Pls explain why Worst Bike Shop thread was removed

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Anonymous's picture

There was mere critical opinion voiced on that thread. Critical opinion is not litigable. So why did you remove the thread?

Some people think your standard for approval is based on personal animus, but that's not it?

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
apples and oranges

Apparently it's ok to dump on Brooklyn bike shops but not those in Manhattan.

My bad for thinking anyone would get a chuckle out of the idea (yes, it was a joke). Musta stepped on someone's sacred cow.

It's the internet. Don't take it too seriously.

Anonymous's picture
R.Fernandez (not verified)

nycc 10% discount.nuff said

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
You/we are willing to stifle expression for 10%?! (nm)
Anonymous's picture
Joe S. (not verified)

"R.Fernandez wrote: ""nycc 10% discount.nuff said""

1. Agree with Richard's sentiment. 10% is a pretty low price to place on your expression.

2. An LBS is better off selling merchandise at 10% off full retail price than not selling it at all. So don't think the 10% discount the shops provide the NYCC are purely an act of generosity.

3. Do you think any LBS (or any other business for that matter) would be surprised to discover that some percentage of their customers have had an unsatisfactory experience? So if Bicycle Renaissance saw that thread where both positive and negative comments were posted, do you think they would be shocked? Perhaps they would be shocked if all the comments were negative, but in that case, I can assure you that contemplating whether to give NYCC members a 10% discount will be the least of their worries."

Anonymous's picture
R.Fernandez (not verified)

The things is that the %10 percent discount for club members is an illusion Bike shops make their cut regardless,as it should be.Who's to say they didntprice their merchandise %10 higher initially only to say that they have a deal wih clubs that any club member will get a %10 discount if they shop with us.Of course no one is fooled however I would think itthe obligation of the club president and others to not want to burn bridges.Rich

Anonymous's picture
Joe S. (not verified)

So why didn't you make that argument in the first place, rather than suggest a rationale which you are now discrediting???

Anonymous's picture
Joe S. (not verified)

If we receive great service at an LBS and post about it here, the message doesn't get deleted. But if we receive poor service and post about it, it's quietly erased?

Why remove the thread - fear of litigation? So a restaurant with a poor rating can make out a credible lawsuit against Zagat's?

Afraid that one opinion will steer all NYCC members away from a particular shop? We're all adults here - if I criticize an LBS or even a particular employee at an LBS, I expect others to interpret that as my having had a poor experience(s), not as a judgment from God that thou shalt not patronize said LBS or consult with said employee. Obviously there will be mixed opinions - if everyone felt the same way about the LBS mentioned in the deleted thread, it would have been out of business a long time ago.

Or was the removal a concession to those who insist on giving a pass to anyone who owns or works at a bike shop, regardless of whether they are competent or helpful to customers? It's a for-profit business, not an orphanage.

Anonymous's picture
Dave Hallerman (not verified)
And There Were...

Joe S. writes: Obviously there will be mixed opinions...

And, in fact, there were. Evan began with a thumbs down on Bicycle Renaissance, and several others gave thumbs up while still others agreed with Mr. M.

This kind of back and forth is what a message board is about, at least in some respects.

Speaking of restaurants...

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
My opinion may have had some influence, maybe not...

"Thread: Worst Bike Shop in the City?
""Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 12:00:30 PM
Author: Robert Shay Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; AOL 9.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
Subject: NYCC Message Board Monitors....
IMHO this thread should be deleted. While it does represent heartfelt opinions of individuals regarding their cycling experiences, the ""worst"" aspect of it has the potential to reflect poorly on the NYCC.""

IMHO the NYCC, a very large organized cycling group, should take the high road in supporting cycling in the city. The NYCC message board is read by cycling opinion leaders in the city and surrounding areas and has the potential to influence public opinion. There is nothing to be gained by denigrating companies that support cycling using a broadly read message board provided by the NYCC."

