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Our side of the story
Posted on 8 March 1999, 16:37 GMT

This message is posted on the ticalc.org news system, and will be sent to Dimension-TI and the TI-Files for posting on theirs, if they are interested in showing our side of the story.

So. To the point. Why was Bryan dismissed? Well. First of all, it was not because of the TI-Files "incident". Nor was it because of the recent backlogs in the filearchives. Nor was it because of any other member of ticalc.org.
To put it all together very simply, the reason was a complete refusal from Bryans side to cooperate on the staff.

Now for some details.

As Bryan mentions in his mail, we had a change in staff structure last autumn. However, we do not share Bryans view on what the situation was before. According to Bryan, the situation was that everybody was equal. According to the rest of us, it was just "he who yells highest and most often gets it his way". Also, Bryan stated that nobody could tell others what to do. Yet, this is exactly what happened. People were not "told" what to do. But they were nagged on until they did. We did not feel content with that, and felt the need for a change.
In the beginning (a long time ago...), the flat system worked fine. Everybody was able to discuss things through until we got do a decision. This no longer worked.

To replace the old "flat system", we (mainly me, Chris and Isaac, the oldest members of ticalc.org) designed a proposal for a new staff structure, to keep things more structured than before, and hopefully bring back some of what we had lost. As Bryan said, this was posted on our internal mailinglist for discussion. Nobody (including Bryan) disapproved of this original proposal, which only listed sketched positions and not whom we recommended to hold them. A few changes were made per requests from the rest of the staff, but this was mainly very minor things. After this, we sent out the "second proposal", which included our recommendations for the initial holders of the posisions. Bryan was, as you all have heard, not nominated for "coordinator", but "only" for news system, PotM manager, File Archive and at least one "upcoming section". This proposal was met from Bryan, with general complaints on a lot of points. Some of which were the same points that he earlier approved on. The discussion went on for a few weeks, and everybody posted comments. Including the "new staffers". Not all comments were posted "in public", because anything written there was usually hevaliy bashed down on. Eventually we held a vote, and a clear majority decided that this new system was what we wanted.

Thus, the new system was implemented. In the beginning, this meant almost nothing to the existing staff, except the amount of bashing on the internal mailinglist dropped rapidly. Also, in order to fill all the posts listed in this new structure, we hired Nathan Haines to handle the support mail. Nathan was hired on a 30 day trial basis, which he passed easily by doing a great job in handling the help mail, which had fallen behind for months before his hiring.
As we had agreed on before the initial vote, a new vote for both the system and the coordinators was held in late january 1999. The vote consisted of two questions, "Should our new staff organisation be kept" and "Should the current coordinators be kept". The current coordinators were NOT entitled to a vote on the second question, in order to keep the system fair. Though we will not disclose who voted what (secret ballot - which is common procedure), I can tell you that pretty much everybody voted yes on the first question. Some of the coordinators voted yes there, others abstained from voting in order to make it even more fair. On the second question, everybody except Bryan voted yes. To the story is that some staff members changed their votes after they had been sent the complete original proposal (which they had not read, because they had not been on the staff long enough). But this did not change the outcome of the vote, it just made it clearer.

This should hopefully explain the issues raised by Bryan about the new staff structure and about the voting. Now for the real reason Bryan was dismissed.

The rumors say that the TI-Files incident does or does not have anything to do with it. Well, the TI-files incident does not have anything directly to do with it. The fact that we had to lean on Bryan very hard for a long time in order to make him apologize for it does. It is part of the reason, but in no way the whole story.

As far as I can recall, it has not happened more than a very very few times in at least 6 months that Bryan has backed down from a point. In our opinion, a site like this can only be run if the staff-members cooperate. And cooperation is based on compromise. And compromise requires people to back down from their standpoints. At several points, discussions brewed down to just throwing insults around. Or whenever somebody made a "bad comment" on one of Bryans sections, the result would be "but [insert somebodys name here] hasn't updated in a long time". Some people were "afraid" to post to the internal list, because they knew that they would get sawed off at the feet by Bryan. The general atmosphere on the staff list was not a friendly one, and we feel that we cannot operate under such conditions. This was not all Bryans fault, but in just about every case it started with Bryan.

