Friday, August 1, 2008

Letter to moderator

I have found myself increasingly frustrated with the situation on the board and then I get angry that I am so upset about the situation. Something in me wants to scream! So, I wrote a letter. I am hesitant to post it. I don't know if I should. I don't know if I should send it to her. I don't know if I should just keep my mouth shut and move on. But there is something therapeutic about publishing your thoughts. It is like giving yourself a voice. So, for at least now, I might try to speak.

Dear Moderator,

I joined the forums at about a year ago. Although I have been an active participant since that time and have followed the "rules" of the site, my access has been terminated and my blog has been deleted, all without explanation. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt and sent numerous emails requesting an explanation and allowing you to fix the error. But I have received no answer. Banning me from the site was without justification and is contrary to the stated mission of the forum, which is to provide support for those affected by CF.

Perhaps this was simply a business decision. You decided that for whatever reason some members of the forum were no longer welcome and that it would not hurt your business to simply delete their content and deny them access to the site. You may think that we will just go away and that new people will happen upon the site, taking our places and that your sponsors will not notice.

The truth is, however, that your decision to ban people from the site has personally affected people. People went to that site for support. CF is a difficult and very isolating disease. The forum was a great place for persons with CF and their families to share information and get support, when that is so hard to do in the "real world." Perhaps you cannot appreciate that as you are not affected by CF. Or maybe you just don't care about the people that your site is allegedly designed to support. I still cannot understand how the people that you have banned could have negatively affected your business--they were the top contributors and visitors to your site. The banned members were active in chat, and often the only members there. Look at the posts and the blogs--a lot of the information and support is provided by those people you ousted. So, even on a business level, your actions do not make sense.

I did not see the original posts that are rumored to have caused the bannings. But I saw posts that apparently caused bannings of subsequent members--including myself--and there was nothing offensive or inappropriate about them. Perhaps even more disturbing is the complete lack of explanation for your actions. Accounts and blogs were simply deleted. Emails are left unanswered. No rationale or justification is given. I suppose you hope that we will just all go away quietly, or sign up under a different alias, or beg you to restore our access. I suppose you see us as usernames that can easily be deleted and that a replacement will come along soon. But there are people behind those usersnames. People that are already dealing with a difficult disease and now are spending energy dealing with being ousted from a source of support.

I don't care that I am not part of your site any longer. In fact, this situation has proven to me exactly why no one should be a part of your site. But what bothers me is that you advertise your site as a place of support and refuge for people, but in reality it is simply a tool for marketing--a commercial enterprise. You clearly do not care about the members of the site, yet attempt to paint yourself as doing so. There is nothing wrong with being a business, it is your job and part of that job is controlling content on your site. But you have crossed the line. Your actions have hurt people and those actions appear to be deliberate and without any sort of justification or even discernible rationale. As a business that might not matter, but as a person you should be deeply ashamed.



Amy said...

I think you should send it. It is very well written and not at all demeaning which she seems to think everuyone is. You most likely will not get a response but maybe she will read it and think twice the next time she goes to hit the delete button :)

Jenn R said...

I agree with Amy...very well written and so true. When my kids dad walked out on them, their therapist encouraged them to write a letter to him, telling him why they felt hurt and how they feel. She gave them the option to send it or burn it...they sent their letters and felt good about it. There is something about writing thoughts down, it is cleansing. You really should send it to her...
Jenn :)