Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Join the Crowd: Banned by Redstate

You may recall my recent posting suggesting that people periodically read websites they disagree with, and if unconvinced, politely disagree. Following my own advice, I went to and browsed a little. I came across a posting in which someone was criticizing recent moves by Democrats to raise the liability limit for oil spills to $20 billion, or even remove it altogether. The author was claiming that this was equivalent to making every driver buy incredibly expensive liability coverage for wildly improbable events.

I politely disagreed (after first registering, and then waiting a couple days for my registration to age before I was allowed to post). Why, I asked, should government be involved at all? Why should it be subsidizing oil companies by limiting their liability? If accidents are really wildly improbable, then insurance will be cheap. Why not let the market take care of it?

Not an absolutely invulnerable argument, but nothing there, you will agree, that should offend the sensibilities of any conservative. Against government intervention? For free markets? My reply was posted. A few days later I went back to see if there were any replies, as people are wont to do in a discussion.

Or rather, I tried to. Every time I tried to get to the site, whether via Google or by typing directly into my address bar, I got an error message. Specifically, it said: "601 Database redigestation error."

Redigestation? Redigestation? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Genuinely puzzled, I typed "redigestation" into Google. It turns out I'm part of quite a trend. All over the Internet, people are getting the message, "601 Database redigestation error." All these people have tried to log into And all have previously posted comments disagreeing with something on the site.

It's not a computer error at all. In fact, it's become a bit of an Internet scandal. Wikipedia says [footnotes deleted]:

The site's moderators have been criticized for banning some users who disagree or dissent permanently from the site. Responses to any viewpoints deemed unwanted by site moderators have included replacing all of a person's diaries with messages designed to be offensive. Banned users may be accused of being "progressive trolls" or "moby," the latter being a person with over-the-top political positions making conservatives look bad. Banned users may be greeted with an error message reading "601 Database redigestation error." The site moderators' behavior is a topic of discussion among moderate conservatives and internet discussion sites. 

Not just moderate conservatives, actually. One moderate-conservative site has a thread of posts from more than fifty people who got the purported error message.  They include liberals, moderate conservatives,and some fairly extreme conservatives, all of whom disagreed with something posted on the site. A few people insist that all these people who think they're blocked just haven't tried hard enough, and one poor sap even says that this is a Microsoft error message (it's not). Please note, by the way, that I am not only blocked from posting, but even from seeing the site, even via links on other sites.

This is pretty disturbing. The site is not an obscure one. Its founder was recently hired by CNN as a political commentator despite, or because of, a history of making bizarrely vitriolic comments, like calling Justice Souter a child-molester and, let's say, a person who engages in bestiality with goats. Oh, and saying that he assumes "Obama's Marxist harpy wife would go Lorena Bobbit on him" if he were cheating on her.

So I'm not exactly crushed to be judged unworthy of participation in the feast of reason at But I am a bit depressed that denizens of the house of mirrors are trying so hard to exclude the outside world. Shouldn't the ideologically fervent want to convince people? Shouldn't patriotic Americans see polarization of the country as a bad thing? (Of course, I also keep expecting Kim Jong Il and Robert Mugabe to admit they've failed their countries dismally, and so far no luck there.)

Oh, well. On to ("Where you opinion counts"). Let's hope their database redigestates properly.

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