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FPN Admin Changes


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#31 Gerry

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 16:21

Sincerely, and still – hopefully, your friend

Yes, of course you are :) .

Thanks Lim. I am looking forward to seeing 'Free Citizen' posts in all the other forums as well - complete with the usual generous sprinkling of Smilies throughout.

Came to be a morning ritual, along with a cuppa coffee. :)

Regards

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#32 Maja

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 19:33

I have been following this thread from the beginning and this falling-out saddens me....I love this site and I enjoy the camaraderie on it.

I am just wondering if perhaps this type of falling-out can be prevented in the future by better communication of the guidelines and/or rules for present and future administrators to follow....I would hate to have this whole unpleasant episode repeated when someone else joins the admin. team (if you do plan on adding more people; perhaps you will not....which is alright, too)....

Once again, thank you to everyone who gave their valuable time to making FPN a great pen site. LONG LIVE FPN! :D
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#33 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 19:39

Just a link:

In The Works

-The FPN Admin Team-
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#34 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 21:41

Hi Mark,

I understand your concern about "secrecy". As I participated in the early process of defining the basic guidelines, I think I can tell you what the spirit behind this "confidentiality" concept is, besides the obvious cases where discussion topics include one or several members.

The idea is not to keep things form the members, but to make sure the admin team speaks as a whole. The whole point of having a team, is to bring together different sensibilities and perspectives. This also means that, while we did, and I am convinced the current admin team does, try to reach a consensus on most issues, there will always be some decisions based on a majority, with one or more admins who will not specially be in favor of an idea or action. It would be unrealistic to only act on consensual decisions, and could deprive the site of its originality and momentum.

Within that framework, it is also understood that, once a decision has been reached, it is to be presented as a decision of the whole team, and that all admins should support it. The idea is that no one would really enjoy to see the admins starting to argue on the forums, or launch "I told you so"s, or "I voted against that"s publicly. This is merely to keep the atmosphere of the site lighthearted, and spare the members with the bolts and ropes of the admin process.

I think this is pretty much a universally accepted interpretation of what team work implies. It just becomes more scary when you put it in writing, but it has to be done to ensure consistent administration of the site, for future admin teams.

The team has posted the admin guidelines on the forum, for members input, as KCat originally proposed weeks ago. The general posting guidelines are also in this News forum, for the same purpose. Thanks again to KCat, who synthetised our collective thoughts at the time, and put them in a clear, readable form.

I hope I haven't distorted the admins thoughts, and that this gives you a new light on the current guidelines building process.

Denis.

Edited by Denis Richard, 14 December 2004 - 23:46.


#35 Elaine

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 13:34

Rob,

The rules are being formed to prevent problems that we see on other sites. They are not set in stone. Note that they have been placed under a topic called "In the Works" and the following is found in that post:

If you have ideas, input, or questions please contact one of the members of the current Admin Team so that they may be addressed. There is a hyperlink at the bottom of the main forum page that will show all the active Admins and Moderators.



Could we have started the other way, asking for suggestions first? Yes. Would that have been more productive? I don't know. Would it have been better in some way? I don't know.

I would also like to point out (again) that not one other admin team member asked for Lim to resign. In fact he was encouraged to work things out.

Elaine

#36 Taki

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 16:02

To Admin team,

I feel like now I know what a child goes through when parents are getting divorce. I liked all the people who posts this forum and considered everyone friends. I think I am transitioning from the stage three to four of "five stages of emotional response": (1) denial, (2) bargaining, (3) anger, (4) despair, (5) acceptance. I am posting this in desperation.

I kind of knew there was a posting about a new protocol toward the bottom of the forums, and I just glanced at it when it was posted. I understand you need some sort of guidelines to run a site. I work at a large hospital, and we pretty much run everything by policies and protocols, too. It may not be the best solution, but it works. But, why all the sudden all these admin policies/protocols? Yes, I would have liked if admin team has asked suggestions, and if it was placed more prominently on the site. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, but perhaps it should have given more time before it went into effect.

Have you guys heard of JCAHO (Joint Commision on the Accreditation of Health Organizations)? It is an organization that set standards for hospitals/health care failicities. Though JCAHO accreditation is "voluntary", it an institution is not accredited by them it won't be able to receive Madicare/Medicaid reimbursement, so it is practially a mandate. They set and write all kinds of standards for hospitals, and I've heard this joke about them. "How many JCAHO administrators does it take to change a light bulb? -Fifteen, one to change the bulb and fourteen to write policies for changing light bulbs." Hope you guys don't become like that.

Lim's departure (voluntary or involuntary...it doesn't matter) really saddens me, and no matter what you guys say I feel like there was an injustice.

Thank you for reading my babbling.

Edited by Taki, 15 December 2004 - 16:26.


