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As notifications for the first round NN12 panel selection have trickled out over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten questions about how the whole process of selecting panels actually works.

Hi, I’m Nolan and I manage the process and I’m here to explain it to you, as best I can.

The deadline for panel submissions was January 31, 2012. We realize this is a long time before NN12 opens on June 7, 2012, but it literally takes that long to get through it all and still release an agenda a decent amount of time before NN. We expect to be making final notifications next week (the week of April 2) and we’ll be posting those panels on our website the following week (the week of April 9).

But Nolan, how can it possibly take that long to read through and select panels? Well, it does. Let me tell you about it…..

Soliciting submissions

On January 31 we had over 400 panel submissions and over 75 training submissions (we also had over 40 screening series submissions and 89 ‘single speaker submissions’ – people who had ideas for speakers, but not a full panel – but I’m going to focus on the panels, since those are most relevant to most people). This sets a new record for us and across the board the quality was exceptionally high, there were very few half-baked panels submitted.

But prior to January 31, we had reached out to several dozen thought leaders in the netroots to be a part of our panel selection committees. We’ve published the list of folks who made up all of these committees in the program the last two years, but here it is:

Abel Collins, Abel Habtegeorgis, Adam Bonin, Adam Green, Adam Mordecai, Adam Quinn, Alex Moore, Amanda Marcotte, Anat Shenker, Aniello Alioto, Austen Levihn-Coon, Barry Kendall, Benjamin Lennett, Charles Lenchner, Charlie Chamberlain, Chris Massicotte, Christie George, Christina Hollenbeck, Christine Pelosi, Chuck Rocha, Cindy Kang, Cynthia Liu, Dan Ancona, Dave Johnson, David Dayen, David Nir, David Segal, David Waldman, Dawn Euer, Denise Oliver-Velez, Digby, Elana Levin, Elijah Zarlin, Emilie Aries, Greg Basta, Jackie Mahendra, Jason Rosenbaum, Jen Ancona, Joan McCarter, Joe Sudbay, John Neurohr, Josh Harkinson, Josh Nelson, Josh Orton, Julia Rosen, Julielyn Gibbons, Kaili Joy Gray, Karl Frisch, Karoli Kuns, Kate Brock, Kate Sheppard, Keith Kamisugi, Kelly Rand, Larry Huynh, Laura Clawson, Lauren Wolfe, Lisa Hayes, Liz Havstad, Lynne Lupien, Mahwish Khan, Marce Gutierrez, Marcy Wheeler, Mary Rickles, Matt Browner-Hamlin, Matt Ewing, Matt Ortega, Melissa Ryan, Mike Lux, Mike Moschella, Mike Rogers, Mudcat Arnold, Murshed Zaheed, Natasha Chart, Nathan Henderson-James, Nathaniel Charny, Nick Berning, Nirmal Mankani, Nolan Treadway, Rachel LaBruyere, Raven Brooks, Richard Graves, Richard Smith, RL Miller, Robert Cruickshank, Sabrina Stevens Shupe, Sarah Granger, Sunny Hundal, Tim Tagaris, Timothy Karr, Tina Lee, Tracy Van Slyke, Whit Jones, Will Coley, Will Neville, Zahra Billoo, Zerlina Maxwell
We also wrote diaries about getting folks to submit (do we have a number of DK diaries?), advertised on Daily Kos, and for the first time we also conducted online, on-camera Spreecasts, which allowed us to walk submitters through the process ahead of time and also answer questions directly. (spreecast #1 and spreecast #2)

And of course if you're on our email list then you got a few messages here as well.

Working with the submissions

As soon as we’ve got our panel submissions in, I go through and batch them by category and topic. From there we send them out to the committees with a scorecard that asks them to grade the panels on 3 criteria, and also gives a space for as many written comments as the scorer would like to provide. The 3 criteria/questions are:

  • Is this a session we should have?  Is the idea creative, interesting and relevant? (0-10 pts)
  • Does it engage an under represented community?  Is it a unique mix of panelists?  (0-5 pts)
  • Does it give people tools or allow for action beyond NN? (0-5 pts)

It’s important to note here that the score serves as a guide, but is not the final determining factor. Every panel is discussed and reviewed individually. How and where is it discussed, you ask? Well, let’s look at the next steps…..

