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Censorship at Funston?

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:17 pm

It appears that some of the Funston leadership leans toward Censorship. I don't quite know the names of who's responsible yet, so I'm just documenting what I know so far ...

I was at Funston from Monday night through Saturday night. The flying was great and I'll be posting pictures in another topic. But the trip was marred by an encounter with Urs Kellenberger when he publicly made false statements about me being kicked off of the Torrey Hawks executive committee. I replied that I had been an officer of the Torrey Hawks board since the club was founded. He said he'd heard differently, and I had no means to prove otherwise at that time. However, later that night (August 15th, 2014), I dug up all of our Chapter Renewal Records and posted them to the Fellow Feathers Board. I circled each location showing me as an officer for each year. Here's my post:

Bob Kuczewski wrote:Urs Kellenberger ... Liar or Just Plain Ignorant?
Post by bobk » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:32 pm

Earlier today at Fort Funston, several of us (including myself and Urs Kellenberger) were having a discussion about why USHPA won't publish a voting record of its Directors. There were several Fellow Feathers members present who should be able to verify the following account of the events.

Rather than provide an answer as to why USHPA won't publish voting records, Urs Kellenberger decided it was better to attack me personally and he made the false statement that I had been removed from the Torrey Hawks executive committee. Those who were present will remember his statement because I challenged it immediately. I am posting here to clear up any remaining doubt about the false claims by Urs Kellenberger.

USHPA's own renewal records make it clear that I have either been the Torrey Hawks President or Torrey Hawks Secretary since the club was founded (scroll to view the USHPA Reports year after year):

2008_2014_an.jpeg
2008_2014_an.jpeg (248.79 KiB) Viewed 129 times


So Urs, were you intentionally lying to your fellow feathers or were you just speaking "authoritatively" about a subject where you are actually quite ignorant?


The next day at the "Fun Fly" (Saturday, August 16th) Urs approached me and told me to "Remove that post". It was a demand ... not a request. He repeated it several times with some vague threats if I didn't comply. I told him that I didn't want to discuss it, and that if he had anything to say to me, he should say it publicly on the forum. I walked away from him.

I also had some discussions with Steve Rodrigues (who manages their forum) about it. Steve said that he would like me to modify the topic to take the "edge" off. I asked him if that was a demand, and he replied that it was not. I said I'd consider it.

I drove back to San Diego late Saturday night and much of Sunday. I helped a friend with a project on Monday, and got a call from Steve that same day. I agreed to consider softening my post at Steve's request. So early this morning (Tuesday, August 19th, 2014) I logged in to the Fellow Feathers Forum intending to take the "edge" off at Steve's request. When I logged in, I found that I had gotten a somewhat threatening message from Urs. He stated "remove this post or there will be trouble and lawyers involved". So here's what I posted as my second post to that topic:

Re: Urs Kellenberger ... Liar or Just Plain Ignorant?
Post by bobk » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:29 am

I had a great time at the Funston Fun Fly, and a long drive home afterward. Thanks to the club for such a great event.

Yesterday (Monday, August 18th), I got a very nice call from Steve Rodrigues asking me to consider softening my wording in this topic. I have disagreed with Steve on a number of occasions, but he's always been civil. I think your club is very lucky to have Steve.

So I asked Steve if he felt Urs would be willing to retract his false statements and apologize for them. Steve did not seem optimistic that Urs would do so. But Steve was very sincere about trying to bring peace, and I told him that I'd seriously consider softening my words. That's exactly what I had planned to do when I signed into the forum this morning.

But when I logged in this morning, I found this private message from Urs waiting for me:

liar
Sent: Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:08 am
From: Urs
To: bobk

remove this post or there will be trouble and lawyers involved.

You lied when you promised me you'd change your ways after our long conversations on the phone and then went right back to your ways. Twice.


So much for Steve's kind efforts at reconciliation.

So instead, let me document the fact that Urs approached me at Saturday's event and demanded that I remove my post. His demands were borderline threatening, and I replied that he should post his objections to the forum (which he has so far failed to do). I suspect Urs knows now that he mis-spoke, but his ego is too big to allow an apology. If Urs were a better man, he could just offer an apology right here and let this fade into history. But his threatening PM (posted above) reflects who he really is, and I do expect that there will be "trouble ... and lawyers involved". Bring it on Urs.


I followed up with this post at 12:40pm:

Re: Urs Kellenberger ... Liar or Just Plain Ignorant?
Post by bobk » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:40 pm

It appears that there is some degree of pressure mounting for me to remove this topic. Apparently Urs is able to twist some arms in the club.

