Friday, July 13, 2007

A Written Record

What follows is a complete transcription of a series of email exchanges between Damien M. Jones and myself discussing topics recently posted to Orbit Trap.

The correspondence begins on Sunday, July 8th, 2007, and ends on Wednesday, July 11th, 1007.

The only editing I have done is to remove all email addresses, street addresses, and private server links.

I swear this is an accurate and complete transcription of the correspondence between us on the dates listed above. I will take additional steps to testify to the accuracy of this transcription, if necessary.

If Damien feels the transcription is in any way doctored or dishonest, he is free to post his own transcription of our email exchanges as well.

I want it specifically noted that Damien M. Jones granted me explicit permission to post these private emails. I also agreed to post my own private emails.

Readers can backtrack through recent Orbit Trap posts and comment threads for additional background information and to read exactly what has been written since Saturday, June 23rd, 2007.

The email exchanges follow sequentially by date:

~/~

Date: Sun, 08 Jul 2007 17:07:59 -0400
From: Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright
Subject: Orbit Trap

Terry,

I'm writing to you privately because I want to clarify something you said in a comment on Orbit Trap, in response to Keith Mackay's comment on "Take It to the Limitations". You said:

"...I questioned who stood to gain by keeping these limitations in place and suggested that the rules are possibly designed to privilege certain artists, programs, and styles. ... I complained that some contests are not honest in their promotion and marketing. There are two types of contests that compel me to challenge the truth of their broad and subjective pronouncements."

And then you specifically linked to the ICM 2006 promotional page. So I want to be clear: are you accusing the organizers of the contest of skewing the contest in favor of their preferred artists? Of making factually incorrect statements? Because that would be a pretty serious charge.

I must tell you that I find the increasingly hostile atmosphere at Orbit Trap distinctly unwelcoming, and I am not the only one to so observe (even though I may be the only one to point it out to you directly). That PNL gleefully promoted this discussion to various other fractal newsgroups and discussion lists should tell you something.

Damien M. Jones

~/~

Sun, 8 Jul 2007 15:56:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Damien,

I agree that discussions can sometimes get heated on blogs -- and maybe even hostile. A case in point: your recent replies to Tim. However, I defend the right of Orbit Trap contributors and commenters to be passionate about expressing their beliefs.

My view about contests is drawn from my experiences in the publishing world. There, any competition that winds up including work by judges or editors is immediately regarded as unethical and compromised. In fact, judges and editors are expected to be so aware of the possibility of bias they must recuse themselves from even considering the work of friends or students should that work happen to be recognized. Competitions have been overturned when these regulations were not strictly followed. Where is a similar commitment to the appearance of fairness and objectivity in fractal art contests?

I have no ties whatsoever with Paul. I don’t care what he does.

It has never been my intention to create a hostile atmosphere. Discussion implies there are at least two ways of viewing any issue. Contrary points of view are sometimes controversial.

Best,

Terry

~/~

Sun, 08 Jul 2007 21:18:07 -0400
From: Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Terry,

As I have explained elsewhere on the net, the appearance of judges' work in the ICM 2006 exhibition was at the request of the sponsors, and the judges were not informed of this prior to the close of submissions. Furthermore, nobody was paid for their participation in the contest, nor was there an entry fee (both of which are common in other art contests). If you wish to express an opinion it is best to know the facts, and you only need ask me.

As to the hostile atmosphere, there is nothing wrong with being passionate, but when people start hinting, and then outright accusing, of improper bias and unethical behavior, you should not be surprised when the responses get a little heated. Honestly, half the time I think Tim is being deliberately provocative just to get a response, and if there's one thing I do not like, it is being manipulated. So I'm telling you, as a friend, that I have been extremely reserved in my responses even though I'm exceptionally pissed off.

