Back on Wed October 22, 2008 at 6:35 am I sadly wrote this final post on the N-SSA message board:
“It has come to my attention that my N-SSA membership is in jeopardy by using this message board.
“Since I really enjoy breaking clays, and I have enough headaches in my life, this will be my final post.
“If for some reason you need to contact me, please email me or visit my usual hangouts, I will not be using this message board again.
“All I ever wanted was a Virginia farm, no end of cream and fresh butter and fried chicken-not one fried chicken, or two, but unlimited fried chicken.
“Mike Kendra – 7858V, 1st NJ Lt Artillery: http://1NJLA.com “
I think I got about 35 emails from people who wanted to know why I was leaving the message board, and what was going on.
I am finally ready to reveal what happened and why I left the message board.
Before I go on, I need to tell you, it’s not an exciting story, but if you really need to know the details then keep reading…
It’s a fairly simple story really, and it involves one small post, a short email, and some rules that have been applied to the N-SSA Message Board. I’m going to leave names out of the story, because they are not really important.
The Saga Begins
Some poor guy made a post on the N-SSA message board, I honestly don’t remember what the original topic of the thread was about, he said he had a problem with his message board profile. He said he wanted help fixing the problem. Okay…
… Then he signed his post and included the password for his account so that the webmaster could fix it for him…
Well, I read this and was stunned, and as I remember I was getting ready to leave the house, and didn’t have time to do anything fancy. My first thought was to click “report a post”, but of course there is no such button on the board.
What would you do at this point? I made a quick post, thinking I’d get someones attention:
someone edit that last post, geeze…..
Where is report-a-post when you need it….
After making the post I realized that who knows when someone would notice the issue. So the I emailed the webmaster:
Subject: Password on Board
Please edit the post with the password in this thread:
In my opinion, if I had done nothing the whole world would have had access to this guys N-SSA message board account. No big deal right? The webmaster would have eventually seen the post and edited or deleted it.
But what if that guy used that password in other places. What if that was his Ebay password too. Or what if it was his credit card account password? That wouldn’t be good.
So anyway, I emailed the webmaster of the N-SSA message board. My task complete, I went back about my normal business.
When I got home from work on Tuesday night (48 hrs later) I had an email in my inbox. Here is what it said:
Per your post on Sunday October 19, 2008 and subsequent personal emails to (the N-SSA BB Administrator) you are being given your first warning on prohibited use of the BB in accordance with the posted BB Forum Rules. We, the administrators/moderators, have discussed this with the Board of Directors and all agree that we are operating as directed by them and within the guidelines developed. ‘Backseat’ moderating and personal attacks on the administrators/moderators will NOT be tolerated. We understand you feel you have knowledge otherwise but at this point you are not an administrator or moderator and simply ask that you don’t act as such and that you keep your thoughts in check.
Further personal attacks, on the BB or through personal emails, will be cause for appropriate actions by the Board of Directors up to and including removal from the BB and possible expulsion from the N-SSA.
Here is the current web site rule (Aug 2009, I believe they had the same or similar rules back in Oct 2008) as it applies to this event:
Rule #7 – Members are asked to not act as “back seat moderators”. If members note an issue which contradicts this policy statement, they are welcome to bring it to the attention of a member of the Moderator Team. Do not respond to such topics yourself. Members who constantly “act” as moderators may be warned.
Was I acting as a backseat moderator? I don’t think I was.
Here is the second rule that applies to what’s written in the official email:
Rules: Final Paragraph – Any member who threatens the Webmistress or any of the Moderators shall be subject to immediate, permanent ban from the bulletin board, without warning, and his or her rights are not subject to appeal to the Board of Directors. Harassment of any employee of the N-SSA (paid employee or volunteer) is grounds for action by the Board of Directors, including suspension from membership for a period of time, up to and including permanent expulsion from the membership.
The charge of “Backseat moderating” is really weak in my opinion, all I did was attempt to get the attention of the webmaster or a moderator to fix a problem, which is exactly what the rule says I should do, but they must have their own opinion.
I’m still trying to figure out what “personal attacks” I’ve perpetrated. This is the most ridiculous charge of all.
So, could I be thrown out of the N-SSA for this? You might think, “Ah, that will never happen”. But then again maybe it can.
I don’t want to be a part of a message board that threatens it’s members over nothing. When I received the official warning email I felt like I had a target painted on my back. I felt at the time that I could be banned and / or expelled from the organization for anything I said at the message board, on any topic. I still feel that way today.
I don’t have anywhere else to go, there is no other N-SSA web site. So I’ve sat here for the last few months, steaming, wondering who to talk to, what to do next.
Now I have my own blog, and hopefully I’ll be allowed to be myself with my own thoughts.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!