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Stalking The Truth

April 03, 2010

NCGenWeb Part 4/5

Where have all the flowers gone?

From: Diane
Date: 3/5/2010 4:01:07 AM
To: NCGenWeb-L
Subject: [NCGenWeb] One Final Note

Hi all,

Due to the recent direction that the NCGenWeb Board has decided to take I am resigning as SC of the NCGenWeb Project effective immediately. Since the board has chosen to take a vote (without my knowledge) to change my tenure as your SC from the 2 years I was voted in to 1 year without any discussion with myself or with any of you as well as ignoring the CC's who did say something (then adding it into the bylaws), I don't agree with this practice and I won't back it any longer. In doing so and in speaking up things have gone from bad to worse. I have been told that I had better walk away from being the SC as well as away from the NCGenWeb Project if "I know what is good for me". I have also been told that my sites fail to uphold the standards of the NCGenWeb requirements that they are cookie cutter sites and a disgrace to everyone that comes to visit them and that they are terrible, etc.

Well, in answer to that, I say, at least my sites had no broken links, and they were updated at least monthly, most of them weekly. With 30 sites to maintain it is kind of hard to be on top of every little thing. The NCGenWeb Board has gone in a direction where I am no longer proud to say I am a part of the NCGenWeb Project. They are complaining and plotting about people that don't have their sites on the NCGenWeb servers, they are complaining about people that advertise their sites on Facebook and other blogs and venues. They are trying to turn into a dictatorship and they have already picked the next SC to replace me and I have been told in no uncertain terms to leave the NCGenWeb Project so that this person can take over.

Oh, I am sure they will tell you this is all lies, but please, watch yourselves and keep your eyes and ears open.

I am also resigning as CC from the NCGenWeb Project and I have moved all 30 of my sites to another server and will continue to maintain them. I have also deleted all of them from the NCGenWeb servers. I am going to miss some of you, we have grown close in our contact that we have had and I hope it does continue. I am still just a phone call or an email away. That will not change. If you need me, I will be here.

NCGenWeb Special Projects

But wait, that's not all you get ... AFTER Diane resigned, THEN the NCGenWeb Board voted to remove her. This action by NCGenWeb violated two USGenWeb rules. First, all members have the right to a fair hearing before punishment. Second, elected officers can be removed only by the authority that elected them, which in this case was the NCGenWeb membership not the Board.

NCGenWeb, Inc., does not appear willing to play by the rules of the USGenWeb. So why are they a part of the USGenWeb? Recently the NCGenWeb CCs have voted into place some rules which conflict with the USGenWeb bylaws, a violation of Bylaw XII E, "State projects are empowered to develop/adopt any additional rules/bylaws and guidelines, as appropriate, for their state so long as they do not conflict with these bylaws."

To make a bad situation worse USGenWeb Advisory Board member Jeff Kemp, is one of the NCGenWeb CCs who have voted to approve the NCGenWeb rules that conflict with the USGenWeb bylaws.

Tomorrow will be Part 5/4 of this saga, but that isn't the end of the story. A new section of our companion Web site will be opened with further information and proof, including what appears to be an attempt at extortion (as defined by the Hobbs Act) by the NCGenWeb, Inc. Board. We will post a message here when the new section is open.

Mary White

April 01, 2010

NCGenWeb Part 3/5

We do not know how many years Derick Hartshorn has been making accusations of secret, invisible CCs in the NCGenWeb using aliases. We do know that even a deceased former CC had been accused of being alive and using an alias. This was proved untrue however, when I emailed the deceased CC asking them to contact my 7gr-grandmother and find out the names of her parents. I received no reply.

This alias (or was it alien?) conspiracy theory of Derick was passed off as a personality defect, a delusion. Now we find Derick is owed an apology, as the below proves beyond any reasonable doubt that NCGenWeb has had in reality at least one CC acting as an alias, Derick himself.

