Like I did last year, I just thought I'd check out the newsgroup I first adhered to when I got started in home automation 8 years ago to see if it had come back to being cordial and respectful like it used to, but I see that the same group of people throwing around the same old insults at each other are still making it as unpleasant as it was last year. Although some people seem to be making honest appeals to reason for it to stop, they must also realize that the type of bickering that keeps going is precisely the type that looks for an audience and as I said last year, I'm not willing to be that audience. I guess I'll wait yet another year and check back in to see if it goes away by then. In the meantime, back to the forums...
Sorry you had to wade through the same old muck. Before you leave (assuming you haven't a;ready done so) may I make a suggestion? Stick around and contribute useful stuff -- questions, answers or both -- to the newsgroup. Your input will be valued. More importantly, adding signal improves the overall SNR. By leaving you cede that much more of the group's potential value to those whose purpose is to drive away all but folks like themselves.
This is by no means intended as a flame, friend. I'd like to see you stay and add whatever you can to the forum rather.
Yes, Guy, you're quite right. I'm afraid that CHA is a much less friendly place than it used to be. The sad part is that it's primarily due to the antics of just *ONE* particularly paranoid and probably psychotic poster who believes that he's on a sacred crusade. The sad part is, as Bruce R noted, GM doesn't realize he seems to be acting out some deeply homoerotic crush on another man. For a long time, I was in total agreement with your philosophy that twit filtering such a person was the only way to go on Usenet. These people thrive on attention. Because of that, in most cases, I still believe that filtering is the proper solution; that is until this group became infected with its resident harpy.
At some point people have to re-state the obvious and tell creeps that they are creepy and to go away. The problem with ignoring malcontents is that some fools believe that if you don't challenge an assertion that the sky is green, then it really must be green. Ignoring these hard-core haters simply does not work because they've adjusted their wacky world view to believe that silence is actually agreement with their position.
You've accurately identified the conundrum. What we need to do now is to accurately identify the solution. What *does* a group do when "DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS" doesn't seem to have any effect on the mountains of manure one misanthropic man insists on shoveling into the group? Do we just let the heathen rage until they've run out of rants? How many people do we allow him to drive off before anything is done about it? Waiting out a malicious person bent on destruction of the group doesn't seem to be as credible a strategy as it once did.
The problem I see with the "ignore him" approach is that newbies, which every group needs to stay healthy and vital, are the ones most exposed to the caustic drivel. They, like you, take one look around at the juvenile name-calling and skiddadle.
I'm sorry, Guy, but that seems to be like you're willing to give into the terrorists. I just can't believe that's a good solution. I'm hoping that we can figure out how to get the PROBLEM to leave, not the valuable posters like you. You've got great problem solving skills, at least based on what you've written about Ocelots, etc. Why not apply those skills to this group as if GM's rants were merely a technical transmission issue, to be dealt with as dispassionately as if he were a leaky capacitor or an intermittent contact?
I'm just afraid that by telling us you're unwilling to stay you're actually making the situation worse by empowering people like GM. Your actions tell him that you're willing to change YOUR behavior to suit HIM. That's never a good idea when dealing with terrorists, and that's exactly what we have here: Terrorism.
GM WANTS people to modify their behavior because of his actions. This forum is probably the only place in the world where he can feel like he is "in control" of something. He hopes to get people to do what he wants them to do under threat of posting yet more vile and inane garbage. How will your leaving for another year (thereby tacitly acknowledging that he was powerful enough to cause you to leave) help out CHA?
Don't you feel badly that the creepy, antisocial behavior of a very few people (actually only one) has driven you away from a place where you once were daily readers and a vibrant contributor? That's how I feel and why I am determined to speak up. In fact, I believe the behavior that we witness here from GM is very, very close to criminal. With many of the states passing cyberstalking laws, eventually posters like GM will be thrown in jail. Until that happens, we have to work out our own solution.
Guy, you're obviously a problem solver, at least based on your posts I've read in Google. Do you really believe the best way to deal with this "noise" problem to "wait it out?" Would you "wait out" an X-10 transmission problem? Probably not. You'd try to figure out what it took to end the transmission interference.
