Change can be a long process
It was at this time I realized, I had Blog comments waiting to be approved. One particular comment caught my attention.
“Ahh I see Melissa,
Well ya know, BFF was still abusive to people even when Bipto was there. People were still persecuted because they had experiences that didn't fall within the accepted norm. BFF has always crucified people due to their own limited understanding of the world.
I remember when you came on the bigfoot scene too. You were what many would consider part of the in-crowd, and thus you probably didn't even notice it. But there were people being beaten up at BFF all along, you just had your own thing going and could care less. So while you are praising Bipto for changes he 'can' make, you might consider this when holding back contributor comments because they NOW appear too volatile for your shifting position. Just because your personal background may not include the really negative experiences there a few years ago, it doesn't mean that hundreds of others didn't. BFF was just as bad then.
Part of the REAL problem is the paradigm of what the leadership wants/expects bigfoot to be. Partly because they are mostly armchair researchers who have limited experience. Anybody who has theories or experiences that don't fall within this narrow parameter, will always be on the attack from the MOB. That's a big part of the problem that needs to be fixed Mel, or the foundation for abuse will continue. And do you really think change will happen if you don't clean house of some of the screwed up leadership who encourage the bad behavior? So when you start playing nice and withholding posts because you know Bipto personally, well you end up thwarting the real change that's needed, that you advocate.
Little will change Mel unless they deal with the very issues that CAUSE most of the conflict. In management when you target change you can either address the symptoms (which is usually ineffective), or you address the cause and thus the core of the issue. Unfortunately it sounds like you are now influenced by your personal friendship with Bipto, but it was only ONE YEAR AGO that he left, and things were ALWAYS the same at BFF many years before that.
Read your own interview of him to remind yourself how BFF always was:
Just one example of the public perception:
" JohnCartwright, on Aug 22 2008, 06:19 AM, said:
1. Why do they allow personal attacks on witnesses at the BFF?"
Unfortunately in this situation, it will probably be as they say, 'the more things change, the more things stay the same'.
So Mel, just because you know the person in charge, think before you endorse the same old institutional status quo.
I hate the comments section of this Blog. Why? Because very astute comments are missed by the passing readers. My only option is to highlight them, by posting them on the front page.
This comment was posted Anonymously, and the person is correct, I understand exactly why. And, to clear up any confusion, I have not denied any comment to this Blog, on this issue, because even the hateful comments are a good example of what is wrong.
Honest answer, Anonymous, I just didn’t see your comments until this morning. I have refused comments that are filled with profanity (obviously your comments were not). Why? Because I used the word a*s once, spelled exactly that way, and received some angry emails.
My life these days is more about “Life” than bigfoot (whenever possible) Sunday, Wayne and I drove to the banks of Lake Erie for his grandsons 3rd birthday party (that time was actually cut in half, because of an interview I had agreed to months ago). Then yesterday, we went to a friends for a cook out, and did not return home until after ten… I know many think I live, sleep, eat and breath bigfoot. This has never been true. I enjoy the conversations, and I enjoy some of the people, but I enjoy life more, and always have.
Your comment however did get me to thinking. You’re right. But, let me explain something. I am not “defending” Brian Brown. I have been very outspoken on this issue, and as such, now that Brian has stepped up to the plate I feel it only fair to allow him a chance to “clean things up.” I want to see change. What I don’t want to see is Brian become so overwhelmed with the criticism he simply says “Screw you all, I am going to kill the site!” Or, even worse yet, “Screw you all, I am going to leave the site exactly the way it is, so you will really have something to complain about.” This would be unproductive.
But, I would rather the BFF disappear into the vastness of the internet abyss, rather than have it remain the same.
You know, you also brought up something I have discussed in the past. You’re right. I was accepted on the BFF. I was considered part of the “In” crowd. You should ask people (who know me) what I have thought about that, and even said in reference to that issue. I know why I was liked. I have a no nonsense way of discussing issues and expressing my opinion. I don’t beat around the bush, and often tell it like it is. The difference? I can express an alternate point of view, and not be insulting or harassing. There was one situation with a woman, but even today, I would tell her she is full of something very stinky. Not because I disagreed with her opinion, but because her opinion is and was offensive to women, and border lined on pornography.
Did I recognize the issues, on the BFF, I complain about now? You bet, I did. I even took the time to complain, all the way back then. I did as I was asked. I took it to personal message with Administrators. Nothing was done. Often, I never even received a response.
I became unpopular when I started to publicly defend people who were being treated unfairly during open discussions about their past and current work. The same questions asked and answered, over and over, in the very same thread. Every answer, exactly the same. That actually made me giggle.
Ask yourself this question folks:
If you are trying to garner the truth of a statement, do you think the answer will change if you ask the very same question on a message board, giving the person being questioned the opportunity to go back and check their prior answers?
I find this funny, because these are the same people who discuss how you should interview witnesses. If these are the interviewing techniques used for witnesses, we have real problems.
