Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Public Enemy #1

So yeah, I’m the first user ever banned from Boardgamegeek.com.

Not just banned from posting to forums or creating geeklists, but banned too from using the geekmail system, the trade system, or even posting comments and ratings. I am an outcast, a pariah, and a villain- held responsible by many BGG users for everything from an “embarrassing”, “negative” atmosphere on BGG to Rick Thornquist’s decision to delete his account. I’m really surprised that I didn’t get blamed for EPISODE I, the Holocaust, and global warming somewhere along the way.

For those of you coming late into this, here’s a profile of the banished- my name is Michael Barnes. I’m a 31-year old American and god damn it, I love board games. I love board games enough to have gone through absolute hell to open and operate a store as well as continue working in game retail even after my shop closed due to a bad business partner. I’ve been active (at least until yesterday) on BGG since 2003 but I’ve got a good twenty years of gaming experience before that. My userid was Crackedlcd81 (a nod to a great Ladytron track) and my avatar was Mark E. Smith of The Fall. I prefer Ameritrash-style games but there’s tons of Euros I love too- I just love great games regardless of where they’re from.

I’m sure that some will point to a “pattern of behavior” that lead to my expulsion from BGG (apparently this pattern is posting honest opinions laced with sometimes pointed humour) but it seems to me that my sentence has much more to do recent events surrounding the mysterious departure of Rick Thornquist from the entire gaming community coupled with a bizarre sort of mass hysteria that seems to have even ensnared even Aldie himself. I criticized him openly for stirring the pot since he suggested that Mr. Thornquist and Mr. Vasel were being “ridiculed day by day” which was no more the truth than these hysterical, exaggerated allegations that AT proponents were “trashing” Euros in every thread. Lately there had been some strong criticism of both personalities, which I think is completely legitimate if they want to be public figures and have this sort of celebrity status in the community but is that “ridicule”? I think not. It’s just like all of this talk about “personal attacks” and the completely situational definition of that term which tightens around some people but loosens around others. When a BGG admin (name withheld) calls you a “dickhead” and an “asshole”, that’s a pretty clear personal attack. Saying you disagree with someone or don’t like their taste in games is not.

So why did Aldie ban me? I really don’t know and he’s not come forward with anything other than a vague public statement- I hadn’t done anything out of sorts other than point out that he was feeding a fire, and in that post I even _agreed_ with him when he said that we need to steer the discussion back toward games and gaming rather than people. Is it because I criticized Mr. Thornquist for specifically stating that he wouldn’t go on THE ULTIMATE PODCAST because of “past guests” (which at that time were myself and Robert Martin)? It can’t because I criticized Tom Vasel, because everybody else is doing that these days. Could fear of losing advertising dollars have something to do with it? Maybe “big name” users threatened to leave the site if I didn’t go away?

Who knows, because Aldie didn’t communicate any of this with me- even after stating last week that he didn’t have a problem with my posts and actually agreed that controversy and dissent were good things. He even agreed with a lot of what I had written, as did Derk. In the past, Aldie has emailed me directly if I was touching on something that irked him and once he explained his thoughts on something I even changed a geeklist out of respect for his opinion on a couple of items in it. Yet now I just get banned outright. Guess I “crossed the line” one too many times, whatever that means in a public opinion forum. Or maybe he just got tired of me not being nice all the time, which seems to be what is expected out of 99% of the site, excluding admins and that naked mole rat guy.

I’ve joked a lot about these ridiculous conspiracy theories (which a lot of people took seriously apparently), the elitism of the “old guard”, censorship, and the marginalization of minority opinions- all things that are completely ludicrous when we’re talking about BOARD GAMES, which was kind of my point. The thing is, all these silly, almost surreal suppositions have become somehow more REAL in light of Aldie’s actions and the behavior of many BGG users. If anything, my time becoming BGG’s public enemy #1 has shown me how completely LUDICROUS a community can be when its members come together over a play activity and it becomes a lifestyle, something so serious that so many have so much invested in emotionally.

In all honesty, I think it’s pretty damn funny overall, and it serves to validate a lot of the criticism of Aldie and BGG that I’ve levied and that I’ve also seen coming from other users over the past several months.

At any rate, let’s talk about games since that’s what we’re here for in the first place. The bizarro world of Boardgamegeek.com and its attendant politics, cliques, and psychophants can make it easy to forget that it’s ultimately about getting together with your friends, breaking out a great game, and having fun. Nothing else in this hobby matters. Nothing.


MWChapel said...

That's what you get for fucking with the old guard! ;) DEATH TO AMERITRASH!...

J/K...you know i love you guys.

DWTripp said...

Nice idea here Barnes. And I see you have the usual gang of ruffians and ne'er-do-wells on board.

Aldie banning you is confusing for sure. Why not just remove your account and all your commentary? You know... make you disappear. Does he plan to use you to make a statement? To banish you from the kingdom until you change your unruly behaviour and then to gracefully allow you back?

Who knows?

BGG, for better or worse, is a good force and it has been made better with the whole EuroSnoot Ameritrash uprising. What cracks me up is that nothing that occured over the last several months even comes close to the public caning of Jeff Widderich back in 2004 yet Aldie didn't step in and ban any of the offenders.

One thing though that I do understand is BGG is now his income source and I think he decided to protect his turf from you. Was that a good or bad decision? Neither in my view, it was just a decision he made because he felt that way at that moment in time.

Since this blog is inhabited by some of my favorite gamer geeks I'll not only be a frequent visitor, I'll recommend it to others.

feel free to email me if you need anything that's within my power to deliver... beer & whiskey excluded, I keep those things for myself.

Ken B. said...

Fight the power!


Oh hell, MONKEYMAN is reading...He's a SPY FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT~!

Michael, I hope to be gaming with you and Robert in April, maybe we can hash some of this stuff out and figure out what the !$$!@ happened.

TheRankO said...

Thrower's post about this blog is the one of the best things I've read on BGG in the past three months.

swandive said...

Really. Who cares about Rick Thornquist leaving? It didn't change the gaming industry a whit when he left his spot on his gaming column. I have nothing against him; he seems like a nice enough guy, but like a lot of the " old-guard BGG celebrities," he has an incredible reputation for being a...consumer. Let's face it, with all respect, all the mega-reviewers and poobahs are, in the end, just gamers. If Rick wants to take his marbles and go home, that's regrettable, but MB is surely not responsible; he's allowed to have his own opinion, and a sense of humor.

In my opinion, BGG is still the best gaming website out there, despite the small and loud minority of elitists and touchy snobs. It's unfortunate that intelligent and witty users like Michael Barnes and Steve Weeks keep getting treated like they are offensive, when there are plenty of really and truly offensive users out there not getting their wrists slapped.

pronoblem said...

Public masturbation will get you in trouble most of the time - check your local laws if you are not sure.

Too bad Thornquist leaving is the reason for your bannination. I was hoping it would be something much cooler... like a lawsuit or something.

Sorry to see you go, but it does appear that you will not be lonely in your exile. I have a feeling that you could return if you want to... though that might require some boot-licking you'd be inclined not to participate in.

I hope they are feeding you well.

Good luck.

Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, I'm pretty much the "statement" Aldie is trying to make...the sad thing is, the "statement" seems to be "Yes, as a matter of fact we are thin-skinned, exclusionary elitists that won't tolerate people that aren't nice or make their points with humour".

Back when I did the Trashies list, Aldie specifically asked me to remove the "Jeff Widderich Award for Excellence in Shilling". He explained to me that he and Jeff had made amends and that I might open old wounds with it. I respectfully agreed to remove it. In retrospect, for all the shit Aldie lets slip by when users like naked mole rat guy or even admins attack not my posts or opinions, but ME AS A PERSON I never should have done that since the respect was clearly not mutual.

