Anonymous Posts

43 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

That was an easy call – predicting my entry on this board a couple of days ago would turn out, um, “interesting”. Here’s more.

I have always felt that anonymous posts should not be accepted on our message board. If someone is not willing to take ownership of his thoughts, is afraid of what someone else might say about their thoughts, if someone does not have the strength of character to own up to, to acknowledge, to admit, then their comments lack credibility. If one can’t take responsibility for what they say, how can they really believe it? How can they really feel it? The insults, personal attacks, whining, I’d bet a buck - maybe even two - that most, perhaps all of it, would disappear if the brave Anonymous poster had to take responsibility for his/her comments. Real adults can talk to one another about issues that may not be pleasant. Mature, responsible people do not have a need to publish their complaints publicly and then hide behind anonymity. How many club members, how many cyclists who look at our message board, would be grateful if “Shymember” never appeared again? My informal study says the number is huge. Or how about that other numbskull, “Clubmember” who so brazenly criticizes someone for his figure of speech, for his semantics. And then to show up just a little bit later dripping with sarcasm. I’d be willing to bet if “Shymember” or “Clubmember”, or any other anonymous poster had to acknowledge their true identity, they’d have something different to say, and say it a whole lot differently. I’ve heard time and again, from club members and other cyclists, they don’t want to post on this message board because Mr./Ms. Numbskull Anonymous will undoubtedly attack them. I bet Mr./Ms. Anonymous wouldn’t be in the insult mode if they had to acknowledge their identity. Maybe they’d have some manners. Maybe they’d even have something of value to say. I’ve heard non-club members who really don’t know us think we are populated by nothing but birdbrains because of what they read on our message board.

This is a heroic capability, this message board. I can’t help but believe it would work so much better, be so much more enjoyable, be so much more productive, if the brazen, cowardly, imbeciles who spew their anonymous comments, then hide in secrecy, weren’t on it. Perhaps there is an argument that favors allowing anonymous posts. It is my feeling we would gain so much more if we did not allow such posts than we would lose by continuing to allow them.

I have always hated anonymous posts; hate them, hate them, hate them.

There, I said it!

Anonymous's picture
NTSCPAL (not verified)

So make people register. End of story!

Funny, since the whole point of having open post was to discuss things we may not want to in a open setting. So now since someone said something that upset you your gonna take offense to an anonymous post.

Don't worry I still like you. Even though I'm now a coward.

Anonymous's picture
Club member (not verified)

"The reason for posting anonymously is that despite what you say, most people do not behave rationally. Notice that on this board, for instance, when people disagree on issues they feel strongly about, they generally do not discuss the substance of the issues at hand (the ""red herring"") but attack the character of the other person, or fault them on a technicality. Happens all the time. Christy, your last post betrays this tendency as well.

I did not condemn Mr.K. but criticized his speech. (Okay, so the ""malechauvanistpig"" line in the e-mail address was implied name-calling, but it was so over the top I assumed that this educated crowd would know hyperbole when they saw it and LAUGH.) But do I really have to explain why SEXISM is offensive?

Yes, I am aware of the Webster definition. Among friends, we are all guys. But the common perception is otherwise: it means men. Indeed, Mr. K. protested that he meant no offense, but not that he meant women as well. Everyone else said it just doesn't matter, which is just as bad.

You use the word ""semantics"" as a pejorative, as if insignificant. The historical and psychological meaning of language is insignificant? I beg to differ.

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)

"Before this goes any further, are you aware that the Miriam-Webster dictionary contains the following definition of ""guy"":

""used in plural to refer to the members of a group regardless of sex - 'saw her and the rest of the guys'""

The American Heritage and Oxford American dictionaries contain virtually the same definition.

Thought you'd want to know."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
You just KNEW I'd have something to say on the subject.

"I am writing this weeks away from the message board and a continent away in space so I have NO idea what gave rise to this thread. Suffice it to say I put myself on record long ago as opposing anonymous posting and suggested a program could be developed that would correlate names to membership ID numbers so one's name could not be appropriated by someone else.

I write to correct two misstatements in posts in this thread: The anonymous ""Clubmember"" mistakenly states the Bill of Rights protects opinions. No, Clubmember, it does not. The Bill of Rights only proscribes GOVERNMENT from certain conduct e.g. suppressing (most, but not all) speech. The NYCC is not the Government.

Someone else stated it is a right to post/publish/print anonymously. It is? Gosh, how many anonymous letters do you see published in, for example, The New York Times? The Wall Street Journal? The Nation (for leftwingers, such as my unregenerate self)? The National Review and Weekly Standard (for rightwingers)? The New Republic (for middle-of-the-road extremists)? The Daily News and USA Today (for people of a mass mentality)? The New York Post (for, in my skewed estimation, people of a lower mentality)?

The answer: Just about none. Nada. Zero. Zip. ""Just about"" because there may be the rarest exceptions...but none I recall. And, in fact, all the above require you to sign your name, address, and phone number to your correspondence.

Richard Rosenthal"

Anonymous's picture
Guy Hanson (not verified)
I Hate Anonymous Posts Too

Christy, well said. I wholeheartedly concur.


Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)

While I am anon., and despite my disagreement with you, Christy, over the SIG (actually, just a few of its leaders), I do not post anon in order to rant and rave and whine and weave. I use my anon. as shield. I have seen some posters using real names here in the past victimized (by anon posters). One named poster was banned from rides because of this board. Sheeesh!

If you could search my posts, you may see that I ain't no flame-baiter. Marks called me a smart/coward. OK! Not my term, but ....

Brave New World.

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)

BTW, if you knew who I actaully was, would you welcome me on the road?

My anonymity is pragmatic. Yet, it offends you only in principle. Too bad we live in a democracy?

Off to ride!

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)

I said that? You'll have to remind me when and where - a search turns up no such remark.

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)
Erratum: apology!!

My bad Evans. Forgive me, it was Yogi:

Date: Thursday, January 30, 2003 2:16:23 PM
Author: Yogi On Bike ([email protected]) Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Mac_PowerPC)
Subject: Annual A-Sig debates

I’m surprised at why we are still frustrated with anonymous posts in a public forum ... ‘Not So Shy’ was smart / cowardly not to use his real name on this board ....

Anonymous's picture
Geo Carl Kaplan (not verified)
Anonymous Posts

As a compromise. permit posts to be anonymous so long as the author identifies him or her self in a manner that satisfies the webmaster. Why not require the membership number as a requirement for posting?

Anonymous's picture
Paul Spraos (not verified)
Red Herring

Anonymity is a red herring. The real issue is the content of a post.

I'm totally opposed to an abusive anonymous post. But I'd be no less opposed if I knew the name of the poster.

Forcing people to identify themselves is a (very mild) form of censorship, in that it discourages some people from expressing an opinion. We are very fortunate to live in a society where open speech is permitted. There are plenty of people who’d like to take away some of your freedoms.

If you try to restrict someone else’s freedoms, be careful which of yours they might take from you. That’s not a road I care to venture down.

Nothing’s for free in this world. And freedom certainly has its costs. One of them is having to put up with anonymous posts even if you don’t like them.

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)


Anonymous's picture
Christy Guzzetta (not verified)

It has always been my feeling that eliminating the ability to post to our message board anonymously would greatly reduce the number of the personal attacks, offensive messages, and insults that appear all too frequently. And, though there may be an argument to allow anonymous posts, it is my feeling that what we would gain by not allowing them would be of infineately greater value to both the club and the cycling community. I am convinced - I believe with all my heart - our message board should not be a place to spew anonymous personal attacks, anonymous offensive messages, and anonymous insults.

Anonymous's picture
Justin (not verified)
Anonymous Posts

Everyone else is chipping in so why not:

Anonymous Posts are bad - Traceable anonymous posts are fine - i.e. like Geo states they don't have to put their name in but they should register an alias that they have to postunder and should anything libellous be written they can be traced: i.e Justin Reid could register as YellowCoppi or something - ALL my posts would be as such and should I write anything slanderous or truly offensive then Peter or Tim could contact Tom and I could be thrown off the club or worse depending on the offence.

As regards ShyMember - I seem to recall a few of his/her posts in the posts and I certainly don't recall them being imflammtory at all. As regards the SIG's I too have heard very similar stories about egotistical leaders (not Christy and no names mentioned) but I'm sure I'm not alone - also I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that are no shortage of excellent SIG Leaders - 2 of my good friends - Charlie Ward and Sean Kelliher - to name but 2 , with whom riding is always a pleasure - so people can always swap groups as has always been mentioned.

All in all my personal preference would be for registering all posts and posting under an alias (if neccessary)- and happy pedaling to all on all SIGS - I'll be enjoying time with my new born baby (fyi Charlie now 10 days late - as soon as I get news I'll call you)

Anonymous's picture
sean kelliher (not verified)
one minor correction

Hi Justin,

Thanks for the compliment, but I'll have to correct you on a minor item. I'm actually not a SIG leader. Charlie is a leader for the A-19 SIG and I'll be helping lead this season's A-19 STS.

A congratulations on impending fatherhood!

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
An Excellent Example

Justin, you provide an excellent example of attributed posts vs. anonymous posts. Compare Shymember's paragraph about SIG leaders to yours. Both make the same point but yours does so without the hostility. You don't name call or use an overheard comment that may have been made in jest to justify your point and you don't talk about breaking noses. While you point out a negative, overall, your tone is far more positive and constructive. It is likely that you are careful about what you write because you post under your own name and realize that words have consequences. Recently, I have come to feel that most anonymous posts are made by those who seek license to say anything that comes to mind while avoiding those consequences.

I will be reopening the discussion about anonymous posts at the next board of directors meeting. Stay tuned for more details.

P.S.: Congratulations on your new baby boy!!!

Anonymous's picture
Club member (not verified)


The bulletin board is nothing like it was a couple of years ago. Then, some anonymous poster inundated every thread with pointless flames, such that all discussion was simply drowned out. Here, you have a case where some instances of apparently unpopular speech have led to an outpouring of expression, some more heated, and some more reasoned, than others. But it's clear that the process has gotten people thinking deeply, and trying to find better ways to get their ideas across.

If anything, the current situation argues for retaining things just as they are.

It also demonstrates that if what you want to do is to reduce the hostility on this board, requiring people to identify themselves is not enough.