After all the scorecards are back to me, I combine them into one master scorecard for each committee which has the average score for each panel and displays everyone’s free-form comments right next to it. I send those combined scorecards back out to each committee.

From there, we get on a conference call with each committee and discuss every panel. NN staff sat on over 36 hours of calls over 3 weeks in March to make these decisions. These calls are time consuming, but we feel it’s important to look at every panel that people took the time to submit, so that’s what we do.

The discussions range from issues of policy positions and perspective to just plain “is anyone going to attend this panel?” We really look at diversity of the panels, making sure that panels aren’t “all white dudes” (as we’ve grown to call them, or #awd for short). Sometimes we see panels that lack diversity but there is another panel that we can combine into it to bring that diversity, and we do that. Other times we see 3 or 4 panels that have great perspectives on an issue, and we’ll combine all of them.

And we get a lot of duplicative submissions, probably because we’re all progressives and we have lots of the same things on our minds. If a panel gets declined, it’s frequently because there was a better panel on that topic, not because that topic won’t be covered.

For example, we had a lot of voter suppression/protection panel submissions this year. Part of that is because it's an election year and the question of voting access is always closer to the surface in election years, but also because the GOP has been rolling back voting rights in every state that they captured in 2010. (thanks for that, Alec. fuckers.) And in this instance we got submissions dealing with the suppression of  from many angles: the suppression of Latino, African-American and Native American voters. Some of these panels dealt with ways to protect those groups, other submissions documented how we got to where we are. In the end, we decided to combine those submissions into one panel that deals with all those groups, and what is being done about it. (there will probably also be a panel on the coordinated way the GOP created these awful laws throughout the country)

There was a great deal of concern expressed earlier this week about the fact that we had declined Navajo and Meteor Blades panel dealing with Native American voter suppression and voting access. We did this in the process described above, and with the knowledge that the Native American perspective would be represented on the panel. We've reached out to them this week and we're hopeful we'll be able to include one of their proposed panelists, but even if it's not a Native American from that list, we are committed to including that important voice in our panel on voter suppression.

And that’s how we decide what makes it out of the first round to the final committee. At this point we notify those panel organizers whose panels didn’t make it to the final round and those who’s did. This point in the NN12 process came the week of March 12.

Finalizing panels

So after all that, we do it over with the final committee. Which is made up of Mary, Raven and Nolan from NN staff and some members of our c3 and c4 boards. This time what we do is ask our final committee members to select the 70 panels they would like to see at NN12, keeping in mind the need for an agenda that covers a wide range of topics and both established and new voices.Then we get on another series of calls and discuss them, combine them and comment on them. However long it takes, we get down to the 70 panels we’ll see in Providence in June.

We're planning to announce the panels on our line up, right here, sometime in the first week or two of April. Stay tuned!

Now, I’m sure after you all read that you’re thinking there are ways to improve this process, and I’m sure there are. We improve it every year since we started taking public panel submissions with NN08. If you’ve got questions on things I didn’t cover, please leave them in the comments. [But I do want to explain the tools I’ve got at my disposal for this: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word – for mail merge – and Google docs. I searched around quite a bit last fall for an out-of-the-box online tool that would manage these submissions, scores, results, etc, but everything was way out of our budget. I found all of one that wasn’t over $5000, and that one had other issues. Despite them being a royal pain for me, Excel and Google Docs are nearly free, and that’s how we roll.]

If folks would like to make sure they're in the loop on everything then the absolute best way to do that is get on the email list, follow us on Facebook (link) and twitter

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you Nolan for presenting (6+ / 0-)

    us with the process for selection of panels. It recently came to my attention, and the attention of others I am sure, that a panel on Native American concerns was not approved.  That is what lead me to wonder about the process.  Perhaps the particular panel on native concerns was a duplicate of a panel that was approved. I look forward to checking out the panels selected.

    In any case, thanks again for this explanation.

