This guy who lives up in West Blocton, AL has become a regular “one-man fan club.” We know who he is. If you are interested in more of the bizarre “back story,” read on.
He has already gotten an early start stalking this website this Saturday morning. We have to give him credit for being very dedicated to what he’s doing. In fact, we’re counting on it (for reasons we won’t go into here)…
He’s the president of a certain hobby-related organization in Alabama and he personally disliked the efforts of a few Amateur Radio folks in Alabama to try and bring a certain hobby-related service up to modern standards in response to the complaints and requests of hams from throughout our state. He most definitely didn’t like a certain motion I made at a meeting a few months back. Finding himself unable to positively advocate for his position against my motion and to describe the benefits of voting against my motion to be greater than the benefits of voting to pass it, he simply abused the position of chair of the meeting (describing it as “his” meeting) and informed the members he was not going to allow the membership to vote on it because he saw there would be enough votes for it to pass. Nice parliamentary procedure and interest in what the majority of members wanted, huh? Of course what scared him so was the fact he asked for a non-binding show of support for the motion by raised hands and he saw that there were more people there to support my motion than there were ready to vote against it.
We have a full length recording of the meeting which proves all of that — and soooooo much more interesting stuff, including proof that he was posting lies on the Facebook page of a group down in Florida as soon as the next morning. I am still considering posting that recording in its entirety so you can all listen for yourselves. It has great entertainment value on one hand; however, it was also proof to hobbyists all over the state of Alabama that the organization no longer cares about listening to their voices or honoring the majority of its members wishes.
He (with the unwitting support of their board members) went so far as to immediately start “banning” people who had raised their hands to show support of the motion that day, and updated their bylaws so that their dues paying general membership no longer has voting rights, can’t make motions, and any officer, director, or member can have their membership revoked for even suggesting that the organization recognize, adhere to, or adopt the rules, regulations, policies, etc. of any other organization. The way it is written, if a member were to so much as say or suggest that the organization should do (or not do) such-and-such in order to comply with FCC rules and regulations, Federal, state, or local laws, etc., it’s grounds for being cast out of their kingdom and into the wilderness.
One has to wonder: why would anyone even bother paying dues money to an organization if they have no voting rights and no rights to make motions in meetings? So what is that dues money being used for? Is it being used by chance to provide expenses-paid trips to hobby-related events for one or more officers? Being spent on attorney’s fees in order to carry out the vindictive wishes of one officer and try to keep them out of hot water should something such as misconduct by that officer ever place them in a precarious legal situation? Who knows. A thorough external, independent audit of their books would probably be needed to answer those questions, and perhaps other questions which might be raised at a future time and date.
He also set off on a campaign of harassing emails to people including some sent to the executive officers of another organization which his organization needed to maintain a professional working relationship with (some of those emails were immediately passed along to me and others and well documented.) Unfortunately for his organization, those emails resulted in serious damage to the working relationship with that organization, leading — as we have been told — to the rescinding of a memorandum of understanding between that organization and his (we might as well call it “his,” since he insists it is.) That rescinding of the MOU only makes it more difficult for his organization to carry out one of its main functions. Major faux pas there, for sure. And a general black eye for his organization and the hobby/community one would think he would make every effort to be a positive ambassador and representative of, which he has made pretty clear is nowhere near the top of his busy agenda — if it’s even on the list at all.
Side note/related question: are the people involved in that hobby in Alabama simply stuck with less than what they deserve in terms of timely, professional service, advocacy, and continuous quality improvement where those services are concerned?
Have no fear. A group of genuinely concerned fellow hobbyists in Alabama decided “enough is enough” and formed a new, better organization and have since been working very hard to make sure that the organization serves the community’s needs and wishes and does so in much more modern, timely, effective, and efficient ways. Although it does take a bit of work to put something like that together and keep it operating smoothly, for the benefit of the hobbyists all over the state (and outside Alabama as well), it is worth every bit of the effort that all of these folks are putting into it.
