04-23-2009, 12:00 AM #1
To those who wish to vilify the Melanie Rieger Conference a message from Marc Klaas
I received a call from Marc Klaas today. It seems members of Websleuths have been sending some angry emails to a wonderful organization based on what Marc said on Nancy the other night. I asked Marc to put his concerns in writing for me to post. Below is from Marc to us.
The other night you apparently heard, or somebody told you about, comments that I made on the Nancy Grace Show about George and Cindy Anthony’s scheduled appearance at the upcoming Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Conference. From those comments much has been imagined, speculated upon, and regurgitated in unfortunate ways. I would like to provide some context in hopes that you will modify your opinion and re-direct your anger.
Melanie Ilene Rieger, a college student, was murdered by her boyfriend on May 24, 1994. The conference was established by her parents Sam and Wanda, in her memory with the hope that others would avoid such tragedy. This year will mark my eleventh appearance at the conference. Not only am I honored and humbled by each and every invitation, but I consider my attendance as one of the high points of my year.
You see, the Melanie Rieger Conference is a serious forum that gathers amazing people with diverse perspectives about violent crime. Victims, service providers, law enforcement representatives, politicians and other advocates gather to find commonality, to discuss issues and to provide solutions to the myriad problems faced by crime victims. Over the course of my attendance I have met a diverse population of individuals who have educated and enlightened me, who have contributed to the body of literature and understanding, and have eased the burden of victimization. To malign these people and this conference based upon a few words or a single reference is unfair.
Anyone who has ever attended the Melanie Rieger Conference understands that it is a respectful forum that refuses to promote itself in an undignified way. The first mention that George and Cindy Anthony had been invited to attend was when I mentioned that fact on the Nancy Grace Show on April 20. Therefore, it is disingenuous to suggest that they are appearing as a way to drum up publicity for the conference. Anyone who would do so speaks from a lack of knowledge.
No single individual establishes the agenda or the guest list for the Melanie Rieger Conference, nor are these considerations made in a vacuum. The Conference Committee invites individual presenters months in advance, without foreknowledge of how events will affect those choices. Everyone invited to present at the Melanie Rieger Conference is considered carefully and chosen because they are either a member of the victim’s community or they are in a position to impact the community of victims. They are not chosen based on popularity or their contribution to pop culture.
I have known Sam and Wanda Rieger for more than a decade. They founded the Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Conference as a way to give meaning to their daughter’s murder. They are two of the finest people that I have ever met and two of the most steadfast and dedicated victim’s advocates in the United States.
What bothers me is it seems some members took it upon themselves to use Websleuths to organize an actual email campaign against Sam and Wanda Rieger.
First, any email campaign, any petition, any sort of organized anything, has to be approved by me. That has always been a hard and fast rule here.
Of course what you do off the forum is none of my business but when an organization like the Melanie Rieger Conference receives emails from people saying they are from Websleuths then it becomes my business.
If the people who did this would have followed the rules and contacted me we could have avoided this embarrassing situation.
This is a totally different situation that Oprah. Even so, when someone posted about an "email campaign" Jbean pulled that thread until I approved it. I made the mistake of not posting a reminder about organizing email campaigns.
Websleuths is a very different forum in that it is privately owned by one person. I take a very active role in setting the rules for Websleuths. I am blessed with a great team of moderators who share my goals and make sure the forum runs smoothly.
I will be sending a letter to everyone involved in the Melanie Rieger Conference explaining that this was not endorsed by Websleuths in any way.
I don't know how many people were involved in this but apparently it was enough people from Websleuths writing some very angry and unfair emails to prompt Marc to contact me.
What I have found is Websleuths is a very respected forum. That has everything to do with you as the poster. With posters like you who post within reason and without name calling. When something like this happens it hurts all of us.
I'll leave the thread open if anyone has any questions or would like to comment.
04-23-2009, 12:09 AM #2
Thank you for posting this message from Marc Klaas. He is one of the most upstanding guys for child advocacy. I hope the Melanie Rieger Conference is a huge success!
God bless Marc Klass and the Rieger family."Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!" MLK, Jr.
04-23-2009, 12:17 AM #3
I just want to say that I didn't email anyone, but that I feel really bad for Marc, Sam, and Wanda.
Just a side note, I don't think the Anthony's will get a warm reception at the convention anyway. IMO it is too soon for them to be talking about a crime that they are not willing to admit the truth about. (again jmho)
04-23-2009, 12:27 AM #4
Wasn't me either. I don't write fancy nuff to email peeps. Sorry it happened tho.GA: "...I mean I’m not a stupid guy...”
