Monday, February 12, 2007

Bear411 discrimination: update

After my previous post about the abhorrent practices of Bear411, I was astonished to learn how many bloggers were already sounding off about it. Many disgruntled members, myself included, plan to cancel their accounts on Valentine's Day. Currently the webmaster claims 100,000 members worldwide so it's hard to say how much impact it could have on his profits, but a mass exodus will send a clear enough message to him and other bear organizations.

My plan to post a protest in my Bear411 profile was thwarted. I updated to test the turnaround time, only to find out that as a non-paying member I'm locked out of changing the profile again for ten days. My only means of getting the word out is to send private messages to as many people as I can, which I'll start doing tonight. It will be an arduous task since the site doesn't allow you to copy and paste into an IM. I'll have to choose my words carefully so as not to get censored. I'm guessing "discrimination" and "censorship" are on the filtered word list by now.

Other bear sites are responding to the criticism. posted the following pledge:
* We will not censor. will never be "Big Brother". Your messages and thoughts are your own, and you are free to express them as you wish.

* We will not arbitrarily change profiles. We will never edit, suspend, or terminate your membership or profile "just because". If for any reason we must edit, suspend, or terminate your membership we shall do so courteously and with full disclosure.

* We will not discriminate. The bear community is large and diverse. We are not the gatekeepers of who is "bear" and who is not. All are welcome here.

* We will listen. Without the community, we are nothing. The ways in which can be contacted will be numerous and conspicuous. We will accept criticism gracefully and together make better.
Developing... stay tuned.