Joe Belanger said...

As someone who has repeatedly felt the BGG standard issue boot on the back of my neck more than my fair share, Michael, you got jacked.

But are you really missing anything, by being banned? Now you get to use BGG for what it was best intended, a search tool.

I look forward to this blog. Thanks for saying what most of us were thinking.

Michael Barnes said...

You know what Joe? You're absolutely right...every time I logged on to BGG yesterday I went with the intention of checking into some rules questions I had about Herocard: Rise of the Shogun...and every time I wound up spending that time scrapping in the forums instead of doing what I went there for in the first place!

Thanks for your kind comments, I really appreciate it.

Mark said...

Is it a permanent ban or a "vacation" ? Surprising, nevertheless.

You know, even Tom Vasel is starting to complain about the lack of imagination in eurogames.

Still, this sort of reminds me of a professor I had at Brigham Young University who very publicly tried to get fired (and was) to make a point.

ekted said...

I disagree with the ban. I think if people are going to participate in a public forum, they need to have thick skins. Opinion is just that. By definition, it's not always going to agree with you or your sensibilities.

Banning should be reserved for individuals who actually disrupt harm the site (eg flood the site with non-gaming material, or DDOS attack it). Banning someone because you dislike them is setting the bar dangerously low.

Good luck with the blog.

Ryan Walberg said...

Good luck with your blog. It's starting out great. This is probably a better outlet for your style of speech anyway.

Ynnen said...

I'm torn about the banning and the overall treatment of any flies in the ointment. The main reason is that I think Michael Barnes and Steve Weeks (the vox populi of the Ameritrash movement) are bright, creative, clever people who are well-spoken... In fact, I agree with a lot of the points both of you make regarding games.

But it's generally the context a lot of the commentary comes in that leaves me at odds. Simply saying "it's all in good fun" or "I'm just kidding" at the end of a statement doesn't remove the impact of the statement's context -- whether it's a racial slur, a personal attack or a gaming opinion. I'm not saying they're all alike, or even equating some of the running arguments to things of equal ickiness... just saying it's not always about the words as written, but about the message as a whole.

The thing I find oddest, however, is that Widderich and Potter seemed to have far, FAR more detractors than supporters, while Weeks and Barnes actually have a surprisingly large number (or at least very vocal number) of supporters and "fans."

It's just hard to pass judgment on the banning without all the facts. And I'll never have all the facts. So who knows?

Octavian said...

I never called you a dickhead.

Good luck with the blog.


Michael Barnes said...

Well Ynnen, we'll likely not get the facts because Aldie had nothing to say to me about it and I doubt he'll show his hand on BGG.

Looking at the posts over there, it's funny that there's all this stuff being posted that just has no basis in reality...I've seen statements that Aldie had warned me about not posting any more to that thread (not true at all- this ban came without any warning whatosever), someone commented that my fabled chair-throwing incident was "in anger" and that demonstrates how I need psychiatric help...yet everyone who was there will tell you that I was laughing the whole time, and we all had a great time. You lose all your money in the last race of THE REALLY NASTY HORSE RACING GAME and see how you feel! ;-)

I've always stated that my behavior on BGG reflects how I game- we make fun of each other, we make jokes the whole time, and no one gets upset because it's not personal- and that's face-to-face! I can't imagine seeing something some guy you've never met before wrote on the internet and having your feelings hurt.

There is a contextual disconnect, no doubt...sometimes I might even take for granted that someone might not be privvy to a complete discussion or contextual situation to realize that I'm not trying to hurt feelings or piss anyone off. But you know what? That isn't my fault. And it isn't my fault if people take things too god damn seriously, either.

I never thought I'd have to say this about BGG...but some people on their really need to get a life.

robartin said...

I think this just goes to show that BoardGameGeek is a success as a game database and a failure as a social website. The site has an entrenched bias and this demonstrates it beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Honestly I think the site has done as much to harm the hobby as it has to help it. I can't even count how many times I've seen all manner of users harassed when they deviate from the norm over there. Who can't recall the new user lambasted for posting in the wrong place or making a grammar mistake or talking about their great new game that's going to change the world?

The attitude over there kind of sucks, and I think Aldie has got to take some of the blame for that with moves like this one.

Michael Barnes said...

I agree across the line with everything Robartin said. As a database and source of fact-based information about games, BGG is unsurpassed and likely never will be. However, the atmosphere there is now like a clubhouse that left the door open and now the original club members don't want certain people, opinions, or attitudes there.

The thing is, I'd feel this way if it were someone else banned, not just myself...even if naked mole rat guy got banned, I'd have the same opinion on it. Aldie has set a very, very disappointing precedent.

Lajos Brons said...

I'm in shock.

My favourite website banned one of my geekbuddies.

I'm outraged!

Lot's of different things crossed my mind. Deleting my GotW badge; resigning as microbadge moderator; quitting BGG altogether. But what's the point... None of those will bring you back.

If I can do anything for the new site, just let me know.

Frank said...

I will never forgive you for Episode 1, you Bastard! You raped my childhood and I hope you rot in hell!

Rick said...

Like most of the people here, I think banning users for anything less than attacks on the site is a mistake. It's like innocence and virginity. Once you give it up, you can't take it back. I may not like your communication style Barnes, but I don't see why any of the people you classify as "the elite" should get their panties in a bunch over some words on a website.

Good luck with this new venture, and welcome to the ranks of the weblogging refugees from BGG's tidal wave of noise.

Rick Fawkes

Julian said...
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Julian said...
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kuhrusty said...

All right, no one else seems to be asking this one... Why?

You know how to be funny without hurting peoples' feelings, and you're capable of the behavior Aldie was asking for. Look, if I'm some hypersensitive weenie, and Aldie asks you to not make fun of me, then using his site to point out what a weenie I am is disrespectful to him.

I don't view the situation as "I don't get to read Barnes' comments because he got banned," I view it as "I don't get to read Barnes' comments because he got himself banned," and I don't understand why you did that.

Michael Barnes said...

Kuhrusty, I'm glad to see folks like you and Fawkes on here to give us some good friction for debate but here I have no compunction about saying that you're bullshitting, straightforward. I didn't "get myself banned"- as many have pointed out, I'm a pretty light offender compared to some other folks currently posting regularly on BGG that adhere more closely to party lines and established societal attitudes. It's a political thing involving Rick Thornquist and Tom Vasel, I'm pretty sure of it.

Now, I'm not saying that I didn't post volatile and sometimes abrasive comments because I most certainly did- but I never "attacked" anyone as an individual in the manner or method that I've been constantly accused of doing. I had unpopular opinions about popular things- but come to find out, I wasn't the only one.

As far as Aldie's "rules"...how can you take that seriously when one of the guidelines for thumbs-downing a post is "if it's truly lame", let alone when they are frequently flaunted by other users without consequence?

Michael Barnes said...

BTW, let me be on record to say we're not even at 100 posts here and already the level of discussion and debate is FAR ABOVE anything offered on BGG at this time in terms of interest and maturity.

kuhrusty said...

I didn't "get myself banned"

Well, this is a weird way to do things, but you want to comment on my interpretation of what happened? http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1385772#1385772

It's a political thing involving Rick Thornquist and Tom Vasel, I'm pretty sure of it.

But, dude, that's crazy. I seriously can't see how that would be it--neither that they would make such a request, nor that Aldie would agree. It seems much more likely to me that the increasingly us-vs.-them tone of the site (rightly or wrongly partially attributed to you, I don't know), combined with weird drama over people leaving, and maybe other factors we'll never know, put Aldie on edge. Then when he asks for more focus on games & less on people, and you tell him he can't have that, he loses it.