For example, read any number of the identified posts here and you will find angry name-calling, noisy insults, and so on. Such as Justin's likening my feminist consciousness to infantilism. How civil is that? Christy means well, but if he does not recognize the difference between sarcasm and satire, he is not suited for the role of bulletin board censor. Which is not the same thing as saying there shouldn't be standards.

Rather than requiring an identity, why not do what the press tries to do and prohibit obscenity and slander, the assertion of untrue facts about another person. (But are either of these the problem here?)

As for regulating the ""tone"" of speech, that's already in the direction of chilling it. If I have to be nice all the time, even when the situation doesn't merit it, this ain't New York, it's Singapore, and I'm moving.

In general it's more productive for us to address the content of speech we disagree with, rather than the speaker. But it is our choice to do so or not.

Opinions are protected by the First Amendment. Obviously, unpopular ones are the ones most needing protection. But as the civil libertarians say, the cure for bad speech is more speech.

I hope you will keep things in mind when you discuss the topic at the board meeting."

Anonymous's picture
Justin (not verified)
C'mon now....

"You know as well as I do that I did not liken your feminist consciousness to infantilism - it was the delivery of your consciousness that I thought childish - you were the one who likened someone asking a simple AND civil question to ""a male chauvanist pig"" - I have nothing against your conscious beliefs whatsoever and I'll be as civil as the next man or woman but I fail to see why people asking innocent Cycling related questions on a Cycling Message Board should be ridiculed for their figures of speech."

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)

"I just want to make it clear. My thoughts about banning anonymous posts have nothing to do with squelching opinion, regulating the ""tone"" of posts or requiring people to be nice. That is a Red Herring.

I want everyone to say what they want and stand behind what they say. If you're not willing to stand behind what you say, it's probably better not to say it in the first place. I find this to be true in life as well as on this message board.

We can disagree about Justin or Christy's posts, but what I most object to are those who think that if they post anonymously, they can get away with ANYTHING. And it is those people who scare away others who might have something constructive to contribute. That is what I seek to avoid. Not unpopular opinion, but dissenters who fear vile retribution from the shadows of anonymity."

Anonymous's picture
sean kelliher (not verified)
thinking deeply, better ways? - c'mon


You're right, the message board has changed somewhat. Inane jokes that used to find their way into nearly every thread have dissipated. Now issues are just inflamed and endlessly rehashed, which brings up a point about anonymity that hasn't seem to come up before. When posters know each other, personal debates (that frequently have nothing to do with cycling) might stay contained and actually get resolved, or at least moved elsewhere.

I'd like to mention an incident that I was involved in because in nature it's similar to what's heated up this ""gender debate"" and I think sheds light on the value of posting one's name along with a message.

Last summer, I submitted a post about a menacing cyclist who continually harassed our Central Park loops group. Warning other cyclists to be on the lookout, I described the rider, including a phrase something like ""short black fellow"".

There was a response. Another NYCC member, a man named JK Bundy, responded, thanking me for the warning but also pointing out that other black riders (himself included) might now be mistaken for the pest. It was a very civil response and when we met a few days later (introduced by a mutual friend) we talked about methods to best describe someone and traded apologies that we both meant no harm. Problem solved.

Ma'am, I imagine with one polite e-mail to Mr. Kowalczyk, one in which you didn't call him a ""male chauvinist pig"" and suggest he'd feel more comfortable at a segregated sporting club, he'd see the error of his ways and never use ""guys"" again without thinking it over. Our ""problem"" would be solved and who knows, he might even be voting libertarian by now.

The answer to ""bad speech"" isn't ""more speech""; it's in supporting discussion that might actually accomplish something. Likewise, named postings don't restrict freedom or force people to be nice, they elevate our dialogue, inspire responsibility, and in doing so they assist in solving disagreements. In the end, your approach will likely never ""reform"", Richard Kowalczyk, it only gives him (and others) more ammunition to rally against your assertions.

So don't wrap yourself in the Bill of Rights and be as nasty as you want to be, take responsibility for your words by signing your name and submit postings that might actually lead to accomplishing your goal. Think of it this way, how much would we value the Constitution if no one signed it or the Declaration of Independence if it simply slung mud at the King?

PS - Singapore is a lovely place - spitless sidewalks, clean public transit and tasty food. Visiting is highly recommended.

Anonymous's picture
Club member (not verified)

"1. I have never indicated whether I am male or female. Your calling me ""Ma'am"" is a baseless assumption. This is another reason for remaining anonymous: to require people to deal with your ideas, not your personality.

2. Nor is this debate about gender. For one thing, the bulk of flames have been aimed at the hapless Shymember; no one besides me seems too concerned with the stray remnants of sexist language floating around. (Which doesn't mean my minority view is not important in its way. And by the way, I'm not the least bit interested in reforming anyone, but simply in speaking my truth.)

3. What this debate is about is the right of people to express themselves as they see fit and as best they can. Period.

The process is messy, as we can see here. Yet it is the only sure way for ideas to clash and for some truth and understanding to eventually emerge.

Whatever one might say about Shy's modus operandi, some people seem to think he/she has some legitimate points. Which is plenty of reason to allow him/her to go on (and on and on). The people who think otherwise are posting their disagreements. The debate is passionate, and we'd never have seen as articulate a defense of the ride leaders' responsibilities without it. (Though in all these cases, I could do without the personal attacks, the accusations of whining, etc. Deal with the substance.)

