Is Abd banned from lenr-forum?

Bans were being discussed on lenr-forum, and it was asked if Abd was banned. No administrator or moderator answered the question.

Eric Walker wrote a post discussing bans; he is a “Super Moderator” on lenr-forum, and had just banned a particular user (not me). Some snippets:

I’ve been on Vortex for some time now, and I like how the moderation there is very light. Bill Beaty, the list admin, is off doing other things and usually only responds after receiving requests. There have been several points in time on Vortex, however, when a flagrant troll came along and tried to bend the group to his own will, making it extremely unpleasant to follow the list. It would have been nice for Bill to step in many weeks earlier in such cases. Those were flagrant trolls, easy to spot from early on.

There was a particilar troll who was filling the list with screeds about various, ah, unpopular topics, like Obama was not born in the U.S. and was therefore not a legitimate President, or, say, Muslims support pedophilia. It was not just him, many users were responding to him. Because what he was saying had real-world consequences — people were going to prison over the birther thing — I answered him with research. That’s, in fact, where I learned about the details of the birther myth!

I begged Beaty to intervene, for weeks. I finally called his office and left a message. Beaty’s response was to ban the troll and me. “DNFTT,” though others had been feeding him plenty. But first he shut the list down while figuring out what to do. I had pointed out that this was a major discussion list, with an owner who was seriously absent, and it had already gone down many times because of being hosted on, where the owner was in jail for … child molestation… not that this is really relevant. I started newvortex as a backup list. I think he didn’t like that! Beaty had refused help moderating Vortex for years. Owners start these things as pet projects and letting go is not in their playbook, often. My own training is, to create community projects, create them and then identify leaders and turn it over. Okay, where are the leaders? Any volunteers?

People whose only contribution here is to be obnoxious and toxic should definitely worry about being perma-banned. I will do it again if the need arises. People who have something interesting to say but are obnoxious part of the time do not need to worry about being perma-banned by me (although I cannot speak for the other mods), which is not to say that something more measured won’t be done in specific cases. People who see all kinds of interesting technical and legal details to be mentioned, sorted out and debated dispassionately on their merits and without bringing in other forum personalities into the discussion are the kind of people we want here.

That is more or less standard practice … but he “cannot speak for the other mods,” and someone, including someone with a high level of administrative permission, is not following what he wrote.

barty wrote:

@Eric Walker: I couldn’t have said it better!

There are three administrators on LENR-forum. @AlainCo, @barty, and @David Nygren, the Founder. I have no conclusive evidence, but a strong indication that Alain did not create the forbidden access problem (the 403 errors). Barty has not responded to emails from me about this, but if he is behind my “permanent ban,” he is above agreeing with a policy basis that he is not following. That leaves David Nygren. however, David posted something recently that indicated to me that he might not be willing to touch basic site settings. Which more or less leaves barty, on weak circumstantial evidence.

Bans may also be issued by Super Moderators, which would then add in @Alan Smith, @Eric Walker, and @Rends. I have been informed that Alan issued the recent two-day ban, but when that expired, it was converted to a permanent ban, and I have no information who did that and only an idea that is it unlikely to have been done by Alain or Eric. Barty was the one who banned me for two days before, but he was open about it, and apologized for the “accidental” extension of that first ban to permanent, and maybe for the ban itself, he wasn’t entirely clear.

This is a Star Chamber, where one doesn’t know the identity of accusers, judges, or executioners.

Shane D. wrote:

Moderation is an art form. LF is doing well now without Abd, nonetheless it would be nice to have him back. Is he banned?

There are users on LF who must know that I’m banned. They don’t respond. The moderators and administrators know it. They don’t respond to the question. It’s a fairly simple question, yes or no. Is Abd banned?

LENR Calendar wrote:

Moderators can do what they want, I think they’ve been reasonable so far.

I don’t think Abd is banned, he just left because he doesn’t like the moderation.

On a related note, he has a domain here , and is complaining that his links to the forum are being 403d. Technical glitch or trolling from the forum admin?

