The Public Square
You’re walking down Main Street in small (or big) town USA. Main Street is a public street. Anyone is allowed there. Somewhere along the street you might notice a public square. A town common, if you will. It’s a typical site in most any old New England town – even the larger cities.
The public square being where people would gather together for various reasons. Everyone has a right to be heard there, or any other public place. Though there’s no right that others must listen to what you have say. They may shout back. Or leave.
Along the length of Main Street there are private establishments, businesses, stores, restaurants, gas stations, you name it… on either side as you walk its sidewalk.
Some are shops selling various goods. Others, places of employment. Maybe there’s a church. A movie theater. A club, a bar… Point being they are private establishments in one way or another.
One of these buildings has a sign on it that reads “The MSB Saloon”. That’s kind of what we are here at Modern Survival Blog – in an analogous sort of way. A club / bar / saloon… sitting off the side of Internet Street.
There are a few clubs in town. MSB is just one of many dotting the roadside among the cities and towns.
Most are free to enter. They all have their own reputations. Some, quite poor (unless you like to brawl). Others, pretty good.
Some of them are especially private clubs – requiring membership to enter. Our club however welcomes anyone off the street – like many others. There’s not even a cover charge.
However, there is a code of conduct
There are policies and rules of behavior set in place by the owner. All civilizations have rules, though the owner wants everyone to enjoy their time while there.
Most people are reasonable. The code of conduct simply spells out reasonable behavior. Nearly every reasonable patron will never have a problem with the policies.
The establishment owner also knows that sometimes a “jerk” or agitator will come in and pick fights, or get drunk and make a scene. Most people don’t like that.
Sometimes the club’s bouncer has to intervene and throw out a troublemaker. Occasional bruising may result during these incidents. However, the patronage is appreciative to get rid of the jerk.
Surprisingly more often than not, the jerk shows up again the next day. The crowd casually observes – wondering whether he’s going to start trouble again and throw a sucker punch at somebody.
After a few drinks, sure enough, there he goes again…
The bouncer steps in, grabs the jerk to shove him out the door. The jerk shouts “I have every right to be here!!” “I can say whatever I want!!” “You have no right to throw me out!!” “This is a free country!!”.
Obviously, the jerk has no concept that the private establishment is under no constraints to allow him to stay. Maybe the jerk is short a few brain cells and IQ points. Maybe he doesn’t understand the difference between his rights in the public square versus private establishments…
Nevertheless, he’s tossed out on his ass once again.
Troublemakers aggravating the patrons
As time goes on, a few more of this type begin making trouble in the saloon. Round and round it goes with the troublemakers who are intent on aggravating the regular crowd who ordinarily enjoy their time at the establishment.
Eventually some of the regulars don’t come back as often. The business owner sees this, and knows how and why this situation is affecting the clientele.
On the one hand he doesn’t really want to make the club “members-only”, given the bit of extra hassle and lesser likelihood of others just popping in. On the other hand, it would put a stop to the agitators.
New policy gives patrons ‘bouncer power’
So, in the meantime, the owner tries another approach…
A new policy is put in place which gives the patrons themselves the ability to kick out a “jerk”, an agitator — hopefully before setting the place on fire, so to speak.
Down-vote the agitator
Upon an established number of patron complaints, the jerk is immediately and automatically tossed on his ass out the door. No more waiting for the bouncer to notice the ruckus…
Though some down votes may simply reflect an unpopular opinion, when there’s a lot of them – it may imply an agitator.
A number of weeks later, the owner notices that the policy seems to be working out fairly well. Even though some of the known agitators are complaining, it has been an effective method for the establishment regulars. They enjoy their time at the MSB Saloon without the rough-and-tumble instigated by the town drunks who may wander in, so to speak.
The club owner doesn’t have to spend so much time as the bouncer. While the patrons themselves can anonymously click the “down vote” button when they observe an agitator starting to make trouble in the room.
It’s not perfect. There may be times when a comment or conversation is misunderstood. But it’s better than nothing – while maintaining an open door policy at the saloon…
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