Classical Conversations #3: Leaders Delete Comments and Block Commenters Who Don’t Toe the Line

Classical Conversations, High-Controlling Groups, Deleted Comments, Blocked Commenters, Noble Gibbens


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wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

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NOTE: This is part of a series that began with these earlier posts:

Please take a seat and join the conversation, even if you aren’t a homeschool parent. I think you might find it interesting.


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After I left my abusive church, I did a lot of research about spiritual abuse and how abusers function (and are able to take unsuspecting victims along for the “ride”). In my church, a big no-no was sharing church concerns among members. This is sometimes labeled the “no-talk rule” in high-controlling groups (Christian or otherwise).

If it was discovered that you spoke negatively about the pastor or elders, or about the way things were handled at church, you were labeled a gossip. If it was bad enough, there would probably be a sermon (or two or three) on gossip that we all had to endure. We could always tell what “sin” was going on in our church community, based on the sermon topics.

In some high-controlling Christian groups, any breaking of the no-talk rule gets labeled as “gossip.” Of course gossip is a sin, but you may in fact be asking legitimate and important questions. It might be that you discover something bad about your pastor/church by asking those questions, so that is why any kind of negative question or talk is squelched and preemptively labeled as gossip. This way, the pastor can better control the narrative he wants people to have: Consequently, most people will comply and not feel comfortable sharing concerns or asking questions to other members. It’s manipulation by the leaders, plain and simple, but gets labeled as gossip to deflect guilt onto the followers.

But here’s the deal: When you are part of any group or organization, it is normal to have questions or concerns. A healthy group or organization will welcome conversation. They are generally happy to explain the way they do things and why. This is because there is nothing for them to hide. They are transparent; they recognize that when someone asks questions or shares concerns, it is because they want more information and probably have the group’s/organization’s best interest at heart.

In healthy groups, leaders do not view questions as threats. But in high-controlling groups, questions/concerns are viewed as threats and can be interpreted as:

  • Someone trying to undermine the leader’s authority.
  • Someone trying to rock the boat or disrupt the system.
  • Someone trying to expose the group or the leader and bring them harm.

The no-talk rule has been part of every high-controlling group I have studied in the past 10 years. Since researching articles and posts about Classical Conversations (CC), I’ve noticed this topic has shown up in various places: Classical Conversations leaders are removing comments. I believe it is a pattern and it has set off warning flags for me. Why are the leaders at Classical Conversations trying to squelch certain conversations? Why can’t they simply respond to the questions or concerns?

Let’s take a closer look. Here is a personal account that was sent to me:

I was personally blocked from the CC main [Facebook] group years ago when I made a post about how First Sale doctrine allows people in the US to resell any printed materials they legally own. The post was deleted, and I was blocked from the group. No explanation.

They did all that AND kicked me out. I can still see the group, but I’m no longer a member. I don’t understand. I didn’t say anything more aggressive than anyone else.

I really think I’m on a list somewhere. A few hours later, I was blocked.

This CC mom had jotted notes down after this took place. She sent me those notes:

Well, I try to take it all in stride, but this has bummed me out today. I hope people pick up on the fact that I and a handful of others have been censored – for me literally for citing US law and asking if CC would please clarify their “no resale” policy with respect to First Sale Doctrine.

I didn’t make any memes, and I delivered no “cheek” whatsoever. I got kicked simply for posting questions and citing facts. It’s got me down that other women who would claim the name of Christ would be this way to me.

Here are some more examples that someone sent to me:

One woman claimed that every post she’s ever been a part of on the CC main page that criticizes CC for its lack of racial diversity has been deleted.

There have been several instances of posts deleted from women asking how people with large families can possibly afford CC.

Often what happens in the case of these deleted Facebook posts is that a person posts a comment, and then an ordinary CC mom tags Noble Gibbens (leaving no comment), as if to say, “Look, Noble, someone is saying something bad about CC again, please take care of it.”  Normal CC moms do this. [Note: Noble Gibbens is the marketing director for CC and is the main moderator/admin of the CC Facebook group called, Classical Conversations.”]

In the last paragraph, you can see how the regular members are now conditioned to comply with the unspoken no-talk rule, and they even assist the leader by “outing” any person who is “rocking the boat.” These people don’t realize they are enabling a manipulator and/or a toxic high-controlling system. They’ve already been duped, thinking they are simply stopping “gossip.”

Folks, this is not gossip, it’s seeking the truth! These people asking the tough questions really are your friends. They are looking out for YOUR best interest.

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Not long ago, someone posted a link to Spiritual Sounding Board’s first article on Classical Conversations on the Facebook Classical Conversations group. Another person privately notified me about this conversation – see screenshots below. (I, Julie Anne, am the “she” in this conversation.)  (All like colors are the same person commenting. A bar with two colors has the first-color person asking the second-color person a question or respond to it.)