Mary White

> From: Diane
> To: Mary White
> Sent: March 25, 2010
> Subject: Fw: letter to CCs
> Here is the email where Derick sent me the email to
> send
that letter last year to the CC's that you have
> posted on
the blog. Here is the proof that I didn't
> really write
that email.
> Diane
> > -------Original Message-------
> > From: Derick Hartshorn
> > Date: 9/10/2009 6:16:13 PM
> > To: Diane Siniard
> > Subject: letter to CCs
> >
> > Diane,
> >
> > I tried not to sound like me and to make the letter
> > personal.
> >
> > Here are my suggestions:
> >
> > 1. Send this to EACH CC individually. I know this is
> > a
lot of work but I think that it is necessary. Include
> > it to Warren, Elizabeth and anyone who is no longer
> > on
the List as of 7-1-09.
> >
> > 2. Edit (or use it) as you choose. This is only a
> > suggestion. I tried to make it sound like you but it
> > probably needs some tweaking.
> >
> > Good luck,
> >
> > --Derick

Dear _____

It is now just over short two months since I was elected State Coordinator and a lot has transpired since then. The reason I ran for State Coordinator was because I love the USGenWeb Project and believe in the concept of free Internet genealogy. I love the state of North Carolina and that is where I proudly reside with my family. You may reside in No0rth Carolina or not. Anyway, your decision to sponsor a county here should be a source of personal pride.

When I first explored the possibilities of running for SC, I thought about the many USGenWeb responsibilities I already had in North Carolina, Missouri and elsewhere. I already have over 15,000 web pages that require constant attention and my husband was beginning to question my sanity. Even with a busy family life and young children, I decided that it was worth the added burden if I could help make the NCGenWeb Project the very best of the USGenWeb Projects. And that is why I decided to run for office.

After these past few months, I’m sure you have been subject to a great deal of confusion about our Project and the requirements for being a County Coordinator (or Assistant CC). I know that some of our page hosts, many of whom have been with the Project for a long time, have serious and legitimate concerns. I would like to take a few moments to try and explain where we came from, where we are and where I hope that our NCGenWeb Project will look like in the future.

First off, I knew that I could never perform as your State Coordinator without a good deal of help. For that reason, I have sought the help of folks who have been in the Project for a while. These folks share my goals for excellence. We have formed a Board with a solid structure of contributors. I hope to not only make your goals and tasks easy, it is my firm belief that we share that same sense of responsibility to the Project. I know that you seek the opportunity to share the pride that will result because of our joint contributions and I want to help.

Several folks have expressed suggestions for making the NCGenWeb Project the very best in our national organization. I would like to express their thoughts and include some of my own. These thoughts represent many of the concerns that you, the “front-line troops” have expressed. Let me deal with some of them now.

The pages you now host were probably your own creation and the content was done by you. In the event that you inherited your site, you still have a “pride of ownership.” With that ownership goes the responsibility of maintaining your site, ensuring that it is productive and up-to-date. The USGenWeb Project requires us to be in compliance with their by-laws. In order to do that, you should be adding material to your site as opportunities arise. Rather than impose any time limits to adding material, you should recognize your responsibility to make your pages as attractive as you would want them to be if you were depending on somebody else’s pages for research material.

Any dead links should either be re-established or the link discontinued. “Last-updated” notices should appear on all pages so that web users know the page isn’t dead. The copyright statement, to protect both you and the Project, should be the present year or the date of origination or the inclusion of the statement, “to present.” As an example, “2004-to present.” Search engines can be added, most all of them are free. All pages should have a search engine

The NCGenWeb Project was established in 1996, shortly after the Project was first established. Since then, we have used a variety of state logos. The first ones were 320 X 240. We need to provide a unique identification of our Project. We all recognize corporate logos like GE and Coke. They use a single visual image to project their corporate identity. Today, the NCGWP uses no less than twelve logos. I strongly believe that we need to make a selection of a single image to represent our Project. I will be happy to receive feedback on whether our membership is comfortable with the board selecting a logo or whether you feel the membership should be a part of this selection process. Please let me know via the list.

