4 Jun 2012

A very sad day

Do you get days when everything goes wrong? Today was one of these for me.

A few weeks ago I suggested, after a long 5 day outage, that the RSGB LF-reflector migrated to a Yahoo Group. In my experience Yahoo groups are great: messages, files and photo storage and a great way to share and archive information with others of like mind. In over 15 years I have rarely had problems with any of the groups to which I belong.

After a few weeks, the group leader G3WKL decided to make the move to a Yahoo group having "taken the temperature" of the original group members. Then the "fun" began: a few people objected and started a flame war and I was centre stage of the hate, in particular from one particularly nasty and forthright individual. I could name him but will not stoop so low.

My intentions were good: I wanted to let people know that all they did with the original Blacksheep mailing list could still be done, but so much more too. Things like archiving of messages, 100GB of both file and photo storage etc.

The resulting avalanche of nasty and ill-informed posts, many of which were directed at me, has frankly sickened me. My faith in the hobby has been shattered by the bad feeling and unkindness of a few ill-informed individuals.

Amateur radio is usually a friendly and helpful community but in the last few days I have seen an altogether different and darker side of it, one which shames the community.

To be honest, I have never been nearer to throwing in the towel and taking up another hobby. This is indeed a very sad day.


tmw said...

1) Haters are just going to hate. This is what they do.

2) It could be fair to say that often you can't observe an entire sequence of posts as being really a cohesive thing. At each point there was some kind of either real or just perceived "last word" where someone feels that their minutia wasn't expressed or understood, so they feel that at that moment, at that time slice, that they have to "exaggerate" in order to get their point across, in order to be specific, and that's when the avalanche begins to start. People are particularly agitated on the net (especially us nerdy non-neurotypical types) when something is "wrong" on the net or "unfinished"... so, I wouldn't take it too personal if you can because it is a psychological intersection of the mind and the temporal effects of the internet. This has been well documented on Usenet in days of old with "Rule #34" that every conversation on the net, of significant length, will eventually invoke the name of Hitler.

3) You're generally fairly awesome from what I can tell but I don't pay too much attention either :P anyway... haters are just going to hate.

Anonymous said...

Roger, don't let them get you down man. You made a good suggestion. If the people that don't "get it" refuse to use their brains, let them live in ignorance and use the delete key. Your friends will still be your friends. This hobby is fun, but as I'm sure you are aware, you have to know when to just turn the dial to another frequency. Thanks for the posts.


tmw said...

Oh I thought of another possibly relevant thing. Clay Shirky of NYU talks about these sort of unspoken / unwritten social contracts that online communities can develop within themselves. As stakeholders they feel they make or break a forum or list, which is very well true to some extent, and anything that seeks to change the status quo is just seen as an offence to the community (well, at least by some members of the community). Most prominent is the case of Flickr recently, which started as a great photo sharing site of photography enthusiasts but as Yahoo bought it and started to integrate it with other Yahoo services and degrade the overall experience of their core membership, basically most people left. This is now happening again with Facebook & Instagram. So, the community feels they "own" the collective, whereas the admin may just want to do something else, this seems to get things into a tangle. This is all somewhat of an ebb and flow and part of the reality of the net I guess.

Anonymous said...

Never let them get you down Roger...If they don't like it tell them to foxtrot oscar...you have gone forward with a good heart so have nothing to apologize for.

Leave at that...

73 Paul G0WAT

Kevin ZL3KE said...

Roger, you're not the only one - my experience of that particular group was that it's unfortunately got a rather large proportion of self-important opinionated people who tend to sour the atmosphere for everybody else. That's why I left the group some years ago and have never rejoined - I've since seen nothing to make me change my mind. Life is simply too short for that kind of thing, these days I just quietly walk away and leave the trolls to their own devices!

Paul PC4T said...

Hello Roger,
I think you are a friendly, sincere and intelligent man. Your blog is very popular and a must for every serious ham. Don't let the dark side of our radio amateur community win their dispute. They are everywhere on the internet with their hatred. We need man like you in our community. Nevertheless, I can understand your frustration very well. But please let it go. Give them no further attention anymore, they are not worth it. Keep up the good work, 73 Paul

Kevin said...

Hello Roger

As tmw has already noted people can have some very odd ideas about how to behave in the various forums and it is a very great shame that people behave in ways that they would probably not do so face to face or if not provided with the anonymity provided by the internet.

It is sad but judging from previous experience I think that this kind of behaviour will always be around in one way or another and about the only thing we do have control over is how we let it affect us as individuals.

It is obvious that these comments have affected you badly but please do not let a few people push you away from a hobby that it is clear from your blog and website you obviously get a great deal of enjoyment and pleasure from.


Julian Moss said...

Nil illegitimi carborundum!

Dominic Rivron said...

It's not the hobby - it's people. If you change hobby, then you'll have to take up one that no-one else does.

It's also the price for "getting out there" and sharing your thoughts and ideas. Or every one person who treats you like that there will be countless others (like me) that appreciate the fact that you share your designs, etc., and by so doing help to ensure that amateur radio doesn't become a mere "black box" hobby.

Anonymous said...

Do not let loonatics spoil your dedication to the radiohobby. Your blog is a splendid source of ideas to me Roger and I have used contents of some of your articles to inform our local hams in Zoetermeer,west part of Holland, like recently the 70 MHz transverter.
73 Ron

Anonymous said...


The problem is that you're taking it to heart because you're equating them to yourself.

It's a case of chalk and cheese. They're not like you or I or most of society. They're the small minority that have a subtle genetic variance that make them behave the way that they do.

Other examples of people with that trait are Stalin, Hitler (as predicted) and Mussolini and we all know what the result is in listening to people like them.