FAQ: My Suspension from Atheist Nexus

Since I got suspended on Friday, a lot of Dangerous Talkers have e-mailed me asking what happened. I was even told that someone was waging a hate campaign against me after I was suspended so that I could not respond to his accusation. So I thought I would do my best to answer some of the questions that I got and address some of the attacks that I heard were made.
Q. Why was I suspended?
A. I was suspended without explanation. From what I had heard and what now seems to be the case, I was suspended because I closed comments on my Atheist Nexus blog. Officially, that was considered "spam." I personally don't see how that is considered spam nor do I understand why that option is available if it is not allowed to be used. Forgive the biblical analogy, but it is sort of like god putting the tree of knowledge in the garden but not telling Adam and Eve that they couldn't eat from it and then punishing all of humanity for breaking some stupid rule which was not made clear.
Q. Is DangerousTalk.net a for profit site?
A. I WISH! Like most atheist blog sites, Dangerous Talk doesn't make enough money to pay for hosting let alone make a profit. However, I wish that it did. I think it would be outstanding to be able to support my family fighting for atheism. Dangerous Talk does accept donations and that has been the only real source of revenue the site has and it is sparse. I do appreciate those who do donate. It really does mean a lot to me. I do offer advertising space, but have never actually sold any. I would rather give advertising away to sites like Atheist Nexus. A few fellow atheists have offered to buy space, but we decided to link exchange instead. The Amazon Store is new to Dangerous Talk and has not made a dime yet. But if you are planning on buying something from Amazon, i would appreciate it you used my link to do it. The commission is small, but at least it is something.
Q. Do you get paid from the Examiner?
A. Yes, the Examiner does pay me a little bit of money and so I do encourage people to go to my Examiner Articles, leave comments, and subscribe. The Examiner does not pay enough to make a living, but it does give me money that I use to offset the costs of Dangerous Talk. I also use that money to further Dangerous Talk and to donate to other atheist sites and causes. That money is also used for some atheist activism when there is enough to do that.
Q. Aren't you ashamed of yourself for trying to make money on atheism?
A. Umm, no. Let me tell you a story. Not long ago Dangerous Talk was a podcast. When I was doing the podcast, I had a long ongoing conversation with a liberal Christian podcaster. His audience was half the size of my audience and he complained that he only made $20,000 that year. He even bragged about how some woman donated money to him that she needed for rent. He said that it showed her strong faith that she donated money she couldn't afford. I call it dishonest. If I were him I would be ashamed of myself and he was a liberal Christian. He wasn't even a fundamentalist. So I don't think it is shameful to ask people to donate a buck or two IF THEY CAN AFFORD it. I tell people all the time, my blogs are free but if you have some extra money, enjoy the blog, donations are appreciated. With that said, I think everyone should go to various atheist pages here on Atheist Nexus and find out if people have atheist blogs. Check them out if they do and if you have a few extra dollars consider donating to an atheist blog of your choosing. I can tell you that when an atheist blogger gets a $5 donation they are extremely happy and grateful. If we were in it for the money, we would fake a Christian blog and sell some diamond encrusted crystal crosses.
Q. What do you think the function of an Atheist Social Networking site is?
A. I think the purpose of an atheist networking site is to help atheists network their individual projects, get ideas from each other, and support each other's endeavors.
Q. Why do you support Atheist Nexus and not ThinkAtheist?
A. I support Atheist Nexus over ThinkAtheist because I think that the administrators here understand that fostering an atheist community means supporting individual atheist's projects. I believe that Atheist Nexus realizes that atheists are not sheep that need Sunday Sermons and who all need to get in line and do that they are told. Atheist Nexus allows atheists to be individuals while at the same time providing a forum for atheists to come together as a group.
Q. Are you going to wage a war against the guy who created a hate thread against you and got you suspended?
A. No, I have always been against atheist infighting. I would much rather spend my time arguing with theists and working on new blogs than fighting with other atheists. There are too few of us and too many of them to be fighting over silliness. I think it is petty and hypocritical that someone would push for me to be suspended and/or banned because he didn't like that I blocked comments here to foster a larger and more diverse conversation elsewhere. It seems to me that he didn't allow me to comment on his hate-thread by getting me suspended. But I don't think he should be suspended. I would have rather had a conversation about it.
Q. Did I try to have a conversation about it with this guy?
A. Yes, I posted a comment on his page detailing my reasoning. I also posted a comment on my own page explaining that reasoning. When I saw a discussion that he created about blocking comments, I attempted to post my reasoning there only to find out that I wad been suspended and couldn't. I then tried to find his e-mail address off of Atheist Nexus since I could not message him here. I was unsuccessful.
Q. Will you allow comments on blog teasers posted here on Atheist Nexus?
A. Yes, I will allow it since to do otherwise would be considered spam for some reason. However, I would still rather people post comments on the blog pages so that we can have a more diverse conversation. However if you would rather not have your comments read by Christians or other theists, feel free to post comments here. Also if you just would rather for your own reason post comments here, that is fine too. My reasoning is that many people come to Dangerous Talk from different social networking sites or through search engines and I think we could have a better, more diverse, conversation if it was all done at one place when possible. But that is just my opinion.
Q. Why haven't you posted a lot of blogs on Atheist Nexus?
A. In the past, I just used Atheist Nexus to meet other atheists and check out their projects. I also liked reading other people's blogs, and reading some of the conversations in the groups that I am subscribed to. I didn't really put much effort into posting blog teasers here. I would ever now and then though. But it wasn't the reason why I was on Atheist Nexus. Of course even the few blogs that I had posted were deleted when I got suspended.
Q. Didn't you post four blogs on a single day?
A. Yes, I posted four out of five blog of the week on Atheist Nexus on Friday. I was asked by some Dangerous Talkers to post more blog teasers here on Atheist Nexus and had been meaning to post one everyday. But I had forgotten to do it and so I thought I would post four of the blogs of the weak that I really liked in one day. I didn't think it would be a problem, but because it showed up in the blogroll here all at once, it generated some notice from people who would rather fight with fellow atheists than work together against theism.
Q. Will you still post blog teasers here?
A. I might every once in awhile, but I won't do it for every blog.