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
I hope not

"When we go to a shop and fork over hard earned money only to receive shoddy work and/or attitude we have several options. One is to take our business elsewhere, another is to spread the word about such service to others who may be considering patronizing such establishments.

By voicing opinions on the message board we are using word of mouth (or in the case of the web, word of fingers)and as everyone seems to agree, it can be a strong weapon. Why then should we be fordidden from using it? I don't agree with Evan that Renaissance is the worst shop in NYC but I certainly don't begrudge him for voicing his opinion. If others want to look down on us because we provide a forum for honest opinion, I can handle that. Another result might be for shops to take notice and realize there are consequences for pissing off their customers. I can handle that too.

Another aspect of such postings is that such threads open up a dialog about said shops and similar issues, and for different people to present different opinions. As we saw here, one person's idea of ""the worst"" was another's idea of the best. To me, this kind of dialog is a good thing.

Finally, I totally agree that the idea that we would be subject to litigation because members express their opinions is pretty far fetched. It would truly be a sad state of affairs if the exchange of opinions and ideas in this forum were curtailed by fear of legal action."

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Libel law lite

"Expressing an opinion is protected speech.

The publication of false facts (presenting as truth facts which the speaker knows or should know to be false), together with actual malice (a desire to cause harm to someone's reputation), is a civil tort.

Publication of true facts about a nonpublic person (a private individual--not a celebrity, public official, or person who has wilfully put themselves in the public eye) can also be a tort when it is an invasion of privacy. For instance, publishing personal information on a message board about another--their place of residence, or their employer.

Proving actual malice in a court room, or winning a case brought on these charges, is difficult but not impossible.

The prospect of litigation is one the NYCC should consider, however remote it may be. Someone who knowingly republishes false facts can also be held liable--morally and possibly legally.

But more to the point for the health and happiness of the club, imho, is that standards of fairness and truthfulness be adhered to on this board. That means considering the rights of all users--speakers, people they're speaking about, and readers.

What does the public need to know? It is definitely in the public's interest to know if a bike shop is performing substandard work that can result in injury, or if it is deliberately overcharging, or is otherwise incompetent.

Readers need to know, first of all, what are the facts, and are they accurate? Is it a common occurence or a fluke? In the case of a bad repair or sales experience, did the poster contact the shop's owner first, to give them a chance to correct the problem? What is the poster's motivation for complaining--warning other cyclists, alerting an unresponsive owner, blowing off steam, or something more malicious?

In the case of Evan's gripe about Renaissance: I didn't see anything wrong with the gripe itself. Shops have different cultures (there seems to be some consensus about RA, for example), this was Evan's experience and he's blowing off some steam. Not everyone agrees with Evan. The only thing I would take issue with was his generalization about ""worst bike shop in the city""--pretty hard to substantiate and so fallacious to my mind. But that too is just Evan's opinion. It's not like he's saying the owner is selling adulturated goods, sleeping with someone's married sister, and taking medication for a bipolar condition.

It's also in our interest to know about shops that provide superlative service, or are simply convenient to use, even if you have to put up with attitude or high prices.

I offer these comments not as a legal expert but as a journalist. with no first-hand experience of a libel lawsuit (thankfully).

Anonymous's picture
Edoin Srudelo (not verified)
A fact is quantifiable

"""Worst bike shop in the city"" is not a fact. It is a derogatory opinion. There might be consequences.

The cost of a vigorous law suit is considerably greater than what the NYCC takes in over the course of a year. Or maybe over the course of five years.

Razcik the Journalist: ""Milovan walked up to Marshall Tito and without mincing so much as a single word, he told old Tito just how lousy he thought the system and the Marshall are.""

Pelciz the Philosopher: ""And tell me, what happened next?""

Razcik the Journalist: Tito put him up against a wall and shot him.

Your Pal,
Etoain Shrdlu"

Anonymous's picture
Joe S. (not verified)

"I think you completely missed Carol's point.

