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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

• Banned from BassResource

Listen, if you don't want to read this, that's fine. I don't want my readers to get drawn in to any of my drama. I just have to say I'm disappointed that so many bass fishing forums are so dysfunctional and have such little regard for the truth. What happened? I was banned after having an exchange on BassResource over the use of hydrogen peroxide in livewells. A mod thought I was from Kansas and lying about my location. A sponsor took offense to all the wrong things in a neurotic kind of way and did not introduce research related to the question at hand, information I called into question. The owner of the site played clean up so as to make his site come out ahead in the long run. The specifics are explained below in great detail.

Please note: As of late Thursday, 6/12/2008, the thread in question was no longer accessible. As of June 14th, the thread was made accessible again for all to see. At some point after the 14th, the thread was closed and hidden one last time.

The thread in question was also closed because other people were making unnecessary comments. The thread was actually moved from the General section to Tournament Talk, if I'm not mistaken. I wondered if they were trying to keep the sponsor from looking bad by moving it to a less active section of the forum.

In case you want to skip all of this and hear what came out of this discussion with regard to hydrogen peroxide, here you go. We actually ended up with a majority of people that agreeably decided it was best to err on the side of caution and not use the stuff. I had a couple of people compliment my critical look at the data presented to us. The consensus is that there is not any data out there suggesting that hydrogen peroxide does anything more than perhaps delay pending mortality and its use is not recommended. That's where the issue stands in the bass fishing world. Just know that BASS frowns on the notion (see the article Keeping Bass Alive) and several biologists in Wildlife & Fisheries departments also do not recommend using hydrogen peroxide in livewells. You may find that the peroxide helps in your own experience, but you cannot provide any info on delayed mortality with regard to your catch. You let them go and hope for the best, don't you? There is not a study nor is there scientific evidence to support the use of hydrogen peroxide in a livewell setting, nor is there evidence to suggest a specific dilutional ratio of hydrogen peroxide and water is at all beneficial. Until there is evidence out there that hydrogen peroxide is a good thing for tournament fish, I'll stand by my background in both biology and chemistry knowing full well hydrogen peroxide does not discriminate when it reacts and may cause undesired harm to fish or even to open cuts on your own skin. The folks at Sure Life will continue to push hydrogen peroxide as a livewell additive without substantiating the assertion with any formal scientific studies or statistical analysis. It's up to you to decide who you should listen to. My training dictates that I practice evidence based medicine in order to do no harm. As anglers, we are often granted some leeway towards fish handling in that regard, but we also strive to perfect our skills and knowledge base so as to not repeat our mistakes. Quite often, our knowledge of proper wildlife management comes from scientific study.


So here we go again. I recently got involved in a discussion related to whether or not hydrogen peroxide should be used in livewells. The discussion became heated and I used what I've been trained to do to ask questions related to the data presented to me. Wouldn't you know it? A sponsor was involved and butted heads with me. She didn't really answer many of my questions. Just kind of got defensive and went off on some personal attacks and then had the nerve to call me condescending. What a great exchange that was. At one point, they wanted my real name so that they knew who they were talking to. For those of you already familiar with my history, you know I don't just give out my name to everybody on the net for security reasons. I also don't want my name out there after that physical threat was made by a DWMB member. No telling who they know and I'm not going to put my life or my loved ones at risk like that. Yes, it's that much of a concern. It shouldn't have to be, but you never know how people will take things said online and retaliate violently in real life. Aside from those concerns, I was also faced with a wild case of defamation by the moderators of BassResource.