Now, I don't happen to like the way some people have disagreed with me either, putting words in my mouth and misrepresenting my character. But, such is life! I can either write back to correct the record. Or I can ignore it. You don't hear me ""whining"" that because Justin, say, or you, are being unfair that I want you stopped. Nah, go ahead.

See, I really do have the courage of my convictions. I trust my ideas to sink or swim on their own out there in the world, such that I don't have to prop them up by identifying myself. And I expect yours to do the same. That is why I am content to hear you go on about how I am hypocritically abusing the Bill of Rights, knowing that I am simply enjoying the freedom it guarantees me.

In the end, I trust that people reading these posts can judge the relative mertits of all sides for themselves. Maybe they'll decide that the truth is somewhere in between, or somewhere else altogether.

But this ability for people to decide for themselves, without having the words massaged before reaching their ears, is the greatest argument for allowing unfettered speech, such as in now flourishing on this board. That you don't like what's been written, and want to control it in some manner or another, is no reason to interfere with this essential process. Short of slander, no one is harmed by mere discomfort.

People have to choose for themselves the way to act and speak. That is how we learn and grow. To choose for them is tyranny of thought. Like Singapore, such a place will have no spit on the sidewalk, and no genuine, uncoerced thought either.


Anonymous's picture
sean kelliheR (not verified)
interesting thoughts

"Dear Sir or Madam,

You've brought to light several interesting ideas and though I do think that (for this message board, at least) putting your name with your thoughts is generally more the road to responsible dialogue than a path to tyranny, I do agree that requiring identification isn't the way to go either. Understandably, without anonymity, some thornier issues might be left in the dark.

I'll hold your last posting out as an example that anonymous submissions, when handled in a responsible manner (as yours was), can be worthwhile and I encourage more members, if they chose to post anonymously, to follow your example. Still, I'll hold my ground on your initial submission against Mr. K, which, in my opinion, did more to support ""tyranny of thought"" (due to the personal attacks) than encourage the free flow of dialogue.

I must also mention that, respectfully, I've devoted as much time to this as I care to. However, as a leader for the upcoming STS series, and keeping in mind this is a cycling club after all, I'd like to extend a personal invitation for you to join our ""warm up ride"" - February 15th. We encourage both male and female participants and even allow dissenting opinion. Not forgetting the importance of safety, debate could extend from Manhattan to Nyack and I'll even supply the paper bags (bring your own scissors for eye and mouth cutouts) for those who feel their anonymity might need protecting.

This way we can all continue to ""grow"" intellectually and still get in what brought us all together in the first place - cycling.

See you on the road.

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)

Tom, I never said BREAK NOSES. My post in that regard was to practice restraint. Jeez, are you the minister of the bureau of posts-history revision too(joke, Tom, joke).

And you still have not seen that I am not a baiter and you still have said nothing constructive about the SIGs - here or in the SIG thread.

You act as if my posts are useless and vile. They are not. You never address the content. However, you do sort agree with Justin on SIG leaders, because you know Justin's name. Jutin sort of agrees with me. Do you see the connection?

Your lack of reasoning smacks of a witch/warlock hunt.

Address content. What about the SIGs. People surfing in or inquiring about the SIGs want to know what's up -tell them. You are the president and we are watching and waiting.

Stop flaming me and talk SIG!

BTW, I take the time to post (civilly) because I do have concerns. How many others really care at all? In our disagreements, there is a commonality of concern - we are similar, but in different ways ;-)

Please, leave me alone with mis-statements abouty my comments about certain unidentified SIG leaders. That is my opinion. Let's move on! Lunch !

Anonymous's picture
Debbie Rothschild (not verified)
one more opinion

After days of reading and talking about this, I thought I might as well speak publicly too. Not only am I opposed to anonymous posting, but I question the logic of its supporters. Paul S. implies that to prohibit anonymity is a deprivation of freedom. Anonymous voting may be the foundation of democracy, however, this board is for discussion, not for election or political process. To my mind, a message board such as ours serves the purpose of facilitating ongoing communication and conversation between people who want to talk to each other but are not all in the same room (or on the same telephone) at the same time. Why should this be done anonymously? Do you wear a mask when you talk to your friends? Even argue with them? Shymember feels there will be retribution if he expresses negative statements under his own name. In fact, anonymity did not protect him from the wrath aroused by his statements. He still got angry responses directed at him, and he knows they were directed at him. His anonymity only protects him from whatever embarrassment or shame he might feel about others knowing he was engaged in this angry exchange - and if you are going to be embarrassed about something you say, it's probably a good clue that you shouldn't say it. He says it is protecting him from what Christy might do to him if they met on a ride and Christy knew it was he who had said negative things about the SIG leaders. What does he think Christy would do? Run him off the road? Knock him off his bike? Be nasty to him? I would guess that if Shymember had written his original post in a respectful manner, under his own name, clarifying that his experience was that one or two leaders were overly harsh, Christy might well have responded with interest and concern.
Anonymity allows for behavior one would be embarrassed to be identified with (i.e., flames) while offering no protection against an angry response. On the message board we simply talk to each other. Why do we need to hide to do that?