I find it interesting that Urs is able to spread lies about other pilots, but presenting the truth may end up being prohibited from the forum.

Does anyone find this ironic?

I strongly advise all members of the Fellow Feathers to oppose censorship on your club forum. If Urs is not willing to stand behind his statements in a public manner, then that's telling you something.


Then at 08/19/2014 01:17:42 PM I got this email message from Steve titled "Discussion board protocol":

Hello Bob,

As you recall from our phone conversation the other day, I expressed my personal concern about your post directed at Urs Kellenberger, and I asked if you would please remove the wording that infers he is either “a liar or just plain ignorant”. I’ve since received communication from a number of FF Executive Officers expressing similar concerns and in general agreement that a public discussion board is not the appropriate place for pilots to resolve their personal differences. It should be pointed out that if one pilot has a legitimate issue with another pilot, the appropriate course of action is to file a complaint with the FF Exec Committee for investigation and possible disciplinary action.

Please refer to FF Rule # 5:

“Pilots must fly safely and courteously, clearing all turns and maneuvers and observing International Ridge Soaring Rules. Harassment, intimidation, or any conduct that could reasonably be expected to create conflicts with other pilots, flying related or otherwise, are prohibited at Fort Funston and club events. “

The opinion is that your recent posts are escalating conflict with another pilot, so as a board Admin, I am hereby requesting that you immediately remove the posts in question. Failure to do so will result in them being removed for you. Please be aware that failure to respect Fellow Feathers rules, or generally accepted online community guidelines, could result in your being blocked from further posting on the Fellow Feathers/Fort Funston discussion boards. Needless to say, these standards apply to everyone.

Thank you for your sensitivity and understanding of the situation.

Regards,
Steve R.

PS: I did notice that you mentioned our personal communication with respect. I trust you understand that my position as Admin in no way diminishes my appreciation for that.


I replied at 08/19/2014 01:29:00 PM:

Hello Steve,

Rather than me playing a guessing game as to what is "acceptable" and what is not, can you please dictate for me exactly the minimal set of changes that would be compliant with your request?

Thanks.
Bob Kuczewski


It appears that Steve had tried to call me around 11am and I'd missed his calls. So I called him back at 1:44pm. We spoke about what needed to be done to correct the post, and I said that he should tell me what would be acceptable and I would comply. I also pointed out that I would make it publicly known that my changes were made under threat of being kicked off the forum ... because that was the truth. We ended the phone call politely enough and I followed up with this email message at 1:56pm:

Hello Again Steve,

Thanks for the phone call.

As I wrote below, if you can tell me what I am allowed to say on your board, I will comply.

But I would like to know who is accountable for forcing me to change my post. From our conversation, that's probably not you, so please let me know exactly who is making these demands.

Accountability demands transparency.

Sincerely,
Bob Kuczewski


Less than 10 minutes later I found that I had been banned from posting to the Fellow Feathers Forum [and the entire topic had been deleted!!].

I sent an email request to Steve and to the generic forum adminstrator addresss requesting clarification and Steve replied shortly afterward:

Bob,

In spite of what some others might have preferred, I was prepared to work with your request for negotiation and edit some acceptable wording for your post that would present the facts without inciting conflict.

Then, before we had a chance to accomplish anything positive, you just had to make another post undermining myself and the board.

I’m sorry but that was not in the spirit of our working together and I’m not willing to play these kind of games with you or anyone else. As promised, I removed your posts and you have been blocked from posting.

Regretfully yours,
Steve


I followed up with this to Steve:

Hello Steve,

I have attached the post that you claim is undermining yourself and the board. I was fortunate to be able to recover it (along with my other posts) via my browser's "back" button.

It's clear from my messages that I was willing to comply, and my most recent post was not an escalation but a reasonable criticism of how free speech is being threatened on your forum. Is even that off limits?

Steve, you know very well that I am happy to praise you for being fair ... when you are being fair. But if you are willing to stand behind this ban based on what has transpired, then that's another matter. I hope you will give it some thought and reconsider.

Sincerely,
Bob Kuczewski

=======================================================
It appears that there is some degree of pressure mounting for me to remove this topic. Apparently Urs is able to twist some arms in the club.

I find it interesting that Urs is able to spread lies about other pilots, but presenting the truth may end up being prohibited from the forum.

Does anyone find this ironic?

I strongly advise all members of the Fellow Feathers to oppose censorship on your club forum. If Urs is not willing to stand behind his statements in a public manner, then that's telling you something.
=======================================================


That's where it stands now.
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Bill Cummings » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:57 pm

I think the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear radiation is causing brain rot on the western seaboard.

