Confusing Community with Sales

May 23, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Ethics, Events, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, WTF  //  23 Comments

Litter Box Marketing

There have been some blog posts floating around about a new PASS Summit policy.  Most of the posts have been either misleading or ill-informed about why this new rule came about.  Last year there was a sh*tshow of bad marketing and sales practices:

  • Two vendors did a bulk drop of branded promotional items in the Community Zone.  They literally turned an area intended to be about chapters, networking, and #SQLFamily into a their own company litter box.
  • A vendor lefts stacks of promotional items on booths of sponsors in the exhibit areas.  Yes, a vendor who did not pay to sponsor the event used the booths that other vendors paid for to attempt to distribute their marketing materials.
  • I heard of other things happening from sponsors, but did not witness them.  They were right along the lines of those two things above.

So PASS has come out with a new rule about exchanging stuff at the PASS Summit.  They are now going to attempt to limit exchanges to business cards only.  I think this is way too specific of a rule definition, but unlike the other bloggers, instead of making this a post about how awful the board is, I’m going to offer up win-win-win alternatives below.

Some of the comments on these posts have been made in an attempt to soften the “guerrilla marketing” bad behaviours I mentioned.  They claim that the board wants to limit small, personal exchanges of gifts like ribbons and stickers, both very common conference exchanges.  In the space community, these also include mission patches and pins. I don’t believe the board wants that, but they have certainly put that in writing.

First, the rule right now only applies to speakers. I’m not sure if it applies to attendees, but I’d want any such rules to apply to everyone at the event.

Feral Cats and What’s That Smell?

The issue isn’t about personal exchanges of gifts. The issue, as all of us know here but are pretending we don’t, is the literal carpet bombing of commercial collateral, including promotional, branded swag in community areas, empty session rooms, empty tables, restrooms, hallways, charging areas, etc.  I do not support the claims that this type of feral-cat like spraying of vendor materials is “Community over Sponsors” behaviours. It’s about sales over members. Don’t kid yourself. Consultants are vendors. InfoAdvisors is a vendor. I’m a vendor at these events because I work for a vendor.

Consultants are vendors. InfoAdvisors is a vendor. I’m a vendor at these events because I work for a vendor.

All that spraying smells. It’s only community if your business belongs in a back alley. It’s only community if you think of attendees as “prospective invoices”.  It’s all litter box marketing.

That isn’t about gifts. It’s not about community.

And what has happened is that the “arms race” mentioned in one post has now become such an embarrassment to the community that our professional association has had to step in and make a rule.

Update: One vendors claims that the sponsors asked him to drop swag on their tables.  “it just looks like litter boxing” (paraphrased). The two events I witnessed involved the sponsors throwing the swag in the garbage and asking “WTH was that?”  I’m going to guess that “being invited to give out swag at the booths” is a giant misunderstanding.  Ha ha. : ).

The New Rule Isn’t Right

I agree that the limiting to business cards is a unacceptable way to draw the line on this “I don’t see you all as community but as potential invoices” behaviours. But the real fault is on the people who need to have the event as a “sell-first, avoid you later” event.

Saying they can’t afford to have a booth isn’t accurate. It’s affordable.   Many smaller vendors have booths at SQL Saturdays and at the big show.  It’s very affordable, especially if you share with other vendors.  Which is a great way to have a booth because who wants to man/woman/kitten a booth for the entire conference?

Should you have to have a booth to exchange stickers or ribbons? No.  But when sponsors get other people’s swag dropped on their booths, or when the community zone becomes a porta-potty for marketing materials, we’ve lost our path.  No matter what someone tells you, that’s not community. It’s seeing our event not as a Connect. Share. Learn. event. It’s about seeing our event as a Speak and Sell event.

Blame for the new rule goes 100% to the folks who did these things.  Okay, maybe I’ll blame the board 10% for coming with a new rule that isn’t quite a win-win-win solution.

