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Profile Cruncher Pete
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Message 9060 - Posted: 11 Nov 2011 | 0:43:31 UTC

I need your help. I am an Admin of SETI.USA and with the backing of other Admins and the team asks that you examine the problems we are having with the listed Founder BlkJack-21.

Twelve months ago the team created a new website www.setiusa.us as the old one www.setiusa.net under the control of BlkJack-21 was not maintained, details of the team could not be updated as BlkJack-21 failed to communicate with any Administrator or member. The only time he responded was on 10-10-11 when I gave him cause why I should not remove him from the team in 30 days. His reply: "After being treated like shit over the years..it was inevitable that I would give up the forum/website" indicated that he is punishing this team by Declining Founder Transfer. See: http://www.seti.usa/showthread.php?2210-Administrator(s)-threatening-to-remove-me/Page2

All we want is to be able to maintain our database of members on this and other projects, to be able to nominate the team if and when challenged, to be able to communicate with our members, to be able to edit our team description (it is still pointing to a non exist ant site). It is not fair that one man can hold the team to ransome because of a personal vendetta.

Please Help. I am concerned that this hostile Founder will delete our membership and destroy SETI.USA. Note also that Dr David Anderson has agreed to our request and changed the Founder on SETI to Team.SETI.USA our preferred representative.

Regards,
Cruncher Pete
Administrator, SETI.USA

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Message 9061 - Posted: 12 Nov 2011 | 4:35:35 UTC

I am happy to help your team, but I am reluctant to remove a team founder without good cause. I was unable to read the forum thread you reference; the URL doesn't work, and as a non-member I am unable to read some of your forums in any case. But that doesn't matter, since I really don't want to get involved with the details of internal team matters.

While we still have old server code here, it is new enough that it includes the team founder transfer mechanism. The idea is that if a founder is absent and neglects the team for too long then there is a way for someone to take over the reins. But there is a long wait -- I think it's two months. And if the founder is not absent then he or she can accept or decline the transfer. Have you tried this? Did the current founder in fact decline the transfer? I see from the public information on your team server that BlkJack-21 was one of the original four founders of your team. In that case I can imagine that he might wish to remain listed as founder here, and I would not want to casually replace him if he's still active.

It does seem to be the case that the team page here points to the wrong server, but the one it points to now has a redirect to the correct one. Still, I agree that it would be better if it pointed more directly, and clearly the team description should be corrected. So that is a sign of some neglect.

I do see that the team founder has changed at SETI@home, but I note that it has not changed at Einstein@Home. But I don't feel that the same person must necessarily be listed as founder on each project. While I am listed as founder of the Pirates@Home team on many other projects, there are others where someone else plays that role; and for projects that I don't crunch for, or especially where I don't visit the forums, I'm happy to have someone else provide the services and oversight of the founder there. As long, of course, as they don't cause damage or embarrassment to the rest of the pirates.

So that seems to be a key question. Has BlkJack-21 neglected his duties, or done worse and done damage to the team somehow? Rest assured that if your members are deleted here then they can be restored from backups, which are performed regularly, even though the work here has been intermittent. And a wholesale purge of membership might well be considered enough to warrant removal as founder.

If this were a real pirate ship I could imagine an interesting way to settle this. We would tie the two of you together by your left hands, stick a dagger in opposite gunwales, and let ye two have at it. But not to the death, of course, since I would not be happy to lose the labor of an able bodied seaman. Just enough to determine a clear winner.

That's a bit dramatic, and this isn't a real pirate ship, so we'll do this in a more civilized way. From my point of view, how do I know you really represent the views of SETI.USA? Is there even a consensus among your team as to who should represent your interests? How can I know that removing the long-standing founder here would not be contributing to a mutiny within the greater team? In the least, I'm open to hearing from BlkJack-21 if he opposes the transfer. I'm open to comments from other members of the team as well, but again I don't want to get involved in the internal workings of the team. Keep in mind this is not a democracy, so we won't be counting votes. And I won't tolerate a lack of respect or decorum in the discussion. Consider court in session.