I believe in free speech, but in the US there are limits placed on free speech to prevent its abuse damaging another person. Even aside from legal limits, there are good taste limits, and OT is rapidly getting to the point where those limits are being crossed. I don't care to participate in such "discussion" and I am not alone. Nothing will relegate OT to insignificance faster than shouting down an opposing voice to the point where they decline to continue the conversation. Keith's calling you to account for questioning his ethics is right on the mark; you did question it, just as you questioned mine, and for us not to take it personally is for us to ignore what you said. If you stand behind your words, then I must assume that you meant exactly what you said, which is that Keith (acting as calendar editor) and me (as judge for the ICM contest and exhibition) acted improperly. That's as personal as it comes.

I have a reply to you and a reply to Tim that are sitting, waiting for me to "cool down" before I respond. Experience has shown me that posting with a hot temper is rarely beneficial.

Damien M. Jones

~/~

Mon, 9 Jul 2007 07:39:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Damien,

If you carefully read what I have written, I hope you'll see that I am not alleging that anything improper has occurred. However, based on how your contest and the "Fractal Universe" have been run, it should not surprise you that some questions about fairness might be raised. I assure you, I am not the only one concerned about this issue.

I am just the messenger. No need to kill me. There are alternatives to the practices that have been used by both contests. No one will ask uncomfortable questions about objectivity and ethics, if the judges are not mingled with the judged -- whatever the reasons for this arrangement. If both contests are run using commonly accepted professional standards, then questions about the appearance of impropriety will not be raised. That is all I am saying.

Best,

Terry

~/~

Mon, 09 Jul 2007 09:01:55 -0400
From: Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Terry,

I had hoped to hear from you again before posting my reply. I'll be doing that later today.

I neglected to follow up on one thing you said:

- I have no ties whatsoever with Paul. I don’t care what he does.

My point in mentioning it--since I know neither you nor I particularly care for him--was that if he is encouraging people to view the discussion, there is something in it he enjoys. He has never, to my knowledge, ever before promoted OT. The reasonable conclusion is that he either enjoys the UF-bashing (since he shares some of Tim's views on it) or he likes watching you and I argue about bias in fractal art, or both. His delight in watching us argue probably comes more from who the participants are than from the topic; not only do we not care for him, but I believe the feeling is mutual.

I'm a bit cooler this morning, but I'm going to have to address allegations of impropriety rather directly. As a director and organizer of both the 2006 and 2007 contests, that's my (unpaid) job. You are leaving me with few options.

Damien M. Jones

~/~

Mon, 9 Jul 2007 11:10:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
Surbject: Re: Orbit Trap

Damien,

I debated whether to send you a private note. I’m reluctant to share personal feelings in email ever since Sean Dean burned me years ago. But I’m taking a chance here:

I do not wish to argue with you. I never did. I certainly don't want to give PNL any joy. Trust me on that.

I have no control over what Tim writes. He alone is responsible and issues with him should be taken up directly with him.

I am also holding back. I don't feel I've shouted anyone down. I do feel I have been personally attacked for trying to raise a general issue. And, like you, yes, I’m pissed off, too.

But, believe it or not, I am your friend. I do respect you. You are a leader in our community. Some would say you are *the* leader. But it's like the Spiderman saying. Your position comes with great responsibility.

I’m not trying to tell you what to do -- just show you how things might look to others. As a leading figure, like it or not, people will scrutinize you. Any contest you oversee, people will expect to be run with the highest professionalism. It should be made as open as possible to include as many artists, programs, and styles as you can -- OR it should clearly identify its specialty or sub-genre in promotion and marketing. The judging should be done as blindly as can be arranged, and the judges always kept separate from contestants and winners. Please at least consider adopting these widely-used practices. If you do, questions about the appearance of impropriety will disappear and never re-surface.

Whether they tell you directly, many people have made judgments about how this appears and have questions of their own. Appearances, yes, can be deceptive, and nothing fishy is probably going on. But it doesn't help when Keith gets on a public blog and talks about what he is buying with his winnings from a contest he edited where his own work made up 1/4th of the published material. That can’t be spun to look good. Surely you can see that.

You can certainly use OT to explain the circumstances and facts of what has gone on with your contest. That will help clarify, but only up to a point. If yours or any contest continues running without using conventional practices and safeguards, then it's a safe bet questions about how the whole thing looks will keep coming up.

