Photo: Wong's Bar, Bangkok.

Idle banter forum

Was Bruce banned?

Posted by MADMAC on 12/9/2009 at 11:13

Stuart, I got an email saying he can't log in. Tell me it's a technical problem.

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Posted by furneburner on 12/9/2009 at 11:21

Whilst I have been stalking these forums for quite a long time, I have only just started posting.

Bruce has already gone completely out of his way to assist me with my questions, writing very long emails and even scanning documents for me.

Sure i know he's not a moderator or anything and i can see why some people would get upset by some of his opinions/statements, but he seems to contribute a lot and has been very helpful to (im sure) more than a few people.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 12/9/2009 at 11:24 admin

Not a technical problem -- his account was suspended last night.

I emailed you and chrispyrolls advising this (as both of you had commented on the censorship thread, which I forgot to lock after my post). I emailed you on the address you signed up under, so you'll need to check that account for the email.

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Posted by exacto on 12/9/2009 at 11:51

I afraid I don't see any other possible solution at this point either. Bruce insisted on engaging in a power struggle with the site admins. That is entirely unacceptable.

I'd be the first to admit that Bruce has a wealth of information to share, but even if we ignore the consistently aggressive behavior, I always felt that ever since he arrived he overly dominated the message boards to the exclusion of other contributors and other ideas.

The fact that we are having this conversation at all underscores that this forum has become far too focused on this one strong personality rather than travel in southeast asia.

No hard feelings Bruce. I hope you find another positive outlet for your energy and perhaps even start your own website as several have suggested. But at the same time I think you have only yourself to blame for what has happened. Best wishes.

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Posted by MADMAC on 12/9/2009 at 11:53

Stuart
I sent you a reply ref this. Better via email than open forum.

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Posted by fondo on 12/9/2009 at 18:02

I'm 100% with you exacto.

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Posted by somsai on 12/9/2009 at 20:27

Well put, thanks.

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Posted by SBE on 12/9/2009 at 21:10

Sorry Bruce but I'm 100% in agreement with exacto too.

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Posted by wanderingcat on 12/9/2009 at 22:18

sad that it has come to this, but am with exacto too.

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Posted by mattocmd on 12/9/2009 at 23:42

Maybe I am going mad. But gosh I think it is much better when ALL opinions are included.

You guys can all sit around and agree with eachother. Let's see how good the advice it when it is all one-sided.

Just remember one thing, he gave more than he received.

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Posted by MADMAC on 13/9/2009 at 01:13

As said on the other thread, I agree with Mato. Were he horribly abusive or overly difficult, then maybe. But if you don't like a post, you can just ignore it. What's the big deal.

Exacto wrote that his "power struggle" with Bruce over certain points was "unacceptable" (Exacto I would urge you to avoid the passive voice). Unacceptable to whom? Obviously to the adminstrator - it was not unacceptable to me even when I didn't agree with him. If Stuart doesn't agree with something Bruce is saying and doesn't want to get in a pissing contest, he can simply ignore it. IMHO Bruces presence here is going to generate more, not fewer, hits on the site.

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Posted by DLuek on 13/9/2009 at 01:59 TF writer

I agree that he has been extremely helpful, and I have found his stories intriguing. I also can relate to Somtam and see where he is coming from, in that Bruce's posts can be a bit much at times. But if I were to vote, I'd give Bruce another chance.

Bruce, I'm guessing you're already a published author, but perhaps in the here and now you might consider writing a book of your own on travel, experience or guide book or whatever. You obviously have the knowledge, experience, story-telling ability and talent for writing. It's clear to everyone that Bruce has a lot to offer, perhaps just a more constructive outlet?

jai yen,

DL

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Posted by exacto on 13/9/2009 at 06:48

Hi MADMAC,

Thanks for the note. But I know you won't mind or be surprised if I disagree with you. I think Bruce was horribly abusive and overly difficult. Often.

Also, just so you know, I didn't use passive voice. Passive voice would be something like "the ball was thrown" (by somebody else). I didn't do that. What I said was "that (e.g. Bruce's insisting on engaging in a power struggle with the site admins) is entirely unacceptable. That's not passive voice. But it is the truth.