This is the sequence:

  • Alan Smith deleted a post of Dewey Weaver, without notice and would not provide the text of what he deleted, to Dewey or to me.  General community commentary at that point was against the deletion of posts without strong reasons.
  • Alan Smith then deleted at least 15 posts in a thread, again without notice. See Deletion of 16 posts by Alan Smith
  • I am a writer, not a barfly. Those who just want sound-bite repartee don’t mind if comments are deleted, it’s all immediate conversation — or argument — only. But it’s different for a writer. I do not write for fora where my contributions can easily disappear without notice or appeal, so … I announced that, until the situation was resolved, I’d be boycotting LF.
  • I was then promptly banned for two days by Alan Smith.
  • At the expiration of that I found that I was permanently banned. In neither case was I provided with any warning or explanation.
  • This was my last post, December 8.
  • The next morning, I looked at LF and I could not read it. Banned users cannot read LF until they are logged out, and the ban locks them out of logging out. To read the Form, I needed to use another browser, though using stealth mode or killing all the cookies also worked.
  • I attempted to negotiate a settlement through an administrator. The response was that there were problems, and that nothing was likely to be resolved soon. However, there was an action taken:
  • The ban notice on the screen said it was for two days. Two days later, it was replaced by “Your user account has been banned: Permanent Ban.” That is still happening.

I’ve been told that they are furious with me. I don’t wonder. This is how petty tyrants, big frogs in small ponds, react to someone who doesn’t kowtow. I’ve seen this for many, many years, and it is worst in nonprofit organizations, where people have “noble motives” for screwing others over.

LENRC says I’m “complaining” about the 403 errors. Actually, because a user following a link from CFC will see that error, and not know how to fix it (it took me a bit to find out, I had never seen a 403 error before, they are very unusual), and may think that CFC links are defective in some way, leading to more confusion, I am forced to notify users about the problem (or abandon linking, which is probably what they are trying to force.)

Why was I banned when I had already said I wasn’t going to post — and had not posted there, but only on CFC? Well, apparently, they don’t like what I write here, that’s part of their “fury.” Yet I have received no complaints about any post here. There is one person whose identity was revealed: it was what was suspected by many, and it turns out to be completely obvious from LF positing history, and easily fixed if the user wants to fix it. Obviously, he doesn’t. And he has not complained. I will often take steps to eliminate or mute negative impact on an individual.

No, it is not about that. One of the LF regulars wrote me:

As you know, some of us would love to see you back, while some of the Rossi ([name redacted] is one) supporters don’t. Of course we know why….you are too damn good!

Perhaps. My concern is always about process. I confronted moderation practice, in ways that represented, more or less, a probable majority of the community — I have studied the former effort to come up with policy on trolling, etc. I have found that when I stand for the majority, minorities with excess power attack. It’s all quite predictable, actually.

Zephir_AWT wrote:

Moderation is an anoying stuff for both sides, it’s always better to leave it on users of forum as much as possible. But currently only very few forums provides effective tools for application of direct democracy.

This is common thinking, though he is correct about “very few.” He assumes, as is common, that the alternatives are autocracy or direct democracy, and he thinks, then, that “tools” are needed. Structure is needed, that is how I would say it.

We have known how to do this for centuries; what is missing, generally, is a willingness to create the structures, and, then, when a proposal is made in an organization that would shift from autocratic control to consensus formation, the autocrats, in almost every case, oppose it, and by definition, they have excess power. So it’s rare that anything moves further on. And this happens in organizations that are dedicated to improving democracy — or “free discussion”! It’s called the Iron Law of Oligarchy, and there is a way around it (and a highly successful organization that implemented it), but few are interested.

Mary Yugo wrote:

[…] I just think banning participants or editing or deleting otherwise harmless posts is poor form. Abd’s verbal diarrhea, for example, could be annoying but he made definite contributions (even if you disagree with them). I do not think he or K should have been banned (and I often can’t stand Abd’s stuff plus he heavily censored my posting on his forum!)

The term is logorrhea, bad enough, though diarrhea is grossly uncivil. Part of the problem is that LF is not designed for deep commentary or the kind of writing that I do. Watch what happens here, as I organize my posts and create summaries, pushing the bulk off the accessing post. Meanwhile, “Mary” is a long-term pseudoskeptic and is so strenous in it that “she” may as well be called a troll, sometimes, it seems that way. Did I “heavily censor” Mary’s posts on “my” forum? That would be newvortex, a mailing list, created as a spinoff from vortex-l, and I’m not the only moderator.

I did not censor Mary’s posts. No posts were deleted. Mary Yugo is still a member of the newvortex mailing list. Mary has about forty posts on newvortex. However, at one point, Mary crossed a boundary and, with another user, was put on moderation (and still is there, and Mary has not requested this be lifted). This post announced it. An ironic comment from Mary in response (private mail to me):

I do not participate in forums which censor my posts.