With respect,

Terry

~/~

[No Time Stamp]
From: Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Terry,

Your last email was... unexpected. I had already resigned myself to a particular course of action, but now I am reconsidering. I've included my original note below, so you can see what I was thinking, in the hope that perhaps we can improve our communication. I understand that you've been burned on email before (Sean Dean does not have integrity, IMO) so I'm going to go out on a limb a little bit and share perhaps enough for you to burn me.

My issues with Tim I'll take up with Tim, but since you and he started this blog together, it's not completely unreasonable to think you're of relatively similar views on many things. I apologize for lumping you in with him.

I am well aware that people were not happy about judges' work appearing in the ICM exhibition alongside contest entries, but we made it clear from the outset that contest entries would not be the only art shown. This year is no different. The sponsors require this as a hedge against insufficient quality being submitted; it is, after all, their money at risk. I estimate at least 20,000 euros to do something like this, and that is if everything is done as economically as possible. If I were a sponsor, I think I'd make damn sure I could get my money's worth. Had I the money to fund my own exhibition on my own terms, I think I would. But in that case I wouldn't hold a contest, I'd just invite people.

- It should be made as open as possible to include as many artists, programs, and styles as you can -- OR it should clearly identify its specialty or sub-genre in promotion and marketing.

You honestly expect us to completely spell out exactly what we mean by "fractal art" in the promotion and marketing material? When there isn't even a widely-accepted definition of exactly what fractal art IS? What kind of insane world do you live in? And, aside from that, did you even look at what was selected last year? (Rhetorical question.)

- The judging should be done as blindly as can be arranged

You're speaking out of your ass on this one. The judges never see the names of the artists until after the selections are made, unless the artists include signatures on their submissions (in clear contradiction to the rules).

- and the judges always kept separate from contestants and winners

As I've indicated, this is a direct request from the sponsors. Frankly, since our judges aren't paid, this seems a reasonable way to compensate them for the time they spend reviewing entries, especially since they can't enter the contest anyway.

- Please at least consider adopting these widely-used practices. If you do, questions about the appearance of impropriety will disappear and never re-surface.

If I were just running a contest, for the fun of running a contest, I would completely agree with you. But the 2006 and 2007 contests were unique opportunities, with funding, to make fractal art available to a much wider audience, including a huge portion of the public of Madrid. (The Conde Duque site rarely draws in so many visitors! It was amazing!) But the money required to organize such an event comes with strings attached. We've been open about those strings. Nobody is forcing you to enter. If you think it's skewed or rigged, don't enter.

So I have a choice: I can either run a contest completely how I would like, and pay for it myself, or I can accept money from a sponsor that comes with conditions. What you're saying is that you find the strings unacceptable. I'm saying that, given the choice between no exhibition and one with some preconditions, I'd prefer to have the exhibition. At least I'm doing *something*. Years from now, when fractal art is more recognized and easier to get funding for, others will have the privilege of refusing money that has strings attached. At the moment, I don't have that option.

As for Keith: there is nothing deceptive in what he did. You keep using words like "contest" and "won" but it's not a contest. Let it go. By the agreement they have with their publisher, each editor is guaranteed one image in the calendar. Naturally they submitted more than one, to give the publisher a choice of which image. If the publisher chose more than one of theirs, in preference to the other hundred or so they sent, is that really the editors' fault? Furthermore, they are not judges: they are editors, performing a work for which they were compensated. Their responsibility is to satisfy the publisher, not the submitters.

As I said, I've included my original email below, so you'll understand where I was at this morning. I'm not now this pissed off, so in a way it's here for entertainment value. I've included as well the blog post I was going to submit at the same time as the email. Now I'm going to revise it.

--Damien

-----8<----- [original email]

Terry,

- If you carefully read what I have written, I hope you'll see that I am not alleging that anything improper has occurred.

On the contrary, a plain reading of what you wrote indicates that you did exactly that:

- Instead, I questioned who stood to gain by keeping these limitations in place and suggested that the rules are possibly designed to privilege certain artists, programs, and styles.

