The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Another day, another blow up

Floydm's picture

Another day, another blow up

So, yes, this evening we had a user get upset and try to expunge himself from the site.  For now, I have shut down the account.

Sadly, there isn't a simple way for a user to erase his or her own account and all associated content or for me to do that.  They've added that feature to the next version of Drupal, the software this site runs on.  It is the oldest feature request in the system (look at the URL... it is node number 8).  For almost 10 years people have been asking for this feature. I do want to respect individual's ability to manage their own information and remove it if/when they decide to leave, but until Drupal 7 comes out and I upgrade the site (early 2011?) there isn't a reliable way to do that. My apologies.

I don't think it is appropriate to get into the specifics about what led up to this, but at a high level:

  • member A left a rather specious comment on a three year old thread that, frankly, I should just delete.
  • member B made a moderately nasty reply insulting member A.
  • member A flagged member B's comment as offensive, as did a few other folks here.
  • I removed the offending comment and asked member B to please be more courteous, even if privately I agreed with his opinion.  
  • Member B did not respond well to this and, after first asserting that it is my responsibility to verify that all posts are factual, began the self-immolation.
  • I closed member B's account and cleaned up what I could.

In the five years I've run this site, I think I've been pretty consistent about the policy here.  If I could boil it down to four words, it'd be "Don't be a jerk" (though I tend to use a stronger word than that).  There are thousands and thousands of unmoderated listservs and bulletin boards online where the loudest and the snarkiest rule.  I'm not going to let the happen here.

It is also true that I don't believe that being right or a being a better baker gives one the right to treat others disrespectfully: there are plenty of things that I am convinced I am right about that I probably disagree with many site members about. I'm sure they are equally convinced their views are correct and that I am the foolish one.  So it goes.  If we can find a civil way to exchange opinion, correct facts, and help each other see things from the other's perspective that is wonderful, but if it is going to slide into mudslinging and name calling I will ask folks to move along and discuss something else (like an NYC cop: "Alright people: shows over.").  

Similar incidents have happened a few times before and I'm sure will happen again.  I don't hold any ill will against the parties who've been asked to leave or who've chosen to leave on their own and I hope they will respect -- even if they disagree with -- my approach and what I've tried to accomplish here.  Many folks enjoy this environment and are willing to check some of their opinions at the door, but I understand that this doesn't work for everyone.  Thankfully the internet is a big place and there is room for all of us.


teketeke's picture

Hello, Floyd

I just want to thank you for all your work to keep the peace here. I can find everthing I don't know using the search box  or  some generous TFLers  help me a lot.  I like here so much.

Thank you, Floyd!


Vogel's picture

I'm a new member and joined only a few weeks ago, but I am really appreciating this community. I find it to be, compared to a lot of other sites, very peaceful and social, without people just trying to have the loudest voice and the most attention focused on them. The people here seem to be very helpful and appreciating.

Of course it is important to tolerate criticism. The discussions should be constructive and criticism is part of this. If you just agree with anything and anyone, although you know it is (partly) wrong, then you may help keeping a peaceful atmosphere, but you also don't really contribute anything to the knowledgebase, don't help other members improve their skills and are in fact lying. However, it is important to stay polite and factual, without falling into a rage and intimidate other people, unless you know a person and have a special "language code" with her/him (some people throw nasty words at each other, but it's their way to show love).

Since I am not a "core member" or anything, my opinion and the relevance thereof are limited, but the general state of this community suggests that both the members and the moderators/admins did a great job in the past. I love this site and have full respect fo the moderators trying to defend its well-developed state, even if this sometimes requires descisions that are unpopular or don't satisfy everyone.

foodslut's picture

As I've seen (now) here and on other public forum web pages, keeping the cats herded, so to speak, can be difficult.  Thanks for making this an interesting and useful place to be.

hanseata's picture

Floyd, I think you do a great job managing this website, and I wholeheartedly support your policies!

I remember a very nasty experience once with an unsupervised peer group (of therapists) when one critical remark resulted in a more and more aggressive discussion culminating in personal insults. As a group member you felt completely unprotected, and no one was able to mediate or put an end to this confrontation. (I never went back).

Though that was a live and not a virtual discussion, it was a valuable experience! For everybody's benefit it's better to have a "guardian" in place to keep this forum safe and the discussions at a level that is respectful, even if posts are critical and controversial.


ananda's picture

Hi Floyd,

This is a very busy site, where strongly held opinions bounce around all the time.

As site administrator you have a very difficult task; most people on here seem to be aware of that, and sensitive to it.

I'd just like to say thank you, again.   You do all of this very fairly and professionally.   The testament to that is just how busy the site is now, and how it continues to grow.

All good wishes


highmtnpam's picture

Floyd, This is my first blog and I liked it so much I ventured out onto a few more blogs.  I came running back with my tail between my legs.  My goodness there are some nasty people out there. Your work is really appreciated, not only by me, but also by all the members


Ruralidle's picture

Hi Floyd

Thanks for providing such a wonderful site.  Fortunately most users seem to be of the friendly and helpful variety but your efforts to keep the others in line are very much appreciated.



wassisname's picture

+1 on all of the above

The positive attitudes and civility (even in disagreements) on this site make it very special.  Thank you for maintaining the standard, it is a breath of fresh air.  Keep up the good work.


GSnyde's picture

One of the best features of TFL, compared to a lot of other web "communities", is that civility and respect are high priorities.  I'd venture to say it's among the last place on the web where you'd expect to see an ugly confrontation.  It's a great place to break bread together.  Thanks, Floyd, for keeping it that way.


Floydm's picture

Thank you all for your words of support.

MadAboutB8's picture

for creating and maintaining this great web site. I have learnt and grown a lot from this site. I can't say enough how grateful and inspired I am from the site.

Keep up with the good work.


Mebake's picture

Thanks Floyd to all your efforts to be a non bias moderator, and administrator. We at TFL  all testify to your relentless efforts to make TFL a second home away from home.

I believe that crafting bread is what all share together, and this hobby/ craft takes dedication patience and perseverance. This is exactly what makes TFl such a helpful and courteous community. There will always be anomalies, and we are glad, Floyd, that you keep them at bay!

Thank you again.

SallyBR's picture

Floyd, at the risk of repeating what many have already stated, I want to thank you for providing us with this amazing virtual place


at the moment, my life is so frantic I don't participate as much, and missed the events that lead to this blow up - but whatever happened, be sure you do a fantastic job keepiung this place as THE best gathering spot for bakers of all levels


thank you!