Wednesday, March 1


“ban1 (b?n) tr.v., banned, ban·ning, bans.
To prohibit, especially by official decree: The city council banned billboards on most streets. See synonyms at
South African. Under the former system of apartheid, to deprive (a person suspected of illegal activity) of the right of free movement and association with others.
Archaic. To curse.

An excommunication or condemnation by church officials.
A prohibition imposed by law or official decree: a ban on cigarette smoking on airplanes.
Censure, condemnation, or disapproval expressed especially by public opinion.
A curse; an imprecation.
A summons to arms in feudal times.

[Middle English bannen, to summon, banish, curse, from Old English bannan, to summon, and from Old Norse banna, to prohibit, curse.]”

Last Monday, I received this hotmail message: “You've been sent a Flickr Mail titled: You have been banned from the TAKE FIVE! Group.”

I went to flickr and got the bad news that I was banned from this group. There was no explanation or admonishment, just a terse “ask a remaining member of the group for a reason why.” There is something so bloodless and cold about a virtual banning. I’ve never been banned from anywhere before and while I am not heartbroken to eliminate one group from my list, I am strangely effected. There is a mystery yet I’m too lazy to find the member that invited me into the group in the first place and I’m relieved that I don’t have to make a decision whether to post something to it. I’ve learned over a year spent on this site, that group rules are arbitrary, changing and tedious. So, I generally post my images to groups that either have no rules or do not have nazi administrators. The later condition is hard to determine.

I am not alone, however, in feeling the outrage of being banned. My beloved,
boing boing has posted an entire article about this virtual phenomena and the unfairness of it. I also recall that the flickr site itself has been banned in the UAE and probably other Middle Eastern nations due to nudity and other virtual transgressions. Maybe virtual banning is the wave of the future?

I will just have to suck it up and move on. Maybe I’ll meditate on the concept of virtual feelings.