That is, certain rules are engineered to favor certain people. That's an outright claim that some contests are "rigged". General rule stated; then you move on to state another rule, and give two specifics. Strictly speaking, you don't connect the two specific instances with your first complaint, yet given the rest of your discussion and mentions of various rules from either of those two specific instances, you strongly imply that your first complaint applies to them as well.

Your second complaint:

- I complained that some contests are not honest in their promotion and marketing. There are two types of contests that compel me to challenge the truth of their broad and subjective pronouncements.

Read that one to yourself again. "Truth of their subjective pronouncements." They're subjective, Terry. There is no truth in a subjective pronouncement. You mention the ICM contest specifically, here:

-Type one is the contest that claims to showcase the genre’s finest artists. As an example, this contest openly trumpets “it will exhibit high quality works by the most important fractal artists in the world.”

Quality, which I personally verified was quite high. "Most important" is purely subjective. One might even suggest that by being included in an exhibition at a major international mathematical conference, and a joint exhibition at a major cultural center in Madrid, that the included artists *become* important, but that would be sophistry. How would you factually define "important"? Important to you? Important to me? Or maybe... important to the contest and exhibition organizers and sponsors?

Then you bitch about the Avalanche calendar:

-In the FAQ section of the calendar’s Fractal Forum, the editors state they try to “produce a calendar that is representative of the current state of our art.”

I ask you: if the editors try, based on the material submitted to them, but the publisher elects to go with their proven money-making formula, did the editors fail? Did they not do what they said they would do(try)?

Furthermore, you keep referring to the calendar as a "contest". If you want to stretch the definition that far, when the editors clearly state that it's not a contest, but a publishing submission contest, then I have a few other scenarios that you'd better be prepared to call contests:

1. Grades, for any teacher who grades on a curve. Grading on a curve means you not only have to do well, but better than your classmates. That clearly means your classmates set the bar, rather than the instructor.

2. Magazine publication, for any magazine which accepts contributions from the general public. Each magazine has limited space, and submitters vie with each other for that space. Oh, and they're also competing with the in-house writers, and the winners often get paid for their content.

Are these contests? Or merely competitive events?

But here's the final clincher, the point where you pretty much bluntly state that you think Keith (editor) and I (judge) acted unethically:

- Good luck with your new camera lens. Maybe you can use it to focus on an examination of the ethics of editors and judges whose own work is somehow included in the fractal publications and exhibitions they are assigned to objectively oversee.

So don't tell me you never accused me or Keith. You damn well did.

- However, based on how your contest and the "Fractal Universe" have been run, it should not surprise you that some questions about fairness might be raised.

There are always questions. And no, I'm not surprised; I know that many were not expecting to see judges' images included in the exhibition, even though at the beginning of the contest, in the rules, we did state that there would be more images in the exhibition than just contest winners, that the winners would be "included" in the exhibition. Our original plan was to invite artists to contribute specific images, but our sponsors (ICM and FECyT) instead asked that each panel member provide one image. Since we disclosed in advance to contest participants that other images would be included, and the choice of whose extra images would be included was determined by someone other than the judges, there is no conflict here.

- I assure you, I am not the only one concerned about this issue.

- I am just the messenger. No need to kill me.

Well that's just the problem. "Don't kill the messenger" usually applies when the messenger doesn't know the content of their message and is merely delivering it (i.e. a paid courier) but that's not true in this case. You could have emailed me and asked me about it privately before making public declarations that somebody must be benefitting from the "bias". Instead, you chose--chose--to announce it publicly on your blog *first*, raise a ruckus, be a bit of a demagogue, and then try to claim you never made an accusation. What a crock.

Nobody is holding a gun to your head telling you to deliver the message. You're no prophet regurgitated from the belly of a fish, forced to deliver a message of impending doom. You're Terry Wright, and you chose your message and method of delivery. I had assumed you were a friend, but this is not how friends fix their problems.

Since your allegations are public, I will respond to them publicly. It will probably be my last OT post. Your tactics leave little room for real discussion.

--Damien

[Note: Damien then includes an early draft of his post "A Forum for Accusations." Although much of the phrasing is identical to his post, there are some differences. I include the draft to show the complete email that was sent to me.]

