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Some members of the WS Forums have called for another member, Serge Birbrair, to be banned. I do not intend to take that action -- at least, not at present.

These Forums are public and free of charge. We welcome anyone who wishes to discuss wine and related topics. Many of Serge's posts have violated our Terms of Service and been deleted, but so have many posts made by other members.

I ask all of our members to maintain a civil tone. If you see a post that you find objectionable, please report it -- but please don't respond to it in the Forums. If you have decided that anything a particular member posts is objectionable, I ask you to avoid that member's threads. If that member posts in other threads, I ask you to skip over those posts.

Unfortunately, the software we currently use to support the Forums does not offer an "Ignore" feature, which would allow you to make all of a given member's posts invisible to you. We're looking into it, but I can't say at this time when we'd be able to add this feature. Until then, I urge each of you to exercise your own discretion.
Original Post

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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Meyerson, Manager, WS Online:
Some members of the WS Forums have called for another member, Serge Birbrair, to be banned. I do not intend to take that action -- at least, not at present.

These Forums are public and free of charge. We welcome anyone who wishes to discuss wine and related topics. Many of Serge's posts have violated our Terms of Service and been deleted, but so have many posts made by other members.

I ask all of our members to maintain a civil tone. If you see a post that you find objectionable, please report it -- but please don't respond to it in the Forums. If you have decided that anything a particular member posts is objectionable, I ask you to avoid that member's threads. If that member posts in other threads, I ask you to skip over those posts.

Unfortunately, the software we currently use to support the Forums does not offer an "Ignore" feature, which would allow you to make all of a given member's posts invisible to you. We're looking into it, but I can't say at this time when we'd be able to add this feature. Until then, I urge each of you to exercise your own discretion.


Unbelievable.
WS has made an appropriate response to what has a whiff of schoolyard bullying around it.

Look, Serge isn't everyone's cup of tea, but he often has interesting things to say about wine. And just as often, he has moronic things to say about something that has no wine-related value - as do many, many members of these forums, including me.

I'd even note that in the last week or so he seems to have tapered off the snippity posts and stuck to wine, more or less.

Now let's all hold hand and ... "Kumbaya, m'lord, kumbaya..."

Squirrel
Thank you very much for addressing this topic. I appreciate it. It’s a shame you had to carve the time out of your day to do so.

You acknowledge that while many of Serge’s posts have violated the TOS, so have the posts of many other members. (I not so proudly include myself in that category.) When one particular member is so prolific, the issue of scale comes in to play. I suspect he’s run afoul of the TOS more than any other member by leaps and bounds. I’m not trying to be antagonistic, just something I was mulling over.

I also wonder a bit about resources. Does it get to the point where, although philosophically repugnant, it would perhaps be easier, more efficient, for Wine Spectator to ban specific member(s) rather than having their administrators respond to a (presumably) large volume of reported posts?

Nonetheless, I respect your request for a civil tone. Going forward, I myself will certainly try to exhibit only civil behavior. In terms of an “ignore” feature, such a feature would be cool, but we’d still have to wade through all the responses to a given objectionable post, or skip reading that particular thread – the latter a shame because there is often good info throughout. Because new members join daily, my concern is they won’t necessarily see this thread asking for our cooperation.

At the risk of sounding ingratiating, I love the forums and am grateful that you continue to offer us this opportunity to discuss and learn more about wine. Thank you. Cheers!
Thank you Mr. Meyerson for making, from my point of view anyway, the correct decision for now regarding Serge Birbrair.

I know that if I were the moderator here, Serge is just one of several people who would be teetering on the edge of being banned. The fact is that the other people, who violate the terms of service just as much as Mr. Birbrair, do so in a way that seems to be much less objectionable to the members who post most often. But fair is fair, and no doubt this was taken into account.

And here's a suggestion: if you would like to make a HUGE positive difference here with little work, change the software to eliminate the display of post counts...

Mark
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Horvatich:

I know that if I were the moderator here, Serge is just one of several people who would be teetering on the edge of being banned.


Ha-ha! Not only you're not a moderator here, you're hardly a participant. Now this is hillarious!! Maybe you should apply for a moderator position over at you know who's board. I hear he's hiring new posters with small post count.
This is the third version of WS forums in which I've participated. There has never been a regular moderator; I understand that on very rare occasions in the past people have received warning messages. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever been banned outright.

WS has been consistent in this regard. I neither defend nor condemn it. It 's just the way things are here.

Many people have participated for a while-- some longer than what we might call "a while"-- and some have left. Despite that, there has always been a fairly impressive number of people who participate quite regularly. Everyone learns very quickly how things work, and decides to remain or leave. Despite frequent and regular complaints, the truth is more people stay than go.