So here's what went on in the actual thread. They were talking about whether or not it was okay to use hydrogen peroxide in livewells. There was already a veterinarian involved in the discussion. He had already kind of rubbed the original poster the wrong way and came out in opposition to using hydrogen peroxide. I was reluctant to chime in, but decided to anyway. I actually voiced my reluctance in my first post upon entering the discussion. The vet had already pointed out how he felt the thread was beginning to look like a knowledge competition challenging qualifications. In the past, I've learned that members of the scientific community with any formal education are not well received in this sort of crowd. A simple misinterpretation of sarcasm was enough to get me involved to clear some things up. In my original post, I made it very clear that I was well aware how discussions such as this end up making someone feel like they have been talked down to. I suggested that certain people not jump on that bandwagon and keep the discussion moving in a positive direction. I also made it clear in my first post in this discussion that I was speaking calmly and had no malicious intent. I specifically reminded people that threads which end up focusing on provocation and condescension always end up getting closed. I ended my post openly awaiting a response from the recommended authority on the subject, the sponsor from Sure Life. We did not even make it to page two of the discussion before people got jumpy. A couple of other members came along and sided against using hydrogen peroxide. Someone posted a link to a BASS article related to the subject. I added a quick response, again noting that I was waiting for the sponsor to come along to say a few words. While I was waiting, I got a PM from another member explaining how receptive the site was to those of us in the sciences and those of us who are college educated. Although this member seemed to convince me things would go smoothly, the events that actually transpired proved to be the exact opposite. They were not very receptive in the end.

One moderator stepped in and said how disappointed he was in the tone of the thread and said that personal attacks will not be tolerated. Be sure to remember that when I tell you how the sponsor came in and personally attacked me without any reprimand. The sponsor finally showed up, added some links, and explained the general idea behind the use of hydrogen peroxide. The last part of their response was directed partially at myself and the veterinarian stating that we were misusing our credentials to belittle and humiliate. You know, that's exactly what I said I was not doing when I came into the thread to offer some insight. That was attack number one from the sponsor that went unpunished. There were a few other points that the sponsor made that I quickly shot down. That left the actual data to evaluate and discuss.

Again, either Tony or Lane Gergely from Sure Life posted a couple links. If those links were designed to support the use of hydrogen peroxide, in my experience, such articles will probably cite other studies and various data collected. When any formal studies are performed, usually statistical analysis is involved and I'm accustomed to reading that kind of stuff on a weekly basis. (Also note that someone challenged whether or not I participate in weekly discussions on journal articles. Teaching hospitals call it a journal club.) None of the studies provided listed info on statistical significance and the studies were largely unrelated to using hydrogen peroxide on bass in a tournament livewell setting. I wrote my response asking some very appropriate questions, trying to cover what was lacking in the data presented to me just as I do at the hospital with journal articles. A few people acknowledged my response in a good way and the sponsor took some things I said too personally. Instead of openly answering my questions, she went on the defensive. I don't think her husband had it in himself to discuss anything with any of us. It felt to me like they really didn't have the answer and decided instead to question our credentials and specifically insult my profession. She apparently did not fully understand how the medical profession works, but attacking my profession in the thread was both inappropriate and unrelated to the discussion. Anyone in medicine would have taken offense to her comments. If anything the moderator should have stepped in and cooled her off. That did not happen.

In the thread, I had hoped the folks at Sure Life would offer some useful data showing how hydrogen peroxide in livewell tanks was a good idea. Someone else in the thread actually recommended their advice as an authority on the subject, so I honestly wanted to wait and see what they had to say. After the thread was locked and the last post by the sponsor specifically went after me, I had no way of responding to her attacks, so I felt I should at least respond via private message because she had the impression I was trying to crucify her. That's not what I was doing at all and felt I should at least send a message making that point very clear. That's when the sponsor made this more about personal attacks than answering questions and demanding to know my real name. Lane Gergely completely flipped out at that point in the exchange. Another rude private message was from the guy who recommended them as an authority on the subject and felt he needed to poke me with a stick. It was a mess. Let me tell ya.

