This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

January 27th, 2003

Share the Knowledge

We've had a topic or two on our Bulletin Board which raised the hackles of some to a point of absurdity. We required 'registering' for the FAOL Bulletin Board, which means it is not anonymous. Those Bulletin Boards which are anonymous allow anyone to take a pot shot at anyone or anything without the possibility of being held responsible for their comments and claims which may or may not be true. Having to register cuts down on that, but not entirely. Folks do know they can be held responsible for what they post.

Obviously not everyone is going to agree on everything, and experience and use, especially on products can result in differing opinions. But it is the feeling of my husband JC and me that we both should try and let the readers sort things out, without our views. Mostly we abide by that except to set the record straight from time to time.

We currently have had a couple of strings on the Bulletin Board about the business practices of a Canadian Fly Company. (Not a reflection on all Canadian business). A customer complained he had not received his order, nor a refund after months of many emails etc. The 'company' posted a response, and lied. Eventually the truth came out - but the part of the story you don't know if you read that string of comments, is the company contacted us, demanding we remove the posts and threatened us. I did not respond to them, nor did I remove it. The original complainant did get his refund, and we closed the topic. Fair we thought.

Another person showed up with the same problem. Off and running again. Same story, and the company posts again, more comments, and the company posts again. And, surprise, we receive another email from the company threatening us again. There is an old Montana phrase having to do with cow pies, "the more you stir it, the more it stinks." If and when the second complainant receives his refund we will lock the thread again and consider the matter finished.

If you have not read the 'rules' regarding the Bulletin Board and posting to it, I suggest you go back and read them, since you had to click on the "I Agree" button to register. And if you wish to file suit against us because of something on the Bulletin Board, better print out a copy and take it to your attorney before you threaten us.

For the most part the posts to the Bulletin Board are about fly fishing, equipment, fly tying, asking for advise on fishing various places, and occasionally some off-topic political subjects. I do not object to those, (some do however) since I feel FAOL is an information website, the exchange of ideas can certainly include some political things as it is the politicians who make our laws affecting our favorite past-time. As long as these comments are civil, do not flame others or question the parentage of the others posting, they are allowed. If you personally don't wish to read these topics, don't. I feel the exchange does help each side to understand where the other side is coming from - and some real facts may come out. That can't be bad.

Over the years FAOL has not pleased everyone. There will always be detractors for every and all good things anyone does. Something about no good deed goes unpunished. We don't take seriously all the bad stuff we receive, including some really vile language - however, death threats are immediately turned over to authorities. Since all email has 'trace tags' it's pretty easy to get back to the original sender. (Email isn't anonymous even if it is through 'blind' sources such at Hot Mail.)

JC and I do monitor the Bulletin Board, several times a day. We know what is going on.

We rarely remove a topic or string, but it has happened. The reason is usually someone stepping outside the rules, name calling, flaming...the kind of thing which has caused Bulletin Boards on other websites to lose readers. We try to keep the conversation 'civil' and I have noticed over the past several months, there have been many times when we did not have to ask to have the rhetoric toned down - others readers have done so. Cool!

If you are not registered to post on the Bulletin Board, do it. Your input and comments are most welcome. You may have some information the rest of us don't know - or just a neat story to share. Questions about anything related to fly fishing are encouraged. And one more thing? You just may have the answer to a question only you can answer!

As Lefty said so well, "Don't show knowledge, share it!" ~ The LadyFisher

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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