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This entire conversation above was removed from the Classical Conversations Facebook group after it was up for several hours. There was no warning; it just disappeared.

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More Redacted Examples of Classical Conversations   Facebook Group Posts and Comments Which Have Been Deleted

The screenshot below is from the Classical Conversations Facebook group. Someone posted the question, “Where do we find this?” along with the screenshots you see below it. The screenshot is about a book that helps CC directors do their taxes and set up their business.

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This was deleted within a few hours and the original poster was blocked from the group.

Blocked??? It’s one thing to remove a comment, but blocked???

Think about it – this person, formerly a part of the group is completely blocked – and can’t come back.

She’s GONE???

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Here is an example of a post that stayed up for a while and got some unhelpful pushback from CC moms. Farther down, you will see the familiar “tattle-to-Noble” technique, whereby someone tags Noble Gibbens (one of the moderators on the Facebook group), instead of leaving a real comment. Eventually, the entire post was deleted. The original commenter is in green.

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A classic response is: “This really isn’t the place for this kind of question; ask your local leadership.” These are the people who are keeping the system in check for the CC leaders. This, once again, is a role they have taken on voluntarily. No fewer than three of these kinds of responses occurred, from mild:

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To kinda pushy:

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To downright almost nasty:

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In the next screenshots, please take note that the original poster (in green) says she is worried about her comment getting deleted and will be blocked. Next, you can see where someone “tattled” and, once again, tagged Noble Gibbens to draw his attention to the situation. 

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Again, this entire post, the green-marked original post, was completely deleted along with all the comments.

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The following was another post where someone asked a question, this one about the wording in the new family application forms.  It got many comments, and Noble himself even got an “official answer” for her (that failed to answer her original question). Another non-answer was given and then comments were turned off. A day later the post was deleted (after the original commenter edited her comment to mention that she did not turn off the comments, but a group administrator did).

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After the commenter edited her comment to say that she didn’t turn off the comments, the whole thread was deleted. Evidently, making note that it was the administrator and not she who turned the comments off was considered rocking the boat to the group administrator.

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If you are or were involved in Classical Conversations, does this seem familiar to you? Did you see or experience posts being removed, or worse, someone (or you) being blocked? Feel free to share your experiences. Did it seem heavy-handed? Did it feel appropriate?  This is your place to share.

61 comments on “Classical Conversations #3: Leaders Delete Comments and Block Commenters Who Don’t Toe the Line

  1. It’s very interesting how hard they squelch discussion of how tutors should be categorized. (if there’s nothing to hide, why try so hard?) And the 2017 Practicum theme was about thinking logically … until you ask logical questions about WHY should we not sell our guide to another family.

    Separately, I think as Christians we SHOULD be careful about grumbling about the elders. Elders to whom we promised submission with our membership vows.

    But here’s the thing … parents in CC are CUSTOMERS. The PARENTS are the leaders. The CC sales staff, all the way up to Noble, are still sales staff. Not leadership in a church or family or even secular government.

    It’s ok for me to discuss with other parents if Nike makes a sneaker worth the price they charge. It’s perfectly normal to discuss the value from my local zoo membership. It’s being a good steward to share with a friend that XYZ brand highchair didn’t last well – don’t waste your money. Similarly, it is no way gossip to compare notes with another mom about PURCHASING curriculum or PURCHASING a seat in a homschool enrichment class.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Didn’t Bill Gothard also prohibit people from passing his materials on to others? What is your take on this, JA? Is it a financial motive, as in, people won’t buy from them if they can get it second hand? Or is it wanting to avoid scrutiny from objective people who are not “on board”? Or ?

    Like

  3. Yes, Bill Gothard did prohibit people from passing along ATI. I haven’t heard from anyone directly who has left, but I remember asking friends to look at their curricula, and every time I did, I got some song and dance answer. I never saw it until I started blogging about Gothard/ATI and people sent screenshots. And . . . I view Gothard/ATI to function as a cult.

    When you belong to a group that says it is the best, yet is secretive, you have to ask yourself why. On the other hand, my daughter used Calvert program for one year and we were asked to destroy the teacher’s manual. They get their revenue from people buying the program. As you can imagine, if people with large families save everything for the next kid, they are losing out on money. So, I understand that. I also don’t remember anything secretive. I would not view Calvert as a cult at all. I don’t even know who their leader is – lol.

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  4. I also think that not allowing people to pass on your materials makes your training and/or school more exclusive. You can only get the items from a certain source, and they can only be used a certain way. The problem is, there is no way you can really control that unless you collect all of the materials at the end of the session. Even that isn’t a guarantee if the person who has the materials photocopies them all before handing them in.