And that's the way it is. What motivation is there for WS to change?
PurpleHaze and WIML beat me to the punch!!!

Joe, WEAK, WEAK ,WEAK.

For you NOT to control your own board seems lazy to me. You want "others" to keep YOU up on all of Serge's hi-jacks. You talk of his violations. What else must he do? I have been copied on many of the e-mails your have received. Like others have said above, sounds like you are trying to stop the e-mails you have been receiving.

I am glad to see your post, but a very poor poor response. You, and you alone are now allowing one "person" to chase off sooooo many of your long time members. Joe, a bad business decission period.

Best of luck Confused
quote:
Originally posted by GreenDrazi:
As much as I had problems with a certain poster that appears to have been banned, that poster never stooped to the level of vulgar, profane and un-civil posts as we are currently faced with.

I'm die'n here. Just crack me up. I gotta believe that no matter how it's veiled, there is some type of compliment or scant suggestion of respect in that statement. Even if not, I'm gonna take it as if there is. LOL. Thank you.

##
I agree with Joe Meyerson.

Provided that a poster is civil and remains within the bounds of the TOS that poster should be allowed to continue posting.

I for one have found that ignoring Serge's non wine related posts isn't that difficult. For me the bickering and name calling that happens whenever Serge pops up on a thread is more off putting, simply because it dramatically increases the number of BS posts I have to read before coming across wine related material.
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Meyerson, Manager, WS Online:

If you have decided that anything a particular member posts is objectionable, I ask you to avoid that member's threads. If that member posts in other threads, I ask you to skip over those posts.

...each of you to exercise your own discretion.


Duh.

What's the big deal? It's the internet, the wild frontier guys. Deal with it. You want censorship so that you don't have to deal with the hassle of spending about .005 second scrolling past the posts of guys you don't respect?

Actually, there are only about 6-8 posters here that have anything I am interested in reading. One is Eric. Don't leave. Just scroll down.
On this site, post counts and the ability to contribute meaningful conversation seem to be independent events. The replies to my previous post in this thread are great examples of this.

To answer the question, post counts are a deterrent to newbies, many of whom actually believe there is a correlation between post counts and wine knowledge. (Actually, on a more moderated board, there probably would be some correlation...) Without post counts, everyone here would be on equal footing, with only a person's online personality separating them from everyone else.

With the current state of this site, it seems the only new people becoming active posters are people the site doesn't want or need. If one really wants to see this site grow in a positive fashion, one should make the site conducive for lurkers to feel comfortable to post without ridicule or repurcussions. That is not the state of this site today.

The banning of Serge Birbrair will do nothing to help this situation. I'm offering a suggestion to help newbies to feel comfortable posting. If anyone else has constructive suggestions, I'm sure the folks at WS are watching this thread...

Mark
OK GD. Hold on just a little bit. The "demise", so to speak of MTH was a joint effort of a number of posters. Do not even try to suggest that it was the solo hand of one guy that caused it. That was a team effort. As for the recipes, I just happen to know that that same guy, along with being a public school teacher, is a master chef with 3 years (summer sessions) of the Culinary Institute of America under his apron (and let me tell you, it's a tite apron). There are a number of CWM and participants of the CDP that can attest to his abilities, I'm told. I don't remember him ever claiming those recipes to be his, just that they were sure fire. There was also a lot of political garbage being spewed from the other side too. Now whereas I can't possibly speak for him, I'm sure he would welcome an off-line with anyone interested that was in his extended neighborhood.

##

BTW, ..... which 2 posts did you report? I'm really curious. LOL.
quote:
On this site, post counts and the ability to contribute meaningful conversation seem to be independent events. The replies to my previous post in this thread are great examples of this.

To answer the question, post counts are a deterrent to newbies, many of whom actually believe there is a correlation between post counts and wine knowledge. (Actually, on a more moderated board, there probably would be some correlation...) Without post counts, everyone here would be on equal footing, with only a person's online personality separating them from everyone else.

With the current state of this site, it seems the only new people becoming active posters are people the site doesn't want or need. If one really wants to see this site grow in a positive fashion, one should make the site conducive for lurkers to feel comfortable to post without ridicule or repurcussions. That is not the state of this site today.

The banning of Serge Birbrair will do nothing to help this situation. I'm offering a suggestion to help newbies to feel comfortable posting. If anyone else has constructive suggestions, I'm sure the folks at WS are watching this thread...



I'm knee deep after reading that. What a bunch of BS Mark. The only new people who catch $hit from anyone are the spammers and clones. THAT ruins the site more than any of this crap you are saying and I'm happy to pile on to smack them down and will continue too.

When I was a new poster, I was met with nothing but friendly help and respect from almost everyone here. New people are always welcomed here. Maybe if you posted more than once every 6 months, you'd see.
Hi there. Long time no see. Sort of.

