A Few Comments About the Recent Events on the Forum

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I'd like to weigh in here with a few comments, partly due to Mutha's request, partly because I was planning on doing this anyway, and hadn't gotten a chance to.

Real quickly... Ed Yourdon asked someone to take over the sysop duties of the forum, and that person agreed. Let's call that person #1 for now. #1 asked me to be the back-up, knowing that I spend a lot of time on the internet, and some time on the forum. I agreed. Call me #2. We are the only two people with the "keys" to the forum; the ability to edit/delete posts, and do certain other techie tasks.

#1 asked a number of forum regulars to be part of a "team of moderators" to help decide the direction the forum should go after Ed's depature. I thought that was a good "Democratic" thing to do; having participants work out things like structure, additions to the forum to allow this vast resource of information to be used possibly in other ways, and standards of "acceptable" behavior.

One of the many things that concerned several people was the level of "questionable" language, and "trollery" in general. For whatever reason, people have different ideas on what constitutes questionable language or "trollery." Some people are offended by the word fuck, while others couldn't give a shit about how often the "seven dirty words" are used. Some people are offended when the "Pollyannas" come on the forum and try to rip off the conversation from its original stated goal of discussing the Y2K problem with like-minded individuals, others feel that a wide range of opinion is advantageous, and helps everyone to streamline their arguments and perspectives.

I wasn't around this weekend, I only checked in briefly once on Saturday and once on Sunday. Yesterday, I did a little traveling, and again did not spend much time on the forum. Frankly, I was shocked by what happened. One of my worst fears for what could happen after Ed's departure was pretty close to being realized. I'm not quite clear on the chronology of what transpired, but frankly, I think many people's behavior was deplorable, or close to it. I mean really, someone started a new thread to test the "censors" and simply typed in the word "fuck." That is the kind of thing that two year old children do when they are exploring their boundaries. We are not two year old children here, we are adults with concerns, either that the world is about to experience a potentially disasterous series of problems, or that others are overreacting, and THAT could lead to potentially disasterous problems.

#1 took on a big responsibility that was deemed important, that this resource continue after Ed's departure, and several people agreed to help #1 with this task. People with differing perspectives on how things should be run, people with opinions, and lives, and things that offend them and fears and all those things that make us wonderfully human. #1 made a judgement call, and frankly, I don't agree with the judgement, but I certainly back up #1 in making the decision to act on the judgement. I feel #1 made a mistake, but in a different set of circumstances, I can't say that I would do any better. Can you?

I personally feel that this forum offers the best value by being as open in its standards as participants can bear. The fact that it gets as much traffic as it does must mean that most of the people who still come here regularly aren't concerned by the level of whatever it is that some find offensive. I think it's part of the price to be paid.

While I'm certainly an advocate of free speech, (I can show you my ACLU membership card. Well, actually, it's expired. Some people belive that this would indicate that I'm a "Liberal," but I'm not. I believe that civil liberties need to be protected.) I think that some of the "free speech" talk and "censorship" talk was pretty silly. The Constitution says that *Congress* shall not pass laws abridging freedom of speech, it does not say that *individuals* don't have the right to set standards of speech in areas under their control. You wouldn't write a letter to the newspaper full of fuck this and fuck that and expect it to get published. Would you? Many Web sites have standards of language that must be adhered to. The standards on this forum ended up being pretty loose, and some of the new "moderators" felt that the language issue should be addressed, hence the sentence at the top of the "Post a New Message" screen that says "Please refrain from using obscene language, or the post will be deleted." This post contains obscene language.

If I'm not mistaken, the first thing that happened was that someone posted personal information about someone else. This is the only thing that I believe should be removed without question, and I made it clear from the beginning that I felt that way. Beyond that, many of the "moderation team" had differing opinions on what would constitute a deletable post after that.

Mutha mentions some other things that happened, and asks that these things be addressed:

"1) the forum sysop(s) start a new thread in which they (a) admit they inserted comments into others posts, (b) admit they wrongfully "tagged" several posters based on their biased opinion of same, (c) apologize to Cherri specifically for LYING about who she is."