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  5. I had a comment removed from the CC Facebook group recently. It wasn’t even a post but just my one comment on another person’s post that was removed. My comment asked who mandates tutor training. I kept hearing it was mandatory for tutors (that’s CC teachers) to attend three afternoons of unpaid training but no one could or would(?) point me to the corporate policy stating that it is required. It’s weird because all the tutors I know are independent contractors, so I don’t understand how training can be required. And everyone says it is mandatory but no one will say who says so. So I asked in the CC group. I didn’t even realize the comment was gone until I went back days later looking for it to see why no one had answered. And it definitely has been there because I used the same way to find it only a few hours after I posted it as I tried to use when it had been deleted. Before it was deleted it was in my “activity log” on Facebook.

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  6. @Linn:

    I also think that not allowing people to pass on your materials makes your training and/or school more exclusive. You can only get the items from a certain source, and they can only be used a certain way.

    i.e. The Lure of the Inner Ring.

    Like

  7. Justamom – I believe you. And here’s the thing – – when they delete a comment without mentioning they deleted it, it can be crazy making. You might ask yourself – “Did I just think I made the comment? – – – maybe I didn’t – – – maybe it didn’t go through.”

    This is unnecessary. It is absolutely to control the narrative. They do not want to address your question for some reason, and now you are the bad person for rocking the boat.

    Well, now it is exposed here. Thank you for speaking up!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have experienced this in more than just the “Classical Conversations” group. It happens in many CC-related FB groups – most of them adminned by CC moms who, like you said, Julie Anne, are voluntarily assisting CC leaders in holding the “no-talk rule” in place.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This entire conversation above was removed from the Classical Conversations Facebook group after it was up for several hours. There was no warning; it just disappeared.

    As of Now, IT NEVER EXISTED, COMRADES.

    Think about it – this person, formerly a part of the group is completely blocked – and can’t come back.

    As of Now, SHE NEVER EXISTED, COMRADES.

    Again, this entire post, the green-marked original post, was completely deleted along with all the comments.

    As of Now, IT NEVER EXISTED, COMRADES.

    Like

  10. I wish I had gotten screen shots, but didn’t think of it at the time. New guides/curriculum was published for the 2018/2019 school year. This new edition is more expensive, with many changes. The majority of the changes are visual, with a different layout, new maps, and other features. Some of what changed was the content of material to be gone over each week. Some were minor changes, but when the children are to memorize this material, it can be frustrating. (The material is repeated ever 3 years for the younger kids.) If the student has already learned one thing, I didn’t see the point in unnecessary wording changes. This also means all of the supportive materials change, and new flash cards and CDs are needed too.

    When I posted in the main CC Facebook page asking why these changes were made, I was told, many times, to “trust the system” and to not make a big deal of it. I was told to stretch and challenge my kids with the changes. To teach them how to handle changes. I get that to a point, but for my 8 year old, memorization is extremely hard. I never did get an answer as to why unnecessary changes were made. My best guess is to have greater profits from selling all new materials.

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  11. Wow. How do you have time to homeschool your kids with all the screen shots you take. Seems like you are trying to bring hate against a homeschool company that is trying to provide resources to parents. Way to go!

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  12. “Trust in the system” really means “don’t use your own brain, just trust ours.” This is the kind of phrase high-controlling leaders use so that you eventually rely only on your leaders.

    You were using critical thinking skills and figured it out!

    Like

  13. As one of those people who sent a private screenshot to you, I went back later to read the comments and it was gone. Poof! I thought maybe I dreamed it, but I still had the screen shot. Glad you got to the bottom of it. I kinda figured that had happened. There is no questioning. Questioning is threatening. Can’t have it. Especially when new-comers may be on the site. They don’t want it seen to potential and new buyers. Shut them up!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for the screenshot, Toiler. It’s scary to come out with your name (I wouldn’t, either), but just your screenshot is helping to expose this. People need to know that it is not normal, and certainly not acceptable.

    For any others who have something to share, but aren’t comfortable to post here, please send to spiritualsb@gmail.com

    I am the only one who reads this e-mail.

    All e-mails and information I get will remain confidential. That is very important to me.

    Like

  15. What’s unfortunate is that the people who ask questions are the thinkers. They have the potential to be your best ambassadors if you give them satisfactory answers because you will get total buy-in from them on more than a superficial level. But when you shut them down and kick them out you not only lose that potential ambassador, you create a detractor. It’s really short-sighted of CC to do that. They are trading a short term “win” in silencing people for a long term “loss” when people eventually talk. And people always talk eventually. The truth always comes out.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. It’s so maddening to have comments deleted and to be blocked for asking a question. Questions are for a purpose and aren’t harmful. But, for some reason they can’t handle the questions. Which leaves me wondering about the level of deception involved to remove the questions and have people alert those at the top about conversations.