Of course, Mary does. LF has hacked up and deleted Mary’s posts, and that is part of what I was pointing out. As far as I can tell from my records, no post from Mary Yugo submitted to newvortex was actually rejected, a few were accepted as part of this sequence. But what Mary remembers is “heavily censored.” The very idea that a post might have to be approved by someone was unforgivable.

The way that moderation works on a mailing list like newvortex is that if a user is on moderation, all the moderators get a copy of any submission, and may accept or reject or ignore the post. My policy would be, generally, not to reject a post unless it simply needs some fixing, which would be invited. And especially not if I would be accused of censorship. But I might not do anything. Any moderator could take Mary off of moderation, but I’d have suggested the negotiation of an agreement where Mary voluntarily restrains himself.

If no moderator will take responsibility for accepting it, such a post is eventually automatically rejected, after weeks or even months. The hope was that we would have a small community of moderators from all points of view, but united on creating useful conversation. This kind of structure is scalable. The discussions that a consensus structure requires are pushed to another mailing list so that those who only want to read the topic of the main list don’t have to attend to them, but can read the meta-conversation if they choose. And can participate in governance if they choose. This is all “Free Association” stuff, I worked on since the mid-1980s.

Eric Walker wrote:

Mary, just to be clear, Abd’s situation is entirely different from that of K’s, who has been a flagrant troll.

[and more about desirable users. Well, Eric?]

Rigel wrote:

I am dense as I have said before. Per the above post what is Abd’s “situation?” I am missing something. I thought he took a break (one way or the other) but I never thought of it beyond that. Is he now banned? and if so when does it expire?

He noticed that his question was not being answered.

LENR Calender wrote:

Abd is here: dutifully analyzing every one of our posts without the fear of having posts be deleted.

Merry Christmas Abd! :hi:

Thanks, LENRC. As a blogger, now, I always appreciate links. Writing here is much easier. Writing on LF, my drafts often vanished, whereas a WordPress blog auto-saves stuff frequently. I can create interactive page structure, I’m just beginning to realize the possibilities. Here, instead of my comments on LF posts appearing pages later than a post I might be responding to, it’s immediate and I can make it clear. And, yes, I’m free and not facing possible deletion.

But I don’t analyze every post. I don’t even look at most LF posts, just ones in threads where I have some special interest, knowledge, or something to say. If you compare this narrative with the original LF narrative, you will see I have skipped posts. I only copy the ones that in some way develop a theme or story.

So Happy New Year to LENRC.

Rigel wrote:

Thanks LENR Calendar, so now I assume he was banned but not permaband. Abd, get back soon so I can miss spell your name correctly. ?(

Well, it’s almost as permanent as the software allows. My account has not been deleted, but it is totally inaccessible to me, directly. My guess is that users can email me through the interface, but I cannot read Conversations. I can email others by registering a sock, and I could even comment, but, remember, I said I was boycotting the Forum. That means not contributing content of particular value. I do that here, and anyone who likes it can link to it. So far, LF has not disallowed that. They could! That would be even more embarrassing than the 403 errors they created by prohibiting access refered from this domain.

LENR Calender wrote:

My undertstanding is that he is not currently banned but instead decided to self exile after disagreeing with moderation practices, specifically deletion of posts.

I did not decide to self-exile. I decided to stop contributing content until the deletion issue was resolved, which could easily have been done by an agreement to not permanently delete content without at least providing access to the author.

On this blog, Authors will be able to create posts and pages. They are not allowed, however, to delete them because this would, if comments were added, also delete the comments. To delete a post will require an administrator, at this point. Unfortunately, normal deletion puts the material in the Trash, wherefrom it can be recovered. But then a user who can delete can also delete it from the Trash, I just tested this today. So unless that is fixed — there might be a way — users can create content, they can edit it (including blanking it), but not delete it, except by asking an admin to do it.

This is a commitment: if you create content possibly in good faith, here, it will be recoverable by you even if it is apparently deleted. I consider it totally rude to toss someone’s writing in the trash in a way such that it cannot be recovered. Mature sites that solicit and collect user-supplied content don’t do that. They give notice as well. The LF deletions were without notice, I just happened to notice them. They were not announced.

monty wrote:

Yeah it’s a treacherous pool of sharks, thats what this forum is!
Or is it he choose self exile because he’s a wuss puss?
Well I certainly forgot but I am sure the answer lies somewhere in between ;)

Charming, what is allowed on LF.

