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FPN Admin Changes


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#1 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 19:48

The Admin Team would like to inform the FPN membership that Denis Richard and Free Citizen (Lim) will no longer be acting as an Admins here at FPN as both have voluntarily retired themselves from the Admin group for personal and private reasons.

We would like to offer a public thank you for all their hard work and efforts in launching this site and will surely continue to enjoy their further contributions here at FPN.

Please direct any and all Administrative issues to the active Admin team and we will promise to do our best to address any and all concerns.

The Admin Team - Kendall, Keith, Kcat, Leslie, and Elaine.
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#2 Maja

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 20:23

Thank you so much, Denis and Lim for all your hard work!
(Gulp! Hope you two are alright... :unsure: )
We appreciate what you have done for this wonderful, friendly, informative fountain pen community, and I personally thank you very much.

Hopefully, you will still have the time to drop in and post some messages and/or pictures.
:)

Edited by Maja, 12 December 2004 - 20:25.

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#3 James Pickering

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 20:34

The two "Founding Fathers" of FPN abdicating together is a shock! Knowing both of them "Cyberspace-wise" as I do, I would have thought the announcement would have come from them?

I do wish to publicly thank them for their dedication, hard work and sagacity.

James

#4 Gerry

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 20:37

Thank you so much, Denis and Lim for all your hard work!
(Gulp! Hope you two are alright... :unsure: )
We appreciate what you have done for this wonderful, friendly, informative fountain pen community, and I personally thank you very much.

Hopefully, you will still have the time to drop in and post some messages and/or pictures.
  :)

Let me second all of Maja's sentiments. I am going to personally miss the interaction with both of you, but particularly with you Lim, since you were such an incredible help with a recent little project I had on the go. :(

Please stay in touch.

Gerry

#5 James Pickering

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 21:07

To the Admin Team and all FPN members:

This seems like an opportune time and place to make the following announcement:

I am in the process of revising my web pages. I have already re-written the Introduction, Basics and Supplemental hands pages and I should have the rest re-written (and the scanned exemplar pages updated) in the next several days.

Because of the above project -- and the fact that I have been spending so much time here recently -- I have fallen way behind in my committed work. In consequence, and for other personal reasons, I find it necessary to relinquish my position as resident Expert/Moderator for the Penmanship Forum. I may not be able to post here for extended periods of time in the future.

For the Admin team: you will need to remove my name as the Moderator of the Penmanship Forum.

Thanks to all who have participated. Here's to good handwriting!

James

#6 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 00:20

Hello everyone,

thank you for the nice words. I can reassure you, and tell you that I won't be vanishing away. You will most likely see more of me posting on the forum... you have no clue what you will have to suffer :lol:

Few weeks after I started FPN, almost 6 months ago, I decided than it should be run, not by a single person, but by the community itself. The first admin to join me was KCat, who is still on the current team, and who can claim the title of "Founding Mother" :D Then came Lim, and then the other current admins. I'm impressed by the succes of FPN in just a few short months. A lot of energy has been released by everyone who has contributed to its administration.

I leave the team to be true to the original idea. FPN is not about individuals, it is about the community. The admins in place have fully understood that concept. Decisions are taken as a team, guidelines are submitted to the members for input and discussion, etc... If I had any doubt about it, I would not have left.

I still feel that FPN is my baby, and trust me, I would not leave her in bad hands. :lol: But I also think that it is not healthy to stay involved too much, as I could be overprotective of my first ideas, or be too attached to the way I pictured the site, before it was even born. The only concept I am strongly attached to, is that of a team serving the community, and I am very confident that it does and will live.

I also missed writing reviews and interviews of FP people, and I wish to find some free time again to do that. I promise to try to improve my style ;)

Now, let's give some cheers to the guys and gals still chained to the FPN bench, because they are the ones who need the thumbs up.

Denis.

Edited by Denis Richard, 13 December 2004 - 00:23.


#7 James Pickering

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 01:06

What about Lim (Free Citizen)? Has anyone heard from him?

James

#8 Maja

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 01:58

What about Lim (Free Citizen)? Has anyone heard from him?

James

Good question, James! Lim hasn't posted anything since the 7th, which is very unusual for him.....

Relieved to hear that you are OK, Denis.....I was kind of worried there... :)
I look forward to reading your posts and reviews, etc.....and once again, thank you for what you've done for FPN!

Last but not least, a big thank you to you, James, for your time and contributions to FPN.
Your knowledge and patience will be missed here, but we hope you can return once in a while to share some more thoughts (and perhaps some more examples of your beautiful handwriting!) with us all. :)

Edited by Maja, 13 December 2004 - 02:07.

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#9 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 05:38

I join Maja and, I am sure, all the FPN members to thank James for his dedication to the Penmanship forum, his willingness to share his expertise, and his patience.

You will be missed, James. Please come visit us often.

I have recently communicated with Lim, and he is in good health.

Denis.

Edited by Denis Richard, 13 December 2004 - 05:38.


#10 James Pickering

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 05:57

Last but not least, a big thank you to you, James, for your time and contributions to FPN.
Your knowledge and patience will be missed here, but we hope you can return once in a while to share some more thoughts (and perhaps some more examples of your beautiful handwriting!) with us all.  :)


Thank you very much for those kind words, Maja. I will indeed return whenever I am able.

James

#11 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 06:02

James,

Your contributions here to date have been nothing short of amazing and I personally understand the need to have the time to finish projects... I have a workshop full of them and am still trying to find the spare time to work on a few exemplars.

We will do out best while you are away and I hope you make it a point to check in from time to time to see how well we're doing.

Cheers!
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#12 James Pickering

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 06:09

I join Maja and, I am sure, all the FPN members to thank James for his dedication to the Penmanship forum, his willingness to share his expertise, and his patience.

