First, please read and understand the following about After Columbia's Advisories. I (Terry Wilson) do not take
these things lightly, because I know I can get into trouble. To manage the risk, there are some pretty nasty criteria
a problem has to meet before I'll consider posting an advisory. Advisories are also very time consuming, as are
the problems they indicate. Some of the criteria are to avoid wasting effort. For each advisory here, there are
at least five more "rotten eggs" that I've encountered, that are simply not worth posting an advisory for. Finally,
only problems relating to the amateur space community warrant an advisory on this amateur space community website.
In order to get an advisory on this page, you need to do something really nasty:
- Have a busted website forum or other such device that can waste a lot of time due to technical problems. It has
to be at least hours, usually a forum post form that loses data when you hit the post button.
- Flame someone's personal email account badly enough that I feel obliged to give some public exposure to the
situation. Flames are defined as threatening or abusive emails. You have to be someone I think is capable of repeating
(or has repeated) the situation with someone else, typically the owner, operator, or moderator of a website or internet forum.
I typically do not post advisories for online flame wars because they already have public exposure. I will post advisories
for an online flame war that lies about an individual or organization while trying to present the lie as a fact and not an
opinion. You might get prosecuted for harassment or libel.
- Provide really bad (copied without attribution, or just plain inaccurate) space-related information to a lot of people.
In such cases, that information must be bad enough that I'm not afraid of getting sued for saying so. It also has to
appear reputable to the untrained eye, or else the information will warn of itself. Because of the "surfer beware"
rule, websites are almost exempt from these sorts of advisories (I don't expect to ever have a content advisory for a website.)
You might get prosecuted for plagiarism, libel, or copyright infringement.
- Go phishing, which means attempting to acquire someone's personal information online in order to pretend you're someone
else. You might get prosecuted for fraud.
You probably don't want to do any of that anyway. In that case, here's some general advice for avoiding
problems for which advisories have not been posted:
Online information can be wrong. Most are honestly mistaken (often fools who believe something is utterly
rediculous, such as that the earth is flat, or that Columbia was shot down by an electromagnetic ray gun, etc..)
Most of them are voluminous enough to look reputable at first glance. Sometimes, their basis is upon a fact or facts
they've noticed. Facts that might be accurate, but lead to the wrong opinion (this is how I discovered a hydraulic glitch
with the Shuttle. Someone had gone though reams of old reports to support the opinion that Columbia
lost control of its rudder/speedbrake. That's not how Columbia was lost, but he did convince me the glitch
was real.) Some are deliberately deceptive. It makes little difference: honest errors and deliberate lies are
both wrong information with the same parameters for credibility and the same approaches to verifying its accuracy.
To avoid getting flamed: In most cases, you should be able to gauge a site or forum's usefulness by its
introduction page, guidelines, activity level, and a quick browse of its message archive. When entering a new
forum, start with a small or generic message as a test, but stick to something that reflects your authoring style and what
you want to discuss in that forum. Follow the guidelines. If your authoring style and topics of interest are outside
the guidelines, it's best to stay quiet. It might not always work because forum moderators might not understand or
follow their own guidelines, or have other guidelines they don't tell you about. (For example, my opinions and highly
direct method of addressing them are not compatible with all forums, even ones which explicitly welcome such a style in their
guidelines or rules.) That won't prevent headaches, but it will reveal them with a minimum of fuss and frustration for
both you and the group's members and moderators.
All of this assumes, of course, that you want to participate in the discussions. Many are happy to listen; even the
most hostile forums won't mind that. The majority of Yahoo groups have several times as many "lurkers" as they do participating
members. Forums with messages attract search index robots and can access get a lot of traffic from the search engines.
No guarantees are offered that the moderators of space related groups not listed here do not flame their members (After
Columbia Project's own forums excepted.)
If you do get flamed by moderators and would like an advisory on this page, send me the flame itself, the message which
prompted the flame, and I'll see if its bad enough (it has to be pretty bad.) If the flaming problem is related to an advisory
already on this page, please contact me, especially if you are prosecuting the individual or organization causing the problem;
I may be able to offer evidence.
Phishing (getting personal, financial, or medical information for the purpose of identity theft) is the worst thing
such a group can do. To combat phishing, don't post personally identifying information (beyond name, city, and email
address) on any group or forum anywhere, anytime, for any reason, not even on After Columbia's forums...ever! This
includes specific medical information (i.e.: you might be sick, but nobody needs to know who your doctor is or which hospital
you stayed at.) If you need to share personally identifying information with someone you met at a forum, contact them
directly...and make sure you can trust them. If a moderator or registration form asks for too much information,
leave it blank or back out...identity theft can be catastrophic (comparable to bankruptcy and divorce, usually worse than
lying on such a form.) Fortunately, none of these advisories are about phishing.
If you are the subject of an advisory here, I will remove an advisory if you:
- tell me your busted website tool or forum has been fixed. I periodically test website tools and forums that
have advisories. If the problem appears to be fixed (or no longer worth testing,) I'll remove the advisory. (No
longer worth testing is most likely because the problem is advertising itself.)
- promise never to do what caused the advisory to myself or anyone else ever again. You may email me for that purpose,
but not to defend your actions. If applicable, your promise must be confirmed by the person who got me to
post an advisory. An apology is nice, but not necessary.
- have your legal representative contact me; we can discuss removing the advisory in a civil manner.
- have a court injunction. You may contact me via email (bottom of page), and I will provide you with an address
for service. You do have to provide enough information that I can verify that you are not phishing (court and case number,
or a phone number I can call you at.) If you have a court injunction, it is likely you can get Tripod to remove the
advisory for you.
- disappear. Advisories are removed when the organization or individual apparently no longer exists or has the ability
to cause the problem associated with it.
- wait. Advisories will be removed once the problem they are advising on has not occurred or been brought to my attention
for two years. Books tend to linger for much longer and in many places (public libraries, personal libraries, searchable
online archives, eBay), so book-related advisories won't be removed.
If you harass me or attack me online, I will attempt to prosecute you for harassment or libel. If you harass or attack
others with advisories on this site, I won't prosecute for them, but they can contact me to have an advisory posted or amended,
and they can attempt to prosecute you.