Remember now that I was unable to get my response in after that because the thread was closed. I wanted to try and settle things down in order for her to understand I was not trying to attack her or her husband and end things on a peaceful note. A mod with the handle "flukemaster" closed the thread before I could say anything. I tried to reason with Gergely via PM, but whoever was talking from that duo, (husband or wife) just did not want to hear it. They wanted to get into some sort of credentials debate, which was really ironic because in the thread, they felt it was inappropriate to call their credentials into question. Apparently my credentials weren't good enough. The next six or seven PM's were more about my credentials and less about answering any questions about hydrogen peroxide. Every response was about how I was being condescending towards her and how she was thinking about seeking legal counsel. Every one of my responses kept demanding answers to the same questions I asked while also attempting to explain that I was not on the attack looking to crucify either one of them. There is a huge difference between making an accusation and asking a question and I don't think she could tell the difference. Gergely was really off her rocker by that point (if she wasn't already judging by her final post in the thread). She was also apparently forwarding my PM's on to the administrator. I think I ended up answering more questions in the long run than she ever did. Between those two and the moderator, incompetence was running wild and free and I got caught in the middle. I ended up being the one that got the shaft. Go figure.

So here I am, writing about my bad experience instead of being allowed to contribute to a fishing forum.

After all of the back and forth via PM, I decided to block both individuals using the settings inherent to the forum to hopefully end it right there. Instead, I got a message from one of the mods, flukemaster. He asked me where I was located. So I told him Shreveport, just like it said in my BassResource profile. Well, my ISP at the time went through Reston, VA, so if he looked at the log, he might find Reston, VA and not Shreveport. I'm not sure why, but for some reason they were getting that I was posting from Wichita, Kansas. What? No idea how they got that one. The message from flukemaster stated that he had reasonable proof that I was lying to both of them. Great, now I'm lying about where I live. (I think he ran a traceroute on the wrong IP address.) I replied and told him to check this blog. Told him to see where Cross Lake is located. I even said he could ask me anything he wanted about Shreveport. I refreshed my page again to see if he had replied only to find out I had been banned. Talk about a swift and unfair hand. Nobody had even visited my blog at that point to verify my location according to my Statcounter visitor log. Not much fact checking coming from their end. Appalling lack of organization, really.

I'm pretty sure I'm the only one that got the boot in this whole mess and to top it off, they thought I was a liar from Kansas thanks to someone's incompetence. Isn't that great? A mod was the one that screwed up (and continued to screw up - see below) and I'm the one that got banned. Talk about horrible decision making.

Now that you've heard the true account of this whole mess, you should consider yourself more informed on the inner workings at BassResource. You could be the next victim of a flukemaster fluke or a Sure Life crucifixion, let alone another sponsor.

Anyone out there is welcome to vouch for me on this if you were involved in the thread. If anyone is a member over there, pay close attention to what happened to me. It could have just as easily been you. I'm not looking to win them over to invite me back. I don't ever plan on going back. I don't know why they've got this snap judgment, but they got it wrong about me from the get go. If I'm going to be banned from the site, I'd at least like them to know they got it wrong. I have a bad feeling Lane Gergely thought I was some sort of PETA nut trying to attack her.

I signed up again with a new name to briefly let the head admin, Glenn, know how extremely unhappy I was with how this was handled. I don't know who was running the show, but incompetence seemed to be the word of the day. If they don't want someone with my background in the sciences there to offer some knowledge, it's their loss, I suppose. It does a great disservice to their members when they ban someone who has enough education to sit down and offer information other folks may not be able to. (This is why I feel leadership roles and positions of power are better off being filled by intelligent people.)

I later followed up on the thread to see if anything had changed. It came to my attention that Flukemaster added his own unnecessary two cents. In the post just prior to that, he mentioned how serious defamation was and how important it was to check facts. Talk about irony!
"It has come to our attention that BassD is not who he says he is. He is not a Dr. He is nothing but a compulsive liar and a troll.
I guess he thought he could be anything on the internet. lol"