Regarding the us-vs.-them tone, compare to Ken B's "Ameriplasty gamers" list, which predated the AT term on BGG. I may be mis-remembering this, but he basically stood up & said "I like plastic!" without feeling like he needed to add "and the rest of you are a bunch of fun-sucking losers."

As far as Aldie's "rules"...how can you take that seriously when one of the guidelines for thumbs-downing a post is "if it's truly lame", let alone when they are frequently flaunted by other users without consequence?

(Well, no doubt, the whole thumbs-down concept & implementation has been broken since day one. And I agree, there are others who have made direct, insulting comments to other users without consequence.)

BTW, let me be on record to say we're not even at 100 posts here and already the level of discussion and debate is FAR ABOVE anything offered on BGG at this time in terms of interest and maturity.

Oh, nuts. I was really looking forward to a personal-attack-enabled forum where I could call julian a dumbass for thinking no one "pulled their punches" when replying to him on BGG, for blathering about how he could've use his wicked cruel essayin' skillz to humiliate Vasel (after studying the difference between "there" and "they're," one hopes), for bleating about how BGG "makes a mockery of his values," etc.

(Crap, I can't believe I left out the phrase "because I'm not a giant whiny baby like some people." I'm getting that on a T-shirt.)

Locusshifter said...

I gotta say that this move is bullshit, but I guess Aldie has motives that he doesn't care to explain or perhaps to admit.

You should have never been banned, and your final post before the decision was posted makes it clear you want to move past the conversation and get on with life.

I also have to say to it's a shame that the "notable" personalities in the gaming world are so damn sensitive. When you step into the lime light sometimes it's brighter tan you expect.

kuhrusty said...

I won't pull my stuff, because I'm not a giant whiny baby like some people.

Oh dude. Please tell me you didn't pull your stuff. Spinoza, right?

Well, at least somebody noticed. :)

Julian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean McCarthy said...

My first reaction to your banning was "What? The guy with the weird avatar and the interesting posts?" I still can't quite figure it out. I thought you were one of BGG's most useful contributors.

However, you were also kind of rude. I understand that's kind of what you were going for. I think that was a mistake. Actually, with a bit of perspective, I find it kind of funny.

Let's say you're a member of an oppressed minority (or at least feel that way) in a large group. Let's further say that the defining aspect of the majority as compared to the minority is that they tend to dislike confrontation. Now let's say that the majority group is itself an oppressed minority in a world that tends to have rash opinions, and several people have worked hard to build up the majority's community in a place sheltered from that world.

Now we will also add that those leaders have spent a lot of time on this for very little monetary compensation while remaining very civil... so of course they are very proud of this.

Now the question: What is the stupidest thing you could do in this situation?


Barnes, my only request is that you do not respond to your opponents' apparent fulfillment of your satirical police-state predictions by becoming a rude, personal-attack-making, holier-than-thou troublemaker as you have been apparently accused. ;)

Cheers, Sean (SevenSpirits on BGG (a cool boardgame-related site))

Mr Skeletor said...

Did I just witness a nerd fight between two people arguing about essay writing skills?
Jesus Christ!

kuhrusty said...

That reminds me: you suck, MrSkeletor, and I hate you for many reasons which I can explain, but simply choose not to.

(Well, I know you were a little bummed when only 3 people cheered at your apparent demise... I was going to start an "I HATE MRSKELETOR" thread, or maybe a "Donate GG to get MrSkeletor Banned!" thread, but, uhh, the timing wasn't so good.)

P.S. Crap, how do I thumbs-up SevenSpirits' post?

Ironbrigade said...

I must say Michael that I am so sorry to see you leave BGG. Your postings were ones I greatly enjoyed, especially in the area of Ameritrash games. I honestly have no idea what this pattern of behavior is suppose to be.

Ken Bradford said...

Can I just say here..."I like plastic!"

(Crap, I think I already posted that as my first blog entry. Kuhrusty is calling me out as a one trick pony!)


Thanks for the kind words about my review, Spinoza. I think that it may have been a mistake to delete your account...sometimes, it's okay to still try to make a difference from the inside.

Like...I've made my feelings known on a couple of the threads but tried to do so in a calm, reasoning manner, and I haven't been beaten down or flamed for the opinions.

I am starting to wonder though if this indeed wasn't because a prominent BGGer threatened to leave BGG (as he stated in one of his own podcasts his intention to possibly do such) and his one voice overcame a lot of others. That's a shame.

Though I did not share some of the opinions and criticisms leveled at him, a critic has to understand that by putting himself and his opinions out there, he is also open to criticism. That goes for anyone who puts any sort of body of work for public consumption, from someone who has written 500 reviews to some guy who has just written one about a game he really likes.

It's. Just. How. It. Is.

We may never know what really happened, but we can look for nuggets of wisdom between the cracks.

I will say this--if this is followed by Steve Weeks getting banned (whose podcast is leaping in terms of quality week after week) then I may indeed have to take stronger action...if only because Aldie and Derk have extended a sort of handshake to him by appearing on his show, so banning him just because another BGGer whined about his podcast content--which ISN'T hosted on BGG--would be a nasty backstab that even the fiercest Diplomacy player would be ashamed to make.

That's what's really weird...I'm having trouble reconciling the friendly, personable, sympathetic Aldie that was on Weeks' show with the one who came out, said, "I'm banning Michael, if you don't like it, take it to Complaints (ie, a section of the website NO ONE EVER SEES)." Just....hard to put those two together.

robartin said...

I personally won't be contributing content over at BGG any more. I've had enough of the attitude over there. I am working on the beginnings of a new site though...More to come...

Mark said...

As with most personality conflicts this is mostly a tempest in a teapot. Barnes has a definite style which rubs many people the wrong way, and he intentionally sought conflict. People complain, Aldie has to deal with a bunch of people complaining and takes action. Aldie isn't out to get Barnes or anybody else for that matter, but he does want a smoothly functioning site where he doesn't have to deal with a bunch of complaints. Who would want to deal with a bunch of complaints?

Was this an overreaction? Tough to tell as I'm sure I don't have the whole story from either side. I'm inclined to disagree with the ban because Barnes is fun to read for the most part, but then I don't run a website. I know I'll miss Barne's commentary on games.

The whole Ameritrash/Eurosnoot issue seems less about a style of game and more about a style of posting. There are many games that rate highly on the Geek that are called Ameritrash, yet the Eurosnoot majority has mysteriously failed to suppress this dissident voice. It's just had a violent reaction to a more confrontational style of posting, one that is quite common in other parts of the web. This has almost nothing to do with the games themselves. People are still happily posting about Axis and Allies, Munchkin, and many other games that no one would call Euro.

The Geek is what it is. Certain types of games are more popular there than others, but it isn't particularly exclusionary unless the posters cause trouble for the admins of the site. At that point, yes, you can call it a dictatorship because Aldie makes the rules. If there's a serious reaction, as happened here, then creating a different site will hopefully work out for everyone.

Timo Hegerfeld said...

Good to see Barnes back in action :)

Good luck with this site. I'll visit often.
I'm also looking forward to robartins new project.

Anonymous said...


You are known for your openness and blunt opinions on BGG. I will do the same for you.

Being surrounded by your vocal followers and friends, it is easy to think everyone is sad you are gone.

This is not true. I am one of many that are very excited to see you banned from BGG.

Sorry you couldn't be more civil. You are extremely insightful and well spoken. You could have made a much bigger influence of the hobby you love so much.

Ken Bradford said...

My, how open and blunt, Anonymous!

Ken Bradford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Bradford said...

I have retracted a previous statement because even I could taste the delicious irony contained therein.

Michael Barnes said...