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)
What Christy might do?

I am more concerned about what I myself might do or the bile I might take home with me?

I respect your opinion. But how is my oroginal post disrespectful? I warn potential siggers that they may be verbally and publically attacked. I've seen it happen and have heard several accounts of it happening. These sunject of these few egocentric leaders should be addressed.

Aaah, it's time for the gym.

Love, Shy

Anonymous's picture
Both A-Classic Leader & A-19 Leader (not verified)
What Christy might do?

"Disgruntled member wrote:

""I am more concerned about what I myself might do or the bile I might take home with me?""

Now Shy…
Is this a threat to the SIG program and the NYCC community?
I rather you take home the bile and choke on it than spread this to the NYCC Community members.

It’s a “fact” (from your continual repetitive flame) that you have some sort of grudge on the A-SIG Leaders and the A-19 SIG Leaders that done you damage from your past. The leaders of the SIG are “Voluntary” leaders who participate wholeheartedly in training participants (like yourself) to become a more skilled A, B, and C Riders. You might want to check the term “volunteer” in your radical so called “Idealistic Dictionary”.

Being a leader for both A-SIG & A-19 Program for a couple of years, I’ve witnessed (and done so myself) expressed authoritarian delegation on the riders/siggies.
But being “authoritarian” (not to mistake from your Idealistic definition) are 100% justifiable for the siggies, the group, and for your safety.

Let me explain…..
I once “screamed” (w/out your Idealistic Dictionary term) at a my group (on a fast 25-mph single paceline) who were riding over a road paint for almost a ¼ of a mile during a torrential rain (while I was at the back of the paceline). From my experience, I was thinking about avoiding a group crash (because these painted road become very slick when it rains) and instinctively screamed immediately at the group. I had to fully get the groups attention (by screaming) while directing them instantly to ride further away over the road paint.
From this outcome……some Siggies might think that this is a “jerky/egotistical” authoritarian action which I can understand from your POV. But if you put yourself on the leaders POV, this authoritarian action is justifiable.

there are always two sides to every story (sometimes 3. 4, or 5 etc..etc..).But may I suggest that you also think of the Leaders POV.

You also wrote:

“I warn potential siggers that they may be verbally and publically attacked. I've seen it happen and have heard several accounts of it happening. These sunject of these few egocentric leaders should be addressed.”
Now Shy…remember that there are always two sides to every story. We (the NYCC community and I ) really want to know more about the details of the several accounts of that happened during your experience. Where you there?
If so, give us more details and “facts” about what you witnessed. “Hearing” several accounts of such things happening is not a valid point. There is a big difference In “Hearing” than “Witnessing and Experiencing”. Your posts (lacking evidence) are nothing but mere “National Inquirer” post of Big Foot and Elvis being sighted in SOHO.

From your continued and non-contributing “upgraded VC” posts, I can only conclude that you are nothing more than a member who got their “Ego” hurt from this forum. Whining and Trolling makes it even obvious that you are lacking attention and help.

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)
Specifics on the abuse

"It’ raining this Saturday AM and the shuttle Columbia is down. I’m not riding, so let me write.

No, Both A and 19 Leader, no threat at all against NYC or any SIG.

I do have a way with words and may well dress-down an abusive anyone. If I did not, I would take the negative energy home with me, stuck in my throat.

And I am not disgruntled. Someone asked about SIGs – take ‘em, they are great. Also, take a grain of salt for the few egocentric abusers.

I won't mention names. I heard 2 leaders talking about the time and sacrifice of leading, doing the same rides again at slower starting paces. They were serious and spoke of giving something back to NYC (hurray) and of the power to order the siggers (siglets) around (boo).

I saw someone dressed down for rolling through a red light on 9W, southbound, while pulling. It was not a ""Hey, that could be dangerous - you have to think of you and every rider behind you."" It was a “STOP, you **** *****. You **** could get some killed, you *****.” High decibel, foaming at the mouth too. Super confrontational and the sigger just clenched his fist and took it. I’m sure he had violent thoughts – but he was marvelously restrained Of course, no one spoke to him for the remainder of the ride. Sad!

Now, rolling through reds on 9W should not be encouraged, but we all do it . In this instance, it was safe as no cars were coming. But, I could see a leader’s dismay at someone pulling a paceline on a SIG ride through a red light.. But, the over-reaction, abuse and profanity??

A rider almost got side-swiped by a car, and then the car turns right in front of the same ride to enter a mid’block parking lot (in NJ). The rider almost crashed, and yelled at the driver. About a ½ dozen fellow riders (me too) asked if he was OK. One rider had the plate #. A leader came over AND dressed down the poor victimized rider for yelling at the car driver. Man, insult to near injury.

I rolled through a stop sign making a right turn with about 20 riders in NJ –near Hudson Terr, and no pacelining. Someone behind me said CLEAR. OK, I always say GOING THROUGH. Clear is not the best call. BUT, it was CLEAR. For at least a mile up the road, no vehicles. So, instead of educating the Clear person on how it may be clear for you but not for those behind you, a tantrum was thrown –this time at least while riding, not a stop and in your face.

I’ve also heard several similar stories by alumni from past years A few of these alumni are good friends and I take them at their word.