    I’m glad you’re all here to ask the questions and give insight into this program. Obviously there are people who care about the integrity of the people who run this program, “Who cares.” Asking questions doesn’t mean they’re trying to hate on a program. It means they want honest answers.

    Like

  17. Exactly, Kathi, it would be much easier to ditch the program and move on to something else. Instead they stay and try to bring truth to the situation and are labeled as disgruntled, pot stirrers, or even vindictive. Nothing can be further from the truth.

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  18. Admin note from Julie Anne: Colleen is sharing her personal story which she believes to be true. Please do not send me cease and desist letters and tell me to remove Colleen’s comment. I’m not going to do that. I am well versed on defamation. Telling one’s personal experience is not defamation. See the last paragraph of Classical Conversations #1 (linked in this article) where I explain further.

    I was a Director of a CC group. During the summer, one of the tutors went to manager training and she started taking over when she returned. She was not someone whose perspective I considered wise and I started wondering how much I was expected to obey her directives. Like, for instance, she basically told me that a family would visit one week and join the following week.

    I had a process since I had liability for the community and I didn’t appreciate her telling me how to incorporate a new family into my community. I didn’t get answers. He manager above her was a pastor and I tried to get answers from him but he was slow to respond. Eventually, I was told that it was Leigh Bortin’s business, not mine. Since he wouldn’t allow me to speak to someone higher than him and I had liability and was being told it was Leigh’s business . . . I said that she then needed to have the liability not me.

    I resigned midyear and was told that there might be legal ramifications for resigning to which I said . . . I think there are legal ramifications for telling me what to do but then sticking me with the liability. I stayed in community thinking that perhaps I wasn’t understanding, but it finally dawned on me that these people knew they were running something shady and knew how to string it along in a religious community that is groomed to obey and trust authorities.

    I attempted to speak to CC corporate on SEVERAL OCCASIONS. I asked to speak to their attorney about Director’s liability and freedom mitigate their liability by not following direct order from managers who weren’t liable. My particular manager, two weeks after I resigned because I didn’t trust her but was being told to trust her, was also a tutor of a seventh grade class. She thought it would be funny to tell a boy in the class to draw the male reproductive organs on the board and then ask a girl in the class to label it. The girl was embarrassed and acted like she was still doing her work. To be clear, the manager who I was told I needed to trust and obey and who had no liability while I had liability for the campus, told a seventh grade boy to draw a penis on the board. She lost her tutor position because . . . the parents wouldn’t go along with reconciliation and trusting her to continue tutoring . . . but CC kept her as a manager and then told us we shouldn’t tell people about her lack of judgment.

    After seeing how this was handled, I started a public Facebook group asking questions and inviting CC leaders, sometimes by name . . .Leah Bromen . . . to answer the questions. Instead, I eventually received a cease and desist letter telling me to take down my Facebook group. I did but continued speaking about in my personal feed because I have plenty of information that shows a pattern of deception in these leaders.

    I have an entire folder, Julie Anne, of instances in which questions were asked even in the Director’s forum and these issues are not directly answered but you are told it is not the forum or to ask you SM who is instructed to speak in person or by phone and not by e-mail. Bottom line . . . the “Christian” organization would not allow me to speak to anyone higher than Leah Bromen . . . Leah, be honest . . . you wouldn’t let me speak to anyone higher than you, right? Then, your Christian organization sent their attorneys after me when I had requested to speak to them before I started the Facebook group. So, these Christians are willing to sue, but I’m sure they would consider it wrong for Christian workers to sue them. I believe they use their religion for their business purposes. It is obvious abuse of authority, power, religion. This is what these people are teaching their children.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I love scripture – test everything! discern what is good and what is bad… do not blindly trust the leaders, the “experts”, the elites… test, test test… do not put your trust in man… or in princes…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. My family and I have been in CC for 6 years, and I’ve been on the official CC FB page for at least the last 2 or 3 years.

    I’ve never started my own post there, but I have participated in numerous conversations over there that eventually are deleted, sometimes they don’t even have anything to do with CC. It can be anything considered somewhat controversial or conspiratorial too.

    I was once involved in a discussion that questioned/ analyzed the Apollo moon landings that was deleted. Also, there was a CC dad who wrote an article on his own blog, which he posted to CC’s FB page about the history of the Pledge of Allegiance, and why he no longer says it. Both of these posts generated a lot of discussion, and I want to say there were several hundred comments on each when they were deleted with no explanation.

    As others have said, CC pretty regularly deletes all kinds of posts, along with all the comments, from their Facebook page. And yes, the standard answer to any and all questions related to CC is “ask you local leadership.” I would say censorship in general is definitely a CC “thing,” part of the culture.