Hey, I appreciate any comments and even criticism "Anonymous"- I'm sorry I couldn't be as civil, even handed, and nice as these BGG posters (most of whom have supporter badges, so I assume they're "valued members"):

"Two down, another 3 to go. thumbsup :D The atmosphere is seriously improving!"

"I think he's an instigator and a prick and I'm fairly tired of his antics myself"

"Michael Barnes was a power on BGG because even loud-mouthed jerks can have a following."

"Barnes usually acted like a complete and unrepentant asshole. He injected himself into conversations everywhere. Anyone who says he was easily ignored is lying. If an individual constantly acts like a loud-mouthed asshole then it doesn't matter after a while if he's occasionally got an insightful offering amongst all the shit he is spraying."

"From my point of view it was Barnes who came in and destroyed the place."

Warms the heart, doesn't it? Apparently my ban has given everyone a free pass on calling names and making personal attacks, so long as they're on me. I love it!

BTW- I've seen an admin and several users allude to me being "asked to tone it down" repeatedly- this is total bullshit. I've been emailed by admins a total of, I think, 2 or 3 times and that was all for the "Trashies" geeklist months ago. Aldie has emailed me one time asking me to change or alter content, and _that_ was due to the "Trashies" geeklist. There were no "repeated pleadings" as have been suggested in an attempt to make this look like it wasn't out of the blue and in response to peer/poltical pressure.

Oh...and I see there's a petition to get me back on...I appreciate it guys, but I wouldn't set foot in that place again if Aldie sent me his personal copy of FULL METAL PLANETE.

Ken Bradford said...

Yeah, my comment was uncalled for. I would've deleted the initial one but I didn't want a chain of "COMMENT DELETED".

All opinions are welcome here, and I was being a hypocrite. Everyone is a bit on edge lately, and I apologize.

But dude...Full Metal Planete? You're not thinking rationally!

Michael Barnes said...

Well, it's worth noting here that one of the admins emailed me and said I could still use geekmail, update my profile, and so forth...just no posting, which is fine by me because I will never post anything there again. Alright fatbeards, you can stop clapping now. My biggest fear, actually, was not being able to use the trade system which is indispensible.

Anonymous said...

If you really didn't care, you wouldn't be making such a big deal out of this. Hell, you wouldn't be discussing it all.

The bottom line is that BoardGameGeek is not a public service. It is a corporation. What Aldie says, goes. Yeah, you may not agree with it, and you're entitled to your opinion.

But please, and this goes to everyone who thinks they are part of some great "Ameritrash" revolution...please stop with the immaturity and juvenile crap. Yeah, it's fun to post bullshit on the internet, and scream "damn the man!" from the streets, but it really doesn't make anything better for anyone. Your rebellion and negativity completely consume you, and doesn't ADD anything. Whatever point you may have to your message is buried so deep beneath the noise, it becomes nearly impossible for others to respect and take you seriously.

SSSSSS said...

BARNES: "...the sad thing is, the "statement" seems to be "Yes, as a matter of fact we are thin-skinned, exclusionary elitists that won't tolerate people that aren't nice or make their points with humour"."

It seems to me the statement is more: "If you are incapable of differentiating between disagreeing with someone's opinion and mocking the person expressing the opinion despite multiple warnings, then you are done."

There are plenty of posters that say not nice things and make their points with humor.

It seems you are still incapable of grasping the difference.

Michael Barnes said...

Here's Aldie's statement...make what you will of it.


Lajos Brons said...

Some of you may have noticed that I was Geek of the Week (GotW) last week. As GotW you have to choose the new GotW. There were three names on my list. One of those was Michael Barnes. Now I can't stop wondering what would have happened if I did pick Barnes rather than Thommy8 (I won't disclose the third name on the list). Don't get me wrong, I still think that Thommy8 deserves to be GotW, but what if? Would Aldie have banned the GotW? Would it have made a difference?
Sorry Thommy8, but right now I'm beating myself for picking you. I might have made a difference, but I was a coward.

Michael Barnes said...

Reading it again, the equation I came up with is this-

Commments and criticism=personal attacks.

SSSSSS said...

BARNES: "Commments and criticism=personal attacks."

I rest my case.

Mike Miller (Shellhead) said...

Barnes, I'm grateful to you for your persistent and articulate advocacy of AmeriTrash games.

I've been an AT gamer for decades and never even knew it. When my friends started bringing EuroGames to the table back in the late 90's, I was bored, restless and finally so annoyed that I stopped playing games with those guys, without ever fully comprehending the reasons why I disliked those games.

Now I have developed my own network of local AmeriTrash gamers, and we get together for thematic dicefests at least once a month, like Mythos Day (all Cthulhu board games) or Vampire Night (just vampire board games).

And while I've only been lurking and then finally posting at BGG for a relatively short time, I really enjoyed reading your posts and geeklists there.

I think that your banning was monumentally unfair, given the harsh and personal attacks of some of your enemies there. And now some of them have come here to take cowardly cheap shots from behind their anonymous cover. (Or maybe it's just one really bitter geek.)

I hope you keep posting here, because I need a break from BGG but not a break from talking about games.

Anonymous said...

That´s what you get for your contempt of Mayonnaise...

I think you´ve irritated far less than your "followers", me I liked most of your posts.

Anonymous said...

You are full of crap.
That being said, I will miss your humor and you tragically mislead and uneducated opinions about gaming.
Or not, please keep it coming here!
An eurosnoot fan.

Michael Barnes said...

Better to be full of crap than full of mayonnaise.

greenpawn said...

Rick Thornquest left the 'geek? I hadn't noticed. (ha,ha,ha)

Mr Skeletor said...

I do suspect Barnes is talking a bit of shit when he claims he doesn't care about being banned. Of course you would be hurt about it, anyone would.
I don't agree with Aldie's decision but I don't hold him to blame either.His hand seemed to be more or less forced by the 'family' crowd. I don't think he really wanted to ban Michael.
Finally, kuhrusty seeing you naked holding a 'foreplay' box was the reason I don't have eyeballs anymore.

Anonymous said...

Some folks can't handle critical thinking or randy humor. Sorry about this.
John Bohrer

kuhrusty said...

BTW- I've seen an admin and several users allude to me being "asked to tone it down" repeatedly- this is total bullshit. I've been emailed by admins a total of, I think, 2 or 3 times

In addition to whatever personal communication you received (!), there were also at least two prominently-displayed public messages from Aldie (one of which I seem to remember being required to click through to access the site, maybe when thumbs were implemented?) asking everyone to tone it down, prior to the plea in the podcast thread. You can't say you thought those requests didn't apply to you, or that you didn't notice them; you made a GeekList making fun of them!

There were no "repeated pleadings" as have been suggested in an attempt to make this look like it wasn't out of the blue and in response to peer/poltical pressure.

Look, I believe you were surprised by Aldie's decision (I know I was), but you can't honestly say "there were no repeated pleadings" or that this was "out of the blue." There were warnings, but you didn't heed them. (Or you could phrase it the way I feel about being banned from Heaven: "there have been no warnings which I am capable of accepting," ha ha.)

Given that there were warnings, the question becomes, how many warnings would have been enough? I imagine Aldie must have been wondering the same thing.

Finally, kuhrusty seeing you naked holding a 'foreplay' box was the reason I don't have eyeballs anymore.

I wasn't actually naked; my clothes were removed in PhotoShop.

Liumas said...

Barnes always 'thumbed up' any GeekList I made.

That was cool.

Sam said...

Yeah, I too am gonna have to call bullshit on that "Full Metal Planete" comment. I don't know you personally, but any gamer who wouldn't post on a website for Full Metal Planete is either lying or not thinking straight.

Vaughn said...

Tough break. I'm sorry to see you go, man.

Cleveland Brooks said...

