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← An Apology

Peter Beattie's Avatar Jump to comment 464 by Peter Beattie

» Ophelia Benson:
Some of the comments have made very large claims for the immense merit of the content of the forum - while at the same time moaning that the content was deleted. I think there's a discrepancy there, and also an obvious implausibility. I'm skeptical that all or most or much of the content was all that good, and I think that any that was really good would be likely to be saved by its author.

And this scepticism doesn't need to be backed up by even a cursory survey of the actual forum contents, otherwise called evidence? I should be disappointed if you didn't think so.

In any case, the issue is, and has been, not that content was somehow unfortunately lost but that it appears that an administrator deliberately and recklessly destroyed said content. The former, one would take in one's stride and move on; the latter shouldn't happen anywhere, not even on something as intrinsically ephemeral as a forum.

I get it that the sudden end of a forum can be upsetting

But apparently you don't get why people are actually upset. As you can see from the discussion in the "Death of the Forum" thread, people were ready to adjust to that part of the story and take the community elsewhere. As far as we can tell, things got ugly when an admin went ballistic, put on a little dictator costume, and recklessly destroyed content. (Not to mention the preposterously haughty, and indeed callous, letter to the forum mods.)

And by the way, why does everybody seem to buy into the claim that obviously the content was "owned" by the RDFRS, to do with as they bloody well please? Even if that were true in a narrowly legal sense, certainly nobody here is arguing about the legal merits of this or that position. The argument is about what is the right thing to do and how you should treat people who have very generously given their time, effort, and money to your cause.

[…] I was aware that the forum had always been a gift to its users, and that what was called for was gratitude, not anger.

This sounds pretty bad, Ophelia, to tell volunteers who devoted hundreds of thousands of hours of their spare time, a considerable amount of effort, and certainly no small amount of money to RD and the RDFRS that first of all they should be damn grateful for having been given the opportunity to advance the RDFRS's cause. It sounds paternalistic and dismissive of their contribution. Without that community, the RDFRS would not be where it is now, neither in its reputation nor in its funds.

I appreciate that RD has addressed this point in his apology, insofar as he has at least thanked the volunteers for their work. But that was something he himself said was long overdue and nothing really to do with this latest fracas. It would be much more appreciated, I think, if RD acknowledged that Josh (and possibly the second admin) had behaved in a way he wouldn't want any representative of the RDFRS to behave and that that kind of thing wouldn't happen again on the new site.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 19:40:00 UTC | #445565