Brief And Rueful Thoughts Sparked By The Previous Post

This was yet another post on which the reactions of the dear departed Zoe Brain would be fascinating. I have to admit, I take it badly when a long-time commenter throws a snit and announces permanent departure. (The latest was Margie, a commenter here since 2010, who decided that I had become too “snarky.”) You try to nurture a relationship in the comments over time, and yet usually all it takes is a single comment, moderation choice, or issue disagreement to trash it all.  I remember vividly the angry exits of Ablativemeatshield, Liberal Dan, Ampersand, and Luke G. And those are  just the ones who announce their leave.

I really worry about the silently vanished. It’s stupid, but I do. Where’s Michael R,, the eloquent teacher, not seen in these parts since December, 2015? Whither Steven Mark Pilling, whose epic battles with tgt (also gone with the wind, with occasional sightings like the Ivory Billed Woodpecker) were worthy of a separate blog or a mini-series? Aaron Paschal? The nit-picking but mordantly amusing Brit, P.M. Lawrence? How about Karla Marie Robinett, who was gone for half a year, came back to say she was happy to be back, and vanished again? I liked it when The Ethics Sage dropped in for a scholarly chat.  Where did he go, and why? Rick Jones, “Curmie” of  “The Curmies,” is just a fond memory. FinleyOshea has been gone for more than a year: his last post just said, “test.” Ominous.  And its been almost four months since Ethics Alarms heard from Julian Hung, another reader from the blog’s beginning. Julian is an intermittent participant, but a sharp one. I’m officially concerned.

These and so many others are noticed when they go AWOL, and missed. New voices take their places, I know, and change is good, or can be. Still, even though I have never met most of these people, I feel their losses, and regret their departures. And that—I just erased a long list for fear of who I was forgetting—is why those loyal and passionate commenters who stay and ride out the storms and disagreements are so cherished and appreciated, even when I may sometimes not sound that way.

Carry on.


Filed under Romance and Relationships, The Internet

56 responses to “Brief And Rueful Thoughts Sparked By The Previous Post

  1. Wayne

    Jack, this is the only blog I regularly read. Although I remain a hard case, your commitment in lucidly covering these ethics issues is much appreciated as well as the folks who write thoughtful comments.

  2. fattymoon

    What we want is more restaurant adventures.

  3. Patrice

    I’m still here — sort of. Read what I have the time and stomach for.

    • I never saw your expression of gratitude for the touching words of admiration and support you received when you felt unfairly maligned! That was a compliment, you know.

      • Patrice

        Wait. What? Did I miss it?

        I am truly sorry if I seemed to ignore your touching expression of admiration and support when I felt unfairly maligned. I probably just didn’t see it. Oops.

        So, THANK YOU, whatever you said, because touching expressions of admiration and support don’t come along every day. Or even ever.

    • Chris

      I’m glad you’re still here.

  4. Phlinn

    I didn’t realize Zoe left. I must have missed the comment section where it happened.

    • She left after I banned Bruce Bartup, a hysterical Brit, whose clueless Trumpophobia got out of hand, and I banned him. She wrote:

      Regretfully, I must take my leave, and wish you well.I appreciate you not banning me, for if you banned Bruce, you must have been sorely tempted to, but feel I have worn out my welcome, so should do the polite thing and depart voluntarily.Many thanks for past posts, and please continue to emphasise the need for ethical considerations to be paramount in life.

      Yes, I suck at flouncing. Sorry. Best wishes.

      I made a special effort to dissuade her in a private e-mail, didn’t get a response, and I believe I had earned one.

      Our foreign readers don’t get the Trump phenomenon, and they have an excuse. The Americans who don’t get it don’t get the US, and have more in common with Bruce and Zoe than with their own neighbors. It’s a problem.

      • Other Bill

        They’re Citizens of the World, Jack. Citizens of the World. And they, unlike you, are on the Right Side of History.

        I still think you should host a cash bar some evening in Dallas or Chicago or some other central location. Or in D.C. That would be fun.

      • Chris

        I’d assumed Zoe left due to the transphobia she had to deal with from some commenters. Surprised it wasn’t over that.

        I had also thought Ampersand was banned, for some reason. Funnily enough, he and you are the only bloggers I follow regularly, and I discovered this blog through him. I’m glad I did. While I am often frustrated, it is definitely worth the price of admission.

        • Barry’s blog is terrific, which is why it’s still in my links list.(He removed Ethics Alarms from his.)

        • I find Barry insufferably smug, which is fine… I’m insufferably smug. But it’s his combination of insufferably smug and shallow vapidity that turns me away. He’s so one dimensional I’m surprised his comics aren’t just a six inch line.

          • Barry, perhaps more than anyone I know, would benefit by spending time outside his own fan club. His blog is now so far leftward, everyone looks like a Fascist.

