This website has been compared to many other things — the forum at Rome, a collaborative replication of Hunter S. Thompson at his worst, the proverbial dumpster fire — but it’s really more like the Dutch city of Drachten. That’s where traffic engineer Hans Monderman pioneered the idea of “shared space”. In Drachten, there are no traffic lights, no traffic signs, and no road markings. The intersections are completely empty of any instructions for drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists. You might think that this would result in utter chaos and possibly a nontrivial quantity of blood in the streets, but you would be wrong. It turns out that most aggressive drivers actually believe that they have the law on their side. With no law to follow and no rules to obey, drivers begin operating in a cooperative and productive manner. Traffic accidents in Drachten went down after the signs went down — and travel times through the city actually decreased.
The Drachten experiment, successful though it may be, is highly dependent on some external factors. Northern European countries have core qualities of high social trust, high education level, low aggression, and homogenous ethnic makeup. Would you get the same results from this policy in, say, East Los Angeles? Probably not. It’s a small-town strategy, for small-town people. Incidentally, it’s also had some success in the UK, and there’s a nice video in the preceding link to show what happens when you remove traffic signs there.
When I took over as TTAC’s final Editor-In-Chief (for reasons of internal politics and prestige, my three successors were Managing Editors, with the E-I-C title assigned to a person behind the curtain) I adopted a Drachten-esque policy about censorship and moderation. I figured that TTAC’s relatively intelligent user community could be trusted to obey themselves as long as I did not set specific rules under which they would chafe. If you were around at the time, you will remember that my policy worked; the only users we banned were previous TTAC staffers commenting under aliases.
Here at Riverside Green, I continue to pursue the policy of “open spaces”. You can criticize me or Bark, you can express your politics without reservation. This site is big enough for commenters who have studied the Torah their whole lives and for commenters who non-ironically use the phrase “the Jew York Times”. We’ve had a couple of African-American contributors and we have people who are to the right of Richard Spencer. In general, everybody gets along — and I believe that’s because we have no explicit moderation which appears to favor any particular group or person over another.
Unnnnn-fortunately, I’m going to have to make a very specific exception to this policy.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a person or group of people trying to create some drama. This commenter/group assumes the identity of other people and tries to troll me or the commenters as those people. He/she/it started out pretending to be a therapist — I thought the post was stupid but I didn’t take too much notice of it. He then started pretending to be other people in the auto business. Since I know those people, I know where they are, and I know what their real email addresses are, I didn’t fall for that.
So here’s the deal. If you comment on this site pretending to be a particular autowriter or executive, or if you assume an identity that is not consistent with reality, I’m going to shitcan and/or edit your work. If you keep doing it after that has happened, then I assume that you have waived any pretension to privacy of any sort and then I’ll do whatever seems most hilarious to me at the time.
This does NOT, I repeat, NOT NOT NOT mean that we have a “real name” policy here. Fuck that. You can be FourSpeedFox or WarHammer or Steve McNewman or whatever you want to be. But if you want to post as, say, Chris Harris or Alex Roy or anybody like that, then you should be aware that I know all of these people better than you do and I know a fake when I see it.
There is something particularly repugnant to me about somebody trying to create a situation in which I respond to “provocation” from someone posing as an industry figure. It’s a game called “Let’s You And Him Fight” and it shouldn’t be played by men period point blank. If you have a genuine problem with me, use your own name and let’s talk about it. As Drake said about Pusha T, I’m an approachable dude. But if you are so frightened of me that you have to make up names in a feeble attempt to get me to notice you, then…
Thanks for reading.