Parting Thoughts on the Hive

I came to the Hive in August 2016. @aunt_sue was the first person to welcome me. I promptly and haplessly stepped into the raging war between the Clinton and Sanders supporters here. Scalded, unused to the fury that can too easily be directed at someone whose name no one here knows, whose face no one here is seeing, whose life no one here knows much of anything about, I announced that I’d leave the contestants to their battle. Our late friend @halcyan (who I seem to recall also played an instrumental role in changing the way @stephen_maturin presented himself here) wrote me a note.

I would be sorry if you left. So I hope you don’t. I don’t really know what else to say at this point. But I wanted you to know that I would miss you.

I’d been here only a few weeks — what kind of person does that? Well, obviously, a good person, a kind person.

@yoopertj and I got into a kind of scrape early on. I’d posted something about the need to distinguish Trumpsters from Trump himself. He teased me a bit, all in good fun, but I got defensive and took it personally, all too typical of me. He then wrote me a long note telling me about himself and offering friendship. Which I happily reciprocated.

I could tell other such stories. The Hive is in so many ways a tight-knit, good community of people who like to discuss and argue about politics. Many of you regular commenters, perhaps even most at this point, have been “together” for years. The Hive may not be a perfect substitute for the long table in the back of the diner, but in some ways it’s even better. It allows for reflection before spouting off; for argument that so often goes far, far beyond ranted opinions divorced from supporting facts; and of course for engagement with one another at any time that suits the people involved.

And so I’ve been distressed to see in exchanges over the past few days a new tone in the threads. Maybe not new, but new to me. There’s a harshness, a bullying tone for which, without any ability to prove my case, I blame one person. We all know who that is, because he’s all we’ve been talking about that monster nonstop for the past three years.

If you’re reading this and any of it resonates with you, I hope you will recommit yourself (if needed and appropriate) to the example set by @halcyan in her note to me. (A couple or three of you may well be thinking that I am quite the hypocrite to be calling for civility. You know who you are, and all I can say to you is that I’m sorry if and when I crossed a line with you.)

The Hive has great potential and sometimes it lives up to it. I’ve had a few disappointments: I was sorry to see us give lukewarm support at best to TPM’s efforts to bring some awesome people here to answer our questions and discuss issues with us. (Historian and Twitter god Kevin Kruse was just incredible). I have simultaneously admired what Maturin has created in the WaR threads and regretted that they have to some degree siphoned off energy that might be given to non-Trump topics. And it’s too bad that we often end up with multiple threads on the exact same topic, inasmuch as it tends to make it harder to carry on the conversation.

In any case, 1775 replies and 33 topics and almost 1700 likes awarded by me to others — that’s enough. The software used here has a slight addictive effect — it’s not just the notifications of responses and likes, but also the allure of being able to “publish” a mini-essay knowing that it will have at least a few readers — and so I need to draw a line under this and get on with my life.

Best wishes to all. Fingers crossed as we move forward to November 20. Contact me at abbot.jim@gmail.com if you’d like. And if you’ve been appreciating some of my commentary over the past three years, if you have an intellectual bent, and above all if you’re a glutton for excruciating punishment, you can find at Amazon a memoir of mine that came out last year from a small university press (which will never sell enough copies to generate royalties for me, so don’t take this the wrong way. :wink: )

Cheers,

Jim
Atlanta

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I’m sad to see you go. I always took time to read your comments. I do wish you the best and hope that you will, at some point, reconsider. Good luck to you.

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I have to admit that your posts were a bit too long for me, not to read, but to comment on (since commenting typically takes even more space than the text targeted).

Just remember that, in this case, you can come home again.

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Jim, very sorry to see you go, I sincerely hope that you just make it a time out. Yes this place has gotten a bit harsh, there are a number of people that need to reconnect with things that are not in the digital world as opposed to debating or arguing with others on this or any forum.

trump has taken a lot from us, don’t let him take anything else and strive to get back what he has already taken.

I have very much enjoyed reading your posts and will miss your insight very much…

Dave,

Lawrenceville, Ga

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Purchased.

Thanks~~

Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry to see you go! I will miss your insights.
But I get what you’re saying: sometimes I feel “mansplained” to by certain posters and I leave for a few days. And things can get pretty hot for sure.
I’ll check out your book and be in touch.
Best things,
Kathryn

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Feel free to give me a digital slap across the face if I ever do that!

