Heavy handed

This post will probably get me thrown off QRP-L for all eternity.

The other morning, I was trying to send an e-mail and Thunderbird started acting flookey. I was getting error messages that said my ISP “Cannot send message due to possible abuse” and then I also got this: “The message could not be sent because the connection to SMTP server smtp.verizon.yahoo.com was lost in the middle of the transaction. Try again or contact your network administrator.”

The situation was like this all day Saturday, so when sending e-mails, I had to use the Web based client that Verizon Yahoo offers.

No big deal really, in the scheme of things.  But later on that day, I saw that Terry KQ5U was experiencing the EXACT same problem and he posted about it as an Off Topic on QRP-L.  Wishing to communicate with him about it, but not wishing to tie up the e-mail reflector, we shared a couple of direct e-mails.

Thunderbird started acting normally for me on Sunday morning; but then gave me the same error Sunday afternoon and evening.  For the record, it seems to be all right today.  And I would have to say that in all, there were less than a half dozen posts about this on QRP-L.

Then I saw this today, and quite frankly, it rubbed me the wrong way.

“QRP-L mailman list,

Just a reminder, we don’t use OT in the subject or have Off Topic posts on this list. Especially when it comes to computer operating systems. Please take that elsewhere please.

This list is to be use for QRP and ham radio related topics. Some think this is a fine line since many of us have computers attached to our rigs, it is not.

Antenna modeling, SDR’s, logging and control are OK to discuss on the list, but I draw the line on operating systems. Guys that want to continue pushing this will be moderated without warning.

If you have any questions on this contact me direct and NOT to the list.

Thank you and 73 qrp-l moderator.”

Now, first off …… this is a private list that is run by someone.  Who that someone is, I am not sure and really, do not even want to know.  That said person sets rules and that we are expected to follow them is also fine.  I have no qualms with any of that.  That this notice was posted didn’t even bother me.

Here’s what bothered me, this one single, line:  “Guys that want to continue pushing this will be moderated without warning.”

There were a grand total of less than 1/2 dozen posts regarding this; and the originator, Terry KQ5U was looking for assistance.  And he came looking for that assistance to  a group of guys that are very knowledgeable on a wide variety of topics.  The fact that there were so few posts about it didn’t warrant the reaction, in my book.  And the “challenge” to anyone who might have offered some valuable information or tips seemed to be way off base in my most humble opinion.

In the past years, I have seen some really mundane topics that had NOTHING to do with QRP, just beaten to death on QRP-L, without one iota of comment from anyone.  This one, where someone was looking for some help with regards to an e-mail client (and NOT an operating system as was erroneously pointed out) so that he could continue posting to the list, just seems rather arbitrary and heavy handed to me.

Like I said, if this gets me banned from QRP-L in a snit of retaliation – so be it, but what’s right is right. The list owner’s announcement was correct and reasonable – the implied threat wasn’t.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

10 Responses to “Heavy handed”

  • Goody K3NG:

    I gave up on both QRP-L lists awhile ago. Both are the goofiest administered reflectors I’ve dealt with in the 20 years I’ve been online and towards the end neither contributed much to my enjoyment of the hobby.

  • Scott N9TGW:

    For some reason, there are people who think that having a ham license makes them a god, and noderating any thing multiplies that power exponentally. I’ve seen one online group where the moderator whent insane when one poster corrected him on the protocols used by repeater utilizing PL tones, even though the poster supplied documentation. In my book when you run into these groups and individuals the best thing you can do is NOT ignore them, as they bring the entire hobby down. Instead, it is necessary to do, as you just have, inform others, HOWEVER, Document it! Use the th copy and paste function so that others do not fall prey to character assassination, and you cant be accused of ‘sour grapes’. Proof is vital to anything in life these days.

  • Michael N5TGL:

    Sometimes mods get tired of seeing things happen after a long time of ignoring them or “letting them slide” and one day, they decide that NOW is the time for action. Otherwise known as the straw that broke the camel’s back. That’s what appears to have happened here.

    It reminds me of a story…a police officer pulls a guy over for speeding. The speeder complains “Hey! What about all those other folks out there speeding, what about them?”

    The cop replies, “have you ever gone fishing?”
    “Ever caught ALL the fish?”

    From what I can gather, he sent the warning out to everyone on the list, so technically, everyone HAS been warned. I’m also guessing that sending out individual warnings probably takes more time than the list owner wants to devote (he’s doing this for free, right?) so yeah, he’s going to take a heavy-handed approach when he doesn’t want to waste time on it.

