One of the very first kayaking blogs that I stumbled upon quite by accident back in the days that I did not know kayaking blogs existed was Yakabout.
I have learnt a lot from reading this blog, and many of the things I have learned have changed our experience of kayaking forever for us. For example the shark skins – had we not heard about them on Yakabout earlier this year, we would have put the kayak away during the winter months like we did the year before. Thanks to Yakabout writing about them we got the shark skins and kayaked ourselves silly during the winter months.
At some point during the last few months with us making the decision to get into fishing from the kayak, I wanted to learn more about the fishing aspect of things. So I looked around the web with Yakabout’s links page as a starting point, and I found a kayak forum called AKFF – the Australian Kayak Fishing Forum. I lurked for a bit, getting a feel for the water, and then I signed up and began posting.
I won’t lie and say that I felt comfortable right off the bat there – there was a lot of discussion between people who clearly knew each other personally. There was also a fair bit of “Aussie” humour, some of it funny, some of it not funny at all. That is usually the case with Aussie humour, I tend to find. You take the good with the bad, though.
Earlier this week a big argument broke out when one of the members posted a photo of their dog in a thread asking members to sign a petition. Their dog happens to be a Dingo. It is legal to keep them in NSW providing you follow very specific rules, which the person in question was doing. Frankly I wish every dog breed had rules and you needed a permit to keep them, having been bitten twice by dogs I hate it when people just let their dogs run loose in the streets. It happens a lot where I live.
It seems on this forum when people have an argument, nobody reports the posts, the mod team don’t bother to step in even when they can see that rules are being broken and personal attacks are being made, and then when asked why action was not taken, they state that nobody reported the posts.
Once the argument is over – or even while it is ongoing, members of the forum will jump into the thread posting completely off topic and somewhat stupid things to try and break the tension and calm things down (hello, that is what happens when the mod/admin team isn’t doing their job properly!)
So when I saw a totally offensive (to me at least) image of a dead cat on a road posted in that thread with a sign saying “Free Cat” pointing at the run over animal, I reported the post.
I can’t remember exactly what I said when I reported it, maybe just something like inappropriate image. If I was shocked by the image, I was completely flabbergasted by the response I got from a moderator on the site named Leftieant.
As I have now been banned from the site, I am unable to post a copy of it, however I remember him saying that the image had been sent by email a lot, and he believed it wasn’t inappropriate or offensive.
I responded saying I had never seen it before, I was offended by it, and that I knew there were quite a few members on the site who were under 18, and that I hated to think of kids stumbling onto that image as a surprise to them. I also quoted sections from the rules that the image specifically broke.
I did not receive a response to that private message, and no action was taken about the photo. It is still there as far as I know. It was about this time that I began feeling this site might not be a great place to hang out.. what happened next certainly proved those feelings to be correct.
On Sunday afternoon, I visited the AKFF forums only to find a couple of threads with ……… in the title, one of which was soon deleted. I then discovered that the signature of one of the forum members – Astro, who is a contributor at Yakabout – seemed to have been modified and now made no sense.
It now said – Kayak Fishing Correspondent http://……….com.au – and I knew that it should have said Yakabout where the dots were. Hmm.. I dropped over to Yakabout where people were already chatting about this bizarre phenomenon in the shoutbox.
That same day, Yakabout had launched a set of forums on their site. Jealous much, AKFF guys? There was no reason to be – there is plenty of room on the internet for everyone to have their own forums. However with Yakabout being as well known and as popular as it was, they clearly felt threatened by it.
I wasn’t about to keep my mouth shut about this. I felt that any community that would act so childishly towards someone as awesome as Josh from Yakabout was probably not a place I was going to spend a lot of time in the future, so I was happy to be quite outspoken about it and you can clearly see that I was in this thread which I am surprised still exists – read it while you can!.
However I did not break the rules – being an Administrator on other forums, I know better than to do that.
Josh from Yakabout also posted about the goings on, which you can read here – Days Of Our Lives.
Imagine my surprise when I returned home from a kayaking trip on Monday only to find that my forum account on AKFF no longer existed. I am in excellent company though, because Yakass (Josh) no longer exists either. No explanation from the people on AKFF, no discussion, no mention of a warning, nothing. They just threw away two members of the community.
I am assuming (perhaps someone from the site reading this could comment and let me know for sure) that they made the decision to ban Josh, and they felt I would not keep quiet about that either, so they banned me at the same time.
Now me, I can understand. I am nobody in the kayak fishing world. But Josh? Who is probably one of the most well known (not to mention popular) kayak fishermen in Australia these days? That’s a bad choice, guys. That one will come back to bite you once your members work out what is going on. Oh wait.. you’re not ballsy enough to explain it to them, and they’re gonna have to figure it out all on their own?
Let me give you an example of how you are supposed to administrate a forum. When you ban someone and create a new rule as a result of that, you need to let people in on the secret.
Recently a member on The Mudflats borrowed money from other members promising to pay it back – and then did not pay it back. When we Admins found out about this, we chose to ban the member and we also created some new rules as a result. Here you can see the post where we explained the banning, and here you can see the new rules.
That’s how you do it, AKFF people. So why don’t you explain the banning of Yakass and Snoskred to your members? Oh wait.. you don’t have a good reason for doing it? Ohhh.. right.
There were some people on AKFF who I looked forward to meeting – I guess that won’t be possible now. That is the one thing I do regret about all of this.
Not one to let things like this upset me, I have built the bridge and got over it – and joined a new kayak forum which Josh assures me is awesome, and a quick look around over there shows me it probably is the better place for me anyway, they have a local fishing group. And I see some of the people I had hoped to meet are members of this new forum also too.