            • Chris

              He engages frequently with Cathy Young on Twitter. His blog attracts several conservative commenters, though they’re overwhelmed by the liberals.

              I don’t find his cartoons any more smug or one-dimensional than those of any other political cartoonists, and unlike many others, he is willing to engage on a deep level with criticism of his cartoons.

  5. Going back to my first post and crawling forward…


    Paul W Schlecht…



    Arthur in Maine…

    Chase Martinez…


    Eric Monkman…

    Jeremy Wiggins…



    Joe Fowler…

    Ethics Bob…

    Andrew V…

    T Bird…

    Alan Rage…



    Diego Garcia…

    Edward Carney…

    Inquiring Mind…


    • (those are just from my first month of commenting)

    • At least half of those are still active. Zanshin commented today!

    • blameblakeart…2015. I miss him, but he was nuts.

      Paul W Schlecht…Two days ago!


      garlicfriesandbaseball…March 1, 2017

      Arthur in Maine…Today

      Chase Martinez…2015


      Eric Monkman…Xmas Eve. 2016

      Jeremy Wiggins…2013



      Joe Fowler…Today!

      Ethics Bob…Four days ago!

      Andrew V…2014

      T Bird…Can’t find him.

      Alan Rage…2014


      gregory… Can’t find him.

      Diego Garcia…Dec.,2016

      Edward Carney…Long Gone.

      Inquiring Mind…1/9/17


      • Well dang. Maybe I just missed their posts.

        Joe fowler, Arthur in Maine, Zanshin, and Inquiring Mind were the ones I recognized as soon as I clicked send.

        T Bird constantly switched between TBird, T. bird, T-Bird and other variants.

  6. valkygrrl

    Can’t imagine why they’d leave. 😦 Anyway, looking forward to your spirited defense of Steve King.

  7. Null

    Some day I’ll have the time to speak up more often, but until then, I’m still reading along.

  8. Steve-O-in-NJ

    I was here to see Luke G and ablative leave. Neither deserves to be allowed back, and I am frankly surprised you allowed ablative to pour his abuse on the other posters here as long as you did. Luke G acted like a complete ass and should also not be allowed back. Don’t know the others, but Liberal Dan tells me all I want to know about that guy. SMP was helpful as a supportive conservative, but he was a Bible-thumper and didn’t know when the conversation had tapped out. I assume, though, that the silently vanished, who have not deliberately created ill will, are welcome to return whenever, correct? I know I fell silent for a while myself, while I tried to get my head around your statement that voting for (ugh) Hillary was the only right thing to do given the circumstances.

    I know I’ve been prolific at times, but I am considering being a bit more selective, because sometimes these discussions get substantive, and sometimes they just degenerate into slanging one another. The fact is you’ve got some very intelligent, but also very opinionated folks on this blog, and we’re not likely to change each other’s opinions. You’ve also got some, well, uneven folks here, who sometimes tend to overreact and forget they are still talking to people, and who have hot buttons, triggers, and issues that make their brains liquefy and trickle out their ears, as well as some true believers in this or that, who think being cruel and vicious in their cause is all right. I know, I’m as guilty as anyone else. In real life discussions usually end long before they erupt into shouting, cursing, or fighting. Not so here, for better, probably, because I can think of at least three people I probably would have attacked in real life in a moment of rage, but for the worse because there is no threat of getting a black eye or your jaw broken or somebody waiting for you in the parking lot with a tire iron to make you keep a rein on what you are saying.

  9. Aaron paschall

    My apologies for not commenting often these days, Jack – I’m still an avid reader here! Just very much more selective about what I post online these days. I appreciate the callout – I’ll try to lurk less and continue more in the near future.

  10. Mark

    I appreciate this post, Jack. I stopped commenting substantively some time ago, but that had more to do with my, admittedly, tender feelings than anything else. Your regulars tend to be a rough and tumble bunch and often unsparing of feelings in making their points. As you know, for me, there is no view of the world that does not take into account our humanity – all of it – and that very softness is often a main point of attack, especially from the right. It is also the sure Achilles Heal of the left and until we realize that . . .

    I keep coming back to Ethics Alarms because the regulars who comment bring something to my life that is essential, an often clear view of the other side, beyond my own feelings about an issue. When I read some of the comments – like my reaction to many of your own posts – I often can’t find a reason to disagree even when my own shit gets stirred up or my precious beliefs challenged. I will pat myself on the back for taking that in (often without comment) and being challenged to consider the world beyond feeling or the strength of my own opinion.

    Back in the day, that was considered developing an “informed opinion” and you and your regular commentors contribute to what I hope is my own.

