Friday, September 2, 2011

Hey Barb?

Once again, this is a post rooted in speculation and questions. PERIOD.  That's all. I know facebook is sort of a legal limbo area, I don't know if facebook is covered by the legal standards or codes governing corporate/government transparency and accountability or what constitutes the line between personal and professional in Canada. I'm asking questions.


Barb MacDonald is an employee of Skate Canada and Skate Canada receives government money. She's Director of Corporate Communications.

Barb MacDonald was working for Skate Canada during the Vancouver Olympics, while simultaneously affiliated with One Way Ministries. In April 2010, Skate Canada appointed her Director of Corporate Communications. Barb MacDonald didn't get out of One Way Ministries til June 2010.

Message boards (mostly gay male message boards, it looks like when I google) such as outsports and datalounge have been chomping on Barb's hide for more than a year without Barb feeling too fussed. They wonder why a professional evangelical (that means, a person whose life mission is to convert others to their beliefs) has been appointed Director of Corporate Communications at Skate Canada, when Skate Canada, you know, gets money from the Canadian government. These message boards say all kinds of unflattering stuff. It didn't bug Barb. Her facebook stayed public. When I saw her facebook, it was inoccuous, a few profile shots, and some proudly displayed candids from the Olympics. "Scott and Tessa". "Jess, Bryce and Annie" "A great representative of our nation!" wrote Barb under a photo of herself and Alex Bilodeau, and her friends enthused over her hitting the big time. Her info page simply recited what I reposted in the post called "one of Jess Dube's first 10 facebook friends." Nothing shady I could see, except for the fact that she IS Barb MacDonald, worked where she worked prior to Skate Canada, and for some godforsaken reason William Thompson hired her. But that's not her fault.

So here's what I want to know. WHY IS HER FACEBOOK NOW RESTRICTED? Why, after being identified as one of Jess Dube's first facebook friends, did Barb MacDonald close the shutters on her facebook? If she started out all restricted, fine, but she was open before.

Is there any reason Canadian taxpayers can't see what she's doing? She's not just interacting with friends and family, she's interacting with figure skaters who receive government support and she works for the organization that helps fund them - an organization that also appeals to the public for financial support, and solicits corporate support (an area where Barb and Debbi have been whiffing). Barb's facebook isn't her private life. She's doing business on her facebook, but also hiding. What's she hiding? Simply the fact that she was one of Jess Dube's first ten facebook friends? Is there a problem with that?

She had no problem with being that til this blog mentioned it, she had no problem being an evangelical appointed to a Skate Canada directorship by William Thompson, no problem having a bunch of gay male message boards chew on her ass for a year, but geez, let her get tagged as being one of Jess Dube's first facebook friends and she can't draw the blinds fast enough, including hiding her info page reciting her accounting of her professional background.

I understand figure skaters and their connections - Moirs & Co., Dubes - running around closing the curtains. But Barb is not a celebrity, and as an employee of an organization that receives government support, she is not really entitled to hunker down and burrow like a mole if she's hiding malfeasance or the appearance of it. I guess she can, but it looks shady, especially when she wasn't fazed by the outsports and datalounge name-calling. They didn't get her to change her fb status.

If a site such as this blog wonders if Barb is helping to pull the wool over the eyes of the public while aggressively marketing a lot of crap, all while in the employ of an organization that solicits money from the public, money from the government, and money from corporations, all while professing Christian beliefs - wouldn't the appropriate response be to ignore the trollish, harrassing site in question? Prove via transparency and staying the course and ignoring the wannabe pest that things are kosher? Truly, her facebook was nothing much, except for, of course, her friends list. But I imagine very quickly it would be difficult to tell she had been one of "Jess's" first ten friends or just added on as "Jess" swept in Skate Canada, and any visitors to her facebook would only be able to see she was a friend, period.

 I just want to know why, when it was such an unremarkable facebook, she slammed it shut when it was brought up that she was one of Jess Dube's first facebook friends, and when the blog wondered if any of what Barb was helping "Jess" and "Jess"'s other friends do wasn't contrary to Christian doctrine. Certainly the proper response to that is to ignore the accuser. It's the internet, it's a BLOG. Anyone can start a blog. She's had critics up her rear end since she got into the God business, and she's not a figure skater. She is at least in part a government employee. The way to react when someone questions your professional ethics and if your way of doing business is consistent with your religious beliefs is NOT boarding up the house. But that's what she did.