This Ain’t the Tea Party

If you think telling sponsors “we’ll take your money, but others can turn the community zone into their own “rogue exhibit hall” is good conferences sales point, I suggest we just give away exhibit booths and charge everyone the real price it costs to put this on.   I’m guessing that registration will cost about the same as a 7-day cruise.  Or it will be like a local user group meeting, with fewer people.   Austerity might be your political stance.  Telling people to just change jobs if their employer won’t pay $7k for them to attend Summit is a nonstarter.

The fact of the matter is that community events the size of Summit (thousands) can’t happen without sponsors.  Ensuring that sponsors get what they pay for is not “putting sponsors over the needs of attendees”.  It’s about running an event that is affordable and sustainable.  Sure, it’s a balance.  But pretending that somehow non-sponsoring vendors should be allowed to use sponsor resources for their own needs is naïve at best.  At worst, it’s painting the situation as being something it is not.

Data.  Get Your Data Right.

It’s misleading to say that these rules happened because PASS wants to cater to sponsors over community. A few overly-greedy, it’s-all-about-money people have caused this. Focus your ammo on the right malicious “users” of PASS.

What I Want the Rule to Be

I’ve talked to board members and PASS staff.  This is what I want the rule to be.  I think it’s a win-win-win for attendees, consultant and sponsors.


Personal, one-on-one exchanges of low-cost items like the ones below should be allowed and even encouraged.

  • Stickers
  • business cards
  • patches
  • buttons & pins
  • temp tattoos
  • ribbons
  • candy
  • stamps
  • etc.


I don’t care if those things have your name, your favourite tagline, your picture, your cat-owner’s photo, or your logo.  They key here is one-on-one, personal exchanges of low-value, often fun, things.  I also don’t want to have a detailed list.  People love to have a check box set of rules, but that just leads to people finding loopholes.  Heck, I love sharing space swag at non-space events. Especially collectibles that are older than most of the attendees.

Update: What do I mean by exchanges?  I mean giving out these low-cost items in trade for the other person’s similar item or for some other value.  One year at EDW I asked people to tell me they “loved their data” to get a ribbon.  Hearing people say that was a small but important value to me. I may have done that at Summit one year as well.  The key is these are still one-on-one exchanges. And none of them happened from the podium.  Selling while presenting should be a paid session.

Ribbons, stickers, stamps are all part of the geek community and I want that to continue to be a part of Summit.


Bulk distributions of marketing materials, flyers, branded materials should require some sort of sponsorship level.  As should the distribution of more expensive swag, cars, real tattoos, kittens, and $20 bills.

Distribution of items on sponsor booths without their permission should not be allowed.  Bulk distribution on the exhibit floor without being a sponsor or in the Community Zone should not be allowed.


The Community Zone Should Be a Sales-free Zone

The Community Zone should be sales-free, as far as I’m concerned. It’s the violation of this rule that I think should cause people not to be invited back to the event.  Attendees should have one area where they aren’t treated like invoices.  Having to put this into a rule makes me sad. People should just understand this is how life works.

Maybe we need a $500 sponsorship level for those vendors whose business is doing so poorly they can’t afford a booth.  Or for independent consultants.  Again, this is for people and organizations that want to do mass distribution of marketing materials and collateral, not personal exchanges.

A professional association should indeed help all members be great at what they do.  Whether they are consultants, software vendors, contractors, full- or part-time employees, retired, whatever.  But that doesn’t mean that a professional association event must provide a sales opportunity in every part of the event.

This proposal is a win-win-win because attendees can keep doing what we’ve always done.  Vendors can still do their sales things, but appropriately.  Vendor sponsors can keep getting value out of their sponsorship dollars without some on other vendor being a feral cat and bragging how “sponsoring a booth is stupid when you can just do guerrilla marketing.”  Our sponsors are part of our community, too.  In fact, organizations can be members of PASS if the sign up.


The world does have bigger problems.  But the posts that have been coming out have not been giving the full picture, nor have they offered up a balanced solution. I think it’s good that this year several people came forward to complain to the board that the stuff people have been doing has crossed a line.   It may not really be an “arms race”. But is has been escalating.  Houston, we’ve had a problem. It stinks. It’s time to fix it.  Let’s all work together to get it right, before the urine smell kills the whole event.  If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them.

