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Long live the TOOP



Those of us who have been around this site long enough remember when's former owner; at one point practically removed all the restrictions on membership and commentaries. The site immediately became filled with fake multiple identities and rude, abusive and vulgar comments.


A small number of us (myself included) objected to the anarchy and the lack of accountability while many including JJ himself hailed the so called freedom and wrote “everything goes...get used to it”.


It wasn't that those of us who opposed the new format were against the freedom to express but we were against abusing that freedom and the lack of any accountability.


The site was a controlled site anyway. As a blogger you were limited in the number of the blogs, its content and its placement which was all being decided by JJ and his extensions. He was the advocate of freedom of speech but was “The good Dictator”, with no constitution or a loose constitution that he himself did not go by when he didn't feel like it.


He would be deleting a blog , because he said it had nothing to do with Iran or Iranians but then so often filled the top of the front page with sightseeing photos of his or someone else's trip to some other country or city in the world .


He was a promoter of the human rights but when we desperately asked him to put the imminent execution of Delara Darabi on the top of the front page, he would ignore it and place some music or sex related videos instead. But when 24 hours later the teenager gets executed , Delara becomes the big headline... but only after her death....


But we Iranians like "The Good Dictators", because we are afraid of ourselves and our responsibilities. We like the Good Mojtahed, the good Shah and the good elder …. to make the decisions for us , to control the good and bad. We come from 1000's of years of Kings, Mojtaheds and Imams and from a Kad- KHODA culture.


We may cry for freedom but we confuse it with doing whatever we wish without accountability on one end of the spectrum ….and giving our rights away to the good dictator to control our freedoms on the other end.


Often the first group get disappointed when their own freedoms start getting violated as a result of the lack of accountability and then in an overreaction they swing to the direction of the good dedicator


and the second group gets disappointed after the good dictator turns bad or give its place to a bad one, wishing for the freedom that they gave away.


And the vicious cycle continues.......


Our history , especially post constitutional monarchy revolution is filled with such examples. 1979 revolution is another one. The former supporters of the current regime who now have became its own enemies are another example. We are the ones who voted 98% for The Islamic Republic after we kicked a secular dictator out while hailing the new Vali Faghih. …. we are the ones who do not like what is happening in our homeland but lack the responsibility to unite, organize and make a difference. Many of us are waiting for the Good Dictator ....while some are still hoping for the bad dictator to turn good.... and some others are waiting for the foreign liberator. All because we do not want to take the responsibility of doing it ourselves which takes commitment to what we are good at talking (or blogging) about! We blame the foreigners, the shah, the mullahs, the moderates, the extremists, the communists, the crown prince, …..but …...never ourselves. As if the Islamic Republic was sent to us from Mars and we had nothing to do with and still don't !.....


Back to :


The new has taken the control of the comments from the hands of the good dictator and given it to The People. The blogger has the right to monitor his/her own blog and the reader has the right to like, vote and toop the contents and the comments.


This has scared some bloggers, commentators and readers (The 3 categories of the users)


Deep inside those bloggers who oppose the new format are afraid of the responsibility. After all they have historically been used to the Dictators (the good or the bad ones) and don't know what to do with their new role. They need that editor to blame or whine to when something goes wrong on their blog .Now they don't know who to blame and who to complain to except themselves and their readers. Now they are accountable for the management of their own content. They can give full freedom of everything goes...... to not allowing a single comment....if they wish.


The commentators are afraid of the bloggers, thinking that their comments might get deleted by the unfair blogger . One recently compared it to not being able to do anything to KKK if they show up at his doorstep. Another was afraid that the new might turn to a tool for those who want to propaganda their view without giving a chance to others to rebuttal (by deleting opposing comments). But the point the first one was missing is that its not the KKK that is showing up at his doorstep but it will be him that is going to the blog of the KKK, therefore he has to deal with the consequences.... and that he has the freedom not to go there, not to comment there or if he is so passionate about his view, to write a counter-blog opposing the KKK. The point that he is missing is that in a democracy the KKK has as much right to express itself as the blogger next door and KKK in his own home, organization, church or blog has the right to allow or disallow a certain opinion BUT the right of the KKK stops at its own doorstep and once it step out of there, s/he is subjected to the right of the other blog that he enters in and can not prevent the freedom of the expression of the others.... and at the end its the people (the readers) who decide  ...


…..and of course inside or outside the blog every one is subject to the letters of the law that governs the local governments and internet such as the copyrights, rights of privacy, slander....etc etc...


