Bloomington, MN - Following the example of the United Grand Lodge of England, which recently published a social media policy for Freemasons, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota has issued its own guidelines for members who are active online.
"We didn't really want to curtail the free speech of our members," a Grand Lodge representative told The Past Bastard. "It's just that over the last few years, as more of our brothers discovered MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, we've discovered that a lot of Masons are, to be frank, major asshats once they get behind a keyboard."
Speaking to us on a condition of anonymity ("I'm not allowed to discuss Grand Lodge proceedings," he told us), he explained the reasons behind the new guidelines. "We've got a huge problem today. Masons across the world are connected in ways like never before, but for some reason, when they get behind a keyboard, they immediately forget every single thing they've been taught about tolerance, temperance, and propriety."
Noting that the proliferation of Masonic groups on Facebook has made it easier than ever to have an argument with people around the country, and even around the globe, our source told us, "That's why this policy is necessary. The past several years have demonstrated that the internet causes most Masons to lose all semblance of self-control and critical thinking skills; it's the job of the Grand Lodge to remind them to keep inviolable their obligations as good men and Masons as they navigate the information superhighway."
He went on to outline some of the basics of the new policy. "Some of it is basic netiquette stuff, not to mention essential internet safety. You know, things like, don't give out your personal information such as phone or credit card numbers, and especially do not give any information out to Nigerian Princes, or to cute twenty year old girls who have a one week old Facebook account. And if you see something that looks interesting, check it out with Hoax Slayers or Snopes before passing it along to the rest of the guys on your lodge email list. Oh, and most importantly, please observe Wheaton's Law."
We asked our anonymous source about letting social, or rather, social media Darwinism handle those members who weren't able to handle themselves in virtual public. "Most of our older Masons are brand new to the internet. They simply don't understand the way it works. The Grand Lodge cannot, in good conscience, suspend or expel a brother for unmasonic conduct on the internet without first giving him a policy that explains he'll be suspended or expelled for unmasonic conduct on the internet," he told us. "Plus, it keeps us from getting sued if one of our members starts committing acts of libel or selling his brethren's Social Security numbers."
He also stressed that some members could benefit from installing the West Gate browser plugin to block offensive content in case one simply cannot handle alternative viewpoints.
The Past Bastard's anonymous source closed the conversation by explaining that, perhaps, not everyone should be on the internet in the first place -- an assertion with which The Past Bastard is in complete agreement.
"On the internet, everyone has a voice," he said, "but, like in real life, just because anyone can speak doesn't mean that they should."
-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster
- Conte Calvino Gliostro
- Conte Calvino Gliostro