I think it's pretty clear that comments were inserted. Starting with the post with the personal info. As far as "tagging" posters, I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean saying publicly that "so and so also posts using the name such and such"? I'm not sure who did that. So what? If people want to speculate on who is who, tell me why that matters? This forum does not require real e-mail addresses or passwords, so if people want to speculate on that, really, what's the harm? If they're wrong, the person who is mentioned has the right to say that it's wrong. I'm not sure who said what about who Cherri is.

"2) Be VERY Honest about who is welcome to post or not. The "profanity will be deleted or edited" is just so much smog... it is NOT being enforced."

VERY honestly, in my opinion, anyone with any perspective is allowed to post. There are members of the "moderation team" that want to keep the conversation streamlined towards discussing preparations and narrowly focused similar issues. I believe that if they want to control the conversation, they should start another forum specifically for that, and set a different set of standards. If that means that THIS forum gets abandoned, or only attracts conversation about black helicopters and the NWO, so be it. Maybe then it will just shut down, because nobody will want the resposibility of maintaining it.

As far as the profanity being deleted, you're right, it's not enforced. Should it be?

Mutha, personally, I don't care if you go away or not. As far as I'm concerned, you don't have to make an offer, or an ultimatum. Nobody does. I think it would be nice if the conversation focused on Y2K concerns, but I understand that occasionally we have to converse about the nature of the conversation.

At this point, I don't think it would be best if #1 or I or the other volunteer "moderators" "outed" ourselves. I don't think I could handle the volume of e-mail that would likely go along with it. I already get about a hundred e-mails a day. The volunteer team does spend a lot of time discussing things as it is, and frankly, I haven't been as much of a part of that discussion as I would like, as I've been busy, and out of town. I apologize for that, but frankly, my time is going to be even more limited in the next week or so.

There really are many other things that I would like to address, but hopefully, this is a start. I ask, can we be gentle towards #1? and the judgements that were made? Wouldn't we all want that in any aspect of our lives? This is not a game, afterall, though some people seem to think it is. Many people are seriously concerned for themselves, their families, communities, and the world at large. If others believe this concern is misplaced, by all means say so! I just think that there are folks who ask that ALL those concerns by anyone who wants to address them be addressed in a civil manner. Unfortunately, it often appears as thought this is too much to ask.

Maybe, the conversation can focus on Y2K potentials and preparing to protect ourselves ( or not) in the event that problems do (or don't) occur.

Tell me, what do you think is likely to happen?

-- Sysop #2 (#2sysop@TB2000.forum), June 09, 1999


Sysop # 2:

I come to this forum to learn what is happening (after reading all the news on Y2K I can find on a given day), to discuss preparations, and ask questions. While some individuals try merely to disrupt the legitimate flow of ideas, the rest of us are still trying to rationally discuss Y2K.

Hang in there.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), June 09, 1999.

I don't think it will be TEOTWAWKI, but I don't think it will be a bump in the road either. That raises the biggest problem. NOBODY flippin' knows. They read enough on the subject to be knowledgeable, and then extrapolate a SWAG. (scientific wild ass guess) Then the polar nature of the information creates an "us and them" scenario. I personally find SOME of the debates very entertaining. But only the ones arguing the "facts" of Y2K, not the "mother/combat boots" slander on the increase here. Hell I could go to a children's chat site and have better rebuttal than some posts here.

Thank you Sysop #2 for your response, maybe we can get back to the business at hand now... Ladies? Gentlemen? On topic posts?

I await your replies...

snoozin' on the floor...

The Dog

-- The Dog (cmpennell@juno.com), June 09, 1999.

I hear ya. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), June 09, 1999.


Thank you for the blunt post. I agree with most of it. I've been all over the web on forums and this is simply the best I have found. In the world we live in conversation goes in many directions and covers many topics. This forum has been like that for me.

