For those of you wondering what happened:
The saga began with me posting a thread in General Chat entitled “For those of us born in the 70s” which contained nothing but a link to this page which demonstrates a ‘Mario Brothers’ inspired photography idea.
A few minutes later the thread was deleted and I received a PM from John Riley saying that my link was “nonsense” (that is a direct quote, mind you) and that I should re-post it on page 573 of the ‘Another Pointless Thread’ thread.
It is worth noting at this point that the ‘Another Pointless Thread’ thread contains numerous suggestions that the thread is restricted to non-photography chat. It is also worth noting that many people (myself included) simply don’t bother reading the Pointless thread as it is … well … pointless.
I was (and still am) mystified as to why the Mario brothers thread had been deleted. I was also quite annoyed with what I perceived to be yet another example of Riley’s overzealous moderating. I therefore proceeded to post a new thread in General Chat. This thread contained a description of the Mario link, but not the link itself, and asked for opinions as to whether it was “nonsense” or not. Within a minute or two robbie_d had posted a reply to the thread. A further minute or two later and both of us had been banned by Riley. I was banned for an initial 7 days, robbie_d tells me he was permanently banned straight off the bat.
At this point Dr Orloff started the “Tim” thread in General Chat. robbie_d had 4 or 5 posts deleted from this thread but otherwise it is mostly as it originally was. In this thread Riley increased my ban to a permanent one but said something along the lines of ‘the situation may change in 7 days’. To be honest I didn’t really understand his post.
By now ‘quite annoyed’ had evolved to ‘fuming’, and I considered ways to get my version of events across. I eventually decided that my best chance was with Flickr, as I am in Flickr contact with a large percentage of the active PUF members. I therefore posted an eye-catching graphic saying that “John Riley has become a power-mad dictator” (on later reflection “dictator” was probably a mistake, “tyrant” may have been more appropriate.) This was set in a large heavy font in order to attract attention as I was limited to the 75×75 pixel thumbnail that goes out in Flickr’s daily email digest. This Flickr image indeed attracted some attention, including a surprise visit from one Richard Housham, who introduced himself as one of the Web Developers behind PUF and said he would look into this matter. I don’t know what that means.
Interestingly the Flickr image quickly shot up to 3rd place in my ‘most viewed’ images list.
About 12 hours later the Flickr post was removed by Flickr due to a complaint from another member, presumably Riley himself.
And that, my friends, is that. Thank you for all the support over the last 24 hours. The large number of emails and Flickr mails have been a pleasant surprise; both they and the various supportive posts in the “Tim” thread are greatly appreciated.
Several people have asked questions along the lines of “what are the chances of you returning to PUF?” At the moment, at least while Riley remains a moderator, I think we can safely say that “slim” is a fair description. However if you wish to stay in touch please feel free to do so via Flickr, 500px, or PentaxForums. My username on all of them is ‘thoughton’.
Update 18 Sept 2011: From the continuing thread I see that some people still don’t get it. Riley has still not offered any reasonable explanation, to me or anyone else that I can see, for deleting the original thread. Quite the opposite in fact, he has removed several attempts to ask him why he did so. Keep the pressure up! You deserve an answer.
I see from the ever-growing “Tim” thread that at least 4 more members are leaving the forum over this and related issues. We’re not talking about 4 individuals out of 100,000 members here; we are talking about 4 out of the 50-or-so active members. That seems like a significant percentage to me. Will the PUF authorities learn anything from this?
And finally I see that the peanut gallery has arrived. I would be grateful if someone could pass on my complete indifference to Shaky, Algernon, Gwyn, and George.