Hopefully Urs K. is not banned here and can give us his side of the disagreement.
It’s tough to weigh in on one side or the other without access to each persons position.

Bob if Urs is unwilling to explain, apologize, or kick ass concerning his castigations then I hold him in low esteem.

It’s clear that someone has flicked the glove in someone’s face and it would be nice if everything came out in the wash at the us hawks.
AT ONE OF THE LAST VESTIGES WHERE REASONABLE DIALOGUE CAN APPEAR ON THE INTERNET.

So Bob is it possible you were discharged from your club and the paperwork hasn’t caught up yet? :shock:
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:30 am

billcummings wrote:I think the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear radiation is causing brain rot on the western seaboard.

Yet another good reason for all west coast pilots to visit the RGSA at least once a year!!

billcummings wrote:Hopefully Urs K. is not banned here and can give us his side of the disagreement.
It’s tough to weigh in on one side or the other without access to each persons position.

Urs is making no public statements. Instead he's counting on others to cover his tracks. All of the posts on that topic were removed. If you go to the Funston forum, you'd have no idea that anything was ever said. It's that kind of revisionist history that's so frightening in the electronic age, and it's one of the reasons that the US Hawks exists.

billcummings wrote:Bob if Urs is unwilling to explain, apologize, or kick ass concerning his castigations then I hold him in low esteem.

I agree wholeheartedly. Urs knows that he has no defense here, and that's why he's twisted a few arms in the club to have the whole thing removed.

billcummings wrote:It’s clear that someone has flicked the glove in someone’s face and it would be nice if everything came out in the wash at the us hawks. AT ONE OF THE LAST VESTIGES WHERE REASONABLE DIALOGUE CAN APPEAR ON THE INTERNET.

Urs is welcome here any time, but he wouldn't even take up the challenge on his own club's forum. Instead, their response was to delete the challenge and banish the challenger.

billcummings wrote:So Bob is it possible you were discharged from your club and the paperwork hasn’t caught up yet? :shock:

:srofl:
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:42 am

By the way, Google is pretty good at keeping snapshots of deleted information for a little while. If you do a Google search on part of my post:

    "Urs Kellenberger decided it was better to attack me"

You may find that Google had already catalogued that phrase in their search buffer. When I checked, it showed more of the actual post:

4 days ago ... Earlier today at Fort Funston, several of us (including myself and Urs ... Urs
Kellenberger decided it was better to attack me personally and he ...


It also has a link to that post:

    http://www.flyfunston.org/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1595

However, if you click on that link, you get a message from the Funston forum that says:

    The requested topic does not exist.

But the Google search buffer is only temporary. Eventually their search buffer will be refreshed and even that little bread crumb to the truth will be lost. It's ironic that historians will probably have more trouble figuring out the truth during the "information age" than they did throughout all human history before that!!
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby SamKellner » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:09 pm

Hi Bob,

I think you already knew about this Urs guy.

He's been in USHPA, in one position or another, for too long.

I can't think of anything he ever did for Reg 11. ;)

Just mention an "alternative to ushpa" and the goon squad shows up :lol:

Did you get to fly? You pay a high price for your airtime with trying to root out injustice, etc.

Think about entering Big Spring next year.

You surely know Zippy won this year.

I was there a couple of days before the comp start and only stayed for the first day, Sunday, launch.

I had the opportunity to meet him briefly as he was with a news camera crew doing an interview.

It's great he works to support Hang Gliding everywhere and the city of Big Spring returns with their support of the event.

There was a supply of ice cream for the pilots and vols. :mrgreen: , provided by Blue Bell. HG ops. office and pilot meetings are held in the airport terminal.

Very nice facilities.

And best of all, most everyone in the sport class doubled their personal best airtime and XC miles.

The Texas dry line conditions really turned on for Big Spring '14.

:wave:
Sam
Southwest Texas Hang Gliders
US Hawks Hang Gliding Assn.
Chapter #4
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby wingspan33 » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:28 pm

Bob,

I have a 20-20, hind site suggestion in regard to this situation. Let's say you had presumed that Urs was not malicious in his statement (or pretended such). During the first conversation you may have stated something along the line of,

"You've gotten the wrong information from somewhere (smiling in a friendly way). I'll do my best to get you information that supports the actual reality. Sound good to you? (still smiling in a friendly way)"

This is called "being political". Everyone hearing this conversation would know you stayed on the positive side. And, depending on how Urs came back, that he was either responding in a fair minded way or like a jerk. The situation elevates to friendlier ground, or Urs is the one who looks bad.

