March 16, 2009

by way of explanation

Hi guys,

You seem to have some confusion about why your comments are no longer appearing on clusterflock.

clusterflock is a community, not a democracy. Everything on the site is curated, comments included. We do our best to allow spirited discussion and debate. There are thousands of examples of this on the site. We draw the line at meanness or stupidity.

Of course, identification of these characteristics is arbitrary to some degree, and as I am human, I am fallible, but I take the responsibility seriously and that is why your comments are no longer included.

I’m sorry this has to be the case. _____, you seem to have enjoyed interacting on the site and this made me happy to see. You strayed toward meanness a few times, but mostly, these moments were discussed, and I thought you understood what was going on.

______, perhaps you have some personal animosity toward me, and if I have done anything to contribute to that, I am sorry. I have held you, and your creative work, in high regard. Wherever or whenever possible, I made an attempt to articulate this to you, to support you, to express that. Perhaps my anger at your tardiness or for what I saw as lack of support of ___ a few times has poisoned you against me. To whatever degree I am responsible for this, I apologize.

Your conduct on the site, however, has been deplorable, and the fact that you used _____’s name when you interacted turned the web site against _____ even more than his comments alone would have.

I am sending this email by way of explanation. I felt my first was perhaps too abrupt. I offer it only as a way to answer any questions you might have and in no way should be seen as a desire for further discussion. I have had genuine affection for both of you, which makes your choices all the more disappointing, and these emails all the more painful.

I wish for nothing but goodness for both of you.

Take care,



  1. walt on March 16th, 2009 at 11:44 am

    no offence Deron, but what’s the point in posting this?

    for those of us (like me) who don’t know what’s going on, it explains nothing.

    for those that do know what’s going on, it can easily be communicated by email instead.

    were you just trying to get someone’s ears burning?

    i ask this in all sincerity as a medium term lurker and ocassional commenter and the odd Chris Walken post to as well – I feel, well, invested in the site and its well being.

  2. Struan on March 16th, 2009 at 11:59 am

    A very lenient email.

  3. Deron Bauman on March 16th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Walt, no offense taken. I guess my first response is I thought it was interesting. Second, I offer it by way of explanation to those who are familiar with the circumstances. Third, perhaps it will stand as an explanation of our site policies. And, fourth, part of what I like about the site is the way the administrative details can become part of the surface.

  4. Daryl Scroggins on March 16th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I don’t know the exact situation here, but this post serves the fine purpose of indicating that something will be done if people abuse the opportunity to engage that Cluster offers. And this bodes well for the long and happy life of Clusterflock.

  5. walt on March 16th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Let this be an example to us all!

    Thanks Deron. I appreciate the explanation. Daryl’s remarks were also helpful in understanding what must be a difficult situation.

  6. Trelvix on March 16th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    This is about Cindy, isn’t it? She’s no good that one. I knew she would mess it up for the rest of us eventually.

  7. Cindy Scroggins on March 16th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Fuck you, Tracy.

  8. Sheila Ryan on March 16th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Walt — Greetings to a friend of the flock from a long-time flocker who doesn’t know Deron ‘personally’, which is to say that I met him and Amy once — briefly — in Dallas some years before clusterflock — on the occasion of an odd chance meeting with Deron’s and my friend Cooper Renner over the winter holidays. (And Deron doesn’t even remember the encounter, which was, incidentally, at a Luby’s outpost!)

    I can understand how Deron’s post might baffle someone who knows nothing of the circumstances, and I can even imagine how it might be kind of off-putting to such friends of the site as yourself. (Heck, I’m not even one hundred per cent positive myself as to the intended recipient(s) of his message, though I have a surmise.)

    In any event, I encourage you to stick around. Though I noted up-top that I don’t know Deron personally, over the three years I’ve enjoyed the privilege of contributing to clusterflock, I’ve come to admire him more and more. In fact, a couple of years ago (I think it was), I found myself embroiled in a very odd and personally painful situation with someone who’d begun submitting comments, and Deron handled each little crisis with a touch that was nothing short of just right.

    Now it’s true that he dealt with my situation privately, via email messages, but the circumstances were so oddly subtle and so particular to the individuals involved that going the private route made sense. If I read this recent upset correctly, it offered a good opportunity for Deron to make a public statement. Sure, he could have recast his private email message into a general statement of site policy before posting it, but I think that one of the greatest appeals that the clusterflock community holds for all of us who participate in it is the personal edge. Sometimes that means people will share private jokes or make other private references, but it’s like a big, friendly party at which friends of friends are welcome. If the people in the kitchen are reminiscing about their shared adolescence or spouting lines from a film you’ve not seen, like as not the people in the next room will be having a conversation to which anyone can contribute.

    So please don’t leave early, okay?

  9. Cindy Scroggins on March 16th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    By the way, I have my theories about just who this Christopher Walken fellow might be.

    Fuck you again, Tracy.

  10. walt on March 16th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Sheila, oh, I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. I was just left confused initially by the post and needed the explanation that Deron made subsequently.