Rigel wrote:

Maybe he is tired, people often get piss’d off when tired. I am sure he would wish everyone here happy holidays. He will be back. Even if its to justify a perceived slander or to correct a mistake. I am confident that he will. It is the nature of people that spend their lives helping others. Besides he loves a good argument. Or else as you say he just can not handle the heat. :blackeye: But I guess we will never know.

If you want to know, Rigel, why not come here and register an account? Even anonymously, you can ask. You can also PM me through the LF interface, at least so far. I will see any comments submitted to, as well, I can be messaged, even anonymously, through User talk:Abd on Wikiversity, etc.

Thanks for the kind thoughts. I am recovering from a major health event, requiring me to take it seriously easy. I’m 72, and men my age tend to fall over, often without warning. Well, I got a warning. I could have died, easily, but didn’t, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I predict that effect. But for now, I bought a Fitbit and a pulse oximeter and I am watching various markers closely!

Axil wrote: (responding to monty)

Take a look at the posts of Ed Storms on this forum. He was driven out of here by a bevy of trolls. I would love to see Ed back if only to argue with him.

“Driven out” doesn’t really express what happens. Ed is probably the world’s foremost expert on LENR, and he doesn’t need to waste his time arguing with idiots. It’s bad enough arguing with other scientists or opinionated writers like me! (Privately). CFC is being set up in such a way as to encourage expert participation. Authors may, for example, disallow comments on their posts.

I’ve been through this before, and don’t expect any sudden response. Most scientists prefer to write for journals, i.e., “real” publication.

So, closing here for now, nobody actually answered the question about the ban, and there was misinformation. Maybe someone will, I’ll be watching.

LENR Calender wrote:

I have to make a correction to my previous posts as it turns out that Abd is actually permanently banned.

A blog seems like a better format for him, but hopefully he doesn’t feel too lonely out there!

Thanks, LENRC. As a blogger, links are always appreciated! As to what I feel, I feel an amazing sense of freedom, as if I had  been slogging through muck for months. People have been telling me for years to start a blog…. now I know why. As to lonely, anyone who expects the internet to fill the void is in big trouble. As well, it’s lonely at the top! However, all are welcome, come on in, the water’s fine! (Mary Yugo’s story of being “heavily censored” was, ah, counterfactual, as I showed above.).

zeus46 wrote:

It is my speculation that our Emperor Napoleon was confined to his online Elba (rapidly becoming his St Helena) due to his attempts to organise a boycott of this forum.

And I wonder how similar his tale of being banned from vortex-L is to this situation, if one were bothered to delve into it deeper.

Also congratulations to the joker going by the handle of ‘zeus45’ on that site: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Post was edited 1 time, last by “zeus46” (13 hours ago).

To be St. Helena, I’d need to die here. Possible, but not likely soon. Only a fool would want to be emperor of others, but emperor of oneself, that’s spectacular — for a start! The buck stops here.

As to “attempts to organize a boycott,” this was the sum of it, my last post:

The lack of deletion notice now makes me realize that there might be much content being hacked up. How would we know? Is anyone watching?

Accordingly, I am now boycotting until this is addressed, and I urge others to the same, vocally, please contact me if you are doing this. All sincere participants here are welcome on, and anyone who cares and who decides to contribute here can post links to CFC, as AlainCo has been doing.

This, however, was not Alan Smith’s excuse for banning me. First of all, this was Shane D.’s response:

What took you so long? I noticed those deletions this morning. Don’t feel bad as I was one of those deleted, and have been smarting ever since. I am very sensitive afterall. And just because of “Something about Mary”…great movie by the way. :)

Alan went on a binge last night apparently. Not sure why, as what I read, by forum standards, appeared pretty benign. It would not hurt for him to ease up a bit if you were to ask me. Moderating is a fine line moderators have to walk, and overall I think Alan has done that well, until last night.

Alan Smith wrote: (in response to my post and perhaps Shane, with my emphasis)

The posts were deleted because of off topic content. Including some (asking for better behaviour) posts of my own, and some by other members including some which were insulting to the principal complainant, Abd. (about the deletions) Can’t win them all. He is temporarily suspended for insulting comments. He may not be back.