Any other questions or concerns that you may have that I haven't addressed, feel free to comment on my page or send me a private message. Please TALK to me and have a discussion with me before you try to ban me next time. Remember we are all on the same side here.
In Reason,

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Comment by Roy The Infidel on February 2, 2010 at 1:19am
Welcome back. The beauty of an open line of communication. I look forward to sharing any input to your blogs.

Comment by ryan cameron on January 31, 2010 at 7:08pm
Kid, I think to clarify it was the combination of blocking comments and redirecting comments to another site that gave the perception of using our site as a means of gaining an audience disingenuously. The only problem I personally had was the blocking comments part, but the combination with directing folks to another site in order to comment was not in the best interest of A/N or its community.
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on January 31, 2010 at 6:57pm
Kid, this appears to have been something that happened in error and has been quickly corrected. I don't think there's any need to make a big issue about it now. The fact that Staks has been so quickly reinstated is evidence that Atheist Nexus does not ban people 'outright' for promoting their atheist blogs.
Comment by Lorien on January 31, 2010 at 6:00pm
Actually, the christian criticism is one thing I do not want to read and hence the main reason I am here.
Comment by Staks Rosch on January 31, 2010 at 4:42pm
Robert, I thought I addressed that question here in this post. But perhaps I didn't make my opinion clear. First, Going forward, I will leave comments open. Second, my reasoning was that I wanted to encourage a larger more diverse discussion rather than many smaller less diverse discussions. While fellow atheists will no doubt disagree with some of my blog posts, it is less likely than theists to disagree. I would rather my fellow atheists post comments with theists in one large discussion. While comments will be open here from now on and people are more than happy to post comments, I would still like to encourage the larger conversation. Obviously I am not afraid of criticism since Christians criticism my blogs all the time.
Comment by Staks Rosch on January 31, 2010 at 4:34pm
Thank you to everyone who has commented thus far and thank you to Ryan in particular for his apology. That is always a hard thing for anyone to do. With that in mind, I will take Kristy's advice and apologize to everyone. I'm sorry that I didn't understand the site etiquette and I am extremely happy to be back. I do hope that this post has cleared up some of the misunderstandings and that now we can all get back to working together to fight against the Religious Right and theistic belief in general.
Comment by Robert Madewell on January 31, 2010 at 4:22pm
You know, I re-post articles from my blog all the time. I really don't know what's wrong with that. However, I have never closed comments on any blog post that I have ever posted (5 different sites). Why'd you do that, Staks? I kinda agree with John D on that one. Closing comments is kind of a christian thing to do. You know, not wanting to see any criticism.
Comment by ryan cameron on January 31, 2010 at 4:18pm
Upon reading this, I can see I was incorrect in my assumptions about you, and welcome you back given your willingness to allow comments. Please understand, the ONLY issue I was concerned about was the blocking of comments and having my choice as a member to comment or not taken away by that.

In hindsight, I should have simply complained about the practice and not called for your "banning" in a post, and for that I apologize. I never meant to wage a "hate campaign" against you, just against the practice of blocking/deleting comments indiscriminately, and my choice of words could have been a lot more thoughtful and inclusive rather than emotionally charged and over the top.

I applaud your contribution to the atheist community, echo your eloquent thoughts posted here, and am glad you have decided to return.

In a spirit of peace and unity,

Comment by Lorien on January 31, 2010 at 3:22pm
Yes, but Teaser blogs is how Richarddawkins.net site works.

Just leave the comments part enabled and check back to interact with them too.

Welcome back DangerousTalk.
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on January 31, 2010 at 3:15pm
I know and like Staks and admire his work. I also lobbied for him to be reinstated to Nexus. However, I do have some comments to make.

1. I think the 'Why I was banned' type of blog is really unhelpful. I understand the motivation to 'clear the air', but I think a simple, 'Sorry, I didn't understand the site etiquette, glad to be back' would have been more appropriate.

2. Atheist Nexus is all about helping Atheists network and promote their individual projects. But, in my opinion, simply posting 'teaser blogs' that take people away from this site is not good manners and amounts to using AN as free advertising for your blog. I would much rather bloggers posted the occasional entire blog here, opened for comments, and noted that anyone who liked the blog could see more on their own website. This both contributes to AN and allows the blogger to promote their own page.

3. While I understand Ryan's frustration at what he understandably thought was spam, waging a public campaign against another member is not appropriate either. Members have been asked repeatedly to email Admin if there is a problem and let them deal with it, rather than escalating complaints in the forums.

That said, I would like to express my thanks to Admin for restoring Staks' account because I think he will make a valuable member of this site. And I would suggest to Staks that becoming a more active, engaged and high profile member of Atheist Nexus is a better way to increase traffic to his blog and Examiner articles than simply posting teaser blogs.



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