  1. Remember CEO William Thompson hired Barb AFTER ABC World News exposed skate Canada's "Tough" campaign. So maybe they decided to hire an anti-gay Evangelical, with a long history of attacking the Gay community intentionally, because Skate Canada wanted that.

  2. Maybe it was more about hiring someone who didn't have super high and expensive qualifications. Knowing SC, I doubt they would have paid too much attention to Barb's background (or its implications) if they liked her and she came cheaper than other "Corporate Communications" candidates. SC doesn't have a history of awareness about how A impacts B (as this blog has clearly shown). I would think the same applies to their hiring of Barb.

  3. It could have been all of these factors.

    I'd think MacDonald didn't cost much either and that was a hiring incentive, and I suspect she was eager for the job. But at the end of the day they're paying her for nothing because she and Debbi are both causing more problems than they're making contributions. You can get administrators a whole lot cheaper than those two are paid to make a debacle of Skate Canada public relations and marketing. Admin/logistics is all they're good at. In Debbi's case, it's not so cool to help administrate a hoax, and they both enjoy the "access to the skaters and message control" aspect of the job a whole lot more than revenue development. Look at the background of the USFSA officials in Debbi and Barb's jobs and I don't think either qualify to even work in the relevant departments at the USFSA, let alone have a Director's position.

    After the "tough" campaign got unwelcome attention, William Thompson said he didn't want a "culture war." Why then did he hire Barb? She's all evangelical, all fundamentalist. Was this Thompson's usual pattern of SAYING one thing/doing another? Skate Canada has a bizarre faith in WORDs - if we SAY this, we can do anything because the public will be brainwashed by the words. Harper is in power, Thompson perhaps figures he can simply ANNOUNCE he doesn't want a culture war, which then makes it okay to hire a Barb MacDonald, and maybe she can ride the supposed fundie wave in Canadian politics and culture (the "Canada is my religion" tone that often creeps over Skate Canada really does echo the religious nationalist tone of the evangelical movement in Canada) and attract sympathetic sponsors and extract more government $$.

    Remember when it was announced Tessa and Scott were going to do TWO - count em - TWO programs at the 4CCs, then did but one. OMG, certainly the officials could never have expected that - they were so loudly going on record as expecting TWO!

    Maybe this Dr. Zeus-type word game was also behind "No culture war!" and then hiring a point woman in the culture war, and the anti-gay movement. (Not anti-gay per se, the movement simply wants gays to perceive the error of their ways, know it's a CHOICE, and get Jesus to help them on the straight path. There's also a preoccupation with gay men versus women so I don't know what Jesus's issues are there.)

  4. I'm a new fs fan and super surprised to hear about this anti-gay element. I always assumed people like Boitano were out. It's like hearing musical theatre is anti-gay. Weird.

    Also, last anon, there is such a range of questions, tangential discussions and tones on this blog, that if Oy Canada was writing all this stuff by herself, she must be a genius, even if a little crazy. But SHE knows she didn't write the comments, as do I because I post here a lot, so she's not going to care what you think about it. And I don't think she twists things, she's just untangling the twistedness that we as fans are given. It's impossible to take these people at their word when their word is never the same two days in a row. Her take on things is very consistent and evidence based if you bothered to read it without righteous indignation.

    Oy Canada, looking forward to your reponse to Pj's new interviews, a gold mine there. Do journalists outside of FS know what's going on? You'd like to think someone would look into this. I don't want them to destroy TS' life in the least, but exposing any corruption at Skate Canada would be the honourable thing to do.

  5. I guessed I missed the element of PJ's interviews that demanded an expose. They were some of the better I've seen.

    And, eh. To be honest, if I were in a position to see content from my fb posted on the blog, even public content, I can't swear that I wouldn't respond by hiding even that innocuous stuff, just because I wouldn't want to see it on a blog that's obviously making a negative statement about me, even though it's all fair legal game. Of course it doesn't make much sense when it's already been posted, but in the case of the walls, it makes sense to cut off the source. Probably cowardly, but it kinda seems like human nature (or maybe just my cowardly nature).

  6. Yes ^ but you are presumably a private citizen and Barb MacDonald is an employee of Skate Canada, who has been perpetuating a hoax on the public via the Virtue/Moir and Jessica sham/marketing programs. Her info page didn't lead with personal details but her professional qualifications.