This is some of the feedback I got for speaking up.
I’ve never attended a SQL Saturday Ottawa yet (there’s always been a scheduling conflict). I was not in Ottawa that day. I was at a NASA Armstrong Teacher Educator event.

This is how nasty this whole discussion as become. A vendor took a bunch of my tweets over the last year, some about these behaviours, some about my dislike of the things that Mr. Trump says, and some about God knows what else and made a video saying I’m mean. Then this video became a facebook post on the vendor’s own Facebook wall.

.Never Been to Ottawa.

A few people spoke up and this commenter deleted his comment after a while. The vendor did not delete it. The commenter did.  Remember this when you are thinking about win-win-win solutions. This is what’s at stake. This why bad behaviour leads to more bad behaviour. I’ll still keep blogging about it. And people will still comment on ME instead of the issue.Its what is broken with our community. Talk about bad behaviours, not people.


  • Good thoughts, Karen,

    I didn’t know about the Community Zone stuff until I read about it from another comment on my post about this new rule. It seems someone made a mistake and owned up to it. That’s what apologies are for, I reckon.
    I also didn’t know about people leaving stuff at other sponsor’s booths. In the comments on my post, Brent mentioned at least some of that is by invitation. It sounds like some of it was not. I can’t see that working as a marketing tactic, guerrilla or other.
    Thanks for letting me know about those instances, ma’am.

    I agree with a lot of what you suggest. The goal of my post is to encourage (pester) PASS into changing what I feel – and I gather you agree – is a bad rule.

    I hope my post didn’t come across as “the BoD is always wrong.” That wasn’t my intention because I don’t believe that. I think the PASS Board (PASS leadership may be more accurate) has made some mistakes in the past. Most of them they’ve corrected. I am satisfied with the direction of both the PASS Board and the PASS leadership – especially when it comes to how they interact with the SQL Server Community. Their current direction doesn’t make either immune from making less-than-optimal decisions. As I stated in the comments on my post, I’m confident the PASS Board and PASS leadership will revisit this issue. I am hopeful, along with you, that they make some changes to this rule.

    Andy Leonard recently posted..A Couple-Three Thoughts and Questions About Swag at Community EventsMy Profile

    • Thanks for the clarification, Andy. I know what I saw, I know what the sponsors and I talked about. The two sponsors I talked to were not happy about what happened. I’m not that stupid that I’d just see something from the distance and think I knew what was going on. I’m focusing on the behaviours and the rules, not the people. I think it’s bad that apologies have come after their own blog posts bashed PASS for daring to try to fix this and only after others pointed out what actually happened.

      I know for certain that complaints from sponsors happened.

      Behaviours can be improved. Rules can be adjusted. Intentions and life-callings, not so much. I’m going to hope that some people will see the Summit as community first, sales second. Or tenth. It’s clear from the year-after-year-after-year the breaking of the rules, blogging about how smart they are to break the rules, applying, lathering and repeating, that we’ll be sitting here next year with another set of rules that will harm 99.9% of the community because a few litter-box marketers need to be seen as rogue warriors.

      The other day someone asked why I didn’t just quit PASS if I didn’t like these behaviours. I wonder how many other people who just want to network with their peers, learn a few things and had some fun in-between are also considering “just quitting”. The drama is draining. The elitism is off-putting. The mocking is tiring. Who wants to go to a conference where the loudest voices are the ones fighting for the spotlight?

  • < kittens. smiles. classy stuff. >
    Karen Lopez recently posted..Ed Yourdon: Writer, SW Engineer, Consultant, Methodologist, PhotographerMy Profile

  • Spamming other vendors booths or the community zone is a no go.

    But: i have seen so many slide decks from SQL saturdays which were using the wrong template (and therefore no or wrong sponsors!)… As a vendor that would piss me off way worse than a speaker handing out swag in their sessions.