You will be missed, James. Please come visit us often.

I have recently communicated with Lim, and he is in good health.

Denis.

Thank you for your explanations -- and especially your kind words -- Denis. I am relieved to hear that Lim's health is good.

I will indeed stop by whenever I am able. I wish you and the Forum continued success, Denis -- I hope the Admin team will continue to maintain the high standards already established.

BTW, I apologize to KCat -- "the founding mother" :) -- for not recognizing her enormous contributions.

James

Edited by James Pickering, 13 December 2004 - 14:14.


#13 James Pickering

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 06:16

James,

Your contributions here to date have been nothing short of amazing and I personally understand the need to have the time to finish projects... I have a workshop full of them and am still trying to find the spare time to work on a few exemplars.

We will do out best while you are away and I hope you make it a point to check in from time to time to see how well we're doing.

Cheers!

Thank you very much, Keith. I will indeed participate as I am able.

James

Edited by James Pickering, 13 December 2004 - 14:11.


#14 Free Citizen

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 11:32

Dear Fellow Members,

First of all, I would like to confirm Denis’ statement that he has communicated with me or rather I have communicated with him. I like to think that there is no animosity between us. Well, at least that is the case for me as far as I am concern. To all of you who have contacted me backchannel I thank you for your concern. I appreciate it very much and it gives me great comfort to know I have friends at FPN who care for me  To Maja, Denis has answered your question, and I am still in one piece. To Gerry and James, you are right; there is a split in opinion about how FPN should be run or more importantly what FPN should be. If you care at all to understand, and this is about FPN at heart, I think it is important that my side of the story be heard. So, if you will bear with me, please hear me out. The story is rather long and if you have no interest at all then feel free to move on. I don’t think it will matter much.

Somewhere on this site, in the Chatter forum I think, I have explained in sufficient detail about the aspiration set out by Denis. If you are unaware of it, I will state them in gist. Having witnessed the drawbacks of pen sites that host forums own by a single owner, Denis unselfishly gave up ownership of his FPN Forums to the community to run it in the hope that there will always be a venue for pen discussion as long as the community wants it. It was a brilliant idea and the concept of ownership by the community immediately appealed to me. I saw that this concept had great potential but the latest saga may have proven me wrong. I believe, how I came to join the Admin team is still in the Chatter forum. I joined shortly after KCat and Justin Miller joined the team. It was Justin who made me an Admin. To the current team Justin too would be admonished for taking unilateral administrative action without consultation and my appointment would be deemed to be null and void. Fortunately, my appointment took place long before the current corps of Admins were appointed. Because my believe in Denis’ concept was so strong, I put my heart and soul into this site. Foregoing the opportunity to participate more actively on other sites. I see some of those efforts bearing fruit. Of course, Denis and KCat were most supportive.

During the campaign to promote this site I pushed for the Admin team to be expanded. I was of the opinion that much more can be achieved and more quickly. There were reservations but I persisted and eventually we have 7 members on the team. With the exception of Keith who was a surprise for me and not that I object to it, all the candidates were given due consideration. To those that were hesitant to join, I persuaded that their service would be appreciated and that they will be part of the team that made FPN happen if the vision is realized. In short, they were recruited to help mould FPN to a stronger site. But I also iterated that our appointments are pro tem only and we will have to relinquish our positions once the framework is worked out. It will then be up to the members to choose who among the members they wish to serve as Admins. Of course, not all members will care to participate in the exercise but the elected team will have legitimacy to execute the members’ mandate. Perhaps I didn’t stress this understanding strongly enough. Shortly after the arrival of the new Admins, I noticed some disturbing attitudes. Some of the Admins were obsessed with having total authority over Moderators or sought to have their powers clipped. This was the environment or state of mind in which was to play out in a moderation work we had to do recently.

I moved a topic containing a questionable post to a hidden area where it can be deliberated upon. I will not go into the details but suffice to say the matter was solved to the satisfaction of affected members. The members involved went back about their business and participated in this site more vigorously than before. However, the Admins were not satisfied with the manner in which it was handled. During the deliberation I asked several times to be the one to finalize the matter. No one objected. The displeasure centred on my actions of being pre-emptive and not receiving the sanction of all concern. This is a rather curious accusation because others have also acted pre-emptively before and no one made an issue out of those instances. The attack came from only a few, not all of the Admins. The saga ended with me being at odds with Denis and I left the team. I was sorry to leave the team like that but was not at all worried because despite my feelings about Denis at that point, I knew FPN would be in good hands with Denis on board. Immediately after my departure, Denis must have regretted about the incident and reinstated me as Admin and changed his own status as member. I was not going to have it looked like I come out the winner of this saga and the victim is Denis. So I reinstated Denis as Admin too but he changed it back to member. He had told me he would do that anyway. All this actions were in violation of a new protocol the new Admin team put in place during my absence. They decided to put it into effect.

I am going to reveal the communications I received from the new team. I don’t think I am doing anything wrong as this is a Voluntary Association and there is no company secret. As I always held that the members are the boss and if there is any disagreement among the Admins about the conduct of this site, who if not the members is qualified to be Judge and Jury. This is the message that caught me by surprise;

If you have just logged in to FPN you will have noticed that your member status is "members".

Denis' action to reinstate you was a unilateral move and had not been approved by the Admin team.

Our protocol dicatates that any Administrative decisions require inout from each Admin and that majority approval must be reached to take any proposed action.

This protocol was not followed and the Admin team will abide by the protocols that have been decided.

Do not take this personally as it is a matter of procedure that I feel must be followed.

Keith


Note the “I” stated in the last line. All of a sudden, Keith has taken charge. And this is the official statement I received from the team;

Lim,

The Admin team has decided that your status will be temporarily be changed to "member" as Denis' decision to reinstate your Admin priviledges was done unilaterally and was a clear breach of the approved Administrative protocol.