    The fact that she's a Christian and the hoax violates every Christian doctrine she espouses is just an add-on, the core issue is lying in her professional capacity and aggressively leaning on the public to buy into it.

    There's quite a difference. The standards are different. IMO it's really not on to have it both ways with facebook. It's your personal facebok or it's your professional facebook. And Skate Canada is not a private company either - it gets public funding. IMO Barb's options are different than yours. She has to react like a SC employee who has some obligation to the public trust, not like a private citizen or someone working for a private company.

    You're (presumably) not accountable to anyone but yourself - that's certainly not true of Barb or Skate Canada. Particularly as Barb's job is in the public relations sector and does attempt to attract sponsors to her organization and her facebook reflects her professional activities. If she's a coward she shouldn't be participating in the sham, if she's private she should keep her professional activities out of her facebook. If somebody is working for Skate Canada and uses their facebook to promote Skate Canada it's unprofessional to run and hide if they're accused of shady behavior.

    I agree PJ Kwong's interviews were fine. I did at first roll my eyes when Scott said "Gee that's a hard question, thanks for throwing that at me right away!" and then having an answer immediately at hand that he described as "definitely Mahler." If it's such a hard question why throw out the gosh and gee demurral first? But I guess that stuff is so ingrained it's churlish to pick at it. I thought both interviews - Tessa's and Scott's with Kwong - were fine. Not only Kwong's questions, but her tone and demeanor are refreshing for anything out of Skate Canada.

  7. P.S. - I deleted the last anon as the blog isn't a hosting site for frustrations over fan wars on fan forum, or throwing a fit because you like to control what others say and you like to use your "accidental" access to skaters' facebooks and egocentric gullibility to intimidate others, but can't do so here and resent being "called out" on it here. At the moment I do regret deleting it so if the person wishes to come back and have his or her temper fit once more, please feel free. I would retrieve the post but it's gone.

  8. Wow way to delete my comment. I guess that means you couldn't argue with it? *shrug*

  9. I don't have access to anyone's facebook, and it's you that's throwing constant temper tantrums over here, not me. I'm not going to repost my comment, it took me long enough to write in the first place, but I will reiterate only that this is an unhealthy obsession for you - one only needs to look at the time and effort that must be spent producing this constant stream of posts, rants and videos. Imagine if all that time and energy was actually applied to something constructive.

  10. ^It took you a long time to write the first post? It was a short paragraph!

    And you've just written two more saying you don't have time to re-write the first one.

    It does help explain why you think this blog is so time consuming.

  11. "Imagine if all that time and energy was actually applied to something constructive."

    Yes, imagine if it was. Something constructive, like writing replies to said posts in which to whine and complain about a blog you don't like. Of course, you could just ignore this place if you don't agree with the blogger's arguments, but I guess that would be too difficult for you.

    On a more general note, I find it highly amusing when fans that believe in, or are being used as dupes in this sham, come over here and basically reinforce the blogger's arguments - that they want access to the skater's facebooks and supposedly private material and then get upset like whiny children (with an entitlement complex) when it's taken away from them, or that V/M are victims of the public rather than the ones propagating the attention on their (fake) personal lives. But most of all, what they show is that they're majorly over-matched when it comes to analyzing this situation because they root their arguments in emotion, rather than looking at the realities of how badly this entire twisted PR/marketing/obfuscation campaign has been handled.

    As another anon said in an earlier post, if the people running this charade aren't guilty of what they're being accused of, than they should stop acting guilty (i.e., immediately running to cover things up as soon as they're called out).

    Unfortunately, they are doing what they're being accused of - fostering a fake reality to cover up a real one and tripping over themselves to sell a lie to the public in order to increase fan interest and profit.

  12. To the last Anon - "constructive" is subjective. To you, obviously, any thought about these things is not constructive and I'm assuming you think it's terribly "wrong" to not take someone's word regarding what they say about themselves.

    I've been a fs fan for a long time and from the moment V/M burst on the scene as seniors - while loving their skating - there were many things about their narratives that bothered me and too often I had a feeling of things being "off". I've never had the time to deconstruct the stuff they've put out there or the things happening around them that contributed to my unease. I for one have been pleased someone has taken the time to do that and put it all together on this blog. It's been helpful to read it, and the comments, and see many of the things that I had noticed before but didn't know how to explain to myself. It's up to the reader whether he/she agrees with the conclusions set forth by this blogger, but reading this has been very constructive.

