Thursday, 29 June 2006

Painful moments on The Painful Truth

Long before the late and unlamented site appeared, Ed Mentell's Painful Truth was a place where "exxies" could hang out, chew the fat, cuss a little and work through their issues with a manipulative, controlling religious movement called the Worldwide Church of God. It wasn't always subtle, but it was effective.

A year or three ago Mike Minton took on Ed's mantle. Change can be upsetting, but Mike brought his own sense of humor and personal verve to the operation. I've never met Mike "in the flesh", but after exchanging scores of emails I count him as a good friend.

Sadly, it seems that in the latest transfer of the reins, the site has developed speed wobbles, flipped and crashed in a hail of mixed metaphors. Some people are stressed out at the thought that the PT is in jeopardy, harsh words have been exchanged and blame is being spread like plum jam on English muffins.

Mike is assuring folks that an archived version will appear again at, but the partly revamped version produced under John B's short editorship has apparently been removed for good. The PT forum, always a place for the free and frank exchange of views, is full of unhappy campers.

I hope people will give Mike the benefit of the doubt and time and space while the dust settles. In case anyone hasn't clicked yet, running a website like the Painful Truth, or the old AW, is no easy mission, and the webmaster can be left carrying the responsibility with little to show in return other than bills, threats, lost time and sapped energy. I'm not in the loop on the whys and wherefores, but it's a bit gut-wrenching to see good people like Mike, John and other regulars (many of whom were also AW regulars) at loggerheads. Let's all take a deep breath. Maybe it's time for someone with the time and talent to bring out a completely new website to complement the PT, or maybe fill the niche vacated by the pre-blog AW. One thing I do know, there's no lack of able candidates - if one cares to raise their hand...

We all get passionate about things that matter to us, and PT readers - especially those on the forum - understandably feel a sense of shared ownership. At the end of the day, though, it's the webmaster who carries the can. I'm guessing that a few deep breaths and some kind words of appreciation to all concerned may be more helpful at the moment than simply spitting the dummy.


Felix Taylor, Jr. said...

Good advice Gavin. The only people who benefit from this crisis is the XCGs. All should be focused and unified in making the collective XCG's asses sweat.

xbeliever said...

An archived version of the Painful Truth site would be more than enough so the truth about Armstrongism can be known for those still trapped in the cult or thinking of joining. Good luck to Mike anyway.

JIM said...

To pull it off the web the way he did was like a Punch in the gut. What are all those that aren't part of the PT forum thinking. i was the first to challenge him other than John and he has yet answered truthfully. I have nothing against Mike personnally so this isn't about that. This is for all those that are trying to figure out where they were and why. Also so that they could see how others hve handled their own situations to better themselves.

Anonymous said...

Aside from ego, there really was no need to take the John B version of the site offline. John was doing all the work, the site was paid for in advance, and many hours had been spent repairing links and such so that everything once again worked for the first time in months.

You are correct in calling for cooler heads, but it would have been nice if the existing site had remained in place until Skeet had developed a replacement. I just hope that Skeet is working on an absolutely killer site that just blows our socks off. That's about the only way that the situation could be "made right" at this point. I would probably be amongst the first to re-evaluate my position if this turns out to be the case.

Byker Bob

Anonymous said...

While the hastily yanked Painful Truth is being refurbished, is it possible to open up the doors on the archived Ambassador Watch website, with a few mouseclicks, eh Gavin? Now we feel doubly deprived without our Ambassador Watch, to comfort and sustain us in our hour of need-

Felix Taylor, Jr. said...

Exactly, what about it Gavin? I strongly feel there needs to be an archived version of your Ambassador Watch website. It is a very valuable resource.

Gavin said...

Hey guys, what's past is past. I have considered doing a partial archive... but don't hold your breath. I'm flattered that you want it back up, but the whole AW thing knocked me around a bit, and I still have the bruises :)

I have to decide later this year whether to renew the domain. I'll think about it again then.

Skeet said...

Nice to say hello to ya again after all this time, man...
Yes this is a late reply to this, but for good reason....let some time go by, nerves settle down, etc.
Here's the reasons behind my actions, just for the record, FWIW:
1. I could not ever comment on the PT forum myself, on anything back in "the day", without being accused of being the "300 lb gorilla" in the room. Fine. I turned my Host Duties over to Ron, so I wouldn't be. I still was. Errrr.
2. It became readily apparent that I couldn't manage to run a website like PT the way it should be running all over the world in my employment. The PT site was updated via laptop from places like Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Eureka, CA, Te Puke, NZ, Bristol, FLA, Chipman, New Brunswick in Canada to name a few. I needed someone to help pick up the slack at first, And JohnB did some of that.
Later, I realized that I really needed to just turn over the whole ball of wax. Just couldn't do it anymore, not for any idealogical reasons, just logistical. The PT needed to continue, that was imperative. Many attempts by me to JohnB (the obvious heir) to have him take over, though, was rejected by him for various reasons I won't go into here.
What to do? Archive the PT site?
Walk away and never update it? Not acceptable.
3. The Painful Truth is that I deliberately angered a lot of very Good Ones at the Forum, made them and others very angry indeed.... to make them take some ownership of the PT website. It eventually got me banned from (what I consider to be) my own/home forum, and removed from many good people I've considered my friends for many years. Unfortunate, to say the least of it.
But the important thing is that someone (whoever and how-for I don't know all the details) has picked up the reins and, JohnB is to be commended for this, regardless of anything else. The website was more important (still is) than I or him or Ed. And more importantly, some swelling of support from the ranks of the Silent Majority of Readers apparently showed its face to allow and support that; which is after all, what my actions were intended to cause.
4. Manipulative? Yeah, sorry to say. Did it result in my favored outcome? Yeah. Was it/is it still painful? Yeah. In no way was I going to allow the PT site to be down for long, in whatever capacity, however. I've watched the new PT site as JohnB has grown it, and I know that ED is playing a role. These are all Good Things.

I've paid the price for my machinations, but the important thing is that the PT site is still alive and well, and folks like you, Felix, Gary Scott, Dennis, etc are all still alive and kicking the WCG+ Butt.
The Cause is always greater than the members, I might think....
Be well Gavin,
Mike Minton