*sniff* I still remember the day I met Barnes; not too hard since it wasn't that long ago. Someone posted in a geeklist and flamed him for having a picture of a downs syndrome afflicted person as his avatar. That sparked some research, and I thought it was pretty funny. Anyway, I'm sad to see him go...

Michael Barnes said...

Well Frank, of _course_ I'm a little hurt by it- I invested a lot of time and energy there- I always thought the ratings and comments were the most relevant part of the site so I put a lot into making sure I posted good ones.

Besides, who wouldn't be a little hurt to get kicked out for "personal attacks" and then watch almost everybody with a patron badge line up to bash you, call you everything short of retarded, and you're not able to get on there and stand up for yourself?

As for the warnings, kuhrusty...there's a big difference in a general post that says "Hey guys, cool it" and a email direct from Aldie that says "If you don't stop, you'll be banned". "A" happened a few times. "B" never did.

Aside from that...I still never "personally attacked" Thornquist or Vasel...

Friendless said...

Hey Barnes, I'm sorry to see you go. I like to think of sarcasm as an art which has been perfected in Australia, but you were a great proponent of it.

I spend a lot of time at BGG but I mostly ignore the Ameritrash discussions, and have never been offended by anything you wrote. I was disturbed by Steve Weeks' Barnes vs Schloesser geeklist - I thought that was too personal. As all of this is a consequence of the kerfuffle over Weeks' podcast I downloaded Episodes 6 and 7. I was immediately irritated when I went to his site and saw Schloesser, Thornquist and Vasel listed as public enemies. I've been listening to the Aldie interview and there's no doubt that Weeks is a clever guy but the Ameritrash rah-rah crap that he goes on with grates on me. The more I see of his work the more divisive he seems to be. People are welcome to promote Ameritrash, but denigrating Euros and their proponents in such a jingoistic attention-seeking way grates on me.

Weeks is obviously as much of a BGG addict as any of us, as demonstrated by the choice of his guests on his podcast - you, Derk, Aldie, Trippy - those guys aren't famous for any other reason. For that reason his podcast is not so much about board games but about the BGG community. Yet his questions seem to be aimed at dividing that community. Is he so desperate for attention that he will destroy the community he is part of?

It's my opinion that Aldie banned the wrong guy. Your posts were acerbic yet insightful, Weeks' were just provocative and divisive. Of course it would have seemed silly for Aldie to ban a guy a week after doing a podcast interview with him. It's not clear to me why you have to take the blame.

If Steve Weeks is just a good bloke having a bit of fun, I apologise to him, but his sense of fun doesn't translate into my culture. It's sad that community is being divided by this.

Michael Barnes said...

OK, so I get banned and then Tom Vasel shows up to say "hey guys, isn't Aldie great? LET'S DONATE!"

So apparently my banishment was part of a fundraising drive! :-O

Friendless said...

Oops, Alan Moon was on the public enemy list, not Rick Thornquist. The timing of Tom's article does seem a little tactless.

I do object to the criticism of Vasel, Thornquist, Schloesser, etc just because they are board gaming's "elite". With the same energy and enthusiasm as they have demonstrated you and I could join the elite as well. If I did so I'd be annoyed if I suffered the sort of attacks those people suffer. To try to knock those people down is paramount to claiming that they achieved their "elite status" somehow other than by hard work. People bitch that Tom Vasel's reviews are everywhere, but that's because he puts the effort in to get them out there. If Steve Weeks' podcast continues to grow in popularity he will join the elite as well. Who will he rag on then?

Rick said...

It was inevitable that someone would rock the BGG boat at some point, and it was also inevitable that someone would get banned at some point. It just so happened that it was you Barnes. It's a familiar story on any web community that experiences explosive growth. I knew BGG was headed down that path when admins were appointed.

Like any large group of people, the BGG forums' population will beat down any opinion that does not conform to the groupthink. Look at what happens to negative reviews for popular games. So that same thing happened to you. Your points were not in alignment with the generally Euro-centric BGG mindset, and you expressed them in less-than-BGG-standard civility. The system wouldn't take it any more and the system's final guardian was forced to expunge your actions from the system.

The offshoot of this would normally be a sequence of other users copycatting your schtick in support. That would lead to further bannings. Let's see if that happens.


Aik Yong said...

"Michael Barnes said...
OK, so I get banned and then Tom Vasel shows up to say "hey guys, isn't Aldie great? LET'S DONATE!"

So apparently my banishment was part of a fundraising drive! :-O"

You know, you are so totally right. DON'T ever give them the benefit of the doubt. There is ALWAYS an ulterior motive. NO ONE is ever that nice. No way.

Let's all abandon BGG, because you know what? Aldie made a controversial move 1 time in 4 years, that's unacceptable. Shit, he's a 'personality' for christ sake, he should always make the PERFECT move.

And you know, you're always right, you don't have to reconcile with the other jerks who's always wrong. Either they be smart and agree with you, or they be pro-establishment and be an ignorant butt-kisser. Because, if they can offer nothing new and agree with the crowd, they must be an unopinionated, ignorant boot-licker. That's the only rational answer.

Anonymous said...

A while back, Michael, you wrote “BTW, let me be on record to say we're not even at 100 posts here and already the level of discussion and debate is FAR ABOVE anything offered on BGG at this time in terms of interest and maturity.” I think that the main difference is that here everyone agrees with you and your opinion, whereas on BGG, they do not. Your wit and sarcasm are directed at people who will not respond, either due to them not being a part or this site, not reading its content or generally being unaware. In turn, things will not degenerate to the point it did on BGG.

A couple of things from me… Personally I found most of your forum posting funny and insightful. Your attacks against “the establishment” didn’t perturb me as much as those by Steve Weeks on his Podcast. I only listened to one, the one with you on it, but it was enough for me. I only listened to yours as yours was the opinion I wanted to hear, nothing against the rest of the guests, just personal choice.

You were/are one of my geekbuddies on BGG and your comments have led me into trying and playing more Ameritrash games and Wargames. I am a “buy before I try” type of gamer and thus rely on reviews and geekbuddy comments to guide me in my purchasing. That said, when I first arrived on BGG all those years ago, I used comments and reviews by Greg and Tom to guide me in the way of euros. Now that I have crossed into Ameritrash and Wargames, it was your comments and others like you that I would use find the gems that would interest me. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I’m sorry that you’ve been banned, though to me at least, you’ve become as much of a “celebrity” as Tom or Greg had to me at least. And judging by the several complimentary avatars others have of Mr. Smith, I can only assume that others feel the same way.

This doesn’t mean that I agree or disagree with Aldie’s decision, as I have little to no knowledge of what actually went down behind the scenes, between you and him and him and other users. I wish you well and hope that you continue writing and posting your thoughts here. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get an account of my own.

Good luck and Have Fun.

Greig Ashfield
Belash on BGG

SSSSSS said...

BARNES: "Aside from that...I still never "personally attacked" Thornquist or Vasel..."

You just don't get it.

You seem to be incapable of grasping the concept that mocking people is considered, by most reasonable people (exluding the sycophants posting here), a personal attack.

Just one example (and there are PLENTY of others):

"milk and cookie bender".

Effectively, you are mocking him because he is a clean-cut Mormon. Maybe with you and your juvenile cronies, mocking someone because of their religion or lifestyle is acceptable but most of society considers it at the very least not very nice if not patently offensive.

Of course you will deny that's what you were doing and of course others will chime in the same but to a neutral, objective observer, that is obviously not a comment about anything Tom has said but a comment about Tom himself. Mocking a person is pretty much the definition of personal attack.

So then you and your parrots will start bleating about "It's a joke! Don't be so thin-skinned!"

All that does is show you just don't get it. Your social awareness is stuck at a teenager level.