On several occasions, Bryan either threatened to, or did, take over other members sections because "they weren't working fast enough". However, as soon as somebody even mentioned that he might need a backup (not to mention if somebody said it was time for the backup to step in) on the filearchive section (or any other of his section), things rapidly turned ugly.

Over the time he has been on our staff, we have also received a large number of complaints about his behaviour on the IRC. Channel-takeovers and generally bad behaviour against newbies have been the major reasons. When you are a staffmember of a TI site, whatever you do in the TI related IRC channels will be associated with the site you work for, and this is not what we wanted. This alone would not in any way warrant a dismissal from the staff, but it doesn't exactly strengthen the position in front of the other issues.


Finally, about the way that Bryan was dismissed.

First of all, let me say that this was not a "moments choice". A lot of people requested that we dismiss him after the TI-Files incident. Internally, such requests were voiced even earlier than that. Several times over, we decided "Bryan deserves another chance", and told him what was required to do so. One of the times, it was the apology about the TI-Files incident. Other times, it was just about cooperation.
We were happy to see that Bryan, after a lot of leaning on him, decided that he should apologise. And we are even happier to see that he now beleives it was the right thing to do.
However, we repeatedly saw no movement towards a more cooperative attitude. The posting of the "file archive procedures" that Bryan did this february, was one of the few things he did. Chris did not, however, ask him to do that during january. It was a part of the original new staff structure proposal that was sent out in october last year. Nevertheless, while some of the comments on this proposal were out of line, all were not. But they were all met with the same irresponsive stubbornness from Bryans side.

After many of these repetitions, we decided we had no other choice than to let Bryan go. After this decision, things moved fairly fast. I beleive it took about two or three days. During this time, only the coordinators were informed. The actual disabling of his account was done at a time when Bryan was usually on-line, at around 02:00 GMT (21:00 EST). As Bryan said, it was unusual that he was not around by then, and I beleive this is one of the things that led to the confusion. A mail was sent to Bryans personal non-ticalc.org mail address. The fact that he did not read this mail "by default", which we did not know, was probably another.
Right after the mail was written to Bryan, a notive was posted on our internal mailinglist. A bit later, it was posted on the main site. We were very surprised that Bryan did not act, and now we know why - he simply was not there. However, we had done our best to time it to some point when he was usually on-line. Our staff is spread throughout many timezones, and this kind of coordination is very hard. It is one of the things we have always had trouble with, and probably always will.

After the dismissal, some of our "junior staff members" expressed concerns about why this had been done. However, after the coordinators had explained what had happened, they all beleive that what we did was for the best of the site. It was not an easy decision, but it is what we all beleive is for the best of the site. If this results in a "boycott" of our site, then it's out of our control. We hope this does not have to be the case, and that people will continue to use our site, as well as others.



Magnus
(With, I beleive, the support of the rest of the staff)

 


The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.


Re: Our side of the story
Adam Davis
(Web Page)

It is interesting to me that you dismissed him without discussing it with him first. It is *extremely* unprofessional to cut someone off like that without discussing it with them, and attempting to help them understand why it is "needed", if it is indeed needed. I did not see anywhere where you 'sat down with him' (so to speak), and stated, "We, as the coordinators, have come to the conclusion that we need to dismiss you. This is for several reasons... Before we can dismiss you, we need to know your position, and whether we are mis understanding your intent..."

(what's the deal with the 15 letter limit for words?????)

The way that it has been described is what a dictator would do. I do not wish to suggest that the 'coordinators' are dictators, but it sounds like they are more than just coordinating the work at ticalc.

Anyway, I'm not going to take sides. I'll still use ticalc according to its usefullness to me - But I will say that I would rather have a stubborn person in my own staff than a person(s) who is secretive, and does not communicate well.