The real question is what direct effect the transfer would have on this project, not any of the others. Has BlkJack-21 done any damage here, either actively or by neglect? Is this a legitimate request or an attempt at a coup d'e tat? What say ye BlkJack-21?




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Profile Cruncher Pete
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Message 9062 - Posted: 15 Nov 2011 | 3:20:14 UTC - in response to Message 9060.



Thank you Cap't. My cutlass is blunt, I need to sharpen it. Hi Ho, where is that scoundrel? It was not my intention to bring this out into the open but I did not get any reply to my PM that I sent or at last thought that I sent on Nov3. If I were in your shoes, I have no doubt that I would handle the matter in similar ways as you are doing. Having said that, in order for you to make an educated judgement on the issue, you do need to get involved a little bit in team politics. Most of the issues that you are pointing out can be answered by reading the discussion in the link that is not available to you at the present time. Please send me a PM or email and I will provide you with a user name and password that will allow you to view the team discussion we had on this issue. As far as the foundership is concerned, SETI.USA is currently in control of 41 projects as against BlkJack-21's 28. We need to have all projects under the one control in order to be an effective team that can send Newsletters to all our members and not just a few. We need a founder that can initiate team challenges and represent our team. We need an effective Founder who will maintain the Team Description and finally we wish to have the same privileges and access to our members as all other teams have. BlkJack-21 Declined to hand over the project on 13 Oct yet he will not answer Team Officials PM or email on any subject. He will not hand over the Foundership, yet at the same time he will not help the team, what are we to do?

DrPop [BlackOps]
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Message 9063 - Posted: 15 Nov 2011 | 19:35:24 UTC

Ahoy there Captain Cornelius,
This here be DrPop of Admin status on the slowly sinking ship, M.V. SETI.USA.
Cruncher Pete sings the truth, though his ballad has fallen on deaf ears in other places, thank you for taking time to listen.
This is far too public a meeting place to go into all details; suffice it to say the team was torn asunder by civil war two long years ago, and we are finally emerging from the din of battle. We have lost contact with so many members, and been fragmented as a team. The founder on every project holds the key - the email addresses of each member on that team. Our founder is MIA from all team discussions and events for two years now. We can no longer abide a Captainless ship, and have gone about the arduous task of rebuilding and replacing the founder with a Team ID that will be accessible to all future Admins of SETI.USA. The water is up to the scuppers, and you can see we are no longer #1 in the world because of it. S.Germany, Sici* have passed us, and we are hard pressed these days even to stay ahead of L'AF. But, we are manning the pump stations and bailing like mad men to avoid the ship going down completely. Things are stabilizing even as we speak. Perhaps it will not be in vain to save her...

We have all hands on deck, Sir, and having ridden out this epic storm, we have commenced re-stepping the mast and repairing the main sail. Once the founder issues have been resolved, the sails will once again billow with the breeze and our ship will spring g forward with resolve.

I would like to personally invite you to contact me on our forums, where others and myself can provide you with any information you request. On behalf of the thousands of SETI.ISA crunchers, thank you for your time and consideration in this request; and best wishes for the future of your BOINC project.
____________

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Message 9064 - Posted: 15 Nov 2011 | 19:40:38 UTC
Last modified: 15 Nov 2011 | 20:03:15 UTC

Cruncher Pete, I responded to your post here because that's where you posted it. I am afraid that I didn't get any PM, but if you tried you should have found that the PM facility on this project does not work (yet). What you may not have noticed is the link on the main page of the project called Contact project administrators. You could have (and still can) use that to send a message to me (and it goes to a couple of moderators as well).

I looked for a similar link on the front page of the SETI.USA server, but could not find any. As you already appreciate, I would like to be assured that I am really communicating with someone who represents the team. I don't care about the internal politics. If I know that you represent the wishes of the team, I will make the change. So one way to proceed would be for a "contact administrators" link to appear on that site. I would follow that, and through an exchange of private information we could establish verified communication between this project and your team.