I've been watching and participating in the increasingly hostile discussion here over the past two weeks. I don't mind a little friendly discussion, but I don't like to see misinformation propogated (about UF), so I lost my temper once (and then apologized). But in the discussion following Terry's "Take It to the Limitations" thread, Terry wrote a few things which I feel need to be addressed directly:

Instead, I questioned who stood to gain by keeping these limitations in place and suggested that the rules are possibly designed to privilege certain artists, programs, and styles.
...

I complained that some contests are not honest in their promotion and marketing. There are two types of contests that compel me to challenge the truth of their broad and subjective pronouncements. Type one is the contest that claims to showcase the genre's finest artists. As an example, this contest openly trumpets "iit will exhibit high quality works by the most important fractal artists in the world."
...

Good luck with your new camera lens. Maybe you can use it to focus on an examination of the ethics of editors and judges whose own work is somehow included in the fractal publications and exhibitions they are assigned to objectively oversee.

Now maybe you don't see that as an outright accusation of bias or improper behavior, but it seems fairly clear to me that Terry is accusing both Keith (the editor in the last paragraph) and me (the judge in the last paragraph) of being unethical, because Keith's and Panny's artwork appears in the calendar, and because my and other contest panel judges' artwork appeared in the exhibition.

I believe Terry's accusation is without merit and, frankly, in poor taste. As Keith has already explained, Avalanche's agreement with the editors is that each of them is guaranteed one image in the calendar, in exchange for doing the work of sifting through all of the entries and providing a "first cut" to the publisher. This detail of the agreement is in fact documented in the very same FAQ that Terry linked to with his other complaint, so he should have been well aware of this when he made his accusation. Not only that, but this is the same arrangement Avalanche has had through all the years I've been aware of their calendar--all the way back to when Rollo Silver was the editor and first opened up the calendar to submissions (prior to that, Rollo was the only artist to appear in the calendar).

As to the contest which Terry refers to, we quite clearly stated in the rules, right there in the preface:

Other artwork to be included in the exhibition will be from invited artists. These rules do not cover the invitation process, only the contest.

The decision to use judges' artwork as the invited artists was not made by the judges, and the judges were not told of this until late in the selection process. For this year's contest, we know in advance that judges' artwork is to be included, so we have made the disclosure more explicit. I don't know how we can be rightly accused of unethical behavior when we have been frank about this inclusion.

Each reader will form their own opinions, but I believe from this it is clear that these accusations have no place in rational discourse and serve no purpose.

~/~

Mon, 9 Jul 2007 13:14:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Damien,

Thanks for getting back with me.

Your email is rather lengthy. I will look it over and respond privately sometime tonight.

If you feel the need to post what you've written or reply in some other fashion on OT before then, you should do whatever you feel is right.

Best,

Terry

~/~

Mon, 9 Jul 2007 16:07:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Damien,

I think we have to agree to disagree. Despite your justifications, I am not swayed to your point of view.

I guess the next move is yours.

Best,

Terry

~/~

Mon, 09 Jul 2007 22:24:27 -0400
From Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Terry,

- I think we have to agree to disagree. Despite your justifications, I am not swayed to your point of view.

So that I do not misunderstand you, then, you disagree with ALL of these statements:

1. That you accused both Keith Mackay and myself of behaving unethically in our participation in the calendar and contest, respectively;

2. That such an accusation, made in a public place first rather than trying to resolve the issue privately, was inappropriate;

3. That Keith and I in fact acted ethically;

4. That in fact, juried art shows typically compensate the jurors, and that when such compensation is not directly by payment, it is by automatic inclusion in the show;

5. That the calendar is not a contest, but an editing/pre-screening service provided by Keith and Panny, for which they are compensated.

If, in fact, you agree with any of these statements, please let me know.

However, your statement that you disagree was not qualified, so I must assume it refers to all of the above, as they are all points under discussion. I know we disagree on many other things, and those things do not bother me, but these five are key points in this issue and I want to be clear that I am not misrepresenting your position when I respond to it.