I have just a couple quick comments.

moderation = cost. I doubt that the value that WS get's out of these forums would pay for the cost of moderation.

This is not a real names board. What is to stop Sergey or anyone else from being banned and then signing up under a different name? The fact that Serge uses (what I presume is) his real name is unique enough. I had 3-4 different logins here at one time. (VM- I was Vino Moi)

Grow up and learn to ignore trolls. I expect zero responses after this post.**

**added for those slow of mind (Cuz this is a troll, dumbA$s!)
Mr. Horvatich,

Oprah couldn't have said it better herself.

I'm sorry to say this, but I've decided to shoot down absurd P.C. nonsense whenever I hear it, as I am convinced that ideas like yours are dangerous. I, too was welcomed. I've contributed my share of controversy on the old MTH board (What a time that was! America under attack, a presidential election, how could we not discuss those things!)

Most "newbies" are ADULTS, fully capable of psting a message on an internet forum, and I doubt they need your care and concern. (By the way, do you call the soldiers in Iraq "children?")

I think the celebrating and pointing out one's post counts is puzzling, but what the hell, if people want to do it and it creates good vibes, who is hurt by it.

I have said it a million times and I guess once more - leave the boards alone. Do Not respond to people who piss you off. I'm tired of crybabies whining every time they "feel" like it.
I guess I appeared to be wide-eyed and wet behind the ears--just trying to be a bit facetious for the benefit of all us "newbies." It definitely ain't my first trip to the big city!

I learned back in the first or second grade what to do with name-callers, baiters, and bullies...I suggest we all remember those long-ago lessons.
The only things a high post count here means are that:
a) you have been on this board a long time, and/or
b) you have a lot of time on your hands

I would much rather discuss politics, etc on this board than boards that are meant for that purpose. Those boards are too dominated by extremists that cannot listen to the other side. It is just like beating your head against the wall trying to get a point across to them.

Most people around here are more capable of thought.
quote:
Originally posted by ronmc2:
quote:
Originally posted by Rex66:
I learned back in the first or second grade what to do with name-callers, baiters, and bullies...I suggest we all remember those long-ago lessons.

Have your older brother kick their a$$?Big Grin


I was that older brother. And after awhile, I got sick and tired of kicking some minor delinquents' behinds on weekly basis and took my little brother to my Shotokan school. Problem solved. Cool
He's been kicking a$$ ever since...even mine. Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by cdr11:

Most "newbies" are ADULTS, fully capable of psting a message on an internet forum, and I doubt they need your care and concern. (By the way, do you call the soldiers in Iraq "children?")

...

I have said it a million times and I guess once more - leave the boards alone. Do Not respond to people who piss you off. I'm tired of crybabies whining every time they "feel" like it.


OK, but remember, this is a free country, and WS is a Private enterprise, so it has the right to be as paternalistic and controlling over the board as it wants to be. If posters cannot demonstrate that they deserve to be treated as adults, WS is not obligated to treat them as such.
Just read through this entire thread. I have to admit, I visit this site less and less. I am guessing that at some point I will probably just stop visiting.

Hey Joe, no one else on this board has come close to doing what the S-Virus has done to this board. Your inaction is baffling, and your "note on moderation" is absolutely pathetic.

Unfortunately, as demonstrated by this thread, the Virus has metastasized into other usernames. Great.
Melissa, don't you get it ? Asking about why Serge was not kicked out of WS Board has nothing to do with talking about or learning about wine. This isn't a place for you to harrass Bella, Serge or try to get them to make a fool out of themselves. They do that on their own, they certainly don't need you to egg them on.

Get a life. You have a wonderful cellar. Drink wine from it, post notes on it, talk about it, but stop beating the dead horse. It's way old. This isn't a personal life playground, its a wine playground.
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Zuess:
Melissa, don't you get it ? Asking about why Serge was not kicked out of WS Board has nothing to do with talking about or learning about wine. This isn't a place for you to harrass Bella, Serge or try to get them to make a fool out of themselves. They do that on their own, they certainly don't need you to egg them on.

Get a life. You have a wonderful cellar. Drink wine from it, post notes on it, talk about it, but stop beating the dead horse. It's way old. This isn't a personal life playground, its a wine playground.
Dr. Zeuss=Flubis Roll Eyes
Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili always loved a good purge, as any good Russian would understand. Bea Turtle, thank you for your assistance in helping get the moderator to take notice in a manner that may restore some civility to the board. The threads that were deleted that you and I were posting to of late pointed out with ridiculing humor the illness that the board's "virus" was causing. [Serge, if you're out there, SM is NOT RDocMDoc.] The moderator took action. Grunhauser understood the situation. You can't ignore some people. You have to best them at their own game. Now, I do not intend to post to the forums ever again, but hope to be able to merely return to the lurking as I have for quite some time. If in the future, I must reactivate my medical license to help sanitize the board of viruses, I may very well. For the time being, I am returning to private life, with a good foie gras and my sauternes. Wink
Whether the plucked one is gone or not is not the point anymore. Thanks to efforts of few brave souls he's been exposed for what he is - a disease. Everyone (except Hunter) knows it and will act accordingly, I hope. We have a nice community here. Lets keep it that way.


p.s. Zeuss is Serge.