It is now a matter of FPN policy that we follow the protocols we have agreed to and one of those was that ALL Administrative Action, (which includes the re-appointing of Admins), be discussed and put to a vote to confirm majority approval of the action specified.

Your re-appointment of Denis' this morning was well intentioned but it too was a clear breach of the Administrative protocol; had you taken time to catch up on the changes that have been made over the past few days, you would have realized that your re-appointment by Denis and subsequent unilateral action to re-instate him clearly violated these protocols.

I hope you understand this is nothing personal but a matter of the Admin team following the protocols we have decided upon.

We would strongly advise that you keep this matter confidential as even though your Administrative priviledges are currently suspended, this is an Administrative matter that is not not be shared with the general membership.

-The FPN Admin Team-
CC: Admin Team

--------------------
Leslie
I ink, therefore I am.


I decided to keep quite until further instruction from the team. Many days passed without a word so I decided to reply to their notice;

I have been expecting further word from you but too many days has passed without any news hence, this reply. Here, I am referring to you as the representative of the team.

Lim,

The Admin team has decided that your status will be temporarily be changed to "member" as Denis' decision to reinstate your Admin priviledges was done unilaterally and was a clear breach of the approved Administrative protocol.


What breach of the approved Administrative protocol are you referring to? Who approved them? And on whose authority?


It is now a matter of FPN policy that we follow the protocols we have agreed to and one of those was that ALL Administrative Action, (which includes the re-appointing of Admins), be discussed and put to a vote to confirm majority approval of the action specified.


This is Red Tape and is not good. It will slow administrative response time and every minute detail will bog Administrators down unnecessarily.


We would strongly advise that you keep this matter confidential as even though your Administrative priviledges are currently suspended, this is an Administrative matter that is not not be shared with the general membership.

-The FPN Admin Team-
CC: Admin Team


What do you mean by currently suspended? I never knew I was under suspension. If so, for what? The fact that you saw the necessity to advise me to keep this matter confidential only serves to show the weakness of your case. It has become clear to me that this exercise is to keep me out. There is no need for such charade. If I am not wanted, just tell me so. No need to be so rude and disrespectful. I would like you to know that I never thought of myself as indispensable to FPN. I only accepted to return temporarily because nobody seems to be attending to Gerry and his pen club at that time. I also did not imply that only I could or knew how to set up a Pen Club Forum. Now that it has been taken care of, that’s fine.

I would like to say that I am saddened by the recent turn of events and what this Admin team has become. From early on, I have campaign for an expanded team because I believed with more members on board much more can be achieved and it can be accomplished quickly. The primary purpose was to promote this site. With the exception of Keith whom was appointed without my knowledge, all your candidacies were brought up for consideration. You were all recruited to help mould FPN. Not be policemen to it. Up to that point we had not done any moderation work and I didn’t think we would need to do much of it. I also did not stress enough that our appointment, self appointed or otherwise is a temporary one. Once the basic framework is worked out we will have to relinquish our position and let the members choose a legitimate board of Administrators.

Not long after your arrivals, I noted some disturbing attitudes. Some of you exhibited an obsession to have control over Moderators or sought to have its power clipped. This should never be the case. The recent moderation work made me realized that it is not an Admin’s job to moderate content in the forums. Moderators should be appointed for that role. To have a forum about what to do with a QP is not the best way to go about it. With no leader appointed to lead this task, it is just a case of too many cooks spoils the soup. The Sociocracy case was settled amicably for the non-Admins but the Admins who handled the case continue to argue about the manner in which it was done even after the matter is solved. This case shows that such responsibilities should be entrusted to Moderators. If they would like to seek opinions about QPs, they can do so by moving the post to the hidden forum set up for this purpose but the Moderator makes the call.

Another unhealthy trend that has developed is that this team has started drawing up all kinds of protocols to regulate the conduct of Admins and enforcing them. You do not have the authority to do this. Why you sought to do this is beyond me. As I see no one doing any harm to jeopardize the well being of this site. Regulations of such importance require ratification from members. The same goes for the guidelines for the use of the forums. If the members seek changes, their demand must be entertained. The authority lies with the members and is not exclusive to the Admins. Admins merely execute the members’ mandate. Therefore, the protocols you have drawn and put into effect are illegal. As far as I know, no one has given you the authority to do so. The members have not ratified your rules. Do not forget the status of members and Admins are equal. It is only that you are entrusted to manage the site. You are not above the members. Each and every member has as much right as you do. I don’t know what your intentions are but if you continue with your present course, you are hijacking the site. Whether the members complain or could not care less is beside the point. Enforcing rules that is not authorized is wrong.

I believe my vision of FPN is not much different from Denis’. That is to make this site the best site for pen discussion there is. But the direction of FPN is being held hostage by this team that is more obsessed with protocols and applying them. Instead, you should be encouraging members to be more active. One of the things I have been doing before this is that I watch every name logged in. Names that have not posted at all I send a PM to make friends in the hope that they will post. This is what some of you should be doing. And some of you should be promoting this site at other venues as I have done. You are not recruited to be law enforcers. I note that the rate of postings is down and I have taken messages from the Admins’ Box into consideration. If this is the direction FPN is taking and you continue to hold this attitude, this site will never be the pre-eminent site for pen discussion you think it could be.

--------------------
T-H Lim
Life is short, so make the best of it while we can.


In response to my reply an Announcement was finally posted on the board. And this is what I received in return;

Lim,

The Administrative action taken to remove your Admin priviledges was done to reverse a unilateral action that was done without the knowledge or consent of the existing Administrative Team. The action was a clear breach of the approved Administrative protocol and as such, needed to be reversed.

