Wednesday, June 14, 2006

This month has been challenging on a personal and professional level.

One of my very favorite writer's boards went down for over a week. I'm not mentioning the name for reasons that will become obvious. After the first 24 hours of heavy withdrawal symptoms, I finally realized no matter how many times I hit the refresh button, my favorite's link, or the bookmark, it wasn't coming back. At least not for the moment.

The intervening break of about 10 days, gave me a fresh perspective on posting. It also freed up a lot of time, I mean a lot of time.

Have you ever been oblivious to something you pass by every week? You don't really see it because it's always just been there? Sort of like a stop sign on your way home from work, your automatic pilot brings the car to a halt, every day, twice a day. Then a traffic light is installed and for a brief moment you're not sure where you are.

Something similar happened. The post reiterated a rule of the board. I firmly believe that when you post on a board you follow the rules or you shouldn't be posting. The owner of the board has every right to decide what is, or isn't acceptable, on their particular board. But this rule, this rule governed behavior off the board. What the particular rule was, is irrelevant.

When I joined that board, that's all I did. I joined a board, not a club, not an association, not a fraternity, not a vigilante group, not an organization. I joined the board because membership was necessary to post. The topic I wanted to post about was a certain Publishing company in America.

On this particular board you could join and not reveal your true identity. Many members did exactly that. I'm still not sure who some of my favorite members are. I joined as myself and used my real name. With very few exceptions I just about always use my real name.

On that fateful day, just about a week ago, the rule hit me (like the traffic light). Belonging to this board meant I agreed to rules which governed my behavior off the board. The more I thought about it, the more it gnawed at me. Finally it was either be a hypocrite or resign from the board. I resigned. And I resigned in a last message posted to the board, explaining why I was leaving, and since I couldn't delete my membership there, I asked a moderator to delete it.

The reaction was stunning. I had been a member of the board since 2004. I probably made over a thousand posts. Most of the posts were information about the Publisher in America. Many members had thanked me for the information I posted. But not this time. The discussion lasted nearly four days. One of the posters who came to my defense was banned. Another major contributor resigned for the same reason I did. There were all sorts of speculation about why I really resigned. And yet no one thought to email me and ask. No one.

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