This is very difficult for me. It is difficult for me because I have had a great love for RC and much respect for the staff there and it's owner. I don't think anyone will argue with the fact that I have devoted more blood, sweat, tears, and time to RC than any other person involved. My passion for the site was unequaled. I took over RC when it was running on a windows server in a closet at John's office and it couldn't handle when 300 people came online. From there I built it into a well operating site running on 4 unix servers and multiple redundancy that can handle in excess of 2,000 simultaneous users. I did this during my weekends and spare time. I don't say this to inflate my ego or importance, but to try to help give perspective to the reader of this essay. I am writing this more to clear my own mind and help myself move on than for anything else, but I'm also publishing it to try to answer the great many questions that I'm being asked. As I mentioned, I have had a strong passion for RC. The sudden absence of focus for all that passion has been a traumatic event in my life and I am trying desperately to get over it. I will try here to explain the situation from my point of view without going overboard, but please realize that this is my opinion and I may become over zealous at times. Please keep that in mind. I am not trying to change anyones mind about anything or cause anybody any further grief, only to express my own opinions and insight on the events that have transpired. My apologies to JohnL in advance for saying anything at all, I have nothing but respect for you, but I think I deserve the opportunity to tell my side of the story.
Anyway, to try to move forward, I did a lot of work for RC, blah blah blah everybody knows that already and that's not why you are reading this anyway, so let's get down to the nitty-gritty. As is usually the case in situations like these there is no single reason for my departure. Many things building up over time caused it. Some of them are merely harmless disagreements that don't really effect the way RC works in a profound way, they only effected me. I won't bore you with those except to note that they existed and contributed to my final decision. The situation that ultimately led me to my sudden departure was one that I consider an earth-shattering departure from the way we did business. I have always been very proud of the fairness and integrity the staff showed to it's members in case after case. However, in one particular case that integrity and fairness seemed to disappear and was replaced with covering your ass and fulfilling a vendetta, at least in my opinion. The saddest part about that is that apparently I was very alone in that opinion. In an organization of this size, it's no surprise that there were disagreements and it's no surprise that someone occasionally loses sight of what is reasonable, fair, and just. We all go off the deep end occasionally. However, when apparently the entire organization finds a way to justify outrageous behaviour then that is a horse of a different color entirely.
The final straw for me was that a member was singled out because he didn't agree with the methodologies of the "experts" of the site. His credentials were called into question. Credentials that I never personally saw him use in attempt to get someone to agree with him. Maybe he did, but I never saw it. If you are a little confused over why this is important, just think about how you would feel if someone discounted what you had to say because you didn't have their level of education. If you can back it up does it matter - or should you be ignored? Do you want to be singled out for review of your credentials because of what you post? Do you want someone looking to see what your education is, or who your employer is because of what you post? I want to point out at this point that who the member was is irrelevant. It does not matter to me who it was. What matters to me is that personal information about a member including, but not limited too home phone number, home address, full name, birth date, sexual preference, employer, and educational credentials was searched for and in some cases obtained and passed around freely. Even worse than that, the information was used to attempt to force the person to divulge even more personal information about themselves. The fact that I seemed to be alone in speaking up against what I consider a breach of ethics beyond compare simply because some staff didn't agree with what a member had to say made it clear to me that I no longer was a good fit in the organization.
I cannot comment about what the future holds for RC as I really have no idea. I will let you determine for yourself if you feel the site is up to the standards you personally set. In the past I have always had extreme pride in the lack of bias the staff permitted and perhaps because of that I set my own bar for such things higher than could reasonably be expected. I'm not going to lower it however. I will always remember with pride my involvement in the RC that did set the bar that high. I see some minor evidence that perhaps some are now seeing how wrong they were. Someone else must have stood up to the experts to cause them to quit. Who knows? I don't. But it does give me a glimmer of hope that there is some sanity remaining.
For those that may be wondering why the person targeted didn't just provide them with what they wanted let me ask you this. Have you ever been asked "Have you stopped beating your wife?" It's the same sort of situation. There is no way to win when you are placed in that situation. Would you give someone even more personal information after they had already dug into your personal life and passed it around and threatened you with it? I wouldn't. And neither would any other sane person.
Ok, enough of the negative stuff. I really do wish the best for them, but it's up to them from here on out. I doubt I'll be hanging out on RC much. Too many painful memories. But if you want to talk to me, I'll always be around on TRT, so stop by and say hello.
Labels: my split with reefcentral