Skip to comments.How Free is Free Republic
Posted on 12/31/2003 12:12:28 PM PST by visagoth
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Disagreeing with the President does not equal supporting Dean or Hillary. Conservatives are not supposed to be slavish followers of the party line. When the president screws up, people should call him on it.
I don't trust any government enough to give it immunity from criticism.
The management of Free Republic owes you exactly nothing, including tolerance. Every one of us here posts by the grace of the owners and their appointed agents.
I agree, and I've been critical of the President's decision to negotiate with terrorists (e.g. Khaddafi). But where I would argue that people go over the line is when they proclaim that they aren't going to vote for him, or they will vote 3rd party, in effect casting a vote for Howard Dean.
The management is not that dumb. If they felt that they owed the posters nothing, the number of posters would soon dry up, as would the donations that keep FR going.
FReepers have the most important power when it comes to this site: we can vote with our (electronic) feet and with our wallets. The management has to respect the wishes of the posters, or else this site would turn into a virtual ghost town. Jim Rob and company seem to get that, even though you don't seem to.
Hogwash. The management doesn't have to respect diddly. This is a private venture, and one Jim runs for his own purposes, namely those stated explicitly on the home page. That simple English is what YOU don't seem to get.
I've seen my share of bloodbaths around here when people start dictating policy to the ownership. But feel free to add your name to the roll of martyrs who have demanded their imagined "rights." It might be good for a chuckle or two before you hie off to Zotland.
Sigh. Let me try to explain this using simple words. Free Republic is much like a corporation selling a product or service. There is no rule or law telling the company what kind of product it must sell. There is no law telling the company that it needs to listen to the wishes of its customers. Ford is free to sell a Model T Ford, in black only, if it so wished. However, Ford's customers are free to go buy from Toyota, instead.
Still with me? Okay- Free Republic is not a democracy, granted. However, it is clear that the owners do not have the resources to keep this site running without we the FReepers and our donations. In addition, if there were no FReepers because the administration had zotted or alienated everyone, this whole endeavour would be kind of pointless.
Where does that leave the owners? They have to walk a tight rope between getting rid of disruptors and trolls, on the one hand, and being responsive enough to the demands of the FReeper community so that people don't leave this site en masse, on the other. They seem to do that job pretty well, since they seem to get the point I'm making here- none of us "need" Free Republic. There are other conservative websites out there. We could all go post elsewhere. However, FR does a very good job of adapting itself to the needs of its constituency.
I've seen my share of bloodbaths around here when people start dictating policy to the ownership.
You miss the point, again. One FReeper cannot change policy around here. If enough people are unhappy though, the owners have to listen to their concerns- not because of any law or rule, but for the same reason Ford has to listen to car buyers. No customers= no Ford. No Freepers= no FR.
The owners here seem to understand these issues, even though you may not.
Those two realities utterly destroy your argument, since the site can now be a unilateral extension of Jim Robinson's values and either survive or fail on its own merits, irrespective of the marketplace. While a failure may be a plebiscite on those values, it does not cause Jim Robinson any hardship. Neither does the site's continuation carry any benefit, especially if it runs counter to Jim's own beliefs.
Save your laments for yourself. It is YOUR comprehension that is coming up sadly short.
I don't assume that at all- FR need not continue any more than Ford needs to continue to sell cars. If FR folds, something else will pop up.
Free Republic is NOTHING like a corporation selling a product or service
Why not? An idea or ideology is no different than a car or washing machine- if you can't get enough people to buy it, it's a failure. If Jim Rob can't get enough people to agree with his viewpoints to such an extent that they're willing to donate to FR, his viewpoints and this site are a failure.
While a failure may be a plebiscite on those values, it does not cause Jim Robinson any hardship
Ummm.... so, why does he bother with this site, then? If FR serves no purpose to JR, whether material, spiritual or intellectual, why spend so much effort on it?
Neither does the site's continuation carry any benefit, especially if it runs counter to Jim's own beliefs.
This statement makes no sense. Why would anyone put so much effort into something like this if itheld no benefit to them?
No, I think you miss the symbiotic nature of FR and the Freeper community. Neither can survive as an entity without the other.
Precisely. Which is why Jim needn't accommodate anything he doesn't choose to accommodate. If his service can be procured elsewhere, this site is free to be what HE wants it to be. And the people who attend this site can be here because they agree with that, or they can seek their services elsewhere. Again, Jim has made that perfectly clear over the years.
An idea or ideology is no different than a car or washing machine- if you can't get enough people to buy it, it's a failure.
Jim is not "selling" an ideology. It is assumed that those who visit this site already "own" that ideology. That's the point you can't seem to grasp.
If Jim Rob can't get enough people to agree with his viewpoints to such an extent that they're willing to donate to FR, his viewpoints and this site are a failure.
See above. As Jim has said many times, Free Republic is not his life. If this site can't sustain itself, it folds. That doesn't mean that conservatism or Jim's values are failures, just that there wasn't enough money to support the site. Jim's life goes on.
why does he bother with this site, then? If FR serves no purpose to JR, whether material, spiritual or intellectual, why spend so much effort on it?
I didn't say there was no purpose, just that Jim derives no benefit from the site. By "benefit," I meant profit. Surely you can appreciate the paradox implicit in sacrificing one's ideological soul to sustain a web site that advances one's ideology. If the reward to Jim lies in advancing conservatism, how can he justify maintaining a web site that defeats his purpose?
Why would anyone put so much effort into something like this if it held no benefit to them?
By benefit, I meant profit. You were the one who drew a parallel with a corporation. Absent the profit motive, your analogy falls apart.
I think you miss the symbiotic nature of FR and the Freeper community. Neither can survive as an entity without the other.
The relationship is symbiotic, but FR existed before there was a FReeper community, at least as you know it.
The ultimate test of this argument will be which of us is around in (another) five years.
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