The Forum software on LAShTAL.COM will be re-enabled later today (Sunday). My thanks to all those members that have given their observations and advice through emails, News comments and through Facebook: they have helped enormously in determining the future direction of LAShTAL.COM.
I will be making no further comment on why the Forums were disabled for the past few days, beyond the following: First, there was a clear need, based on some potentially libellous remarks in recent posts, to obtain legal advice regarding my personal liability as owner and editor of the site. Secondly, the online behaviour of a small number of ex-members had become intolerable and legal advice was obtained regarding their activities, including the use of duplicate accounts, malicious actions resulting in the banning of the site from Google AdSense and so removing a not insubstantial income stream, distressing and insulting posts in other sites, and so on: fortunately, further action can and will be taken in due course and evidence is being gathered. Finally, I have been growing increasingly frustrated over recent months by the lack of useful or interesting content in the Forums, essentially as the result of a huge number of off-topic threads. I am no longer prepared to spend hours every day moderating threads that have nothing to do with the life, works and influence of Aleister Crowley.
So, what’s changed?
A number of posts are no longer visible to members although they are retained in the database for probable future legal action.
Some of the Forums have been removed entirely.
I spent some time setting about a re-write of the Site Guidelines, compliance of which is a requirement of participation, but it soon became obvious that they already say what needs to be said. Their content was not the problem: the problem was my failure to implement them with sufficient robustness.
I will no longer be implementing a pre-moderation process in lieu of a ban – if a member can’t keep posts on-topic, interesting and polite then he/she is not welcome as a member of The Aleister Crowley Society.
All members can now consider themselves to be, to some extent at least, “moderators”: I will rely on the entire membership to report any inappropriate posts to me so that action can be taken promptly.
Finally, allow me to make something absolutely clear: this website is committed to the serious study of the life, works and influence of Aleister Crowley, and, by extension, the life, works and influence of Austin Osman Spare, Kenneth Grant and other individuals who were in their own turn strongly influenced by Crowley. It is most certainly not an ‘occult’ website, it does not exist to ‘promulgate’ Crowley, and it is not an appropriate place to seek initiation. The owner and editor of LAShTAL.COM is a Thelemite but I do not view “do what thou wilt” as a license to make idiotic posts here. All participants need to acknowledge their own responsibility for any content posted here.
LAShTAL.COM has been a labour of love for me for the past twelve years: I will not have it disfigured and abused by the idiocy of a handful of its membership of 7,775 individuals.