So Tigerman - How do you understand the dissent of people like Factory, Angry Harry, Mr E, and likely others, and their departure from AVFM? Do you see this as totally a function of their own personal difficulties and/or diverging viewpoints or do you see any responsibility on AVFM's shoulders?
In the case of Angry Harry I don't think he has dissented at all from what AVFM is trying to achieve or even with it's MO of activism. As far as I am aware AH fell out with Paul over one specific article and one specific issue ie recovered memories (although I must stress again in the incident that caused the fallout there was no proof either way whether the article was written as a result of a recovered memory,).
With some of the other dissenters like Bernard Chapin - the dissent is clearly more based on politics of a more partisan nature - the decision (widely supported) at AVFM to become overtly politically neutral upset some activists especially some identifying with the right that felt that a struggle to obtain mens rights and defeat feminism meant defeating the left by taking on right wing ideals and goals.
Another factor that might explain dissent is perhaps resulting from deliberate mischief making by certain activists spreading either outright lies and\or misinformation about what is going on at AVFM and where it is headed. The "AVFM is promoting Gay Rights" is just one recent example of this kind of total bullshit. Trouble is as I said in another of my responses recently, most folks are intellectually lazy.
This intellectual laziness is often especially the case if they are told something by a person they respect - anyone who visited AVFM and looked for themselves would struggle to find a single article article promoting "Gay Rights" and of course the reason for this is simple ie there aren't any!
In my exchanges with Factory I kept getting the feeling we were talking about totally different websites for the most part. It was actually with some relief that after reading Factory's exchanges with Paul Elam (which Factory kindly posted here) that Paul was also as mystified as I was in making sense of Factory's accusations.
All that said it is undeniable that with the increasing high profile that popularity has brought to AVFM it's adoption of a robust commenting policy has upset a lot of folks both old timers and relative newbies.
Even with such a robust policy (esp against promotion of violence in any form) AVFM still gets accused (without foundation) of being a "hate group full of angry white men". The good side of this policy though bears fruit when folks come here to investigate for themselves and discover they had been lied to by feminists.
So although it is sad and regrettable that sometimes even a veteran MRA might end up earning a ban for what might have been a momentary lapse where they made an expression of violence never intending for it to be carried out the policy nevertheless has a very sound basis and priotises the our shared goals over individual indulgences - one can have endless arguments about this prioritisation but at least the policy is clear and has a positive aim.
I myself am a veteran MRA ever since I discovered alt.feminism and soc.men in usenet way back in 1997. All that time i have regarded myself as nothing more than a footsoldier in a long struggle to restore rights and justice to boys and men because of this I have never suffered much from the kind of ego clashes that are the hazard of becoming a more high profile activist.
I am also quite a hot blooded person in real life and on a few occasions my big mouth has come close to getting myself killed (esp. when I was living and working in Northern Ireland in the 90's I could give examples but it is off topic and might distract from the serious issue under discussion) or seriously injured.
Even so thus far I haven't really had a problem following the guidelines but then again I make effort to be conscious that anything I write there could be used by a smaller but hostile audience to bring discredit to what we are collectively trying to achieve. This discipline came in very handy when trying to deal with Factory's initial responses in this very thread the old "hothead" me would have responded somewhat differently! lol
Okay I was making light of something there but on a more serious note it has occurred to me that a lot of changes we seek in society we somehow expect them to be "done" for us without us as individuals having to make changes. Take the understanding that we coiuld make more progress by becoming more overtly inclusive and welcoming to ALL categories of human beings as long as they support our quest & mission withiut any hidden agendas of their own. It was one thing for this to make sense logically but it did make me question just how open and inclusive were my real life attitudes and to cut a long story short it was this kind of self confrontation that I needed to learn to live my life in a more consistently conscious way. Old habits die hard as they say so it would be unrealistic to expect overnight transformations - that said I do follow a daily discipline one oif the side effects of which is a "raising of consciousness" for wont of a better expression(not a proselytizer so won't go into here even though it is not a religion I follow).
Another old saying that has applicable wisdom is "practice makes perfect" ie the more I practice living my life consciously the more easier and pleasurable it gets. Other MRA's at AVFM both editorially and members who only comment (like me) have reached similar understandings ie that personal growth and being more conscious of ones humanity and thereby finding it easier to recognise others, is a synchronicity that I find delightful but more realistically it is just probably a case of birds of a feather etc.
Anyway I happen to have a discipline or practice in my life that helps me to stay on track with the MHRA perspective adopted by AVFM but I do not follow that practice or discipline to become a better MRA that (hopefully) is just a side effect. I have my daily discipline as a means to focus my awareness more on that "power" or force is maintaining my actual existence (ie life itself) because the human tendency is to take that completely for granted and thereby squander the very precious time we have here.
Other MRA's (or MHRA's I don't care so much about the labels more the intent) perhaps have other disciplines or practices some like are devout Christians others are devout atheists it's all good because it is the goodwill that counts and the willingness to give each other a little elbow room.
To summarize though I will say that overall I am genuinely baffled on the level of dissent that has occurred and my explanations are not offered with any strong confidence. Certainly I do see a lot of out and out misrepresentation and even lies being spread about AVFM but some criticisms are valid in their own right and I won't be a hypocrite and pretend otherwise. That said it is important not to overestimate or over emphasise the level of dissent as AVFM is still a rapidly growing resource in taking the fight to the enemy and gaining us new allies in the process. AVFM has now outstripped both the Feministing and The Good Men Project websites in terms of popularity.
As far as I'm concerned I don't mind some fragmentation as long as said fragments don't waste too much of their energies shadow boxing.
Oh one last thing sabout Factory - I did not realise until last night that he has written and had published TWENTY ONE articles for AVFM in the past. I haven't read most of them but I have scanned a few them and was impressed with his writing - he clearly has a talent for this so speaking personally I really hope he can resolve his issues (positively hopefully) and continue to produce the kind of high class articles he has written in the past either at AVFM or anywhere else to promote greater understanding of the human dimension of our issues.