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The posts below were all written by me at The High Road today as responses to a post asking if the online forum Armed Polite Society had been taken over in response to allegations that a certain person has stolen The High Road from its rightful owner.

Post #1

“Most people who visit here don’t actually seem to be aware of the dispute, as the explanation put at the top by Derek Zeanah is now gone. Unless you read the blogs of the various parties involved, you probably won’t know by reading the site.”

Post #2

“Respectfully, it’s that this is “The High Road” that is the cause for special relevance here. I suspect that a disproportionate number of members have a heightened sense of ethics and of right vs. wrong.

Right now there’s an allegation that this forum has been stolen from its rightful owner. Whether or not it has been is something I’m not in any position to know. Imagine you were at the firing range and the guy next to you offered to let you shoot a really nice rifle, but your friend who was there with you whispered to you that the rifle the guy was offering looked an awful lot like the unique rifle another range member owned and claimed was missing. Faced with this allegation of the rifle being stolen, would you shoot it or would you pass on the chance?

I suspect that many here would pass, just as they probably don’t have any illegally-downloaded MP3s and don’t cheat on their taxes. For honest men (and women), the allegation that something is stolen is enough to make it so that they want nothing to do with it until the matter is settled.

Very few people really know what’s going on, but many people are aware that something foul may be afoot. We don’t need posts decrying one side or the other, but it’s only right that members should be able to learn without posts getting deleted or locked and the poster getting banned.

THR members deserve to know about the allegation (and also the counter-allegation). If we’re unwittingly benefiting from stolen goods (again: I don’t know whether THR is or isn’t stolen), we deserve the opportunity to make an informed decision rather than being potentially tainted by association.”

Post #3

Again respectfully, Jeff White, I have to disagree. If the property has been stolen, as has been alleged, then arguably anyone adding any substance to THR is assisting in the commission of a felony (to be dramatic but also accurate).

You have said that THR runs off (free) member contributions. At the same time, this situation seems to be about making money off the site. It doesn’t seem very “high road” to allow members to contribute substance without letting them know that their words are being used to generate revenue by those who are alleged not to have a right to operate the site.

Again, I don’t have any true idea of who (if anyone) is right here. To allow substantial comments for the purpose of enhancing the value of THR while shutting down all discussion of the ethics of doing so (and without even a warning that the matter is under investigation and soon legal action) is not what many of us have come to expect from The High Road.”

Post #4

hso, I believe that you and the other mods who are saying that there is nothing to see here and that this is a private matter are misunderstanding the situation. If this were about whether someone like to cross-dress or was having marital trouble or whether the site had been the victim of DOS attacks then I’d almost certainly agree with you and defend that view against all comers.

Here, though, we have the allegation that THR is being used illegally. If we are to believe a mod who says that “THR is US, all of us, staff and members who make this the community that it is,” then the matter is not properly kept private. Preventing personal attacks and preventing libel are worthy goals, but it is wrong for there not to be an acknowledgement of the situation on the front page (as existed a few days ago) and for members to be prevented from discussion what has become public knowledge.

I believe that to do otherwise would be to create a desert and call it peace. I’m encouraged that this thread has been kept open and has had mod discussion; please keep it open and allow respectful discussion by members without there being a fear of banning hanging over the heads of those who are trying to do what is ethical and right (whatever they may construe that to be).

Update: Jeff White, Oleg Volk, founder of this site, has alleged that THR has been stolen. It is public knowledge that the allegation has been made. That doesn’t mean that it’s true: you’re very right that I have no way of having the first inkling as to that. What I do know, though, is that the character of THR has been publicly called into question. That this is The High Road suggests that ethics are important and worth considering.”

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