Here is Eric’s article in full. We wish Eric well. He built a great property, but we agree with what he has to say below and agree it is time for his new venture. His article is reprinted here with his permission.
Hello. Many of you know me and most of you know who I am. I created this site twenty years ago and I have been an admin here ever since. This site changed my life. I imagine most of you have heard my backstory concerning the site. I won’t bore you with it again. Twenty years is a long time. 40% of my life spent building, nurturing and administering this place. It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing to you all that I am stepping down as an administrator here, effective next Friday, tentatively.
This is not a decision I arrived at quickly or easily. In retrospect, I never should have sold the place. I have watched this thing that I created dragged off in a direction I never intended for it. There are a lot of great people that have been a part of Outside Hub/Outdoor Hub/Carbon Media Group, over the years. I’ve met some fine folks through my association with that organization. I don’t have a problem with any of their employees individually, but their vision for the site, their priorities have been very different from mine. They had their eye on a different set of goals.
I have always been a part of the community here. I never set myself apart from it. It has been a labor of love for me. I’ve spent many, many sleepless nights putting this site back together when something broke and dealing with problems, as they arose. I have spent God knows how many thousands of hours participating with you all and keeping my eye out for trouble. From the start, CMG’s presence here was an impersonal one. How could it be any different? It was their property, but it wasn’t their baby. I can’t expect anyone to ever feel about this place the way I do. At any rate, they took this site in a direction I do not agree with. It was clearly their right to run the site as they saw fit and I believe they had the site’s best interests at heart, as they saw them, but I have chaffed mightily over events that have unfolded here over the last seven years. Please understand that this is not an indictment of CMG or its people. Their perspective has been very different from mine. The community, the people, the living, breathing heart of this site, has always been my first consideration. I have always been one of you and I know this community in a way that I don’t believe that CMG ever embraced. They had different priorities.
After I sold the site to them in 2011, I remained on here as a paid admin. This changed in 2016, when CMG consolidated the administration of all their web properties and went with someone else to be the salaried administrator here. I will admit that was a bitter pill for me to swallow, although I will say again that the site was theirs and they had every right to make that decision. I thought a lot about walking away when that happened, but in the end, I decided that I couldn’t just sever ties with this site’s operation. I felt I was needed and I could still do some good. So, I continued to help out here as a volunteer admin.
I don’t know how long this would have continued, but something else recently happened that has caused me to reassess my participation as an admin. CMG has been purchased by a company called VerticalScope. VerticalScope is a company that owns over 600 website communities, many of which you have all undoubtedly heard of. The company is based in Toronto, Canada. I was unaware of this sale until the last couple of weeks, when all the recent website problems occurred. When I tried to contact someone, anyone about the site problems through the regular channels, those channels were no longer open to me. The sale had happened quietly and no mechanism was in place to help those of us that keep this place going to contact the new owners with problems, questions or concerns.
After several days, most of the problems had been dealt with, but starting last Weds, the login system stopped working, at least for many of the site’s users. If you weren’t logged in when the problem occurred, you could not log in. This problem affected many other site systems & functions that rely on the login system to work. It also affect other sites in the CMG network. I was locked out of the admin control panel for almost eight days and for much of that time, I had absolutely no idea who to contact about the situation. This past Monday, I began calling people I still had phone numbers for that had worked for CMG and finally got some traction. The people I contacted forwarded my info about the problem to whoever now handles such things. Even so, it took until the middle of the week before this matter was finally resolved. It was a damned frustrating week dealing with that issue, but it is not really why I am stepping down. It did however illustrate where I now stood.
In all the time I owned and ran GT, the site was never down for more than eighteen hours. That time, the database crapped out on Thanksgiving in 2004 and I spent eighteen hours of that holiday putting things back together. I moved the GT servers from Phoenix to Dallas and back to Phoenix and only incurred about two hours downtime per transfer. I lost count of the number of times that watchdog systems I created and put in place woke me in the middle of the night to fix something, how many times I pulled all-nighters to keep things working. That’s the job and it is one I always took seriously. I stayed on top of problems and just as importantly, I always took pains to keep you all in the loop, so that you would all know what was happening, even when the site was down completely. Running a site like this cannot be treated like a 9-5, 5-day-a-week job, without the site suffering. This is, in fact, an issue that the site has suffered from and I believe will probably continue to suffer from. There is no longer a regular here who is on and accessible at all hours, seven days a week, to deal with the problems when they occur. Someone who can log into the server and fix a problem when it happens. I was that guy and I no longer have access to the tools I need to fix much at all.
I am no longer in a position here to make a meaningful difference. I am not even in the loop to provide my input, when it comes to deciding what is best for this place, in spite of my extensive experience. It is stressful to me to see problems here that I can do nothing to fix. To see the site heading in directions I am powerless to influence. I know this place is a business, but it is also so much more.I don’t believe that the folks in charge have any appreciation of that fact and I can do nothing to change their minds. I want better for this place and I am powerless to affect any change. It is too stressful watching something I have dedicated so much of my time and resources slip decline, but I believe this site has been headed in the wrong direction for a long time now and I don’t think things will improve.
This site is a very diverse place today and the topics of discussion are greatly varied, but at its core, this is a site dedicated to something sacrosanct: Our interest in firearms and our right to keep and bear them. To me, this is at the center of what it means to be an American. The 2nd Amendment is the right that protects and guarantees all the others. How can a site that was dedicated from the start to the American right to keep and bear arms be owned by a Canadian company, without that ideal becoming meaningless? This is a deal breaker for me. I can’t represent a site that has been transplanted onto to such a shaky foundation.
I feel wretched about this. I love this place and the community we have built. Just about everyone I call friend today, I met through this place. This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It is time though. I don’t know how the new owners are going to feel about this statement. If I am allowed to stay on here as an ordinary member, I will check in regularly. I hope that when the new owners see this, they will take into account my twenty years of dedicated service to this community and my deep ties to the people that make up that community. We may have a dysfunctional family here, but it has become a family to so many of us, over the years.
I am hoping too that my two decades of work here might also by me a the right to a gratuitous plug of the new site I started last August. The place is in its infancy now and it will probably be a long time before it is off of life support, but it feels good to be back in the saddle. I can only hope that I can coax lightning to strike a second time for me. I could really use all of your help to make a go of it. I am not asking you to abandon one site for another. Anyone who knows how much I care for GT knows I could never do that. I am just hoping that y’all will register and drop in, from time to time. The new site is The Bore Site, http://theboresite.com/ .I would really appreciate it if you folks would give it a look. I’d love to see some familiar faces over there.
In closing, I want to say again that I bear neither CMG nor VerticalScope any ill will. Quite the opposite, with CMG, at least. I don’t know anyone from VerticalScope. I’ve never talked to any of them. My own misgivings on the site’s new paradigm aside, I have worked far too hard, for far too long, to wish anything but the best for GT. I love you all and I want to thank you all for helping me to build a place I have been proud to call home for twenty years. God bless. Eric
I am going to leave this thread open, because I really want to hear from as many of you as possible, but please do not turn this into anything ugly. This is my swan song as an admin here at the least and I do not want it to turn into a train wreck. Please. Thanks. EP
Please check out my new site:
The Bore Site