Update: 10 March 2014 20:20 UTC. Follow here for the latest.
Update: 10 March 2014 19:10 UTC.
At this point Barrabas reports he is exchanging email with the buyer but refuses to say anything. Until we hear from them, we have to hope for the best but plan for the worst. If this link goes down, please go to the linode site where we will regroup. We will use that link as a fallback if necessary.
Update: 10 March 2014 18:30 UTC.
Barrabas reports in IRC he has received funds for the site and has sold the domain name. The terms of this sale, as well as its buyer, have not been disclosed. We await additional information. If you have information on this, please contact us at admin @ soylentnews . org
Update: 10 March 2014 16:30 UTC.
Due to NCommander's personal involvement with the situation he is recusing himself from negotiations. I (Mattie_p) am currently working with the staff to figure out how to address this incident. We have posted a poll which is available and should show up shortly on the front page.
We've been held hostage by John:
Working with NCommander
Am I The Bad Guy
Right now, I can't write a coherent response properly (I'm writing this from a Mac Store right now as some sort of response was necessary). Despite John's offer, we never used the Linode's he purchased for hosting slash, and the two services (forums and wiki) that were hosted on them were migrated. I had hoped that this would have been a private issue between me and John, to be handed by email with a proper agreement, but the site itself is now at risk.
Right now, I'm organizing a response with out staff now, but I won't be home for several hours so MrBluze is currently handling the crisis. He can hand off to mattie_p when he returns, or myself when I have proper net access again. John's offer does not reflect myself or any of the staff here, nor does he have what he says he has. The web server, dev server (fusion forge), and database were always hosted on Linode's on my personal account. John DID have access to the Linode account which was revoked when he left staff, but to my knowledge never had the root password or shell accounts on any of the boxes. That access was revoked. It is possible he has a copy of the database, I do not know for sure. He does not at this moment have access to any of the hardware powering the site. He does however control the DNS register and can possibly yank the site from under us. If that happens, I can send a mass email to every user account to inform them of what happened, and where we are now. We supposedly have until Friday until John drops everything in the trash unless someone pays him $2000 USD. As per the posts, I was willing to pay him, but I had some issue with the expenses as written (my emails are genuine, as is the email I received from John), but I'm currently in Asia, and have no practical way to send him a check until I return to the continental United States on Sunday; I informed John of this on IRC originally.
We're currently in scramble mode to try and organize a new name, and getting migrated as soon as possible. I was serious when I said I was done with the drama but it appears John isn't. I'm personally sorry to have to inflict this on the community, and if you wish to leave us, I shall not blame you in the slightest.
I know, but the bullshit has to stop. Somebody needs to step up and be a leader, and I'm willing to do that and to put my ass on the line. I want this site and this community to grow and become something even better than the other site was at its best.
Then you should read the links posted in the summary (John's Journal). In one the specific costs are stated, in another John is quite clear that the first person who pays him gets the candy jar.
On the other hand, does that really get rid of John? Visibly he's done two things to impact a site then basically founded.
1 - The resignation2 - This tripe
Neither shows good public sense or concern about the child he started. Do we want to reward that? Perhaps $2000 is a lot of money to him (it aint' chump change for sure), but what ensures that he really would then 'go away'. typically blackmailers continue to attempt extortion tilled something bad happens. His public persona is not stable (as another mentioned, Kardashian like) and I would not see a need to feed that behavior.
To put it another way, John knew the risks (he is a scientist after all), knew he could lose money, so how is it that he get's it all when he walked away.
I have seen this sort of melt down many times in public projects.
I call it 'the hero'. Basically someone semi decent steps up to the plate and does something cool. However, when someone better shows up they do not want to give up *any* control. Many times to the detriment of the community. Look at the fiasco that ffmpeg was for a good example. However the people who forked went totally overboard the other way. This sometimes has the affect of them taking their ball and going home and taking the whole project down.
In a strange way it feeds their egos to have people arguing over them.
I just emailed him an offer.
John,I offer to buy you out for the amount already published. I can most likely initiate payment today. Was a check the only form of payment you said you would accept? (I can't remember.)Regards,Bill Wilson
I offer to buy you out for the amount already published. I can most likely initiate payment today. Was a check the only form of payment you said you would accept? (I can't remember.)
OT remark: Does anybody recall some "back to the future" scene where the job fate of one guy was affected in real time by a video-conference? It seems much like this. The future is here, we still lag a bit anyway.
I hate to be the one to point it out, but John always had intentions of monitorizing the site. Right from the beginning he was trying to come up with a business plan and discussed how to attract advertising. I believe he said something to the effect, "I just want to make sure I have an exit strategy if I decide to move on in 10 years or so."
I have no issue with that, but he was looking for a payout and ended up sinking money into it instead. I think he's entitled to recover his costs and we shouldn't be surprised he's trying to do so. Maybe he's being a little dramatic, but this whole site was his idea, he took the imitative to get things started so I think he should be rewarded in some way.
Just my opinion though.
Agreed. Even if people disputed the details of what he's asking for, he deserves to get that money just for having the initiative to do this.
A lot of people are saying "You knew there were risks! Sucks to be you!". People seem very eager to take risks with other people's money... If you haven't spent a dime on this site, you don't get to tell John to get lost.
"Somebody needs to step up and be a leader"
Via observation I'm not sure that a lack of people with a desire to lead is the biggest problem at this time. Lack of implementation of the most basic small business procedures, apparent lack of any financial accounting, lack of alignment of org chart and authority and responsibility ... That doesn't mean swinging the pendulum in the far opposite extreme of PHB and VC-istan is optimum either.
The coding analogy would be we've got a team of experienced businessmen trying to implement your stereotypical startup CRUD app marketing experiment wrapped in bootstrap, which isn't all that much, although nobody involved, so far, knows how to "hello world" much less fizzbuzz.
Things that need to be done:
Incorporate (probably nonprofit).
Get a checking account and decide who has access to it.
Implement or pay for basic accounting on said account.
Decide what level of costs can be tolerated and pick a funding model that covers those costs without alienating the community. That includes a decision as to whether costs will include compensation for admins. Review how much time people are putting in and have them make an honest assessment of whether they can keep that up for free.