Of course, I could not respond to a locked thread, so I had to respond here. I never actually claimed that I was an MD. If you read what I said carefully, you would see how I took great caution in how I worded things. What I meant was, MD's are educated in subjects relevant to the discussion in both undergraduate and graduate programs, also speaking for myself, someone who is familiar with those programs. For what it is worth to you as a reader, I have completed the grad school program requirements for graduation and will receive my MD in the fall at an official ceremony. I have acquired this same level of knowledge by having completed requirements necessary to earn the degree. It is true that at the time of writing this post, I do not hold the degree in my hand. I have finished my final year of medical school and have both the knowledge and the abilities equivalent to that of a first year resident. By all accounts, my official title will be that of a doctor. The only thing separating me from an official MD title is a simple ceremony. In October of 2008, my med school will issue my degree. It's simply a moot point. If you want to split that many hairs, go ahead. I've got a background in Biology, Chemistry, and the Health Sciences. To question those credentials in a discussion on hydrogen peroxide is somewhat...shall we say...misplaced. To call me a compulsive liar and a troll was out of line and dead wrong. I demanded an apology here on this blog. Calling me a liar and a troll can, in legal terms, be considered libelous. I eventually spoke to a lawyer about the whole ordeal, fearing some sort of additional defamatory backlash. What flukemaster said was in fact a false statement damaging to my reputation. The use of the term "troll" was perhaps misplaced as well. Trolls by definition, in internet lingo, intend to disrupt. I had no intention of disrupting the discussion. My efforts were purely additive and intended to assist. Read the Wiki on trolls if you have time.

Now, I would say visit BR and read that thread, payin close attention to where I really honestly tried to reiterate I meant no disrespect, but the thread is gone now. I tried to warn people not to get bent out of shape and that discussions like these tend to eventually make someone feel like they are being talked down to. I made it perfectly clear that's not what I was doing, but certain people chose to disregard that part and call me condescending.
(EDIT: Unfortunately it appears that the entire thread is no longer accessible. However, if you do the proper search using Google, you may find cached versions of almost the whole thing.)

I am still demanding an official apology, but I don't think that'll ever happen. Flukemaster most certainly screwed up big this time. People are now going to know what kind of stuff goes on at that site and who is really pulling the strings. I'm honestly not sure why I was banned. Nobody actually told me. I'm not sure if they didn't like what I said or if the sponsor cried to get something done. I'm not sure if somehow, because they thought I was coming from Kansas that I was some troll looking to cause trouble while lying about my location. I think you can see for yourself that I really am in Shreveport. You can look at my 30 plus posts prior to this on BassResource and see that I'm obviously no troll. I actually joined up at BR because Glenn has the "no politics or religion" policy and thought it showed promise. Now I know he's running a really dirty game over there, pandering to sponsors and allowing incompetent moderators to make important decisions at the expense of their members.

What is wrong with fishing forums these days? I can't seem to find anyone who has any freakin sense! Are there even any fishing forums worth joining? Are they all full of people who don't know what they are doing? Good mods seem to be hard to find, eh? If bad publicity is what they want, that's what I'm going to give them. It's amazing how those of us who are different from the norm are not welcome in these small communities.

Now I know that sponsors get special treatment at BassResource. Members are disposable. I think I recall reading a thread Glenn, the big boss over there, posted that said he didn't let the sponsors push him around. Hate to break it to him, but that's exactly what happened this time. You can bet I won't be endorsing Sure Life Industries any time soon. Customers would like to know how argumentative the owners can be and that's really bad for business. The next time you need to buy products to keep your bass healthy in the livewell, think twice before going with Sure Life Industries. I wouldn't want to do business with anyone I found to be that argumentative, neurotic, or so touchy. They don't want to answer any questions. If you can't calmly answer specific questions about products or procedures you personally endorse, do you really know what you're talking about? I don't think they do. I would not do business with anyone who refuses to answer questions and takes offense when being approached with such questions. Now I know this is just my own personal opinion based on the verbal exchange I had and you have every right to choose who you prefer to do business with. If you've had better experiences with these two, it's possible that I caught them on a bad day. I still can't recommend them. As an added note, I'd like to point out that they advocate hydrogen peroxide for use in livewells on their official company web site without citing any specific scientific study showing any benefit or detriment after its use.