Det. Hussey: “I think you’re, I think you’re a guy that knows a lot about a lot of things, George.”
(LE interview 8-4-08)
"THE MAN OF THE HOUR"
4/2/09 Jose B.
"I'm Sorry??? What Law School did you go to Kathy???"
04-23-2009, 12:28 AM #5
Wow, Tricia! I am so sorry that you have to deal with that! I hope no one will think less of us for what has happened. Though I was not one of the ones sending the angry e-mails, I feel that I should apologize to you just for the fact that you have been put in a situation that you shouldn't be. I, for one, love it here at WS, and feel like it is a community of friends that I can come to to discuss something that is a passion of mine, as well as relax and swap stories with people. You and the mods do such a great job keeping this forum clean and professional that it is a shame that anything anyone here has done has added to your workload, and possibly caused you some embarrassment. I hope that this is something that can be resolved without blemishing the reputation of a fine forum such as Websleuths.
It Was Ancient Aliens!
04-23-2009, 12:34 AM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2008
- Roseburg, OR
And that is why I love this place, even though I do not post very often. I read almost everything. And I love the way it is taken care of and moderated. Again thank you
04-23-2009, 12:38 AM #7
Marc Klaas is so highly respected in this forum that it really saddens me that we have put him in an uncomfortable situation in any way. I wasn't aware that anyone was angered about the conference; I thought the anger stemmed from the fact that George and Cynthia Anthony were keynote speakers. I researched and came to the conclusion that this was a conference for professionals, victims and their survivors to enable them to cope with tragedy and make a significant difference in resolving this social ill. It was my impression that WS was pointing out that the Anthony family is not in a place, right now, to be helpful in this endeavor ~ especially as keynote speakers!
I'm sorry if there were some from here who misrepresented us. You have made it clear that if we use this forum to drum up any invitation to express ourselves, we should not intimate that we are representing the WS forum.
I'm sad that, as a whole, we disappointed you and Marc because I so appreciate that I can come here and find a link to have my opinion make a difference.The heart of the pure can see, but my eyes have never seen the unicorn . . .
04-23-2009, 12:47 AM #8
Oh Tricia, I'm so sorry that this has happened...I mean if it's not one thing it's another for you. I didn't even know there was a letter writing campaign and would not have participated had I known about it. I did encourage posts on the CBS Early Show blog but that's it. How embarrassing this must be for you...my heart hurts for you and for the possible damage done to our wonderful WS community. It's really a shame that everything the A's touch turns ugly, especially such a wonderful organization as the Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Conference. Sad, just so sad ((((((Tricia)))))
04-23-2009, 12:48 AM #9
I'm very sorry that so many are upset over what may be a few misunderstandings rather than intentional abuse. For example, I didn't hear about the conference from PollyDad/Mr. Klaas but from a different source. They may have gotten their info from him, I can't be sure but I'm pretty sure I heard it on the 20th and then heard him mention it on NG sometime after 8 pm on the 21st. So, perhaps there wasn't as much cause generated by PollyDad's remarks as he may feel.
Perhaps most importantly, I've skimmed many of the posts in the thread here related to the conference. It didn't seem anyone meant to vilify the conference from what I saw, merely the Anthony family for appearing there and the perceived detriment their appearance may bring to what appears from all accounts to be a very credible, worthwhile and scrupulous organization.
As for this forum, even though I've been a member for less than a year and sometimes go several days without finding time to check in, much less post anything, even I know it's not allowed to claim to represent all of Websleuths when it's not authorized by Websleuths. Where this misunderstanding may come in is that perhaps some members may suggest to others to read here to find out the truth of whatever matter is being discussed. It would be much simpler and cover much more information to just include a link to the appropriate threads here rather than spend the time trying to explain months or years worth of research in one email. Perhaps to some members that isn't the same as claiming to speak for Websleuths. It may help to slow down this practice a bit if this particular rule is clarified so that all will be aware that linking to Websleuths or even referring to Websleuths as a source of information is the equivalent of speaking for Websleuths without authorization.
Finally, while I regret any hurt or inconvenience to the Reigers, their family, PollysDad, Tricia, the moderators and this forum in general, I am very pleased that people speak up and wish they'd do it more often and also on topics other than the Anthony family. (I hope they're all registered to vote, too!) Perhaps their points would be more effectively made without vilifying anyone but instead simply and clearly sharing their point of view in a civilized way. Isn't that what folks do here all day long?Opinion above.