Suppose someone says ""George Bush is the worst president in the history of the United States"". That is an opinion, and a derogatory one at that. Do you think for even one second that George Bush has a valid civil action against that person???

By the way, my first sentence in this post regarding your reply to Carol's post is an opinion. Think you can sue me for that?"

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Anyone notice something important missing on this thread?

"Peter O'Reilly's answering the question: Why did he delete this thread?

In this case I have an inkling, based in part on timing, it just might have had as much or more to do with personalities as with content. But, of course, that won't be admitted, if true.

If I'm right, this underscores how wrong it is to leave censorship (if you believe in it at all) to the judgment—arbitrary or not—of any one person.

However, the design of the message board is Peter's and, as I understood it a few years ago, he understandably claims dominion and proprietary rights over his creation.

There is, of course, an easily achievable alternative....


As for something that is described as ""the worst"" being defamatory, that's nonsense. It's an opinion, that's all. An opinion doesn't even have to be substantiated. And, in this context, it is also hyperbole. You're going to sue over hyperbole? Good luck finding a lawyer to take this on a contingency.

However, consider this: IF calling something ""the worst"" is subject to litigation, then, I would argue, in like mind so is calling something ""the best."" After all, a competitor bike shop could take issue with that. Both claims are nonsense.

But, again, I have a(n, of course, unprovable) hunch the censorship here was based as much, if not more, on personalities as on content."

Anonymous's picture
Carol Waaser (not verified)
Not O'Reilly

There is a panel of moderators who are responsible for monitoring the content of this board. I don't know their names, and I don't know why they might have removed a thread, but I just don't want blame (if such it is) to be assigned to the wrong person.

Anonymous's picture
CRCA member (not verified)
Waiting with bated breath

This is gonna be great!

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
I apologize to Peter. But here are VERY important questions.

I owe Peter an apology. I hereby offer it. I am sincerely sorry, Peter.

But SHAME on our heretofore unknown Board of Censors for letting this go this long without coming forward--even, alas, if anonymously-- to correct this. And thank you, Carol, for correcting this.

...So what are their standards? Do they discuss among themselves a prospective removal? Do they vote? Do they require a unanimous vote? How many are there? What is their term of office? What is their qualification? Who appoints them? By what authority are they appointed by whomever appoints them? And who are they? Why aren't their identities known?

Am I wrong in thinking Peter possibly appoints them inasmuch as he has a proprietary interest in the site. Is he on the Board of Censors? As he has dominion over his site, is he the governor of the Board of Censors?

The past-president doesn't know the names of the censors. Who does?

Anonymous's picture
tweety bird (not verified)

Lamont Cranston, the Shadow.

Anonymous's picture
5bbc member (not verified)
"I pick poor taste....""worst bike shop"""

From message board rules:

The views and opinions expressed in this forum do not necessarily represent those of the New York Cycle Club. However, the content of this forum reflects upon the NYCC. Any posts that contain profanity, personal attacks or that contain content deemed offensive or in poor taste by the NYCC Message Board Moderators, will be removed.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Taste is subjective; universal good taste is undefineable.

"Were I to impose my taste on the world, there would be no:

• Use of the word ""like"" other than as a comparative or expression of affection.

• Cigars

• Baggy shorts

• Pierced and tatooed bodies

• Rap music

• Bicycles with slanting top tubes.

But, of course, I have no right (and no wish) to impose my taste on anyone. Apparently some people do.

Can you, Mr. Anonymous 5BBC Member, define what good taste is in some clear, unmistakable, unambiguous, universal way that is knowable and applicable in every circumstance? I can't. Do you think anyone can? Don't you find what is in poor taste for one, is in acceptable taste to another?

Let me make it easier: Was there really poor taste in the ""Worst Bike Shop"" thread? There was no profanity in it. There were no ad hominem attacks.

You obviously think mere negative criticism (not to mention such mild, mild criticism as was voiced in the ""Worst Bike Shop"" thread) is in bad taste.

