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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Downward Spiral

I just sent in my resignation email as a moderator of the Oregon PERS Discussion Group (OPDG). I've been a moderator there for nearly the entire duration of the newsgroup - nearly four years now. In an earlier post, I commented on how nasty the political invective had gotten over there and that the site seemed to be in the thrall of some rather conservative and libertarian individuals. Nothing that has happened since my observation last week has convinced me that I was wrong to make that comment. The conversation - such as it is - has taken on a rather ugly and nasty tone. Some members seem hellbent on posting deliberately provocative political commentary unrelated to the group's charter. While I have no problem with political commentary, there is a time and a place for it. The Oregon PERS Discussion Group is *not*, in my opinion, the place for this kind of discussion. When I agreed to be a moderator, the group's focus was on PERS and retirement issues. So long as the discussion remained approximately around those broad topics, I had no difficulty. But now, with PERS news spare, the economy generally in the tank, and the seemingly endless foot-dragging by Judge Kantor and PERS, the participants in OPDG, of whom there are actually few, seem content to trade insults and abuse over presidential politics. As I noted over there, if I want to read that kind of commentary, I have plenty of places I can go for it. More to the point, there are far more intelligent discussions of politics on other newsgroups, and far better blogs around than mine for such discussion. I will continue to contribute PERS commentary to OPDG, but I will not be associated with its administration any longer. I think the group is making a gigantic mistake to go down the path it has chosen to go. I've been participating in newsgroups for about 20 years now and I've seen far too many destroyed by deviating radically from the original intent. The moment you open the door to way off topic discussion, the downward spiral begins.


Ryan said...

Thanks for the time you spend "over there". I retired in 05 and was quite confused by all the changes going on at that time. I received great help from OPDG and was able to get through the process with only minor scars!
I quit following the group about a year ago after a couple of rather nasty replies to questions or comments I submitted. I don't mind being corrected when I am wrong but the tone was cruel and nasty and I have better things to do then to subject myself to that kind of abuse.
I remain a faithful follower of this blog and hope you keep it active.


William said...

Well said Marc. I appreciate all the work you do and will follow your blog. I find less and less about PERS on OPDG and have checked it less and less recently. I can't even follow why people are so mad or feel the need to vent political opinions there.

Another Greg said...

Marc as you know I left OPDG last week over the same issue. I will be checking here regularly now trusting that any real PERS news will be hear for me to read without the nasty gamesmenship being played over there.

Greg C

J Stevenson said...

Test one, trying to post!

J Stevenson said...

I will continue to check this site for PERS and Judge Kantor events. Thanks Marc!

MollyNCharlie said...

I support your decision and understand your actions. I *am* glad that you will still be making the occasional post over at OPDG. But I will be checking your blog more often that I check OPDG. It is one thing to decide to skip several off-topic postings. Lately I find myself skipping several days' worth of postings, finding nothing of interest to me. I am at a loss as to why a few of the posters there seem to enjoy taking a bite or more out of you each time you post. Clearly I see it differently. I'm sure you and a few others have noticed the absence of posts from me on OPDG in the last 4-6 weeks. I'll look forward to some constructive conversations here.

Old Scout said...

Ditto to all the comments. Oh, oh did I really say that/
I long relied on this blog for up to date and pertinent PERS info.

thanks for all you do.

Lance Parker

pgornick said...

The atmosphere there was getting too toxic for my taste, so I left a few days ago as well. Greg Scott's document library has more value to me than wading through all the flaming posts.

mrfearless47 said...

Thank you for all your thoughtful comments. I have no intention of abandoning this blog, nor do I have any intention of leaving OPDG. I just don't feel that I can remain as a moderator and be continually tempted to delete unnecessary political posts (right, left, or center). Retirees have plenty of other places to get political commentary. It is nice to have a place where the political commentary is limited to that which has some relevance to Oregon PERS.

For those who have urged me to start a separate newsgroup, I don't plan to do so. It isn't technically difficult to do, but I don't see the value. I think when enough people get fed up with OPDG's foray into political ideology, they will either leave or effect some sort of change. The most effective way to change the status of OPDG is to post retirement and PERS related topics, lots of them. There are lots of retirement relevant questions people can ask. If people are busy enough answering and discussing them, they won't have idle time to play with their hands :-)