Take care.

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Posted by Nywoman on 13/9/2009 at 07:19

Very interesting.
Though I found Bruce to have two totally different takes on his own trip up the Nam Ou, he refused to acknowledge that they were different. One he raves about it, the other it was not worthwhile.

Have probably not been engaged enough to know what has happened lately.
Am always concerned when engaged members get banned.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 13/9/2009 at 13:38 admin

Sorry about the delay on addressing concerns here. First, I just want to clarify a few of the points that have been made:

a) On the idea that people can get suspended for expressing an opinion:
That has never been the case on Travelfish. Yes there are a couple of taboo topics, for example the Thai Royal family and sex tourism, but there is a very good reason for the former and the latter is our personal decision. At the end of the day it's our site and if we'd prefer something is not discussed, then we expect members to abide by our wishes. Don't know if something can be discussed? Ask.

b) On the idea that we ban people all the time:
In over five years of operation and just about 40,000 members, we have banned a total three unique members. (Not counting spammers and other lowlife).

c) On the idea that this happened without warning:
Incorrect. bm was explicitly warned by email, and also publicly in this thread (see my post #2) How much clearer can I be than to say "I will deactivate accounts of members who persist in the above."?

d) On the idea members are being treated as children:
Not the case. This is about explicitly telling somebody to stop doing something and then have them ignore you.

e) On the "value" of BM:
Yes I agree, he had a lot of very useful advice to share, but, and this is a massive BUT, he was also our most complained about member -- ever. I'm not talking about one or two emails complaining about him, I am talking about dozens upon dozens upon dozens of emails (he didn't quite break three figures, but the total is still a pretty fair cricket score). You've got to admit, you've got to be pretty angry in the first place to even figure out what my email is and shoot me off an email asking "Who the hell is this guy?" How many others just didn't bother to complain and instead just decided to never return to the site? How many new contributors should we be willing to lose in order to retain Brucemoon?

---

At the end of the day, we think of Travelfish as being all about travellers -- be they the active, armchair or expat flavours -- helping one another to get the most out of their travels in the region. I don't care if you want to see SE Asia in 3 days or three decades -- everyone is entitled to a fair hearing and to be given useful advice. It's as simple as that. Really this is a simple principle -- I don't need 1,590 words to explain it.

As far as I'm concerned, we don't have any missive-length document telling people to be nice to each each and respect your fellow traveller -- because, well a travel website shouldn't need to have one. Travel is about breaking down barriers -- not pushing the barrier down onto people's heads.

When I'm receiving emails on a way too regular basis complaining about the same member, over and over again, and that member ignores requests to alter their behaviour, what am I supposed to do? Would you rather I spent my time answering complaints, digesting the latest missive posted in Idle Banter, wasting more hours watching IP access data, or perhaps getting some new travel information for Siem Reap onto the site? I've only so many hours in the day -- sorry!

A simple example: When a friend who helps me out by covering the site some Sundays inadvertently reveals they be not me, but somebody else, BM starts a thread titled "Who is the imposter?" I mean hello world -- how about a thankyou to the friend who helps me to keep the site running?

If other members feel that my actions have been unreasonable and they feel they can no participate in the site, well obviously I'm extremely sorry to hear it -- it will be our loss -- but I'm not sure what you did expect to be done.

We (Sam, the other Somtam2000 and myself, along with our team of researchers on the ground) put a very considerable effort into making what we believe is a very helpful and friendly website for independent travellers headed to Southeast Asia. We feel that Bruce's energies would be best directed elsewhere and we wish him the best.

Cheers

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Posted by fondo on 13/9/2009 at 18:02

Phew!

I look forward to less opinionated and eccentrically 'punctuated' travel 'advice' in future.

Gee, with the coast more or less clear, I might even be able to add my own 'voice' to the debate.

Anyway somtam, I bet you're glad you got the voting thingy on just in time for the pro-Bruce crowd to have a go with it!