  13. I'm the one who wrote the comment about this blog having been constructive reading for me, but by the time it posted it was no longer "to the last Anon".

    My response was intended for the Anon who posted this:

    "Imagine if all that time and energy was actually applied to something constructive."

  14. Anon with gay query - yeah, figure skating is rife with gay panic - they make that obvious enough.

    I'd like to think the USFSA is marginally better about it than Skate Canada but it's a close call. The USFSA copes with Weir by doing a sort of "isn't he FABULOUS" winking slant in their coverage, instead of taking him seriously as an athlete. When this blog talked about Alma Moir's interview from the early 0's, in which she touted Kurt Browning as providing an antidote to the sport's "gay image" as perpetuated by "Brian Boitano" I was really pissed because she reached immediately for an AMERICAN champion who has never come out, overlooking a Canadian champion of the exact same vintage who IS out (I won't name him because I've only READ he's out, I've not read any quotes from him about it), and of course overlooking presumptively gay Canadian and World champions of more contemporary times.

    I was also irritated by an SOI interview Kurt Browning gave with some entertainment outlet last year where the two of them (Browning and the female interviewer) were out-snickering each other about Weir and his ambition to be a clothing designer. Now Johnny Weir said "clothing designer" not skating costume designer, but either way, they could not get over it or mock enough. Browning repeated a billion times that he could not imagine who would possibly wear Weir's costumes but a "niche, niche, niche niche NICHE NICHE NICHE NICHE!' market (IOW, invisible, almost nonexistent gays was his implication) while the interviewer got nasty and said she couldn't imagine ANYONE. What the fuck was that about? Weir wasn't on the tour, he's not Canadian. As far as I've been able to tell, he's one of the first people out there telling anyone who will listen that there are a lot of straight guys in figure skating, and he's very courteous and generous in interviews and when he does commentary. The mean spirited immaturity on display from this wonderful example of male Canadian figure skating was insufferable.

  15. I was the one who brought up PJ's interviews and I just wanted to clarify. PJ did do a good job. I think I've finally given in and accepted this blog's premise and now I'm pissed off, so I AM a bit churlish atm. "Tessa's Virtues" and "Scott's in Love" annoyed me from the start. For Oy Canada, this stuff is pretty harmless and probably seems been there wrote that.

    And I don't get why no journalists are following up on this. Private life of skaters is one thing, organizational corruption is another.

  16. Not that it matters, but I wrote rather more than "a short paragraph." And it took a while because I actually think about what I say before I post it. But you're right, I'm not going to waste any more of my time arguing with you, especially since you're still posting under the "anonymous" title as well as your oy canada one. Its so obvious.

  17. oh and thanks for expanding on the gay Q!

    "I've never had the time to deconstruct the stuff they've put out there or the things happening around them that contributed to my unease. I for one have been pleased someone has taken the time to do that"

    Totally agree, I too am grateful for the thoroughness of the blog, and also the breadth of all the discussion on here. I've learned a lot just in general. It's a safe space to ask qs.

  18. I really love Kurt Browning so I would like to think it was a lack of thoughtfulness (in the literal sense of the word). He has ADHD written all over him. (ahem, leaf blower)

  19. "...especially since you're still posting under the "anonymous" title as well as your oy canada one. Its so obvious."

    LOL. I see this is the "go to" response now. Unfortunately that logic falls flat given the different tone and approaches of various replies here over the past several months, but whatever makes you feel better. If you actually have some logical arguments to make that counter the blogger's statements, feel free to come back, I'm sure we'd all love to hear and discuss them.

    But I'm guessing you don't have any, which is why you've resorted to the "all of the anonymous comments are the blogger's!" accusation in the first place.

