From 1/5/99 until 2/15/99 I was in the Site Fights. I made it as far as the War Zone and I had a great bunch of supporters. I would like to thank them before I go any further. Most of them know I have a long way to go.
This page is named after the "memory hole" in George Orwell's 1984, a hole in the main character's desk at The Ministry of Truth (read propaganda) down which he throws events meant to be forgotten. His job, until his love life gets the best of him, is rewriting the past. Like the London in Orwell's 1984, the Site Fights is a world without a legitimate history. I want to post some of that history here. Please do not take this story as a cautionary tale or feel sorry for me. I still have this site, and I still have my friends in many online venues. Read this though and decide what to do. The choice and all choices that you make are always your own. Making the choices that let you sleep at night is the hard part.
Roanna/Eileen H. Kramer -- 2/21/99
The Memory Hole and BeyondThe Unfettered Soul, contains no embedded midi files. There are numerous links to music. If you want to hear a tune, just click on the appropriate link and enjoy!
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The following is a letter from me written 2/8/99. It was sent as a private email to my supporters and later leaked to the top brass at Site Fights by a fighter known as Flessa. Here is the letter:
No comment on today's score. I've seen the Site Fights make too many adult women act like pissy children. I know that everyone out there does their part as well as can be expected being the demands of real life.
Still I am angry. I am angry at the people who run the Fights. No, they have not done anything to me personally. Yes, they may be very nice people, love their dogs, kids, and significant other etc... Yes, I volunteered for the fights.
None of the above changes the fact that the Site Fights are an exploitive system with a nasty corporate ethos. I have given what looks like a month of my life to the Fights. I am not sure I regret it. It is not enough time to regret and I was afterall a volunteer. I still could DBR but that is not the point. I gave a month and where has it gotten me? The answer is nowhere.
Alright, before you start reminding me about friendship, let me remind you of a few facts. I am currently in the War Zone and a less than first place finish severs my relationship from the fights unless I reapply to start over at the bottom and then in a month's time I am back in this position again. Yes, I am in contact with a lot of people whom I would never would have met otherwise, but unless I stay on the treadmill I will probably drift out of contact with the majority of you. Also most of our correspondence is reminders (There are several I have talked with otherwise) but there are forty people on my list. Friends do more than scream "vote for me! vote for me!" and keeping in touch shouldn't depend on how many votes you can beg for each day.
Also voting should not take over an hour because you have to bring up twenty different ballot sites, some with heavy graphics and embedded midi. Of course though, at the Site Fights, my time does not count for squat (and neither does yours). That's why there is no provision for fighters who are knocked out of competition even after a month's worth of service. I am a cog. I am replaceable. There will be someone in the War Zone next week and the week after and the week after that. There will be new Dog Fighters coming up the assembly line. Maybe I will be one of them. There is a name for what happens to us and it is exploitation.
We don't exploit eachother. We came to the Site Fights wanting exposure for our sites and wanting to meet people. Yes, we met people, but we are paying we too high a cost for a social venue. I am a veteran of MUCKs and mailing lists. None of those places demands this kind of effort and all are far more secure.
OK, so why am I bringing you down with all this, and am I going to stay with the fights. Yes, I'm staying in. Unless my score improves, I will probably end up with a pink slip at the end of the week anyway, and I may even start over again, but this time with my eyes wide open. You, see I have an idea. Actually, this is Truffle of Truff's Stuff's idea. She was suggesting playing games with ten of us. I crawled the walls when I got her email. I am not fond of games and I think they are a substitute for real communication and sharing of information. What I think we should do instead is start a discussion list amongst ourselves and invite whomever we wish on to it for discussing Site Fights related issues in an arena that is free from propaganda, and where you can stay even if you are dropped for no support. We can discuss issues like unofficial DBRs in the war zone, what to do when your team site looks like crap, what to do when you are misscored, the possible dishonesty of scoring, how to support those who are knocked out of competition and how to start over and what to expect when you do. With the list we can make the Site Fights a less exploitive environment and restore their original purpose, at least amongst ourselves. What do you think. If there is enough support, I can go over to Lisbot and get the thing set up. If the list gets going, I will return to the Defenders Dog Fights and continue fighting.
And speaking of voting, I voted for everyone on this list who needed votes whose information I had. I wouldn't be writing all this if I weren't voting. I hope you are voting too. It isn't over yet and it could be my first very close race to the Dome.
Eileen H. Kramer/Roannafirstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a letter from DMan himself. Notice that it was sent nearly a week after the leak. I was in the War Zone at the time, and my disqualification would have caused major embarassment.
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 12:50:24 +0000
From: Dman >Dman@thesitefights.com<
Well......i shoot straight to the point....
That letter you sent out this week..really upset quite a few people...
I got a few complaints....on that one..
I didn't DQ your site....but I was suggested to do..
The Site Fights are about fun and friendship.....
not the unsettling things that you write about....
If you want to re-enter.....then I ask that you resign up from step one...so our DPatrol can relook your site and its changes....
When you pick another team...I ask that you choose another team besides your current...one....so we can get a fresh start..
I asked Dlieutenant to forward your info to me versus putting you back into the ring....So....any comments on this situation...you can direct to me as I am the one that made this decision...
"Where They're Fightin' For Fun and Friendships Begun"
The Site Fights http://www.thesitefights.com
Here is my reply to this letter. I wrote it on the evening of February 16, 1999. I wrote it knowing that it would bar my further participation in the Fights and possibly cost me a site ban as well. Bear in mind, that no one except perhaps a military superior has the right to tell you what to say or think or write in your email sent amongst private friends from your own computer through your own account on your own time. The letter says the rest....
I find your letter to be an act of cowardice. What sort of a man are you who fears that one eloquently worded complaint will hurt a highly trafficked and profitable site that you co-own and run? Why not answer the complaint instead? Why not ask if I have any constructive suggestions? You received a copy of my original letter and saw the suggestion about a mailing list at the end, or if you read my samidzat newsletter, Speaking Truth to Power, then you know that the criticism that I offer though sharp, is constructive.
I also believe that friends are people who share opinions without always having to agree, and that friendship is more than the exchange of votes and the exchange of site visits. Working together as equals is callegiality. It is a good start toward friendship if it can last. Fun is something that happens. You can not ask people to have it or demand that they do. It seems from what I have read at assorted team sites and in your letter, that your definition of friendship and fun means keep your head down and your mouth shut. Do what you're told! It reminds me a bit of a phrase by Jello Biafra: "The comfort you have demanded is now mandatory."
With all due respect, your definition of friendship and fun is called conformity. Some conformity and obedience are necessary when one must keep a job, not get thrown into prison in a dictatorship, obey the rules of a school which are often for physical safety and to prevent the institution from being sued. You, however, are not my employer, my parent, and you can not give me a failing grade. I have no reason to keep my mouth shut and keep smiling when I see unfair competition, exploitation, censorship selectively applied, and attrition among entry level fighters, or a poorly maintained team site.
It is those who speak up and complain whose words are the beginning of good change in the world. It is those whose words are direct and perhaps a bit unsettling who lead a call to action. It is those who make suggestions who are the ones who have ideas for improvement. I value my right to speak freely far more than I value a place in competition. As an observer and critic, I can still support fighters with votes and visits and I do not lose my ability to report exactly what I see and feel.
In parting, I wonder if I have misjudged you though I suspect not. With this reply, I give you an opportunity to prove your courage if it is indeed there. We both know what is in your power. Sometimes courage is an act of restraint.
Eileen H. Kramer/Roanna/theZOIDemail@example.com