[theforum] The light at the end of the tunnel

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Sun Sep 17 23:10:06 CDT 2006

Alan Lloyd <alan at www-ss.com> wrote:
> First I am sorry I have not been around for you to shout at me.

Who are you addressing here, Alan?  No one is shouting (except you 

> However my partner gave birth to our second child two weeks early so
> I have been a bit busy.

REALLY? CONGRATULATIONS! Seriously, that's awesome.  I hope mommy and 
baby are doing good!  (Daddies, we just have to deal :-)

> Then when I found out some c*nt had unsubscribed me anyway I thought
> 'what the heck'.

Not sure what you're saying here.  Your address was unsubscribed from 
the theForum?  The name-calling is not necessary -- you're not the only 
the only user to have been mysteriously unsubscribed recently (see Sarah 
Adams's email Monday afternoon - there are undoubtedly others.)

I'm not sure what's happening, if there's a problem with mailman on the 
server or what.  But please don't attribute to malice what can easily be 
explained by (my) incompetetence -- I've only been "list owner" a couple 
of weeks and I could easily have either screwed something up, or failed 
to successfully sift through the hundreds of bounced messages I get to 
notice the one that says "unsubscribing user due to stupid error you can 
easily correct if you read this" message.

I seriously doubt anyone unsubscribed you to silence your dangerous 
voice of rebellion, Alan.  That's just silly.

> PLEASE don't waste the opportunity I tried to give you. I did not want
> to change the way evolt works. Just point out that it doesn't.

Once again, I'll reiterate how annoyed I am that people insist on 
declaring evolt is dead, or "doesn't work", based solely on "the 
evidence" that the committee mailing lists get little or no traffic 
sometimes for months at a time (especially after the weather's been 
nice).  Could we be more actively encouraging mo-betta article 
submissions for the site?  You  betcha.  Building out and promoting new 
edgy content and services for members like blogs and blogregators and 
stuff?  Maybe, I dunno, sure.  But just because it doesn't blink and 
swirl and beep and make you feel all shiny any breathless every day with 
something different doesn't give you the right to declare it dead, 
broken or otherwise shit upon the hard work of others here who've 
contributed to making it what (ever) it currently is.  It's insulting.

Defacing it just naturally adds injury to the insult.

Did you assume that, after volunteering to help out with list 
management, deleting spam signups and spam comments, and being entrusted 
with admin rights on weo, that that meant you could single-handedly form 
a brand new mission statement from your own head for evolt and place it 
"front and center" on the site, without even suspecting that such action 
might be a little presumptuous on your part, that it might be something 
on which another evolter might have an opinion, some input, maybe a 

> I got you all talking again. THAT IS WHAT I WAS AIMING FOR. Shocking
> you into action. I am disgusted at what it took (and so should you
> all be).

I'm sorry you're so easily disgusted.  Maybe you're not cut out for this 
type of work.  It's a community.  It endures flame wars.  Of the 199 
messages posted here since your "Vote Request" post 7 days ago, the vast 
majority were tripping all over themselves heaping praise upon you for 
your enthusiasm, even those that were voting against your suggestion to 
consolidate lists.

I had hoped that the fact that you pissed off some people by assuming 
you had the right to change the evolt homepage without getting 
sufficient feedback on your idea and got your weo-admin privileges 
suspended, would teach you some humility, or that even though these 
off-lists of committees have been silent, that many of us are still here 
who here do have the right, and do care enough to act to protect what 
we've created.

> Don't let some fools decide what happens to evolt just because they
> have been around for a long time. NO ONE HAS THAT RIGHT!'t

Presumably then we all had the right to disagree with you about what 
evolt's mission statement might contain, no?   Or where it might belong 
on the site, and how and when evolt should reveal it to the world?  Who 
had the opportunity (much less the right) to debate those issues with 
you before you acted unilaterally on evolt's behalf to tell the world 
what it is?  It's just such an incredibly self-centered move, composing 
a new mission statement and posting it on the homepage.  You do that 
with the business you just started, not with the organization that you 
just volunteered to help with the chores.

Having admin rights on weo (and the mailing lists) meant that, more than 
any one else, you HAVE to secure a consensus before making changes, 
because unlike all the others who have *just* their voice on this forum, 
just their one email vote and their power to persuade others through 
debate, *you* have the power to act.  That's why your action was an 
abuse of that power.  You couldn't wait for a discussion, for some 
feedback from anyone else.  You took it upon yourself to speak for the 
entire group, to the entire world, and say what you and only you wanted 
said.  You are not the decider.  The group decides (even when little of 
it chooses to show any interest).

> So I guess all I want to say is good luck. Keep evolt running and try
> to get rid of the stupid people who just want to talk! Tell them to
> join AOL and use the chat rooms. To keep evolt going needs ACTION not
> Every one HAS a voice. Please don't let anyone tell you different. IF
> So good luck and good bye. (Don't worry this will be my last post. I
> got the message) [SLAM!! -ed]

[and then he unsubscribed from theforum one minute later.  which is why 
this is cc'd to his address.  [I really have little patience for such 
over-dramatic exits.  I certainly can't belive I'm writing this 
long-assed email to try and be all reasonable and encourage someone to 
come back who is behaving like such a prima dona --  I wonder if I'll 
actually send this or come to my senses later and delete it? [Note to 
self: If you do not come to your senses later and delete it, be sure to 
at least remember to delete this bracketed part that belies how 
unreasonably pissed you actually are at the guy so no one knows that you 
just want him to come back so you dont have to manage all the spam by 
yourself, k?]]]

I guess it probably is best if you leave, if you're so impatient that 
you simply can't endure us "stupid people" talking about the things that 
affect all of evolt before doing them (or if must continue the 
adolescent name-calling).

But let me be clear: no one unsubscribed you from this list.  If your 
address was unsubscribed, it was an accident or a glitch.  The forum is 
an open list where anyone who wants to can and does participate.

I for one appreciate your help managing the lists and the weo-spam.  And 
most of us have thanked you already for waking up the forum and getting 
people to come out of the woodwork and talk about evolt and plan for the 
future again.  But if you still choose leave, for the record, you 
*chose* to leave.  Don't use the excuse that you were pushed out.

You were welcomed in, trusted and some feel that that one particular 
action you took was an abuse of that trust.  Others disagree.  Perhaps 
they're right.  Maybe weo *should* be a Wiki so anyone can write up a 
mission statement and post it on the homepage.  Then anyone else who 
doesn't like it is free to come along and change it.  If you stay you 
can call for a vote on that, too!

I believe that you did what you did in good faith (if not good 
weren't aware that there were long-observed rules about such things, and 
fully expected thanks, not flames, for doing what you did.  So I would 
support giving you a second chance, if you wanted one.  But don't blame 
the people who care about evolt for flaming you when you swoop down, 
call loudly for change, then start changing things on your own without 
even a semblance of a consensus.

All the changes you want to make, you're certainly free to (and based on 
recent events likely to) stir up so much support for them that we crusty 
old-timers simply can't ignore the will of the people any longer!

Just don't use your executive powers to bypass and ignore the democratic 
process... that would just be wrong.


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