My Personal but Curious Case with the Bangladesh Studies Network

শেহাব's picture
Submitted by shehab [Guest] on Mon, 03/03/2014 - 4:40am
Categories:

If you never heard of the Bangladesh Studies Network, this is a FaceBook group with their agenda illustrated in the following description.

Quote:
The “Bangladesh Studies Group” is an informal network of researchers and PhD students from a range of disciplines researching issues relating to Bangladesh and her diaspora. The aim of the network is to create a space to exchange ideas and findings.

The group is administered by the following four people:

  1. David Lewis - a professor of LSE
  2. Benjamin Zeitlyn - a Lecturer of the University of Sussex
  3. Delwar Hussain - a researcher at the University of Edinburgh
  4. Hannah Jennings - a researcher at UCL

One of these four persons banned me from the group on March 1, 2013 without giving any warning or explanation. I was curious to know the reason hence trying to recall my latest engagements in the group. On my last day in BSN, I asked a question to one of the admins, Benjamin Zeitlyn, whether there is any detailed guideline for banning any member from the group. Someone, in a thread, was talking about a member who was recently banned, so, I wanted to know the reason behind the administrative action. I assumed there should be minimum transparency in the administrative actions undertaken in a group which claims to accommodate scholarly interactions. Did my question somehow violate the undisclosed moderation policy of the group? I don't know!

The latest engagement with any member other than the admins that I could recall was a post by, so far I remember, Joseph Allchin, about an article which contained very sexist, shortsighted and objectionable comments about the two top political leaders of Bangladesh. I had no problem about the shortsightedness. When it is all about quality, the writer can always improve - but I had issues with any sexist view about Bangladeshi politics. That's the last thing I want any writer to do while discussing politics. My engagement was absolutely professional.

During my short stint at BSN I never made any personal, non-professional or abusive remark to anyone. I challenge my readers to prove me wrong.

Let's see what abusive remarks, pointed at me, have survived the moderation of all the four admins so far. I would like to advise caution to my readers that these might only be the tip of the iceberg about the story of the practice of moderation in BSN. I counted the remarks towards only me from February 18, 2014. If you find any of them modified, those were modified later by the author upon my objection and not at moderators' suggestion. If you fail to see any of them, those might be deleted upon my objection much later and not at moderators' suggestion. If any of those authors is missing she was banned from the group not because of that comment but due to the random banning spree by the moderators that took place on the very day I was banned.

Let's take a look at them.

Member: Shafiqur Rahman

Link

Link

Member: X-Ray X-Ray

Link

Member: Ahmed Hasan

Link

Member: Rage Ezekiel

Link

Link

Link

Link

Member: Shafquat Rabbee Anik

Link

Member: জাহিদ ইকবাল

Link

All the comments are artifacts of threat, hate or abuse but survived the oversight of all the four moderators of BSN. Once I argued in a thread in BSN that it is not pragmatic to expect immediate or precise moderation from only four people in such a large group. But it looks the moderators found time at least to ban me. This reminds me of a question I asked the other day to all the moderators. I wanted to know whether BSN has any scholarly publication or any scholarly publication has its root in any discussion thread developed at BSN. One of the moderators, Hannah Jennings, responded that there was none. Based on my short experience and Hannah's response I understand that I have lost nothing from being banned but I wanted to keep this on public record for future reference for future members. It is always good to have a realistic expectation from a FaceBook group which claims to be about scholarly activities.

PS. Thanks to my friends at BSN who survived the recent moderation spree for references.


Comments

ইশতিয়াক রউফ's picture

Ah, where to start? A very depressing place indeed. I wish there were a shred of courage or fairness there. I too got removed, I have to idea why. I don't believe I ever crossed the line, despite all the instigations. Admins removed anyone and everyone who questioned the one-sided propaganda of BNP-Jamaat. And of course exposing the lies of David Bergman will get you an instant removal. Some group to exchange various ideas and opinions!

Thanks for naming names. I challenge any of these hypocrites to present a single word I have said out of line.

কৌস্তুভ's picture

Erm, why should readers of sachalayatan care about what happens in some random group in another social network?

ইশতিয়াক রউফ's picture

Good point, Kaustubh. But it needed to be on record too. The world is a very small place, and you will see many of these names pop up as "jatir bibek" every now and then. Some of the foreigners might become serious "experts" about Bangladesh too. It is important to document somewhere that they are biased towards the side that questions all things 1971 and are clearly used to turning a blind eye to some of the sickest, most offensive language I have seen. Naming names puts them in a position to explain and/or amend their misdeeds.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.