I've been debating this step for, quite literally, months now.
What has finally tipped the balance is seeing the extent to which
rastb5 has been virtually taken hostage by a very few people
who have no interest in this forum except to tear down this show
in general, and me in particular.
To that effect, they lie, manufacture facts, speculate based on
premises that have no basis whatsoever in reality, engage in smear
campaigns, insult and abuse users of this area, drop innuendo when
they have nothing else to grab onto...they leap into threads that
should by all rights be reasonably safe from flame and turn them
into referendums on whether or not jms is a liar, in the kind of
logic that stems from "are you still beating your wife?" premises.
The progression is always the same: a smear message, or an outright
fabrication, gets posted; it generates heated replies from other
users; those users are then attacked for being unthinking followers
or sycophants (when the reality is that the original message was
bone-headed and simply *wrong), thus ensuring that the conversation
is not about the subject anymore, but rather the conversation becomes
about the conversation...and in that form, it can go on forever,
spreading out into more and more threads until all you see after a
while are flames in every direction.
I try to stay out of it as much as I can...but sooner or later
something so odious, so despicable, such an obvious, irredeemable lie
gets posted that I lose my temper and have to respond. I sit here,
and take sucker punches to the face, every single time I sign on from
some of the outrageous stuff that goes on here; I take it quietly,
but after you're punched in the face three, four, five times a day,
for weeks at a time, damn it sooner or later you're going to hit back,
and hard. And that's when the same cadre of imbeciles comes back and
says, "Gee, look at that, see how badly he behaves?"
More and more lately, I have been signing on here, and by the time I
log off, I'm furious. Furious for the unsubstantiated character
assassination directed against me...and over the course of the year
plus I've been here, not one -- not ONE -- of the allegations from
Fuller, Fuller or Thaxton have *ever* been proven out, but they just
forget that and move on to the next attack...as well as the attacks
on other users here who have chosen to defend me against these
In the past, where it's been just a few threads here and there, and
I knew what they were, I could just avoid them. But in their
ceaseless attacks, designed to provoke a response from me, they
have begun throwing their nets consistently wider, so that they're
all over the place; I can't avoid the hassles and the grief. And
if I see some of this crap, which is untrue and unfair and designed
for no other reason than to cause me grief...I get angry, and when
I get angry, I can't write, and that hurts the show.
And I will not allow the show to be hurt. When it crosses that
line...it stops. One way or another.
I've tried reasonable appeals; those were taken as signs of weakness,
turned into further attacks, and ultimately failed. I've asked
people here *not* to respond to these abusive individuals, because
if they get only silence for their efforts, they will go away; they
live for the echo of pain caused by their words; find validation and
reason to live in that echo. That failed. And now the level of
toxicity has risen to a level that can no longer be tolerated.
And before anyone even *tries* to turn this into "oh, joe just doesn't
want to hear negative stuff about his show, he doesn't want to hear
any criticism, he just wants to be god" (and you know who you are,
and fuck you too), it's got *nothing* to do with criticism of the
show, positive or negative, made from having genuinly thought out
the problems. I've always responded well to any kind of criticism
that is well-considered, and always will.
This has to do with a small handful of people who have, through
their incessant, stalking, compulsive behavior ruined this forum for
not only me but a great deal of other people who've emailed me to
say that they don't post here any more, because they've gotten
tired of being attacked, tired of reading the endless tirades and
smears and assaults on me and other users. The good people get
driven away, and the bad people refuse to go, or to moderate their
behavior, and there is no mechanism currently in place for others
here to moderate their behavior.
I have become, in many ways, the football used to pull others on
either side of the line into an ugly and destructive game. And
the only way to stop it is to remove the football.
So I am posting this as notice that I will be resigning from
rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5 effective the end of the month. To Ron
and the Rangers...stop sending me the list at that time.
Because the simple reality is that once I'm gone, the prime lure for
those who've turned this place into a constant flame zone for the
last year will have left. And in time, so will they. It's sad
when a handful of people can take something that is of value to
thousands, potentially tens of thousands, of users worldwide, and
chew away at it until there's nothing left, simply because of their
own twisted obsession.
I cannot go to bed, or get up in the morning, furious over the
latest offense committed here by the tyrannical few; I've lost
endless hours sitting here angry over the falsehoods and the
smears and the innuendo. I can't afford to do that anymore.
And just so they cannot weasel their way out of it later, cannot
say "well, it wasn't me, it was just the climate, it was the
fault of those guys over there...look, a comet...." I point the
finger squarely at the Theron Fuller, Deborah Fuller, and Ford
Thaxton, with a couple of other accomplices not worthy of comment.
I hope you enjoy seeing your names in a post by me, folks, since
that's what seems to excite you, because this particular message
is likely to be the last. You've finally succeeded in driving
me off rastb5, which was clearly your intent from the start.
I will continue to be present on CIS, Genie, AOL and a few other
places, which have more than their share of critical commentaries,
but are moderated to prevent this kind of abusive behavior. When
the rastb5-info group is open, I will post to that area, and take
questions via that forum. But I will no longer post to, or read
the main rastb5 area any longer. I simply can't afford the
The experiment in interaction between viewers and the makers of
B5 will continue; they just will continue in other places.
People ask why more producers don't come on-line. This is the
reason. Because there are some people out there who are obsessed
with anyone who has even the smallest celebrity (and there ain't
much smaller celebrity than being a producer); people who feel it
is their god-given obligation to tear down the other person, and
to make sure that there cannot *possibly* be anyone in their
universe more important than they themselves. They do not sow,
neither do they reap; they only shred and tear and abuse.
If you're ever going to see more producers on-line, you're going
to have to look seriously into ways to keep the least reputable
elements from turning it into a bloodbath. Because when some say,
as has been said here, "it's my right to say this, and you have to
take it," the response is, "No, I don't." If you stay, you become
an enabler, a co-dependent, who allows the abuse to continue by the
conscious decision to remain where you can be hit.
To the rest of you: I apologize for having to take this step.
Some of you know how difficult this decision has been for me, the
long months I've spent debating it back and forth with friends,
family and other netters. I have enjoyed the exchange, have learned
much from the commentaries, and the discussion, have made many
friends and acquaintances. Were there any way I could stay, be
sure that I would. But when I have to stare at a monitor, when
a script deadline is upon me, and all I can think of is, "That
goddamned liar is spreading the same old crap *again*," then
something has got to go. In this case, that's me.
Because sure as hell, they won't. Not until their punching bag
With the obvious exceptions, I will miss you greatly. As stated
above, I'll be here through the end of the month, just to finish
clearing out stuff, and ease this transition, though probably in
somewhat reduced capacity. I hope to see many of you via the new
info group. Though the discussion will not be quite so free
wheeling as it is here, because of the moderated structure there,
it will be good to look upon your faces (well, your pixels) in
the months to come there.
Again, my apologies. I wish this could be handled in some other
way, but that doesn't seem likely. You cannot know how your
words, and your efforts, on behalf of B5, have been appreciated
not just by me, but by everyone involved with the show. It's
been a great experience, a chance to learn, and a hell of a ride.
See you on the flip side.
With great affection,
J. Michael Straczynski