As a Project, we addressed the concerns of page owners who were concerned with potential intellectual property conflicts with RootsWeb/ Nola Duffy provided private web space for all Projects within the NCGenWeb Project. This substantial expense was borne by her with no expectation of recognition or support. To her, we owe a great deal of gratitude for her selfless gestures. Some CCs continue to house their pages on the RootsWeb/ server as is their right. We will continue to support their housing needs, whatever hosts they choose. Likewise, NCGenWeb Project members will always be welcome to move their pages to our dedicated server, should they choose

A good deal has been said about incorporating our project. Each USGenWeb Project member has been free to remain unincorporated or to take a legal step to protect their name and identity. Early in our Project history, some individuals, hostile to the intent of the NCGWP, sought to take over our Project for their own selfish reasons. Before they could be accomplish this scheme, several were expelled from our Project because of fraudulent dealings and their attempt to host county pages under a variety of aliases. Sharon Williamson helped us protect our logo by obtaining trade mark protection several years back. In 2007, we learned that the same hostile individuals who tried to infiltrate our Project earlier were intent on incorporating our name and identity. In order to forestall that attempt, Nola Duffy stepped forward to preempt that attempt. Some have pointed out that we are a non-member corporation. That provision was made to simply indicate that no individual person owns the NCGenWeb Project. Our incorporation was not made public for the reasons stated above. The only reason that this issue came to light was that a former Project member, in an attempt to incorporate our Project, discovered that we had already been incorporated. Our Project has benefited from legal protection without any fanfare. Our incorporation in no way diminishes the rights of any Project member.

When it was learned that the NCGenWeb Project had been incorporated, some said that the Project was operating outside the bounds of an incorporated entity. In order to head off any controversy, your Board has carefully composed a set of by-laws so that we will be in full compliance with all North Carolina incorporation laws. These by-laws are nothing secret but an attempt to formulate the guide lines we need to operate by. When completed, they will be presented to the membership for approval.

Regardless of how the division of support is defined, the Board found it necessary to subordinate the responsibilities of the SC and ASCs. It was felt that assistance should be provided to all County Coordinators in order to help them find ways to make a more positive web presence. We are still in the formative process of helping our page hosts. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to provide the assistance they need. Further information on this process will be made as soon as we formalize it.

Some folks may interpret the assignment of Regional Coordinators as a threat. I would like to assure you that the decision to appoint these folks has been taken in order to assist, and not to constrain. They have been chosen for their desire to help in the region they chose to serve. They are certainly not “page police” but helpful folks whose desire is to work with each CC in their region. If you receive an email from them, please interpret it as a helping hand.

It’s no secret that several County Coordinators have chosen to leave the Project. Each and every one of your Board members truly regret their choice to leave. We don’t take these actions lightly and have tried to do all in our power to support all of our members. We will continue to help them to be a part of what we believe to be the best Project in the USGWP. In order to do that, we must insist on adhering to standards that not only comply with the USGWP but to serve as goals for the entire Project.

In my estimation, we are not insisting on unachievable standards. As the leading Internet genealogical destination, the USGenWeb Project must be held to a higher standard. As members of the NCGenWeb Project, we should all exhibit pride in our Project. Without you and your fellow Project members, we will never achieve the high goals we must achieve.

If you have had any concerns for the newly elected leadership team, this should be of particular interest to you. I want to reassure you that every decision I made has been done with consultation with the Board. While adhering to USGenWeb Project bylaws, I am trying to best understand the needs of our membership. Please don’t think of me as being dictatorial. My leadership style may be different than my predecessors but I have the best interests of our Project and its members foremost.

I want to be someone you can always feel free to write to with any of your concerns. I maintain County sites just like you do. So do the members of our Board. We all share the same goal of seeing the NCGenWeb Project achieving the top spot in our national organization. I hope that you will join with us in making that a reality.


[Derick misspelling 'sincerely' was a Freudian slip --mw]

March 30, 2010

NCGenWeb Part 2/5

Intrigued with Diane's first message, we asked for more details

and the beat goes on ...

"I joined NCGenWeb back in 2005. At first I was left alone to work the Duplin site. Then I began to adopt more sites and Denise and Nola began to take notice on how much information I was adding to them and began to be friendly with me, especially Nola. I then asked about adding Military sites and a cemetery site. Denise didn't really want me to but she reluctantly agreed to it. Once I got those up and running and they began to take off Nola really became my friend and started chatting me up more and more. She then started confiding things in me and we started working on a set of bylaws with Denise's help, basically the 3 of us were running NCGenWeb.