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She could aim lower also …

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No, you’re not one of them! LOL!

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I have found your comments very interesting. You definitely contributed a lot here.
I won’t ask you to stay, regardless of particular factors. Over the last 10 years I have pared down my social network and blogging-type time a lot. I gave up FB two years ago. Recently I did a trial run on Twitter and quit after less than a month.
One pays a price for using social media to stay informed—even though a good selection of sites and platforms really is useful. Finding a balance which let’s me stay informed, but without spending too much time or getting sucked into a whirlpool of pettiness, is a challenge.
Best of luck!

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That truly saddens me, I will surely miss your insights…all the best to you, and may you return soon…some folks are just needed…

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I’ll miss you too and am hoping this is just a sabbatical. I could see in your posts that you were working very hard to ensure your writings were congenial, I appreciate and respect that.

I wasn’t around for the 2016 fun, I have often thought about wandering into the depths of the Hive, but I’m guessing it wasn’t much fun. I’m guessing we are in that stage again now where people are picking their candidates and disposing of others’ favorites. I will take your parting words to heart as I post to keep things friendly.

Thank you for your contribution, I wish you well!

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I had to go back and reread the thread that inspired me to reach out, then check the dates on the PM.

We were an angry bunch the week after the Comey firing…much more raw than today, but focused on the outrage of the moment and yet sort of…flailing for solutions.

The raw has worn off. The patina of tired frustration is thickening and turning brittle.

I’d very much rather have you stay, but that’s me being selfish, much like it was (I was) two years ago.

Your book will be at the house Tuesday when I leave the office, and when I finish it I think it will take a space next to Confucius for a while.

You cast a long shadow, and I don’t believe it will fade with any imminent sunset.

Godspeed, Jim.

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Let me hope that you are going on sabbatical. I appreciated your thoughts.

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I so clearly remember @halcyan and the effect she had on so many people here. When I got into a few tangles with folks, essentially through the kind of misunderstandings that occur when you can’t look someone in the eye, she steadied the ship. Online and through PMs. Civility is the first standard that we should hold ourselves to here. We are on the same damn team after all. You were and remain civil and will be missed. I read your posts with interest and respect.

This always feels like losing a family member. I hope you reconsider at some point and look forward to your return.

Best of luck,
Salbls

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Jim,

I’m the you from 2016 at this point (this is my first month of Prime), I don’t have anything of import to add, other than to say I enjoyed reading your (sometimes long) posts as a lurker. Thank you, and as a former sailor… fair winds and following seas in all of your future endeavors.

Most sincerely,
Tom

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2016 wasn’t that bad really as we were all sure that Hillary was going to kick trump in the balls, we were happy that was going to happen. After November 8th was a different animal.

The events recently have us all on edge a bit. I think that deep down many of us held out hope that the Republicans, or at least some of them, still had the country’s best interests at heart and we have been violently disabused of that notion and it has worn us all a bit thin…

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Sorry to see you go Jim and I wish you the very best in all your endeavors. The Hive is kinda like a faceless extended family, there will always be differences of opinion and overheated exchanges. I try to step back from these even as I’m occasionally let up over something posted here. Just yesterday it was over something posted in a Biden thread.

So it goes…

Be well man!

Jim here too.

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All the people before me have expressed things better than I could. So I wish to also be one to thank you for your contributions and hope that yours is but only a interlude.

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You will be missed. I like to think you’ll return some time if it’s good for you to do so. I hear what you’re saying about tone and really appreciate the reminder of @halcyn’s example.

I try not to engage when someone is pushing my buttons and take a break when I find myself doing so. I don’t always succeed. It’s never as satisfying after the fact as in the moment to be rude or mean, defensive or try to one up someone. I also enjoy the freedom people here have granted me to express myself and learn to talk-politics while making mistakes and not always being my best self.

Thank you for a post that encourages self reflection. Thanks for caring. Thanks for the reminder that what we put out there, how we connect with people has real potential for positive impact yet can also be distressing or alienating if we’re not mindful.

I’ve really enjoyed your comments here, @jabbot/Jim & appreciate you taking the time to say goodbye to the “we” here. All the best to you and everyone you interact with. :two_hearts:

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