Tuesday, July 12, 2005

In Defense of UFO Updates

The UFO Forum has kicked off and I wish it the best of luck. I sincerely hope it does well and I can't think of any reason why it shouldn't. I've joined and I'm sure many others will as well.

Part of the reasoning in the minds of the List owners in setting up the Forum is an attempt to wrest control away from Errol Bruce Knapp, the moderator of the UFO Updates List, as the major dominating force for intelligent discussion within the Ufological community. That, it won't do, and it really doesn't take too much of an effort to work out why.

For example, one of the reasons given for a sense of dissatisfaction with Updates is that it all rests in the hands of one man, namely Errol. There is no open posting policy on Updates. Posts are sent in, scrutinised by Errol for formatting and content, and then posted if he feels it is appropriate. That means that some people don't get their messages on to the List for a variety of reasons, and of course that leads to frustration.

I've been there. When I first started on the List, being not only somewhat dense but also bemused by the demands of actually being neat and tidy when composing a message, loads of my posts went awol. Although it irked a bit, I accepted I wasn't getting it right and just pressed on. Eventually, I got there. But some might argue that they are being censored or that Ufological thinking is being fashioned by just one guy.

That last one actually is an odd one. If you listen to Errol's radio shows on 1010 Talk Radio Toronto, you will quickly discover that Errol's own personal views would see him hung, drawn and quartered on UFO Updates if he was an ordinary subscriber. Errol is a believer and believers are generally looked down upon with disdain. What he posts from others does not for one moment necessarily reflect his own personal views. And in fact he tends to screen out some messages that might reflect some or part of his own philosophy simply because they are not in keeping with the range of views his subscriber list expects to see.

He's also partly been pilloried for taking a holiday, which he's doing right now, and as he's away, the List has shut down for a week and a half. That means no voice or outlet for some and as far as most are concerned, the end of intelligent discussion for a few days simply because one guy has frigged off for a bit of peace and quiet. The damn cheek of it! Daring to take a holiday.

Updates can be an intimidating place for some. The big knobs of Ufology are there and they post messages that make cogent points often using words involving more than three syllables. You are in the company of those who are extremely well read and who are obviously in the main, highly intelligent. Sometimes, it goes off and arguments start. Ridiculous to'ing and thro'ing over the most pathetic and vaguest of points. For many, the bear pit arena of Updates is just too much and so they stand on the side lines, raiding the archives and enjoying the sport.

But all of this is part and parcel of the attraction of Updates. The sometimes hit and miss nature as to whether a post you've sent in actually makes it on to the board is part of the thrill. It maintains the standard and creates an air of exclusivity about the place. That is not meant in a snobbish manner and List membership is open to all. But it does mean you have to write well, have a valid point of view, and generally not have the demeanor of an idiot. That's not asking too much but it's a lot more than is asked on virtually every other List going. And that's what makes Updates unique.

Another factor not to be overlooked is the sheer hard work Errol has put in over the years. A List does not become successful overnight. It takes constant monitoring and effort. Errol has done that, at, it must be said, a financial cost to himself in that his dedication to the cause has taken him away from more profitable lines of work.

A nod must also be given in the direction of the Updates archives. Having been going now for some considerable time and having had the very best of the Ufological community as its membership, those archives are a gold mine for anyone attempting serious research. And they didn't appear overnight either.

If I was one of the List owners of the Forum, I wouldn't even attempt to have Updates in my line of fire. It would be a waste of time. My focus would simply be on every other List. I would attempt to make mine different to the others by raising the level of discussion and that will mean hard work on the part of the owners. Material will need to be fed to the List in order to generate debate. Appropriate material at that. It needs to be kept going and it needs an effort to be made. That is within the scope and abilities of the owners. It's up to them.

Stuart Miller


Blogger Paul Kimball said...


Although somehow I got pegged as a moderator of the Forum, and I happily support it, I don't, as I made clear at my blog (www.redstarfilms.blogspot.com) see it as a replacement for UFO Updates, of which I remain an ardent fan. EBK's done a wonderful job over the years with a cantankerous bunch of mavericks! The Forum is just another means of communication that employs a slightly different technical method of doing things.

