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open letter to Ernie and Bruce/Bruce and Ernie
04-14-2005, 01:57
Post: #1
open letter to Ernie and Bruce/Bruce and Ernie

Dear guys--
I don't presume to speak for other fellow Blue Birders, but I'm willing to bet that, along with myself, there are many, many others who really grieve to see this apparent rift between the two of you--a partnership so many of us thought was so close, and apparently, truly wasa team until recently?
Along withfrettingabout the fragmenting of the online Blue Bird community, I did some "Googling" last night. When I "Google" on various key word searches for "Blue Bird forums," etc., neither of your sites seems to show up very high in the search results--in fact, I went down several pages of search results to see when/if your sites come up, but with no luck--so I don't even know where/if they show up now. It seems to me that when I tried this back in spring, 2003, when Stew and I were first looking to purchase our Bird, we found the then-single forum very easily. Now I just wonder what the heck is gonna happen to newbies like us who were stumbling around looking, for a strong online BB community.
I'm sure they'll figure it out eventually, -sigh- Yes, I realize that the search engine issue is one that can most likely be solved by tweaking search-engine mechanisms, but it's the fragmentation of the community that is such a downer, and I wonder how that can be repaired.
Guys, before it became really apparent to us Wednesday that there was some sort of breach in your relationship--first, via Ernie's resignation announcement and then the development that, Bruce, you had moderated Ernie out of the old Yahoo forum on Wednesday, I think most of us in the community wanted to follow and be faithful to both the new/Bruce forum and what was going to be the Ernie/old Yahoo forum. I think many of us were of the mind that probably in time, the Bruce site might prove the most useful for our purposes (again, with no disparagment of Ernie) because it would alleviate some of the downsides of the Yahoo site (ads, etc.), so that, in time, much, if not most of the group,might migrate there--and, I think even you, Ernie. were of that opinion at one time.
Now, of course, who knows? It's apparent that some folks already feel like they have to choose sides, and I don't think that's what anyone wanted to see when this whole compromise about Ernie keeping the old forum going came about. I think everyone was satisfied that there would be the two sites, that they would publicly acknowledge and respect each other, etc.

Bruce, I'm sorryto confront you here in public because as you know, I'vecited both you and Ernie as big heroes of mine on the old forum several times and have written a lot of praise about your efforts both on this andyour new forum. I've even had several cordial, off-list e-mail conversations with you. That praise still stands, but I'm going to ask a few pointed questions that will probably not be pleasant.
Yesterday,I cross-posted to bothBruce's old and Ernie's new Yahoo forums so that both of you andeveryone could see my questions and concerns (echoing some of what Dan Weaver's post addressed), rather than "sneaking around": Bruce, I was disappointed that your recent"Response"did not directly address questions Dan and I, among others, asked earlier about the group's understanding of what we all thought was the fairest compromise for those who did not wish to see a change and did not want to see the forum go the wayof pay-to-play--our understanding was that Ernie would take over ownership of the old Yahoo forum.
I am sorry to air what seems like some dirty laundry here, but I guess I'm going to plunge right in. . .from notes I have seen on Bruce and Ernie's definitive conversation (btw, I didNOT receive these notes from Ernie, but from someone else who was trying to help me understand what was happening), the abovewas also Ernie's understanding until you told him during that conversation, in no uncertain terms, to "Watch my lips. I am the owner of both forums." Bruce, can you please answer me--was that tone and comment not a rude surprise for Ernie and for his (and our) understanding of the future of the Yahoo forum?Or, will you just deny the conversation went that way?
Another blow--word came to us on Ernie's forumyesterday thatBruce had moderated him out from posting on the old forum, thatBruce hadplaced a hold on his posts untilhe could review them. Bruce, how is that any way to treat someone who (along with everyone on the list itself) helped you co-develop this community over the past 4 years?
Also, as I stated earlier, Stew and I sent you, Bruce,our $20 and a lot of praise to support the new ideas and vision that you are trying to create with your site, and after what I've written here, I hope you will not bar access to us, as we are paid customers. But all along, we also fully intended to support Ernie's inheriting the old Yahoo site, too, for as long as it would exist. In a post last month, I predicted that perhaps eventually, much of the group would seethe Brucesite as the one best meeting everyone's needs (and eradicating some of the downsides of Yahoo with its ads, etc.) and so they would end up atthe Brucesite. My understanding is that even Ernie was of that mind, but I would assume, not now, after how you have treated him. And, I doubt anyone else thinks in those terms any more.
I think we are all saddened to see POLITICS invading what has been a very great forum and to see any fragmenting of the Blue Bird online community. Like a lot of others, I'm disappointed in Bruce's alleged treatment of Ernie. And, as I started off saying--I think most of us are grieved to see the apparent rift between the two of you.
I hope the community can somehow pull back together, and I will ask the forgiveness of the group if this e-mail of mine does anything to further fragment it, but I felt I had to say these things.
Bruce, I am just asking you to be accountable for these thingsto the community. If that conversation went the way I've outlined above, then it greatly contributed to this fragmentation of the community by giving Ernie no other choice than to go this separate way. Itthe conversationwent that way, could you please just publicly own up to it, and maybe a public apology to Ernie would be in order, please? That would go a long way with some of us who are very disappointed in your treatment of Ernie.
Ernie, I'm asking you to reach out to Bruce if the public apology comes.
Both of you, I hope that somehow you can get back to the mutual respect you once had--if indeed it is gone. What I was hoping would happen with the existence of two different forums--a pay-to-play and a free one--was that they would at least--for the good of the entire Blue Bird community--include a reference and link to each other's Websites--which, in fairness, Bruce, the old Yahoo site did until it was deleted last night. On your new site, I don't see any evidence of this.
You both are doing a great service to the Blue Bird community by taking on the humungous job of marshalling these two Websites, and we thank you both. Just asking you both to "go-the-extra-mile" and call a truce, exchange whatever apologies are appropriate, and make it abundantly clear on both your Websites about the mutual existence of your sites and the choices available to the community.
Seems like that would be a decent way to treat the entire list, which has, after all, greatly helped the two of you build this online community.
Thank you for hearing me out.
"The Bird Abides"
'83-FC 35 RB
Blaine, WA
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