I also know several fine riders – personal trainers, elites, ex-Cat 1s and 2s who are graying – whom I have invited on regular rides. Some leaders had such bad attitudes on these rides that these riders will not join NYCC. I try to tell them otherwise, but it’s their loss – and ours as they are superb riders

I have waited at the tops of several hills for off-the-back riders. This is fine. I one day may be off the back myself. But, we always waited for a gal, seldom for a guy. This is not a scientific poll, just my 4-5 time experience. Most of the gals in my SIG were fine riders and were waiting at the top with the rest. It’s just that the no-drop policy seemed to extend further to gals. Marla Streb would be pissed! I asked friends about this and the answer was more or less “I wasn’t there but some leaders like to flirt and ….” I really don’t care. So, 40-some cyclist wait around on a few hill. So some leader is attracted to a sigger1 But to use the club and SIG for this is base and juvenile.

There are other stories – a leader knowing some one was in bathroom, but saying SO WHAT and leaving the rider there. General condescending , conflicting instructions from leaders, wrong turns up dangerous one-way streets. Also, it seems whenever the paceline breaks up (as on Hudson or up Central Park hill) and everyone sprints, a couple of the leaders get pissed if you drop t"

Anonymous's picture
Debbie Rothschild (not verified)
Bill of Rights and Anonymity

Clubmember, you sound far too intelligent to confuse First Ammendment rights with the right to anonymity in this way. It is clearly a red herring in your arguement. It is because of our freedom of speech that anonymity is not needed. An organization in which speaking anonymously is the only way members can feel safe or free to express their opinions is an organization which by implication lacks freedom, and one to which I would probably be afraid to belong. Richard points out that our newspapers require identification on editiorial submissions. This requirement could only successfully exist (meaning a variety of opinions are expressed) because our Fist Ammendment protects us from retribution regardless of what we say. Equating anonymity with freedom of expression in our club makes the NYCC sound like a scary place to me. If you really believe that is true, than that is worthy of some serious discussion.
- I was going to suggest we buy a stash of paper bags for the Tuesday monthly meetings in case any shy or fearful members wished to speak up, but I see Sean has already offered to get them for his rides.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
"A primer on the Bill of Rights for anonymous ""Clubmember."""

"Dear Anonymous ""Clubmember"":

This thread is so scattered and so long, you quite possibly haven't found my reminding you you are simply wrong to interpose the Bill of Rights in defense of what anyone says on the message board or the right to publish on it.

The Bill of Rights proscribes the GOVERNMENT from certain conduct. Gosh, that's too pretentious a verb: let me re-state it. The Bill of Rights forbids the GOVERNMENT from curtailing (certain) speech. (You would best be advised to not yell ""Fire"" in a theater when there is none or unleash a stream of profanity on TV or slander anyone anywere.)

The Bill of Rights has nothing to do with, and nothing to say about a party unrelated to GOVERNMENT limiting your speech. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. The NYCC is not the Government.

I acknowledged none of this has a damn thing to do with the gravamen of your argument other than to undercut one of its pillers. Even so, for better or worse, your argument is still standing notwithstanding your fundamental misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights.

One final sally: if you think you have the right for your utterances to be heard, whether or not offered anonymously, I trust you think to sue any paper that doesn't print your letter to the editor, your boss whenever he tells you he (or, as you would have it, she) doesn't want to hear you, and, for that matter, a mate who, in Ring Lardner's phrase, ""'Shut up,' he explained.""

Richard Rosenthal"

Anonymous's picture
Club member (not verified)
Response to Debbie

"""It is because of our freedom of speech that anonymity is not needed.""

This is an astonishing statement, worthy of George Orwell himself. We are so free that we don't need to exercise our freedom as we see fit. Our club will decide for us because it loves us.

Why is ""safety"" an issue here? Just who and what is threatened by the free if blunt exchange of ideas on this bulletin board? Can it be anything more than an occasional bruised ego or sensibility? As Benjamin Franklin pointed out, people who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither.

Here's what it boils down to. A certain group within the NYCC wants to control the thoughts expressed on this message board. They will do so by monitoring who's saying what and keeping tabs. The outcome will be that any negative, critical, or simply incomplete thought can be associated with the speaker. In this way, the NYCC wants us to ""bear the consequences"" of our terrible words, to put us in the stocks in the public square. Ultimately it hopes to prevent unflattering speech from being uttered.

As far as protecting anonymity in the press goes, it's standard procedure to withhold the identity of sources under certain circumstances. Plenty of respected publications print letters to the editor under ""name withheld by request."" I know of people who have had letters to the editor published under false names. And people have always published under pseudonyms.

Finally, just emulating the style of its editorial page will not make this bulletin board more like the New York Times, although that seems to be the assumption.

But something tells me that the NYCC elite will have its way on this issue. At least the perversions of logic used to reach this decision will be preserved in the archive of this message board. That will be a sorry document.

By the way, the First Amendment doesn't ""protect us from retribution"" based on what we print. We can still be sued for libel in civil court. But the government cannot in most instances prevent you from printing what you want before you do so. That is, the courts will not generally allow it to exercise ""prior restraint.""

Alas, the NYCC elite has no qualms about exercising prior restraint, even at the level of casual conversation on an electronic bulletin board. That is an abuse of power.