By the way, I was not the only person in the thread questioning them. A few others saw the same things I did and came up with the same criticisms. Somehow I think I became the scapegoat. Oh well, for what it's worth, you have this post to read. Again, it's your personal decision as to who you decide to do business with and I've made mine. I'll stick with ice water, Rejuvenade, and a fully functioning livewell circulating new water.

I see I've had visits from someone in Houston, someone from Evans, Georgia, and someone from San Antonio. Hello there. Care to stop lurking in the shadows? I'm pretty sure I know who two of you are. Flukemaster is from Georgia and the Sure Life people live in Texas. I've also had a visitor post a comment defending the couple, however, I cannot approve it for publishing because it includes language not appropriate for this site, name calling, and to be honest, a rather poor mastery of the English language and various lapses in logic. If he had written a more civil comment, perhaps it would have been approved. See. This is what I'm dealing with. I can't help but have a concern over my own safety at this point.

I'm fairly certain one of them is probably Flukemaster. He's visited this post multiple times now, so he knows what he did wrong. He never actually edited his defamatory post (see below). I've had visits from other places as well looking specifically for this particular post, yet none of them has offered to remedy the situation in any way nor offer an apology. I have kept a log of all of these visits for my own safe keeping and will continue to watch for these visitors until they lose the urge to spy on this post and lurk in the shadows. Thank you, Statcounter!

Something did eventually change in the thread. Can't say it was any less defamatory. Glenn edited Flukemaster's post. How very telling. When you make a mistake like that, you man up and apologize. You don't cover it up and hope it goes away.
"It has come to our attention that BassD is not who he says he is. He is not a Dr. He has been banned for his rude and abrasive behavior, as well as misrepresenting himself.
I guess he thought he could be anything on the internet. lol"

Note that now Flukemaster also seems to think I've been banned from forums in the past. No, I have not. I left two fishing forums. I left UB by my own choosing after having made well over 500 posts and I left the BPS forum on my own accord. Those that feel I stir the pot are reading too much into the things I say and have a tendency to stir the pot themselves. Are they trying to show the world how many mistakes they can make involving one person? How can someone that prone to error be a moderator at a forum? I see no reason not to reveal the names of the people involved now that I am being targeted directly. They seem to be okay using a public profile where their names are readily displayed. Let them be held accountable.

1. I was neither rude, nor abrasive. Private messages were straight forward and merely explanatory. My posts in the thread in question were neither rude nor abrasive and I made it clear that my intent was to speak with respect and in a calm voice. Certain people chose to disregard my honesty and instead took it upon themselves to personally attack me. Those behaviors have yet to be dealt with to my knowledge and no apology has been offered with regard to being called a liar and a troll. The only thing that has been done has been the removal of the entire thread. Apparently sponsors can say whatever they want, but regular members cannot respond to their attacks without being branded trolls.
2. I did not misrepresent myself in any way shape or form. Any perception that I misrepresented myself is based purely on the inabilities of certain people to read and view this blog where I clearly stated at the time that I was a fourth year medical student. It's clear that I never had any intention to misrepresent myself.
3. At least now they're coming up with a reason as to why I was banned. A little late and completely false, but a reason nonetheless.
4. It still raises legal questions related to slander/libel.
5. Again, your incompetence is astounding. Where did you read I was banned from forums? Did the DWMB people somehow convince you? I know flukemaster is a member there. I saw him posting about me. I left the UB forum. I deleted my account out of disgust. I was not banned for stirring the pot as you seem to think. BPS did not ban me. I could still log in to my account if I wanted to, last I checked. I made the decision to leave after it was made clear to me the admins there are just as corrupt and complacent as you. You can't seem to get it right can you? What a screw up. How many mistakes do you have to make before you admit you messed up? Instead of painting me out to be the bad guy, how about you man up and apologize for all the mistakes you've made?

