So, it seems as if the forum owner of Fisheaters has been taking a survey lately about what the forum may need to improve itself.
Lately, a few of my two cents has been inexplicably erased from a forum or comments section.
So, for public record and my own comfort, I've decided to post my responses to this latest survey that Vox Clamantis has put forth. I probably sound abrasive or harsh, but so many people muddle along and hem and haw before getting to their point. I wanted to be direct.
So, let's get to it.
1. Please let me know what your general impressions are of the FishEaters website (NOT including the discussion forum). Has it brought you or anyone you know to Tradition or to the Church Herself? (if so, which?)
The Fisheaters website is fantastic. I have seen it occasionally linked to on my Facebook home page.
2. Regarding the FishEaters website itself (not the discussion forum), what do you wish were there but isn't?
I currently cannot think of anything further to include in the website. Perhaps a section filled with Catholic artwork, with captions that discuss the meanings behind the paintings/sculptures/buildings.
3. Has your priest or have people in your parish ever mentioned the FishEaters website or its discussion forum? If so, was it your priest or parishioners? What were their opinions?
My parish and surrounding parishes do not seem to have people who are as linked in to the internet Catholic circles that I am. However, I have seen Charles Coulombe refer to Fisheaters on his Facebook page.
4. About the discussion forum only: What would make the discussion forum better? Is there something you wish were there that isn't -- or things that are there that you wish weren't?
I enjoy a good rating system. Some people—particularly people who are disliked a lot—hate rating systems. But I think it's a very good tool that helps measure the forum community's perception of different members. Cathinfo has something like this kind of rating system, and I've always enjoyed it. The +/- fishies were always a hit with people, and former Fisheaters used to always refer to them endearingly in conversation.
5. Regarding the discussion forum, do you think the sub-forum allowing for discussion of the SSPX and sedevacantism should be allowed to remain -- or do you think it should be removed?
I currently do not publicly discuss any opinions about the SSPX. However, spreading the schismatic concept of sedevacantism should not be allowed. Before the forum owner restarted a special folder for sedes, my suggestion was this: to have a folder that would allow Catholics—who respect the legitimate structure of the Church—to pick apart and criticize sedevacantism. To outlaw discussions of sedevacantism completely would be a bad idea, because sedevacanitism is going to become a bigger topic in coming years. (We are seeing this more and more in the current controversies involving Michael Voris' stance against bitter pope-deniers). However, giving free reign to people who work within a schismatic mindset to promote their incorrect opinions and beliefs—that we do not have a pope—is not good. I don't know if he is still here, but the sour Fr. Cekada must be having a field day promoting his error and his website. Catholics faithful to the authority of the Church must have the ability to discuss the errors of this new sect that is separating itself from the Church, and they also need to hear or read discussions that explain their errors. Just as it is helpful to refer to discussions explaining how Islam, Protestantism, or Talmudism is false.
Again, there should be a folder that allows for criticism of sedevacantism. Not dialogue.
6. Do you think the forum should limit itself to focus on traditionalists who worship "inside the structures" (e.g., at Masses offered by the FSSP, ICK, diocesan priests, etc.) or that it should continue to allow trads who worship "outside the structures" to participate in an unlimited way?
"Trads" who worship "outside the structures" should not be allowed to participate in an unlimited way. If this is to be a Catholic forum, it must stay and remain Catholic, avoiding the temptations of new sects. Perhaps there should be a "three strikes, and you're out" rule, which refreshes itself annually. But again, if the Catholics of Fisheaters need to understand the error of sedevacantism, they need to be shown why it is in error. And they need to be allowed to talk about it.
7. Do you think Vox Clamantis, the owner-moderator of the discussion forum, is clear in what she says about the treatment of homosexuals by Catholics? Are you confused as to what she thinks about this? Do you think she believes anything contradicting the Catechism on this matter? What, if anything, bothers you about how Vox Clamantis handles the topic of homosexuality at the discussion forum?
Homosexuality on Fisheaters…the widespread perception of everyone who has left the forum or participates in it less, is that Vox Clamantis gives a wink and a nod to people with homosexual proclivities. People perceive the forum owner to rush to the defense of men who want to cuddle or men who are delightfully effeminate. The incident of 2013 that broke a lot of Fisheaters away demonstrated how real this perception is, and many people who claim to be Catholics believe that this forum carries a morally disordered spirit with it.
Often, when discussions about homosexuality come up, it can be expected that Vox Clamantis will write reams of material, most of it defending homosexual behavior or inclinations to one degree or another.
If the question is "How does Vox Clamantis regain credibility as a forum owner?", then my reply is this: Stay away from the topic. And if it is necessary to engage in discussion about homosexuality, only quote Catholic sources, and include no editorial discussion about it. Becoming that purely and objectively Catholic and neutral will help to dispel the current funk that seems to enshroud this forum.
8. If you don't subscribe or donate to the website, what is/are the main reason(s)? Is it a matter of not being able to afford it? Is it that you disagree with the site owner about things she says on the discussion forum? Is it that you dislike too many of the posters at the discussion forum? Please specify.
I have not participated much on Fisheaters since late last summer, and this is largely due to the incident of 2013. This forum has seemed sort of "gay friendly" ever since then, and it consciously and subconsciously raises warning flags and makes the forum come off as distasteful to visit anymore. I still visit occasionally, but not as often as I used to.
Others argue that Fisheaters is extremely feminist. I agree, but it is a forum run by a woman, so it makes sense that the forum seems to be friendly to women, and I have no problem visiting a forum, whether it's run by a woman or a man, just so long as it's a good forum.
9. How do you think the discussion forum compares to other trad discussion forums?
This discussion forum has some strong points. It is not filled with bitter and sour spirits, and it does not seem as if there is a "gang" of jerks waiting in the wings to harass whomever they disagree with. On the other hand, the other forums I have visited—CI and SD—do allow for some strong dialogue and disagreements, and I enjoy that. I also enjoy CI's post rating system. CI does remarkably well for a forum that is so basic in appearance and for one that erases everyone's emails on a quarterly basis. SD's moderators are great, and they do an admirable job; though, I think they tighten the noose too tightly a lot of the time. I had an interesting discussion about racial issues mysteriously erased this week without any explanation, and it's clear they want to avoid that kind of talk. A tight leash strangles ideas sometimes.
One thing I like that Vox Clamantis has done lately is her assertive drive to put discussion material out there for the members. And her "blog entries" are also fascinating to read on occasion. These moves have put a sort of new life into Fisheaters that has brought me back a little more often.