    Thank you for shining a light on one of the many things wrong with this organization.

    Like

  21. “This new edition is more expensive, with many changes. The majority of the changes are visual, with a different layout, new maps, and other features.”

    Reminds me of the old college textbook racket. Your conclusion is more than likely correct:

    “I never did get an answer as to why unnecessary changes were made. My best guess is to have greater profits from selling all new materials.”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you for bringing this into the light! Something like Classsical Convos, Vision Forum and ATI… are so appealing because the results look so refined and shiny that they draw us in. But we need to take heed when a natural question is admonished and is twisted to make the questioner the bad guy. Tsk, tsk how dare you question authority! Control has to protect itself. This is obviously a system that is hungry for a big profit while strategically using humans to bolster that bottom line. Labor laws? Hello! All trainings, hours worked and such should be compensated. Lets just slap at least a minimum wage on those hours and see what the company actually owes their employees. What a sneaky system set up to make the curriculum owners rich while using valuable time and effort of those on the bottom.

    I think in my involvement in abusive systems in the past, I wanted to be in something that gave me good results and made me feel special about what I was doing. It is crazy, how that longing can merge into an polluted system by ignoring that gut instinct that something is wrong. Some of us jump in with good, innocent and naive hearts but sometimes we are snagged by the “ I am better than” or “we are schooling better than” or “ oh those kids don’t even know” (poor things) or “ you may not be cut out for CC if…” elitist mentality. A little leaven, leavens the whole. Not all involved are this way but it has a way of sneaking in.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Emotional manipulation, spiritual abuse, intimidation tactics, elitist mentality and an inferior view of “outsiders,” including other non-CC homeschoolers, ostracism of those who complain about various aspects of the program or ask too many questions.

    These are a few of CC’s defining characteristics. To be sure, not everyone in CC behaves this way, and in fact, I would say most do not. But enough people do that there is an unmistakable pattern.

    Many of CC’s advocates will try to argue that the problems with CC are all local, due to random moms on power trips. Yet the pattern clearly shows the same things happening in various communities everywhere and suggests that there is something about CC corporate that undermines critical thinking and promotes divisiveness, elitism and a manipulation of others.

    Personally, based on what I have seen and experienced in my six years in CC, I have come to the conclusion that CC is actually a cult.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Why do I keep thinking, “Just Like Scientology”? Well, maybe not “just like”, but definitely approaching their methodology. Complete with discouragement of questioning and a snitching culture.

    Even if I had kids and wanted to homeschool them, this is not a product I’d pick.

    Like

  25. Dear WhoCares,

    Wow. How do you have time to homeschool your kids with all the screen shots you take. Seems like you are trying to bring hate against a homeschool company that is trying to provide resources to parents. Way to go!

    Wow! How did you manage to guilt trip Julie Anne in that many ways, just in one paragraph? Seems that you’re implying her to be a bad mother, a busybody, and a troublemaker. Way to go!!

    Seriously, did you think Julie Anne took all of those screen shots by herself? Did you not consider that customers of Classical Conversations might have forwarded some of them to her? The discussion about CC has been going on for a few days now. I’m sure lots of people are sending her info.

    Like

  26. LOL – SKIJ, I didn’t even bother responding to the actual points in the comment – I just LOLed. I stopped homeschooling my kids 4 years ago (after 23 years).

    You are correct – people are sending me screenshots and information.

    I also took note at your phrase “customers of Classical Conversations.” I wonder if those who use Classical Conversations view themselves as customers? Very interesting to think about.

    Like

  27. Lots of red flags, in my personal opinion, regarding how this apparently privately-owned, for-profit, family business operates.

    Whether they are (1) incompetent to answer basic business, legal or tax related questions, or (2) deceptive because they don’t want folks to know about rigged, unfair business practices…or (3) both, or (4) some other unknown reason, who can tell at this point. It could be a combination of factors. But none of this is reassuring to anyone contractually involved with this company.

    I would just recommend that anyone who has any kind of personal risk or exposure in their dealings with CC (related to tax filings, liability for injury or harm, etc.) make sure YOU have the necessary protection through advice from a tax professional, proper liability & home insurance, etc. Don’t assume that CC corporate is looking out for your best interests, because that certainly seems unlikely.

    And the thought that keeps going around in my head is… why doesn’t this company just sell the materials like textbook companies do? Let the purchasers (school districts, parents, etc.) decide how best to utilize the materials. Why must CC dictatorially control the homeschool groups and impose a hierarchy to do so? This is unnecessary for the purposes of educating children. It just sounds a lot like indoctrination in group obedience, rather than facilitating a “community”.