ETA. I see Abd’s comments about hacking above. Offensive in itself if untrue which it is. Let me assure all members that posts are never edited in any way by me or other mods without the edit being noted by the mod clearly on the post in question.

Incidentally I have majority management/admin support for my action.


Who was “insulted”? Alan Smith. Now, majority support. I know that one of the admins was not consulted, and probably does not support the action. There are only three admins. The indication to me, unless what Alan says is “counterfactual” — which it is about “hacking up content,” he may intend what he wrote but, ah, perhaps he forgets — and he never apologises when he does — is that the Founder and barty agree with the actions. The apparent Owner and one fairly nice guy admin, not a problem in themselves, but supporting their “most active volunteer,” and not providing adult supervision. I’ve seen this again and again in ad hoc organizations. The general membership? Who cares about them? “We are in charge, and we know better.”

Dictators always take critique as “insult,” and if they can make it illegal, they do, and they will attempt to punish it, if they can. Genuine leaders welcome critique, because it is a necessity if one is to lead wisely.

Back to the current discussion:

AlainCo wrote:

Best not to attack one who cannot answer.

If you are happy of the situation, enjoy, if not, lobby for change.

Indeed. I’d been lobbying for improving LENR Forum governance for maybe six months. Lobbying wasn’t enough, because whoever is actually in charge doesn’t pay attention to what the members want — perhaps doesn’t even know what the members want. They think that members can just go away if they don’t like it. Well, we can. But what if members organize? “That must be stopped! We are the only ones allowed to organize.” (This is completely visible on Wikipedia with the administrative cabal and the Arbitration Committee, which has secret coordination but severely sanctions any attempts of others to organize, when it is discovered, and has been doing this for a decade.)

Except, of course, they cannot stop us. The only thing that stops us is inertia and blaming others.

Rigel  wrote:

I would kindly ask the forum decision makers to come together and allow Abd-Lomax to keep being able to post here at lenr-forum.

It would be hypocritical of me to me to criticize a very common forum practice/action such as time limited ban (that I would agree with depending on circumstance). In this case, a permaban is misused and is both unwarranted and uncalled for. I have never once seen this user post banned words or images given his prolixity aside.

But it is important for me to speak out clearly,as he is not here to troll. This is far from what his posts are. I find them meaningful, substantial and informative. His help with the Rossi/IH case is invaluable.

I would imagine he gets the point by now. So in the same vein I would kindly ask you to also understand this point has been plainly made and make a public statement that the ban has been lifted. Make it clear one way or the other. If he has a software login issue, I would ask that it be addressed. If this is being addressed and in process I apologize as I understand that things take time.

Thanks, Rigel. “Prolix” is another word for “thorough or complete,” and is distinct from “polemic,” because the latter requires concision. I’ve been involved (and moderating, on occasion) on-line discussion since the 1980s, on the W.E.L.L. Some people appreciate depth and personal comments, others don’t, and it has always been that way. I do extremely well on Quora because depth is either appreciated or ignored there.

There are software issues, but they are minor and could be addressed. The problem isn’t the software, it is with the people using it, and in particular with those with advanced tools, most of which, my opinion, should be much more widely shared, with a structure set up to resolve disputes with consensus. It’s all been done, but the LF staff are apparently ignorant of how this is done with mature communities.

 When I was still under the two-day ban by Alan, I requested that an admin unban me based on my personal assurance that I would not violate the ban even if the account was unlocked. I was told that this wasn’t possible, because of “problems” with the staff.

This is the reality, plausibly: Alan Smith wanted to get rid of me, probably most deeply because of a political position, as well as personal animosity, but he had no ready excuse. Barty was in support of this. He had already acted to suppress discussion of Rossi v. Darden. My declaration of a boycott gave him cover, because, he could think, users wouldn’t notice the ban and would think it was just me being huffy, as, in fact, some did.

This much is clear: LF administration is not open and honest with the community.

The most obvious sign of a deep problem with LF: The 403 errors. That took deliberate action by someone with high-level access, probably to the domain host. I rather doubt that the forum software itself could do it. This prevents access before the forum software responds. The techie is barty, apparently. Attempting to contact him directly, I discovered weird stuff. He has not responded. I have not attempted to contact the Owner.

I am not begging or pleading. I attempted to negotiate with respect. They don’t understand respect, a sign of real-world isolation.

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Author: Abd ulRahman Lomax


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