I just realized that I haven’t really talked a lot about my message board, and unfortunately, it is the act of my first banning from my board that marks the occasion. My message board began as an exercise in vanity-cum-marketing. Anticipating a fan base as my career grew, a writer has dreams to prepare for, I thought it an expedient idea. Of course, I started it when I had all of one story published. And I had no idea what to do with it.

The board quickly evolved as I saw it as a great way to carry on conversations. Not a bunch of people trying to convert each other to whatever “side” they believed be it political or religious, but a group of friends (one member dubbed them “frans” – friends/fans) coming together. Sure, I have things that I never tire of talking about (race related issues, spirituality, horror and writing), but I’ve tried to model it on boards that I’ve loved (especially the MBOTD, but also the Other Dark Place, the Red Light District, and Shocklines).

Other than be at least somewhat respectful, I had no real rules. I figured the group would have to be fairly tolerant because, well, it was my board and I can be an ass. Which also factored into why I appointed two moderators (also, in another vain writer’s dream, in anticipation of this board getting too large for me to constantly police). I followed comic book writer, Warren Ellis’ philosophy:

“And the reason I only use female moderators on boards is that I find women are better socialised and much smarter (and usually more level-headed) about interaction and discourse. Also, their presence tends to make a statement about the openness and non-locker-room-stench of a place.”

Now, I try to conduct myself in light of the belief that anyone can be reached. An often optimistic attitude, but, hey, a little bit of optimism never hurt anybody. It was why I let a well-reputed troll slide when he visited my board for a time [he shall go nameless because I think he gets too much brain/thread/post time as it is]. He posted a few times and then left, probably taking note that I count Janrae Frank and Brian Keene among my friends. But, yeah, part of me wanted to reach him, too.

I hate feeling like I’ve given up on someone, that someone can’t be reached. I know that my role in their lives isn’t the final arbiter of anything, but still, it bugs me. The frustrating part is when people refuse to listen and instead choose to rant on and on, aimlessly spewing bile all over the place, then spiraling into torrents of insults and nonsensical rambling. That is my definition of a troll. Trolls will not be tolerated. That’s my only rule and the reason why I had to ban a member from my board (she, too, shall remain nameless).

Still, I enjoy the conversations. Everyone else, trolls excepted, is welcome.

Comment on this bit of rantus interruptus anyway you want (I don’t know where you’re reading it from) but if you want to guarantee me seeing it, do so at my message board.