    So let speakers hand out swag and session related materials, keep the community zone clean, keep the exhibiton area for vendors who paid to be there and lets focus on having fun at summit again 🙂

    • I hear ya. I don’t think templates are required for SQL Saturdays. I hope organizers aren’t selling that as a perk for sponsoring.

      • At least some are… And then again a subset of them mentions it to speakers… And maybe a subset of those enforces it…

        • The main issue I have with SQL Sat templates is the time it takes to re-do slides, some I’ve used for two decades, to fit yet another new template. I’m happy to include “bumper” slides, ones that go in the front and the back of my deck. But re-doing a whole deck can take a lot of no value add time.
          Karen Lopez recently posted..Is Logical Data Modeling Dead?My Profile

  • A few questions:

    – When you say personal exchanges, does this mean that someone that’s unaffiliated, such a Tjay Belt (not to pick no TJay) cannot give away his #SQLFamily stickers to anyone that doesn’t have an item in trade?
    – The community zone sales-free, so no swag at all? Still personal exchanges? Step outside if someone asks you for a sticker from your company?
    – Swag in sessions? Did you mention this? Is it allowed?

    I have to admit I’m torn on this issue. I think many attendees like the swag. I’ve had employers that wanted me to bring back swag to share with others that might not have attended. I think some rules should exist, though I’m not quite sure what the best guideline is.

    • On personal exchanges: I consider the #SQLFamily ribbon gifting as a personal exchanges, at least the ones I saw happening. I don’t recall him dumping them on vendor booths or leaving stacks of them in the washrooms. But maybe I hang out in the wrong washrooms. I’ve handed out ribbons before, but never in bulk. Just to people. With a conversation.

      I think your questions are assuming that I consider personal exchanges “selling”. That’s not what I think at all. Dumping a stack of branded magnets, books, whatever in the Community Zone is an ad placement. I consider that selling. Ad placements should compensate someone, likely PASS.

      Swag in sessions is likely a whole other blog post. I’m not sure if I’ll write it, but it generally follows what Allan Hirt has shared on Andy’s blog post.

      I know my proposals leave lots of “what if” type questions. But I actually think those are the best kinds of guidelines here. If we try to set a list of approved and disapproved behaviours, the salesbags will just find another way to sell in these areas.

    • I also said that “exchange” doesn’t have to be another item. I even gave an example of something I did at EDW for exchanging ribbons.
      Karen Lopez recently posted..Happy 20th Birthday, ER/1…ER/StudioMy Profile

  • Dear fanbois: You can keep reporting my sharing of this post on Facebook as inappropriate. I will keep reposting it. Get back to work.

    Or think about doing something positive for the community, as I said above.
    Karen Lopez recently posted..Confusing Community with SalesMy Profile

  • If a vendor wants to give out promotional items (swag, flyers, etc) without paying for a booth, perhaps we need a lower sponsorship level where they are allowed to leave their promo items in a designated area (not in the community zone) where anyone interested in receiving said items could go help themselves.

    It would be just a drop off point. Leave your stuff there and then leave. No hanging out to talk to people and no gathering of info from people. Kind of like those tourist information racks they have in the lobbies of some motels/hotels.
    Robert L Davis recently posted..T-SQL Tuesday #74: Be the Change Round-upMy Profile

    • That’s a great option for people who want that type of service. And I wouldn’t think of it as “lowering”, but creating a new level.

  • As an occasional and sometime vendor and provider of swag at other events, I’d agree entirely. Yes please. I would be effing livid if someone had used a space I’d paid for, and I’d never dream of using a common or someone else’s space in this way.

    Having said that, I’d especially like to endorse the idea of a smal vendor space. I’m a startup, we are bootstrapping, and we don’t have a huge amount of cash because it is coming from savings right now. Obviously we hope that will change one way, but a way to engage small and new vendors, kind of like a trade show equivalent of a poster session, could be a real extra win for me.

    In other words: the problem is the current lack of a litter box. Providing one will reduce the aroma and attract a few new ferals. Win win.