It is important to note that in keeping with current Administrative policy, all actions are decided upon and carried out with the full input and approval of the Administrative Team and no actions have, or will be carried out without gaining majority approval of the Admin Team.

After careful deliberation and consideration the Administrative Team has decided that in light of recent events and ongoing policy decisions, we will not be restoring your Administrative priviledges at this time.

We need to stress that you voluntarily withdrew from the Admin Team due to personal issues with one or more of the existing Admins and that your administrative priviledges were restored without the consultation and approval of the Admin Team.

We do not feel that these personal issues have been resolved and feel this will compromise your ability to work successfully within the existing Admin framework.

Your contribution to making FPN the success it is cannot be overlooked and we hope that you will continue to make positive contributions as a welcomed member and work toward resolving any personal issues you have with any members of the Admin Team.

We will ask that you consider this to be a private matter and know that we welcome your direct feedback on this issue. We hope that you will respect the decision of the team as negative posts or PM's sent outside this group would ultimately conflict with the vision you have expressed for this board.

We will be posting an update in the News section to let people know that you and Denis have stepped down from your Administrative duties and it shall read as follows.

Re: Administrative Changes

The Admin Team would like to inform the FPN membership that Denis Richard and Free Citizen (Lim) will no longer be acting as an Admins here at FPN as both have voluntarily retired themselves from the Admin group for personal and private reasons.

We would like to offer a public thank you for all their hard work and efforts in launching this site and will surely continue to enjoy their further contributions here at FPN.

Please direct any and all Administrative issues to the active Admin team and we will promise to do our best to address any and all concerns.

The FPN Admin Team - Kendall, Keith, Kcat, Leslie, and Elaine.


--------------------
Leslie
I ink, therefore I am.


From this message, it is clear how obsessed the team has become in enforcing the laws they have enacted without the approval of members. To the point that they turn a blind eye to the fact that Denis’ and my departure was never meant to be. Anyway, this shall be my reply,

“I never sought to be reinstated and I have already explained why I had intended to return temporarily. That is to attend to Gerry and his Pen Club. I am very well aware that my return is impossible after my retort to Keith. I dislike being told that I should work toward resolving any personal issues I have with any members of the Admin Team. As far as I am concern, I did not initiate any provocation towards fellow Admins but rather I was the recipient of such attacks. I particularly do not appreciate being expected to hold out an olive branch when others have wronged me. Perhaps you feel this is in order because I am a third world man. Sorry if I don’t buy your double standards. Although I am still puzzled with the treatment I got from Denis, exchanges backchannel have led me to believe he bears me no ill will and I of course feel likewise.”

If you have been following so far, I am deeply sorry for leading you to read all this over a trivial matter. But to those of you who doubt my story, I would like you to know how the Admin team operate. As members and co-owners of this site, you have the right to know anyway. Administrative matters are discussed in a hidden forum created for this purpose. If no evidence is removed, all exchanges that had taken place should still be there. You of course have the right to access that area. It can be arranged if the Admin allows it. And see for yourself what has been going on. Then again, this may be too much for you to digest and you rather not. The irony of this whole episode is that there doesn’t seem to be any harm done. The only casualty is Free Citizen. And I of course understand that I am not worth the trouble. But I would like you to know that I gave my all to realizing Denis’ vision. Never once did I do anything to harm the wellbeing of this site. I thought I did well in diffusing a potentially explosive posting but instead was persecuted for the manner in which I did it, and despite the outcome being satisfactory. I have been told that my efforts were appreciated yet I am treated disrespectfully. I don’t know, perhaps a third world man have lesser rights than first world citizens do. I am appalled.

As I have become disenchanted with the recent turn of events, I will not be participating much on this site. I will still visit James’ and Rob’s Forums if I am allowed to do so and if I am not banned from this site. After all, it is I who persuaded them in taking up their esteemed positions as leader and moderator of their respective forums. Therefore, I at least owe them gratitude by gracing their forums. And lastly, thank you all, it has been my pleasure and privilege to discuss pens and inks with you.
T-H Lim
Life is short, so make the best of it while we still have it.

#15 James Pickering

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 14:03

My goodness, Lim, that was an amazing -- but disturbing -- post.

..... I would like to confirm Denis’ statement that he has communicated with me or rather I have communicated with him. I like to think that there is no animosity between us. Well, at least that is the case for me as far as I am concern .....


I am relieved to hear that, Lim, life is far too short for animosity.

...... To all of you who have contacted me backchannel I thank you for your concern. I appreciate it very much and it gives me great comfort to know I have friends at FPN who care for me.  To Maja, Denis has answered your question, and I am still in one piece. To Gerry and James, you are right; there is a split in opinion about how FPN should be run or more importantly what FPN should be .....


Yes, Lim, I was concerned -- glad to hear you are alright.

..... We need to stress that you voluntarily withdrew from the Admin Team due to personal issues with one or more of the existing Admins and that your administrative priviledges were restored without the consultation and approval of the Admin Team.

We do not feel that these personal issues have been resolved and feel this will compromise your ability to work successfully within the existing Admin framework .....


This is most curious to me -- how can a person be told to voluntarily withdraw from anything?

..... We would like to offer a public thank you for all their hard work and efforts in launching this site and will surely continue to enjoy their further contributions here at FPN .....


I wholeheartedly second that!

James

#16 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 19:16

Hello everyone,

I believe that in most disagreements, there is no Truth, but only different perceptions and perspectives. I won't indulge in spreading here details of what happened among the admin team, but I will simply point to what I identified as the essence of the recent schism.

I believe two "visions" of the administration of FPN were conflicting. One vision was that of a group of admins, acting independently in promoting the site. The other was that of a group making decisions as a team. Within this second vision, rules have to be defined, so that the "democratic" principle can live and function smoothly. This is what the current team is doing, and, for what it is worth, this is what I envisioned when I created the site.

