Many people have said comments weren't discussed in the recent thread, but oh they were - the Admin's comments. People weren't just discussing the overall topic and their personal experiences with the topic like in the Service with a Sneer thread, people were discussing the Admin's reaction to the story. Its a small difference, but a marked one.
I consider the Admin's comments part of the blog.
Several posts in this thread (by various posters) have a "don't question the Dame" air to them. Is that the official policy?
I have understood, generally, that it is fine to question the Dame, directly, whether through a PM, or in the Forum Admin folders. The difference which other posts have helped me recognize (in this and prior threads) is that it isn't any more polite to "question the Dame" in a thread which is not one likely to be read by the Dame than it would be to criticize someone in their home, but when they are not part of the group conversation. There may be no offense intended, but it can easily read otherwise when the Dame or host being questioned, or criticized comes across the comment(s) indirectly.
If the problem is that the Dame is unlikely to notice a forum thread on a blog post, and therefore be unlikely to participate and/or defend her comments or POV, then perhaps the solution is to post these types of threads in a particular folder so that they are sort of flagged for the Dame to participate in if she chooses?
The Dame is a part of this community, as a general matter.
If we must use the 'the Dame's house' analogy (which leaves a lot to be desired), then I think a more accurate version of it would something like this:
A local prominent artist arranges a salon gathering members of the art community worldwide to come together and analyze and critique public artwork, and share personal artwork with one another. This ongoing event is held on an enormous country estate paid for by the vendors displaying their products to the art community members during the event. The artist also runs a gallery displaying her own artwork and artwork people have specifically submitted to the gallery, which she displays with her own artistic critique.
At some point during the salon, one of the art community members brings up for review a piece of art recently on display at the artist's gallery. A few members debates the artistic merits of the piece, and whether they agree with the gallery-owning artist's critique and analysis.
I have trouble understanding why such a conversation would be patently offensive. It is not the same as 'gossiping about the host'. A discussion of the host's personal life would be, but analyzing the artwork on display in her gallery? That seems entirely in keeping and appropriate to the purpose and structure of the salon.
However, were the salon organizer to institute a rule that these kinds of conversations weren't allowed, or were only allowed if people gave her a headsup so that she could participate, or they could only be discussed after the gallery piece was out of initial viewing, that's fine. Making such a rule is completely within her rights. But that doesn't change the fact that there's nothing inherently distasteful about these kinds of discussions before a rule is made clear
To continue the analogy, it would seem extremely inappropriate, however, for the salon organizer to take artwork of the salon members and display it in her gallery without permission from the salon members. The turnabout is not fair play, as they are fundamentally different activities. When one submits a story to a blog, or art to a gallery, there is an understanding of how 'public' it is. It would be natural to understand the likelihood of it being discussed in multiple venues. When someone posts to a small community forum, it is NOT generally assumed that they are comfortable with that story (which might include extremely personal information) being posted in a much more public venue with higher traffic loads.
Again, it's completely within the Dame's rights to make the policy going forward that anything posted to the forum is completely fair game to be dissected on the blog. I would not appreciate that policy, but it is within her rights.
I would echo a prior poster though - whatever the policy is, it just needs to be clear and explicit going forward.