The split of the critical Scientology IRC channel on three different servers reflects the increasing problem critics have had addressing the issue of dissenters.
The split from the original server on efnet to a private server was mostly due to critics' inability to adequately answer dissenting voices such as that of Diane Richardson. The only "answer" they found was to create an environment from which these dissenters would be excluded. They effectively stopped dissenting voices this way, and could freely go about discussing between themselves how awful Scientology was and how outrageous was the fact that the CoS was against free speech ;-)
The split from the private server to the Dalnet server occurred apparently because certain critics tightened their criteria for banning even more and ended up banning someone against the opinion of other critics who then split up to dalnet.
We now have the following situation:
The #scientology channel on this network was the original one. It was very lively and a great debating place because of its open policy. Banning was restricted only to technical reasons and not on content-based reasons. Things went well as long as the debate was between critics and Scientologists, and as long as differences between critics weren't fundamental. With time, however, moderate critics increasingly questioned the moral, integrity and logic of the more extreme critics until the tension became too great for extreme critics to support. Critics requested Bill Hudson and Marina Chong, channel operators, to ban people like Diane Richardson, but much to their credits, these refused. There was nothing else to do for these critics, then, to split and create their totalitarian setting on another server.
The efnet channel still exists, and
still welcomes everybody without distinction, but it is currently rather quiet
for a double reason. 1) Extremist among critics who agreed with the banning of
dissenters moved to their new server on irc.lies, while 2) moderate critics
became bored (and disappointed) with the issue in general and drifted away from
IRC and anti-Scientology activism. The channel however receives occasional
visits from people like Diane Richardson, Keith Spurgeon, Dennis Erlich,
myself, Tim, "Some_one", Keith Wyatt, etc..
The channel on this network apparently came about after a drift among critics on their "protected" server, and had mostly to do with the Minton issue. After a dispute surrounding the film "The Profit", Mirele, an IRC participant, started to actively oppose Bob Minton and the LMT. After a while, of course, she got banned from the channel. Mirele, however, is considered an "effective critic" by other participant, who then decided to split from the server and create their own channel on Dalnet. These were ptsc, kady, snefru and tikk, but other critics, like Olanz, Warrior or clkates, joined in later, creating in effect a split of about 50/50 between the two servers. (Note: Warrior asked me to correct this sentence in that he didn't split from scientologylies in favor of altreligionscientology but always maintained participation in both channels. This, by the way, would also be true for other participants such as phr or hkhenson.)
The tolerance towards dissent on the part of "effective critics" didn't extend, however, to tolerance towards "cult apologists" such as yours truly, "bitches" such as Diane Richardson, or "twits" such as lex. After a couple of short appearances during which I basically said nothing, I found myself on a ban list published in ARS on March 1. My name was still on the list published March 21, the last time I checked. Anymore than for PTSC's banning me from the "open channel" of irc.lies, I was never given the slightest reason for the banning. Lex was banned too. As for Diane, though she didn't even step into the channel at all, I was told by snefru that she would probably get banned on short notice if she tried.
Update Jun 5, 2002 - since Minton started to testify against the anti-cult side, Lex was unbanned and Diane welcomed again. In ARS too, Diane switched from the label of "insane" to "insightful". Diane, of course, never changed, but they now all agree on a common cause... This further goes to show that all the talks about being banned for "behavior" and not for dissent is just hypocrisy. Another sign that, despite their claims to the contrary, nothing has fundamentally changed is that when I tried to join on the "new policy", I was promptly banned by Kady who used the excuse that I had no other purpose to participate in IRC other than to "chart" people. To better understand ptsc's and kady's wrath check out my exposing of their dirty tricks in their glorious "fight" against the eeevil cult Here and here.
Update Jun 7, 2002 - When Keith Wyatt logged in the channel, efish objected to his presence. She didn't provide any specific reasons other than insults. Tikk then banned him (by the way, Tikk, who complains that journalists are not interested anymore in Scientology (quite understandably so seeing critics' double standards) and who boasts about the supposed openness of his channel, also saw fit to help kady ban me when she was so upset by my mere presence that she kicked someone else instead :-) Keith Wyatt is of course a well known dissenter too and has been critical of critics for a long time. Check out his web page that includes a fair amount of Henson criticism (Henson is a regular of the dalnet channel too).
Update Aug 12, 2002 - The
channel moved back to the Undernet network, supposedly because "dalnet
sucks" - dixit ptsc. I personally think that it is the so-called "free
speech activists" who indulge in and support arbitrary bans and kangaroo
courts who suck - but, hey, YMMV ;-)
The lies channel on the private server is the closest channel of the three. People who can't somehow "identify" themselves through a sort of sec check, will be banned. Needless to say, people such as I or Diane are banned too. The channel is mostly made of people like Arnie Lerma, BunnyAnn, Jeff Jacobsen, Druid and other "wasmon", "ed", or "merk". Most of them are "pro-minton", as opposed to people one the Dalnet channel who are for the most part "anti-Minton".
After I queried critics in ARS about the status of Diane on an "open channel" on that server, BunnyAnn made a big effort and declared that the "scientology" channel, as opposed to the lies channel, would be open to all, including Diane. The effort, however, was short-lived. Diane was not interested to attend, while I made myself occasional appearances. Apparently, my mere presence was already too much for ptsc who kicked me from the server altogether without providing any reasons whatsoever. Requests made in ARS as to the reason for the ban from this supposedly "open to all channel" didn't receive any answer either, apart from rather hilarious after-the-facts "rules" dreamed up by BunnyAnn in an attempt to excuse ptsc. Now that ptsc and kady moved to the dalnet channel, however, I am again able to access the server, though I am promptly kicked out the lies channel and occasionally (still for no reasons whatsoever) from the "open to all" channel by people like "ed".
Update July 2002 - I have now access again to all the channel on that server.
A rich source of exchange, cross-fertilization, common reflection, information and entertainment during the height of the efnet channel, the three critical channel through which critics are currently split form a rather sterile and quite pathetic ensemble.
The initial channel on efnet, while still open to all, is mostly deserted by both extremists and moderate critics, but for different reasons (see above).
The Dalnet channel, while boasting to be "more open" than the irc.lies one, is populated by hypocrites who "protest" a ban against dissenters they agree with, while actively supporting arbitrary bans towards dissenters they disagree with.
As for the irc.lies channel, it is so closed that people in there will soon suffocate by lack of fresh air.
Needless to say, nothing productive or instructive comes out from either of the two last channels, and critics legal defeats have never been as important since they started to retreat in closed channels to "protect" themselves from "OSA spies" : Dismissal of the McPherson criminal case, jeopardy of the McPherson civil case, total defeat on the Henson case, complete loss of the Spanish suit, etc.
Most important of all, the Scientology critical channels have shown that, when it comes to actually apply the principles of free speech rather than just talk about it, critics ended up behaving exactly like what the supposedly oppose, using the same mindset and the same kind of rationalization to justify it.
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