Vulgarity. Some people use it as puncuation. Some use it to be offensive. Most people know enough of the english language to use other words to express themselves. Personally I use it as puncuation, but I respect other people enough not to use vulgarity if it is offensive to someone else.

I only have a problem if editing occurs for opinions or content other than vulgarity.

We need Pollies/Doomers and everyone. We need everyone's opinions.

Please don't edit for topic, or opinion. Only by devision can they be conquered.

Rick, who hopes this thing lasts long after 12,31,1999

-- R. Wright (blaklodg@hotmail.com), June 09, 1999.

I find no fault in the basis of what you say; I'm something of a Free Speech type myself. But I do find it a bit ironic that the above sets a record for the number of times the word "f__k" has been used in a single post ... :)

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), June 09, 1999.

Sensible and reasonable, #2. BTW, just a few weeks ago Mutha said on Der Boonkah that OutingsR is Uncle Deedah. Others at Der Boonkah have said variously that OutingsR is BigDog, Paul Milne, Lisa, CT and someone named Yar. They also say a@a.a ia Sysman and others. To my knowledge, none of us have ever tried to extort anything because of it. BFD.

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), June 09, 1999.

Sysop #2,

Relax. You two are doing fine. This forum may have gotten big due to the Yourdon connection but became the best because of the moderator's attitude. Be humble and copy the success.

-- Carlos (riffraff1@cybertime.net), June 09, 1999.

Stephen, Isn't irony delicious?

Rick, to clarify, I PERSONALLY don't believe that posts should be edited for content. I believe, like I said, that if folks want to contol the conversation, they should go somewhere else where that control is understood from the start. If the "moderation team" decides that content should be controlled on this forum, I probably would not find it to be of as much value, and would likely not participate all that much.

OutingsR, I'm aware of that, but, does it REALLY matter what they say over at Debunk? Do participants here REALLY need to do the same thing? Is it a matter of tit-for-tat? Or should the focus be on Y2K?

-- Sysop #2 (#2sysop@TB2000.forum), June 09, 1999.

Touche' Mr. Poole...

So answer me a question...

You have preps for X amount of days don't you?

I wonder sometimes if the so-called pollys aren't just posting what they are hoping, rather than a stiff-legged denial of any bad news...

Don't get me wrong, I'm no doomer, but I'm not very optimistic either.

I am one of those who "doesn't believe anything I hear and half of what I see". I consider myself a realist. No, I DON'T think the government has my best interests in mind, nor do insurance companies, or the Federal Reserve...

When I found out about the potiential problems we could see on or around 010100, I became VERY interested in anything and everything I could find on the subject. I DO NOT have a warm fuzzy about his whole situation.

Mr Poole... your thoughts???

head tilted slightly askew,

The Dog

-- The Dog (cmpennell@juno.com), June 09, 1999.

Aw Geeze. Stevie read the f word. Hang on, here we go again with the distractions.

-- Carlos (riffraff1@cybertime.net), June 09, 1999.

ME? Nah, I ain't Outings, not quick enough upstairs for that honor. Plus, I ONLY post as Unc D, never ever ever as anyone, or anything, else, never.

Never ever.


-- Unc D (unkeed@yahoo.com), June 09, 1999.

Actually, Carlos, I don't think that was a distraction. I think it got to part of the heart of the matter being discussed. I did that on purpose, and the irony wasn't lost on Poole. The point was that "obscene language" is often subjective. It was a matter of the context in which the language was used. I was trying to be ironic.

-- Sysop #2 (#2sysop@TB2000.forum), June 09, 1999.

I'm not so fainthearted that I can't handle foul language which adds emphasis or punctuation. What really irks me is the name calling - that stinks! Speaking for myself, whatever follows in the post loses alot of credibility when I see it being expressed in such a childish and inflammatory way. It's like teenagers in a parking lot shoving each other's shoulders.