I would like to point out that Lim's departure was his very own decision. I have no animosity towards him, and neither has the admin team.

As I explained previously, I left the team confident concerning the future of FPN. I believe it is healthier when people have been too involved at the begining of a project, that, once it lives, they sit back and, consistently, let it evolve, on its own. Otherwise, it may become too personal to them, and they may refuse any discussion that does not stir the way they wish. This recent episode showed me that it was not merely a product of my imagination, but a real danger. I left so that I would not risk to indulge myself in such a behaviour.

I'll end up by saying that the administration of the site requires a lot of energy from all the admins, and that the most vocal ones are only the tip of the iceberg. The people presently giving their time and energy for the site are trustworthy and devoted to the concept of a community-run site. When they send communications, you can be sure they do it in the name of the team, with team approval, and not in their personal name. The rest is matter of personal interpretation.

Once again, thumbs up to the Admin Team members, KCat, Leslie, Elaine, Keith and Kendall.

Denis.

#17 Dennis Lively

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 19:57

I'm currious as to why the Repair forum that read "Dennis Lively admin" is now just Dennis Lively? When was I removed as am admin? Why? You know it really doesn't matter...just remove my name and let's just forget about it. FPN was a great site I now fear it is falling apart. I don't care for the draconian attitudes I am seeing here. I no longer wish to be apart of this site.

Dennis

#18 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 20:09

It read "Dennis Lively, admin". The coma makes a world of differences. It means that weeks ago, the forum was moderated by the admin group and by Dennis Lively, while now, you are the only moderator.

#19 KCat

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 20:20

Despite what impressions might be given by others, there are no "draconian" measures being taken and FPN is not falling apart. You were not removed or demoted in any way, Dennis. Denis explained what you are seeing and it has nothing to do with your position on the forum.

Please note that an update of Admin issues will be posted soon in the News forum. These will include topics related to your forum and the other Expert fora.
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#20 Maja

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 20:38

First of all, I am glad that no one is leaving due to health reasons... Glad that you are all doing well, gentlemen :) Good health is priceless.....I should know, being an ex-pharmacist....

Now, I have no idea what specifically started all this trouble (nor do I need to know), but it shows that, once again, "office politics" has a way of wrecking things :(

Lim, I hope we continue to see you in those forums you mentioned. Thank you so much for all your hard work; I am so sorry it had to happen this way...

Edited by Maja, 13 December 2004 - 20:39.

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#21 James Pickering

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 21:01

I suggest that the wording accompanying the "Penmanship" header be changed to something like:

Penmanship:
Various styles of handwriting that can be rendered
using "iridium" tipped or edged nib fountain pens.

I think that kind of verbiage would better project the intent of this section. A reminder for the Admins: please do not forget to remove my name as the "leader" of Penmanship.

I have constructed an adjunct to my web site called "Calligrapher's Corner" which is an online Forum who's sole objective is the discussion of all aspects of Calligraphy -- techniques and methodologies, materials and equipment -- pencils, pens, paper, Vellum & Parchment preparation, ink, gouache colors, formal & informal writing, illuminating, gilding, ..... and so on.

Calligrapher's Corner

It can also be toggled from my web pages making it handy and easy for me to operate and maintain.

I found that the FPN "Penmanship" Forum was naturally drifting toward general Calligraphy -- which seemed to me a little un-natural for a Forum devoted to fountain pens.

I will try to focus my future postings on this Forum to handwriting using fountain pens.

James

Edited by James Pickering, 15 December 2004 - 15:32.


#22 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 21:17

More thoughts pouring out :lol: :

A king as the freedom to be more vocal than a "parlement". He also has the freedom to present his dictatorial decision as benefiting everyone.

Trust me that FPN is functioning now in much more "democratic" way than ever before.

Denis.

Edited by Denis Richard, 13 December 2004 - 21:18.


#23 Gerry

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 23:13

Please folks, lets all just relax a bit.

Everyone needs a little time to reflect and respond in a rational and thoughtful manner, including the admins, who have other jobs to do as well I suspect, and don't need the pressure brought on by addressing a lot of churn on the FPN.

We've seen *nothing* but exemplary behaviour in the past, and have no reason at all to fear everyone has suddenly lost their way or become involved in some kind of conspiracy or something.

I admit that I was distressed by recent developments, but it is clear that everyone is trying to resolve the situation, and that *everyone* cares very much about the FPN. I think that they just need a little space and a little time to sort this out, and then all of us can get on with what the FPN is about.

Remember - the FPN is special because of the respect that the founders and administrators have earned over the *entire* course of it's existence, so it's most unlikely that this issue is simple and uncomplicated, and with such issues both time and discretion are necessary to come to a resolution. We need to give them the time - they have the discretion, and I believe our trust will not be abused.

Best Regards to all

Gerry

#24 Leslie J.

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 23:42

Thank you Gerry. I can only speak here as a member, but I really appreciate your wise and kind words here. Rest assured, the continuing success of FPN is not in jeopardy. This site will grow and flourish given time and effort by all members here.
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#25 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 23:54

I appreciate Denis and Gerry's comments and like Leslie, am only speaking for myself when I say thanks for the support.
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#26 James Pickering

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 03:04

I believe that the current FPN situation is no big deal and that it is a not unusual consequence of human interaction in ventures of this nature. Denis, KCat, Lim and the subsequent Admin team members have devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to insure the success of this Forum. Each one is a respected, knowledgeable and dedicated fountain pen lover.

It is a tribute to their character and regard for each other that their exchanges on this matter have been civil and respectful. I think this misunderstanding will soon be forgotten. FPN is in good health.

