CBR Affirms Need for Community Inclusion

Bravo to CBR. In an open letter from owner Jonah Weiland, Comic Book Resources has announced that they’re shutting down their existing message boards and replacing them with a Community that “will show zero tolerance for intimidation or abuse of all members of the community, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identification. CBR and all areas of its website and operations will be a safe space for all people, of all levels of involvement.”

Here are key excerpts explaining the decision:

While I’m proud of what CBR has become, and I believe CBR has some of the best fans in the world, with some of the biggest hearts and most open minds in all of fandom, unfortunately, we have had an increasingly loud contingent take root on our forums who refuse to behave in a manner respectful to others….

If you’re one of the people who participated in any of these reprehensible acts [attacking Janelle Asselin over a comic book cover review], my message is simple: You are not welcome anywhere on CBR, and in our opinion, you have no place in the comics industry.

But you know what? I’m responsible, too.

I failed to do all I can to make the CBR Forums a safer and better place by adequately dealing with this behavior. And while we employ an army of volunteer moderators, the thread was not properly moderated.

To be clear: this is about more than just this one thread. While there are many examples of good conversation among great members on our old forums, hateful and ugly comments were allowed to be posted in the interest of “free speech,” which made the forums a place that wasn’t accepting or inviting….

I don’t want my name or CBR’s name to in any way be associated with that kind of poison.

The new area will also soon have “an easy to find button to file complaints or ask for help” in addition to a new set of rules that seem fair and comprehensive. This is a remarkable and encouraging choice.

Unfortunately, there are already some people who don’t get why this is a positive and welcome step. It’s a tough road the CBR moderators have ahead of them, to teach the ignorant that you can discuss and disagree without being abusive and you can run a community in a tough fashion without being “fascist”. But then, some people can’t focus on the positive, preferring to look for ways for things to go wrong. I hope this fresh start works out as intended; just the gesture is reassuring.

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