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Stalking The Truth

October 09, 2011

USGenNet - Farwell to Arms

Dick Tracey’s wrist watch was quaint, cute and fanciful. So may it be said of USGenNet.
The list of notable donors to USGenNet (not to be confused with USGenWeb) for 2011 includes the usual suspects who had differences with USGenWeb or rootsweb.com. The leadership has changed little, if any, over the course of its existence. The leadership includes: Virginia Cisewski, Bill Oliver, Rhoda Fone, Debbie Axtman, Pam Rietsch, Margie Daniels, Stan Schwarze, Janet Schwarze, Jim Cole, Connie Burkett, Fred Smoot, and so on.
The stated goal of USGenNet was to bring free genealogy and history to the internet. Their famous slogan in 2007, “Copycats on the Loose!” It detailed instances of other Projects using ‘their’ data. (USGenNet claims  it is Not a “Project”, but merely a provider of web space for Projects. Common sense concludes otherwise.)    http://www.usgennet.org/usgnhome/new2007.html
The historical goal of USGenNet might arguably be to wage a guerilla war against Rootsweb and to gain control of the USGenWeb Project.
USGenNet was not bashful in using power to achieve their goals, which might include going medieval on anyone they considered an enemy. This text snip illustrates the power which they enjoyed:
  http://www.radix.net/~merope/february2006.txt
Quote :SHOT IN THE FOOT: After yesterday's DBS, USGenNet helpfully published a series of emails, screenshots, and scans of various things in an apparent effort to defend its actions against Charles "Little Dog" Barnum and further assassinate his character. They are posted here:
We'll note a couple of things right off the bat. The first "document" contains some excerpts of an email that Charles sent to several recipients back at the end of January. We happen to have been one of them, so we have a copy of the full email, and its nowhere near as snarky and trouble-making as USGenNet would have you believe. Charles wanted to make a site that would link directly to all county data wherever it may be held [although he excepted the Archives from this]. He asked his correspondents to let him know what they thought of this idea:
"What if we established a web site that listed every database on USGENWEB Counties? It would have a list of states and under the states a list of counties, and under counties a list of links to databases. I do not mean we would invite people to submit links to us; we would just collect them state-by-state. If you could see the web site name, you’d understand. Our site would have no Byheehaws, no advisory board, no guidelines, no copyright statement, no logos and no State Coordinators. It would not be a web ring and no one would have to link to us. The county coordinators could do as the see fit or even resign from USGW, but their links would remain as long as they were valid links. No, I am not talking about stealing data. We’d collect links to counties databases—not data. This is not an easy assignment. I built one for a state awhile back, and I’ve learned from that. I’d pay for the domain name but I need no-strings attached web space. I can’t do it alone. Fifty volunteers would be optimum but I’d take 10 dedicated volunteers. Would it draw visitors? Yes, in time. Cream rises to the top. Remember Cyndi’s list? That used to be a good until it became a list of commercial sites. Ours will be 1000% better. If you are interested and wiling to take risks, contact me. You’ll find me in NM."
We have no idea what any of Charles' recipients thought of his proposal, but apparently one of them thought enough of it to forward it to USGenNet, which promptly took away his web space, message boards, and mailing lists. …” End Quote.
Regardless of the missteps the leadership took in the above Amanda Knox type prosecution, one fact is that USGenNet is a Dick Tracy wrist watch in the world of BlackBerrys and Smart Phones.
After USGenWeb separated from rootsweb.com, the fire burning in the heart of USGenNet became a dying ember.
The diaries and self-serving emails and inglorious web pages do not prove that USGenNet is innocence of anything; they have no weight, because the mislead can come up with their own version of stories like 'hard core criminals' who think that they are always innocent.
Perhaps their failure might be traced to the strong arm tactics by some of their troops. Or, perhaps they had the wrong motivation in the first place-fist, and second place-second. Why does man not follow their hearts instead of following others? To avoid that trap, we must all do what we know is right. We all die, sooner than expected, better to follow your heart because we're all naked. We have nothing to lose, it is already gone. Farwell USGenNet; if what we think is true, you will fold in a matter of weeks.
For The Daryl