I also read someone ridiculing me for having supported controlled comments in the past and oppose it in the new one. It was obvious the person had either never read my arguments in the old site or had never understood my point.



The old site was a controlled site with an editor. The blogger had no control.  It was like a radio station who allowed some shows or the phone calls and had its own editing room who decided who gets to go on the air and who doesn't. In that forum , I was, as always have been, for the freedom of expression but opposed lack of accountability. I promote freedom but not abuse of it. My freedom and rights end when it encroaches on the rights of another and at the time the boundaries did not exist which gave room to abuse until eventually even JJ himself realized that freedom itself has its own rules and restrictions. So he started editing and required registration . Freedom is not driving any way that you want. Freedom is your right to drive but with respect to the right of the other drivers and the pedestrians by paying attention to the lines and the signs.


After that realization, when it came to editing the comments, they actually did a good job overall . There is no perfection and I am sure there were exceptions but JJ and the crew tried to do what any civilized forum with comment editorial would do.


My problem with them was JJ's own lack of accountability and lack of terms and rules of the website or lack of adherence to it. One day he would allow a two liner blog and another day deleted it saying a blog has to be longer!. As if the greatest quotes of the biggest thinkers of history would also not have made it to under his (man-dar-avoradi) rule. It all depended on which side of the bed he woke up on..... The decisions were also based on the relationships. Some got better preferential treatment than others and it is not surprising they are the one who now miss their VIP status the most!


I am as afraid of the good dictators as the bad ones because at the end, we The People remain to be the sheep and when the good dictator is gone we don't know what to do with ourselves or with the bad dictator that takes over.


Cherish your newly given freedom to write your opinions whether its in a blog or a comment or a simple click of a TOOP. Don't be afraid if a blogger deletes your comment, because soon the readers will get to know that blogger's lack of tolerance and this allow the people to chose who to read, comment on and (TOOP) and don't be afraid to express your opinion of it in your own blog and letting the people decide.


But no matter what, make sure you exercise your right to choose and vote (TOOP) because if you do not show your opinion and support of your preferred blogs, views and news , then if the bad ones take over or the good ones get buried, there is no shah, no ayatollah , no good or bad dictator and no editor or JJ to blame but to blame yourself.


You, The People, The blogger, The Commentator, The Reader are now in control. Cherish it and make the best of your newly given freedom and don't be afraid of the responsibility that comes with it.


May the TOOP be with you!




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DoNotShootMe If it's well written and well directed and you've got good actors to work with, acting is easy. But making sure all the ducks are in a row is the hard part. It's very rare. John Lithgow

I think this site still needs " a flag " option by the comments everywhere.



I actually like your flag idea; to show one's dissapproval or lack of agreement with the content of the blog or comment but I would not go as far as using it for rating and countering the Toops or placement of the blog.


hamsade ghadimi

it's not a black and white picture as you've painted here, david. there are also viewers who beleive that the previous site had its own merits while this site has new desirable features/effects. if one complains about the new format, it does not necessarily mean they're dictator-loving and afraid of comment control. the previous site was much better organized. i'm keeping an open mind and believe that the new administrator would want to bring back some of the positive attributes of the old site. by the way, i think that the comment control is one of the positive features of the new site



Indeed things are never black and white and it is very important especially among us Iranians to learn that as a fact.

Having said that just like solving a scientific problem, one needs to dissect or even simplify the factors at first, to start the process of understanding the problem in order to find a solution.


Esfand Aashena

Alright hamsade! I'll put you down as a freedom fighting supporter of democracy and what not!



Dear Hamsadeh, indeed the old site formats had many positive aspects that the new one doesn't and in no way I meant to refer to those who miss or liked some of those features (including myself) as wishing for dictatorship.

I ONLY referred to the wish for editorial control versus the fear of blogger control ... and my support of self responsibility and getting in to the habit of expressing our views of blog and comment by a simple click (toop)


Esfand Aashena

I do not agree with many of the things you said. I don't recall the Delara's case exactly as you mentioned it but it may have happened and recently he became so passionate about Sattar Beheshti that he condemned anyone who had not said anything and oh lord!

Now as far as the old we went from wild wild west, to monitored comments to comments by registered users only. All positive steps which were necessitated and asked for by the community. The next logical step was to trust the bloggers and giving them comment control.

Since he didn't take that step many users became like basijis and ransacked the blogs and their comments were only deleted when JJ was awake or if someone flagged them. Sometimes he didn't even care about the flags and let the attacks go using his own judgment! So people got into pissing fights and then he'd block them. Another words he was telling people how to feel and what not to feel!