James

#27 mchristi

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 04:58

Like James, I don't think that the current situation is all that big a deal, especially in the long run. James wisely notes that these sorts of things are the natural, if unfortunate, consequence of human interaction in this way. I do also have some empathy for Lim and wish him well. But I don't have any inherent problems with the policies and actions of the administration team. I think we have a good bunch of administrators (past and present) who have done a very good job with this sight and devoted a great deal of much appreciated energy to this community on the web. There are a couple of comments I would like to take the opportunity to share. They are not meant to be criticism, but appropriate feedback, and are certainly not directed at, or meant to be supportive of, any particular person or party. You may take them with any amount of salt you feel appropriate.

The policy of administrative action being first approved by a majority of the admin team is, I think, a good and appropriate policy. I do think, however, that such polices, after being drafted and discussed by the admin team, should be published for the members of the forum and a period of comment be allowed before the policy becomes official. If nothing else, this will help members be aware of how the board is run and can allow for some accountability of both the admin team members and the general members of the FPN community.

Having said that, I would be concerned that this might not allow for swift, but temporary, action to be taken when it might become necessary. It is not typically in the character of our forum for such action to be necessary, and I hope that it never is. But it might be wise to be prepared. Sometimes things can develop very quickly, and depending on when something occurs the admin team may not be able to handle it as a group quickly enough to prevent something from getting out of hand. Some provision for an admin to take some emergency action, which final disposition to be handed by the admins as soon as possible, would be something to consider.

I am also somewhat surprised by the request for confidentiality made to Lim on the basis that the situation was an administrative matter. In general, I would expect that administrative matters would be handled "back channel" and that some, even many, situations would not be publicly addressed by the admins, especially in cases where the privacy and standing of individual members may be at stake. But I do think that there is a difference between discretion and secrecy. I'm not sure why admin matters should be secret. Discretion, where appropriate, is something I respect and would ask be given respect. I'm not sure if that applied here or not, however.

Having said this, I would like to reiterate that I think that this site has been well administrated and that the admins have been doing a fine job to date. I would like to thank all of you (past and present) for your time an energy. It is very much appreciated. I am saddened by the departure of Denis and Lim from the admin team, but look forward to their being continued members of the FPN community. (I hope that Lim does eventually return to active membership here.) I also look forward to the admin team continuing to do a fine and fair job at the task of running this site, and keeping it the friendly, successful, and informative place it has become.

Mark C.

#28 Free Citizen

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 05:01

I thought I am done here but once again I must step out to make myself clear.

I believe two "visions" of the administration of FPN were conflicting. One vision was that of a group of admins, acting independently in promoting the site. The other was that of a group making decisions as a team. Within this second vision, rules have to be defined, so that the "democratic" principle can live and function smoothly. This is what the current team is doing, and, for what it is worth, this is what I envisioned when I created the site.

I think the essence of this site is that it would be run by the community. Your vision of a bureaucratic administration can only be your own and do not necessarily reflect what the community prefers ;) It is true when there were only three Admins, we had a free hand based on a common understanding on how to promote this site. There was give and take. You made changes without consultation and I did the same. Perhaps a little more enthusiastic than you did. We all have opinions about those actions and each of us gave some leeway to find a common ground. There was nothing that was done that could not be reversed. Everybody was happy and the environment was very conducive to building this site. I don’t see why the same formula cannot work with an expanded team. The team seem to forget it was I who campaigned persistently for an expanded team. I knew when that came about there will be more consultation and discussion. If every member in the team care to note, I have always stated, “I will abide by the decision of the majority”. Those were my famous words and it was said often. So, there shouldn’t be doubts that I am a team player.

I would like to point out that Lim's departure was his very own decision. I have no animosity towards him, and neither has the admin team.

Put in its proper perspective, I think you know very well the circumstances that led to my departure. It was not a voluntary leave as much as I was put into that position. It was clear that I could not function in the team as long as you continue to hold hostility towards me. That was the real reason why I had to leave. If the issue were to be resolved amicably and I am invited back into the team, I would have accepted. Of course all this is passed now.

As I explained previously, I left the team confident concerning the future of FPN. I believe it is healthier when people have been too involved at the begining of a project, that, once it lives, they sit back and, consistently, let it evolve, on its own. Otherwise, it may become too personal to them, and they may refuse any discussion that does not stir the way they wish. This recent episode showed me that it was not merely a product of my imagination, but a real danger. I left so that I would not risk to indulge myself in such a behaviour.

I believe you are speaking for yourself. I have no such personal attachment. If I had, I would have mounted a coup d’etat. Instead I chose to leave. And I am sad no one gave me any credit for bowing out.

To all members concern, I would like to reiterate that no harm has come to FPN out of this. And the team is not dysfunctional. I still have some faith in some of the Admins. Especially Kendall and Elaine who have shown wisdom in keeping a neutral stand during the episode and offering good advice. These are the qualities we look for in Administrators. As I have said, the only casualty is Free Citizen. I am truly sorry. I will not be pushed around, trampled upon and be expected to keep quiet. Nothing I have told is a lie.
T-H Lim
Life is short, so make the best of it while we still have it.

#29 Gerry

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 09:26

Lim,

I would very much like to be considered your friend, and in that vein, I would also like you to consider the following…

I believe two "visions" of the administration of FPN were conflicting. One vision was that of a group of admins, acting independently in promoting the site. The other was that of a group making decisions as a team. Within this second vision, rules have to be defined, so that the "democratic" principle can live and function smoothly. This is what the current team is doing, and, for what it is worth, this is what I envisioned when I created the site.