#37 KCat

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 17:47

What troubles me about Lim's departure, and Denis' too is that a protocol was created and then the protocol became justification for disciplining its creators.


As you note, Rob, you aren't privy to the process. And this statement is simply not true.

Taki, you and Rob have but one person's account of what happened. I'd suggest people recognize the old saw "there are three sides to every story, my side, your side, and the truth." And I would say that in this situation, there are actually many "sides."

I certainly respect your concerns and agree that these are things we (FPN and the admin team) need to watch out for. But I respectfully request that those who have not been down the very tough road we've been down the past couple of weeks not jump to conclusions or believe all that is written - by anyone. As an Anarchist, Rob, you know that "truth" can take a serious beating in these situations.

These guidelines have been in discussion since well before the departures of Lim or Denis. They each had a hand in the very creation of them - some of those words in those protocols are mine, some are Lim's, some are Denis', some Keiths, etc... As Lim himself said, he went "with the majority" (thereby actually creating a consensus) on many of the guidelines that are now in place.

The group is growing and with nearly 200 members *something* had to be put in place. The admin team has already dealt with a couple of inflammatory situations and that process was mind-numbingly, achingly difficult without *some* sort of agreement in how to handle those situations. That most of the members were not part of those inflammatory situations, is testimony to the fact that we are trying very hard to do things "right."

I would add - I'd like to recommend that if you have constructive suggestions for improving the guidelines, to please start a new thread and discontinue the supposition and accusations as they do not contribute to the health of this forum.

KCat
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#38 RSVP

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 19:08

May I make a few observations, not to be inflammatory, but to consider a fair assessment of the situation.

Firstly, I feel saddened and disheartened at the fact that a dispute of this petty nature has escalated to engulf the concern of the entire board and its members. Lim’s contribution has been great indeed, a true ambassador both for FPN and the fountain pen community as a hole. If he was ousted or volunteered to leave is irrelevant, the fact is he has had cause to leave. The community is all the poorer for this.

I am greatly disturbed by the kind of behaviour of all concerned, and I urge you most fervently to resolve this situation to the satisfaction of both the Admin Team and the Members at this most holy time of year where compassion and forgiveness should be paramount.

I feel greatly for both Lim and Denis who tried to found and nurture the first, true non-commercial and community maintained board on the net. This board was created as a peaceful haven; it has now begun to degenerate into the warring factions similar to those found at Pentrace.

The fact remains that Lim was appointed by Justin , before all these protocols were introduced and Justin was appointed directly by Denis. Therefore his position should be considered valid, however one member was appointed unilaterally after these protocols were brought into place, who’s position I do not acknowledge

To me there only seems to be one way to resolve this situation to the satisfaction of both the Members and the Admin. That is for every effort be made to make peace with Lim , and restore his privileges (at the earliest possible convenience) pro tem.

I would then recommend the reduction of the Admin to 3 members , to be elected by the general membership of the forum, under these shall preside a further 3 moderators, who have jurisdiction over one forum. The Admin team and the Moderators must be accountable to the membership, not themselves and will serve for a fixed period of time, after which they must be re-elected. The Admin should be solely responsible for Administration, and Moderators for Moderation, one cannot be both.

I suggest this process take place in the new year, the Admin must respect the outcome of the membership vote. I also suggest that this level of bureaucracy is unneeded, we’re all meant to be having fun people! Not vying for power!

My £0.02

James

#39 Leslie J.

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 20:25

I suggest that all members read the About FPN, FPN Guidelines and the First Draft of the Admin Protocols. Note that since the latter item was pinned to this very forum, there has not been one single response from the membership. Neither did we receive any negative feedback on the FPN Guidelines.

Lim resigned from the Admin Team for personal reasons that did not involve the rest of the admin team directly. He has since changed his story somewhat in this thread, and it seems like he has voluntarily left the forum as well, meaning he will have no say in any further decisions. It is the membership that approves the framework that the admin team is drawing up. If anyone cared to look at it, it outlines the restrictions on the admin team, not restrictions on the membership. We are not policing the Members, we are policing ourselves so that when the next team comes in, they will have clear guidelines about what they *cannot* do as admins.

Thank you for your consideration. Keep in mind that the members of the admin team are all individuals, with individual opinions and ideas. We are also human, and have put many, many personal hours into helping to keep this site running the way it was intended. We reach decisions through discussion, deliberation, consensus and finally by voting. No decision is made lightly. No member concern is too small for us to take seriously.

I believe that any constructive discussion on this thread has ended long ago. If you have further concerns, contact the admin team directly. We are always available and we are not monsters.
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#40 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 22:00

Hello everyone,

I am very close to losing my temper on this issue, and that's something that happens to me only every decade or so.