That was the problem but other than that everything was pretty good. It'd have been so much better but we'll never know.

Now as far as the Toop, I think first of all it should say Like as many Americans don't know what the heck is a toop? Second I think there should be a dislike button as well. The more likes the further up the page it goes and the more dislikes the less.

In Iroon the more likes or dislikes combined and added goes on top, though it's behind the front page and "unfeatured", yet another sign of paddling against the river flow!



I personally am not much about negative rating as it can create an intentional negative mark as it can create intentional negative rating by some. I think positive encouragement is good enough and obviously if one does not get enough Toops , the blog or news will not make it to top anyway. As for the word TOOP vs, Like, I think these days with Facebook, google plus, etc..most people will get the idea but a little plus sign or something next to the toop can be helpful.

On the other hand the little ^ sign at the bottom of the comments is very light and hard to note for a new reader and should also be a picture of a Toop to match the rest.

I personally find the comment box (while typing) abnormally small and it should be larger for easier typing, editing and less scrolling.

ps: The two of many examples I gave were from my personal experience and they really happened among many other instances. It was a "deimy" pick and chose editorial. ...and you are rights it was the eventual change from anonymous user to registered user which improved the chaos (I called it accountability here) .


akaDarya With life as short as a half-taken breath, don't plant anything but love. - Rumi

Dear David,

I think JJ did as best as he could. It is a learning process for everyone. Come on, we all know dealing with bunch of super nagging west residing Iranians in general is the hardest thing ever.. Seriously, no wonder why he lost all his hairs .. with each single biased request he for sure had pulled one single hair of his out ! lol

Now, as I am sure you agree, let us forget about the reward and/or the punishment bestowed upon us and move on ..

Furthermore, let us focus on this site and see how we can improve this one.

I like this site already much more than the old one ... Perhaps because I haven't yet got beaten up by the usual suspects ... Or they are still confused and have not figured out how to function on this site ! lol thanks God !

As a person who has received numerous deep keyboards wounds I would certainly encourage what DNSM is suggesting here.

And , on the rest of the subject of this blog ... I should say well said.

Thanks for being here and for your words of wisdom !

Again good to have you back.

: )


aban-9 The best criterion to judge people, dead or alive, is to read their works, not their CV.

This comment was removed by the Staff for violating our Commenting Standards


aban-9 The best criterion to judge people, dead or alive, is to read their works, not their CV.

With all due respects:

We might be interested to know why our countrymen, compared to civilized nations, behave differently? Is it because of long lasting exposure to devastating foreign invasions or is it due to something else? Why the following traits are so emphatic in many Iranians: cheating, lying, timidity, disloyalty, projection, cognitive dissonance, various forms of biases, and above all, lack of patriotism? Why are Iranians so interested to epithets, such as PhD and even hajaqa?


aban-9 The best criterion to judge people, dead or alive, is to read their works, not their CV.

So “cheating, lying, timidity, disloyalty, projection, cognitive dissonance, various forms of biases, and above all, lack of patriotism”, all in all, result from an Iranian’s not “taking responsibility”. Beg to differ. I believe, Iranians are the aggregate product of every and each causal force, beyond their control, affecting them. However, in my article, paragraph 6, ‘Egypt without Cleopatra’, I made a quick reference to why people are forced to take a ‘superficial attitude toward life …’ As a matter of fact, I am going to develop the theme and would appreciate your critical input.


Roger_Rabbit Framed

Pardon me!

Are you not the same David ET who supported and encouraged others to support and vote for the "good dictators" otherwise known as Mousavi and Karroubi? as alternatives to a bad dictator meaning Ahmadinejad?

So what made you change your mind Mr Etebari ?



I never changed my mind. Either you never read what I said at the time or have short memory. Simply refer to my blogs and see what I said. It was the tactical support of Mousavi that weakened the grip of the Khamenei and Ahmadinejad which lead to the events pre and post election. This once and for ever removed the hygamony of khamenei and the so called elections of the islamic so called republic. Simply read if you mean well. it is by now proven that this was the one event that ended any doubt in the minds of people including many reformists about the nature of this regime and its so called elections


Roger_Rabbit Framed

I see so supporting "good dictators" can be of some benefit!!

So why not giving it another chance Mr ET? It worked for you in 2009. May work now too. And I mean well :)



What did election of 2009 that have to do with me, good dictator or iranian,com today? ....but whatever... anyway ...we are in 2012 and that was discussed in detail then...yawn