But, just to chime in on another subject, I think Tom starting a thread at this time asking for BGG donatations is pretty reprehensible as well.

Michael Barnes said...

Oh come the fuck on...everybody knows Tom is a such a "nice" guy...how could anyone (him included) take the milk and cookies comment seriously? Put it in context, pal...that was on a HUMOUROUS list where people were making up these fictional geeklists that were lost in a system screw-up. I posted that Tom had gone on a milk and cookies bender and did a geeklist making these outrageous personal attacks. Wow, that is so hurtful of me.

I'm seeing PLENTY of comments about how I've posted under the influence of drugs, alcohol, mental retardation, immaturity, and Satan...do you care to describe how that's acceptable but poking fun at Tom's clean-cut image isn't?

Furthermore, when you mock someone like the President or Paris Hilton are you worried that you might be making a personal attack? Do you worry that their feelings might be hurt? Nope. And since the floodgates of acceptable personal attacks on Michael Barnes are now open at BGG, I don't see any suggestion that I "attacked" anyone as valid in the least.

Oh, and if you're going to criticize someone for making personal attacks or mocking, it's probably best to not use the following words to characterize myself or any of the other posters here -"juvenile", "cronies", or statements like "Your social awareness is stuck at a teenager level."

Yet still I welcome your comments...

John said...

Hi Michael,

WTF? They ban people at the Geek? They ban their most vidid and entertaining contributer? Without even an official explanation?

How pathetically un-American. SO much the worse for the Geek.

Well, I'm glad to see there's a new place for me to get my Barnes fix.

-- John Storr, LA

TeknoMerk said...


I'm sorry that I won't be reading your insightful game comments on BGG. I don't know all the facts, but I thought is was rather extreme to permanently ban someone for critical comments or sarcastic jokes. I always thought your comments, while sometimes sarcastic, brought out good points or questions. It made folks think. I guess folks didn't understand and took it too seriously.

Anyway, I'm glad you guys started this venture, so a voice of AmeriTrash won't be lost. IMO the BGG folks are weighted toward Euro, so I feel it's hard to get enough energy around interesing types of other games. This is not a BGG indictment on my part. That's just what the majority of folks there like to play. No problem. I play a few Euros myself. I've been an AmeriTrasher and wargamer since 1976, so I look forward to your new work here.


Alan Richbourg said...

Well, damn. So sorry to see you banned. You really brightened up BGG and it needed brightening up in a severe, dire sort of way.

I think you got canned BECAUSE of your outstandingly effective writing skills. Good writing = good thinking and when those are enlisted along with scintillating wit & humor in an anti-PC cause, messy nuclear furballs do tend to arise. Sadly, there's nothing really new under the human nature sun.

I'll always think of you whenever someone calls Axis & Allies "stupid".

Let the good dice roll.

Michael Barnes said...

Thanks again for the support, I appreciate it greatly...I'm glad to see you guys show up here! I think I speak for all the Fort AT crew that we believe the "more the merrier" and we're glad to have you guys' thoughts and opinions represented here- no matter where they might fall "politically".

"I'll always think of you whenever someone calls Axis & Allies "stupid".

Think of me too when someone on BGG calls another user "hateful little fucker" like one guy just did to me on Aldie's thread while lambasting _me_ for making personal attacks. No administrative warning, no thumbs down...just pure hyporcrisy.

Anonymous said...

Since I don't feel like creating an account, I'll just let you all freakin know by typing it here, I'm hughthehand at bgg. I'm lazy, and I have too many accounts all over the place to remember a new one.

First, good luck Barnes in your new home. I'm sure you will be happier here, and I look forward to your insight on boardgames. I hope to see more of the stuff like your top 20 games list (whatever it was, but it had a lot of euros on it...if you are a fan of Michael's, you know which I'm talking about).

Second...I don't understand why all of your supporters are so upset. You have what you want right here. You can bitch about anything, call people all the names you want, insult, make witty comments, talk about games....where is the bad? You still get to use bgg as a database.

Michael seemed pretty unhappy with bgg anyways, so this should be a fresh new start and a happy look to the future.

To those still bitching about Rick...he decided to leave his OWN website in November of 06. If he had a problem with bgg, don't you think he would have left it first and stuck with his own site? Rick has his own issues to deal with. After years of supporting the hobby, it seems he just wanted out. Do you really think that him leaving had anything to do with Barnes' banning? He was already gone...you just didn't know it yet.

As for bashing Aldie...there are a lot of no namers trashing him. You guys can think what you want about "the man" bringing you down...but Aldie can do what he damn well pleases. It is not a right to say what you want on his website. Free speech is your right, just not on bgg. If you use common sense, you will have no issues there.

Also for the Barnes' fans: he has become one of the "elite" just as much as Tom or Rick were.

If the ones threatening to leave on bgg actually did leave, do you think anyone would notice? No. If I left, would anyone notice? No (well, maybe those two other Navia Dratp fans, but thats it). So why do you think we are all noticing this? Because Barnes has become what he disliked so much. Who put him on a pedestal, the same one Tom or Rick was put on? You did...I did...a lot of us did.

I truely hope this blog spot becomes something, because so far, it is becoming what a lot of people on bgg were complaining about. A bitch fest. And that sucks, because a few of the people here have already written some really good articles (word to Ken and MrSkeletor).

Ken Bradford said...

I don't think the main articles themselves are bitch fests, far from it. What you're seeing bubbling under the comments is a natural outlet for anger or agreement about what happened that they don't feel comfortable expressing on BGG.

This will pass in time. Until then, I say let everyone get it off their chests.

dave said...

Barnes, just FYI, it took this whole shit storm for me to discover that you're actually a smart writer with some great insights.

So I will absolutely continue to check this blog.

But - and this is mostly because BGG has always been, like, 85% a database to me (what it really should be, first and foremost) - I never cared much about the forums or the "community," and would only read bits and pieces, mostly on tangents. So until this whole debacle drew me in, you were just that "asshole guy" to me.

Which sucks *for me.*

I'm irked at you, Barnes, because you had good stuff to say but *intentionally pushed me away from it.*

Please remember that.

If you dare people to deal with you, regardless of how "right" you may be, you give them permission to write you off.

And I agree with "friendless," I feel Weeks is the true stone in BGG's shoe. He is the Andrew "Dice" Clay to your Sam Kinison.

For that reason his [Weeks]podcast is not so much about board games but about the BGG community.

It took me two shows to come to the conclusion that his podcast was mostly about having a venue to play the full versions of way too many of his songs. And yeah, I don't care for them :)


AdrianBolt said...

I enjoyed your writing but wouldn't describe myself as a fan because I'd only started to take note of your posts when the ban hit the fan. Sure you're abrasive, it's your style, but who in their right minds would take it so personally? I've read more of your stuff in the last day, and you are clearly not the worst one for making personal attacks.

What I think would have been appropriate is deletion of the allegedly personal attacks. Which is how it was dealt with before.

Two things have appalled me: 1) The gleeful feeding frenzy of Barnes bashing being sanctioned by admin, and 2) One vulture asking for your GeekGold to be taken.

I look forward to reading more of your essays here. It's a shame they won't be as creative due to the limitations of the blog format. Which means I'm going to miss your GeekLists, even though I've only just discovered them.

Some cod Latin from my school days seems appropriate, "nil illegitimii carborandum", which popular rumour has it means "Don't let the bastards grind you down". Possibly too dated or too English for an Ameritrash stonghold...
(And by bastards I don't mean Aldie as I think whatever decision he made would have caused problems.)

alan richbourg said...

Aldie must really feel under siege - he's hidden or erased the whole 24 page response to banning Michael. He's censoring even himself!

This can mean only one thing: BGG has finally and truly jumped the shark!


phelonius said...