    Fascism will come to the United States wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross. --Sinclair Lewis

    by maggiejean on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 04:37:12 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for posting this, Nolan. (8+ / 0-)

    I'm around to answer questions until 8pm, and will come back later tonight and handle anything else that's lingering.

    One way to think of the scoring system is like college admissions: if you average 17+ points out of 20, you're almost certainly in, in some form or other; if you're 11 or below, you're in trouble.  Everything in the middle gets debated.

  •  among (9+ / 0-)

    the people on the Native American panel that your selectors rejected was the Kossack cacamp, who is Carter Camp, former chair of the American Indian Movement.

    I want to know who among the individuals who rejected his panel, has the cred that cacamp has.

    I want to know who among the individuals who rejected his panel, can say what cacamp can say:

    The Americans shot several million rounds at me when I led my people at Wounded Knee in 1973. I shot back at them and never considered my citizenship any factor, we were fighting and both sides were trying to kill the others. Two of my soldiers were killed but no one ever objected to it because they were Americans. I was targeted in an up close assassination attempt and damn near got whacked, if I had been I doubt anyone would have said anything.
    Next, I want to know who among the selectors who rejected his panel, has the cred that Meteor Blades has.

    Then, I want to know who among the selectors who rejected her panel, has the cred Navajo has.

    I want to know these things here, please. Now.

    Thank you.

    •  that's powerful (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, kyril, maggiejean, devtob, mimi

      I can't really answer your questions directly, because there is not single person that made any certain decision.

      I can tell you that we will make sure that Native Americans are represented throughout NN, not just at one panel. And that as progressives we try hard to give the voiceless a voice and make sure that those who society overlooks are a part of NN.

      •  While I think your efforts to cover a topic by (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mimi, maggiejean, soothsayer99

        combining panels is admirable, I wonder if you are not sacrificing depth to cover more area.

        There's a small tribe in Minnesota in which every member makes thousands of dollars from their casino, while on the rez in South Dakota and Arizona people can't heat their houses.

        I'm fairly new on here, and learning you did not have a panel on Indians last year IN MINNEAPOLIS seems beyond dumb.

        Thanks for your explanation of the process.

        If you do not believe that there is an ongoing war on women, then you aren't paying attention. h/t The Pootie Potentate

        by glorificus on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:39:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Amen to everything you said (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maggiejean, soothsayer99

      And if Adam does not know who Carter Camp is, he had no business making these decisions.

      fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

      by mollyd on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:08:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  With respect (6+ / 0-)

      I don't think you've read Nolan fairly.

      We are working with Neeta and MB to ensure that one of the voices from their panel is included in a broader panel on voter suppression/voter mobilization and underrepresented communities.  We opted to do this broader, inclusive panel rather than having 5-6 different panels (which, within the limits of 70 overall panels, we can't do) each dealing with the issues pertinent to a separate community.

      We ultimately have to decline about four of every five submissions -- and many of these are really, tremendously good and thoughtful proposals.  It's hard, and we put a lot of effort into trying to get this right.  Please judge us by the overall outcome.

  •  as one of the many who helped select (6+ / 0-)

    panels, I will add my 2 cents' worth. Most of this will be a repeat of info posted in last Sat. night's diary.

    First, I've been both one of the "experts" who judged panels in 2011 and 2012 and have submitted 3 panels. I'm batting 0-for-2 but I'm in the batter's circle and ahead in the count for my 3d panel, to use an analogy that Phillies phan (BOOO!) Adam B and Giants? fan (BOOOOOOO!) Nolan might get.  I submitted 1 panel in 2010, it got turned down because (Mary R. explained nicely) it was close but there was another fresh perspective on environmental issues that was accepted, and I was fine with that.  I submitted 2 panels this year. 1 was turned down because it overlapped heavily with about 5 others on coal. I'm waiting to hear on the other, which you'd better accept because it's fresh and I've got awesome speakers I hope will be accepted.

    IMO the selection process is fair. I have no idea why I was asked to be one of the panel judges, but I did my best, and I was 1 of about 20-25 panel judges. There's a certain amount of clique behavior - do I know this panel submitter? that panelist? I think that's balanced by the 2d round in which panels need to appeal to progressives outside my little world, i.e., the NN12 folk.