  20. The gay topic is semi-digressive in this comments section (or not, as it's the comments on Barb MacDonald who believes in converting them), but anyway. I like Kurt Browning too but as he's 45 it's time he learned to be a bit more thoughtful about things like that, ADHD or not. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn, but I think Toller Cranston is out-gay AND Canadian and a trailblazer in Canada and he was never a conservative dresser nor were his costumes conservative - is Skate Canada ashamed of him and his place in history and the gays who won championships after him and the gays competing now? Are these guys just supposed to let it roll off their backs? I guess. It's so cruel and so undermining and so fucking RUDE. I've seen Debbi Wilkes fawn over gay male skaters (again, presumably gay) on the one hand while having no problem using the codes about tough that have GOT to hurt the feelings of these people. The snickering by Browning was so goddamn cruel and rude I couldn't believe it - even in the U.S. he would have had his ass handed to him both for the snickering and the repetition of the word "niche" (come on gays, crawl back into that teensy, weensy shoebox that'll fit all of you, there's so few).

    Also, targeting presumptively American gay figure skaters for nasty swipes has got to test the forebearance of the gay male Canadian figure skaters who are all friends with the people taking potshots at gayness and advocating toughness. As if gayness and toughness can't co-exist. The fact that gay male figure skaters manage to function inside Skate Canada today shows toughness better than any feat they could perform on the ice or in training.

    How do you carry water for Skate Canada, function as an ambassador for your sport, when the people in charge and many figure skaters are absolutely insensitive about what they say, politicize your sexual orientation and are apparently oblivious to the fact that it might, you know, hurt your feelings?

  21. 1. If Alma was going to mention Boitano as pushing the gay agenda or whatever it was that she said, she could've just as easily mentioned Brian Orser, who IS out. I guess his less-flamboyant persona doesn't fit the image as well.

    2. Toller Cranston has never actually "come out", so to speak, and in a few of his many books/autobiographies, he mentioned affairs with females (but also with males). He also mentions not liking labels many times, so I'm assuming that he would consider himself bisexual.

    3. I am gay, and I actually agree with Browning that Weir's designs would probably only do well with a very niche market. I don't think Kurt was using the word "niche" as a replacement for "gay"; I think he was just trying to say that Johnny's style is SO out there that it even goes beyond most high-fashion designers, whose designs tend to be extremely outre/not realistic for most people to wear.

  22. She alluded skating's gay image being associated with Boitano. What she meant by "image" she did not specify, but when I think of "flamboyant" I don't think of Boitano.

    Cranston, OTOH. I do believe though if one admits to affairs with men that for Skate Canada's purposes you're gay, even if more accurately, you're bi.

    I've seen a lot of outre' fashion and Weir has a way to go to imitate even the most extreme. We will disagree as to whether "niche" was a euphamism for gay - the snickering and faces and the outright hostility from the interviewer suggests otherwise.

  23. I don't necessarily consider Boitano flamboyant, either, but his propensity of wearing tights with billowing blouse-type shirts when skating was a lot more stereotypically "gay" than the persona Orser tried to put forth until he was outed by an ex. Again, just pointing out that Alma could've easily used Orser, who IS out (and is a Canadian), as an example rather than Boitano, but went for the more stereotypically gay image instead.

    Yeah, I agree that SC probably did and still does consider Cranston to be a flaming gay. He's always been very controversial and seems to get a huge kick out of pushing the envelope/angering the authorities, even to this day (with recent comments about Stojko's skating being "disgusting", etc.).

    I don't remember who the interviewer actually was in that case, but one can't really blame Browning for the interviewer's reaction to his comments or for taking the negativity even further. And again, if he WAS using the word "niche" as a euphemism, being part of said "niche" market, I would never buy/wear Johnny's designs in a billion years. Just saying.

  24. Why was my comment deleted?

  25. ^which comment? I haven't deleted anything since the one I mentioned - the "oycanada and anons are the same" poster.

  26. Response to the exchange above re: Boitano/Cranston/etc. It showed up for a few minutes and then was gone.

  27. Blogger put it in the "spam" folder. It's out now.

    The discussion about Weir and his fashion is more than about fashion, per se, it's incredibly coded and it would be foolish to pretend it's not. I think it's in extremely poor taste to even go near the topic. Browning just performed in All That Skate wearing leather jacket open to the waist showing waxed and spray tanned chest, Stephane Lambiel went further, and Lysacek wore feathers. Fashion or not, tying fashion with "masculinity" - using Boitano as an example of "stereotypical" gay fashion when considering at his peak he skated in the 1980's when the straightest of the straight wore billowing shirts (pairs and dance, for instance) with tight pants, and tying "masculinity" with being "tough and straight" gets out of fashion and into an area SC should leave alone. It's a game, and not one they have much business playing IMO.