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Posted by Sparts on 13/9/2009 at 18:02

Who the hell would send an email to the admins complining about a members posts? Pathetic. I find it extremely difficult to believe this but I gotta take your word for it.

Exacto -pot calling the kettle black? As far as I could tell, both you and SBE quite enjoyed your sparring with Bruce and gave as good back, only yours was on a more personal level throwing insults around like candy.
This whole episode has left a very bad taste sontam. I understand your concerns but it's a huge overreaction, pandering to the complaints of the few. You can see from this thread that a great many more woud rather have Bruce here than not.

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Posted by bronzedwarrior on 13/9/2009 at 18:42

Bad taste indeed...

Sparts, I couldn't agree more... In fact, you've pretty much written the post I was going to write!

What I would add is this. I now understand why Somtam has banned BM, I mean as they state, its their site and they can do what they like. My issue is not with this at all. My issue is with the nigh on 100 people who have actually bothered to mail a complaint in. That's hardly constructive is it?

I mean come on people, get a life. This is a forum with debate. Stop being so sensitive and precious.

As MADMAC has stated here, if you don't like something, simply ignore it.

This whole sorry episode reminds me of those instances when there is a program of adult nature on tv and the 'easily offended' watch it from start to finish knowing whats coming and then write in to complain about what they've just seen!! Just turn your set off, you moron!!

By complaining, you turned this into a witch hunt and there was no need for that to happen.

To all who complained, you know who you are and I think you should feel thoroughly ashamed.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 13/9/2009 at 19:37 admin

Sparts, Bronzedwarrior,
I'm sorry that you feel the way you do -- rest assured I am not making this up.

I do though want to make clear that while the volume of complaints by email were a contributing factor, at the end of the day, the suspension came about because bm was warned to stop doing a number of things and he ignored the warnings -- he has, in fact, continued to ignore at least one of the warnings subsequent to the suspension.

Now as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter to me if there have been no complaints about a member or 72 complaints about them, if we ask a member to stop doing something -- regardless of what it is -- then we expect that they will stop doing it.

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Posted by Sparts on 13/9/2009 at 19:45

Thanks for responding Stuart
So,...as I've misinterpreted this whole thread can we get something straight? This is a suspension right and not an outright ban? I hope so. That would be fair IMO.
Having said that, would Bruce come back? I probably wouldn't but I a stubborn £$!£! ;p

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Posted by bronzedwarrior on 13/9/2009 at 20:09

Just to reiterate, Stuart its not you that has wound me up, its the complainants.

You're running the show and tough decisions need to be made sometimes. I don't envy you!

Just one thing, from your post above. You say BM has continued to ignore the warnings as part of his suspension... Hmmm, I noticed a 'Blue Night' ( I think! ), who I'd not noticed before, posting on here the other day. Strangely although it showed their name as commenting on certain threads on the home page, their actual posts had mysteriously disappeared in the threads themselves. I assume deleted by yourself.

Blue Night = Bruce Moon?

Or am I way off track here??

Alternatively, just tell me to mind my own business! I won't be offended... Honest...

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Posted by somsai on 13/9/2009 at 20:45

If I can butt in..

Bronzed and Sparts, most posters to internet forums have hides thicker than a buffalo. I know I do. The good part about Tfish is that you used to read questions from people who wouldn't ordinarily post. Not the most enlightening questions perhaps but honest questions from people who didn't know, maybe headed over to SEAsia for the first time or out away from their home country. A lot of folks don't want to get involved in any online debates, they're just curious about something and want an answer. This was a safe non confrontational place for them to go. Interestingly many questions that don't interest me now would have been realy good to know yesterday when I got my first passport.

I'll bet you're on the right track bronzed, also possible to shift internet cafes to thumb up and down.

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Posted by mattocmd on 13/9/2009 at 21:23

I miss the guy already. Bruce please get in touch, I have some questions that need some answering!!

Plus I am sure you have some more great stories that I haven't heard yet!