What a class act. Shame on all of you.

Hopefully this will be my final edit. I have no desire to continue this game of cat and mouse. Move on. I stand by my choice to stay away from products from Sure Life Industries and cannot recommend BassResource to anyone looking for a good fishing forum. In the end, you make the ultimate decision with whom you do business with and who you choose to associate yourself with.


Anonymous said...

They banned you for that? I thought you made some good points. Guess it goes to show you never can tell who to trust these days. Hope they let you back. If not, I at least enjoyed reading what you had to say. Good luck.

HellaBass said...

Come join my forum, no BS, I promise!
Rich's Bassin' Forum

BassFishingDem said...

That's right. I forgot you had a forum. I'll have a look one day real soon and sign up. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Here's another hydrogen peroxide advocate that was check-mated. You'll get a kick out of this one.

When it's 4th down and your on your 1/2 yard line, all you can do is PUNT or quit or just piss in your pants.


Anonymous said...

I was just banned from that site as well. I never receive a reason behind it. Quite frankly I think its just a bunch of pansies that decide who can stay and who has to go. I never did anything wrong on that site and I was active for over a year and I was always helpful... but piss on them!!!!

BassFishingDem said...

Unfortunately, your story of frustration is a common one. They have a horrible policy in place, but it would help if their moderators actually had some formal training. Just move on to greener pastures. There are so many other better communities out there to participate in. You're welcome here at my blog. Tight lines.

Jim Hickey said...

Interesting post :) ... I came across your link (via Google) while researching the use of H2O2 as a livewell additive. Many (incuding Doug Hannon) suggest using it while others (including B.A.S.S. as of 2005) do not.

The post has been Dugg!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Singapore! I just stumbled on this site and I can sense the unfairness that happened to you. I looked at the date and its happened a year ago, but due to their bad handling of the matter they are still being served even 1 year on and many more years to come! globally!

MDTolic said...

Wow. I stumbled upon this story via Twitter. (I read this whole post on my phone. Whew!) However, I've been reading your blog since finding your Pflueger Summit review, while doing my own research on reels, a couple years ago. I had often wondered if Bass Resource was the site that caused you so much stress. At first, I wasn't exactly sure if I was glad that was confirmed; but I am. Unfortunately, the Internet makes things easier for people to be, well...to be dicks; especially in large, essentially anonymous, groups like that. I'm impressed by your fortitude though and happy this detailed blog was the result of such a discordant and sour event. I continue to be impressed by your posts and consider myself a loyal reader and fan. Thanks for doing what you do here. - Matt/MN/USA

P.S. Congrats on that 6 lb'er!

Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

fishing tips said...

sorry to hear about you getting banned. that's totally unfair. there are plenty of other great sites out there that in my personal opinion are better that have good fishing tips and inshore reports. good luck to you. i'm excited for summer to be here. it's going to be a great fishing season out here in utah. have you ever been fishing out here?

BassFishingDem said...

Thanks for commenting. Still feels like it was yesterday.

Haven't fished in Utah, but I've been there. I've seen plenty of fly fishermen out and about in the streams along the highway. An ex-girlfriend fishes for stripers somewhere outside of SLC.

gravestone said...

I've been also banned from the site. We're not missing a thing. There are very few guys on that site that know anything about bass fishing anyway. The moderators leave a lot to be desired and should at least have some knowledge on the subjects at hand before posting about it.

SenkoSAM said...

They warned me earlier this year for refuting a sponsor's claims and I've noticed that some of the old timers like RoadWarrior can be as sarcastic as they want and never get moderated. I'd rather browse the site for ideas to post on UltimateBass.com run by Mike Cork.- a much friendlier group and Mike doesn't tolerate idiots who continue down the road of bad etiquette and slamming for no good reason.

I guess that's one of the reasons NYBASS is always so quiet since that forum banned more than half of the best anglers with the most useful and interesting information because JohnG found fault with them yet protected major assholes that he'd fish with on occasion.