"Then Nola said Denise wasn't going to run for another term for SC and asked me to run. She said we needed someone strong and trustworthy to be the SC and that I would be perfect and there was no way I would lose. I didn't want to at first because she had just talked me into running for the GC and I was accepted. Then Dorman had quit and I was elected GC Chair and didn't know my head from my elbow about being the chair because we didn't have anything to go by as far as what the chair was supposed to do, rules to go by or anything so I had to wing everything. Hell, I didn't even know I was supposed to turn in Quarterly Reviews until I was hounded to turn one in and then I was berated by Tina on the AB's mailing list for stating the facts in it!

"Needless to say, Nola kept riding and hounding me until I finally agreed to run for SC. When June rolled around and it was time for nominations Ron Dailey was also nominated which was a shock and surprise to us all. I was honestly hoping he would win so I could just remain a CC and work on my sites and be left alone, but luck would have it I won by 2 votes.

"Once I won I was told in no uncertain terms by Nola and Derick Hartshorn that I had to take Ron Dailey as my ASC. Well, I had already planned on asking someone else and had sent them an email asking them. So, I had to send an email to Ron thanking him for a tight race and ask him to be my ASC. He hemmed and hawed around for almost 2 weeks before finally accepting the position.

"Needless to say, Ron resigned I think it was a month or 2 later. I was also informed by Nola and Derick that I needed to pick a second ASC. Again I wanted to have one of my choice, but oh no, once again they told me who to choose, so again I was told to get Katherine Benbow. Then I was told to choose Taneya Koonce as webmaster, as she had applied for the ASC job, Nola and Derick didn't know her that well but knew her web site skills were excellent and told me to put her as webmaster, so I did. During this time I fired Sandy Bolick for causing so many problems between herself and other CCs. Then Elizabeth Harris resigned and I was told in no uncertain terms to get her back by Nola. Well, I tried and it didn't work and Nola was upset with me to put it mildly.

"So we went along, Ron resigned. Warren Bagley called me some names on the mailing list for all the rules and threatened me, and quit. Little did he know that everything that was set out to the mailing list was dictated by either Nola and/or Derick. I was even sent an email from Derick that I had to send to the CC's to catch them up on what all had gone on when I had been in office for 6 months. I believe you wrote about it in one of your blogs. Stating some of the CC's thought it was a resignation letter. Well, guess what? Derick Hartshorn wrote that letter and I have the email to prove it! So we continued to carry on, I was told what to say and when, the CC's continued to blame me for everything, even though I had no say in any of it because I was vetoed on all of it.

"Katherine started stressing and wanting more help so again Nola and Derick told me we needed more help so we decided on Regional Coordinators. I sent out an email to the Business list. Dee Gibson-Roles, Sue Ashby, Katy Hestead Susan Jones all applied. Again Derick and Nola told me to choose Dee and Sue. They told me Katy was nothing but trouble, Susan is an alias and that she (Susan) is Daryl Lytton and so again I followed what Derick and Nola said and chose Dee and Sue.

"Then one day Nola up and informed me she wanted Jo Branch to join NCGenWeb and told me to let her adopt Sampson County. I really didn't want to give up Sampson County as that was one of the counties some of my ancestors had lived in, but Nola wouldn't hear of it because HER ancestors had lived there and she wanted Jo in NCGenWeb. So, I had to give up Sampson County so Jo Branch could join NCGenWeb. Well, it wasn't long before Jo was a Regional Coordinator. Next thing I knew Jo was redoing the County Site Procedures that I had already redone, that were tweaked from the same ones we had since the inception of the NCGenWeb. She was then rewriting the bylaws that Nola, Denise and I had worked almost 2 years on and that I had worked even more on and had gotten approved by a lawyer.

"Jo said that everyone was outraged by them and in an uproar. Once this all started even more CC's started to quit because of all the rules and blaming me. I had not a single say so in any of the County Site Procedures nor the new bylaws yet I was being blamed for the changes and all of the rules being implemented by everyone. I was being called a Nazi. A dictator, and some not so nice things as well. To top that off there was not a damn thing I could do to defend myself against them!