I think the essence of this site is that it would be run by the community. Your vision of a bureaucratic administration can only be your own and do not necessarily reflect what the community prefers ;) It is true when there were only three Admins, we had a free hand based on a common understanding on how to promote this site. There was give and take. You made changes without consultation and I did the same. Perhaps a little more enthusiastic than you did. We all have opinions about those actions and each of us gave some leeway to find a common ground. There was nothing that was done that could not be reversed. Everybody was happy and the environment was very conducive to building this site. I don’t see why the same formula cannot work with an expanded team.


I think that there is possibly a third interpretation for the events – one that begins with the first vision (the entrepreneurial or beginning phase), and transitions to the second vision (the operating phase). This is a natural progression noted in many business models. With more administrative members, coupled with their varied personal styles, an increased reliance on rules and procedures is usually necessary. Yes, it is a bureaucratic development. No, it isn’t inherently wrong. Is it possible to grow larger and still remain entrepreneurial? Yes, but it is the exception, rather than the rule.

So while your conclusion is valid – ‘I don’t see why the same formula cannot work with an expanded team.’, it is not the most probable outcome. Imposing the entrepreneurial formula will be unsettling for the majority, and in particular the newer members, while remaining in the comfort zone for the entrepreneurial ones. Falling back on established rules, and majority decisions / group action will reassure the majority of the members – and appear constraining to the entrepreneurial spirited ones. Right? Wrong? Just? Unjust? I don’t know. Really. It just is. And perhaps it is more important how we respond or adapt to the situation than the actual situation itself.

I would like to point out that Lim's departure was his very own decision. I have no animosity towards him, and neither has the admin team.

Put in its proper perspective, I think you know very well the circumstances that led to my departure. It was not a voluntary leave as much as I was put into that position. It was clear that I could not function in the team as long as you continue to hold hostility towards me.


Lim, I find this the most difficult of all the issues surrounding the admin question to deal with. I think we all can see the difficulty before us. Denis has stated the facts without bias, I believe. Yet there are issues beyond the cold hard factual data that you want recognized. In that, I agree with you, and recognize those issues. You took the high road and resigned. You were not accused of, nor implicated in any misconduct – rather you wanted to be more proactive and supportive of the FPN than others were able to accept perhaps. In itself, this is not a problem, but it does become a problem when it leads to internal dissention and fragmentation within the group. It becomes a significant problem if it progresses to the stage people feel obligated to choose sides. I would prefer that the FPN not need to choose sides, but rather all contribute to learning from this experience and applying the lessons learned to the administration of the current board.

As I explained previously, I left the team confident concerning the future of FPN. I believe it is healthier when people have been too involved at the begining of a project, that, once it lives, they sit back and, consistently, let it evolve, on its own. Otherwise, it may become too personal to them, and they may refuse any discussion that does not stir the way they wish. This recent episode showed me that it was not merely a product of my imagination, but a real danger. I left so that I would not risk to indulge myself in such a behaviour.

I believe you are speaking for yourself. I have no such personal attachment. If I had, I would have mounted a coup d’etat. Instead I chose to leave. And I am sad no one gave me any credit for bowing out.

Lim, your sacrifice was not unnoticed. Many people expressed concern about your departure, including myself. Some even appeared ready to leave the FPN, a move that I am certain you would not agree with. Denis’s opinion is, of course, his own. Nevertheless, it does agree with the hypothesis I presented regarding the evolution of business through the entrepreneurial phase to the operational one.

To all members concern, I would like to reiterate that no harm has come to FPN out of this. And the team is not dysfunctional. I still have some faith in some of the Admins. Especially Kendall and Elaine who have shown wisdom in keeping a neutral stand during the episode and offering good advice. These are the qualities we look for in Administrators. As I have said, the only casualty is Free Citizen. I am truly sorry. I will not be pushed around, trampled upon and be expected to keep quiet. Nothing I have told is a lie.


I would like to believe this Lim, although the longer the longer it remains actively in dispute the more likely it is that there will be a lasting effect. I agree the team is not only functional, but remarkably rational. Obviously your judgement regarding the majority of the Admins and their judgement is well founded.

I am not able to properly express my regret that you have been a casualty, Lim. I don’t believe that you have ever misled anybody, particularly FPN members, and understand your need to present your side of the issue. I have also attempted to illustrate other interpretations that might apply, and sincerely hope that you will at least consider them. That you might have lied – or even intentionally distorted the truth has never been a question in my mind… And shouldn't be in any other's minds either. I would welcome any opportunity to consider your return to your original position within the board of the FPN, but until that time, I would hope that you will contribute to the FPN board by posting, encouraging and supporting, tasks that you have been superior at performing since we have met....


Sincerely, and still – hopefully, your friend


Gerry

#30 Free Citizen

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 12:31

Lim,

I would very much like to be considered your friend, and in that vein,
I would also like you to consider the following…

Sure Gerry, I consider you in the same light.

I think that there is possibly a third interpretation for the events –
one that begins with the first vision (the entrepreneurial or beginning
phase), and transitions to the second vision (the operating phase). 
This is a natural progression noted in many business models.  With more
administrative members, coupled with their varied personal styles, an
increased reliance on rules and procedures is usually necessary.  Yes, it
is a bureaucratic development.  No, it isn’t inherently wrong.  Is it
possible to grow larger and still remain entrepreneurial? Yes, but it is
the exception, rather than the rule.