On September 4th he asks his good buddy Hunter about '97 Caymus.

on september 9th he posts a tasting note on '97 Caymus.

That's just one example which may seem coincidental to some, but if you take into account the bland personality of Zeuss and his obssession with Serge, you don't even need to connect the dots. Roll Eyes
quote:
Originally posted by grunhauser:
Whether the plucked one is gone or not is not the point anymore. Thanks to efforts of few brave souls he's been exposed for what he is - a disease. Everyone (except Hunter) knows it and will act accordingly, I hope. We have a nice community here. Lets keep it that way.


p.s. Zeuss is Serge.

On September 4th he asks his good buddy Hunter about '97 Caymus.

on september 9th he posts a tasting note on '97 Caymus.

That's just one example which may seem coincidental to some, but if you take into account the bland personality of Zeuss and his obssession with Serge, you don't even need to connect the dots. Roll Eyes


Great work Inspector Clouseau!!!!

Now what do you propse Wine Spectator do with
"cloned members", i.e. members who create clones?

I can't wait to hear your suggestions. Don't be shy. I'm sure all thirty of you have something meaningful to say.
quote:
Originally posted by Deryl:
The only things a high post count here means are that:
a) you have been on this board a long time, and/or
b) you have a lot of time on your hands

I would much rather discuss politics, etc on this board than boards that are meant for that purpose. Those boards are too dominated by extremists that cannot listen to the other side. It is just like beating your head against the wall trying to get a point across to them.

Most people around here are more capable of thought.


Post counts is meaningless and to prove that I'm retiring Serge Birbrair moniker and starting a new. Every time I reach 1000 posts mark, I'll start a new moniker to prove my point. Once one establishes who he/she is,
the post count is meaningless.
Yawn.

Just read what you want and ignore the rest or leave. Pretty simple IMO.

That said, I do find it curious that WS does not really use these forums to their best advantage. Think about the special topics forums they could create to guide a discussion about wine. Think of the special guests threads they could coordinate to allow all interested to interact with some of the folks in the biz that would never come here. If WS were really about wanting to make their forums a success that they could be, they would and it might be quite fantastic. This would assume that they'd want to at least give the appearance that their forums gave a damn to them and were a conceivable asset rather than the state that they have sometimes sunken to. I mean, think about all of the real wine knowledge and education that could be gleaned off of a well run forums section of the WS site.

I think that WS is here to make money and that's fine. Forums software is quite cheap to set up and run and it drives repeat eyeballs to the website which drives advertising dollars. This is all well and good, but this does not necessarily a good forums place make.

JMHO.

VinoCellar
RogueFood
Thomas,
while you are saving and rendering your expert opinions about the board business,
how about I'll tell you everything what's wrong with yours? I know internet chat boards little bit better than I know wines,
the last one I sold was making $60,000 a month in ad revenues.

The fee for my 2 page review is $2500,
payable in advance.
References available upon request.
oh, c'mon, even he knows that. There is no correlation between post counts and wine knowlege. Robert Parker Jr posts on eBob wine board and...he is VERY FAR from being the most prolific poster. I don't see Brain Loring throwing his 2 cents every time either.

As we used to say back in a day:
"Money - talk,
Fortunes whisper"

Same applies to wine knowlege.
quote:
Originally posted by Thomas Jaehnigen:
Yawn.

Just read what you want and ignore the rest or leave. Pretty simple IMO.

That said, I do find it curious that WS does not really use these forums to their best advantage. Think about the special topics forums they could create to guide a discussion about wine. Think of the special guests threads they could coordinate to allow all interested to interact with some of the folks in the biz that would never come here. If WS were really about wanting to make their forums a success that they could be, they would and it might be quite fantastic. This would assume that they'd want to at least give the appearance that their forums gave a damn to them and were a conceivable asset rather than the state that they have sometimes sunken to. I mean, think about all of the real wine knowledge and education that could be gleaned off of a well run forums section of the WS site.

I think that WS is here to make money and that's fine. Forums software is quite cheap to set up and run and it drives repeat eyeballs to the website which drives advertising dollars. This is all well and good, but this does not necessarily a good forums place make.

JMHO.
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YAWN
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