Laura Werner resignation

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Laura Werner ( wrote:

"Well, it's time."
About two months ago, that was how I began the email in which I convinced
the other moderators that the time had come to ban a blackmailer from the
newsgroup. Now it's time for something else: for me to resign as a
moderator of this group.

I was ready to resign a month ago, but the other moderators convinced me
to stay at least until we had voted on a procedure for modifying the
charter. In my opinion, that vote was at least in part a vote of
confidence for the moderation team. I and the other moderators felt very
strongly that the charter needed to be changed and that the proposed
procedures were a good way to do it. Most of you apparently didn't
agree, at least not enough to overcome your apathy and vote on the
proposal. Although there was a 2/3 majority of Yes votes, the turnout
was underwhelming, with only 50 votes total.

I shouldn't have been surprised by this, but I was. I expected at least
a moderate show of support. I should have known better. Almost since
the very beginning of this newsgroup, on May 12th of this year, there has
been an atmosphere of mistrust and hostility towards the moderators.
People whose posts get lost often accuse us of censoring them. Folks who
don't like a post or a thread demand that we "do something" about it.
Then there are the creeps who get hostile when we warn them about posting
personals or commercial ads. The people who interpret every personal
opinion we post as an official statement of the moderators' policy. The
people who blame us for all of the glitches in their news servers. And on
and on and on.

Add to the negative atmosphere the fact that the five of us have been
working our asses off, and you end up with some very unhappy moderators.
In the weeks before this group was started, I spent quite a few weekends
and late nights writing and debugging the software robot that keeps the
group going. I skipped play parties and munches because I felt an
obligation to the newsgroup. I essentially gave up all of my free time to
write a piece of software that the group needed. And I did it all for
free, and without complaining (well, not too much). In case you're
wondering, my consulting rate starts at $80/hour; I'm damn good at what I

After the bot was written, I spent lots of time adding new features that
we needed. Fine-tuning the spam filters. Figuring out the right way to
deal with binaries and crossposts, and so on. And I'm not the only one
who has worked hard. The other moderators have have tried to welcome
every newcomer to this group. They have written polite notes to everyone
who has posted a personal ad. They have written warning letters to people
who post commercial ads and have complained to the ISPs of spammers. This
takes up a *lot* of their time, and mine.

We've even dealt with the unpleasant task of banning someone from the
group for 30 days for posting repeated commercial ads. (And no, I won't
say who it was, because I don't want to embarass the person here in
public. S/he is perfectly free to talk about it if s/he wants to.) I
don't think any of the five of us enjoyed that episode. I know that I

The environment of mistrust combined with the hours I've spent doing
moderation have made the newsgroup a lot less fun for me than it was
before. I've had to spend so much time fighting fires, dealing with
spammers, and answering complaints that I haven't had very much time or
energy to devote to devote to just *being* here, to being a member of the
community. I used to write lots of long, emotional, introspective, posts.
Recently, a RL friend who looked at my web site commented that I hadn't
done any of that type of writing for a long time. And he was right. I
haven't. I haven't had the time, and the hostility toward the moderators
has made me unwilling to let my guard down and pour out my emotions on
the group.

And that brings us almost up to the present. About two months ago, I
decided that someone's attempts to blackmail members of this newsgroup
into silence had gotten out of hand, and I felt that I had to do
something about it. I had reached the point where his actions were simply
intolerable, and I either had to act or to resign. After a lot of email
discussion and a tearful phone call with another moderator in which I
talked about quitting, I decided to act, in part because I felt that I'd
be letting the group down if I resigned.

Since then, I have received a lot of supportive email, but I've also been
the target of quite a few vicious attacks from people who I thought were
my friends. I've been accused of betraying the group's trust in me. I've
been accused of lying about my motives, of conspiring against the
blackmailer, of manipulating the group, and of being swayed by *other*
people who were conspiring against the blackmailer.

Well, I feel like I am the one who has been betrayed. After all of the
time, effort, and emotional energy that I and the other moderators have
devoted to this group, people won't even give usa minimal amount of
trust, respect, or credit for having good intentions. Instead, there's
all this talk about betrayal, about violating the charter, and so on.
People have accused usof all sorts of nasty things, from conspiring to
take over the group to lying about what we're going to do in the future.
This has hurt me a lot.

Well, I've had enough. I am resigning as a moderator of this newsgroup,
effective immediately. I will continue to host the bot on my account
until the other moderators can find a new home for it, but I am not going
to put any more work into it. I'll help move the thing to its new home,
but that's more because I'm a R/L friend of the moderator who's likely to
get stuck with the job than because I feel an obligation to the

I will give the other moderators a reasonable amount of time to find a
replacement for me and a new home for the robot. I'll set up mail
forwarding from old posting and admin addresses. I'll be a good girl. And
when it's all over, I'll start trying to become a member of this
community again, the way I was a year ago before I was stupid enough to
volunteer for this thankless job. I'll try to start writing those long,
emotional posts again. This one is a start.


You never proved that CD was a threat. And now he's off the board. As I said before, if anyone posts on any internet venue, they run the risk of being "outed." So, some modicum of protection is called for...but not from a moderator! -- Life is too short to belittle


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