    The hard balance to strike, IMO, is how much space to give to this silo vs that silo. I'd be very happy with 35 out of the 70 panels being on environmental issues :) but I suspect many might disagree with me.

    I will raise a 2d point re whether NN12 is being coopted by the "Professional Left." Of the 25 environmental panels submitted, 20 were by groups, 3 were by myself and another Kossack volunteer blogger with a day job, and 2 were by human beings whose names I didn't recognize, i.e., they may be affiliated with groups or may be volunteer bloggers. My coal panel was competing with a coal panel submitted by the Sierra Club! They have much, much better access to panelists than I do.

    The NN12 folk do a great job in encouraging volunteer bloggers to submit panels. It's not their fault. I'm simply pointing out the structural difficulty inherent in volunteer bloggers' assembly of panelists vs large professional groups' same. And that gets back to an ongoing theme: is NN12 a gathering of Kossacks and friends, or is it a gathering of the Professional Left? I can't answer that.

    The world is on pace for 11 degrees F warming. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:23:46 PM PDT

  •  Maybe drop one of the Obama-hating panels... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, cacamp

    Presto - a spot opened up.  

  •  I understand (5+ / 0-)

    and I appreciate the answers.

    It is still hard to believe MB's and navajo's panel did not get the highest numbers in each of the 3 questions.

    Just Win, Baby. -- Al Rodgers, Feb. 24, 2012

    by OLinda on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 05:36:55 PM PDT

  •  thanks for putting this diary together (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, maggiejean

    it seems to be a very professional selection process.

    Which doesn't mean that sometimes professionals don't  see the forest for the trees and lose their heart and mind to managing the technicalities of being "fair and balanced".

    May be one just can add a completely "unfair" guideline to the selection system ? (Courage, mes amis) Think about giving "famous and longtime and respected writers and co-founders of dailykos" some extra point on your Application forms.

    Don't they do that in Universities of the US, looking at the "extra-curricular" activities that make a candidate "special" and make them "desirable to have" to enhance "diversity"? How about the "extra-curricular" activity of having written 3000 diaries on dailykos, (seems to me everything but "extra" curricular, but what don't you twist with words to make a point) ?

    Call me silly, but I have this image in front of my eyes of some warriors disrupting the slick performance of NN12 with some drums and speeches, as entree to a panel session that I would have liked to listen to.

    It shows that what kossacks hope to see and what is offered might not be matching as much as one would expect after such an elaborate selection process.

    Considering how much work goes into the bringing a panel together and submitting it and into selecting and reducing the submissions, it's kind of sad.

    I have respect for the process and the work of the committees and volunteers. No doubt about that. And I think Adam B and now Nolan have done their best to make us ignorants see all sides of the process. Thank you for that. And I thank you also for handling my emotions expressed in previous diaries "professionally".

    •  You continue to insist (0+ / 0-)

      that the panels that will be presented at Netroots Nations do not reflect "what kossacks hope to see," even though you have no idea what panels will be presented. You further presume that additional qualifications of applicants, such as diversity or their "extracurricular activities," have not been taken into account.

      As I said in the diary you wrote, while I would have liked to see MB and navajo's proposed panel, the fact that it was not accepted as is does not in any way indicate that all of the criteria you propose isn't part of the review process. So instead of continuing to suggest that the process is flawed or even discriminatory because one panel you've heard of—and I defy you to describe any other panel that's been proposed let alone accepted—perhaps you should withhold your judgment and condemnation until you actually know what will be offered this year and can see for yourself what values are reflected in the panel selections.

      •  Well, mimi is a Kossack, and this panel was (0+ / 0-)

        "what [mimi] hope(d) to see," so I think you are being too harsh, Kaili Joy.

        There is widespread ignorance about the Native American community, and MB/navajo's panel might have gone a long way to changing that.

        Really, how many panels on fracking are needed? It's bad, there is little confusion about that. If the panels are just specifying HOW bad, well, Google is your friend.

        I've said before, I'd worry combining panels to get broader viewpoints will cause loss depth on a particular issue.

        And if we just wait until we "actualy know what will be offered this year" it too late to protest.