I am a bit frustrated to keep trying to explain in nice simple words that there was indeed a difference of opinion on how FPN should be administrated. Contrary to what has been said, in an attempt to shift the debate, it is was not about the vision of FPN being run by the community, but about how the admin team would function.

Those rules would not have been put in place if one particular admin, out of seven, did share with the others the same idea of how a team functions. I thought it was pretty universally accepted that a team, in the form of the one doing the chores at FPN, makes decisions together, after discussing each issues. Obviously it is not universal. One former admin did not have that vision, and prefered to "grace" the others of his wisdom. The only "rules" we had was to discuss everything, together, and to act accordingly to the outcome of the discussion, as much as possible by consensus.

When problems arose with one admin, not only acting without consultation, but also going against what had been decided, the crisis happened. That admin denied it, even though the full discussions concerned were, and still are, in the admin forum. That admin then accused me of trying to out him and of being the "front-man" of a conspiracy. I do not wish to play the victim, like others do so well, but, even though all the reasons I stated for my departure are true, I would not have left that early, were it not because of those accusations. Interestingly, the rewriting of the history has been done, such that the "conspirators" have been conveniently changed to people who are still members of the admin team.

The admins have been silent, as they do not wish to stirr up the mess. They have taken criticism about the rules, even though they had to put them in writing, at the request of one former admin (not me), and only because they tried to keep him on the admin side, and tried to find a way to work with him that would be acceptable to everyone.

Instead of that happening, that admin slammed the door, and started to spill conspiration theories, accused all of the admins of being racist and treating him badly because he is a "third world man", accused me directly of lying, presented himslef as a victim, and pulled the cover at him, presenting the early admins (KCat and myself) as being "very supportive" of his hard work, while I'm guessing we just relaxed and watched his wise actions. I'm happy to learn too that Lim was at the origin of the idea to expand FPN's administration to a team, I guess his wisdom just rubbed on me, when I decided to switch from a one-owner concept to a team administration, and commuity-run site. I'm sick of it and deeply disgusted.

The admins are building a new concept. They've always had in mind that everything they do is to build a community site. Lim's commands of what the team has to do now, shows once more that he never understood the fundamental concept of the site.

I'm ready to hear some more baby scream, and refutations of what happened, in a flawed logic, laced with insults from him. But please, I ask the members not to shoot at the admins, who are building a democratic way of functioning, despite the very stressing situation. You guys come here few minutes a day, and they are trying to make those minutes as enjoyable as possible. Believe me or not, being part of the admin team is a very time-consumming and mind-occupying job. What you all say is taken into consideration, but I ask you, as a simple member that I am, to support them and give your input, without buying the screamish theories of an ego-trip.

What good does it bring to be part of FPN admin team ? What benefit do they receive from it ? Nothing, if not the satisfaction to see a site growing in a community spirit.

You requested transparency. You got it.

Denis.

Edit : I forgot to add that each and every admin was chosen by consensus. The fairy tale that one of them was not, is very convenient to accuse him of the worst intentions.

Edited by Denis Richard, 16 December 2004 - 02:56.


#41 RSVP

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 22:36

I agree with Rob, to stop this entire ghastly episode repeating itself, all discussions and ideas / suggestions should be made public and wholly tranbsparent.

Thank you for clarifying that Lim did indeed have some responsibility in the matter, I feel the case of the Admins can now be more greatly understood.

J

#42 KCat

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 22:50

I'll ask again - if you have constructive suggestions, then please, bring them forward. That's why there's a "Suggestions" forum.

Funnily enough, James, one of the orders of business *BEFORE* Lim and Denis left was to determine how moderators would be elected by the board in the future. We put that on hold with the hopes of setting things up so they wouldn't have to. Silly, eh? We should have just had an election and said "Here, it's yours now, you figure it out." If you have a proposal for how such elections can be held, please do post accordingly in the Suggestions forum.

Edited by KCat, 15 December 2004 - 23:05.

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#43 RSVP

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 23:17

I notice you have retorted your comment that those who were not on the Admin team (and had not contributed) had stolen life from others and, I quote "sightseers" with limited facts.

Obviously from this comment some members of the Admin team consider

"All animals are equal but some are more equal than others"

I don't know what to say any more.

J :(

#44 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 23:23

James,

I think KCat meant that passing strong judgements, without knowing the facts, jumping on the first conspiracy train, considering that the person who is the most vocal and presents himself as the victim of events he provoked, is always right, is unfair to people who have devoted more time and soul that you can think of, to making the site happen.

She voiced that it is emotionally distressing to have your intentions dragged in the mud, based on a very partial knowledge of a situation.

Don't you think so ? I do.

Denis.

#45 KCat

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 23:42

I notice you have retorted your comment that those who were not on the Admin team (and had not contributed) had stolen life from others and, I quote "sightseers" with limited facts.

