As many of you already know, OGR has a fair share of ex-members that are now members of other forums. They are ex-members for a variety of reasons. From self exile because they didn't like our "heavy handed" moderation to being just plain ushered out the door by one or more of our moderators. Nothing new there except SOME of them just can't move on and enjoy the hobby without constantly taking the opportunity to do their best to put OGR in a dim light. They complain, bash, and make disparaging remarks about not only OGR and its principals but about our membership and how this place lost all of its talented members implying that all of the talented folks moved to their forum. We know that is not true.
Normally I would not address these kinds of things because to be honest, most of our members know that the folks at OGR feel we all should do our best to focus on the positive side of the hobby and what we have to offer. We realize that we can't meet everyone's expectations and so other forums are seen as good for the hobby, or they should be. Per our terms of service, we do not knowingly allow our membership to start threads that are designed to put down other forums, businesses, individuals, etc. NOTE that I said "we do not knowingly" allow this but I am aware that sometimes someone will test our policy on this and we may not discover such a thread immediately. We do our best however to discover these and either edit them or delete them altogether.
OK ... so why am I addressing the forum membership about this? Well, there are times that OGR needs to let forum members know both sides of a topic that either has come up on our forum or another forum. The purpose is to try to offer an explanation of why we/I said something or why we have a certain policy that may be being presented in a way that was not intended. We have such a case going on right now on another forum that happens to share members with us. Many of those members regularly report back to us when something seems amiss when it comes to topics on that forum that are designed to negatively affect OGR. First I want to thank those members for reporting a topic concerning an email I sent to an individual who had applied for a membership on our forum. Let me tell you how this went down since I was there and was actively conversing with the applicant but first I want to tell you about our current application process.
Because we literally receive hundreds of applications per month (read more about this in detail in the upcoming run 321), we were getting an uncomfortable number of applications that were questionable. We were concerned about site security as well as allowing just anyone to be a member that may want to have access to member's profiles for nefarious reasons. So, when one applies to become a member, we put their profile through a verification process. We check with a variety of sources that we tell us if an address is owned by an applicant. If we can not verify an applicant's address information, then we decline the application and ask for USPS proof of delivery. Basically, we ask them to prove they are getting mail addressed to them at the address in their application profile. Note that this process is pretty good at finding folks however it is not perfect. We sometimes have a problem with verification even if later we find the applicant is telling us the truth. This is why we ask them to just simply scan a USPS mail piece showing that they get mail at the address in question.
OK, so a few days ago an individual (if you want to know his name, contact me) applied and we had a verification problem. I asked him for USPS proof of delivery and what was supplied was not what was asked for rather it was something that we could not use in our process. The applicant's last email to us basically said that we either approve him (implying that he was not going to provide what we needed) or decline him and he would move on. I personally responded to him that what he sent us did not prove his address. In another exchange, I tried to explain our process and a little reasoning of why as well as some thoughts about the forum. I told him that sometime in the near future we would be requiring forum members to become supporting members or digital subscribers. OK ... BEFORE those of you reading this go crazy over that statement, let me tell you that what I said to him in my mind was referring to future NEW members. I re-read my statement to him and can honestly see how it could be interpreted as meaning all current members but because he was trying to become a new member AND we were having a problem verifying his information for some reason, I wanted him to know that in the future, membership would require a digital sub or supporting membership. In my mind I thought that might get him to understand that if he wanted to be a member NOW, he needed to supply what we needed to get him approved. Crickets after that until we find out that this guy provided my email to some of the principals on the other forum.
Of course, a thread was started on that forum posting my email to him. The same folks that always take the opportunity to turn something concerning OGR into a negative hash and bash were there right away. What I want you all to know is that I can see how I worded the email to this "applicant" could be interpreted as referring to all current members. I should have made it clear I was speaking of NEW members. I made an assumption that the "applicant" understood that ... obviously I assumed wrong. I don't want you all to worry about being forced to become digital subscribers or supporting members. While we would appreciate you choosing one or both of these options, that is up to you. Heck, I will admit we need your support just like all of the other current hobby magazines do. I just express it to you guys and gals in more of a personal way but I know I sometimes trip over myself!
I want all of us to enjoy the hobby and to those folks that feel that they need to stir up controversy all the time, then perhaps more and more of us will begin to realize the real reason why you are stirring so hard! Frankly, ask yourself ... do I want to be part of a group that uses a lot of their time "stirring" or do I want to enjoy my hobby and stay away from the soap opera?
Finally, if any of you want to contact me personally about this post, please feel free to email me and I will be more than happy to answer your questions and concerns. AND I realize that this will give new fodder for those on the other forum. I assume they will work hard to analyze what I have said above and twist it into what they want it to mean.
Thanks for reading this!