R.I.P - Officer.com
Not mine but a former members opinion that I happen to agree with:
There's a site on the web you've probably never heard of. Called officer.com, it was, until June, 2003, one of the largest and most-respected web resources for law-enforcement officers worldwide. It offered an extensive directory of departments and agencies, manufacturers and vendors, news sites, and more. It also had a forum, where LEO's and civilians could meet and discuss, well, anything. Run by a police officer, it was the most open, free, and largely noncommercial site of it's kind.
All that changed in late June, 2003. A large media conglomerate, Cygnus Business Media, purchased the site for an undisclosed sum. I was a member of the officer.com forum at the time, and read with interest Cygnus' announcement about their purchase. They had grandiose visions - a full-time staff of five, part-time help, the web's only dedicated law-enforcement news team. Oh yeah, and money.
Cygnus paid lip service to the existing members, making wonderful promises about how nothing would be changed, and the site would remain the officer.com we'd all come to know and love. It was just that, though; lip service. They immediately began making changes, including adding a plethora of advertisements to the site.
Many of the members of the site were upset, both by the changes, and the intrusion by the site's new, civilian, administrator into the restricted, law-enforcement-only areas of the site. Others were upset by the promised changes, worrying that it was going to be turned into an ugly, advertising-covered clone of the company's other sites, such as firehouse.com. Some, such as myself, questioned their claimed commitment to the users, when their apparent focus was on advertising, both their own products and others.
Dave Iannone, the representative from Cygnus, lied freely and with abandon, denying the obvious and insulting everyone's intelligence. A number of moderators resigned from the site it protest over the new commercial interests. Their farewell messages were deleted by Cygnus; an enormous number of messages and threads critical, questioning, or otherwise unsupportive of the new ownership were deleted or edited without warning or explanation. When the issue of censorship was raised, Mr. Iannone first replied that he, as administrator, would censor any posts critical of himself, Cygnus, or their advertisers, and went on to suggest that any messages that were not happy and upbeat might also be deleted. Apparently following his own advice a little too well, he later deleted that message, as well.
I was one of those who was openly critical of Cygnus and their commercial interests in officer.com. I posted a message entitled "Some Minor Thoughts on the Nature of Communities". The title was an intentionally belittling attempt at humour; I can't guess how many got, or appreciated it.
This post - a single post, written off the cuff, without revision - had a remarkable effect on the people of officer.com. The lines, by that point, were becoming drawn in an us-versus-them battle between some of the members of the board, who felt that they had been betrayed and violated by the new owners, and the owners, who were intent upon doing as they pleased, no matter what. Many were, at that time, undecided, harboring a "wait and see" attitude. By posting this article, I had very clearly thrown in my lot with the officers who were against Cygnus. It also polarised the undecided community, with the majority of them deciding against Cygnus.
In the hours, days, and weeks after posting the message - which is reproduced below, in it's entirety - it was emailed, copied, read, and posted to and by dozens, if not hundreds, of others. I'm told it was, itself, a topic of conversation on several other law-enforcement boards. It was, in it's own special way, the most influential piece of writing I've ever produced, websites, stories, and articles included. (http://www.buggrit.com/officer.html)
A website for police wannabees run by civilians! Guess how long it will last over there (http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...343#post593343)
Sounds like an excellent recruiting opportunity :D
I’m sure that got some shorts in a wad. I departed O.com for many of the same reasons. One experience I had was writing a fictional satire about a motorcycle chase where the biker crashed & we have some beers after work & discussed the incident. I've heard rumors this is not an uncommon practice in real life.
The post I wrote was fiction & in response to numerous stunt bikers had invaded O.com taunting the sworn officers. After weeks of inaction by O.com, I decided to give the bikers a dose of their own medicine.
The story was sent to several online biker mags. It was viewed over 20,000 times. I got threatening email form all over the world including one from a chief of police in Texas. I got zero support from O.com. Rather than give people the big picture, they threw me under the bus.
We found out several things. Management there does not back the cops even when they are right. Bikers can dish it out but can’t take it.
Management are civilians and theres no verification at all. Look at the username I have now, verified (as best as anyone) but I couldn't even spell my rank or nation properly and too add to this, not a single proclaimed Irishman pulled me on it.
wannabees the bloody lot of em.
That site is one I never bothered with, anyway.