Damien M. Jones

~/~

Mon, 9 Jul 2007 21:01:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Damien,

Just so YOU do not have any misunderstandings.

I only said I was not swayed by what you wrote in a previous and supposedly private email. And that was all I said. What I believe is what I have posted to the blog. If you truly do not wish to misrepresent me, you should confine any public remarks to those posted writings.

Why do you even care whether I agree or disagree with your point by point analysis of your own justifications? I have never made ANY of the five statements you list in your last email. Each one is nothing more than your own speculation or assumption.

This is the last “private” email I am exchanging with you on this matter.

Terry

~/~

Tue, 10 Jul 2007 07:54:45 -0400
From: Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright|
Subject: Re: Orbit Trap

Terry,

- I only said I was not swayed by what you wrote in a previous and supposedly private email. And that was all I said. What I believe is what I have posted to the blog. If you truly do not wish to misrepresent me, you should confine any public remarks to those posted writings.

As you wish.

- Why do you even care whether I agree or disagree with your point by point analysis of your own justifications? I have never made ANY of the five statements you list in your last email. Each one is nothing more than your own speculation or assumption.

I was attempting to make sure I understood clearly what you meant by "disagree". I'm sorry that you didn't understand the point of communication.

- This is the last “private” email I am exchanging with you on this matter.

So, you do not need to respond to this email.

I'm not going to publicly post your private emails, Terry. I was never going to. But I'm really quite sad that you saw what I wrote as "justifications" (meaning that you still believe I did something wrong, and was trying to excuse it). That's what you wrote, it's crystal clear it's what you believe, you stand behind what you wrote publicly (which is an outright accusation), and you still can't see it.

Orbit Trap is dead, and you killed it by driving off everyone who had an opinion different from yours, with your politics and your rantings. So much for promoting discussion.

Damien M. Jones

~/~

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 16:25:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
Subject: Eclectasy Hosting

Damien,

I received a call from Lynn this afternoon. She tells me you contacted her because you said you were unable to contact me.

You must have somehow misread my last email to you. I only said that I would not exchange any further emails with you about the current topic being discussed on Orbit Trap. Otherwise, you should feel free to write me whenever you like.

Lynn said that you mentioned something about removing Eclectasy from the Fractalus server.

As Eclectasy’s web host, you have always had such a prerogative.

For the record, Lynn knows nothing about what has transpired on Orbit Trap, nor is she responsible in any way for what I do or say.

If you wish to stop hosting all of Eclectasy, you may do so at any time. However, as a courtesy, it would be nice if you’d first make sure that all members of the consortium have back-ups of their web sites before cutting off their access and deleting their material from your server. I do have back-ups of my site. As the only person who has been paying for Eclectasy to be hosted, I will expect a refund for the balance of days that have been paid for but were not hosted.

If you wish to remove only my site from your server, then you should contact Lynn to discuss terms and payment in order for her to remain hosted by you. Again, I will expect a refund for any remaining days I paid for but for which I am not hosted.

Either way, if you elect to stop hosting my site, I will expect you, as a professional, to completely remove everything of mine from your server -- and to keep nothing of my original material in your possession.

Best,

Terry

~/~

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 20:55:11 -0400
From: Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright
Subject: Re: Eclectasy Hosting

Terry,

I wrote Lynne earlier today to let her know that I would no longer be able to provide you with access to my server. She is the owner of the eclectasy.com domain. I know that she is not responsible for your actions; however, I knew that I would not be granting you further access (except as necessary to download a copy of your content) and that would likely mean eclectasy.com would need to be moved.

I fully expected her to transfer the eclectasy.com domain to another host, and I stated I was (and am) willing to help you all find an inexpensive host, and to assist in making the transfer as smooth as possible. She called me to further discuss the matter, and I informed her that hosting with more storage and transfer capacity than I offer is now available for a quarter of what you have been paying. I suggest GoDaddy, Yahoo, or Network Solutions; all offer inexpensive hosting.

