Tour’s Books Blog

December 21, 2017

Paperback Swap (PBS)

Filed under: Editorial — toursbooks @ 1:24 am
Tags: , , ,

With some trepidation and a feeling that the site was withering on the vine, I returned to PBS.  I played in some swap games and argued with folks on the political affairs forum – and then a very strange thing happened.

PBS showed the site was not secure.  They corrected the login page and swear the kiosk where they sell junk is safe but ………………… well, nothing else is.  Now being somewhat security conscious while keeping in mind there isn’t much there that’s correct, I pressed them a bit and was contacted by a woman in the IT department and assured the site with our names and addresses and all manner of private info being exchanged by what PBS calls, incorrectly, ‘Private Messaging’ was getting converted to a secure site.  I began making deletions and changes.  I also posted two threads, one on the political forum and on on the general chat forum warning folks about the security issues.  PBS naturally came in and “Oh dear, it was just us forgetting to pay the fee for the security for an hour or so.  All is well.”  When I pointed out all but the Login was unsecured, they came back with ‘how hard it was to changes everything to https format’.

Now, remember, most of us are PAID members.  I’m not on a ‘free’ site anymore and haven’t been for 3 years.  And in 3 years they haven’t managed to secure the site.  I was not impressed.

BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!

A stranger wanders into tiny little Current Affairs and Politics (CAAP) forum and starts a thread.  The thread title “THOU  SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS”.  No, that is not a joke.  Some complete twit actually had the unmitigated temerity to use a Biblical quote, and not just any old quote, one of the Ten Commandments.  Apparently, the poster, Len, uses a rather modern bible as the quote is normally “Thou SHALT not bear false witness….”  Now I am an agnostic and knew both those things, and also knew the commandment had to do with perjury more than general falsehoods although they too are covered.  But he posted a somewhat questionable graph and article about the number lies Trump has told vs Obama.  Now these ‘lies’ are not weighted in any way, a deliberate oft-repeated whopper like ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance!’ vs cheating on your golf score or lying about your weight both equaled 1.

It also did not count how many time the answer was evaded, side-stepped, responded to with a non-sequitur, or simply ignored.  Obama was a master at those things.  Trump’s mouth is in gear before he thinks.   Never give a straight answer when and equivocation will do.  Chris Wray, Director of the FBI, did that by constantly saying, “We’ll wait for the Inspector General’s report,” to question from Committee members.  (I’m not counting on living that many years.)

So there’s a bit of back and forth – and I even eschewed remarking on this thread title and then I thought, “What the hell is a PBS Team Member who has extensive access with the powers that be doing on a political forum?  This doesn’t seem right.  It’s like a judge dating one of the lawyers trying a case in his court.”  hummmmm  So I am extremely uncomfortable.  All the forum members have different jobs and experiences and a wide variety of expertise and life experience, but there we are all equal.  A PBS Team Member is an insider with access none of us have to both personal information and people in power.  This bothers me.  If he wishes to engage in political debate, he should go to a site where he too is naught but an equal.  There are thousands to choose from.

Thinking about this more bothered me enough to send an email to Richard Pickering, the nominal owner of PBS.  I get a reply from the ever-anonymous, and super secret, and feared employee, The Librarian.  All these years and no one has ever ‘come out’ and admitted to being The Librarian.  Speculation is rampant.  Perhaps they get taken by a demon if caught out and new Librarian appointed.  Now one does not bandy words with The Librarian.  Well, except me.

After politely expressing my concerns to Mr Pickering, who ignored me, his loyal minion wrote:

Dear xxxxx,

The Team is usually far too busy to participate in Forums; we have no policy against it, though.

Len is our head programmer. He is an integral part of the Team, and we know him to be invariably gracious, patient, genial, kind, well-informed, and very highly intelligent. Without reading any of his recent posts, we strongly believe that if he has chosen to participate in the Discussion Forums, those who encounter his posts should consider themselves fortunate to have his contribution to the discussion.

