Totally inexplicable if you haven't been following Alas
This is a summary of my interpretation of what happened on a certain open thread
on Alas. It is mostly focused on what Amp, as moderator did, and how this played off of various other dynamics, and created others. I have just reread a large chunk of the thread, but by no means all. I am certainly missing dynamics that I couldn't see from my perspective, and I am leaving out most of the actual interesting discussion in the thread to focus instead on how events transpired that gave a clear show of gross misuse of power dynamics, but was perhaps only a bad misreading compounded by ugly historical dynamics. Also, I realized that this was a completely insane thing to be doing just before the end, so the last 48 posts are completely absent from this summary.
Novalis posted a bunch of standard psuedo-feminist arguments (of the sort where we can get to equality by just deciding we are all equal) and was being solidly and steadily argued down by a number of extremely knowledgeable and skillful feminists. There was some confusion between Novalis, who seemed of generally reasonably good-will (if willfully naive), and Nomen, who seemed more of a jerk (making "Well, if this is what feminists are like, then I don't want to be one," arguments, questioning Heart's intelligence, and such like). Novalis, steadily losing his argument, got his back up. Alsis expressed her disgust with him in abusive terms (post 119). Robert took this as an opportunity to outrageously insult Alsis (post 121), even though he hadn't been involved. Amp (I think) cross posted with Robert, with a generic request that things be kept civil (post 122). radfem and Molly commented on the misogynist content in Robert's attack and explained why they (and by implication presumably Alsis) had had enough of Novalis (posts 123-127). Alsis told Robert to fuck off (post 129).
This is the point at which Amp blundered badly (as he now agrees, and for which he has apologized, and as a result of which blunder he has expressed an active willingness to rethink much of how he handles things here).
Having misread/overlooked/skimmed the abusive post from Robert, but agreeing with Robert that Alsis had unloaded rather harshly on Novalis, and feeling that Novalis was getting his back up in large part because he was being dog-piled (trying to argue with half a dozen extremely skilled and knowledgeable writers, none of whom are particularly interested in cutting you any slack, is
extremely difficult...), Amp stepped in and refused to censure Robert, and chided Alsis for being overly abusive of Novalis, arguing that Novalis could be read charitably as being of decent will, and that it took a very uncharitable reading to see him as of overtly bad will (post 130). Alsis objected (post 131), and Amp defended his interpretation of the situation, including a defense of Robert that completely ignored the fact that Robert had been blatantly abusive and insulting (post 132). Because Amp had missed that fact, Amp's interpretation was completely wrong, and incredibly insulting to Alsis and to anyone else who didn't realize that Amp had been skimming, and had completely misunderstood the situation.
Amp was attacked (quite understandably) for this unfair response to Alsis, but the discussion drifted to Amp defending Novalis, not Robert's attack on Alsis (e.g. post 142 from Molly). Amp continues to defend his position re: Novalis, and makes a comment about being Molly and Alsis being "determined to take offense" (thereby being effectively condescending and sexist, and solidly violating his own rule of reading others with reasonable charity, but clearly foreshadowing the interaction with funnie, and definitely flashing back to the Ms boards) (post 149). Q Grrl calls him on this (post 155 and 156).
Amp shuts up. And he stays shut up for a long while (except to ask if littleviolet is lucky, someone he does
remember from the Ms. boards). Sheena asks why on earth he popped back in to ask that, and Amp explains why he has shut up (post 240), which is that basically he is not seeing what others are seeing, so he is backing off to think through why he isn't seeing it (plus he is seeing Ms board dynamics in play, and he doesn't like them).
Amp reappears in post 252 to explain that delays in posting are not caused by malevolence on his part, and to chide Molly for taking the worst possible interpretation of the situation.
Amp then steps in to argue with Robert over Robert's argument against all peaceful movements of radical change (post 257).
He steps in again to attack Robert's claim that Christina Hoff Sommers is a feminist (post 287 and 304).
In post 306, he posts to disagree with littleviolet over the character of Alas, pointing out that his purpose for it is to be an [Amp's politics] friendly site for people who disagree and agree with him to argue, and that people with hateful beliefs are permitted to be here, so long as they are willing to argue respectfully.
After argument by various people, Amp reappears in post 331 to ask littleviolet what she sees as being the benefit there would be from Alas not existing as a place for such debate and conversation to take place.
There is further discussion, and in post 341 Amp tells Robert to butt out, as he is not contributing to the discussion. In 343 he calls Robert on one of his more blatantly abusive posts.
In post 360, Amp explains the civility rules. His post is extremely ironic to anyone who actually did follow the Robert-Alsis exchange, as it is clear that he let Robert violate the rules, while censuring Alsis for a similar but lesser violation.
There is a lot else in there, but that is what I have pulled out of it at the moment. I was skimming at the time, so much of this was relatively new to me (I reread and caught Amp's blunder a day or two ago).