There may be alot of traffic on this site, but it looks like the same two dozen or so people making the majority of the posts - and you can narrow that down to about half a dozen who contribute most of the unpleasantness. What's so bad about deleting a few posts? If the person wants to participate then gee, maybe he'll have to stretch and rephrase things a bit. Or go somewhere else. How much helpful and constructive information do we really lose? Everybody quit worrying about their freedom of speech and act civilized and lets share information! We don't have forever.

-- Jill (jdance@mindspring.com), June 09, 1999.

sysop # 2 you are doing a good job. This site is a great service to our community and we should insist it stay that way. I believe y2k will be the most serious challenge to face our planet since WWII and the development of nuclear weapons. The world is involved in several tense military actions and a colossal computer anomoly is right around the corner from happening. We need to brainstorm y2k and give our families and communities the best chance for recovery from the y2k aftermath that we can. Our sharing of knowledge,proactive solutions and actions that we are taking will help millions of others to survive if y2k hits a 10. I consider WWII a 10 for the people who were caught in the middle of it. There is nothing that can fully prepare you for war. But the exchange of Ideas from people who have been there. Preparation info and prayers for everyone who comes to this forum to search for answers might even help a few to survive. It says in the Bible we will have trials and tribulations it is just a fact of life. It's not the challenges that measure our worth but in how we respond to them. We have a responsibility to our creator to watch out for the welfare of the loved ones he placed in our care. If y2k is bad news,(Which I Think It is very) we should use our god given brains to diligently access it risks to its fullest potential, and get the very best intellgence info out there possible to mitigate it's impact to our families and community to the very best of our ability. Make no mistake y2k is a war. It's an enemy of Known and unknown consequences. We must continue to put a human face on it's fallout to insure maximum awareness. Until were on the other side of the y2k God bless you and Keep the faith

-- y2k aware mike (y2k aware mike @conservation .com), June 09, 1999.

"a@a.a ia Sysman"

Sorry, ain't so. You can find a few posts in the archive of Kirk@Enterprise or some such thing, but not more than about a half dozen total posts from me that were not signed Sysman. Aside from that, Sysman = Sysman. Got it? But what the heck, a goofy troll a while ago accused me of being Mr. Yourdon. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), June 09, 1999.

I don't recall a single post which included vulgar language which was of any benefit to me

-- GA Russell (ga.russell@usa.net), June 09, 1999.


I find this at 1:30 am, great.

I have an admission, purely selfish, like an addiction, you folks provide me with intelligent, well written, timely information. The level of quality reading content on this forum is high. Some of it rivals anything written. People have poured their hearts out, afriad, angry, confused, fearful, curious, denying, helpfull and often sharing kindness amoungst themselves.

It is all part of being human and we are all the actors on the stage. WE are writting history as we speak. Regardless what happens during Y2K the chances are this will be fasinating time to live.

The Chinese have a saying "may you live in interesting times" this is often thought as a curse as it were. Actually it is in "interesting times" when people are driven to produce the best of themselves (or the worst). Everything becomes amplified such as we may be seeing in the future. But in times of chaos new order can develope. The quantum leap.

There is one thing though. No matter what happens during Y2K the internet will survive. I feel that. It might be "smaller" and certian expectations will not be realized but the constant flow of text around the globe will continue.

Perhaps we will be looked at with a differant light in 20 years. The "Doomer" and "Polly" issue was not the real problem. The problem was loss of data and information systems.

We hunger for information and the loss of it is a tragity of humanity. All the librarys in times past that were burnt, is this what we will see during Y2K?

I have a vested interest in this forum. I have been collecting information for the forums own library. The prep archive is a fasinating collection of personal testimony that is the combined efforts of all members of the forum. I value this.

My feeling is that if the forum dies that all the future personal testimony will never be written and that maybe this will be a loss in some way to the future whether it is the same or "interesting".

In an email exchange with Phil Greenspun it was my impression that his site will be here beyond Y2K. Well lets hope the forum continues on well afterwards.

I could go back fishing, chop wood and haul water. But I can never see finding a source of global humanity such as this forum could represent

I want to go into the future. Hope you can join me.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), June 09, 1999.

