Dear Beesource Members -
I need to explain an issue that has currently come up with a disgruntled member. I usually feel that giving attention to these kinds of things is unwise, but due to the nature of this one, I feel it requires me to expose the allegations and give everyone the facts.
On November 8th, 2010, a Beesource member sent me a private message. She had received a private message from countryboy (Beesource member) that she felt was inappropriate and wanted me to be aware of it. She included a copy of his private message. Here are the parts from his PM that I felt were inappropriate:
"You start telling absolute BS, [snip] but then you don't have the backbone to actually defend yourself by providing even one example [snip]."
"It's no wonder you're having such a hard time making ends 'meet' running your wannabe 'farm' when you are so ignorant."
"You give women a bad name....but the name suits you quite well."
After discussing it with three other moderators, I sent him an email with a copy of his private message that he sent to this female member. It said:
"xxxxxxxxx (beesource member) sent me a copy of your PM to her. The Administrative moderators find your PM to be offensive and disrespectful of women. We expect members to abide by the same forum rules when using PM's. As a result, your ability to contact members through Beesource has been restricted. You can expect further banning if any hint of this kind of talk appears anyplace within the forums."
Countryboy replied back to me with an email where he concluded that his "PM did show xxxxxxxxx (beesource member) the disrespect she deserves." That was the end of that episode. His ability to use the private message function on the forum was taken away at that point.
Fast forward to January 25th, 2011. Countryboy started a new thread titled "PM's Are NOT Private." It was removed within minutes of him posting it. It was deleted because it contained incorrect statements. Consequently, he was banned. Countryboy is now on a mission to spread the lie that I have the ability to read members' private messages, and that I do in fact read them (against their will and knowledge). He is now spreading this false claim at various sites on the Internet. This has lead me to make it clear to the members what the truth is regarding Private Messaging on Beesource.
a. Private messages cannot be and are not accessed by anybody but the recipient, and they are not accessible by myself (Barry Birkey) or any other moderator. In fact, the software for the Beesource Forum (vBulletin) is written in a manner that it is not possible for myself or a moderator to look up PMs. The software designers feel this would be unethical, and I agree. In reality, the text of PMs are stored within the database on the server without the option for an Administrator to read them. Again, vBulletin does not allow anyone but the members to access their PMs, nor am I aware of any other bulletin board software that allows this.
b. I (Barry Birkey) have never, ever accessed or read other member's PMs. Even if I could do so, I have neither the time nor the desire to read other people's PMs.
c. Although they are called "private messages," the recipient of a private message has no obligation to keep the message private after receipt. The recipient may share the contents of any private message with whomever the recipient chooses, including myself or any moderator. To this extent, PMs are no different than any other email.
d. Although PMs provide a forum for people to have arguments in private, they are still subject to basic requirements that people be civil and respectful. If a member receives a PM that violates those principles, that member has the option to notify myself or another moderator. At that point, I, as the owner and administrator of Beesource, have the right to take whatever action I think is appropriate against any PM sender that, in my opinion, has acted inappropriately.
I think the community we have here at Beesource is fantastic and I appreciate everyone's part in making it so. I have acquired many new friends here. I constantly find my knowledge and understanding about beekeeping, expanding. I hope we can put this issue to rest and not let it sidetrack anyone.