Against A Brick Wall (AABW) Information Sheet / FAQ
This post will (hopefully) tell you everything you need to know about AABW. Be sure to read it all before applying for membership.
What is AABW?
"Against A Brick Wall" is the name I chose for my personal blog, which I created in early September to express my thoughts and emotions about issues of concern to me, which at that time primarily revolved around the upcoming US elections. I enjoyed blogging very much, but hated the format -- I found it clumsy, and the commenting facility was particularly poor-featured. I also disliked the primarily "one-way only" nature of blogging.
I created this forum as an offshoot of that blog, to allow me to continue to express my viewpoints but also to build a community of high-quality people in an environment more conducive to discussion, and also to let other good folks share their views with me more easily.
Why the Name "Against A Brick Wall" Mean?
It's a double entendre, meant to represent two different images that I sometimes think of as applying to myself. The first is the person who bangs his head against a brick wall, which I often feel like I am doing when I have to deal with the nonsense that pervades society. The second evokes the image of "subversives" who are lined up against a wall by the "authorities". Although I don't ever plan to do anything that will lead to this happening to me in real life, I do often see myself "going against the flow" in more subtle ways.
Why Does the Site Show Up Under pcguide.com?
I have a domain already set up for the new site, but I can't use it until November 20th due to a technical glitch, so this is a temporary address.
What is AABW's Structure?
AABW is designed to be a small, intimate board. At the start it has only two main rooms: a public discussion room and a community discussion room. The former, as the name implies, can be read by anyone; the latter is members only. More rooms will be created in the future if growth warrants this.
My goal for this place will always be quality over quantity, in terms of number of members, rooms and posts.
How is AABW Run?
AABW is a "benevolent dictatorship" -- it's my private board and I am solely in charge of its operation. I have many years' experience in running communities, and while I haven't always been entirely successful, I think I am pretty good at it.
There are no "moderators" or other lieutenants on this board -- I expect all members to act like adults and police themselves.
I will always try to be as fair to everyone as possible. In the end, though, this is not a democracy and I have the final say on all decisions.
What are the Rules of AABW?
In my experience, lengthy lists of rules are counter-productive: people who want to be a productive part of the community don't need them, and those who do not only use the rules list as something to push against. So I am keeping this very simple:
1. No discussions of illegal activities (bomb making, starting a revolution, or whatever.)
2. Act like a decent, reasonable human being. Strive to treat others as you would if you were talking to them in person. I realize that arguments can get heated, and I am sure that on occasion there will be conflicts, but these can be handled as long as it is infrequent.
3. Keep private information private: don't post private messages or copy information out of the Community forum.
Who is Welcome as a Member at AABW?
Anyone whom I view as a person I'd be interested in talking with on a regular basis. That's intentionally vague, but represents my personal compromise between a community where everyone agrees with each other all the time (boring) and a community where everyone is at each other's throats (aggravating). Again, this is not a public forum, it is a private one, and I view it as the electronic equivalent of "my living room".
I will describe myself a bit here, for this reason: if I am the sort of person you can't stand or wouldn't want to deal with, then I don't want you here. Disagreeing with me is fine -- it is what makes discussions worthwhile -- but if you just utterly hate what I stand for, go somewhere else, because I don't really want to hear about it.
My personal views are not easily categorized; I don't fit well on the conventional "left/right" assessment scales. I consider myself as a "liberaltarian" -- a left-leaning libertarian. Some of my views are typically "liberal": I believe strongly that society must protect and nurture children, strive for equality and fairness, and work to help those who are downtrodden or just down on their luck. Other views many would consider classically conservative: I believe in a strong military for defence purposes (but not military adventurism), fiscal responsibility, and proper enforcement of the law on issues such as illegal immigration.
I am of a Jewish background, but am not religious. I think that moderate religious beliefs can be a force for good in society, while extreme or fundamentalist religion is nearly always destructive and worthy of opposition.
In the past I have supported both Republican and Democratic candidates. I was a fan of George W. Bush in 2000 but eventually became one of his biggest opponents due to his incompetence and abuse of power. I also used to really like John McCain but grew to hate him in 2008, again, due to his own actions. I have also been thoroughly disgusted by the race-baiting, divisive behavior of Republicans during this year's election.
My disgust at what the Republican party has become leads some to consider me an "extreme left-winger", which I am not; there are many conservatives, like Andrew Sullivan, who feel the same way I do. (Please see this essay on my blog on the topic.) I am not a big fan of the left at all, they just haven't been nearly as responsible for our recent societal disasters -- I'm sure that I'll grow to detest them more if and when they gain power.
Note that while I am very interested in politics myself, especially during pivotal times such as elections, I do not envision this board as being solely about politics.
Finally, I have no interest in dealing with rabid propagandizing partisans, conspiracy kooks, Johnny-one-notes, mindless bigots or stupid people; none are welcome on this board.
How Do I Apply for Membership?
Drop me an email at the address "ixl-aabw" at "pcguide.com". In the email, please provide a brief description of who you are, why you want to be part of the community, and what username you would like to use. If you are approved I will create your account and you'll automatically get an email from the system with your password.
Please only apply if you plan to participate -- I am not interested in growing a huge membership of "lurkers".
Thanks for reading!