Thursday, December 4, 2014

Goodbye Bikpacking.net

I actually wrote and posted this briefly last winter, but removed it after I thought that it had served its purpose. But people keep asking why I left bikepacking.net, so here it is again.

From the archives:

As many people know, I've been an active member of bikepacking.net for a number of years. Most of my posts have been about the Colorado Trail Race, GPS devices, adventure, safety, etc. It has been a fun and rewarding place to learn about, and share, the practical and passionate aspects of bikepacking and ultra-racing.

But I've also been a vocal and tenacious advocate of the "Do. It. Yourself." ethos and rules of ultra-racing, which has often put me in opposition to those don't share my perspective on the sport.

While I've received a lot of  support and encouragement for beating the self-supported drum, I've also received a lot of very pointed, angry, and downright aggressive personal attacks. These attacks sometimes result in "piling on" by those who relish reducing nuanced discussions to bar brawls and shouting matches. Some people simply aren't able to discuss complicated issues without lashing out. I never would have guessed anyone in the the bikepacking community carried so much hate in their hearts.

I've had enough.

Last week, I asked Scott Morris to delete my bikepacking.net account and remove my name from the system.

Scott and Eszter asked me to reconsider my decision, which was thoughtful and kind. But I'm done. The truth is that the lack moderation of the forums enabled the types of personal attacks that succeeded in driving me away from the site. There's no room for rational discussions when "fuck you" becomes an acceptable response to an idea. The anonymity of the Internet erodes personal accountability, which ultimately spills into the real world if left unchecked.

I'm not entirely happy with my decision. Actually, I'm really bummed. I feel like I've let the bullies win. But when the vitriol of the virtual world seeps into the real world, things get ugly. I've got other passions in life that matter more to me than those on bikepacking.net. I'd rather simply "Do. It. Myself." than absorb/deflect any more anger and hate. Which is why I'm "Done."

Cheers,
Toby