    Liked by 4 people

  28. What’s unfortunate is that the people who ask questions are the thinkers

    The Gospel According to Warhammer 40K:

    “Thinking leads to Questioning.
    Questioning leads to Doubt.
    Doubt leads to Heresy.
    Heresy must be Dealt With.”
    — Warhammer 40K

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Classical Conversations #4: A CC Veteran Gives Advice to New People Considering Classical Conversations | Spiritual Sounding Board

  30. You know I hadn’t though of this before today … how often when people ask questions is the answer “trust the process”, “talk to your director/SR” and “read The Core” …. that’s circular reasoning. Reading the book by someone set to profit selling you curriculum and licensing seats isn’t an unbiased opinion. Talking to your director or SR isn’t an unbiased opinion. And “trust the process” is just insulting.

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  31. “I never did get an answer as to why unnecessary changes were made. My best guess is to have greater profits from selling all new materials.”
    ……………………………………………….

    Of course, this is the way it works. You make a few revisions here and there, change up the pages a little, and release a new edition every few years or so. That way, you can sell the new editions and phase out the old, so they’re not just being resold on the secondary market with you unable to make the profits. Of course it’s not efficient, but it makes money for the publisher and author. At least that’s the way it works in the academic publishing industry (I teach at a U.S. university and am–believe it or not–taking a break from working on a textbook to make this comment–ha!).

    But in my world, it’s not typically just a little jiggling around of this and that to create a new edition; they typically have a large team of profs and other experts contribute on revisions to a new edition, many thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, are spent on this (just finished one such book review, so I can vouch for this), the revisions are generally legitimate, and the product of a great deal of work and resources expended. I know of no rule that any legitimate academic publisher follows which would prevent people from reselling textbooks, unless they requested those textbooks as a complimentary copy. I resell textbooks from time-to-time when a publisher sends me an unsolicited copy for review, and I decide I don’t have use for it. This is perfectly within the law.

    I understand that CC can carve out a different set of rules that by contract establish a different set of rules for those with whom they have a relationship, but what is being described here sounds more heavy-handed and much less ethical than anything I’ve seen in the secular publishing industry. It’s the sort of thing that no secular publisher could get away with due to the pressures of the free market. For example, tf McGraw-Hill started insisting that students destroy their textbook after use or prohibited them from selling them back to the bookstore, it wouldn’t take long before angry academics took their business elsewhere and that publisher either backed off or was run out of business.

    I can only see CC’s actions as those of an extremely unethical group of people, decidedly unchristian (like that tight little ball of hatred who goes by the handle “Who Cares” above), who through intimidation, are zealously protecting their ability to exploit a small market, basically acting like the worst of the Robber Barons exploiting monopolistic conditions in the 19th Century. To say they’re not acting like Christians is an understatement, they’re not even acting as well as the secular publishers. Not even close.

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  32. The above is not intended to suggest that there are not many decent people utilizing CC, even those serving within leadership roles. In any corrupt or flawed organization, there are people of good will.

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  33. Pingback: Classical Conversations #5: Leaders Threaten to Use Legal Force to Silence a Concerned Parent | Spiritual Sounding Board

  34. I think it’s pretty ironic how the Facebook group “Let us Reason, for real” is all about not sensoring, removing posts or blocking people BUT they removed and blocked me from their group. So, it’s ok for you but not CC? I’d like to “reason” through this. I never once did anything in that group that was against their group policies or against another member.

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  35. This is April. You know me. I help admin the “Let Us Reason ~for real~” Facebook group.

    You did get blocked. It was because you went to another Facebook group and essentially threatened to try to get the “Let Us Reason ~for real~” group shut down somehow. You and several others were there in the other group discussing how CC leaders might monitor us and report us.

    After I blocked you, though you know me well through Facebook and we’ve even messaged with each other before, you never reached out to ask me why you were blocked.

    So, no, you didn’t break any specific rules of the “Let Us Reason ~for real~” Facebook group. (We don’t really have any rules except common sense stuff like not blocking the admins and no vulgarity.) But you definitely did something that was “against a member” – essentially against all the members – when you “reported” us to CC leaders, and others in the same discussion called for us to be monitored by CC leaders and reported.

    I’m really sorry you’re not in “Let Us Reason ~for real~”. I liked having you there. You provided a counterpoint. But, you were threatening against our group in another Facebook group full of CC leaders, which makes other members feel unsafe commenting on the group. Do you think you should have been allowed to stay in our group after that?

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  36. You might want to contact one of the admins from that group and ask personally. No one is going to be able to answer you here if you are using a pseudonym.

    Like

  37. I am not using a pseudonym, I’m asking my question a second time. My name is Jennifer Nichols. I can’t ask the admin since I was blocked by them and can’t see who the admin are.

