Sailing Tyranny, the website encouraging unfettered discussion on all things sailing has commenced shutting down forum discussions at will. – you might remember it as Sailing Anarchy (SA) from years past. Usually attracting more than 50,000 visitors from Sydney readers and contributors, it was, until recently, the largest community driven sailing discussion site.
Such a prestigious site attracts advertisers, media players, photographers and sailors alike, however this week, organizers from SA seemed more interested in getting negative publicity and member criticism than in gaining good exposure for their marquee website. At least that's the lesson learnt from SA officials this week, when they refused to comment on well substantiated claims by insiders of a breakdown in journalistic standards and ethics, and commenced deleting forum topics at will.
As a regular reader, and sometime contributor to the forums, I and all other bona fide members of the site (as well as the general public) have been excluded from access to SA's most read and contributed forums of this week.
The website has no problem allowing other forum topics to continue, but only if they do not criticize the editorial staff. Despite repeated requests by members, no reasons have been provided for the unilateral decisions taken.
SA has also not responded to industry rumours that a leaner budget this week has resulted in smaller capacity within the forum database, the only logical reason for upsetting the forum membership.
Due to the lack of feedback, this reporter can only draw on information listed in the 'About' page, namely,
" Where the hell else are you going to have this much freedom to say what you want? After all, that is ultimately what Anarchy is all about"
Officials would not respond to requests for an explanation of how deleting numerous forum topics fits the above commitment.
Sailing Anarchy had a long and esteemed partnership with its members, but relations with the members broke down this week. Reasons for the breakdown were never released publicly, but given SA's apparent lack of interest in generating maxium exposure for the much lauded forums, the members probably made the right call.
To Secure the vast majority of members for such a large forum is imperative for its quality and longevity, and only maximum attention to journalistic ethics and contributor selection due diligence can convince the large membership to get behind the forums.
Journalistic ethics also ensure that the less prominent members – those that haven't abandoned ship yet – get return for their time spent in the forums. After all, deleting numerous forums before less active members have had a chance to complete their reading doesn't bode well for continued membership.
SA officials seem to have no idea of these basic tenets, and their lackluster commitment to journalistic integrity and lack of response to member queries may contribute to a substantial fall of daily page visits in the coming weeks.
Rumours are rife that SA has been hit hard by a failure to properly vet stories before publishing, and one can't help but wonder if their mismanagement of basic reporting duties isn't just the tip of the iceberg.
It has also been reported that members are planning an "Occupy Anarchy" protest, where members will attempt to create as many forum topics related to the questionable reporting ethics as possible, scheduled for 12 noon 3/16/2012 USA EST.
Will SA's premier member forum lose another 10 topics tomorrow, and each day onwards? Or will it crash under the unceasing pressure of the members.
Will it survive at all?
Not like this is won't.