There has been a lot of speculation, rumors, and gossip about what happened between the Ravelry PTB and the Bunker moderators that led to the Bunker group being shut down. So far, I have kept quiet waiting for the right thing to be done, but now I’m going to set the record straight and present our side of the story.
In the spring of 2008, I started a pro-McCain group on Ravelry. From my experience in other Conservative groups, I knew that I was in for a rough ride, so I implemented the Deletion policy of guests who were there to stir up trouble and argue. I made it very clear in the group rules who we were, and that posts to “educate” us were not appropriate. Casey and I had a discussion about this and he allowed me to continue the policy until the day the Bunker closed. He understood that it was much better for the members to not have troll posts sitting around – much like if someone took a crap in the middle of your living room, you wouldn’t just let it sit there and stink the whole place up – you clean it up and go on with your day. I want to make it clear that Casey was well aware of the policy and approved it.
More problems came when we changed the name to “The Bunker”. Small minds went immediately to the Hitler reference, which it wasn’t. The President of the United States has a bunker below the White House as well as bunkers being used throughout military history. If anyone has watched an episode of “24”, the Presidential bunker has been used many times in the show. It’s a command center that provides safety from outside forces – much like our group had become for Conservatives on Ravelry who were under constant attack from Obama supporters all over the rest of Ravelry. That was the meaning behind the name – nothing more. Besides, Hitler’s regime resembles Obama’s thought process, not ours – so the irony is quite humorous.
But now to the situation at hand…
The demise of the Bunker has been placed on the moderators of the group. This is not the whole story. We worked diligently behind the scenes to keep the dramas to a minimum. Casey and I did have a discussion about a month ago about having problems with one of our mods, but after a discussion, he said he would handle it instead of putting me in an uncomfortable position (which is what I had done for him when he needed something done that would have put him in a tight spot).
Casey told us more than once how nice it was to work with us, much more than other groups and how our members weren’t the kind that attacked him (until he unfairly shut down the Bunker). He has also admitted that our moderators were thrown under the bus and that our entire relationship was not dysfunctional. We were not given the same chance as other controversial groups to re-organize – just a notice that we were being shut down. Casey has told me that I should have been notified first to see if something could have been done to correct the problems he was having with some of our mods – but now it’s too late and he doesn’t know how to fix it without causing more problems.
The Bunker was a lightning rod for those who didn’t agree with our political opinions and couldn’t seem to follow the Ravelry rules to leave other groups around, so the majority of the moderators’ time was spent dealing with BS flags, PMs, posts, and very conflicting information. For instance, we were told that it was okay to say that Sarah Palin should be raped with a hockey stick, Dick Cheney should be pushed off a cliff, and other sorts of things, because that was just “venting” but a comment about Obama’s scarf was twisted around in circles to make it look like a “threat” and should be deleted. Pictures of Nazi propaganda with GOP symbols in place of swastikas was fine, as was calling GWBush a Nazi, but mention it the other way and it was “hate speech”. Calling us “Repugs” and “fundies” was fine, but “libturd” was not cool. The examples of the double standard could go on forever, but all of this led to us being very confused as exactly how to moderate within the Rav guidelines when there wasn’t a consistent standard to follow. Did we make mistakes? Absolutely – we weren’t perfect, but then there’s only one person in the history of man who can claim that title and it isn’t any of us.
I don’t know of many other mods in other groups who more than once had to sit at the computer for 30 - 45 minutes straight deleting all the posts of people who refused to follow the rules of Ravelry and insisted they had the right to post things on our board that violated the group rules. That’s the kind of crap we had to deal with and as far as some kind of “culture of hate” on our group – just look around Ravelry and I think that moniker fits a lot more with other groups than it did with ours.
All we ever wanted was to be left alone to enjoy each other’s company, but I guess the “get in their faces” order from their Dear Leader went to an unending loop in some supporter’s brains and they just couldn’t get over it.
So let's fast forward a few weeks now - It seems that Casey has decided to ban almost all the members of the off-Rav site of the Bunker because he terms them "disruptive". Yet another load of horse crap. More on that little piece of idiocy later.