    • Let’s call this new vendor area “The Beach” instead of litterbox.

      One risk in introducing a lower-priced sponsor area is that it could cause larger sponsors to cut back on their sponsorship level. It’s a trade-off. At one event I attend, these smaller areas are limited to organizations with less than $2 million of revenue. So something like that would help make a difference that we are trying to help people up (as Tom said in his blog) and not cannibalize existing sponsorship levels.
      Karen Lopez recently posted..Follow Up to State of the Union of Data Modeling 2016–Questions for YouMy Profile

  • Some comic-industry conventions I’ve been to have a method to handle this phenomenon well. San Diego Comic-Con , for example, sets up tables in a common thoroughfare area (the Sails Pavilion) where anyone can drop a small flier, sticker, etc. The tables are monitored and groomed by volunteers to keep things under control. Many people just walk by, but a few interested parties stop, grab something and go on their way.

    I do think the language is too restrictive now. I think your suggestion of small items in a personal setting is a terrific start. (I recall my first PASS event where you handed me a “Love Your Data” ribbon!)

    I’d also like to see some slack granted on how the sessions are handled. I don’t want to attend technical sessions where people are afraid to give out their scripts, demo or otherwise. I’ve learned some brilliant stuff over the years due to these things. That’s one of the main edges that makes a SQL Saturday event so good. No one wants to attend a 60 minute presentation on a vendor’s tool, though, so I think with some rephrasing PASS can get to a reasonable set of guidelines.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I do think the original beef with the rules was that some vendors DO want to talk for an hour about their tools. Whether they are free or not, a vendor product session should be in a vendor-sponsored session. Imagine if Summit allowed anyone to talk about any tool, as long as it was free? I know ALL the vendors I work with have at least one free tool. That would mean that we’d have to free up a whole bunch of community slots to fit in vendor presentations, all for free.

      It’s also my understanding that the specific vendor feels that he deserves to talk about his commercial tool because open source committers have been allowed to talk about their tools. I see this as a completely different thing. I think a Summit, made up of a bunch of vendors talking about free tools won’t sell that well. Even if it’t only half vendor and half community speakers.

      • I think it might be a good idea to clarify in the PASS rules, (because lord knows we need another rule) but to clarify licensing terms. Things that are licensed under MIT, or just flat out free scripts (I have one or two on Github) are fine, if I have to sign up for your newsletter, give a blood sample, or pay you, then they aren’t kosher.

  • Just a quick point about the update..

    About the comment. On a personal Facebook wall, not a vendors page.. It was a public post. And someone made that disgusting comment. Last I had looked it received no likes. And it had at least two Condemnations one from the person whose post he was commenting on. And he had a strong condemnation. One was from me. I am not sure if that person who resorted to that pulled it down, if it was reported or if the owner of the account decided to remove it.

    But I think the strong condemnation once he saw that was perhaps a stronger reply than deleting it. It was as though it were an example of what not to ever do. And what is wrong with the draft. A swirling around on social media.

    And as for the video. It’d hard to say what the tweets were about for sure. Your snark mastery means that you know enough to be ambiguous enough to be able to later claim “oh I was misunderstood” that’s smart. But the time line and context leads me to think there was accuracy. The drama and passive aggressive style of attack is getting tired on social media. Why I’ve blocked a few folks and don’t get out on Twitter too much myself. We all got along brilliantly in 2010-2012 but then feathers get ruffled and factions get formed and you have dumb things to fight over frankly.

    There are real challenges with the PASS rules. I’m confident they can be fixed. And I’m pretty sure that folks could actually get along or be civil if they all tried hard enough. I’ve seen the snark. I’ve seen the high fivey slaps from each angle after burns, usually indirect burns. Heck I’ve even had a passive aggressive barb thrown my way out of the blue by someone I once respected tremendously in the community and the motivation probably wasn’t to be mean. It was to fit in and get a laugh from a clique. The crap is middle school age crap. Doug had enough.

