In the five years that we've been running this site, the Moderators have banned thousands of spammers, but only three or four members for violations of our Terms of Service, which make clear that civil discourse is paramount and personal attacks will not be tolerated.

This is not something we do lightly. It happens only after repeated violations and warnings, and we do it with a heavy heart and for the good of the greater community, who deserve a place for civil discourse and mutual support. We also try to be as transparent as possible about the process when it has to happen. 

I'm sorry to report that we have come to the point of having to do this again. We have suspended Kevin Finisterre for repeated violations of our TOS, including multiple personal attacks and the publication (via Twitter) of the contents of a private message communication with another member, which is a gross violation of that member's trust. This is the final straw in a long track record of abusive behavior to other members here, and he has been warned several times that he was at risk of banning for this. He has hurt many people here and otherwise made this a less happy place. That's bad for everyone.

This is a shame, because despite Kevin's mistreatment of other people, he made some good points and otherwise could have been a valuable contributor to the community. That's why I want to make it clear that we are not deleting any of his content, which will remain on the site, despite its tone and violations of our TOS. Also note that it is a suspension, not outright banning. I hope we can find some agreement with Kevin that will bring him back on more civil terms.

I must also report that he has threatened to create aliases and attempt to cause chaos here if he is banned, so if this happens the Moderators will attempt to be as vigilant in tamping this down as possible. But we would appreciate the community's help us in spotting and helping stop any behavior that seeks to undermine the civil and mutually supportive atmosphere that we have tried so hard to maintain here.


Thank you for your understanding and help in preserving DIY Drones as a friendly place for civil discourse and sharing. And my special thanks to the 50+ Moderators, who work so hard every day to help maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio here. If you'd like to join them and have a track record here, please PM me. We'd love to have you join us!




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Comments are closed for this blog post

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on May 31, 2012 at 2:45pm

There seem to be some miscommunication here. I just noticed that all comments from what I assume is the person in question has been removed.

Comment by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on May 31, 2012 at 3:26pm

An unfortunate ending to a very very heated series of discussion threads. A pity really because in the end there will be a good technical outcome from these discussions, and that is (also) because of Kevin's contribution to the thread, even despite the heated tone. I

sincerely hope that this is temporary and that it can be reversed, though that is as much (or more) up to Kevin as it is the admins. Having had my own meltdown(s) over the years - both a victim of heated discussion and sometimes guilty of making it worse, I certainly understand how this can happen. 

I do hope that it is temporary

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 31, 2012 at 4:30pm

John Arne: He later chose to delete them himself.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on May 31, 2012 at 4:58pm

I'm not really sure what to say, other than obviously I'm really disappointed at how everything went down.  So far this place has been, to me at least, an example of what good can come of the Internet.  Sure, this DIYDrones website, the 3DR hardware, and the APM software are not perfect.  But then what in this world is?  I myself have levelled criticism at certain things, those examples are out there for all to see, but I try to be fair in my criticisms, and at the same time I will argue against criticisms that I think are invalid.  I have learned that I can do the most good by working within the community here.

What I think some people really need to understand is that the software, and most of the content on this website, is created by volunteers.  Nobody has a right to demand that anything be done for them.  That's not how this works.

Comment by Randy on May 31, 2012 at 6:42pm

It's certainly important to be civil.  Put too much "heat" into your messages and it triggers an emotional response on the other side and suddenly they're not reading what you wrote.  It ends up being counter productive.

Comment by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on May 31, 2012 at 7:47pm

As someone who almost quit this site in my first week because of harsh words, I very much value the work of the moderators and how a good vibe and energy can make the whole community work better. I'm glad I didn't quit, I met a lot of really nice people and was able to ignore the one person who ticked me off. 

While this whole situation is a pity, I really don't see how any other outcome was possible, as Kevin kept escalating more and more. He self-banned by means of pushing the administration until they had no option.

Comment by Jake Stew on June 2, 2012 at 2:23pm

Too bad how this all worked out.  Because of the censorship involved we'll never really know the true story.  All we really know for sure is that whatever happened, it was quickly covered up and swept under the rug.

The last thing I heard from him was about 3DR quickly removing a Spektrum PPM encoder from the store after he revealed it fixed the PPM encoder issue on the APM.

Despite what was said above, at least several of Kevin's posts were deleted, with no trace left, by the administration.  I don't blame him for deleting his posts since it's really not fair for the administration to pick and choose which ones to delete.

Maybe the administration was fair, maybe not.  What is certain is that the whole mess was covered up and the administration did have interests involved.  All this makes it pretty hard to think everything is on the up and up and that it wasn't censorship of a user bringing up safety issues that 3DR wanted to ignore and deny.

My suggestion to avoid this in the future is to start following common sense forum netiquette.  It's pretty standard to leave a stub with an explanation when deleting a post.  You also don't delete them you move them to the trash, leaving behind a link for the curious to follow.  This leaves threads clean and useful, without censoring anyone.  Censorship followed by a cover-up is almost always the wrong way to go. 

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 2, 2012 at 2:40pm

Jake: As I said above (with link to Kevin's Twitter post) and several people have already told you, there was no censorship. We suspended him after he violated the privacy of another member by posting the contents of a private message, but we left all his content intact. He then took it upon himself to delete all his own content. I personally did not delete any of his comments prior to that, and if any other moderator did it would have been for direct TOS violations, such as personal attacks.

He is wrong about the Spectrum PPM encoder. We temporarily stopped making it because we ran out of a component (furthermore, it did not use any of the PPM encoder code and had no failsafe function at all). All of our other PPM encoders, with the same code, are still offered. You should take what he says with a huge grain of salt.

I don't know how much more transparent I could have been about this unfortunate situation. 

Let me be clear: this is a moderated community. We take enforcement of the TOS seriously, with the hope that requiring people to be civil to each other will avoid the toxic atmosphere that too often infects other communities, just has it has comments in general on the Internet. If you want an unmoderated community, there are plenty others out there. 

Comment by Jake Stew on June 2, 2012 at 2:50pm

There's a whole mess of posts that are missing.  The spectrum PPM link Kevin was talking about reads: "You do not have access to this page. Please contact customer service for further details on accessing this password protected section."

Maybe everything is 100% on the up-and-up, but you just make it so damn hard to believe you sometimes.  Maybe Kevin deleted some of my content when he deleted threads he started?  Maybe the clumsy forum software has just made it too difficult to find things?  I don't know, but there IS stuff missing as far as I can tell.

Deleting something that deserves to be deleted is one thing.  But deleting the evidence of the deletion IS a cover-up.  That's always going to raise questions and make things look suspicious.

Comment by Ellison Chan on June 2, 2012 at 3:36pm

Yes, I agree with Monroe.  Chris has always been opened to anyone joining the Dev Team.  People keep forgetting this is open source.  If you feel you have something to contribute, no one stops you.  If you feel that you want to improve the software improve it, and post it for everyone.  If its safe and popular, as an open source community, we are going to share in the improvements.  What is not productive is when people have a strong opinion on what they think the software should be, but instead of contributing, they try to bully someone else into implementing what they want. That's not very useful.  As with real life, you have to put your money where your mouth is.  Walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.

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