        If you do not believe that there is an ongoing war on women, then you aren't paying attention. h/t The Pootie Potentate

        by glorificus on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:50:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't understand. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B

          You think just because people have no idea what NN will offer is no reason not for them to assume that it's not representing their interests and therefore, they should protest? I think that's pretty silly.

          And since mimi didn't reference what she would like to see, but rather, what "kossacks" would like to see, I addressed that in particular.

          I'm not sure why you ask how many panels on fracking are needed. Do you know how many panels on fracking there will be? Or are you just assuming there will be, in your opinion, too many?

          I understand the disappointment that MB's panel was not selected. What I don't understand is the absurd and inflammatory rush to judgment displayed by so many, in assuming that this is some huge miscarriage of justice, instead of the selection process working as it should. And given some of the jaw-dropping hyperbole that came from the original diarist who raised the issue—including the insistence that the board of directors should kill themselves, for fuck's sake—no, I don't think I'm being too harsh at all.

          •  You know, Kaili Joy Gray, I think I have (0+ / 0-)

            tried to put my wording "kill themselves" in context and apologized for it in the past diary right away, after it happened.

            It was my way of saying to whoever was involved in the decision, which I didn't know yet at the moment I made that comment - it became clear during the comments that evolved later - that "one should be ashamed". (I know I said the DoD, but that was a lapse, because I didn't know who else I should have addressed at that moment).

            Harsh and over the top, yes. A matter of last resort or a tool as the only one at hand, trying to shame people? Yes, I used it. With wording unfamiliar to your ears? Yes.

            Not that big of a deal in my own language, as indicated. I doubt that in Germany people would have gotten outraged and upset because of that wording. They would have either agreed with the sentiment that this was a shameful outcome or they wouldn't have cared at all.

            But I realize that "I am not at home" in this environment and that "we (the non Americans)" have to take any "bad expressions" Americans can shout out toward us, but dare us, if we do as well sometimes.  

            I apologized, yes. I think, I rarely voice my emotions that raw, but sometimes it happens, may be because I am used to have my voice silenced. If other people would be as self-reflective and critical of themselves, as I usually am with myself, it would be nice.

            You have no idea how often I felt it necessary to apologize for something, I think I shouldn't have to, just to satisfy
            sensitivites of people, who are in denial of their own pre-judgemental perceptions.

            So, I hope that really will be my last comment now in this matter.

            •  Give me a break. (0+ / 0-)

              Sorry, mimi, but it's absurd to suggest that telling people to kill themselves because you think (wrongly) they made a decision you don't like is merely a German idiom, and gosh, too bad people are so sensitive about it. (For the record, I happen to be sitting next to my German friend right now who has never heard such an idiom.)

              You leapt to a number of unfounded conclusions, you continued to repeat them even after you were corrected, and despite your "sorry if anyone was offended" "apology," you are still defending how you chose to express yourself instead of taking a step back to consider all the explanations you have been provided so that you can understand the process of which you complain.

              You can continue as long as you like to explain that those who take issue with your "raw emotions" are merely being "pre-judgmental" and "sensitive," but I think that instead of continuing to dig, you ought to take a long hard look at how you've engaged in this conversation.

        •  Yeah, we don't do that kind of panel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It'd have to be some pretty obscure topic for us to do "[X] is bad!" as a panel; our focus is always more towards "okay, what are communities doing about [x] and what is the netroots role?"

          You are right to question the breadth v. depth issue; we confront it all the time.  I think this particular issue made it very difficult -- if we accept only the panel on voter suppression in the [X] community, what do we say to folks who submitted a panel on that issue in [A], [B], or [C] communities?

          We're doing the best we can. We take this very seriously. And we can always do better.

          •  Thank you for your response, Adam. (0+ / 0-)

            Fracking is an important issue, and I apologize for making light of it.

            However, I would be VERY surprised if fracking is not being proposed on a rez somewhere as we speak.

            From what I have read in the other thread, I think voter suppression is only part of MB/navajo's panel. I think you can and should have multiple panels on voter suppression, as voting is how laws get changed in this country.

            You should also have dedicated panels on Native Americans every year.

