|I feel the dynamic .trampetunia talks about is there, and is inevitable, and that those who count as longterm, hardcore have earned it, but that there certainly is an unspoken hierarchy that would be very hard to dismantle, or to neutralise in an individual thread.|
Longterm contributors have met regularly, have formed loyalties, friendships, romantic bonds; have developed respect and affection for each other. Even if a sense of dispute or dislike comes across among these contributors, it's still deeper than anything I could feel for .trampetunia, for instance, or s/he for me.
On the ShadowSax thread the question came up, and was apparently put back down, as to whether some posters carry more "value" than others and would tip a balance: if one big name says s/he's leaving, then that carries more weight than someone threatening to leave after six months and 500 posts. The idea of top trumps, with some people worth more textually and in terms of community than others, was set aside as I say, but I still think it's there really. You still see one old-guard poster referring to another as a long-term, valued and respected contributor, and I think it's very probably the case that people are allowed more slack and space because of what they've put in, over the last five years.
Again, I think that's inevitable and in a way, it's not just understandable but right. If Haus' contributions have been 80% intelligent, helpful, charitable, well-meaning and useful since 2001, then that does, and I think should, give some leeway if 20% of the time his approach to debate seemed inclined to bring out the worst in his antagonist. Just an example: I'm not saying those percentages reflect reality.
But I do feel there's a top-table here, and that those belonging to that high team will be able to get back-up in a way that others can't hope to. Of course, those who've been around longest and contributed most are some of the sharpest, most dedicated and best-informed people on the board too ~ that's why they've stayed here, and that's why they have earned affection & respect. But that does mean that if you disagree with one old-timer, you're likely to get three pals down on you, who also happen to be not just some of the most intelligent and confident people in the community, but the people who are prepared to spend hours on a Barbelith argument.
I don't regard myself as an internet shrinking violet, but I feel it's not worth raising my head above the parapet in that kind of situation, to get it blasted off. If I disagreed strongly with someone like Mordant, Nina or Ganesh I'd really have to consider if it was worth the fight, because I'd know it was going to be a long one with the odds actually stacked against me. So I've tended to be meeker and back down sooner or not bother, because it doesn't seem worth bringing down that kind of thunder.