    Do I think it’s excessive? Yeah, probably, but then it’s an attempt to control the signal-to-noise ratio. It’s also his list and he can run it any way he pleases. I don’t think I would have liked to receive that either, but what can you do?

    Well, I guess you could always start your own list, but who wants to mess with that, right? 🙂

  • Bill - WA8MEA:

    I say that moderators are the mall security guards of the Internet. They aren’t qualified enough to be full fledged state troopers. However, that doesn’t stop them from acting like a state trooper.

    And if they have it in for you, they won’t let go. Anything and everything gets edited/deleted. That’s why I started my own review section on the homepage of my website. It’s called; “Too Good For eHam”. I’ve basically taken the reviews that Phil has deleted or edited on eHam and posted them in their entirety.

    I sometimes wonder what Phil has against me. But I don’t dwell on it because life goes own.

    Oh, BTW, after four or five years, I finally found out I was banned for life from QRZ.com. (That’s how little I use it. I prefer Hamdata.) Anyway, I am supposing this goes back to the time where Fred was once again looking for VOLUNTEER moderators. I questioned Fred’s constant request for free help (knowing that “mall cops” were always ready to pounce) and suggested he give someone a paying job. (I know he makes quite a bit from ad sales….) I guess Fred didn’t like that suggestion and tried to kill off the messenger.

  • Michael N5TGL:

    Quite impressive to get yourself banned for life in only 28 posts. 🙂

  • Goody K3NG:

    Wow, banned for life from QRZ? You have my admiration. Seriously. 🙂 I’d attain that status but I still find it useful and somewhat entertaining to occasionally post responses in articles to point out irony and idiocy to regulars there. Moderation on QRZ is like a box of chocolates, an expired, rancid box of chocolates that’s been in the sun. I’ve seen moderators join in with questionable behavior, and obvious troll comments that tend to favor prevalent negative attitudes and tin foil hat politics in amateur radio not get deleted. The icing on the cake was when one of the most despised hams in amateur radio (can’t name him, but he has patents and threatens to sue anyone and everyone) was seriously considered for a moderator position. On eHam you have to threaten to murder someone to have a comment deleted, and that’s only if you describe murdering them in a very gory manner and someone actually complains about it. It’s unfortunate that sites like QRZ and eHam have become standards in amateur radio. This appears to have happened merely because they were the first on the scene. Being a standards bearer in amateur radio usually requires merely showing up. But I digress.

  • I should clarify one statement which should have read: “On eHam you have to post something threatening to murder someone to have your comment deleted…”. I didn’t mean “threaten a moderator”, which my sentence could have been interpreted to mean. My point is the moderation there is very lackadaisical and only the very worst comments get deleted.

  • Scott N9TGW:

    As this thread indicates, these petty rulers are only in it for the glory and nothing more. We NEED to set a standard. How many of us got into this for more than just talking across the street? These bullies are taking us all down… if not just by reputation alone.

  • Bryan Herbert:

    Hey Larry,
    Ive been hearing a lot of similar complaints so I went ahead and started a new group. Im leaving it open for everyone to join but go ahead and start inviting whoever you like to talk to on a regular basis. Be sure to read the group description.


  • Bill - WA8MEA:

    Thanks for the accolades, Goody. Actually, I believe the “beef” with Fred might have gotten off on the wrong foot years before when I told Fred off about his “self serve advertising.” I told him, in so many words, that if I was going to pay the prices he was charging for advertising, that he was going to wait on me PERSONALLY….and that I wasn’t going to go through some self-serve BS.

    Someone else brought up eHam and their LACK of moderation. Actually, there are two extremes. You have Phil in the review section who likes to play games with people he likes/dislikes. And then you have others who let everything fly.

    I remember buying an HT from some fella, and they started bashing him in the rip-off discussion forum. I made one simple comment about having an OK transaction with the dude, and then a half dozen folks came out of the woodwork and called me a “child molester”! Seriously! Because I made a transaction with someone who evidently had a misdemeanor sex charge on him, I was guilty by association!

    (Evidently, this kid was eighteen or nineteen and had some pics on his ‘puter of his 17 year old girlfriend and got busted.)

    Do you think I could get anyone at eHam to remove the libel? No. I emailed all kinds of eHam people, even made phone calls. Nothin’. I figured out that if I made simple one word responses to all of the other posts, I could push the offensive posts WAY DOWN in the thread. Now THAT caught the moderators attention. So I explained why I did it. They removed the offensive posts and had a fun time cleaning up my hundred or so one word responses.

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