In Praise of Josh Timonen…

Update:

I have something extraordinary and positive ot report at last.

Search is now working on RD.net, and those of us not deleted can retrieve our posts laborious a sit might be for our personal usage. 🙂

A sincere thank you to Josh and Richard for this.

So, the anger and outrage about recent events at RichardDawkins.net continues unabated.   I think it’s two days now  since I jokingly posted a thread at Rationalia.com called “In Praise of Josh Timonen”, the rather feeble joke being that I could not find anything to say.

Well now I have, so I’ll say it. I have never met Josh, and i have no idea who he is., apart from Richard Dawkins dedicated  book to him I’m sure he is lovely, kind and well meaning. He has on this occasion shown a VERY sick sense of humour, rickrolling people trying to back up the database of posts.  He has acted incredibly poorly in his dismissal of the  forum mods  after repeated assurances they would be consulted on the new forum: utterly bastardly in fact.

I don’t think however he has horns and a tail, and even though I disagree violently with him and Richard Dawkins, deplore the petty deletion of millions of words of admins posts, and the clunky mishandling of this whole mess, it’s nothing personal. I feel outrage just like Richard, but I also feel gratitude to Josh and Richard for all the years of good times, the fun on the forum, and the fact we had the forum for so long.

No I’m not going back. I have had enough, and I will now go find other things to do, where comment is free, and I do not need to be moderated in some authoritarian comment system – because i enjoy, indeed love the anarchy of web discussions. I’m a populist, not an elitist, and I have no time for people telling me what to believe or what to think.  I hold  Dawkins and Josh entirely responsible, both of them, for this bad management decision and the outrage stirred up – and as a long term participant on the forum I know that ut was filled with good, rational friendly folks (a few loonie fundie atheists who gave me much grief 🙂 ) – but on the whole they were great, sensible people, and i really liked and admired them.

But Josh is not the devil, he is a bloke with a job to do, who like many a manager made bad choices and walked roughshod over the backs of loyal employees who deserved better – he is human and made a mistake. And so is Richard –  human being, fallible, loyal to his mate, and at the end of the day an egotistical selfish muppet as we all are – hin short he is human. The irony of this all is rather disturbing – no angels, no demons, just humans being human.

A lot of commentators on the web have made reference to how Russian peasants before the Revolution reputedly believed that if the ‘Little Father’, the Czar knew what was going on, everything would be just fine. The Czar was invested with godlike benevolence, and could do no wrong in the eyes of those subjects (May be a historical myth of course, no idea!)

Many still believe Richard did not intend events ot pan out as they did, and lays the blame squarely on Josh Timonen and Andrew Chalkely, the forum administrators (who were reduced to the pathetic joke of rickrolling people trying to make back ups.)  I find this touchingly close to religious faith in RD’s benevolence. I think RD has clearly posted his opinions, his support for Josh, and to claim that he is misled is a peculiar kind of wishful thinking, that vilifies Timonen to no avail.

Angels and Demons…

In many ways they have done a good job under difficult circumstances. But we are revamping the whole site. It is going to be very wonderful when it is done. Part of that is going to consist of taking more control of the forum which will be called the discussion section. We cannot stop anonymous comments.’ (Richard Dawkins)

Dawkins knew, Josh knew. They cocked up, hurt people, an Richard downplays the mess as a “storm in a tea cup”.

How terribly human. But for all the good times, here is to Josh and Richard! They  are crap, but so are we at times – and they have misrepresented events, but we still owe them a debt of gratitude for the good times we shared on their forum in the past.  It still stinks: but I’m a forgiving chap.

And to all my mates from the forum, onwards and upwards lads! 🙂

Remember, no angels, no demons, just humans being human…


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About Chris Jensen Romer

I am a profoundly dull, tedious and irritable individual. I have no friends apart from two equally ill mannered cats, and a lunatic kitten. I am a ghosthunter by profession, and professional cat herder. I write stuff and do TV things and play games. It's better than being real I find.
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4 Responses to In Praise of Josh Timonen…

  1. Luis Dias says:

    “How terribly human”

    Exactly. Oh well, we did spend good times there (although I never crossed you speciifically).

    Richard and Josh showed a tremendous lack of sensibility here, but I have this question.

    What do you exactly mean by “rickroll”? I asked this same question at rationalia. What did Josh do? It may seem obvious to the geeks, but I’m a laymen….

  2. Vagon says:

    Hi Luis,

    A rickroll is an internet phenomena that originated at the image posting board 4chan (NSFW). It involves posting a link which appears to be legitimate but ends up with a video of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

    If you google it you’ll get a lot more of an idea.

    In effect what Josh did was deny the efficient archiving of the website, ensuring all attempts simply archived videos of Rick Astley.

  3. Pingback: Koreascapade » Richard Dawkins’ “Storm in a Tea-Cup” Forum Debacle

  4. Pingback: Dawkins versus Timonen « "And sometimes he's so nameless"

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