Coming from another user that gets the occassional Admin PM to 'tone it down', I'm gonna miss ya.

And i don't even really care for Ameritrash ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

I'm not gonna create another account, but I suspect you'll find me lurking here frequently, and signed in as BigWoo on BGG.

Sorry to see you go, but I am very much with that other red nose on this (kuhrusty), if this came out of the blue and you feel it wasn't flagged up to you in person your perception is not what folk make it out to be. I also agree with Aldie's decision, I do feel you left him no choice, on his site.

I do take issue with this myth:

"....but I never "attacked" anyone as an individual in the manner or method that I've been constantly accused of doing."

I am only aware of one transgression, and you certainly are not the only one who does, but I was the one who came up with a tongue-in-cheek Borad Kazakhischlock list ridiculing the worst of the arguments from both sides in the Ameritrash debate, (when I got really board with the tone, not the desire to whip up enthusiasm for the genre), and your first post was within seconds, along the lines of "now let's how long it takes for that cunt of a [xx] to show up".

I thought it was a shame, as I generally liked your points and posts, and am all for ruffling feathers that are long due a good shoogle. But it did make me feel you don't know when to draw the line, and when to stop.

I agree, you are far from the worst one on BGG, and I have always spoken out against the "don't offend my babies you bastard" crowd, but if you can't judge when a style becomes too personal, don't use it as a tool, no matter how true the points are that you want to make. In the end you hurt "the cause" more by not being the best person to sit in the crane directing the big concrete ball at houses that are well due a levelling. Your chosen attitude cost all of us your presence, and I so wished it wasn't a price i had to pay.

This isn't all you're doing, and is probably partly because you had become an icon, intended or not. But along the way you had several choices, and I wish you well here, now you have faced the consequences.

I'll miss your well-made points, your ability to make the finer points in a not so fine way were hardly as offensive as some make them out to be. But I am glad your worst-made ones have been stopped, and truly wished you had found it within you to change your tone after frequent request by those who don't have an agenda against you, so I could have enjoyed your commentary without having to channel hop.

I go on and on and on at BGG, and I won't bore you all to death here by doing the same. You can all wake up now.

You Uzbekhi son of a bitch, I hope you find a better platform here. Have fun, I suspect I will enjoy it.


Mark said...

alan richbourg said...

Aldie must really feel under siege - he's hidden or erased the whole 24 page response to banning Michael. He's censoring even himself!

This can mean only one thing: BGG has finally and truly jumped the shark!


Aldie said ahead of time that the thread would be deleted Thursday evening after everyone had a period to vent.

Which is fine, it was almost no one's finest hour.

Anonymous said...

First - wanted to say that I am going to miss your input and humor greatly. I never thought you really crossed the line, even though being a pastor, conservitive, and Euro fan, I am the type of person you are suppose to have offended. Your comments were always in good fund and made me laugh and I will truly miss that. Second to clear something up Tom is not a mormon, he is baptist i beleive.

Michael Barnes said...

Thanks for the kind comments, those of you I haven't thanked already.

Hey, does anyone have a way to get that 500+ post thread back? Aldie deleted it and I wanted to be able to catalog the personal attacks, bad language, and "uncivil" behavior in it. BGG's most embarassing moment and he deletes it...what a bad sport.

I saw the thumbs system is gone, now it's flags!

Anonymous said...

Hughthehand again...I'm really gonna have to get an account aren't I...dammit!

Barnes, please don't make this into a crusade. You are banned. Its done. If you really wanted back in, you probably could by kissing some ass. Would that be so bad? It would probably show the people who think you are an ass, that you really do put games first. But you already said that you don't want to. You have a new home here. Why continue to add to the fire then?

How gay would that be anyway? Wasting time creating a list of what bad things were said?

Your hard core supporters may leave bgg, that should make you happy. Create your own game site, not just a blog, where people can say whatever they want, with no consequences. No moderation. Hell I wouldn't even mind helping in that, since I do web and graphic design for a living. But making a list and checking it twice....just plain lame. Stick to your witty humor and good writing. Not revenge or finger pointing.

Michael Barnes said...

Jeremy, come on...do you think I'm really going to catalog that thread? Of course not...but I do think it's worth pointing out that it got deleted.

There's no crusade against BGG itself and I don't advocate people "leaving" BGG and I think it's ridiculous if people view me in any kind of position where they feel they have to "follow"...BGG remains the best database of game information the hobby has ever seen and I certainly won't stop using it and I hope it continues to thrive in that capacity. However, when the social (and I daresay political) dynamic there is so screwed up that its owner will ban one user for "personal attacks" and then proceed to allow pages and pages of unfettered _very_ personal attacks then something is seriously wrong.

But whatever...it's "Fortress Ameirtrash", not "Fortress Bitch about BGG". You came here to talk about games, there's already plenty of posts for it. I'm glad you're here, you're one of the tougher and smarter critics out there. I _like_ you?

AdrianBolt said...

Which thread is missing? There's so many I'm losing track!
Re the replacement flags: removing all the thumbs down and leaving just the thumbs up suddenly makes it look like everyone was in favour of getting rid of you...

Ryan Walberg said...

Here you go dude. It wasn't deleted, just removed from the Hot News or whatever. I agree some of the crap in there was heavy-handed.


Ben said...

I'm not hiding, Barnes. I'd say it to your face without a problem. Feel free to contact me at benvogel@gmail.com

Previous to my BGG post* you quoted above, I never did any name calling or swearing on that site. And no, I don't see any hypocrisy in BGG allowing some blatant shots at you considering the sum total of all of the snide potshots you took at others for a long period of time. Both your detractors and your defenders were allowed to vent a lot of steam in there in the last 2 days.

However, I'm gratified that you read it, no matter how slight the chance that you might take it to heart.

* "Barnes usually acted like a complete and unrepentant asshole. He injected himself into conversations everywhere. Anyone who says he was easily ignored is lying. If an individual constantly acts like a loud-mouthed asshole then it doesn't matter after a while if he's occasionally got an insightful offering amongst all the shit he is spraying."

Michael Barnes said...

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming (buh buh buhhhh) NAKED MOLE RAT GUY to our site...glad to have you Ryan, feel free to rant and rave all you like. Your account will be charged a nickel for every time you use a potty word. ;-)

Apparently the thread wasn't deleted, but it was locked and moved away as others have already noted.


Let me tell you something straight. If Aldie banned you for saying that or anything like it, I would have been the first in line to get you back on even if it were something about me. I put my neck out in public and I completely accept your opinion. I'm not one of those other guys who gets upset when they get criticized.

As far as not hiding...I never saw you post in any thread I was involved in nor in response to anything I had written, and I never posted in any thread I saw you involved in nor did I respond to anything you had written. Which tells me quite a lot.

I interjected myself in no more conversations than any other regular user at BGG and I steered well clear of places that I felt were not appropriate for my bastardishness. Contrary to what some have said, I never "ambushed" threads or created any kind of problems for the "innocent". Women and children were spared.

Anyway, I'm glad you stopped by and I appreciate your opinion. Feel free to cuss all you like here.

Ben said...

"I interjected myself in no more conversations than any other regular user at BGG and I steered well clear of places that I felt were not appropriate for my bastardishness."

Michael, I call severe bullshit on the first part of your statement and largely disagree with your judgement on the second part - about what places were "appropriate for my bastardishness."

But rather than go back through all of your posts and geeklist comments and argue about that judgement, I'll say the following.

I've found your personality on this blog and on the Week's interview to be remarkably different than what I got from you on BGG. I think that is obvious and was quite intentional on your part.

You've engineered yourself to be the hero of a movement that wasn't needed. Be careful, you are already well on the road to being one of the self-appointed elite that you so strongly despised.

bourbaki said...

