Baen Books publisher Toni Weisskopf turned the Baen’s Bar forum back on today, ending the hiatus that came in the aftermath of Jason Sanford’s February 15 article “Baen Books Forum Being Used to Advocate for Political Violence”, a public post on Patreon.
Weisskopf explained the decision to restore the Bar and commented on its policies going forward in “What I Saw at the Bar 2021”.
I’ve now had time to review the recent allegations made about Baen’s Bar, both specific and general.
And I can say with confidence that not a one of them is justified. What I saw was a vibrant, international community of readers who enjoyed engaging with each other for civilized discourse about everything from slush to scampi, from swords to shamans. I’ve gone through hundreds of posts, though admittedly not all of the hundreds of thousands of posts that were made over the decades long history of the Bar.
Were there posts that I disagreed with? Yes, some quite strongly. But that’s point of free speech. Were there posts which taken out of the context of the discussion they were in could be misconstrued? Yes. I did not see illegal speech even in the most heated discussions. And I did see long-time users step in to calm discussions down—which is what happens in healthy forums….
Weisskopf lays down the rules of conduct – which are the same the Bar has subscribed to all along.
There are traditional rules of the Bar decreed by the God Emperor Himself, Jim Baen of Sainted Memory, the most important of which after “no illegal posts,” are “no hitting” and “don’t be a butthead.”
A later paragraph about what topics are likely to be discussed in the forums includes this line about Tom Kratman —
Kratman is going to be discussing the past, present, and future of war, everywhere, involving everyone—and he has to abide by these rules, too.
But these evidently are not limits on Kratman posting such things as his January 8 item coaching the next stage of the insurrection. It’s still there, the one that begins —
So where do Trump and the nation go from here?
He needs to do three things; start his own news channel, start his own party, and start his own well-armed militia as part of the party.
The militia – again, a _well_armed_ militia – is necessary to present a threat in being to the powers that be such that, should they use extra-, pseudo-, and quasi-legal means to try to suppress the party, the price presented will be far too high. The militia will be heavily infiltrated; this is a given. No matter; it will not be there for any purpose but to present a serious threat of major combat, and the shame of defeat, and the reality of death, to the tactical elements, police and military, that may be used against the party….
Weisskopf’s statement closes with this peroration:
But let me put this very clearly: if you are seeking to plan imminent violence, from whatever political direction or none at all, that won’t fly. Equally, if the mere existence of an opinion that differs from yours means that you want that opinion eradicated from the Bar: that won’t fly either.
Despite the warnings, that the kind of thing Kratman uses the Bar for remains within bounds tells readers that the real limits on conduct are set right where you’d predict – the same place they always were.
The only thing that would have come as a surprise is if the status quo had not been fully restored. And there are no surprises to report.
[Thanks to George Phillies and Michael J. Lowrey for the story. Art by Alexis Gilliland.]