    • HI Mike, i’ve changed to wording on the “vendor’s personal wall” part. My wording wasn’t intended to imply that this happened on their company page. That’s why I used the term “wall”.

      I’m happy that people condemned the language, I’m sad that no one thought that it was odd that someone thinks of women at SQL Saturdays as just interchangeable parts, so that it could be me, or Kendra, Jen or Kalen or just some woman from the street. Bad words are evil, but bad thoughts not so much.

      I’m not with you on leaving up statements like this so that everyone can see the condemnations and lack of likes. But that’s up to the wall owner.

      I’d like you to show me where I’ve said “I was misunderstood”. That’s his method. “it was mistake.” Or the annoying use of smile faces when he says terrible things about others. As if the smiley faces make it all okay. They don’t. They make his attacks more creepy. I’ve told him that. That’s why I was told I was’t ladylike. Oh, that didn’t make it into the video, nor the fact that that tweet (and a slew of others) have been deleted. Casting stones is easy.

      Funny you mention timeline. The tweets displayed had no timelines. Some were old, some were new. Not all were presented in order. They didn’t have to be. It’s their screen play.

      I have not used my focus on behaviours to hide which people did the behaviours. I have done so to focus on the facts that this is what caused the rules to come into play. Not a person, not a company. Acts. Acts that speak louder than words. It’s funny how everyone knew who one of the vendors were in my post, yet not a single person has asked who the other vendors are. That confuses me. Because I’ve tweeted about a lot bad acts. You told me once that it was only right to love the sinner and hate the sin. Well, that’s what I’m doing. Yet somehow, when I espouse that principle, it’s twisted to mean I’m doing something snarky. I’m focusing on the sin. The other team has decided to focus on me. And people are cheering that.

      I’m not part of any faction. That’s clear from the fact that people are gathering around other posts and places to lend support to them. You don’t see that here. I’m in this alone. The other people were just hit by the shit thrown into the fan, which is why I’ve apologized to them. People are supporting me in private, because they fear they will be next. That’s the exact hope for the video. That everyone will be afraid to speak out in public.

      Doug had enough. Even that the majority of the tweets he hand-picked from all my tweets were not about him and not about his company. He also failed to include all the tweets that his boss has sent to me over the years, the giving of the finger blog post, the awful things other employees have said to people in the community. If you want to judge people, you should do that evenly. Everyone should do that evenly. And I’ve seen barbs from you. But that doesn’t get a mention, either.

      What’s really telling is that you didn’t want to talk about this in public on Twitter. But you are happy to talk about it here, on my virtually un-read blog. I’m glad you’ve done so, but the effect of this video has been stifling on people talking about the original issues I blogged about. Its fine if people think that the spraying of materials in the community zone is something they want. They should blog about it, get team unlimited to retweet it, make videos about it, all the things they do. That’s how this is supposed to work. Not for people to say that these ideas are wrong because I’ve consistently called out these bad behaviours since they happened.

      I don’t know what’s going to come next. But the stories are being constructed by one group. It fans out from there
      Karen Lopez recently posted..Slide decks and PASS Summit: About Me SlidesMy Profile

      • Just a couple more thoughts:

        1.) I’ve seen the snarkiness and the passive aggressive comments directed seemingly at no one on your twitter feed. I’ve even seen it on Tom’s feed. I’ve seen it on other feeds also. It stinks. And it’s kept me off of twitter mostly 🙂

        2.) I didn’t discuss this on twitter because it’s hard. I’ve blocked you on twitter and facebook. I felt that some of your responses to me on areas where we had political disagreement led to what I felt like could have been personal attacks on me. I am a reactionary person and I react. I react more to what I perceive as reaction. I didn’t want to play that game anymore. I like you. I like you in person. I like the conversations we have had in the past one on one about technical topics and even the areas between our political or faith disagreements that we actually agree on. But I perceived a passive aggressive personalized tone to some of your stuff. Maybe I’m the paranoid one and Carly Simon really was singing about me, but anyway – I came here not because it was hiding, but because it is easier, and because it is more than 140 characters.

