from jms: benedictions

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Open Letter
Title: from jms: benedictions
From: J. Michael Straczynski
Addressed To: fans
Date(s): 1 Dec 1995
Medium: Usenet
Fandom: Babylon 5
External Links: Jms resigns rastb5; archive link (scroll to the bottom)
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from jms: benedictions is a 1995 open letter by J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5.

It is a response to an open letter Straczynski wrote a few days earlier. See jms resigns rastb5.

For more context, see The Great War of Rastb5: How a cabal of trolls in the Babylon 5 newsgroup led the show’s creator to flouncing from the newsgroup, ultimately causing the most responded to RFD in Usenet history and the creation of a 2nd Babylon 5 newsgroup (2021).

Some Topics Discussed

The Open Letter


...a general thank you to everyone who's sent in mail on this. It's disturbing to realize that about 75% of all of the notes thus far received begin with a variation on "I used to post on rastb5 (or I just lurk on rastb5) but don't post because the atmosphere just got too poisoned by the deranged few you mentioned." Literally hundreds of people seem to have been driven from rastb5 by the rampage of a few others who don't want to be attacked or abused by those few. This is terribly saddening to realize. That they have been driven off is more of a real issue than my being now in this position. all those who wrote, I am moved and touched by your words, and if there were any way around this, I'd take it. I know that some are working behind the scenes to put together a moderated newsgroup, but I don't know if that will happen or not. The goal of any such should not be to eliminate criticism -- heck, there's never been a lack for that here or on any of the other systems -- but just to keep out the truly dysfunctional. That may be a very promising route, but I'm not holding out much hope that it'll happen.

Surprisingly, the #1 comment that has come in is, "What on earth TOOK you so long? If I were in your shoes I'd've been out of here MONTHS ago." Glutton for punishment, I guess. Kept thinking we could work a way around this. But as has been pointed out by others, I guess it was inevitable. I didn't see that because I suppose I didn't really want to see it, or cop to it, or realize that this was running out on me. I have vastly enjoyed the open lines of communication, have met a great number of interesting people both on-line exclusively and even in person in many cases.

Anyway, I wish it could be otherwise. For the most part, you're a cute bunch, and I won't even space you for being cute.


(The AOL B5 page has, maybe, 1/1,000th the number of users as rastb5; I log on maybe every two-three days, and leave maybe a total of 5-10 messages in the course of a week. So much for his claim about the total number of messages left. AOL is confined just to the US, and doesn't have even a *fraction* of the coverage of rastb5. But Mr. Holland, in his usual subliminal sleazosity, tries to find some subterfuge, some hidden agenda, something he can point to in vague terms and wonder what I'm getting away with. This is the game he and the others here play constantly; there is nothing they can go after in reality, so they come up with vaguely worded allegations with no real core to them, just designed to somehow cast a shadow on this show or myself, specifically to get people, myself included, to respond, defending when no real charge has been made. It's the oldest trick in the book; get the other person to defend themselves against a non-existent charge, in the hope of creating the illusion of smoke and the perception of fire...and, of course, getting everyone upset in the process. I fell for it too many times; we all did. This is the last time I will do so. Mr. Holland belongs in the same company as the rest of his associates. They will *always* find something to complain about, even if it means manufacturing it themselves.)

But it's no longer my problem. Just as it's no longer the problem of several hundred others who've logged off here in the last year due to the hassles, and the others who have either left, or are about to leave for the same reason: the tyranny of the petty dysfunctional.

[... much about promotional things]

Knowing this is the last note I'll be sending for a while, I'm tempted to keep shoving stuff in here. I just realized that I wish this didn't have to stop. But it kinda does, doesn't it? those of you who have been terrifically helpful to me over the term of this long the Rangers for filtering out the feed and protecting me from story Sherry for the great analyses of episodes, and Orso for his cogent thoughts...actually, I shouldn't be singling people out because I've been forever astonished and gratified at some of the brilliant and insightful observations that have floated across my monitor in the last year or so. I've been delighted, amused, impressed, floored, dumbfounded, intrigued, awakened, and occasionally horrified (usually in a good way).

It is my abiding hope that in return, I've given something of use here. I feel strongly that we cannot hope to control or influence o improve a dragon with as many heads as TV until and unless we understand it first. I hope that I've helped a little to demystify how it all works, so that folks have a better chance of getting what they *want* rather than what some producers or studios want to shove down your throats. If it has served that purpose to any degree, then the exercise has been worthwhile.

My best to all of you. When I can, I'll try to post messages in a bottle and send them along to the group as occasional updates. Meanwhile, take care, don't fight, and remember: if you do not choose to lead, you will forever be led by others. Find what scares you, and do it. And you *can* make a difference, if you choose to do so.

Babylon Control, clear. jms

Fan Comments