She did ask why I had taken this step, and I indicated that your recent Orbit Trap postings have destroyed a lot of the trust I had with you. She declined to make a formal decision at that point, but instead called you. She called me back a few minutes later and said she was going to consider her options and possibly speak with you again tomorrow.

As the domain owner of record, it is Lynne's call as to where eclectasy.com is hosted. Wherever she chooses, I will not continue to host your content longer than August 15, 2007, or sooner if you request it. Once I remove your content, I will be quite scrupulous in removing it completely, even from the archiving system that logs all prior file versions. Your content will be totally expunged, as you request. Should there be any remaining balance on your account at that time, I will return a pro-rated portion to you. I had never contemplated anything less.

My professionalism, as far as I'm concerned, was never in question.

Damien M. Jones

~/~

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 19:00:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
CC: Lynne Edel
Subject: Re: Eclectasy Hosting

Damien,

Your professionalism is most certainly in question.

Upon trying to access my web site on Fractalus, I have discovered you have blocked my access with password protection -- contrary to the terms you offered in your last email.

You have, in effect, voided our arrangement as of this moment, since I no longer have a fully operational web site, although I have paid you in good faith to provide such service.

As far as I am concerned, your action immediately terminates any business arrangement we had concerning my web site, regardless of who is the domain owner. I paid the bill. I get the refund.

I will not pay you another dime, and I insist upon a pro-rated refund as of today, Wednesday, July 11th, 2007. I have paid through July 31st, 2007.

Thanks for the professional courtesy of allowing me to retrieve any overlooked back-ups from my web site. And thanks, too, for apparently knowingly overcharging me for all these years.

Terry

P.S. I have cced Lynne a copy of this email that includes all of our correspondence on this matter. She deserves to know what really happened, instead of receiving a cut and paste version.

~/~

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 22:25:55 -0400
From: Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright
CC: Lynne Edel
Subject: Re: Eclectasy Hosting

Terry,

- Your professionalism is most certainly in question.

Hardly. Given your temper tantrum, and the fact that you have developed a motive for causing damage, a prudent suspension (not elimination) of your access in order to protect the other hosted content on my server was appropriate. If you knew anything about web hosting you would know that, but you don't, so again you're making accusations that are unwarranted.

- Upon trying to access my web site on Fractalus, I have discovered you have blocked my access with password protection contrary to the terms you offered in your last email.

What I said was that I would help you transfer content. Since I've suspended your access for administrative purposes, pending a final decision from Lynne as to what to do with eclectasy.com, what I was going to do was ZIP your content to allow you to make a single (far more efficient) web download. Another common practice.

- You have, in effect, voided our arrangement as of this moment, since I no longer have a fully operational web site, although I have paid you in good faith to provide such service.

I have already indicated that I would refund your money. It will go out tomorrow, if you could please provide a current address to send it to. (Yes, I can dig this out of my records if I have to, but since they're in storage it will take longer.)

- As far as I am concerned, your action immediately terminates any business arrangement we had concerning my web site, regardless of who is the domain owner. I paid the bill. I get the refund.

I never indicated anyone else would get the refund. I only indicated that Lynne, as the domain owner, decides what happens with the domain name.

- I will not pay you another dime, and I insist upon a pro-rated refund as of today, Wednesday, July 11th, 2007. I have paid through July 31st, 2007.

This works out to be a refund of $27.10.

- Thanks for the professional courtesy of allowing me to retrieve any overlooked back-ups from my web site. And thanks, too, for apparently knowingly overcharging me for all these years.

Actually, I didn't knowingly overcharge you. Since I don't pay even remotely the same for my hosting as you do, I didn't comparison shop for your class of service until today. You have the ability to host your web site with most low-cost hosts, but I don't; I offer too many customized services and I require a co-located server, with hardware that I own. Never mind that I offered to host you for free in the beginning, but you all insisted on paying for service. (You forgot that part, didn't you?)

- P.S. I have cced Lynne a copy of this email that includes all of our correspondence on this matter. She deserves to know what really happened, instead of receiving a cut and paste version.

Did you forward her a copy of all your private emails to me earlier this week? So that she gets the full story?