Obviously from this comment some members of the Admin team consider

"All animals are equal but some are more equal than others"

I don't know what to say any more.

J :(

actually you've misquoted me. I said "this is not real life and yet it's stealing from real life" meaning this discussion. At least quote me correctly.

that said, I was angry with the situation and the discussion at hand. I deleted my angry comments. I truly would like to read your suggestions for helping FPN succeed. I am not, however, angry with you.

Do you agree that you have not had direct knowledge of what has gone on in the background with the admin team? Do you have all the facts? If you have only one person's view of what 7 people experienced, then you do not. Again - it is merely a statement of fact that people making suppositions on the actions of 7 other people without direct knowledge of what transpired, are indeed observers, not participants. That isn't judgment of you or anyone else. It's just a statement of fact. I'm sorry you inferred that I would even begin to judge others as "less equal". That is not in my character. I was raised to view all people as equal. It is regretful at best (no i'll be honest, terribly painful) to be deemed prejudiced and despotic.

hell. it sucks.

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#46 Gerry

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 07:38

I want to compliment the Admin Team with regard to their handling of the 'Admin Issue'. The entire team has behaved in an exemplary fashion throughout this affair, and it is only now, as it becomes more and more open, that it is clear that silence from the team regarding the details was indeed the wisest course of action.

That silence served to protect Lim as it served to protect the FPN itself.

The Admin team has scrupulously met their responsibility for confidentiality of their deliberations, a policy that appears to have a reasonable justification, considering. It is one that I would recommend, certainly until the members can vote on it, should an opposing view materialize.

In any event, I have gradually been made aware of some of the details, and considering what I have learned, I almost wish I hadn't been exposed to them.

It is very obvious that what is done, *is* done. What needs to be recognized is that we must go on from where we are now, not from an impossible to recover position of some weeks ago.

The only way that can happen is if this affair is allowed to blow over. And the only way *that* will happen is if you continue to resist the natural reaction to defend yourselves. That has undoubtedly been very difficult.

I admire your restraint, and commend you on your judgement. Carry on.

Sincerely,

Gerry

#47 Taki

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 14:56

I apologize that my posting yesterday offended Admin team. I don't have anything against any of the Admin Team members personally. I'm just saddened whole thing happened.

I know I only have a partial knowledge (or no knowledge what went on behind the scene) of the situation that triggered this whole thing, but all I know is Lim has contributed so much to this forum.

Again, I'm sorry if my posting is taken as personal attack (which is not). I keep my big mouth shut now and won't be posting here anymore.

Sayonara

#48 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 16:27

Taki -

(Just speaking for myself here)

We all recognize and appreciate how much Lim has contributed.

I hope that "not posting here" means just in this thread as I have really enjoyed all the the contributions you have made here.

Cheers!
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#49 KCat

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 21:05

Taki.

I apologize if my post seemed in any way aimed at you. I was not offended by your post. I won't deny being hurt by all this turmoil, but i was not angry with you at all. Just with the situation as a whole.

I don't think anyone was offended by your post and in fact i think we all recognize the heartfelt concern you have not just for Lim's feelings but for the board as a whole. I would greatly miss your input here.

and that - i promise folks - is my last post in this discussion. :)

KCat

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#50 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 21:07

A me too post :D

I hope I did not seem to attack anyone in my posts. As KCat, I was just a bit frustrated.

Denis.

#51 Gerry

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 06:25

I want to compliment the Admin Team with regard to their handling of the 'Admin Issue'. The entire team has behaved in an exemplary fashion throughout this affair, and it is only now, as it becomes more and more open, that it is clear that silence from the team regarding the details was indeed the wisest course of action.

That silence served to protect Lim as it served to protect the FPN itself.


It has come to my attention that within my last posting, the lines quoted above might be construed as suggesting that either Lim or the Admin Team (which is what I meant when referring to the FPN) required ‘protection’ by silence. That would be incorrect – as I have no knowledge of impropriety on either side.

What prompted the remark is that there have been a few comments made regarding the unavailable admin forum and the silence on the part of the Admins.

My intent was to emphasize that the silence was not biased – nothing was being released – whether it was perceived to favour one side or the other. It has been my experience in these relatively highly charged situations that if the situation deteriorates to one where there are charges and counter charges, followed by more and more of the same, the usual result is a loss of respect for everyone.

I have no desire to lose respect for either side in this affair, particularly since that respect has been so sincerely earned. Just from watching the site on a daily basis, I have come to understand the effort everyone has made to make this forum the success it has become. And that specifically includes Lim, Denis and the entire admin team.

I hope that this prevents any potential misunderstanding of my earlier post.

Best regards to all.

Gerry