Date: 2/22/21 7:13 pm
From: Stephen T Bird <isseki.ryotoku...>
Subject: [obol] Re: I’m willing to be banned for supporting women
I stand with George on this one, and others who replied on the previous
thread (kudos again to Sarah Merkle for the data). *Sexual assault is a
very important topic to me, I chose to believe its important to everyone
here no matter the current misunderstandings - conviction, punishment, and
reduction of assualts its one of the most important issues facing our

As a long standing member and moderator of other community boards (birds
and otherwise) but a recent member to OBOL, I've been surprised at the
tolerance of harassing individuals on this listserv; a specific offender in
the last week is obvious; but beyond that I've seen serious incivility and
harassing on this listserv in the last year. I'm happy to use my voice
where others, more affected by such harassment, might not feel or be able

OBOLs guidelines state: "OBOL has operated for many years with a minimal
level of moderation and formal rules, relying on a common understanding of
civility and a shared focus on birding." Guidelines 6 & 9 are also pertinent
<>, me simply citing them here
might miss the point. We're a community, and so sometimes important
community norms - like those shared by Sarah Swanson - come up. I
appreciate OBOLs common sense approach, but as I've seen here "common
understanding" is, as we see in so many latin names, *vulgaris: *derived
from the masses, it is not always equally distributed or equally
understood. Wikipedia
has great guidelines on civility
<>(note "editors" within
the article can be simply translated as Wikipedia posters), perhaps they
might serve as a good framework. Anyone participating in an online
community should read them; or anyone just wanting to communicate better.
Everyone should re-read them before replying (I did): your words have

Perhaps a refresher of community norms is due (or should be outlined
somewhere), as well as consequences to violation of those community norms
whatever they might be (1. so they can be easily understood by people
making a determination about joining, 2. pointed to by moderators when
someone violates those norms, and 3. without surprise, offenders can
understand a period of moderation or even removal if they don't stop, and
community members can trust that will happen). I've seen quite a few chains
which unexpectedly devolved into "no one cares what your opinion is" (that
should be a flag), and I suppose now I'm questioning if the OBOL
community/board/moderators are siding with the loudest bully here when the
conversation is just quieted rather than making a statement one way or the
other. I'm a firm believer of letting people come around to their own
apology, the more you call someone out the more recalcitrant they can
become, *if *they are willing; and us trying to all get along because gosh
y'all, focus on birds! (they're pretty great!); but without moderators/the
board definitively stepping in on these things more quickly to stop them
(which might be an unpractical amount of moderation responsibility) or a
statement of community values after the fact, I'm left with a feeling of
ambivalence to the hostility: saying nothing to stop bullying is also
silencing important members of the community.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of
the *oppressor*. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you
say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” -
Desmond Tutu

With respect to everyone in the conversation,
Stephen Johnston

ps This is a great community. Wonderful to hear the level of conversations,
interest, and activity on. Let's keep it that way. I love the emails so
simple as "I saw a junco!" to just remind us what this is about.

Also remember we're in a global pandemic and the last year has been wild
for a variety of reasons! Birding has been a great salve for that at times,
but in other communities it's useful to be reminded of resources for people
under additional stress, remember we aren't all at our best right now, and
pause... you don't know what the person at the other end of the screen is
thinking and feeling.

On Mon, Feb 22, 2021 at 10:24 AM George Miller <gmiller1751...>

> This is my first post to this community and perhaps my last. I greatly
> enjoy learning from the many reports, stories, etc. that happen here and
> I’m always surprised and in awe of the depth of knowledge to be found in
> its discussions. I’ve only been birding for a couple of years, but I’m an
> old-timer as far as life goes.
> In the past year, OBA has issued statements of support regarding POC and
> now women. This latest one contains the following line: “ We are committed
> to the work of making birding inclusive and welcoming for everyone in
> Oregon.” Sounds great, but the key word there is work. It takes work to
> educate people who hold ignorant, outdated views, especially when they hurt
> others. I previously spent 20 years on active duty with the United States
> Navy - most of it in the immediate company of other white guys like myself.
> I can attest to the fact that most guys find it easy to latch on to these
> I’ll-advised generalizations. It keeps them in the good ‘ol boys club,
> supports their desire to be right or feel superior to other men and
> especially POC and women. It is a problem with society at large as well as
> OBA’s society in particular.
> It is, however, something that can be remedied through intelligent
> discussion, and that has to happen here if OBA is serious about doing the
> “work”. Sarah Merkle made the most thoughtful, considerate post yet on the
> subject, and even provided supporting evidence. Sarah, I salute you!
> In the interest of future success, safety, and participation for these
> groups that OBA claims to support, I disagree with the demands and even
> threats from the Moderator that this important discussion be terminated. No
> healing or enlightenment will ever result from not talking about it. Of
> course it must happen with the utmost respect shown for all who desire to
> participate in that discussion. The only ones that should be banned or
> further moderated are the people that hold unrelenting, disparaging views
> regarding POC, women, the LGBTQ community, etc. At least one of the
> obstinate posters on this topic of women also made crude remarks when OBA
> published its statement of support for people of color, and needless to
> say, threatening to sue and call the police on fellow birders is
> counterproductive to progress. It is also counterproductive to OBA’s stated
> goals to allow them to persist, as it serves to alienate new generations of
> Oregon birders. Uncomfortable conversations are not fun, but that is where
> problems are solved and advancements in the best interest of the community
> are born. I therefore urge you, Moderator, to keep the lines of
> communication open. If not, OBA’s statements will remain merely words.
> Respectfully,
> George Miller
> Hillsboro

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