I have an account at Factnet, which is an anti-cult site. Lyndon Larouche is one of the cults being discussed and I am a member at that forum. Usually when I visit not much is happening. However, in January the Larouche site posted yet another screed, in which I was named. About the same time a character named ace appeared at the site. Thus began a long period of posts and counterposts involving ace and several members. I finally got involved, largely because I was tired of being accused of stalking Robert Beltran. I never have, although the Larouche organization, of which Beltran is a member, would like to convince you otherwise.
The tone of the posts escalated, to the point that ace put up 3 posts in succession involving friends of mine and including an offensive personal comment. I informed the administrator who issued a warning to ace and cautioned ace that if he didn't get a grip it would not go well for him. Ace apparently did not get the message and was permanently banned yesterday. The rest of us got a warning. Given that I dueled with ace, when perhaps it might have been better to ignore him, I accept that a warning was likely warranted.
One thing that was discussed, and I am still not certain about, is whether or not the Larouche organization had gone on the offensive at Factnet via ace. One item we discussed was whether or not this was a team effort, or a single person. Ace claimed to live in the Chicago area, to be married, to own a home, to be a 'legal' observer, and that he was not a member of the organization. I disputed the 'legal' observer part given his full throated participation in the life of the board. I also disputed his claim that he was not a member, pointing out that his behavior proved otherwise.
Today, one of ace's cheerleaders showed up to complain about her boy getting booted and oh the injustice of it all. I am all for freedom of expression, and I recognize that the expression can be annoying and sometimes downright offensive. However, context matters when judging what should or should not be said. Context requires judgement and humans are not always reliable in terms of making good judgements. Deliberately lobbing personal attacks on people you do not know in order to hurt someone at a forum, deliberately engaging in personal attacks on people rather than arguing the issues, deliberately misrepresenting yourself, are all indicators that perhaps that poster needs to leave. At least in my view they do because the issues are no longer the focus of the forum. Ace did a great job disrupting the forum. When he was banned all of his posts were stripped off the forum, which shrank by 50 pages! Hopefully we will all do a better job managing ourselves should he, or a friend, return. For now, I am not sad that he is gone.