Your post to the Fellow Feathers forum titled "Liar or Just Plain Ignorant?" presumes Urs to having been malicious (or stupid) in making his comment. But what if he had a source for his information that he truly trusted and respected? Then he wasn't being malicious, but was simply mistaken/misinformed.

In "defining" him as "a Liar or Just Plain Ignorant" you are disrespectfully assuming (in front of anyone reading your post) that Urs is a liar or a version of stupid. Since you don't know absolutely how Urs came across his (mis)information than you are assuming (negatively) that his intent was malicious. This make you an (unjustly?) accusatory and disrespectful jerk (to Urs, the forum readers, and club leaders).

The best way to have titled that post to the Fellow Feathers forum would have been, . . .

"Here's the Correct Info for Anyone Interested!".

Then you may have started out, . . .

"Urs, I know how rumors and mistaken info can jump around. I've heard things and repeated them myself, then later found out my source was in error, so I can understand. But here's all you should need to get the right picture on this situation. Have a great day, and I look forward to seeing you all the next time I'm up that way. :) "

People can be honestly mistaken, or intentionally malicious. But if a subject (or "target") of such misinformation responds with the presumption that the person commenting is being intentionally malicious, then observers see that person as responding as a (guilty) target. It's much better to respond with the respectful assumption that someone is simply mistaken - without malicious intent. Then observers will more likely say, . . .

"Well, we know who took the high road in this case! He's a decent guy!"

The person with the positive approach gets two gold stars! Plus, nobody has gotten your goat!
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:27 am

Hi Scott,

That's a good bit of advice you've posted.

I have to admit that my tolerance for people telling lies is growing extremely thin these days. There was a time when I might have been more diplomatic, but after 7 years of seeing the cesspool of USHPA leadership, my patience isn't what it used to be.

Thanks for your advice and friendship.

Bob Kuczewski
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby wingspan33 » Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:20 pm

Thanks back at you Bob,

Remember, the goal is to make them look bad (if they choose), not the other way around. Basically, you don't want to let them get your goat!

Hey, great Idea, Bob, . . . Take the below image, get it printed up on a T-Shirt with the caption (above or below) reading "Your Goat". When someone asks what it's all about, tell them -

"I got your goat!" :srofl:
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:29 am

wingspan33 wrote:Remember, the goal is to make them look bad (if they choose), not the other way around.


There's no doubt that my post made Urs Kellenberger look bad. Otherwise he wouldn't have had it pulled and had me banned. If my post really made me look bad, he'd have been shining a spotlight on it ... rather than twisting arms to get it pulled.
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Re: Censorship at Funston?

Postby wingspan33 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:49 pm

Bob,

The way you titled your post on the Fellow Feather's forum . . . "Re: Urs Kellenberger ... Liar or Just Plain Ignorant?" . . . created a negative "attack" tone immediately. I have visited the Fellow Feather's forum site, and actually also just got myself registered. In the process, I had to read the forum's terms of use. They include the stipulation that abusive/attack posts aren't acceptable. Now if your post had been titled "Re: Urs Kellenberger ... Misinformed?" it would have been less likely that it would have been edited out by the site's administrators.

Your post certainly did make Urs look bad, but the easily assumed attack nature of your post title also made you look bad - and allowed GOOD (truthful) information to be removed from sight of the Funston area pilots. The end result was that everyone looses - whether they want to acknowledge it or not. The best way for things to end is for everyone to WIN!

I recently had a question posed to me. "Are you more likely to be tactful, or to be honest?" In answering honestly (LOL) I had to say I tend to respond honestly, rather than in a tactful manner. That feature of my personality has, at times, created some conflict. I think your post to the Fellow Feather's forum was presented in an absolutely honest fashion. However, a little tact would have helped get the message across (that you have always been in a leadership position with the US Hawks) and may have gained you some (new found?) respect within the Ft. Funston group.


PS - In visiting a related thread on the Fellow Feathers forum site I noticed one individual who was slinging fowl language and abusive insults around left and right. There's no excuse why that member should not also be banned from the site. I'll have to log in and ask them why the forum rules aren't applied in every case? I'll probably approach the topic in a "tactful manner" - as a new member who doesn't want to conclude that Ft Funston pilots enjoy harassing visiting pilots.


bobk wrote:
wingspan33 wrote:Remember, the goal is to make them look bad (if they choose), not the other way around.


There's no doubt that my post made Urs Kellenberger look bad. Otherwise he wouldn't have had it pulled and had me banned. If my post really made me look bad, he'd have been shining a spotlight on it ... rather than twisting arms to get it pulled.
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