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Posted by mattocmd on 13/9/2009 at 21:34

The Best of Brucemoon

https://www.travelfish.org/board/post/indochina/7330_korea-to-bangkok-by-land

https://www.travelfish.org/board/post/thailand/2682_thai-toilets

https://www.travelfish.org/board/post/cambodia/5445_paying----to-volunteer--usually-not-a-good-idea-

Anyone else have some memorable Brucemoon posts? Since I can't read anything new I least I can read some of his old work and reminisce.

Thanks!!

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Posted by MADMAC on 13/9/2009 at 22:07

What I said was "that (e.g. Bruce's insisting on engaging in a power struggle with the site admins) is entirely unacceptable. That's not passive voice. But it is the truth.

Not to be pedantic hombre, but "is entirely unacceptable" is passive voice. It does not attribute to whom it is entirely unacceptable. Therefore it's passive voice. It can also be the truth - but I am still not sure to whom this was unacceptable accept Stuart of course. And presumably you. Had you written "this is entirely unacceptable to me" then it would be clear. To whom is it unacceptable? Not to me. Not to others. I think you see my point here.

Bruce can be a little terse sometimes... I can't believe there were that manny complaints about him (although I have no reason whatsoever to doubt Stuarts veracity on the point - nor do I). As Somtam says, some people have thin skins. He himself has called both me and my wife "ignorant and buffalo dung" - I did not complain to Stuart. I'm a big boy and can take care of myself. A shame others aren't.

Great forum though. I still like it, just hope that Bruce is welcomed back.

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Posted by mattocmd on 13/9/2009 at 22:38

"This whole sorry episode reminds me of those instances when there is a program of adult nature on tv and the 'easily offended' watch it from start to finish knowing whats coming and then write in to complain about what they've just seen!! "

I couldn't have put it better myself. It's safe to assume we are all adults here. I have read so many of Bruce's posts and none were extreme enough that an adult couldn't handle. Anyone who would take the time to email Stuart about Bruce is a sissy.

Christ, if they can't handle that what are they going to do when the taxi driver in Bangkok tries to rip them off? Or when they see offensive t-shirts at the market? When they mistakenly decided to spend the evening at the beach in Pattaya and grandpa is in the arms of two 18yo hookers? Uncle Joe is following him with a companion of his own, and uncle Joe is married! Will they email Stuart then? Maybe they should just hire Stuart as a tour guide/censorer to shield them from everything that isn't 100% perfect!

Oh wait!....(gulp)...maybe they should grow up and act like an adult.

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Posted by fondo on 14/9/2009 at 08:07

There are a whole lot of forums that have been ruined by a dominant and overbearing voice.

I've seen it happen on the Thorn Tree, and Lady Fondo has seen many a cooking/foodie forum brought to its knees by over-zealous posters.

This makes it hard for me to understand the 'this is a forum let Bruce on' debate. He's been turning it into a monoculture. There's no more depressing a sight than seeing 'last reply by BruceMoon' against almost every post on the board.

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Posted by MADMAC on 14/9/2009 at 12:44

This basically comes down to the somewhat polite and effete seeing things one way, the somewhat crass and rough seeing them another.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 14/9/2009 at 14:44 admin

MADMAC - you make Travelfish sound like an Australian BBQ.

BM has posted a message titled: Bruce Moon's reply + goodbye which you can read over here -- like some BM posts, there are some good suggestions in there along with some stuff ahhh, less useful and/or incorrect, but I thought the best approach was to just leave as is.

I've locked the above thread-mentioned thread, and I deleted the follow-up post on it which copied an email I sent to Bruce -- it was deleted because it was one of the emails from me to Bruce -- not from me to the internet.

If anyone who isn't already in touch with BM wants to get in touch with him, please let me know and I'll pass your email across to him.

For what it's worth, I agree 100% with mattocmd's comment on the Thai toilets thread (see above #24 above) I've retold Bm's story many many times... it is a cracker.

Cheers

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Posted by KazAussie on 14/9/2009 at 15:02

Hi all,

Can I start by saying that this comment is not at all directed at BruceMoon, more it is a comment on how often well meant messages can appear offensive, when in fact no offence was intended.