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  38. Thank you, Jennifer. The only name showing up here was “niffer1976,” so I doubt anyone knew who you were. Hopefully an admin will see your comment and will be able to respond here or via Facebook.

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  39. @niffer1976/Jennifer Nichols/Olivia Garden? (the pseudonym I think you used to try to get back into the Let Us Reason ~for real~ group)

    The answer I gave Missy is the same for you. You were in that same conversation on the other Facebook group. You talked about my cease and desist and minimized CC’s actions. You said essentially that I lacked reasoning in thinking what they did was unacceptable and said you think, in fact, what I did was unacceptable. But you never said that to me directly. (I hope post #5 on this blog has changed your mind.)

    You also talked about how “sad” our Let Us Reason ~for real~ group is and how there is a lack of grace and communication in the group. But again, you never communicated with me.

    The purpose of the Let Us Reason group is to communicate with each other even from opposite sides, and you seem diametrically opposed to that.

    We don’t like blocking people, but everyone in that group who were speaking ill of the Let Us Reason group essentially behind our backs were blocked.

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  40. Thank you for explaining, April. Your decision to block is reasonable. If people are sharing their personal experiences, they should feel safe to do so. It’s not safe if people are taking that private information and spreading it – especially to the leaders with whom they are having difficulties.

    Did both of these women who were blocked ask permission to share what was said in the group? Are there rules about what is said in the group must stay within the group and not shared with others? If not, that might be something important to add.

    Oh, and by the way, it sounds like these 2 ladies were engaging in gossip. Not cool!

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  41. Thank you for explaining. It does strike me as interesting as I am in no way related to Olivia Garden and don’t know who that is or why you would assume I am her.

    Or that you talk about privacy and blocking people but have no problem sharing screen shots taken from a private group? Because that must be ok?

    What I think is sad is while I understand anger and hurt, this blog and these posts do nothing to better anyone. That is what I think is sad. If you had wanted clarification why didn’t you ask me. I would be very willing and would like to have an open dialogue. But the fact that you delete and block anyone if they come against you communicates you don’t really want change, more that you seek to cause dissension.

    And yes I see a lack of grace. We all screw up. All the time. What we are told to do in scripture is go to that person, discuss with them and then go from there. does it matter if someone else didn’t do that? no. because we are all held to the same standard as Christians. So if Joe schmoe steals it’s not ok for us to steal because it’s still wrong. If we are all told to do something as Christians then we need to follow that whether anyone else does or not, even if they are Christian. That’s where grace comes in and we choose to do the right thing. People have hurt me beyond words or anything you could ever imagine. But no where in Scripture can I find where it says to seek revenge, cause dissension, etc. I had to walk down my path with grace and humility, forced because it was a very difficult path, one that I wouldn’t have chosen if not for Christ and it doesn’t excuse the wrong done by others. But the wrong stopped when I didn’t respond wrong. Where does the wrong stop?

    And for the record the blog system automatically changed my name to my email when I commented. I have no idea why it did that and i don’t know how to stop it. I have entered my same information for each comment. But perhaps you might think I was intentionally trying to deceive you.

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  42. We were not engaging in gossip. We were stating facts and I shared this website. What I find interesting is that the info was shared in a private, secret Facebook group that is only for CC support reps. But somehow April was able to find out this info.

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  43. Missy, I’ll state it again. You were speaking in your “secret” Facebook group about our “closed” Facebook group. (Not this blog – the “closed” Facebook group.)

    You were not simply stating information about the Facebook group, you were threatening the group. You and others were saying that CC leaders needed to “monitor” our closed Facebook group called Let Us Reason ~for real~ (not this blog, which is called Spritual Sounding Board). You stated that you had “reported” our Facebook group to CC leadership who had “reported” us to “CC’s legal team”. Many people believe CC does not have a “legal team” but a few lawyers whom they hire on occasion. I have no idea, but it was definitely threatening speech. You were not asking for questions to be answered or sharing your personal story. You “reported”. Others called for “monitoring” of the Let Us Reason group.

    Please do not speak as if you are innocent of all of this. I have proof. CC seems to try very hard to hide with secret groups and deleted posts, but it doesn’t work all the time.

    Again, I am sorry you are gone. I have engaged with you and answered your questions clearly and repeatedly. I hope you understand.

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  44. Missy, “We were not engaging in gossip. We were stating facts and I shared this website.”

    I wonder how that matches your beliefs on Matthew 18, and how those beliefs are used within CC. Would it be considered gossip to be party to a private conversation with a CC director, get upset about what is being said, then tell others what was going on?

    Interestingly enough, I’ve never read anywhere that gossip must be spreading falsehood.

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  45. @niffer1976

    I’m sorry for your hurt. I’m glad you have found a way to move forward.