    • You are one of the most open-minded, decent and ethical people I know, Mark, and ever hope to know. Whenever you weigh in, it is a gift to the blog.

    • About 52 days ago during the inauguration, I had a FB friend who wanted to start a private group where there was a balance of D,L,R people to have respectful and enlightening conversations on political subjects – so as to not have it on their regular feeds and only include those who were interested in the subject matter. I took part, but my first point of business was to tell everyone to read EthicsAlarms. I told them there was even great information in the comment sections. They wouldn’t agree with everything that was written but if they wanted to understand the other side, they would certainly find it here, one way or another. Lastly, I said that they could comment, but be warned that it’s not a terribly hospitable environment for fools and nonsense.

      I don’t think a single person showed up here. Which is a shame.

      That little private group experiment lasted all of 3 days I think. In fairness, it deteriorated by a snarky R taking pot-shot quips and a totalitarian page owner, a D.

  11. Glenn Logan

    Having done the blogging thing for years, I always regretted losing long-time contributors in the comments. However, it comes with the territory. People change, get tired, get angry at some perceived slight from either you or some other commenter and decide to punish the offender even if it means the shotgun approach.

    The subjects you remark on are emotional things to some, and to be fair, you don’t suffer fools gladly. That can grate on people’s nerves, fair or unfair to you. Also, debate is allowed to be passionate, as it should be for a forum like this, and some people just can’t take the pressure of having to respond to negativity if their remark is unpopular. It can wear on you.

    Comings and goings are part of the medium, as I’m sure you know. You’d be surprised, I expect, at how many of the people you mention still read your work, but decline to comment.

    I know I come and go in the comments, despite being around a lot lately. It’s just how life goes.

  12. Neil Dorr


    Awww, you old softy. I always knew that deep down, in your creamy nougat center, you didn’t miss me.

  13. FWIW, I’m still here – just acting* more than writing. *I don’t mean theatrics.

  14. dragin_dragon

    I am a bit disconcerted by people disappearing, many apparently without warning. In part, this is because I am 71, and while I think my wife would let Jack know if something happened to me, maybe not. In any case, I come to this blog to learn, and I believe I have done so. Surprisingly, I have learned as much from people who do not agree with me as from those who do. I am especially grateful to Zoltar Speaks, who, while we usually agree, we don’t always do so and he is always willing to point out where I am in error.

    I am most grateful to our kind host, who is also willing to set me on the right course when I stray. To coin an old saying, Jack has probably forgotten more about ethics than I have ever known or will know.

    In any case, my hope is that I will be around for some years, if anybody cares, and look forward to many conversations with people I have come to consider more than acquaintances, maybe not quite friends, but close…close.

    • dragin_dragon wrote, “I am especially grateful to Zoltar Speaks”


      dragin_dragon wrote, “…Zoltar Speaks, who… is always willing to point out where I am in error.”

      Oh boy; I certainly resemble that remark. 😉 😉 😉

      • dragin_dragon

        I don’t want you to feel all by your lonesome, though. There are many people who are will do so, but I really do appreciate your comments. As I said, my whole reason for being here is to learn. You make that somewhat easier.

  15. Jeff H.

    Our most serious disagreement was probably about Everybody Draw Mohammad Day, but I think we were both respectful and it did nothing to dissuade my appreciation of your blog. Maybe I won’t be here forever, but I’ve been very patient with people who may not have deserved it before, so you’d have to say something really out there to push me away.

    My thinking is… if you forgive people who don’t deserve it, you can be pretty sure you forgave everyone who did.

  16. John Billingsley

    While I am a newcomer here in terms of commenting, I have been a lurker for quite a while. Several times I have sat for a couple of hours at a time reading older posts following a string of “related to” or “filed under” or just picking a date and seeing what was going on then. I always learn something especially when there is a good back-and-forth in the comments. I recognize many of the names mentioned above and would like to hear from them again. I appreciate all the feedback I’ve gotten on comments I’ve made. I’m in the same age range as dragin_dragon and I have some of the same concerns when people just disappear. I am hoping to be able to communicate with and learn from Jack and all of you for a long time into the future. My thanks to all of you.

  17. Julian Hung

    Honestly, the reason I haven’t been around is the same reason my commentating (both here and everywhere else) was so sporadic to begin with; I haven’t really been able to come up with anything I felt like was worth saying here, even by my already patchy standards. I still lurk around from time to time, though, if that means anything.

  18. Admittedly, I’ve noticed that I’ve not been commenting very much lately. I read all the posts, but usually only comment when I feel something needs to be said, and since it often takes a while for me to find the time to put a response together, it’s very likely someone’s already said it. Quite possibly better than I was going to, as in the case of the two comments of the day on intersectionality, which beat me to the punch with more trenchant, if also more ruthless, deconstruction.

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