Related more directly to the main topic of our discussion of today: this website you are viewing now and the new organization’s website (and other websites) are SOARING in popularity (and in search rankings). This guy up in West Blocton, AL has really pitched-in to help make that happen. The search engines see the traffic to the website, and the huge number of return visits by this guy just adds to the numbers, being interpreted by the search engine algorithms as “visitor loyalty.” That is until he restarts his personal computer/device or it reconnects to his cell network’s internet service, which has another positive effect on the search engine rankings of this and a few other websites.
Since he’s’ using a device which has a dynamic IP, each time he restarts it or moves around and it has to reconnect to the cell network/ISP, it gets assigned a new IP address. When he goes to the site again, it appears to the search engine algorithms as yet another new visitor. So the search engine ranking systems also see that there are are these new visitors hitting the site in addition to all those loyal returning visitors, which they view as meaning the site has widespread (and rapidly growing) popularity.
He even takes time out of his busy workday to frequently visit from the school where he works.
I’ll bet this website loads SUPER FAST when he’s using the resources of the Bibb County School District, including their ultra-high speed, fiber optic internet service, which is operated by the Alabama Supercomputer Authority…
Here’s how we know it’s from the Bibb County School District’s service and the ASA Network IP assigned to the school. Geolocation…
Looking at it with another IP geolocator, complete with mapping…
Surely he’s only using the site for positive, educational purposes (in which case, we’ll take that as a compliment, thank you.)
Part of the reason we (and others) are at least hoping he’s using it for purely educational/academic purposes is the following, excerpted from the ASA’s policies, regarding acceptable use of their services…
One would think that with all the time he spends stalking this website, he wouldn’t have time to do much else. But rest assured, he’s very dedicated to what he’s up to.
In fact, here’s a log (as of last evening, March 23, 2018) showing his latest visits to the www.afcras.org website from the Bibb County School District’s computing resources and ASA IP address…
Along with his visits to the PERSONAL WEBSITE of one of the AFCRAS from/using Bibb County School District and ASA Network resources (and possibly using work hours, i.e. “taxpayer money”) to do so…
Perhaps he’s studying to try to improve his leadership and organizational skills or teaching a class on the subject, as that particular AFCRAS member happens to have worked as a consultant on those topics in the past. If he persists in his misconduct, he could possibly end up learning some very valuable (if not costly) lessons of some sort.
Or, perhaps he’s teaching classes in electronic repair? That might explain the visits from the school’s and the ASA Network’s resources to a business site operated by one of the AFCRAS members, although we sort of doubt the school teaches classes on the repair of communications duplexers and filter equipment…
One would think all of this hard work shown above would leave him with time for little else, but this guy is super devoted to whatever the task is he’s working so diligently on. He spends just as much time stalking pages on social media doing creative (if not self-destructive) things which have been brought to the attention of the administrative folks on one or more social media sites. In fact, he has earned the distinction of (to date) being the only person who is banned from a certain club’s Facebook page. Well, the only PERSONS (note the “S” — as in plural) one might say, since there’s also the fake ID he created and later tried to change the name on in an attempt to disguise it, but wasn’t quite intelligent enough to realize that the original name of “ashton.belcher” under which the fake account was created would still have that name attached to it and show up even after he tried to change the profile name on the account to “Wayne Price.” We wonder how much Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, an ARRL officer, along with Frank Butler, a ham down in Florida appreciate him using a photo of them on his fake Facebook profile which he has repeatedly used to post harassing comments on various club, organization, and business pages/groups all over Facebook? There’s neither an Ashton Belcher nor a Wayne Price to be found in the photo. Perhaps this guy isn’t quite as smart (or covert) as he fancies himself as being? The web and social media do not provide the level of separation, anonymity, or deniability that some folks naively assume to exist and bank on when engaging in childish and potentially illegal conduct which could result in dire consequences. He will probably try to go and delete that Ashton Belcher/Wayne Price account after he sees this post, but it’s a bit late for that. The folks who need to know about it and are in a position to monitor and take action on it already know about it and they have seen it. One of the interesting things about the internet, emails, social media sites, etc. is the fact that “once it’s out there, it’s out there.” Unless you can somehow physically go and pull out and destroy the servers and storage arrays of all the ISP’s, service providers, hosting services, social media providers, etc., they have the whole trail of breadcrumbs, posts, emails, etc. Those have ways of popping up in the future in ways which aren’t always so pleasant. Subpoenas, inquiries by employers, etc. are just a couple of examples.
