SoylentNews is people

Title    These are the Times that Try Men's Souls
Date    Sunday July 30 2023, @06:30PM
Author    AudioGuy
from the dept.

Greetings, Soylentils!

I am told by those who know, that 75% of the posters here are still from the original group of people that formed the community when we left Slashdot and created Soylent News. So some of you may remember me (Audioguy, #25) from that time.

Newer people may not know me, as I tend to be pretty quiet most of the time. Mostly I just read the news articles, and quietly do bits of sysadmin work in the background to keep the site up.

Only when I feel the core values of our community project are in danger, or its very existence is threatened, do I come out very publicly, and at such times I can be QUITE vocal.

Now is such a time.

I am about to do something which would not only have been uncontroversial, but normal here until the last six months. In the present climate it will probably piss a few people off.

I am going to update the community on exactly what has been going on behind the scenes here.

You may have noticed that Soylent News has no ads. How is that possible? It is possible because Soylent News was founded as a community, not a business. Our 'staff' is actually just unpaid members of the larger community, who step up and volunteer their time, because they support the idea of a purely user run news and discussion site. And that staff changes over time, sometimes people just burn out and decide to just go back to being normal members, some find themselves with increasing commitments or medical problems, or any number of other reasons. And its all fine, because others step up from the larger community and take up the tasks. Some later come back as well, when circumstances permit.

Since we have no paid staff, our expenses are pretty low. So others, perhaps without the time to contribute, help provide funds so we can continue to operate. These are members of the community who strongly support the idea of a community run site, free from the kind of corporate influence that has destroyed so many communities over the years.

And for years, this amazing community approach has worked, it has kept the site going. The group has fended off two and a half attempts by corporations or monied interests to destroy it. The first was Dice, for Slashdot. The second was a person who held the name the community had selected hostage for money.

The third...well, we THOUGHT we had fended that one off. It turned out to be a ticking time bomb, as some, including me, had warned about.

Six months ago, that time bomb went off.

At this point in time, all access by admins to our servers has been cut off. ONE person is making all admin decisions.

The editors have just enough access to edit stories.

All decisions are handed down from the top, the two -only- stockholders, and board members, who are the same people as the stockholders.

An outside 'fixer' was called in with no consultation with staff under an agreement we have not seen and which was kept secret, when staff protested.

From the top, there has been talk of adding advertising. Of looking for outside investors.

It needs to be understood that much of what is being presented now is a sham. Elections for 'a' board seat or 'maybe' more? What good is that going to do?

The simple truth is that Soylent PBC is a corporation. The ultimate power resides in the stockholders, not the board. The current two stockholders are there because promises were made that power would -never- be used. The present bylaws actually make it trivial for the stockholders to do that. But now it has been used, and abused.

Until the bylaws are fixed the community is not in ultimate control of Soylent.

Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:37:45 -0400
From: Michael(NCommander)
To: The List for SoylentNews Staff Members
Subject: [Soylent-staff] On the topic of incorporation ...
The first, and perhaps most important bit is the topic of ownership, who owns the site. Well, the official position is that SN is owned jointly by the staff, and despite Jon's statements, he never legally owned what he sold, and essentially held us hostage. At no time did Jon have any legal basis to what he did, and this view is further compounded by the fact that he willingly stepped down, and then gave (followed by revoking) access to the DNS registrar and other services. What Matt bought from Jon was essentially a lot of hot air, and grounds for him to go off and stop bothering us; this act was neither endorsed by the staff, nor associated with us; it was an action he made of his own free will.

They are acting as if we have a vote for the board of directors. We don't. Here is the what the current bylaws say about this:

"2. Election and Qualification. Unless otherwise provided in the Certificate of Incorporation or in these Bylaws the number of Directors which shall constitute the whole Board of Directors shall be determined by vote of the stockholders at the annual meeting. Directors need not be stockholders."

There is more, but it all goes the same way - either the stockholders elect the board, or the board itself.

Only stockholders get a vote. In fact, any votes taken with anyone else are, at best, purely advisory. And current actions may be in direct conflict with the actual bylaws.

Show me where they advised everyone of that fact in the current metas?

The original plan in 2014 was that the bylaws would be re-written by the community.

That promise has never been fulfilled.

From: "Matt"
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:03:23 -0400
Subject: [Soylent-staff] FW: Plan for setting up a nonprofit for SN - Final
Step 4. NCommander coordinates the drafting of bylaws.
Step 5. The foundation's lawyer looks over the draft bylaws.
Step 6. Lawyer-approved draft bylaws are sent to Staff for their consideration.
Step 7. Staff sends lawyer-approved draft bylaws to their own horde of stealth lawyers for approval.
Step 8. Staff-approved draft bylaws go up for a community-wide up/down vote using new incorruptible voting system (coming soon!).
if(vote == fail){goto Step_4;}

It never happened, which is why we are where we are at now.

Until the bylaws are rewritten this is all nonsense, smoke and mirrors.

If you wish to have a say now in how Soylent is run, you must buy your way in.

I and another are trying to do exactly that, with full support of the admin and editorial staff. To restore control of this community back to its original and -rightful- owners, the community itself. You.

The whole sordid story can be read in my proffer, which is exactly as I have submitted it to the Secretary of the Board for consideration in their next meeting, July 31.

Proffer: A Proffer For Soylentnews PBC

With the single exception to this being I have changed the real names to the screen names most are more familiar with here, and in the interest of peoples privacy.

It's all there, folks:

Everything we love to hate about the very worst of human nature.

Everyone should read at least the history section of that document. Read the rest to learn my plan. It the ONLY one that guarantees, with a legal and binding contract between all parties, that Soylent is restored FULLY and NOW to community control.

We have only two choices now, if we wish to keep our community together.

1. Somehow convince the board that they are WAY out of line, get them to change course, and restore power back to the community.

It's a small chance, but it IS a chance.

2. We once again start over. With a new domain. Which we CAN do, with your support.

What we badly need right now is for the community's voice to be heard. And loudly. Leave not a shred of doubt that the community wishes to regain control of its own site, and destiny.

Under the present circumstances, I cannot even guarantee this post will remain up. So speak up early.

I still have one of the domains from our original name vote - If we are completely cut off, I will put some info there about where we are. There is nothing at all there now, the domain is dormant. It's just for emergency use.



  1. "A Proffer For Soylentnews PBC" -

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printed from SoylentNews, These are the Times that Try Men's Souls on 2024-06-25 17:33:48