        3.) No you are misspeaking about the condemnation. I know what I Wrote and wish I took a screen shot of my post. And Brent’s post. If I knew that would become a thing I would have. My problem was less about the language – Heck go to twitter and look at the language that is out there every day. My problem was about how he spoke about a person who I still consider a friend, and even if I didn’t I consider a professional in this space. He took it to a base and disgusting word and an extra insulting word. I don’t want to try and read the mind of a troll, it never works out well, but I didn’t see him as saying woman are interchangeable. I think he was more saying “see.. I’m not against women in technology and this isn’t a sexist comment” or maybe he thought Jes and Kendra were still with the company, who knows. But that is a good point if he meant it in the way you are saying. And that is an extra strike against him. Everyone in the SQL community is a unique and interesting person in their own right. Not because of their sex or their race or whatever – but because they have a unique perspective and set of skills.

        4.) As for factions. I don’t know anyway. It feels sometimes like you and Tom are aligned in some snarkiness and a few others. And some sort of read between the lines insults. But maybe that’s all in my head and I’m reading too much 🙂 I don’t know if there are factions per se.

        5.) As for fans. I don’t know about that. Sure there are definitely some fans and groupies of him as there are of others in the community (thankfully I have none, and am quite decidedly unpopular because of my outspoken political leanings and faith 😉 ) I see some wrongs on all sides of the ball here, but I don’t think Doug was trying to paint some false picture here. He was going off of his perception and his feelings based on the way things went down and the pace they did. I am coming at this as someone who cares about all the folks who are squabbling. Not as a fan of any one of them. Can’t speak for everyone though. Don’t know them all 🙂

  • Replying to you, Mike, this way only because of how my theme starts squishing threads.

    Thank you for those thoughts. I think we both discovered that we can’t talk about politics or faith or even bad behaviours over in those worlds because as the elections loomed, I started advocating for the values and morals I believe in. As did you. That’s happened a lot on the Internet over the last to years. None of my political sharing on any social media has been about you, personally. I can promise you that. Most people don’t speak in public about these topics. Both of us do. We are likely stupid, brave or committed. Or all those.

    I don’t recall making comments about you personally since we both seem to have agreed that we can’t chat any longer. It was probably a wise move for both of us. Maybe if MUTE had existed then in my Twitter client, that would have been been what I’d chosen. It wasn’t about not wanting to talk to you, but about not wanting to see the stuff you were posting. And I’m sure it’s the same way with you, since we are so far apart in these areas. I would still like to talk about airline disasters and such, but I’m doubting we can do that until next year, at best.

    I don’t think Doug was trying to paint a false picture, except for all the omissions and the posting of tweets out of their context. We can disagree whether that is a good thing or not.

    As for Tom and I having a “faction” I think that is completely over stating it. Tom and I talk more about PASS things because, well, we both deal with PASS things more often. Denny and Joey and I have more tweets in this area than discussions I’ve I had with Tom. That’s likely due to the fact that Denny and Joey and I don’t have corporate overlords than anything else. They were also included in the video, but most people are ignoring that. Tom and I do share some of the same thoughts about what are bad behaviour and good ones. Denny and Joey and others share those thoughts, as well, I think. They would need to pipe in to confirm.

    It’s clear to me that the video was about me (and I’m certain this isn’t a Carly moment).

    I think Tom, Denny, and Joey were just friendly fire. They should have been left out of the bombing.
    Karen Lopez recently posted..Slide decks and PASS Summit: About Me SlidesMy Profile

    • “We are likely stupid, brave or committed. Or all those”

      For me? All of those. Though maybe less brave, more stupid 🙂

      I truly didn’t see that video as about you – but about a trend and a concern and an exit. But who knows. I’m guessing that Doug will take you up on the invite you mentioned to chat and you guys will chat and be good eventually. Calmer and cooler heads shall prevail.

      And this year? We don’t need to worry about politics, I don’t support any of the ones that have a real chance 🙂 I enjoy talking with you and looking forward to bumping into you at events. 🙂

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