-Adam

"Growing old is mandatory-
Growing up - optional."

     8 March 1999, 17:11 GMT

Re: Re: Our side of the story
Jeff Zimmerman

I have to agree with Adam that this was not discussed with Bryan beforehand. Think of it this way--In an actual job situation, you get a two week notice (or so I've heard.) This, to me, sounds very sudden on Bryan's part.

I also agree that Ticalc.org has been very useful to me, and the TI community, for the past couple of years. It's always been up to date and has the latest programs. Just because one person (you have to admit that he has been very helpful to the site) has been dismissed is no reason to boycott the site. This "boycott" stuff is just silly child's play. It's not like they can't find someone else to take his place. This can still be the best TI site out there. Think about it.

-Jeff

     8 March 1999, 18:02 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Our side of the story
Matt Butch

You can't just replace someone like Byran.

the site might be the best, but the people running it suck!!!

     10 March 1999, 20:44 GMT

Normal Job Situation...
Aug

Thankfully there was no two week notice in the case, with childish ideas like boycotting going on, bryan may have deceided to take a little revenge on the "evil" cordinator's... People are confusing 2 week notice with not having your desk cleaned out for two weeks... If you've ever worked in a big company, they will sometime stand over you while you clean out, cut of computer access, and escort you off campus. Fired people often get mad, and this is to protect both the company and the person...

What's happened here seems straigtforward and reasonable... A democratic process is more than you can ask for in most companies.

August

     8 March 1999, 18:16 GMT

Re: Re: Our side of the story
ticalc_chris

Think about that for a second. We're dealing with a guy who got the password for another site and didn't hesitate to trash their files. He's got root access on our server, and even without it, his account has the privileges to completely take our site down and corrupt our databases. And you think we should tell him he's probably fired and let him spend a few days setting up backdoors on the system or playing another TI-Files-style "joke" on us? Think about what you'd do.

It's not as if we hadn't told Bryan exactly what would have to change in the past if he wanted to stay on our staff. We have been very clear on where Bryan's behavior is unacceptable and have given him chance after chance. This time, we made good on our promises and did what we had to do to protect the site and to make sure Bryan got the message.

Chris

     8 March 1999, 18:30 GMT


Re: Our side of the story
Adam Davis

I think I understand that position, where you feel he may 'take revenge' on you or the site. In that case, it would have been better were you to remove or limit his access, and then talk to him.

My main concern is that he did not recieve his notice in person, and you made no effort to discuss it with him. Rather you simply sent a letter (imagine getting expelled from school and being told about it in mail) and assumed that was all that was needed.

But, that is how most clubs are run. I would be unwilling to say this is an organization, but I would say it is more like an exclusive club. Organizations have processes for instances like this, where there are clear-cut guidelines that everyone has to follow, whether it's doing their job, or considering dismissal.

At any rate, I imagine that it's of little consequence. I don't even know any of the people involved.

-Adam

(yes, yes, I know the part about minding one's own business... <grin>)

(And what is the deal with this 15 letter maximum for each word!!!! ARGH! Get a real CGI!!!!)

FAILURE : news-addcom.cgi
LOCATION: /cgi-bin/
COMMENT : When there are more than 15 characters between two spaces, program gives error message:

Error: For display reasons, you may not use words in excess of 15 characters in the name, subject, or body fields. If the "word" in question is a Web address, consider specifying it in the URL field and referring to it instead.

(sorry, I just can't emotionally handle a program that doesn't like the word "mis understanding" (space added to protect the innocent))

     8 March 1999, 19:36 GMT


Re: Re: Our side of the story
ticalc_chris

As I said, we have never held back on telling Bryan when his behavior was unacceptable. He was the first person to be sent notice of his being fired, but he heard the news from elsewhere first since he didn't check his email first.