I said earlier that I don't care about other projects, but that's not really true. Large teams like yours which contribute to multiple projects are an important part of the BOINC "ecosystem". If you are still working on recovering control of the team on other projects, adding a "contact administrators" link to your server might help with those other efforts as well. In general anything you can do to make the job easier for the other project administrators is likely to increase your chances of success, since they are usually very busy with much more than just project administration.
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Profile Cruncher Pete
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Message 9065 - Posted: 15 Nov 2011 | 22:38:20 UTC - in response to Message 9064.



G'Day Skipper.

Thanks for the info to date. Using your Contact Project Admin I now have sent you a user name and log in password so that you can see the link in question. As regards our Contact on the forum. You might have missed it. At the bottom of the page there is an option to "Contact Us" which will be seen by all Admins if anybody uses it. Whatever the outcome of this is I would appreciate if you could delete this thread as I am kind of uncomfortable airing the teams problems out in the open even though I started the thread.

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Message 9066 - Posted: 15 Nov 2011 | 23:05:18 UTC - in response to Message 9065.
Last modified: 15 Nov 2011 | 23:05:49 UTC

Cruncher Pete [BlackOps wrote:
] As regards our Contact on the forum. You might have missed it. At the bottom of the page there is an option to "Contact Us" which will be seen by all Admins if anybody uses it.

I looked before, and I just looked again, and could not find a "Contact Us" link on any of the pages I looked at, on the bottom or otherwise. I even searched for "contact" with my brower's "find" function. Are you sure the link is in plain public view? Or does it only show up when one is logged in. A key point is to have something available to those who do not normally login.


Whatever the outcome of this is I would appreciate if you could delete this thread as I am kind of uncomfortable airing the teams problems out in the open even though I started the thread.

I will delete it when we are through, which I hope will be soon. But I have attempted to contact BlkJack-21 and I mentioned this thread, so I will leave it open long enough that he can give a reasonable reply, should he choose to do so.
____________
-- Eric Myers

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Bok
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Message 9067 - Posted: 15 Nov 2011 | 23:16:35 UTC
Last modified: 15 Nov 2011 | 23:18:57 UTC

It's a spam prevention thing not to be displayed. Unfortunately bots and other motley brigands tend to spam it.

I've updated the controls so it's available now :) We can switch it back off later..

Bok :)

I host the forums for SETI.USA along with the Free-DC forum and the http://stats.free-dc.org site
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DrPop [BlackOps]
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Message 9068 - Posted: 16 Nov 2011 | 1:26:34 UTC

Thanks, BOK. I can see it now with a "test user" ID I made on our forums so I think he will spot it now. ;-)

Cap'n, it'll be the first link in the blue link bar on the bottom of the screen at our forums. The words "Contact Us" in white, are roughly 2/3 across the bottom of the screen when reading from left to right.
Thanks for your help on this!
DrPop

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Message 9069 - Posted: 16 Nov 2011 | 3:17:51 UTC - in response to Message 9067.

Bok wrote:
It's a spam prevention thing not to be displayed. Unfortunately bots and other motley brigands tend to spam it.

I don't know how spambots get through it, since it took me three tries to get the captcha right, and I'm human. (At least I thought I was - maybe I'm actually a replicant and just don't know it.)
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Message 9070 - Posted: 16 Nov 2011 | 7:58:56 UTC

I am the original founder for team SETI.USA on this project..and I do not give permission to transfer foundership to anyone else. Thanks
____________

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Message 9071 - Posted: 16 Nov 2011 | 22:23:36 UTC

A couple of years ago I've been involved in the Space Family hijack saga and tried to investigate their pirated teams BOINC-wide - some of the major ones have fortunately been returned to their legitimate owners.

This situation is a bit different. Noone has stolen anything and we are not allowed to force him walking the plank - which would quickly solve all apparent problems.

The hidden remains the ethics (or politics? I'm maybe not good enough in either of them)-. - "Who is more legitimate to keep the team?" The original, but (for currently unknown reasons) bitterish founder, who wishes to take teams in his holdings "into the grave" and seems to have all rights to do so, or the remaining active part of the former team, the majority of is possibly innocent in the breeze among the upper management...
____________
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Message 9072 - Posted: 16 Nov 2011 | 23:05:11 UTC - in response to Message 9071.
Last modified: 16 Nov 2011 | 23:06:51 UTC

I remember the Space Family issue very well, in fact one of my Free-DC teams got hijacked at NanoHive (I think) and we did get it back eventually but it was a pain.

