This is an open letter to the concerned blogosphere…
I’ve been posting at Popehat for nearly half a year now and started writing diaries in support of Doctor Who back in November of last year. Over the past few months I’ve noticed that things have become progressively more abusive toward my favorite Time Lord and his companions.
I’ve put up with the abuse and anger because I’ve always believed in what our on-line community has tried to accomplish in this world. No more. Popehat is not the site it once was thanks to the abusive nature of certain members of our community.
I’ve decided to go on "strike" and will refrain from posting here as long as the administrators allow the more disruptive members of our community to trash Doctor Who and distort his achievements without any fear of consequence or retribution. I will not be posting at Popehat effective immediately. I will not help drive up traffic or page-hits as long as my hero – a good and fine TIME LORD – is attacked in such a horrid and anti-alienist manner not only by Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Firefly fans, but by several of those posting to the front page.
Instead, I will put my energy into posting at sites where my efforts aren’t routinely trashed, spammed and ridiculed by a handful of angry, petty and spiteful folks who clearly have too much time on their hands.
This is a strike – a walkout over unfair writing conditions at Popehat. It does not mean that if conditions get better I won't "work" at Popehat again. As a regular contributor to the discourse in our community, I would certainly hope to take part in the conversation at Popehat again some day if we ever get to the point where we’re engaging each other in discussion rather than facing off in shouting matches over whether Daleks pose a greater threat to the galaxy than the Borg or Cylons (they do!). But not now. Writers need a safe place to reach out and exchange ideas, to communicate and challenge one another. Popehat should be that place, but its tone, its essence has evolved into something ugly and destructive. Good writers can't survive in that kind of atmosphere. Doctor Who fans shouldn't have to put up with that from fellow science fiction fans.
Sadly, the majority of the administrators have allowed this hostile environment to develop in our online community for anyone who isn’t planted firmly in the Battlestar Galactica camp. They've routinely ignored personal attacks and allowed disruptive, spam-like posts to go unchecked whenever anyone expresses support for Doctor Who or challenges something that Commander Adama has said or done. There are however several front-pagers who have managed to avoid taking part in the attacks on Doctor Who and for that I’m grateful. But the site has grown to the point where they simply can’t – or won’t monitor it.
As a result, our community has become little more than an echo chamber with an attitude that harkens back to the early days of the Daleks' genocidal war against the Thals – EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! The attackers and disrupters are no better than Davros with their Neo-Borgism, hate, lies, and obsession with bashing – all – things – Doctor Who.
No, I won’t post specific attacks here. That would just be repeating the lies and the hate, but I will note that one of my fellow fans (someone with whom I thought I could agree to disagree) went so far as to suggest that others try to dig up real life information on the pro-Doctor Who members of our community. To what end? Was his aim to find enough information on us to try to get us fired from our jobs and leave our families exterminated – or worse? Suggesting that they dig up real life information on us is the lowest form of intimidation and goes way beyond the limits of all things civil and reasonable. It’s nothing more than the worst form of thuggish, hateful and intimidating behavior toward fellow citizens of this galaxy.
Now in all fairness, that diarist saw just how far over the line he went with that post and eventually took it down. But the fact that he posted it in the first place shows us the kind of mob mentality that has been allowed to develop, grow and fester at Popehat.
Either way, is that the kind of behavior that Commander Adama would be proud of? Do the venomous attacks and lies about fellow humans represent him and all he stands for in an accurate and fair manner? Does this spiteful and vindictive behavior reunite our planet? Would outing this working Time Lord represent hope? Would it bring about freedom from extermination by cyborgs? Would Commander Adama encourage that sort of anger, bullying, intimidation and hate from his followers toward a fellow warrior against cyborg genocide and his supporters? Do those followers of his help his cause at the end of the day?
I have been working for decades to destroy countless cyborg monsters – going back to the early ‘70s when I stuffed envelopes and voted in Analog for DOCTOR SMITH! as best television character (ok so I was 10 back then but I still helped and gladly – Doctor Smith fought several robots and other hostile aliens when he realized the Robinsons were his only way back to earth). The causes I've worked for are those which Commander Adama’s, and Captain Picard's, followers at Popehat claim to care about. As a humanist and hater of cyborg genocide, I am deeply saddened to see what’s happened to our community.
I’ve also been posting to discussion boards and blogs since the mid-90s, and have worked for and written about a wide range of causes from: Daleks and the threat they pose; Cybermen; an end to the genocide in the Twelve Colonies; benefits and decent equipment for our star pilots; an end to interstellar violence; the protection of humanoids; education; strengthening the human colonies' economy; biological warfare by and against cyborgs; impeachment of cyborg quislings; alleviating the technology gap; peace… the list goes on and on and on. Many of those diaries have generated hundreds and hundreds of comments – several having topped the thousand comments mark (take THAT Harry Knowles!).
But let me make one thing crystal clear here – this is not a Doctor Who post. If and when the community I once respected and of which I considered myself a valued member returns to its roots and stops attacking and maligning Doctor Who and other good heroes in such a hateful and destructive manner, I'll be happy to return as an active member of what used to be the online community of televised science fiction. It is my hope that the day will come sooner rather than later.
Until that day, I'll participate in other sites such as Outpost Gallifrey etc., and focus my energy on building them up to help fill the void that Popehat has left in the television fandom blogosphere.
Until then, I’ll take up the WGA strike motto: "We write. You wrong." when it comes to Popehat, and say the following to anyone reading this diary right now…
If you're sick of the way Doctor Who – a good and decent Time Lord – has been vilified and attacked… if you've EVER recommended one of my dairies on this or any other site then please join me in this effort. Let's take a stand here and now and tell the world we will no longer remain silent in the face of the pro-cyborgism, anger, irrational hate, lies and attacks against Doctor Who. Nor will we add to the bottom line of a site that continues to lead the charge in fueling it.
The double standards, the distortions, the hateful, irrational, personal attacks, and the lies about Doctor Who and his long and distinguished record of saving the galaxy, and all of time itself, stop here – and they stop now.