Your mad admin writes very little here, as there are other outlets on the interwebs where he can spew his insanity. There are even a couple where his foam-flecked rantings are somewhat appreciated.

There is one less of those, now.

Because of the recent U.S. presidential election, one of those places was invaded by the overflow of a different sort of foam-flecked ranting, namely the wails and lamentations of those who disliked the outcome. Of course that’s been happening all over the place, online and off, but this was distressing to your mad admin because that forum had nothing at all, at all, to do with politics. In fact in the many years I had been there, I don’t remember a single political related post or even comment that I ever saw.

That’s one of the reasons I liked the place, because I hate politics. Or, to be more precise, the discussion thereof. Because there’s no reason to discuss politics, at least online. It all devolves to screaming matches, and no one is enlightened, no one changes their mind, no one gains a thing from it except their fingers get exercise on their keyboards.

♫♫ Type your fingers to the bone; what do you get? Boney fingers! Boney fingers! ♫♫

Please do not misunderstand, dear Mythical Reader. Of course people have the right to scream uselessly at each other discuss things of political bent. But there are places where it is not appropriate. I thought that forum that I really liked was once such place — so much so that I called out the moderators to delete the thread as it was off-topic. Said moderators informed me that I was wrong, and political threads were perfectly all right there.

I wasn’t upset at being told off by the mods — hell, that happens occasionally. I am barking mad, after all; comes with the territory. I was upset that a place I thought was free of the political ranting I so loathe, was not free of it.

So now I don’t post there anymore, or contribute in ways that I used to.

What, I can’t stand that some people want to talk about things I don’t want to talk about? No, that’s not the reason.

You see, I am unfortunate enough to have been spat forth upon the Earth into a society where people are being dragged out of their cars and beaten for their political beliefs. Attacked by mobs for wearing the wrong hat. Fired for daring to express a wrong thought, or for casting the wrong ballot. I expect the killings to start soon.

That forum is a place where items can be sold between participants. I have bought, and sold, items via that capability there. Hence, those people I’ve done business with know where I live.

At least two of those people I did business with were posting in that political thread. They were not all that constrained in their dislike for those who chose differently at the ballot than they did. Most of the people in the area I live cast their ballots differently than those posters did. It will take no effort at all for any of those posters to assume that I did the same. Even though I didn’t vote at all, at all. Why would they believe that I didn’t?

And why, dearest of Mythical Readers, why wouldn’t they act under that assumption, and track down where I work and try to get me fired? So many others have done that exact thing to people.

Now if it were only myself I cared for in this world of vast stupidity, I wouldn’t mind being fired, and thus would not act to avoid it. In the extreme, there is always a nice long walk into the woods with a revolver and a single bullet, and thus freedom from the durance vile that is existence. Alas, there are four people remaining incarcerated on the planet with me who occasionally give half a damn about me, and while I can assist them only infrequently on my paltry salary, I do help them when I can. Why would I risk even the little I can give them, for continuing to post on a board where people might take it into their minds to hate my guts and act against me?

Yes, dear reader, I know this is most unlikely. The odds of that occurring are vanishingly small. Almost completely zero in fact. But not zero. And I will not knowingly take even that infinitesimal chance.

So that board will continue on sans moi. Few there will even notice, and fewer still will care. I am not of any importance, I am quite aware. I will still visit the place, as there are other functions there besides discussion, and they still have value for me, as they do not involve interaction with others.

But I’ve noticed that postings on that forum are down a bit. Roughly 20% or so, I’d estimate. I wonder how many other people have also decided to simply be silent. Oh, I’m sure it’s just the upcoming holiday seasons that are keeping people from spending time there. It probably has nothing to do with the introduction of politics there, of course.

Of course.

But when people stop participating, forums start to die. I’ve seen that over and over again in my online life. I’ve seen dial-in BBS sites die, I’ve seen CompuServe forums die, I’ve seen Usenet newsgroups die, I’ve seen web boards die. Over and over and over again, when people simply stop participating, the place dies.

That’s how societies and countries die, too.