Anyway. I became unpopular, because I chose, long before leaving the BFF, to speak my mind about how people are mistreated in this field. I spoke privately at first, but then quickly realized, as much as the Administrators say they want complaints brought to them via Personal Message, they really don’t, but boy, do they react and react quickly if you voice your anger publicly.
When I first joined the BFF, I was so thrilled to be able to discuss the topic of bigfoot, I will be honest and say, I really didn’t pay attention to what was going on. I guess, if I had signed up on the BFF to be yet one more “troll in residence“ I might have paid more attention to who was doing, and saying what. I had been warned by many to stay off the BFF, for the very reasons, we discuss today.
In fact. My very first post on any message board, was to defend none other than Jim Flowers himself. I logged onto either the BFF or the BFD and seen Jim being attacked by someone. I posted a comment stating words to the effect "we should have respect for people who have done things and been involved in issues much longer than we have." Well, I don’t remember anyone calling me a “hero worshiper” after making that post, in fact I was told “You will fit in here, just fine.” Do I regret that now, knowing what I now know?
Why? Because if I had said (or said that today) about Dr. Meldrum, John Green or anyone else who has the perception of popularity, I would have been (and would) be publicly trashed by those who are sympathetic to Jim Flowers and his “friends”. Remember it was Jim Flowers, Blackdog and that group that started the “Hero Worship” ordeal. They didn’t seem to mind it though, when it was one of their own.
Was I wrong for saying it? No. Because it's true. My comment was however directed to the defense of the wrong person.
I really (I should bold that) became unpopular when I decided to look into the issues surrounding casting.
Had I known how hateful, some people involved in this research, could be, I would have never started all that work.
What’s odd about that is, I shouldn’t feel that way. No one should feel that way when they work hard to try and seek answers for themselves. People should always be encouraged to seek answers or educate themselves. To not do so, is to live up to the definition of “hero worship”. Why?
If you do not educate yourself, you are depending on the word of someone else. Does that sound familiar?
I was accused of trying to make Matt Crowley’s work meaningless, when in fact, my work had nothing to do with the verification of his work. I have said this a thousand times (or more) and still, I am accused of conspiring to make Matt Crowley look bad, as if my whole reason for being was about Matt Crowley and his destruction.
Matt Crowley’s work was to determine whether artifacts could be created on purpose. We know that is possible. I knew that was possible and said as much when I first heard about his work. That was a no-brainer for me. I specifically worked to find out what caused the artifacts, and how we can avoid them while casting in the field. That is the logical next step, if we as self described "researchers," do not want these “artifacts,” to happen in our field castings. If we do not guard against this, why even cast? Artifacts do not need to happen, as long as we observe proper casting procedures. Why wouldn’t we want to know what those procedures are?
The work of Matt Crowley and myself are two very different sets of work.
Yet, I was accused of all kinds of things. In fact Matt Crowley has a website practically devoted to me, and his assumptions about my life, and no one says a word.
How very scientific of him.
Yet, I type one word in reference to my casting, and I have the Crowley lap hound (Wolftrax) nipping at my heels and calling me filthy names (which has been allowed by some BFF Administrators) and telling people I have said things, I have never said. Why, you ask? It is my personal opinion, those who are sympathetic to Crowley, do not want you to think for yourself. They would prefer you hang on their every word and only get information from them. These same people (other than Crowley’s lap dog) told me privately during my work -- they loved my work and they were grateful I had done so much to try and figure out the solution to a very big problem. Some of those people are BFF Admin at this very moment, but they wouldn’t admit to this blasphemous thought or personal comment to me, in public.
Still to this day, I can't figure out what was so damaging about my work - in comparison to Matt Crowley's work. Was and is he angry because I did not try to verify his results? I have no clue.
I understand the hatred, more than anyone can imagine.
Did I do all this for the kudos? The fame? How about the fortune?
No. I did the casting work, because I don’t want to waste my time casting in the field and not be able to rely on the outcome. That’s all. There is no nefarious reason behind it. I did not do the work to unseat Crowley from his perch. I did it (by and large) for my own education. Heck, one of my very first postings about casting basically said “I don’t think you can use a casting agent to preserve dermal ridges, because the casting agent is so thick, it would destroy any of the fine dermal ridge evidence.”
See, I can be wrong too. Although I am sure you have been told I never admit that.
I left the BFF, not because I had become “unpopular” (not that you, anonymous, accused me of that). I left the BFF, when I realized not only were people being mistreated, but there was a concerted effort to keep people uneducated about the various issues going on behind the scenes in this field of research. Why should I, or anyone else, discuss what they are doing (on the BFF) when you get accused of horrific things, that have nothing to do with the issue at hand, or even true.
That standard of not educating the new researchers is now being extended to items such as books, where opinions of issues are allowed, with no knowledge of the actual content. This is encouraged by Redwolf, who used to yell “Educate yourself," or “Do your own Research.” I still hold that standard, as I feel it is important for people to have an opinion, but if at all possible, it should be an educated one, not one based in ignorance.