Sysop #2 --- Don't agree with everything you said, nor do I have to, which is why this forum has been so excellent on the whole. Thank you for a good post that was extraordinarily timely.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), June 09, 1999.

The site is great, and the free exchange of ideas shouldn't be limited. I still endorse the idea of encouraging participants to limit scatalogical speech: ideas, good, bad, or banal, shouldn't turn on profanity. But the emphasis should still be on participant responsibility, not external thought policing. Maybe it's enough to simply post the recommendation to refrain from obscenity, and leave it at that. Upton Sinclair said "Every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile. In protest, I declined election to the National Institute of Arts & Letters some years ago,and now I must decline the Pulitzer Prize." But I've no doubt Sinclair would agree that a people who rush to protect scatalogical speech have forgotten the central mission of writers, which is to speak Truth to Power. Leave us free to attack the smelly little orthodoxies of our age, but do us the honor of expecting the debate to be civil.

-- Spidey (in@jam.commie), June 09, 1999.

Good morning,

1: It seems that as long as you (moderators) stay anonymous there will always be uncertainty as to your "slant" - but I also understand your reasons.

2: I am still wondering if Mr. Greenspun can add the feature I saw last week on a different "chat" forum where posters can actively "ignore" posts from an ISP address if they so choose - this might save the blood pressure fluctuations of some folks and the nasty stuff that follows.

3: IMHO If anonymous posts were automatically deleted this would eliminate alot of the crap that gets posted. I know that some folks have spam problems but that is no excuse - get one of those free email accounts and deal with it. Just my opinion.

Thank you for the work you are doing.


-- Kristi (securx@succeed.net), June 09, 1999.

I think that re: profanity- it's use on the forum just demonstrates a lack of intelligence and vocabulary in the writer who uses it. To use it for shock value- well, I suppose I engaged in that some way back when I'd blast my Woodstock album- you know- country Joe and the Fish- "Give me an F" and all of that- would do it to get a rise out of Mom- "sorry Mom". But that was teenage stuff- I would assume we're all pretty much adults on here- it's not a teenage chat room. So let's act like adults- and if you can't think of a way to express yourself without obsenities- get a theseraus.....

Re: content- I figure people can post what they want- if I see a post from certain unamed individuals, i skip them- I know there's no value there so no use wasting my limited time.

Re: personal info such as what happened to chuck and others- that is offensive and should be deleted- no questions asked- but that's the only cause for deletions I should think-

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), June 09, 1999.

Well -- I gotta go with the flow. Sysop #2 make a good case here.

Let's leave this thing open. (A warning that rough speech may be encountered might be appropriate up front.)

My own view is that anything substantive that needs saying can be said without using street talk, but it's not life-threatening. When it's used with vicious animosity (as some posts have in the past) it says more about the writer than about the writer's target, and certainly contributes nothing useful to anyone's understanding. Except, perhaps, as a reality check on the emotional balance of some of the people around us. (I have to say that in this respect, driving Atlanta's freeways also serves.)

You see something you don't like, turn the page. Sticks and stones, as the saying goes.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), June 09, 1999.

Sysop #2

You said: I think it's pretty clear that comments were inserted. Starting with the post with the personal info. As far as "tagging" posters, I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean saying publicly that "so and so also posts using the name such and such"? I'm not sure who did that. So what? If people want to speculate on who is who, tell me why that matters? This forum does not require real e-mail addresses or passwords, so if people want to speculate on that, really, what's the harm? If they're wrong, the person who is mentioned has the right to say that it's wrong. I'm not sure who said what about who Cherri is.

Granted, people make these accusations all of the time. But on this thread, the accusation was made by a sysop, in an editted message. Should be fairly evident who said this, and coming from a sysop, carries much more weight than normal "guessing".

So yes, I still think a public apology is owed to Cherri.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-deja.com), June 09, 1999.

Sysop #2,

Good post. Think we should give them time to figure things out too.