Let me say this once for the record: there is no such thing as constructive discussion with Bryan. We've sat him down a number of times, and Bryan is unwilling to acknowledge any wrongdoing. His arguments consist only of criticisms of what everbody else did wrong but him. We're still happy to discuss this with him, and indeed we have exchanged some email since then, but this is a done deal.

About the 15-char limit: it's no bug, and it could just as easily be 35 characters or no limit at all. It's intentional because people continue to think it's funny to post comments that destroy our page layout. When you're several reply levels deep, a single long word can do this. But most of the time people do it maliciously. We don't like wasting our time deleting these comments. So you can thank the few visitors who think this is funny for the restriction.

Chris

     8 March 1999, 20:18 GMT


Re: Re: Our side of the story
Andy L.

This is a perfectly acceptable procedure when dealing with someone who is parting on unpleasant terms. Once it becomes obviouse that a person is going to be dismissed it's to late to cut his access. He could have already caused any damage he wanted to.
You read about it happening in Goverment jobs all the time. People show up to work and they're locks have been changed.
This is no diferent. Especialy as he has a history of taking his anger out in other people's [root].

     9 March 1999, 22:26 GMT

Re: Our side of the story
BigPun

He sucks anyway

     8 March 1999, 17:44 GMT

Re: Our side of the story
Aug

Seems like a sound decision to me.

     8 March 1999, 18:10 GMT

Re: Our side of the story
bc

you guys are being way too sensative, there is no such thing as a 2 week notice anymore, and the guy just didn't work well with others. he had been asked several times to cooperate, and he couldn't do it. if you can't get the job done, you're gone. it's just that simple. quit crying about it already.

     8 March 1999, 18:21 GMT


Re: Re: Our side of the story
Jimmy Conner
(Web Page)

>if you can't get the job done, you're gone

The only problem I see with you saying this, is the fact that he was getting his job done. In fact he was doing a hell of a good job. For say, look at the old updates for up to a week before his dismissal, there are about a hell of alot of programs added and updated. This doesn't come about when someone isn't doing their job!
He may not have been very cooperative, but I wouldn't be either if someone told me, no.. ordered me to comply with something and told me it was non-negoitable, when it completely went against what your experience knew needed to be done. He could have compromised but it goes both ways. I didn't heard that they (the coordinators) wanted to do any of the compromising, and being the "coordinators" they should of compromised first to show a sign of good intensions.
Well whats done is done and I think it is good for him to get out of that situation. It would have exploded sooner or later. He can move on to something bigger and better. Good luck to ya Bryan!!!

Jimmy

BTW: This senario reminds me a design class I had in college. We were grouped in 4's and had a project to do. I had all of the know how to get it done so my group made me the "worker" while they sat around and pointed their fingers at what needed to be done and told me exactly how it should be done and they insisted that they knew better than my experience. Well this story ends with me emancipating into my own group and getting an A and them having to drop the class. Hopefully this current scenario will fare better.

     9 March 1999, 10:40 GMT

Re: Our side of the story
Adam Winter

It makes sense that he was removed from the staff without notice because he has deleted files from the TI-Files server and he might feel a little disgruntled at the discussion of his removal and do the same to ticalc's files.

     8 March 1999, 18:29 GMT

Re: Our side of the story
Jesus Howard

This is very funny! I only now realized how serious you guys are about your clique. It reminds me of when I was in high school when a group of friends would exclude someone because they were dating the wrong person, or they wore the wrong clothes.

Lets be honest here: there is considerable interest among school kiddies to have an internet site where they can DL games to waste their time on. But the truth is, the state of mathematics education would be unaffected if this site fell off of the face of the earth. Its silly and childish of you guys (Brian included) to pretend like this is a pivotal moment in history. I mean, 99.95% of the rest of us dont know and don't care. I just think its funny to see how much some of the users of this site are so "emotionally affected" by all of this.

My message to everybody: stop whining and get over it.

