Last month was my three year anniversary on Open Salon. I remember being absolutely thrilled and amazed at the incredible talent here. I couldn't get enough of this place - it was exhilarating. Many nights, I read until the wee hours of the morning, finally reluctantly closing my laptop from sheer exhaustion only to log back on the moment I opened my eyes the next morning. For a very long time, OS was the first thing I did in the morning and the last thing I did before I went to bed.
I became acquainted with some of the most incredible people. I even met some of them in person and consider them friends to this day. They were exactly who I perceived them to be from their writings. Some of the finest writing I've ever read was right here on Open Salon.
I haven't been active here much in the last year - work and life drew me away and, truth be told, the place lost much of its appeal when all the rumors started flying about OS closing its doors. We went through editor after editor, great writers began leaving for other sites or setting up their own sites. Changes - lots of changes. The feeling of community that was so strong at one time began to crumble away at the edges.
Still, out of habit, I kept coming back occasionally, mostly to read and comment every so often. I haven't written much in a long while. Again, work and life held my attention and left little time for creative pursuits. I missed the community here but life goes on, yes?
Fortunately because of my sporadic presence here over the last year, I managed to miss some of the recent dust-ups/flame wars, whatever you prefer to call them. Ah, but this current one...
I was alerted to it by posts on Facebook and I scurried over to see what was happening. Like a moth to the flame, I was drawn back. And now, I am saddened, disheartened, discouraged. I've been witness to, and even involved in, my fair share of flame-wars. I thought I had seen some sh*t.
I have to say that nothing I've witnessed here before even comes close to what is going on here now. OS used to be a place for intelligent discourse, reasoned disagreements. The community policed itself to some degree. Rarely, if ever, have I seen editors or "the powers that be" step in to moderate or mitigate and of course, that seems to be the case still.
I've not commented on any of the posts in question, except 0nce on Aim's Unforgiven. This is a pigsty I chose not to wade into. Until now. I'm sure I will regret putting this post up - I may well take it down. I'm saddened to see what OS has devolved into.
For what it's worth, I absolutely deplore the anti-Semitism and hate speech that was spouted here. I cannot believe any sane person would defend it. The Matt and Fusun debacle has taken on a life of its own and has become a black hole sucking in anyone who dares to go near it. I am not privy to the details of the cyber stalking that happened to Candace, other than what she has revealed here. I can only say that I know Candace personally and I am so sorry that she had to endure something so hideous and I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention because I would have come to her defense immediately had I been aware of it.
I considered Matt a friend. He was always kind to me. I am floored by what has been revealed here. I've waited for some kind of public explanation, defense, something... anything. Nothing. Matt, did you do this??
As for Fusun, I've been here long enough to have witnessed some very troubling behavior from her on a couple of occasions. I don't understand what drives her and I made it a habit long ago to steer clear of her.
My grandmother always told me, 'where's there's smoke, there's fire." I see way too much smoke for there not to be a horrendous fire. I think anyone who has been here long enough to witness the steadfastness and longstanding credibility of folks like Joanie and Candace know the truth of what has happened.
That's my take on the whole thing. I'm sure no one needed another two-cents-worth on the subject, but I needed to say it.
I don't even want to think about what kind of place OS will be when this is over. Too much has been damaged, too much vitriol has been exchanged, too many have been dragged into the muck and mire.
I would be lying if I said I won't come back here to see what happens. I will, of course. But it will not be with the same heady expectation and excitement that I used to come here... no, certainly not that. It will be with the same morbid fascination one has when watching a train wreck. You know you should look away, but something just keeps pulling your attention back to the horrific scene.