This is becoming an increasing problem in the modern world. People seem to forget that the written word doesn't convey all that is conveyed in face to face communication. This has often caused problems in the workplace where emails have given offense when none was intended.

On the other hand, readers of internet forum may need to learn just to flick through some posts and not take them personally. Like all wars, no one wins in a "flame" war.

Cheers

Kaz

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Posted by MADMAC on 14/9/2009 at 17:31

"MADMAC - you make Travelfish sound like an Australian BBQ."

Is that good or bad?

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Posted by mattocmd on 14/9/2009 at 20:53

Just not the same...

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Posted by Lawoat on 14/9/2009 at 21:52

My humble opinion on a messageboard is "the more the marrier". I can't say that I always agreed with BM comments, he could have been more polite from time to time, he was opinionated, etc...

But these are all factors I liked about him; a message-board is there to act as a sound-board and to gather different comments from different people on certain topics.

Even the fact that we are debating the suspension of BM means that he was a clourfull person on this messageboard and imo will be missed by the "from time to time users" like me.

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Posted by mattocmd on 14/9/2009 at 22:18

Part of the reason this is all such a big deal is because he was the most famous/well-known member. Perhaps even more than Somtam. He was an integral part of the community. We have been robbed of all of his future posts and stories.

When I posted a question, his response was the one I looked forward to. I didn't always agree with him but I knew that whatever he posted would be interesting or would even give me a new perspective.

It's funny that in general the only ones who are hating on him are the other members who have been around for a while and who are also frequent posters. I guess if you steal too much thunder you are eventually doomed.

For now I get to read the posts of the other frequent posters. Most are boring, dull and redundant responses. Good for when I have trouble sleeping but not for when I want to learn more about SE Asia or something about life in general.

Kaz - you made an excellent point and it definately applies to this situaton. Mannerisims expressing embarassment, guilt and sarcasm aren't displayed through writing the way they are in person. Often causes irrational responses...as you can see by what happened to the Bruce.

Sigh...

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Posted by Sparts on 15/9/2009 at 00:22

What he/she said ^^

One thing I'd love to know is not how many complaints there were against Bruce, rather how many people were complaining. We all know who some of the chickens (repeat complainers) are but I'd be surprised if there were really any substantial number of people.

Just not the same now,..boring!

Maybe the rule should have been that Bruce be nicer to new members, everyone else knew how to take him.

PS Stuart, this thumbs up thumbs down thing, you should make it that you can only use it once and only if logged in. Currently you do not have to be logged in to vote and then can vote every time you log in. Currently we have certain members voting over and over on the same post,..weird the lengths people go to.

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Posted by Saphir on 15/11/2009 at 13:55

I just looked up the definitions of 'idle' and 'banter'. Having clarified the meaning of 'idle banter' to my satisfaction, I fail to see how this discussion fits the category. Perhaps Travelfish needs a 'heavy discussion' outlet. Personally, as I usually browse the site during my leisure time, I prefer lighter topics, and preferably brief responses. If I want to do a lot of reading, I have plenty of books. Just a suggestion, but how about keeping 'idle banter' just that - idle banter?

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Posted by KazAussie on 21/11/2009 at 09:57

I can only imagine what Bruce's opinion would be on the recent poor reviews on Sinh Cafe and Columbus cruises... he seemed pretty keen on both those companies but the recent posts on Trip advisor and the Vietnam forum here are giving both companies a caning.

Cheers

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Posted by MADMAC on 21/11/2009 at 10:07

Saphir
Do we really need to get that pedantic? Idle Banter was just a label for miscellaneous.

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Posted by Sparts on 21/11/2009 at 21:55

Frankly I'm just shocked Saphir had to look up the definition of idle and banter. :)

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Posted by Saphir on 22/11/2009 at 11:41

MADMAC - my point was really that the discussion was a bit heavy, and that maybe we need to lighten up a bit. Anyway, that was my pedantry watered right down. I'm usually worse that that.

Sparts - nice to know I have shock value.

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