J. Howard

     8 March 1999, 19:08 GMT

Re: Re: Our side of the story
Gandalf18

Amen brother! I totally agree with the high school analogy. The part about the internal people talking about Bryan to one another through email might just as well be girls passing notes in the hall. Let's get real and grow up, folks.

     8 March 1999, 21:25 GMT

Re: Re: Our side of the story
Crashnbur
(Web Page)

Exactly. They pushed him out simply because he was no longer what they wanted him to be. He did his job, he did it well, yet they didn't like it. It sounds to me like they were asking too much of Bryan or in some way or another pressuring him to do something he just didn't want to do. I also don't agree with the way he was "fired." They didn't even discuss it. Even if Bryan were to be angry, I don't think he would have it in him to ever do anything to ticalc.org; it's been too much work for him to just throw it away. Anyway, that's all I have to say.

     8 March 1999, 23:17 GMT

Re: Re: Our side of the story
KnightRT

Ditto. Again, I couldn't care less. So long as I can waste my time DL calc crap, what difference is it to me that ticalc decides to fire their staff. I'd be over at tifiles in less than a second if this site ever went down.

     9 March 1999, 21:44 GMT


Re: Re: Our side of the story
Daniel Stratton

I find it annoying that you view this as a "high school clique" situation. Specifically, I find it annoying that you view yourself as superior to the people interested because it does not involve you. Whether or not this is your interest, the TI community is something that the people involved have put a lot of time and effort into. The TI calc "community" is simply a group of people with a common interest. If you cannot understand the devotion of the people involved, then please keep your input limited to subjects that interest you. Don't bellittle others for their interests. In other words- if you "don't know, and don't care" keep it to yourself.

     15 March 1999, 09:33 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Our side of the story
DLeet

On the contrary, if those of us who don't feel the need to devote that much time to the 'community' don't want to have anything to do with your internal scuffles, then we shouldn't have your passionate yet personal arguments shoved in front of us and then be criticized for not caring-- Personally, im on the filenews list and other than that have nothing to do with ticalc, and I really don't want to be inundated with all of these arguments posted everytime I come to ticalc.org.

     17 March 1999, 03:07 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Our side of the story
Daniel Stratton

I would first like to say, I am in no way a devoted member of the TI-calc community. I follow it off and on, looking for new games here and then. I just find it acrimonious to tell people that they are being childish to feel passionate about a subject, no matter what it is. Frankly, what I was saying is, if you don't care about it, why do you bother to criticize? I can't see any other reason than a desire to make onesself feel superior to those involved by bellittling them.

     19 March 1999, 11:33 GMT

Re: Our side of the story
Richard Lewis

I'm sure you guys did the right thing.

Rabeler had proven himself in the past to be a jerk with the ti-files incident. He should have been 'fired' then.

On a side note, the boycott started last night. You're too late. You've likely already dropped in the number of hits you get normally.

     8 March 1999, 19:16 GMT

Boycott
me

BOYCOTT MY ASS!!!....Why the f--- do you think im here, ooh, sorry, your damn boycot failed

     9 March 1999, 00:54 GMT


Re: Re: Our side of the story
Jimmy Conner
(Web Page)

Hum... I definitily think this post needs anaylization.

1. He agrees with the outcome yet he's boycotting.... makes you think doesn't it.

2. The boycott started last night, yet you are here today, to post and to give another hit that is helping to raise the hits instead of drop them...

Hum... really makes you think the boycott will work... right...
I doubt their hits will fall even if his "boyish"cott goes on... even if I have to reload several times to give hits. hehe

Jimmy

     9 March 1999, 10:59 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Our side of the story
Stephen

Umm, he never said he was boycotting ticalc.

Stephen

     10 March 1999, 03:48 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Our side of the story
Jimmy Conner
(Web Page)

From what I read it did seem that he was trying to boycott. Why would he be telling us that the boycott started already if he wasn't in on it. You would think that he would say something about his opinion on the boycott (such as the stupidity of it) if he wasn't.

Oh well...

Jimmy

     10 March 1999, 10:05 GMT

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