Yes, I see your point of view. I never said bureaucratic procedures are wrong. It can also be effective but as you say, it is the exception rather than the rule. I think using a business model as a case in point for FPN is incongruous. First of all, FPN is a Voluntary Association and the Administrative Team is a Voluntary Organization. There is no monetary risk involved and no one will be bankrupt by joining FPN. So we shouldn’t take things too seriously. Instead of a very business like environment it should be more like a friendly atmosphere. Think of this Association or Organization as an Internet Pen Club. Call me a Utopian if you like but I am allowed to dream don’t I? :lol:

So while your conclusion is valid – ‘I don’t see why the same formula
cannot work with an expanded team.’, it is not the most probable
outcome.  Imposing the entrepreneurial formula will be unsettling for the
majority, and in particular the newer members, while remaining in the
comfort zone for the entrepreneurial ones.  Falling back on established
rules, and majority decisions / group action will reassure the majority of
the members – and appear constraining to the entrepreneurial spirited
ones.  Right?  Wrong?  Just?  Unjust?  I don’t know.  Really.  It just
is.  And perhaps it is more important how we respond or adapt to the
situation than the actual situation itself.

I understand your reasoning but this is a rather curious point to me. I can understand Administrator’s apprehension for making the wrong move when much is at stake. Lost of profit or worst still, lost of capital investment. But as Frank Dubiel used to say, “They are just pens” so, this is just a pen club. Not right? Let’s redo it or even undo it. Don’t take it too personally. It is just a hobby. However, since the expansion of the Admin team I have informed, consulted and abide by the decision of the majority where important policies are concerned. I have never acted unilaterally to implement policies that directly affects members’ rights. For your information, others have done so and did it without consultation. And they are not taken to task. There is even one case where a member complained and a majority vote was received to overturn a policy that was implemented without consultation. The person who implemented it presented a lengthy discourse arguing the case. In view of what this person wrote, I decided to initiate that the votes be reconsidered and the policy stayed intact. I never shouted or accused this person although the methods were wrong. And curiously, this person asked for that deliberation to be deleted from the record. Not only once did this person do this but at least twice and I now recall a third. All those actions have more serious and far reaching implications than the one I was taken to task for.

Lim, I find this the most difficult of all the issues surrounding the
admin question to deal with.  I think we all can see the difficulty
before us.  Denis has stated the facts without bias, I believe.  Yet there
are issues beyond the cold hard factual data that you want recognized.
In that, I agree with you, and recognize those issues.  You took the
high road and resigned.  You were not accused of, nor implicated in any
misconduct – rather you wanted to be more proactive and supportive of
the FPN than others were able to accept perhaps.  In itself, this is not
a problem, but it does become a problem when it leads to internal
dissention and fragmentation within the group.  It becomes a significant
problem if it progresses to the stage people feel obligated to choose
sides.  I would prefer that the FPN not need to choose sides, but rather
all contribute to learning from this experience and applying the lessons
learned to the administration of the current board.

I do not know what to believe. I have stated the facts as is. A half truth doesn’t mean that it is not a lie. And this is why I had to come out a second time to post the truth. There is a fundamental difference in leading people to believe that I left on my own free will and one in which I was presented with no other option than to leave reluctantly. And Gerry, you are mistaken. I was indeed accused of taking pre-emptive actions. An action others have committed before and was not made an issue. I was also accused of not being a team player. If you had read my first post carefully, all these accusations are for handling a moderating task, not a site policy.

Lim, your sacrifice was not unnoticed.  Many people expressed concern
about your departure, including myself.  Some even appeared ready to
leave the FPN, a move that I am certain you would not agree with.  Denis’s
opinion is, of course, his own.  Nevertheless, it does agree with the
hypothesis I presented regarding the evolution of business through the
entrepreneurial phase to the operational one.

I have lately discovered that. Members have contacted me backchannel to voice support. I am rather surprised by it as I figured no one would care. It gives me great comfort. I felt I had to come out in the open about this because I had to get it out of my chest. Statements of appreciation from the current team are window dressing only. If they were sincere in it I would not be treated this way. A slam of the door in front of your face is rude, impolite and disrespectful. Again, your business model is only valid when the partners are owners of the business. In this case, the members are the owners and the Administrators are nothing more than officers who administer the members’ mandate. Or at least that is the way it should be.

I would like to believe this Lim, although the longer the longer it
remains actively in dispute the more likely it is that there will be a
lasting effect.  I agree the team is not only functional, but remarkably
rational.  Obviously your judgement regarding the majority of the Admins
and their judgement is well founded.

As I have said, if any member have doubts about my story, let them see for themselves all the exchanges that have taken place in the Admins’ Box. Better still; make it visible for every member to see. And let them judge for themselves. That is if no postings there have been selectively deleted. In any case I have no fear; I have a backup of the content of this site in a database just before my departure. I agree with you that it is pointless for this to remain in dispute. I have stated my case and I am satisfied. Unless there is another half truth being uttered to discredit me unfairly. Truly, I have no interest in debating this issue further. I will let it rest if others will do so. This is no big deal really. I am no Viktor Yushchenko.

I am not able to properly express my regret that you have been a
casualty, Lim.  I don’t believe that you have ever misled anybody,
particularly FPN members, and understand your need to present your side of the
issue.  I have also attempted to illustrate other interpretations that
might apply, and sincerely hope that you will at least consider them. 
That you might have lied – or even intentionally distorted the truth has
never been a question in my mind… And shouldn't be in any other's minds
either.  I would welcome any opportunity to consider your return to
your original position within the board of the FPN, but until that time, I
would hope that you will contribute to the FPN board by posting,
encouraging and supporting, tasks that you have been superior at performing
since we have met....

Yes, I have considered your interpretations of this episode. Let’s just say we have different views and I do appreciate them. I am sure you will agree that we can agree to disagree like gentlemen :) . If I had lied or have distorted the truth, the current admin team would be all over me by now. At this juncture, my return to the team is impossible. I believe that the Admin team must have legitimacy through the members’ mandate. Nothing they have done or said have convinced me that they share the same believe. Perhaps they have ambition to hold on to these positions indefinitely, I don’t know.

Sincerely, and still – hopefully, your friend

Yes, of course you are :) .
T-H Lim
Life is short, so make the best of it while we still have it.