How do I disagree with Aldie's decision, let me count the ways!

I am one of the people who intends never again to darken the site except possibly in a read-only manner. Although I have been mainly confined to a niche (unappreciated in its own right) of abstract lovers, I have added numerous reviews, comments and a handful of games. The content of BGG is community driven and I do not want to participate in a community overseen by a dictator benevolent or not.

I am not surprised as this is a logical extension of the whole "thumbs down" fiasco which was stubbornly kept alive even after it had become incredible clear it was completely broken.

I agree that some things go beyond the bounds of acceptability. For example "excessive profanity". To my knowledge I have never used any so I always figured I was owed some. Certainly Mike's posts never met this criterion.

Aside from the fact that I oppose people being banned because of relevant opinions, no matter what they are, there is the additional issue that the "AT" crowd on the whole were self-deprecating and just plain funny while the most vocal people on the other side were vituperative and took themselves way too seriously.

I believe it was unacceptable for Aldie not to defend his position in a more reasonable manner.

Similarly, it is clearly within Rick Thornquist's prerogative to leave without a trace (from what I understand this was not the first of his departures), but either he should have left a note explaining what his reasoning was, or he should be allowed to slip away anonymously. The current situation in which everyone was allowed to read into his departure whatever they took to be convenient was also unacceptable.

And I would not be fully disclosing my biases if I did not say that part of my motivation is that I do not like it when people mess with my friends!



Michael Barnes said...

Ben, I'm completely confused as to how I could have come across any differently on the podcast...one of the first things I said is "I don't really give a fuck what people think" and I proceeded to give my opinions and thoughts in such a way that is completely consistent with anything I wrote online. Perhaps the difference is that you're not basing that opinion on a lot of conjecture and instead taking the things I said at face value? I have no idea.

But again, thanks for your input.

Yours truly,
Hateful Little Fucker

(PS to Lyman- Good to see ya buddy! Welcome!)

hughthehand said...

Sigh...I did it...I have an account. I'm sure I'll forget this login within a few days.

"There's no crusade against BGG itself and I don't advocate people "leaving" BGG and I think it's ridiculous if people view me in any kind of position where they feel they have to "follow"...BGG remains the best database of game information the hobby has ever seen and I certainly won't stop using it and I hope it continues to thrive in that capacity."

This I like Barnes. I'm glad you can still use the site for searching and stuff at least.

I'm also with Michael on the posting to threads. Ben, I don't think he posted any more than anyone else. I think you, like a lot of us, just noticed his posts more than others.

I do agree with Ben though on one thing: your interview with Weeks seemed like a totally different person. I've posted that somewhere on bgg, but who cares. Point is, it was wierd hearing you talk so...reserved?...compared to how you wrote a lot of your posts on the geek. I don't know if that is good or bad, but I remember thinking "this is that nut on bgg with the scary avatar? Wow, he is way better in person/voice."

Looks like I'm not the only one that noticed that.

Anyhoo...I just have this to say:

whew...that does feel good...

John said...

I've been reading "the straw that broke the camels back" post by you several times. I just don't get how that post is in any way shape or form wrong. You state that you wish we could get away with discussing people and back to discussing games, but that the natual tendancy of people will end up with us discussing the personalities. That it comes with the territory.

What you wrote is 100% correct, and Aldie's problem isn't with you, it's with reality.

RKFade said...

Wish you luck with the blog.

Did you see Aldie's latest Geeklist? This makes it all OK.


Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, whatever..."damage control" I guess. "See guys, I'm down with you...I can get bizay just like you cool cats". For some reason it reminds me of when Mr. Smithers dressed up like Jimbo.

You know, I think the most ridiculous thing about this whole affair is how many people have said outright or intimated that board gaming (and even businesses like DoW and FFG) wouldn't even exist without the efforts of Aldie, Tom Vasel, Greg Schloesser, and Rick Thornquist...that's such a load of shit, and it really shows the difference between people that have been gaming before the internet and those who came along after. No doubt, those individuals have done a lot, contributed a lot, and attracted new gamers but do they deserve THAT much credit? No way.

And they call me an "egomaniac".

Ken Bradford said...

Christian Petersen was considering a career as a Jazz musician before he had a brief online conversation with a T. Vasel.

The rest...is history.

hughthehand said...

At first I thought you were talking about a member from Testament. But I got the names messed up in my head. They are Eric Peterson and Greg Christian.

So who is Christian Petersen?

Shellhead said...

Christian Peterson is the CEO of Fantasy Flight Games, and he is also one of their top game designers. I worked for FFG for three months, mainly just assembling board games, so my interaction with him was minimal.

But Christian seemed like a really nice guy, and he even pitched in with assembly on one of the busiest days during the holiday rush. At one point, he offered me a job as their accountant, but it didn't fit with my ambitious career plans and I had to say no.

Fantasy Flight was a great temp job. Both my supervisor and one of my co-workers were local DJs, so we always had great music to listen to. At one point we were getting pretty loud (Velvet Acid Christ, probably) and Christian did come out to the warehouse to tell us to turn it down.

But the following week, he threw the best office Christmas party that I've ever been to, including many games of Werewolf followed by free passes to the midnight debut of The Return of the King. Good times.

Michael Barnes said...

"At one point, he offered me a job as their accountant, but it didn't fit with my ambitious career plans and I had to say no."

What, $8 an hour and discounts on RUNEBOUND expansions weren't enough for ya? ;-P

Ken Bradford said...

At the rate they're releasing Runebound expansions, that probably amounted to a pretty penny.

jathomas said...

"...and already the level of discussion and debate is FAR ABOVE anything offered on BGG at this time in terms of interest and maturity.”

You can read it and really tell. Even the jerks sound a little less bootlicky. The best part is, no one has made the "I may not agree with what you say, but I WILL DEFEND YOUR RIGHT TO SAY IT!"

It sends a chill down my spine every time someone gets all dramatic and quotes that. It took me a while to figure out why I hate it so much, other than it's overuse. It's because people say it like IT'S A BIG DEAL, and requires A TON OF RESTRAINT to keep from booting someone who doesn't agree with you.

Guess what? It's not, or at least shouldn't be, that big of a deal to acknowledge that other people can disagree with you.


On another note, some similar quotes I would like to see overused:

"I think dolphins are pretty smart, and I don't think we should be hunting them down and killing them. AND I DON'T CARE WHAT ANYBODY SAYS! I DON'T CARE WHOSE TOES I STEP ON!"

"I am allergic to cats, but I will defend with my life, YOUR RIGHT TO EAT AS MANY CATS AS YOU WANT!"


Shellhead said...

Barnes: "What, $8 an hour and discounts on RUNEBOUND expansions weren't enough for ya? ;-P"

That's pretty damn close to what I got paid as an FFG warehouse monkey, and the employee discount was 75%. The accountant job would have paid more, but it still would have been a definite paycut compared to what I normally make.

Despite my bad cashflows while I was working there, I bought Games of Thrones and Citadels for myself, plus a silver line game for everybody on my Christmas list. That discount rocked!

CapAp said...

Hey Barnes and everybody. I'm sure my sentiment's been echoed before, but I gotta say it to have it on record:

This occurence is an open, festering wound on the integrity of the BGG website.

I haven't said that on BGG because, well, it's really just not worth the trouble.

So hey, they threw the baby out with the bathwater, cut off their noses to spite their faces, and all the other remarkable colloquialisms I can think of to avoid saying "They fucked up".

Much love, Barnesy - anyone who matters is pissed that you're gone. And DW is too.

adrianbolt said...

Michael Barnes = Howard Stern

Check out the "PETITION: Bring Back Michael Barnes" thread at:-