the writing/editing side—I know pretty much zero about how slashcode works.

I think that Rory misunderstood my questions to him as accusations. As much of a drubbing as he got yesterday, it’s understandable that he was sensitive to anything directed at him. I have apologized off-list for any misunderstanding or miscommunication and I’ll apologize here. I think we have at least two different issues here. I’m choosing to ignore the liberal/conservative issue, seeing it as a red herring and something non-negotiable with Rory. Rory’s points about civility as an essential tool for open discourse, however, are very well taken by this moderator and chronic gut-level responder.


As members of the Secret Coven of Anonymous Patrons, we demand that Mr. Litwin cease and desist from masquerading as one of us!

after rereading the comment I said was brilliant I really should've qualified that, it's not an entirly brilliant comment.I really meant" Blake's call for more conservative contributions seemed to me to be an invitation for increasing the diversity of articles and viewpoints on LisNews...not a request for conservatives to take control. "Was good, certainly not the insults

Library Juice is not a blog - it's an electronic serial, one with a wide range of authors but with a definite perspective. I'm the editor, and I make no pretense of being all-inclusive or of operating an open forum for free discourse without interference of any kind. Blake does this, and also calls for most postings of a certain nature, and I am saying that is a kind of editorial action.What I'm replying to looks like it was written by my wanne-be nemesis, Jack Stephens. If that's you, Jack, show yourself!

This is Rory speaking.I'm not trying to "discourage a free exchange of information and opinion"...I believe Blake began to interfere with that when he decided he needed to"adjust" the political content of this site.The kind of people who love LISNews tend, in my opinion, are often a little bittoo enthusiastic for weblogs in general, and I would like to cutthrough that blind enthusiasm to get people to focus a little morecritically on content.Rochelle, I somewhat resent your (and other posters') claim that I am hostile to freeexpression.  I am ENGAGING in free expression.  When did speaking critically aboutsomething become contrary to free speech?  It's ironic to me that you saythis now, when in the same issue as my brief editorial about LISNews I havea longer editorial about this very misconception about free speech.Rochelle, I also want to point out that you missed an important point in myeditorial, which is to question how Blake arrived at his idea of what thepolitical "center" is in library discourse.  In his original posting heclaimed that he had no definition of "right and left" and would leave thatto the reader, but this was obviously false based on the fact that he felthis site needed to be adjusted to better represent right wing libraryviews.  So how did he arrive at the conclusion that the site was skewed tothe left?  Why didn't he just conclude, as most would, that librarians tendto the liberal and the center in librarianship is a little to the left thanit is in society at large?  The answer, it seems to me, is that Blakehimself is a little to the right of the political center of librarianship,for one, and for another, believes that the political center of society atlarge represents an ideological balance point that somehow shows us thetruth, and that therefore we should make sure to maintain that balance inour discussion (rather than aiming for a truth that is independent of whatpeople think).  So, I don't accept your defense of Blake's call forconservative content as innocent "rumination."What most people here think is LISNews's strength - the fact that it doesn'thave a point of view except for the point of view of its audience - I thinkis kind of its weakness.  I think LISNews actually is a publication with an editor who doesn't admit that he is an editor with a publication.  He would like you to think there is NO editor and the contentdepends entirely on what people post.  But if Blake believes LISNews shouldbe entirely driven by readers then why did he feel the need to act as aneditor and attempt to shape the ultimate content of the site by taking thestep of inviting authors with a particular ideological bent?  In fact,Blake IS acting as an editor to shape the political face of LISNews.  Ithink that's what he SHOULD do - but only if he is open about the fact thathe is doing it, that LISNews is a publication with an editor and a range of views within a particular frame of reference, so that people who go to it (and I'm notencouraging people to stay away!) are aware that what they are reading isshaped by an editor with a particular point of view and don't imagine thatit an instance of utopian "cyber democracy."Rory Litwin

Not that I doubt that it is you, but it seems to me that an account would benefit you. Otherwise someone could simply say Rory here .... I'm not wearing pants!

Or is not having an account some political statement of which I miss the meaning?

Rory Litwin has finally expanded his attack on anyone who disagrees with him to include the single best source of info on libraries on the web. Rory and his SRRT friends have personally attacked me, Sandy Berman, and many, many others who have "dared to disagree" with him and his fellow Castro Supporters. Back when Rory was a friend and supporter of Sandy, he was a bit humanistic. Ever since he replaced Sandy with his new guru, Mark Rosensweig, he has become just another Castroite with a web journal or whatever he calls it. He has claimed that Library Juice was a key in getting Mitch Freedman elected to ALA president. His attack on Blake is his lowest blow yet - and I hope that all readers of LisNews remember this unacceptable act of intolerance. - Steve Fesenmaier

I do mind hostility

From your essay you use these terms to describe LISNews or conservatives:1. angry right wing users2. these "underrepresented" conservative librarians to voice their profound opinions 3. belligerant, "AM Talk Radio" style 4. taken over by a right wing librarian's militia group

I have a hard time reading these without sensing some hostility. No?