If a posting is truly slanderous, all that needs to be done is to have the webmaster delete it. Why take the unnecessary step of trying to prevent speech before it is spoken?"

Anonymous's picture
Robin Read (not verified)
reality check

">>Here's what it boils down to. A certain group within the NYCC wants to control the thoughts expressed on this message board. They will do so by monitoring who's saying what and keeping tabs. The outcome will be that any negative, critical, or simply incomplete thought can be associated with the speaker. In this way, the NYCC wants us to ""bear the consequences"" of our terrible words, to put us in the stocks in the public square. Ultimately it hopes to prevent unflattering speech from being uttered. <<

NYCC ""elite""? Likening elected volunteers to corrupt and priviledged and/or self-proclaimed officials is laughable. In doing so this person suggests there are 1500 plus members of some downtrodden minority with no voice or vote (or a few hours to spare).

Don't like what's happening? Attend a club meeting. Talk to board members. Email the club President. Make a proposal at a board meeting. Volunteer.

Oh--but you'll have to actually show your face and maybe even give your name.

Spreading ill-founded rumors of ""thought police"" and censorship are the true abuses of power here.

Anonymous's picture
Club Member (not verified)

"Um, I am an active member and volunteer.

Once again, an opinion posted on the subject of free speech is rewarded with the accusation of being a hypocrite and horrible person. Such a tiresome response!

The issue is not what kind of person I am. The issue is: How should the members of this club manage the issue of speech, and ourselves, in this public forum?

I have made my case for keeping the forum as open and free as possible, which includes the prospect that people may post anonymously. I have given a number of reasons for doing so. I don't see that anyone has presented a compelling case for doing otherwise.

Instead, most of what's been written on this subject is angry or veiled invective. This, unfortunately, is the biggest problem with this board: the misdirected anger of the people posting on it, anonymous or identified.

And what can be done about that? Everyone is responsible for their own actions. The bulletin board is no better than we make it.

BTW, the NYCC ""elite"" to whom I refer is the self-chosen group who want to close off the debate prematurely on this subject. In using this term I have no conspiracy theory in mind, nor even dislike of the people who take that position.

I take back the comment about ""abuse of power."" It is excessive. I should have said ""ill-considered.""


Anonymous's picture
Christy Guzzetta (not verified)
compelling case for not allowing anonymous posts.

The case was made in the very initial post, the one that started this discussion. Perhaps you didn't see it, perhaps you didn't read it. You might want to take a look at it. It has always been my feeling that eliminating the ability to post to our message board anonymously would greatly reduce the number of the personal attacks, offensive messages, and insults that appear all too frequently. For some reason, one that I can not understand, anonymous posts seem to instigate, seem to motivate personal attacks, personal insults, and offensive messages. And, dear anonymous club member, I don't feel this way because someone said something I personally did not like. We've all seen these grotesque messages all over this board time and again since it's inception. I don't believe this board was intended to be a forum to provide the ability to hurt people. We are not talking about constructive criticism. We are talking about personally offensive attacks. And, though there may be an argument to allow anonymous posts, it is my feeling that what we would gain by not allowing them would be of infineately greater value to both the club and the cycling community. I am convinced - I believe with all my heart - our message board should not be a place to spew anonymous personal attacks, anonymous offensive messages, and anonymous insults. I can't understand for the life of me why you are so opposed to putting your name next to your postings.
Leadership is an interesting concept. I'm not a leader of men nor am I a leader of women. I'm just a guy, a guy who likes to ride my bike. Likes to talk about bikes. And likes the people I get to ride with. Since this board was created, I've felt it should not allow for anonymous postings. I voiced that opinion countless times one on one, where ever and when ever the opportunity presented itselt. And at times, when the opportunity did not present itselt, I found reason to voice my feelings anyway. The time had come, I felt, to voice my concerns to a wider audience than just an individual. This message board had become so inundated with personal attacks. I felt it time to get on my soap box and initiate this discussion. Maybe, I hoped, someone would listen. I am gratified with the result. Except, of course, for the anonymous insults that have found their way into even this discussion. And I put my name next to it. I am accountable for my words. I accept responsibilty for them. I am not a leader. I am just a guy. I ride with people in the Club as well as people outside the Club. Countless people don't want to talk about cycling on this board because of the likelihood they will be attacked. Others think this club is populated by nothing but numbskulls because of what they read on this board. I know better. I've been a member of this Club for upwards of 25 years. I know it's just a few people who see anonymous postings as a license to insult, to attack, offend, belittle. I know there are wonderful people in this club. And they love to talk cycling. They don't do so on this board because this message board is a vehicle to offend. I never thought this board was about the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, The Constitution, or other political ideals. I never thought this message board was about insulting people, attacking them, hurting them. I always thought it was about cycling. I'd love it to be about cycling.

Anonymous's picture
Club Member (not verified)
Thank you

Now we're getting somewhere.

Christy, your passionate appeal is almost enough to make me change my mind about why I think we need anonymity. You make a compelling case for the value of people using the board to communicate and share ideas, without personal attacks. And you do so based on the merits of your belief, without attacking anyone yourself.