    I thought you might be Olivia Garden, because it was a patently fake Facebook profile (which I understand – even Facebook allows falls profiles when one feels they may be threatened) with only seven friends, none of whom I could associate with anyone I know of in CC except for you, Jennifer Nichols. So, you at least know her? “Olivia Garden” requested membership in Let Us Reason for real twice and on the second request thought to hide her friend list. This seemed telling. Forgive me if my suspicion was incorrect as you say you don’t even know who she is. (I do still wonder how you made it onto her friends list.)

    As for the rest. I can only explain it this way: privacy is not the same as courtesy. It is courteous to ask permission to share info from one group to another. Even a group that is not public on Facebook is not truly private – not closed or secret groups – unless you have 100% confidence in every member and even then Facebook still owns that info.

    What I did was share info about my own group that I help admin. Essentially it is as if a friend of mine said to me, “So-and-so is in your backyard and she is telling others to come and destroy your backyard!” I might lock my backyard gates to that person. No gossip or anything. Just secure the gates from that particular person. But then that person bangs on the gates, with neighbors watching, demanding to know why she no longer has access to my backyard? I’m going to tell her, in front of the same neighbors, that I had proof she invited others to destroy my backyard. That’s an analogy. No scripture needed.

    With your Matthew 18 reference, you are misusing a holy scripture to grind your own personal axe. You did not come to me privately to ask why you were blocked. You didn’t ask Missy how to get in touch with me. (Missy knows.) You came on a truly public site to demand to know why you no longer have access to the Let Us Reason for real group. I have publicly answered you.

    I believe you that you did not realize this blog was posting your posts under a pseudonym. Thank you for letting us know your true name so I could address your concerns.

    Like

  46. Pingback: Classical Conversations #6: Rigid Rules and Legal Tax Concerns | Spiritual Sounding Board

  47. I posted a concern about some Challenge B material on the Challenge B parents page. I took the time to make my comments carefully considerate, wanting to be sure I received real information and not emotional responses. Wrong. It was an attack fest, with all the CC cheerleaders jumping on me for “criticising” them. Another person in the room (a stranger) had the foresight to screenshot it for me because she thought my post was professional and respectful. But it was deleted. She challenged the admin but got a canned response. I was pretty impressed she would get involved on my behalf as someone I never met. I tried to get the academic team to answer and they had the nerve to refer me to my Director. For real? The person who writes the curriculum pushes you off to the person at the bottom of the hierarchy who has no idea or say-so. Unbelievable.

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  48. Dear adelejane,
    I’m so sorry that you were silenced on an open forum where you were simply asking a question to get an honest answer. Challenge B encounters some very difficult material and you should be able to express your concerns. You probably brought up a topic that hit a nerve for many parents who have the same concerns. You were the strong one to speak out. Unfortunately, your concern will probably never make it to the “top” in order to get a clear answer and you will be caught in an endless loop of CC hierarchy, and most of those team leaders won’t know where to go either.

    Keeping you in that loop and deleting your conversation seems to be CC Corporate’s way of hoping the situation will disappear. And they seem to have a LOT of situations to deal with right now. Explore all of your options, pick one, ask for help from the stranger, maybe, and move forward if you can. YOU are a paying customer and your questions should be answered even if it’s the answer that doesn’t work for you and your family. As a customer, you should know what your options are as well if you decide that CC is not the right path for your family to take.

    I might start by doing exactly what they told you to do, go to your Director. Clearly explain exactly what happened to you on the Ch B parents page and let the Director know that you were referred to her. State your concern and press for an answer. You have paid her money for those answers. The Challenge B Director is running a business using the Classical Conversations name and YOU are the customer. She has a direct line of communication to the Challenge B Academic Advisor and should have received that contact info in her training. Set a deadline of when you would like to hear something from the Director. If you don’t get an answer, then ask the Director for the contact info for your SR. Move to the AR if you get stalled. Document all of your communications via conversations, text, or email. Getting someone to address your concern should not take more than a week. If it does, you should seriously question whether or not this is the kind of homeschool business you want to give your hard earned money too and if these are the type of leaders you want in authority over your children in these most important years of their lives. Please return to Spiritual Sounding Board to let us know if you get an answer. Others will certainly learn from your story.

    Like

  49. Maria,

    The title of this article is:
    “Classical Conversations #3: Leaders Delete Comments and Block Commenters Who Don’t Toe the Line”

    It’s called censorship. Liberals do it, Conservatives even do it, in order to control the conversation in the direction they want it to go or don’t want it to go, heck it even happens here.

    Like

  50. Pingback: Classical Conversations: Business or a Non-Profit; Cult or a Christian Homeschool Group? | Spiritual Sounding Board

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