Also, belong to several listserves. This was sent around on one. Substitute the word list with forum and...

Question: How many list subscribers does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: 1,331:

 1 to change the light bulb and to post to the list that the lightbulb has been changed.
 14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.
 7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.
 27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.
 53 to flame the spell checkers.
 156 to write to the list administrator complaining about the light bulb discussion and its inappropriateness to this mail list.
 41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames.
 109 to post that this list is not about light bulbs and to please take this email exchange to alt.lite.bulb
 203 to demand that cross posting to alt.grammar, alt.spelling and alt.punctuation about changing light bulbs be stopped.
 111 to defend the posting to this list saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts **are** relevant to this mail list.
 306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique, and what brands are faulty.
 27 to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.
 14 to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly, and to post corrected URLs.
 3 to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this list which makes light bulbs relevant to this list.
 33 to summarize all posts to date, then quote them including all headers and footers, and then add "Me Too."
 12 to post to the list that they are unsubscribing because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy.
 19 to quote the "Me Too's" to say, "Me Three."
 4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ.
 1 to propose new alt.change.lite.bulb newsgroup.
 47 to say this is just what alt.physic.cold_fusion was meant for, leave it here.
 143 votes for alt.lite.bulb.
 27 to post in HTML because they are using the IE or Netscape that had it turned on by default and are too clueless to look.
 48 to complain about the HTML posts.
 27 to post 'sorry I didn't realize it was on in HTML'
 96 to complain about more HTML and post detailed instructions on how to change the setting  58 to mumble something about using a web browser to read mail. < br>  12 MIME posts with useless colors and bolds saying thanks for the help with the HTML mail.
 1 to post a GIF/JPG of the lightbulb hanging too close to their digital camera.
 1 complaint from the guy using /usr/ucb/Mail who wants to know what the *@&(% has been going on.
 58 to complain about the binary post.
 74 to say they liked the binary and didn't mind it.
 1 post about how you can MAKE MONEY FAST!!!!! by selling lightbulbs and this report available for only $5.
 132 to reply to the list with the full spam attached and then put 'remove' at the end.
 3 to flame the other morons for replying to the spammer and CCing the list.
 1 from the list admin notifying that the list is looking for a bigger server to handle the load.

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), June 09, 1999.

that's great! (that's us alright.....)

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), June 09, 1999.

Diane - that's a start, but you forgot the number of posters it takes to convert a cold link to a hot link.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), June 09, 1999.

Diane: LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(me three!


Sysop, hang in there--it's bound to getter hotter than this...!

-- M.Moth (Derigueur2@aol.com), June 09, 1999.

I read this forum every day but have only posted a few times. I agree with most of Sysop #2's comments - I personally get turned off by profanity, but I can live with it. If a particular poster irritates me I just skip over that thread.

Lately I seem to see more discrediting of Y2K Get Its in the media and more and more "bump in the road" stories on television. This is one of the few places I can get excellent information on preparing. I have stopped talking to family and friends about it - they don't want to hear about it or discuss it. All think I've gone off the deep end I guess. It's a stressful time but thank you all for your intelligent posts - it's helped me a lot.

-- Arlene (araynor@concentric.net), June 09, 1999.

Number 2: thanks for your post...right on target! Uncle D: I always enjoy your posts; whoever you are!!! Don't leave us and please encourage diETer to stay with us.:)

-- jeanne (jeanne@hurry.now), June 09, 1999.

Sysop#2, you guys are taking on more responsibility than the rest of us want to take on. Kudos for that! You are doing a great job.

And just remember "..you can't please all the people, all the time.." We are adults, we can handle it, or we can move on.

-- Dian (bdp@accessunited.com), June 10, 1999.


How many yuppie computer programmers does it take to change a lightbulb?

-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), June 10, 1999.

They ain't listening Mutha.

-- Super Polly (Fu_Q_y2kfreaks@hotmail.com), June 14, 1999.

more ignoring from the ignorant

-- anonymouse (bew@re.lurkers), June 21, 1999.

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