The question that remains is whether that attitude can be shared by more people on this board. Especially those who feel slighted, as someone inevitably will if we are to speak freely. I hope that more people on this board get in the habit of responding to the substance of a message as you have done.

Yes, this subject's distance from cycling topics is frustrating. But until the club reaches a consensus about how to deal with the problems posed by the bulletin board, it will remain an obstacle.

I think we will see progress soon.

Anonymous's picture
richard rosenthal (not verified)
"To: Anonymous ""Clubmember"" re: ""consensus"""

"The anonymous ""Clubmember"" states some of those who have written in opposition to anonymous postings have issued ""veiled invective"" against him or her. Huh? How's that? I can't grasp the concept of ""veiled invective."" If it's veiled, it's not invective.

But I'm just being a language tease here. More deserving of comment is ""Clubmember""'s writing, ""...until the club reaches a consensus about how to deal with the problems posed by the bulletin board, it will remain an obstacle.

Dear ""Clubmember"":

My sporadic reading of the message board suggests there IS consensus on the issue: it opposes anonymous postings. I mean, you do understand, don't you, that consensus does NOT mean unanimity of opinion?

Richard Rosenthal"

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
Good Question

"Club Member asks:

""Just who and what is threatened by the free if blunt exchange of ideas on this bulletin board? Can it be anything more than an occasional bruised ego or sensibility?""

Exactly the point. So why the need for anonymity?"

Anonymous's picture
Paul Spraos (not verified)

This thread is now very long, so forgive me if this point has already been made…We cyclists are very dependent on the tolerance of others. An intolerant driver could send us to the hospital, or worse. An intolerant Parks Department could use the pack rides as an excuse to ban all bikes from Central Park. An intolerant town of Nyack could decide that it doesn’t want to be over run with cyclists on weekend mornings.

I don’t want to start a debate about the probability and severity of these events. Rather, my point is that in each case we’re tolerance-dependent (and minority) users. I’m sure there are many muggles who “hate” bicycles with as much or more vehemence as some on this thread “hate” anonymous posts. But as a community that’s so reliant on the tolerance of others, I hope we can show tolerance among ourselves by accepting anonymous posts.

Anonymous's picture
Debbie Rothschild (not verified)
Reply to clubmember

"Much as I am loathe to continue this further, I cannot resist:
Clubmember, you say anonymity = freedom = safety.
I say Freedom of Speech = You are free to say whatever you want. You are the one saying it is not safe to do that. Why? Nobody is trying to limit your freedom of speech. Who says you cannot say whatever you want however you want to say it? Why would you not put your name on whatever you say?
BTW - Who are the ""club elite""? Are they the ones who volunteer their time for all of us? The ones we vote to the Board? Just this year, or all years? (First ladies are not elected, so I know I don't count!)"

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Vote with your feet

Never mind the so-called 'club elite' that allegedly does or does not want to stop this debate, we as members and users of this board all have the power to stop it dead in its tracks.


And if you don't like anonymous postings, the answer is to ignore them.

Eventually people will move on and forget it. Better still, we might all get on our bikes and do something more productive.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Applause (nm)
Anonymous's picture
a former editor (not verified)
i don't know why...

"... i'm bothering to weigh in on this issue, but what the heck -- here's my $.02

1) an annonymous post in no way negates the validity of the opinion.
2) a ""signed"" post doesn't make it any more accurate or less prone to name-calling or flaming (see some of the ""signed"" posts above -- their tone is definitely argumentative at best)
3) i could sign this post with any name and email address i wanted. there's nothing which prevents me from typing ""tom laskey"" in the author box and ""[email protected]"". which, again, doesn't make the post any more or less valid.
4) while i firmly agree with the right and ability to post annonymously, i also have no problem with the former and current webmistress and webmaster pulling (editing, censoring, call it what you will) abusive posts. and to track those posters when and if possible and prevent them from posting again if they continue to abuse the board. there is a difference between freedom of speech and abuse.

and, yes, i've ridden with all of you and we all know and like (or at least pleasantly tolerate in public) each other. i've been a member of the club for at least 10 years. i've been a member of the board. why should any of that make a difference?

ok, so maybe it was a bit more than $.02 ..."

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)

Applause to you, former. Oh, don’t forget the change on your $.02 ;-)

If there is such an uproar over this or any other anon. post, change the set-up and require registration. There will still be some goofing around and baiting, but less of it. Do it or forget about it.

Besides, the anons here are not such a bad bunch, are we? Gone are the grinches of gloom who had some serious bad-mouthing agendas.


If it weren’t such a dismal winter, more of us would be riding rather than posting. Pray for warmth on the road!

Anonymous's picture
frank (not verified)

agree w/need for registration. comment regarding impact of weather on riding probably the most appropos comment in this whole laborious thread. that said, either stand behind your comments publicly or refrain from comment.

btw, leaders of the sig are only human. i suspect that many of them can be accused of many things. i will say the following: as an '02 a classic siggie, i can only commend the efforts of the leaders to turn us into relatively decent group riders. for my part, i think i often deserved harsher rebukes that were not administered (a form of reverse psychology?). notwithstanding, my most heartfelt wish for the improvement of the sig would be that the leaders would stop with the corny/godawful jokes. the guilty raconnteurs should be in the fourth circle of hell or worse!

cycling trips