"Then in November I had knee surgery. I was out with the exception of 30 minutes to an hour here and there until around the end of January. During that time the board decided to vote to change my term as SC from 2 years to 1 year with discussing it with me or the CC's who voted me into office. I would send them emails asking what was going on, what had been discussed, etc and would receive no replies. I was totally ignored. When Jo sent the set of bylaws to the board that had the change of my term in there I called her out on it. She simply stated that is what the board told me. I told her no, I was voted in for 2 years like every other SC in every other state and sent her the email that had the final results from the election as well as the dates of my term as SC. Jo stated she would get that changed ASAP.

"Then Katherine piped up and sent an email stating that the board had discussed it and decided and voted to change my term to 1 year. I told her they couldn't do that because the CC's had voted me into office and only the CC's could change my term. Again I was ignored. Discussion was opened for the bylaws and a few CC's had excellent questions. A couple of them were ignored and I had to resend them through the list and say something to get them noticed. Then discussion was closed before their questions were fully answered. That made the CC's VERY upset.

"So, when it was time to vote on that set of bylaws I voted no and added: Due to the fact that the SC term has been changed from 2 years to 1 year in the middle of my term without discussing it with me or the CC's who voted me into office. I did send the original email to the bylaws committee who said they would change the wording and the wording was not changed. Therefore I vote NO.

"A couple others voted no as well, one even stated the bylaws were against the USGenWeb bylaws and procedures, which the ignored. Then a few CC's spoke up and stated that my term as SC should be grand fathered in and they were also ignored.

"Then I received an email from Jo Branch telling me how horrible my sites were, that they were cookie cutter, broken links, a disgrace, etc. She also told me that I needed to walk away now if I knew what was good for me. I also received another email stating that she was going to be the next SC that the board had already decided it and that I needed to walk away as CC and SC if I knew what was best for me before the June election and I got hurt.

"I continued to try and get the board to tell me what was going on but not one single one of them would talk to me. A grievance was filed against me. I opted to settle and let the person return. Boy did they get pissed off with me! I was called sick, stupid, you name it! However, when this person failed to stick with the rules, I again removed them and got the board to vote on the removal after I removed them and I was called down by Katherine Benbow for doing that! I was damned either way I turned with those people. I could do nothing right. They called me names and berated me for bringing the person back and then berated me for removing them again. I just couldn't win for losing and basically I had had enough.

"So, I talked at length with my husband, spoke with my researchers and told them all what was going on and they all told me to pack up my sites and leave and take all their contributions with me. Yes, they told me to take their contributions! They didn't want NCGenWeb to have them!

"So, I spoke with Rootsweb, got the server space, downloaded all of my sites to my computer, and on Friday March 5, 2010 I started deleting my sites from the NCGenWeb servers and wrote my resignation and sent it to the NCGenWeb Business list and walked away from the NCGenWeb forever. When I hit send to send that email I swear it felt like a 20 ton weight had been lifted from my shoulders and that I was finally free!

"I am now with Trails to the Past and I have never been happier! I have time to spend with my family, my husband and I are getting to spend some much needed quality time together, and did I mention I am finally FREE and happy?

"Now, since leaving the NCGenWeb I have learned that they were plotting and planning to remove me as SC. Now I have also found out that they have been copying files from my Duplin County site as well as my Pender County site. I wrote letters to the AB and the GC about it, but it seems that Tina Vickery has a vendetta to only try and find fault with me instead of looking at the real problem with is NCGenWeb copying files from my sites without permission.

"I have an email from one researcher that Nola Duffy sent asking if they could copy her contributions. She told them no and if they did there would be trouble. Well, guess what? They did it anyway! Another ladies files were also copied and I have an email from her stating they never contacted and asked her and she wants them removed as well. Also, the copied files from my transcribers and their emails are not on the site anywhere to even ask their permission. That is in the USGenWeb bylaws as well as NCGenWeb rules as well as the US Copyright Laws. You have to have written confirmation before you can copy someone else's work.

"Guess the NCGenWeb thinks they are above the law and it looks like the AB isn't going to do a damn thing about it. You can see the emails I sent to the AB here:"
[coming soon. -mw]
"I will let you know if they copy anything else.

"Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need clarification.