Love the blog title! Sign me up for the Pan Club.


P.S. What? "Fan?" Grrr... I take it back! LOL

Tuesday, 12 July, 2005  
Blogger Alfred Lehmberg said...

In a more perfect world we'd all be in that perfect world, wouldn't we? But the world is not perfect, as we know.

Still -- I think there is a silent majority of persons who appreciate an idea of perfection and who would warm themselves in the glow of that which makes the aspiration to that ideal of perfection, or as near as they can get with destroying themselves. The rest of us think, wait, and write if we care to... demand a little justice around us, command an integrity, expect forthcomingness from those who would lead, and aspire to the good that speaks up so that truth-seeking majority alluded to is not swept away.

I myself am entirely outraged that that truth-seeking majority is in any way thwarted from the pursuit of that truth! I am completely riled with regard to a reflexive cultural secrecy apparatus that has been so abused and misused by these closed and otherwise cloistered institutions (governmental, religious, and *otherwise*) that it has made itself unworthy to keep any secret at all!

Our societal leadership currently betrays the trust of you and I, reader, and we are that majority alluded to in this note... our attention makes sweat run between the adipose cheeks of the betrayer accused and our cooperation does nothing to preclude rivers of that sweat from it's run. The more that sweat runs the better quality of life we achieve, and those who would lead should pay a premium for the privelege... we should, at least, be able to believe them, trust them, and respect them. This is presently impossible for anyone possessing the barest minimum of rationality with eyes to see and ears to hear...

Our efforts in these blogs we create can provide for a cooperation alluded to, materialize a device for our edification with regard to matters impacting on our quality of life... even put us inside a living ring of our construction composed of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This is living space made necessary for the billions now living who would never have to die and should expect to live lives on an upward path of convenience, improvement, and contemplation... a little like we were that portion of the universe which created itself to consider itself... catalog the secrets... keep an "eye" out for systhesis... turn that into synergy. Us and... others... ... more opportunity for cooperation at best.

That's what we could be doing in a more perfect world... but that we were 'being' that perfect world... and what could be more perfect than that.

Stuart provides another place for us to be cooperative in... and that's a good thing. A bit of a reach that exceeds the grasp, but only at present. Thank you Stuart... this is not unappreciated. [g].


Tuesday, 12 July, 2005  
Blogger Kyle said...

Nice, thoughtful post, Stuart.

You are absolutely right about the Updates Archive. Indispensible resource.

Doing a mail list the way Errol does it will always garner a measure of complaints. But the alternative...the "democratic" way...can result in a "noise floor" far too high for the list to attract serious participants.

You make a good point that it takes work to keep it civilized, and Updates is the best example available.

Most would not be up to the task.

Best Regards,


Wednesday, 13 July, 2005  
Blogger Alfred Lehmberg said...

With all respect and admiration appropriate, Sir, truer words are not often spoken, for sure. UpDates is the "real deal" by all estimations, and Errol should have a biannual ride on a three cornered velvet cushion we'd carry him around on... if you can float with a little hyperbole this early in the morning.


Wednesday, 13 July, 2005  
Blogger Stuart said...

If I would care to correct anything I said in this thread yesterday, it would be to stress that the formation of the Forum has not been done as an aggressive act. I agree with Paul's comments about it simply being an alternative means of delivery.

A consistent level of reasonable discussion within Ufology is very hard to find. That is my hope and wish for the Forum, that it fills that void to some extent. I put the onus on the List owners to do the work but we, as members, share some responsibility as well.

Paul, have you been talking to Nick R? How did you know I was thinking of setting up a Rick Doty fan club!! Can you imagine it though? A fan's convention once a year with our hero regaling us with tales of his duplicity and lying. T shirts, buttons, newsletters, autographs even. Oh, it makes me come over all unnecessary.

Wednesday, 13 July, 2005  
Blogger Paul Kimball said...


A Rick Doty annual Conference / Symposium / Festival / Freakshow would no doubt be a "majical" experience!

Count me in.


Wednesday, 13 July, 2005  

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