Lots of people (both inside and outside the organizations, websites, social media services, and with entities of — oh, perhaps “a law enforcement nature” shall we say) are quite aware of what he is doing. But as stated above, he surely has logical and reasonable explanations for all of this and more, right? Otherwise he would have no doubt seen the error of his ways, stopped, and taken steps to correct those situations as any reasonable, prudent, self-respecting, intelligent individual would do.
Oh, there is also a little matter of a web domain which was registered and is being reviewed in terms of its potential under Federal, state, and local laws to represent:
- Copyright infringement
- Cyber harassment
I referred to that web domain misuse as “a little matter” very loosely, here, as the consequences for some of those crimes (if the activity is ruled as such) can be up to 5 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.
He must be doing all of this on a purely personal basis, as no wise board member of a volunteer, non-profit organization in his right mind would want to be exposed to — much less face the consequences of — the vicarious liability which allowing an officer of their organization to persist in such misconduct could bring raining down upon him/her, or with the potential for tremendous criminal and/or civil legal liability for the organization they represent. If, instead, he is doing all of that on behalf of the organization he is president of, then the board members of that organization must be totally unaware of the fact he’s doing so, as it would be patently foolish of them to allow it to continue if there were any possible evidence to be found that they were indeed made aware of it but took no action to address and correct it, as that would put the nails in the liability coffin for the board and every member thereof, eliminating “plausible deniability” and placing them all in a dire situation.
Anyway, we suppose we should all thank him for the meteoric rise in search engine rankings he’s such a great contributor to. Let’s all just hope he’s not doing anything which might be deemed “detrimental to the [organization he’s currently president of]” or “detrimental to [the community of hobbyists that organization purports to be of service to]” as their bylaws state that would be cause for removal both from office and from membership.
A respected friend (and client) of mine recently said “It’s a hobby, folks” [emphasis mine]. I totally agree with him. But what should be a hobby supported in good fellowship could quite easily and up having profound, long lasting effects on a career, finances, and personal life if it becomes the vehicle by which a person starts engaging in activities which could be perceived by law enforcement and the courts as illegal, threatening, or damaging to other people who are merely trying to enjoy the hobby and support fellow participants in the hobby.
Still, if any of you are victims of misconduct on his part which you suspect might constitute email harassment, cyber-harassment, or other potentially illegal internet-based activity (or from anyone else), there is an easy and convenient way to deal with it. Just go to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) website where you can easily file a quick report. We’ve found them to be very nice, professional, courteous, helpful people.
So, time for the rest of us to shift our attention back to the positive, exciting aspects of amateur/ham radio!
I hope I’ve shown more than patience and a cool head, having given this person more than four months to gather his wits and cease in this ludicrous activity. If he can’t do so in that much time, that’s a good indication that he is incapable of doing so at all; therefore, matters have been directed by myself (and others) to the attention of those with even more inclination (and job responsibilities) to deal with these matters.
Let the website rankings for the business, personal site, organization sites, etc. just keep climbing. It’s a pretty reasonable bet that if/when he sees this post, he’ll start visiting even more often. We’d all actually prefer he wise up, start doing the right things for a change, and then go back to being a ham instead of acting so foolishly. That would be of as much benefit in the short and long haul to him as it would to anyone else. Are those of us with a direct interest in all this really naive enough to expect that to happen? Not in a million years.
All of that said, I’m turning this discussion off in my mind and resuming work on a great friend’s repeater. I much prefer to spend my time enjoying the hobby and helping make it an increasingly more enjoyable experience for as many other people as possible. We’ll leave this guy up in West Blocton to his bidding. Especially since he’s doing such a good job of proving he’s the best and most dedicated guy in the state when it comes to embarrassing the Alabama amateur radio community as a whole.
73 everyone, and have a safe and wonderful weekend!