So you equate negative criticism with poor taste. What about college rankings? They're subjective and some school is at the bottom. Does its Board of Governors have a grievance against a magazine that publishes the poll for showing bad taste? What about the mayor and good people in a city found to be the worst place to live in a Worst Places to Live poll? What about an oenophile's ranking of wine? What about business journalism that negatively evaluates companies' performance or officers? These are all instances of criticism. Should they, therefore, be squelched as being in bad taste? Are any of these any different than criticizing the performance or personnel of a bike shop?

I am non-plussed at the notion expressed here that because those who work for the club are volunteers, there must be no criticism. Huh? What does one have to do with the other?

If, in your anonymity, I ask you for a movie, book, theater, opera, restaurant, airline, barber, bike shop, or bicycle recommendation, please let me know right off the bat you, as a practitioner of good taste, don't believe in negative criticism so I know not to attach any credibility to your praise.


Here is a very simple, workable, objective standard for posts:

• No ad hominem attacks.

• No making charges that are or reasonably should be known to be false.

• No language that is conventionally regarded as obscene.

• Content must be bike or club related.

• No commercial exploitation of the message board by commercial entities.

...And, I would add:

• No anonymous posting.

There you have it: All objective criteria; short, yet encompassing.

Anonymous's picture
John (not verified)

K A F K A E S Q U E,

don'tcha think!

Anonymous's picture
Timothy McCarthy (not verified)

I have written you off line. Bear in mind that the club runs on volunteer efforts. The moderators give of their time and deliberate about their actions. I support their actions and appreciate their efforts. I do not expect perfection at all times. If we err, we err with the best of intents. Please enjoy the NYCC message board and feel free to email me off line with any comments or complaints.

Timothy McCarthy
NYCC Webmaster

Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)
Right on!

We ought to appreciate the work of everyone who makes this board possible. We all have jobs and lives and this club is purely a labor of love.

Anonymous's picture
Joe S. (not verified)

I think everyone who uses this message board appreciates the efforts of the volunteers who make it possible. But it would seem you are suggesting that appreciation is not compatible with asking questions about who/how decisions are made to censor certain threads.

Anonymous's picture
Michael Steiner (not verified)
Transparency & accountability

I completely agree with Joe that even while (hopefully) all message board users appreciate the efforts of all the volunteers, asking pointed questions is also legitimate. In particular, discussions as fundamental as censorship should be talked about and agreed upon in the open and not, as Timothy suggests (``feel free to email me off line with any comments or complaints'') behind closed doors.

While i am no fan of censorship, I also are often puzzled by some rather offensive remarks on the board and can see the use of moderators. So trying to be somewhat constructive a few suggestions. The policy for offensive postings is somewhat stated (i like, though, Richard's more explicit list better than the rather vague ones on the Rules page. I would though, not insist on banning anonymous posts. While i think that most postings should not be posted when the author cannot stand it by naming himself, there are exceptions and enforcing a ban on anonymous posts without inconveniencing message board use seems rather difficult).

However, I think it would be good to have transparency & accountability in the process of moderation itself. For that i would suggest:
- the set of moderators should be publicly known
- the moderation actions should be explained and somewhat documented, e.g., offensive posts or threats should not just disappear but be replaced with a short explanation why the content disappeared.
- for non-anonymous posts, the authors of offensive messages or creators of offensive threads should be told about moderators objection and given a chance to change his post or help moderate ``his'' thread before messages/threads disappear.


Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)

So Michael, are you willing to step up and be a moderator? Will you explain and document your actions and explain them to posters and then adjucate any revisions they wish to make?

Anonymous's picture
Phil (not verified)

"So I don't have to read this entire thread top to bottom, can someone state succintly why the ""Worst Bike Shop in NYC"" was removed? I see a lot of conjectures and opinions, but perhaps an official response from the moderator would be nice. Thanks."

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