At this point, I am not endorsing anything about the BFF. I am saying, however, I think Brian should be allowed to clean up the problem. If he does not, I am fairly certain he knows what my response (and that of others) will be. I have made no secret of my distaste and my displeasure of the way the BFF has been handled over the years. Recently, it has gotten worse with Brian’s departure, that is crystal clear.
One person is told they are wrong to defend a friend, while another is told it's okay to throw around profanity and/or insults, because "it’s their opinion, and we can't stop that." Did I mention the "protected opinion" comes from a friend to many BFF Administrators?
I have no problem with skepticism or the voicing of skepticism. I have a problem, with skepticism that is used as a weapon to stop conversation. I have a problem with skeptics who have made “skepticism” a dirty word. Skepticism in the minds of some has become just another way to be a jerk, and get away with it.
I’m just voicing my opinion, I think the person is an idiot. Are you saying a skeptic is not entitled to an opinion?
These days, throw in the word “skeptic” and you can get away with some of the most hateful and profanity filled comments, not allowed on a message board. Anywhere else, you would be considered an internet Troll. Why? It’s almost as if people think being a skeptic is a protected minority in this country.
I am confused as to why, some (who are so vicious in their “skepticism”)would even post on a message board about Bigfoot.. To be quite honest. Seems like a big waste of time to me.
The longer, I am involved in this research (online), the more I realize, we know nothing. We know nothing because we can’t get past the name calling to have open and honest dialogue. Why this hostility is allowed on a site that calls itself the “Best place for Sasquatch talk on the net,” is beyond me.
I’m sure it could be, if people were allowed to discuss the actual research. It is my hope, Brian, will bring it back to that. I'm not saying we should all agree with each other, but there's a way to disagree, and be civil about it. If your Mom asked you a question, you thought was silly, would you call her stupid?
Of course not. You would simply say "I don't agree with that," and move on.
Why do we allow such hateful attitudes to take over, once someone turns on a computer? Do we think it makes us look more educated? Do you think (to the general public) it makes us more credible?
I should also say, I know Brian Brown. Am I friends with Brian? I wouldn’t call us friends. I think more often than not, if you were to mention my name to Brian, he would most likely respond with “What did Melissa do, Now?” Which always makes me laugh out loud.
I don’t email, call or correspond with Brian on any kind of “regular basis.” We know each other yes, and I think he tolerates me, but I would not think Brian would consider me one of his friends.
What I don’t think is lost on most in this community is, many of those who are BFF Administrators, now, are very disgruntled, and this goes back to their BFRO days. Why they feel the need to be so hateful to people who had nothing to do with their leaving the BFRO, and other organizations since, is beyond me.
Do you know what I find interesting about all this? When you think about how all this “drama” got started, it started long before me (although there are many who would like to make this my fault):
Those who left the BFRO, and are vocal about that departure, praised the BFRO and spoke on the BFF about how wonderful it was to be apart of such an organization. These same people (once they were unceremoniously discharged) couldn’t say enough bad things, and still do to this day. The same situation happened, when these very same people left the AIBR. The AIBR was the most wonderful place for bigfoot conversation that ever existed. Once these same people left the AIBR, they couldn’t publicly trash the group enough.
Did you know these same people did not like the BFF at one point?
Yep, that’s right. They formed their own message board “The Bigfoot Discussions Forms.” There, they could freely discuss their displeasure with the world of internet bigfoot research, the people involved, and bashed the BFF openly.
Now, these same people are BFF Administrators.
When I say “these people” I am talking about Teresa, Redwolf (Kathy Harper), Bittermonk (Sam Rich), Blackdog, Jim Flowers, Stacey Flowers, Wildman, Ty and GuyinIndiana, along with others. Some were involved in the BFRO, some were not. Some were AIBR, some where not. But, all met up on the Bigfoot Discussions Forum, and discussed their displeasure with the perceived stifling of their opinions within the BFRO, AIBR and the BFF. The website is still there (BFD) and can be read by anyone. Unless they cleaned it up (perception being what it is)
Yet others should just keep their mouths shut, because their opinion just isn’t important. They are just silly bigfoot researchers, trying to post on a bigfoot message board.
What is clear, is these people need to be in control. They are the “masters of their internet universe,” they don’t want that to change and will viciously attack anyone who casts doubt on their agenda.
I, among many, are living proof of that.
Do I consider myself a victim? Nope. Not at all. I would rather they attack me, than someone who might actually be hurt by their hateful comments, and have made myself a target, so many others could escape their wrath.
They just never knew that, until now.
In closing this lengthy article, let me say, Anonymous. You bring up good points, and I did not want you to think I was ignoring your observations or comments, and No. I will not withhold my displeasure if Brian does not clean up this mess.
I have the feeling he will though. The BFF has been too important, to him, not to. When you own a website and build it from nothing, it becomes a part of your life. You want to see do well, and have people take advantage of. Why else would you start a website?
Brian is no different I suspect. He just needs some time.