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 John DID have access to the Linode account which was revoked when he left staff, but to my knowledge never had the root password or shell accounts on any of the boxes. That access was revoked.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.
One interesting observation is you compare a "self referential internal soylent drama" article vs "send a rover to Europa" article and this gets ten times the posts. Is it a news site if most discussion is about internal site politics?
Is it good or bad if readers find site politics 10x more engaging that what the site is supposedly all about? I suppose the only thing worse than the readers getting all wound up about site politics would be the readership simply not caring.
I have noticed that articles about the site in general seem to get a lot more comments than normal news articles. My theory was that not everyone comments on every news story (for example I usually only comment in articles I have a little bit of knowledge about), but people are more likely to comment on articles about the site as everyone uses it.
I feel that part of the difference is the general expertise one can bring to a discussion. In the case of the Europa story, I read through the article, I read some comments and in the end had little that I could contribute that had not already been stated, other then "Go NASA Woo Hoo". That is why the diversity of stories is so important since not every one can comment intelligently on all topics.
In a case such as the public display of information on S/N, it hits much closer to home for a lot more people, it is something that can be grasped for it deals with emotions, decisions, and yes, drama. This is a story that evokes aspects of right and/or wrong and people are more willing to state their own view. I think this is why stories about creationism vs evolution spark more commentary then one on testing for mental deficiencies via blood. The former evokes emotions that can be presented more so then facts.
I am glad this was put out for all to see. Like an infected wound, better to pull the band-aid aside and let fresh air in and have the chance to clean it out then let it fester. I plan to stay till it sinks, but for all those lower then my ID who are leaving, can we swap, maybe I'll get to double digits.