            Lots of diaries get written about atrocities in Iraq and Iran and Uganda and A-stan when major inequities exist right here at home. Diaries are written about transgender people, homosexuals, the disabled, prisoners, women, African-Americans, et cetera.

            Very little about a native population that also needs help, and has been promised it through many, many treaties.

            As I told you before, I respect you for making impossible decisions you know will not be popular with many. Including me.

            If you do not believe that there is an ongoing war on women, then you aren't paying attention. h/t The Pootie Potentate

            by glorificus on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 12:57:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't say the process is flawed in my comment, (0+ / 0-)

        contrary I said it is a an elaborate selection process and done with professional attitude and intentions to use your best judgement and fairness. That I used quotation marks around my expression to make a point that despite all the best intentions, I feel one can end up missing out on some rather important issues, doesn't mean I judged or attacked the whole process or any person in particular.

        I also didn't say it is discriminatory process towards the representation of Native American issues by design. I thought that my comment was just to show that the prcoess is not a guarantee that peoples and issues can fall through the cracks. I have understood that this can happen more or less unintentionally. My attempt to show that by making a more or less joking comparison to the college application procedure was made to remind committee members that elsewhere such solutions as to include merits of an applicant are used. If those criteria had been considered, well then I can't help it and just voice my disappointment about the decisions made.

        You ask me to withhold my judgement and condemnation?

        You feel judged and condemnated, because I state my personal observation that issues of one group of people are imo not appropriately represented among others? You prefer I would have been silent?

        What is then this blog for?

        Did you take my comments so personal that you feel you have to ask me to be polite and remain silent? Why?

        Ok, then, that's my last comment in this matter. I said my thing and you said yours. I move one.

        •  No. (0+ / 0-)
          You feel judged and condemnated, because I state my personal observation that issues of one group of people are imo not appropriately represented among others? You prefer I would have been silent?
          I don't feel judged or "condemnated." I think your rush to judgment is misplaced. Because even though this has been explained to you in great detail, you keep insisting that NN is not representing your interests. But how do you know that? You don't know which panels have been selected, so you have no idea whether your interests are represented or not.

          I'm not taking your comments personally. I'm suggesting that you continue to say things that have no basis in fact, no matter how many times you are corrected by those who are actually involved in the process.

          •  ok then, misplaced judgement, sorry, (0+ / 0-)

            I have not even my own interests involved, I am not Native American and am the last person, who could do something to support their interests, as clearly has been shown by now.

            The basis of fact I am relating to is that I heard the panel was dropped. That's it.

            I am really tired of getting involved in that any further. It's annoying. I feel treated like a child and don't think I have to accept you as my parental advisor.

            •  Then perhaps (0+ / 0-)

              in the future you should refrain from making a federal case out of something you don't understand.

              •  shaking my head - thanks for the flowers /nt (0+ / 0-)
              •  Kaili Joy, you are out of line. Very few (0+ / 0-)

                people not directly involved in the selection process knew how the process worked before Adam B's posts last week.

                You do seem unduly harsh and unhelpful to mimi.

                This surprised me, because I generally like your pieces. Now, I'll be better informed about the personality behind the keyboard.

                I really commend and thank mimi for bringing up this topic and alerting us all to the process.

                And yes, I do think this is an example of discrimination. Not necessarily on purpose, it's just easy to ignore the Indians because they are not obviously rioting on the streets.

                Stop making 'a federal case' of mimi's diary and comments.

                If you do not believe that there is an ongoing war on women, then you aren't paying attention. h/t The Pootie Potentate

                by glorificus on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 02:09:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  On the contrary ... (0+ / 0-)

                  I think a number of people who are involved with the selection process have tried to be helpful in explaining to the community how the process works. To suggest that people should actually die because the original poster didn't like a decision (that wasn't even made by them) is, to me, intolerable. That said poster continues to defend such hyperbole is inexcusable. That people continue to insist that NN does not reflect their interests and concerns, when they do not yet know which panels will be presented at NN because those final decisions have not been made, is most unfortunate.

                  You are of course free to make whatever conclusions you wish about my personality, but no, I don't think it's over the line to suggest that someone ought to understand what they're talking about before issuing such criticisms and calls for death.

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