It is a difficult one for the project admins, it's one of the areas of BOINC where it's virtually impossible to fully automate and admins have to get involved. I do understand that but what it boils down to is this :

What are each respective 'sides' doing for the team currently and in the recent past?

1. Cruncher Pete and the SETI.USA current admins (and I do vouch that they are who they say, if my word means anything).

They have run the current active forum for the past year and a half, are actively recruiting users to the SETI.USA teams, are out there in the BOINC projects talking up the team and taking part in challenges.

They have foundership in the majority of projects still available (including SETI with their 14000+ users) and are in the process of contacting many of the users with an up to date newsletter and such. They are updating the descriptions for the team at each project they have foundership for to point to the current domain/forum.

2. BlkJack21.

Nothing that I can tell, he mostly refuses to communicate with anyone and gives no reasons at all as to why he won't transfer foundership. Admins and various users have reached out to him over the past year via PM, email etc with little to no response or help. A year or so ago, he did agree with one of the forum admins to transfer the setiusa.net domain over, but this just never happened, forcing the admins to register a new domain instead and start afresh. If he wanted the team to slowly die off or become stagnant he was doing a very good job of it until CP came along and forced a few issues.

There is my 2 cents.

Bok
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Message 9073 - Posted: 17 Nov 2011 | 4:14:10 UTC

Even though this project is not doing much these days, my hope has always been that it could contribute to learning about how to do things or not do things right. In the present case, the question was whether there is a clear best practice for a contested transfer of a team. I had hoped for a general answer, but I only find one in a limited case. But I think it shows how it might be best done on other projects and for future conflicts. We shall see.

The mechanism for transfer of an abandoned team does not apply here, since the original founder has replied. And I must say I give great weight to the request of the original founder to remain in place. I would probably honor that request in the case of a team which exists only on this project. But it is important to consider that the team in question exists across many different projects, and the team has also set up a separate server with their own forums. Given that, I felt that control of the team should be given to whoever controls that separate site.

I took some care in verifying that I really was talking to the administrators of that site. After they enabled their "Contact us" link I made use of it, and I gave them a secret code word. If they could tell me the code word in our other communication then I would know that I really was talking to the site admins. And that's what happened.

And so I have transferred the team founder as requested, with no prejudice (at least here) to crewman BlkJack-21.

Perhaps this mechanism will help SETI.USA recover their teams on other projects. It will likely require keeping that "Contact us" link working. If spam is really a problem you might consider switching to reCAPTCHA, which is what is used here, and I could give some assistance. Remember, the project admins are busy and don't want to have to do too much. A request from someone claiming to represent a team may well be legitimate, but it might also be mischief in progress, and so the project admin needs a way to know that he/she is really talking to the team leadership.

It has been requested that this thread be removed. I'll leave it up for a few days to get the word out, and then I'll hide it from the public and the crew, now that the issue is resolved, unless that request is withdrawn.

Thanks to all participants for a very civil discussion, which I hope helps all BOINC projects in the future. But as I said earlier, we shall see.
____________
-- Eric Myers

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Message 9074 - Posted: 17 Nov 2011 | 13:38:33 UTC

Thanks Eric.

I think that Captcha must have been added / strengthened in a more recent version of vBulletin and I hadn't noticed at all. I did not used to be there a few years ago. So yes, I'll definitely leave it there now that it's much more difficult for bots to get through. Unless of course they are the type who have seen Attack Ships on Fire off the shoulder of Orion....

Bok


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Profile Cruncher Pete
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Message 9075 - Posted: 17 Nov 2011 | 21:13:10 UTC

Thank you Eric for the way you handled this issue. Everyday we are adding a project to our foundership which should give us the necessary tool to strengthen this team. As regards deleting this thread, I changed my mind. It contains good information for other teams that have or will have issues of similar nature.

Regards,
Cruncher Pete.

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