I started posting in forums a while ago on the old lineone NNTP usenet style server and offered mostly my help and knowledge to the technical forums.
I gleaned a lot too from some of the Lineone crowd who helped me in the early stages of my website development.
Some helped me build my "cred" in the Lineone forums as I quickly became a target for trolls with my style and speed of posting to members when they had problems.
In fact I`d like to pay tribute to one or two who asisted me no end with useful information and sometimes answers to post as they helped members and myself immensely. Celtic Shadow and G`Dad from Webhelp, Rae Palin and Richard Tracey from PC Help and their contributions to me were immensely appreciated. It was that style and community spirit that was loved by all who posted and made for a wonderful Community spirit.
When they changed to this style of forums (vBulletin) I stayed and continued to post despite my reservations about it and the service gradually becoming worse.
The forums were started after I got to play with a few more tools that were provided by my website sponsor Imagelink and I soon discovered that there was the facility of adding forums via this american provided webserver.
I knew that some people would not be happy about me helping to speed up forums that were at that time actively anti-Tiscali moderators but I have never ever allowed the fact that someone asked for help to sway me from helping them unless of course it was illegal or naughty, you know what I mean.
It quickly became clear that people disaproved as I started to get hate letters and people signing my guestbook and stuff but I carried on helping Mark and advised only in a Technical capacity there.
I got the overwhelming support of Tiscali members in one of the longest running threads on Tiscali Here
Then just as that was coming to an end after suspicions were raised that I may in fact be Mark Bowland, jokingly put by the then Administrator of the Forums "Wolfy" Here after he had heard it speculated in their hidden forum that was exposed that showed that I and other Members had been insulted by some Moderators there.
I posted in PC Help to the Moderator who had said all those things about me and he deleted the thread as it was off topic in there, but he did not answer me in the second post I made Here
So I contacted the Register after complaints to Tiscali HQ were ignored and they published my story on their news site Here
The apology to me and others was posted at the top of every forum in Tiscali for a whole month.
I posted to say thankyou to Tiscali for this full apology Here
That was my last post there as despite assurances of a suitable reprimand to the Moderator at the centre of my complaint from the Forums Community Manager, I was recently informed that one was given, but he remains as a Tiscali Moderator and I personally found that unnacceptable so I haven`t posted further in their forums.
I hope that lessons have been learned as there is nothing I see wrong in having a "Communication" forum as it does have validity but the Administrator must oversee that it remains professional and does not allow moderators to mount personal derogatory campaigns to their own ends and potentially placing the owners in a liable situation.
That did not happen in this instance and I did not seek to gain financially from the episode. I wished to get an apology for myself and many others who were unfairly insulted but above all to alert everyone to what had happened because if it could happen to one of it`s most respected posters, it could happen to anyone.
I then started to invite some others who were either email contacts, friends or people I knew from Tiscali and the rest is history as these forums are on the up and up and showing to the whole Internet Community how a set of Forums should be run....for its members, not for financial gain and where respect is given to all members and privacy and standards are maintained.
On my forums I learned from these mistakes and earned the respect of my members and they know that after what happened to me and others I would ensure that I would never allow the same low standards to happen on my forums.
Some accused me of being over sensitive but there was a principle at stake as Tiscali were only interested in how security had been let down, rather than the reputation of it`s members being attacked by some moderators in their employ.
I would like to say that two moderators showed me support throughout and behaved impeccably at all times in any dealings and behaved professionally in the "hidden" forum. My personal thanks go to Shiraz and Syke in this regard.
For verification purposes, despite what they said about security being breached, it was not. The hidden forum was inadvertidly left open and was even viewable by guests, and they have no concept of the impact of that as lot`s of people saved those pages and have posted transcripts around the internet at various times, and I believe will do again in the future.
That is unnaceptable and preventable by administering properly and fairly and not letting any content be a concern if it was leaked or becomes viewable.
I`d like to hope that it won`t happen again, but no lessons appear to have been learned, but you can rest assured I have and others too who voted with their feet and post now in an environment that is professional and where respect is key to maintain an ethos for which I`m very proud and honoured to be a part of.
I hope this helps you to know me a bit better but ask others as some here and in Tiscali have known me a whole lot longer.
P.S. When I find time I also update my website which has exceeded the half a million visitor landmark and I have been in a magazine too, which you can see via my homepage. Any other spare time I answer some of the several hundred emails I get each month and post in the odd usenet forum too.
information about my site sponsors see Here
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