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I'd rather write about important issues, but since there is a little bit of what we colloquially call a pie fight prompted by a rec list diary I wrote, I'd like to take this opportunity to share some thoughts on the issue, and to announce some changes.

First of all, I'm not going to get into characterizing kos' diary.  I'm fully aware that this is his website (bearing his name), and that at the end of the day it is up to him to decide who is allowed to post here and who isn't.

In fact, regardless of how much longer I remain posting here, having had the opportunity to write 576 diaries (including this one) has been a very fulfilling experience overall.  I've enjoyed writing about the topics I care about, interacting with very smart and competent people, and being exposed to really good and insightful writers/diarists.

There is no denying that in the mix there has been acrimony and pie fights, but as many people have commented, it seems that those things are par and parcel when it comes to online blogs.

Again, for as long as I'm allowed to post here, I will continue focusing my work on the topics that animate me and pique my interest; topics like government corruption and malfeasance, influence peddling, illegal surveillance and the security state, government/corporate propaganda, and direct action activism.

And just to clarify, being a reliable and loyal Democrat, which means that I've been voting straight Party line for over 25 years, never having missed and election, and having participated in actual on-the-ground campaigning activities, I see the topics I focus on (as a Progressive) as very important when it comes to the concept adhering to the principles to which the Party is supposed to stand for: Clean government, the rule of law, justice, environmental protection, workers' rights, human rights, and civil rights.

Also, I'd like to thank all the people who have sent me PMs and emails today with very supportive and encouraging messages, as well as very thoughtful advice.  Advice which I've taken to heart and will follow from now on (for as long as I'm here).

I will retire the "troll watch" text box and sockpuppet warning I've been posting at the end of my diaries, and I will make no further comments about it, i.e., why I started using it, etc.  I will not use it again.  I will also retire the term "fab-six."

I know the saying "one should never say never," but from now on I will endeavor not to ever use the words "troll," "sockpuppet," "cognitive infiltrator," and similar terms to refer to any group of users here based on behavioral patterns.  What I was attempting to do was to call attention to the behavior exhibited by users whom I believed to be persistently disrupting the discussion in my diaries' comment threads, but after further consideration, I've come to the conclusion that doing so is counter-productive as many of both, my critics, and my supporters have pointed out.

Finally I'm willing to extend an olive branch to people with whom I've had strong disagreements with in the past and wipe the slate clean.  That means that I'm willing to engage any one of them in discussion and debate without prejudice or bias (based on perceived past grievances), as time allows.

Now, we all know we don't live in a perfect (fair and unbiased) world and that the nature of anonymous blogging lends itself to instances of curt behavior.  I know it happens, having been blogging for many years now... So the way I intend on addressing this challenge is to avoid engaging in an argument with somebody who lobs an obvious insult, but to also not make any reference as to the intent or motivation of the perceived transgressor.

I'm not sure if I'm addressing all the legitimate issues some of my critics have raised before, so I'd like to invite people who have had issues with my style (approach, etc.) to provide constructive criticism and/or further advice in the comment thread here.  I promise to read them all and think about them carefully.

Hopefully, after today, I'll be able to continue focusing on issues.  With that in mind, I will review my writing style and see how I can improve it so discussions focus on the issues I write about instead of me.

Thanks for reading...

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