Hi Rory, I read your article before I commented, and my comments were reactions to the points you were making. I'm not going to argue that the tone of the commenting on LISNews is civil. I agree with you that it is sometimes uncivil. I think though that incivility occurs in almost any context where people are posting on forums online and I don't expect LISNews to be any different.

Where LISNews is different though is that we now have a long discussion thread discussing the tone of the discussions.

And the Slashcode lets people moderate comments, often the more uncivil comments are tagged as being flamebait or trolls anyway.

Rory here!I'm not wearing pants!!!!

Seems to me this is a pretty one sided discussion. Is that your idea of "open"?I'd say this whole thread makes my original point rather well.- Rory

Steve,I have to respond to some of this. Unlike you, Sandy Berman was never my guru, though I admit we were on better terms in the past - not before he "dared to disagree with me," but I have to say rather decidedly, before I dared to disagree with him.I've known Mark Rosenzweig for as long as I've known Sanford Berman. In fact, I met them on the say day in 1997 and have been close friends with Mark Rosenzweig since then and on good, but not close, terms with Sandy.I never claimed that Library Juice was a key in getting Mitch Freedman elected to ALA president. I did report that Mitch said he thought it was a factor. Why do you need to attack me in this way?Members of SRRT Action Council didn't exactly "attack" you, Steve, we simply didn't tolerate YOUR attacks on us.And to call my editorial an "attack on Blake" and a "low blow" and an "unacceptable act of intolerance" is quite ridiculous. What my editorial was was simply criticism.And what this thread represents is simply an intolerance for criticism, despite the many accusations against me today of being "intolerant of free expression," etc. I think this whole discussion shows the reverse.- Rory Litwin

How do I have a problem with democracy and free speech? I am exercising it here, not trying to deny it.What have I done to deserve being called an anti-democratic censor? I have criticized a publication. Isn't that a the fundamental and most protected act of free expression? This is your reaction to criticism. Who are the intolerant ones here?

Other than Rory, why on earth would anyone be angry at you for posting this story? I think it is a fantastic story and with a few exceptions, the comments are great.Why would I be angry at Rochelle for posting the story? Of course I wanted LISnews readers to read my editorial. I'm not sure how you can say the comments are "great," unless by "great" you mean, "I agree with them." The one-sidedness of the discussion does tend to support my original point.I'd be disappointed if you gave up on LISNews because you felt your opinions were not welcome. I get the impression that LISNews strives to provide a forum where everyone has the opportunity to state their opinion. Encompassing everyone from the kooky-right to kooky-left. That should be considered a good thing. The notion that this is an open forum, that it doesn't have a frame of reference and a political culture which Blake has actively shaped, is a complete myth. For pointing this out I am called an "enemy of democracy and free speech."- Rory Litwin

And you really don't know me at all if you think I am a "true believer" (in the Eric Hoffer sense).What I am is a critic.- Rory Litwin

I am not using my account because I don't want to be a member of this community. I don't feel welcome here and this thread makes me feel even less welcome. This is an environment that I find intolerant of dissent and criticism.I also don't want to use my account because I'm not a big fan of this format as a mode of discussion and debate. I don't think it works very well. So, call it a "small act of resistance" against cyberculture.- Rory Litwin

Blake, the notion that this is an open forum, that it doesn't have a frame of reference and a political culture which you have actively shaped, is a complete myth. For you to look at such a one-sided discussion and call it an example of how open lisnews is makes my point perfectly.For pointing this out I am called an "enemy of democracy and free speech" and attacked in rather below-the-belt ways. I'm glad you "can't really add to that."- Rory Litwin

Blake, do you really think that that is what this is about? Then you are completely disregarding what I am saying.I don't think there is any way to compare Library Juice and LISNews - as I've said before, they are two completely different things, two different kinds of things, with different aims, different formats, different audiences. I'm anything but jealous or bitter towards you. Why can't you take my criticisms at face value and respond to my actual arguments?So far, no one has attempted to respond to my actual arguments! All I'm getting is abuse!!Rory Litwin

Not to be rude, but if you don't want to be a member why do you continue to frequent the site ?

You say that LISNews is any number of unsavory things, yet you continue to come here and debate. I don't begrudge you your opinion, but it seems like you want to take your toys and go home if everyone does not let you have your way.

I don't think Blake complains about your website, and I'm not certain why you feel the need to complain about his. If you really dislike it that much stop reading it, you have threatened it, stop crying wolf and do it.

To paraphrase Groucho Marx, perhaps you should not be the member of a club that will have you as a member.

Progressives tend to care about people and the future of the planet and conservatives about themselves.

Okay, so take as an example the Cuban dissidents sitting in prison and the Castro dictatorship's "progressive" apologists. Does this exemplify "progressives" caring about people? Or perhaps you defend communist tyranny for the future of the planet?