As long as Len is being courteous, we don’t know why it would make you uncomfortable to have him participate in Forums. He is not your “boss” — he does not actually close accounts or reprimand members (although he *could* do those kinds of things, he is far too busy keeping the site running, and overseeing members is not his responsibility). Also, if you are doing something in Forums that you fear will get you “in trouble”, you should not be doing it! 🙂

It’s also wise to bear in mind that any member of the Team, or any member of the club, can “lurk” in any Forum at any time (meaning, read without posting), so you should not consider any communications there to be privileged or private. You should not be sharing anything in Discussion Forums that you aren’t comfortable with anyone (Team member or not) reading.

Luckily, there is an easy solution if you don’t like Len’s posts: you can click “Ignore this member” on one of them, and you will not see them anymore. It would be a shame in our opinion — you would be passing up an opportunity to learn something — but that is your choice! Also, if it makes you uncomfortable to have one of the Team participate in a particular discussion, you can always recuse yourself from that particular topic and let a few days pass; chances are good that Len won’t have the leisure time again for a good while, and there are plenty of other discussion topics in which to participate.

Of course, if you feel that Len has been discourteous or abusive, please specify the text to which you object and give us a link, and we’ll look into it!

All the best,

The PaperBackSwap Team

 

So, without checking anything, Len is praised as the font of wisdom that we poor, pitiful, uneducated, benighted, souls should look to for enlightenment.  And as an encore, he’ll walk on water and do the loaves and fishes!!!!!!!!  I don’t know about you but I sure as hell wasn’t feeling all that ‘fortunate’ about arguing with the HEAD PROGRAMMER of a site that has personal information on me!  Now anyone with an ounce of sense would stop there, but, well, I was REALLY pissed at the patronizing, condescending tone that twit took with me.  So naturally I replied:

 

By the way, as Head Programmer, you just admitted he has at his disposal all the skills and equipment to destroy my life.  Yeah, I want him on a political form.  Lurk all you like.  You run an unsecured site, so if I’m supposed to be impressed by his dedication, you’re crazy.

 

OK, there go both my Queen of Tact and Miss Congeniality Awards for 2017.  I might even get booted for a more …….. er, pointed post in the thread.  Yes, I did mention the bit about loves, fishes, and walk on water thing.  I also might have said something about The Librarian either being his mother or in love with him.

 

I don’t know which is worse, the moron from PBS who thinks Len walks on water and does the loaves and fishes routine, believes everyone here is so stupid and uneducated we need his brilliance and insight to manage our pitiful, ignorant, depressing, uneducated lives, plus we mustn’t be naughty because almighty PBS might be watching!  I assume The Librarian is Len’s mother or is madly in love with him.  She also thinks PBS customers need to be spoken to like dimwitted 5 year olds.  She obviously missed her calling as the Commandant of a daycare stalag.  I do so love being patronized and condescended to.  Malice drenched in sugar.

 

That post might just put me in the running for the Sarcastic Bitch Award.
I sent The Librarian’s response to Pickering with the following:

 

Are these people related?  Married?  Or does she just worship Len from afar?
I would be passing up an opportunity to learn something????  ARE YOU PEOPLE ALWAYS DEMEANING TO YOUR PAYING CUSTOMERS????   That twit called me ‘stupid’ about 4 times – albeit in the most patronizing and condescending manner possible.  You and she know nothing of my accomplishments or education.  You know nothing about me.  
But I will say this, if you want to backhand insult your own customers, you managed nicely.  Too bad your Librarian didn’t think that perhaps the golden boy Len might learn something from others.  Obviously, he knows it all.
That sandbox crack about getting myself ‘in trouble’ is so infantile I’m between speechless and wanting to dope slap the jerk who wrote it.
No wonder PBS is in a death spiral.  I’ll help give it a good kick on my blog.

 

Well, I’ve kept my word.  Here is the blog post about the idiots that run PBS.  My advice – RUN AWAY!
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1 Comment »

  1. Wow! Makes me want to reconsider my membership. Thanks.

    Comment by Rose Ann Moon — December 21, 2017 @ 11:54 am | Reply


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