To be honest, it saddens me to have to make this announcement.
Recent development on the site, especially within the Forums, mean that it’s time to be blunt.
Members of this site really do need to read the whole of this News item for an Important Notice…
Ok, I’ve owned and edited LAShTAL.COM in one guise or another since the mid-90s and the quality of the posts here, the calibre of the membership too, have never failed to impress me. Pretty much all the prominent Thelemites and Crowley scholars and collectors are members, making freely available a vast amount of information.
But none of this has been achieved without a substantial investment, especially a commitment of time. Typically, I spend about two hours a day, every day, editing the site and responding to the dozen or so emails I receive every day from members. The site also costs me financially – total hosting and registration costs alone are currently running at more than the decreasing trickle of donations. Ian Rons donates enormous amounts of his time and expertise to the technical administration of the site and to moderation of the Forums. And I think I speak for Ian also when I say that none of this matters: LAShTAL.COM is, as I’ve said many times here and in emails and personal messages, an act of service to Thelema and to the legacy of Aleister Crowley.
Recently, Ian and I have been working towards “the next step” for the site: we’re in the process of moving to a dedicated physical server and we’re developing plans for a number of brand new features and a move to new software. The site is becoming increasingly well-known as the definitive non-partisan and non-commercial Thelemic site, a site that the general visitor, researcher and serious specialist can visit and trust. Unfortunately, this increasing popularity and prominence appears to be bringing with it a marked deterioration in the quality of the Forum posts.
I had considered posting here and handful of extracts from the dozen or more posts in just the last few days that have been grossly offensive, insulting, childish, antagonistic or just plain stupid. Perhaps I should leave that for another day: suffice to say that the majority of members would be disappointed by what they’d see. Moderating decisions – accepted as part of the terms and conditions of posting on the Forums – have been met on a number of occasions with insults, often through personal emails.
I’ve had enough, to be honest.
I don’t need moderating decisions to be met by lengthy rambling emails justifying the original posts. Predictably, most of the emails use quotes from Liber OZ – as if I were unfamiliar with it – to protest that I have interfered with the poster’s inalienable Thelemic rights… I haven’t.
I’m also not going to change my moderating decisions, or override those made by Ian, on the basis of who the writer knows or claims to have slept with, or what organisation the poster belongs to, or anything similar.
So, what’s to be done?
First, let it be understood that LAShTAL.COM is not a site for beginners: there are plenty of sites out there for the newcomer to Thelema and the life and works of Aleister Crowley, but this isn’t one of them. Also, if you write on the Forums here you will be expected to have read the Guidelines: there’s a prominent link to them on the main news page. Failure to abide by the simple, common sense rules will result in expulsion or a removal of the right to post. And if things don’t improve I will be forced to implement a pre-posting moderation process.
It’s been no fun to have to add this notice on LAShTAL.COM, but it’s essential, if the site is to continue to develop and remain strong, that all participants agree to a certain level of maturity and respect for other users. If this isn’t your cup of tea, then I’m afraid we’ll all be much happier if you’d just leave.
And if the site becomes yet another of those sad, New Age, “occult” sites and has to be closed down just to be put out of its own misery then we’ll all just have to consider whether we did what we could to prevent its untimely death…