Casey's attorney said it's not in her best interest to tell what she knows about where Caylee is. "It does her no good to show her cards to give the prosecution any advantage they have to put her away for life," Baez said.
How's that workin' for ya'?
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WARNING! EXTRA SPECIAL GRIEF CAUSES IRRITATION
04-23-2009, 12:49 AM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
As a disclaimer, I will say that I was not one of the letter writers, but I do read here almost every day. Actually..it's probably more like almost every hour.
First, Tricia- I understand and appreciate what you are trying to say, but do you have proof that anyone actually said they were speaking on behalf of Websleuths? This is an open forum, that anyone (even nonmembers) can access. How do you know that either MK or the Organizers didn't just read here and see the discussions about the conference? Are you sure people actually wrote to them stating that "I am a spokesperson for Websleuths, and we are organizing an email campaign"? That seems highly unlikely to me.
Secondly, I understand that you don't want your site's name being used in these campaigns. However, if you open up the site for public membership and allow these discussions and contact postings to take place, then it's a natural consequence that the site's name is going to come up in any emails subsequently sent as a result of that posted contact info.
For example..."To whom it may concern, I got this email address from websleuths... I am writing because..."
Also, technically, although you privately own websleuths, you do allow membership and public postings. Therefore, when someone is a member, they have a user name, and they have posted approved public messages on a moderated site that have not been deleted or altered, then they are a legitimate member of the community. When you provide the infrastructure, and display their messages publicly, you are affirming their membership and message in your community. It seems unreasonable to ask them to disavow that membership when they speak on the same topic using the same words elsewhere.
Ultimately, I think you are either going to have to ammend your policy to say that NO external contact postings are allowed, or else just accept the fact that the websleuths name is going to be used in those emails. After all, it's the truth isn't it? Would those emails have been sent had this discussion board not existed? In essence, doesn't that mean this discussion board did in fact support the email campaign?
Please don't take this the wrong way. I am not trying to be combative or argumentative. I simply see this as a problem that is never going to go away for you. I personally have NO problem with your stance on the matter, and I promise never to use the Websleuths name myself... I just see a lot of grief and a lot more of these same postings from you in the future unless some policy changes take place.
04-23-2009, 12:50 AM #11
Look, you are are hands down the best posters on the Internet. Nothing changes this. I think you are all pretty darn wonderful.
We have to be careful in the future. Again, what you all do is your business but please do not use the Websleuths name without permission.
Also, this is a very good lesson about jumping to conclusions. This conference is not about getting ratings. it is about helping and understanding all victims of crime, including the Anthony's.
The Rieger Conference is a totally different situation from Oprah. Again, it is a lesson learned. Before we get angry about the Anthony's we need to step back and look at the entire situation.
04-23-2009, 12:56 AM #12
There was a post this morning about organizing an email campaign of this nature. It was removed.
Yes, people can say they are from WS and not be. I deal with this all the time.
But the facts are there was a group of people on WS who wanted to stop the Anthony's from appearing at the conference.
I am not going to ask to read all the emails and do a big investigation. I feel very confidant that people from WS were angry enough about the Anthony's appearing at this conference that they wrote the Rieger's without knowing the facts of the actual event.
Again, it's totally your business if you write to anyone about anything but when WS is pulled into it becomes my business.
I did point out to Marc that there are other more volatile forums that don't mince words and that we can't assume that all the emails were from WS. He agreed with me wholeheartedly.
Hopefully, those that wrote angry emails and were not from WS will see Marc's letter and realize that they are off base.
04-23-2009, 01:00 AM #13
04-23-2009, 01:01 AM #14
My only concern would be, watching blogs outside of WS there are many who are jealous and like nothing better than to cause grief and mischief for WS. I would be concerned that others can easily mis-represent and claim the WS name to implicate this forum in their mischief. I personally did not contact the foundation but this may not be strictly limited to WS'ers but also mischief makers. BAU on the Internet. IMHO.Disclaimer: All posts are my own humble opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
Justice for Caylee
04-23-2009, 01:07 AM #15
I didn't know anything about the matter, let alone get involved in any email campaign, but I was 'talking' with someone from another site, who was under the impression that websleuths was on some sort of campaign about the whole thing, asked around... apparently (quoting my friend who may or may not be correct, I simply don't know) it seems some people who DO NOT belong to this site sent emails, and they used Websleuths name, to make themselves sound more important than might actually be warranted .. or something to that effect.
I have been steering clear of the whole Casey Anthony situation lately, (due to my personal anti-capital punishment stance), but thought I should stop by here and say what little I know about this issue.
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