Damien M. Jones

~/~

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 19:52:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Wright
To: Damien M. Jones
Re: Eclectasy Hosting

Damien,

Please send the refund to:

**STREET ADDRESS EDITED**

Out of concern for your privacy, I did not send anyone, including Lynne, either your private email rants or my responses. If you wish to send your emails to Lynne, that is strictly your business.

Your dropping hosting of Eclectasy was Lynne's business -- as you pointed out -- since she owns the domain name. Our private discussions about current writings on Orbit Trap only involve you and I.

Terry

~/~

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 23:01:02 -0400
From: Damien M. Jones
To: Terry Wright
Subject: Re: Eclectasy Hosting

Terry,

As promised, a full set of your content, should you wish to download it, is available here:

**SERVER LINK EDITED**

I will keep this file online through August 15, 2007 or until you tell me to remove it.

Damien M. Jones

~/~ ~/~ ~/~

This concludes the transcript of private email exchanged between Damien M. Jones and myself.

3 Comments:

Blogger Damien Jones said...

Terry,

This appears reasonably correct. I can verify more completely when I have full access to my mailbox when I get home, at which point I can provide you with the missing timestamp on the message from early this week. I appreciate the removal of email and personal addresses; thank you.

I don't particularly think sharing all of these emails was necessary, but you have elected to do so and I have consented. I spoke in these emails frankly, as I would to a friend. They include personal opinions of others, for which I do not apologize; I am entitled to my personal opinions, and to share them with those I consider friends. I don't have to like everyone, and everyone doesn't have to like me. I also express my emotions more clearly with my friends than I would in a blog post.

As the record is now public, I don't see any further need for discussion; those who have questions for me about it will find I respond much more quickly via email.

--Damien

7/13/2007 3:31 PM

 
Blogger Damien Jones said...

Clarifications on timeline:

According to my inbox, my Monday 9:01 message and Terry's 7:39 message are in the opposite order, due to time zone differences and that they likely crossed each other in the mail. The 9:01 message is not a direct reply to Terry's 7:39 message. This difference is not important, I simply note it for accuracy.

The message with the missing timestamp was sent 2:52 PM on Monday, July 9, 2007. It was sent three times; the first two had some encoding issues with characters transcribed from HTML, and appeared mangled. This corrupted some of the lines. The third time I identified the problem and fixed it. Therefore there are some corrections (in bold) from the text that you posted from that message:

[in the original email message, written before I received Terry's response, which I appended in the hopes of furthering understanding, while underscoring I was not quite as pissed off as I'd been when it was first written:]

[quoted text] "...most important fractal artists in the world." Read for yourself. Here's the link. [end quote]

And you contend what, that because we didn't include enough variety for your tastes, we must've lied or deceived about our intent? Fer cryin' out loud, Terry. Do you have any idea how hard it is not to assume this is just sour grapes?

In this context, by the way, "high quality" was referring to the print quality, which I personally verified was quite high.

[in the draft of the Orbit Trap post:]

[quoted text] ...most important fractal artists in the world." Read for yourself. Here's the link.



In the FAQ section of the calendar's Fractal Forum, the editors state they try to "produce a calendar that is representative of the current state of our art." Here's the link. Now I ask you. Is this statement an accurate description of the final product?



Good luck with your new camera lens. [quote continues]

___

Other than that, the record seems to be complete. The omissions aren't exactly flattering to me, but accuracy is accuracy.

I trust we are done here.

7/13/2007 9:29 PM

 
Blogger Dinhi said...

Not a bit surprised to find PNL spoken of here, he sure has a way of making trouble.

Just today his post to XDPIX sent us here to read your discussion. He must be feeling quite glib about now. As others on the XDPIX group saluted those that participated and placed in the Mandebrolt Fractal Contest with their xenodream software submissions, rather than congratulate them for their success, Paul (PNL) thought it more fun to post "questionable practices" and send the winner's here to read your blog's and email discussion. Great guy! I do not care for him as well.

It is always sad to see differences challange integrity and I hope that all parties are doing well. Dinese

9/15/2007 9:55 AM

 

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