  28. Oh - and apologies for it going into spam in the first place - I don't know why it did. Nothing's gone into "spam" in some time and I don't see why anything in your post would have gone in there.

  29. "And I don't get why no journalists are following up on this. Private life of skaters is one thing, organizational corruption is another."

    IKR. I understand the concept of public figures desiring to keep their private lives private. But this has been not so much about keeping some things off the table during interviews but creating a complete fake persona, and embellishing it all the time, plus writing a book that continues with the embellishments of this made-up persona. Is this ethical? And then what about the possibility of corruption in a federation that receives public monies? And yet it does look as if the media is staying away from this one.

  30. Well, there's always a story behind the story. Media can "know" anything they think they know, there's a lot of stuff I've "heard" (non-skating) for instance, that never makes it into the media because unless it's on camera or confirmed by the subjects it's off bounds. In Scott and Tessa's case, if you notice, the media is, most of the time (give or take a Rosie DiManno) careful to report what Scott and Tessa themselves say about themselves, or it's framed it that way, versus presenting what Scott and Tessa say as independently confirmed news. That's not an accidental distinction. And that's the case with most sports/entertainment reporting unless there's really widespread interest. Even when interviews follow the formula and do their job for them - bring it up and answer the question without Virtue/Moir having to bring it up or answer it, usually the answer is presented as a question - you're not together, right? You're like brother and sister? It's sort of a query and it lets them off the hook. It serves both subject and interviewer. It's all promotion, none of it is news and as so much news reporting today follows the same lazy formula as entertainment, what can we expect of figure skating reporting? Not to mention the audience in question is pretty much universally held in contempt - i.e., fans.

    Even when the Tiger Woods story broke - who really did any investigation? The girls involved did all the work - there was the accident that seemed a little sketchy due to the condition of the car and the hour it happened, then the girls he'd cheated with lawyered or agented it up, showed their text message history and told or sold their story - all without the media pursuing them. The media did nothing - they just gave their opinion as this stuff fell into their lap. What work did they do? Nothing. And that was a pure gossip story about a much bigger sports figure who was (arguably) not deceiving the public per se, just letting the public believe he was one guy and not another. I don't recall him publishing a book called "Why I Have Never Cheated on Erin and Never Will".

    Most media - which is hardly one organized entity but a lot of separate organizations, most small, with a tiny budget, little lead time, and no resources at all devoted to "investigation" on matters way more weighty than this one - not to mention the ones who cover figure skating have done it for years and many are in the tank with the skaters - lack the time, budget or inclination to go after (research and investigate) something as puny as this would seem to them. Lying about relationships is as common as dirt. A lot of media has the exact same attitude towards the public as the celebrities - it's "them" and "us" and "us" (media and public figures) likes knowing stuff them doesn't. 99% of entertainment and sports media is reliant upon quotes, access and press releases.

    The Skate Canada piece of it is a different kettle of fish, as is, frankly, the book. If the book didn't appear to be tied in with Skate Canada, if Scott and Tessa didn't do a book promotion at Mississauga with Debbi Wilkes wading right in there, Skate Canada might be in the clear on the book, but at the moment, it's a little sticky, IMO, and something the media should look at - but WHO?

    What Debbi did the night of the free dance was crazy. This is the woman who takes the mike at Canadian National medal ceremonies and emotes to the crowd, makes herself the conduit between the public and the figure skating world in Canada, and look what she did and the job she's got. That's not good. At her absolute best she is dripping with sanctimony, and now she's caught out doing this - the hypocrisy is a scandal, but to whom is Skate Canada accountable?

  31. i would just like to say, that if many of you anons are always posting WHY NOT MAKE AN ACCOUNT AND END THE MADNESS OF ALL THESE STUPID ANON POSTS!!! no one is forcing anyone to use their real names, or the names they use on ff....just get over yourselves already, pick a damn name and start owning up what you say instead of hiding, it is getting ridiculous already...yer all yella...

  32. BellaDonna - I appreciate you so much as this blog's follower, but in my experience people are more comfortable saying what they really feel when they are anonymous. I've seen discussions die when registration and i.d.s are acquired - alliances are formed, factions happen, people don't want to disrupt the peace, and more often than not self-censorship happens. I'm perfectly okay with anyone posting as anon and no fake name and just letting anybody who reads sort it out for themselves, but I do really like that I have you (registered) as a follower.