The CHA situation's not much different. We've got a noisemaker on line that's bringing down the functionality of the entire group. Please put your engineering hat on and help us figure out how to solve the problem! It's trite, but true: It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.
Sad but true. Perhaps it's time to start reaching out to the places where he's not in control. Like suppliers. Doubtless they'd want to avoid supplying products to someone that acts in such a disreputable manner.
PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT. You've no need to lower yourself to their level. That is exactly what Sabodish and several others from ASA, including Mr. Olson, tried to do to me. They've called suppliers, manufacturers, state officials, etc., trying to ruin my business. Regardless what they claim is their excuse the real issue is and always was the same. A small group of malcontents want to make a Usenet forum their private sandbox. I didn't agree to their demands and they've been attacking ever since. This Jiminex fellow is a classic example. He threatens to destroy the newsgroup if you fail to comply with his demands. He's done his irrational best to do just that in ASA, all the while insisting that his own misbehavior is my fault.
What competitors might try to do to each other is one thing. What customers do is another thing entirely. I say it's high time the customers spoke up. I'm sure the vendor reps vould get pretty irritated if customers started calling in with complaints. That irritation would doubtless be transferred pretty damned quickly back at the aberrant supplier. Simple requests to get him to behave himself continue to fail. Perhaps it's time to bring more pressure to bear.
"Mr. Olson" *did not* do anything to you. You have done nothing to "Mr. Olson" directly because you don't know where he works (only the broad geographical area). What you have done is to contact every AHJ, supplier, manufacturer, and Government agency looking for him though (which is no real "biggy").
Let's see... I called three ADI branches in Florida asking the same question of all three account reps I spoke to: "What do you need to purchase alarm products from them?". They all responded (to a man) with, "A Florida State Alarm License". I never mentioned Robert's name, my name, or where I was calling from. Robert continues to insist that this isn't so because he received phone calls from "several suppliers" asking who the "crazy Canuck" was. I don't believe this to be true at all, and Robert admitted to this in our one and only telephone conversation. This conversation happened (by the way) at the behest of one Graham Morgan who spent a lot of time trying to "mend fences" in ASA before Robert became annoyed with him and decided to report his online activities to his employer. There are several other issues we discussed which I've never mentioned because it would only add "fuel" for "Group Moderator's" flames.
I also contacted DSC (a manufacturer) to advise them that Robert was providing their DLS software as a free (open to anyone) download on his website. This was in violation of their Copyrights and the software's EULA. As a Dealer for DSC, I felt it my obligation to report such flagrant abuse. Within thirty minutes of that call, the link disappeared.
Robert and I became involved in a discussion surrounding licensing and the fact that he was providing "layout" and "design" service of security and fire alarm systems from his online store. By Florida Statute this is an area in which an individual is required to be licensed, bonded and insured. Robert has flatly denied he needs a license, can't get bonded because he has a criminal conviction, and has yet to provide any sort of indication he carries the requisite insurance. I had wanted clarification on the licensing issue and Robert was demonstrating the usual obnoxious behaviour he does in ASA so I contacted the Florida State Attorney General's office and was told to fill out the complaint form located on the "My Florida" website. I did so, and posted the contents of the complaint in the Newsgroup (ASA) as well (so Robert knew where it was coming from and wouldn't be unduly "suprised" when they knocked on his door). They quite obviously never received the complaint form (in a later follow-up, the AG's office admitted they were having problems with the online form server and asked that I fax it). Several other individuals (including a gentleman from the Florida Licensing Authority) advised that Robert's remarks that he was not providing service to anyone in Florida probably obviated his need for licensing and made refiling the complaint rather "moot".
Ever since then, Robert has used all of the above to support his argument that *I* tried to "intefere with his business". I've done nothing any other properly licensed and ethical Dealer would do. I've already confessed to having departed from "proper behaviour" on a number of occasions and at the end of last year determined not to follow that course again. I didn't like what I was doing and it just didn't fit with who I was. I will continue to defend myself against Robert's rather "egocentric" (that's putting it as mildly as I can) view of the facts and whenever he lies about what happened or what I've said. I'll usually just ask for proof or demonstrate his "departure from the truth" by posting the results from a quick Google search.