    Your comments were very helpful too in understanding the nature of this place.

    I plan on being a little more extroverted around here from now on, actually. I like the place.

  11. Sheila Ryan on March 16th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Groovalumptious, Walt. I guess I didn’t really think you were going to go home early!

  12. Cindy Scroggins on March 16th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Yes, Walt–what Sheila said. We definitely want you to stick around! The longer you hang around, the more these seemingly obscure references will come into focus.

    Take my saying of Fuck You to Tracy. You’ll find that I do this a lot. You might be tempted to think of this as some kind of private joke that Tracy and I share. But it’s not.

  13. Sheila Ryan on March 16th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Yeah, don’t think that Cindy’s “Fuck you, Tracy” declarations are something exclusive to Cindy and Tracy. I think “Fuck you, Tracy” in my head all the time. I just don’t say it out loud.

  14. Daryl Scroggins on March 16th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    When I was about ten years old I read Call of the Wild and wondered why a man who loved his dog so much would grab it by the head and “whisper curse words into its ear” to encourage it. I understand this now. But at the time I just took the concept and applied it broadly.

  15. Tracy on March 16th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    And I feel cheated if I don’t get at least one “Fuck you, Tracy” out of SOMEONE here every week or so.

    This place has a delicate way of subverting platitudes and keeping polite discourse on its toes. That’s why I continue to lurk.

    I don’t post because I’m not as creative or intelligent as these fine folks but I’ll admit to fishing for the occasional “Fuck You, Tracy” if for no other reason than confirm that I do maintain the status of sentient smart ass.

  16. Cindy Scroggins on March 16th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Ah, Tracy, that’s sweet. Fuck you a lot.

  17. Sheila Ryan on March 16th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Sentient smart ass. Is that like a learn-ed donkey?

  18. Tracy on March 16th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Yes, Sheila. Only with opposable thumbs and an ironic mustache.

  19. Aaron Winslow on March 16th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    My sentient smart ass has an opposable moustache. And an ironic thumb.

  20. Phil Bebbington on March 16th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Tracy, I’m so glad that you and I don’t post for the same reasons!

    As for this post – there have been instances (posts) the contents of which have offended me deeply even though I am new here – I thank you, Deron, for dealing with it and for being open with your words.

    This is a delightful place to be where newcomers can feel as comfortable as old hands – of course, none of you ladies are old (he said, hastily retreating). Posting isn’t easy in the presence of such smart asses — perhaps I should add tight asses as well!

    Knowing that the core of what this is about is being taken care of, really makes me happy.

    I need more Whisky.

  21. range on March 16th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I have no idea what this is about, then again I don’t read all of the comments. I did notice a lame Christopher Walken post, which was removed shortly.

    Speaking of which, FMYLife is hilarious. Always makes me feel better.

  22. Marcia Weiner on March 16th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Are you on DRUGS!
    (Not enough or on the wrong ones.)
    The fact that you would do this long post on your blog is ludicrous.
    What makes you think I would even SEE it? I never visit this site and have only looked the very few times that David has pointed something out.

    Barbara told me about this bizarre post.
    Who were you writing to?
    Not to ME! It didn’t come to my email address!
    All I got was some strange two or three lined thing saying that clusterflock was not a democracy but a closed society.

    Hey! Why didn’t you just say that in the beginning?
    I NEVER would have looked on your blog.
    I have no desire to be part of the repressed airless world of censorship.
    I enjoy sharing ideas, thoughts and have real and open discussions about art.

    That’s not allowed here.

    Did you REALLY read what I said about the photograph of Amy in tights?
    Did you notice how beautifully written, how clear my ideas?
    But most important, did you take the time to notice that I never talked about you or Amy PERSONALLY. I only was interested in, and only refered to the composition of the photograph.

    Because that’s how real people talk about art.
    People who are open.
    People who are unafraid.
    People who WANT to grow.

    What came AFTER, was the sad part.
    The threats, the name calling, the meaness.
    Your bloggers tried real hard to protect you.

    And from what.

    I commented on that picture because it looked like you were trying to do something different, really compose a photograph. And I felt like you were so close, there was so much there to work with.

    I did nothing wrong, and nothing different from what goes on everyday at Brookhaven, The Craft Guild, or anywhere else people interested in art gather to talk about art.

    Of course clusterflock is your house, and you can invite anyone you want to your own house.

    But if a small group of fairly well educated ,mostly white people (who consider themselves liberals) can’t get their heads around the idea of freely expressing thoughts and ideas ,then that’s a dark slippery slope down into Arthur Miller’s Crucible and into the pond of Gentleman’s Aggreement.

    You can stay there and hold on to everything real tight.
    But I am proud to say, I ain’t never going to that house.


  23. Deron Bauman on March 16th, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Hi Marcia,

    I’m not sure why you didn’t get the email. My posting this has nothing to do with you. I’m sorry it doesn’t make sense to you.

    Take care,