Answer Me This
Don D 9,834 Posts
Maybe this question won't be answered; but, it'll be asked. I'm getting lots of private mails from participants who suggest the Forum has been redirected, that MLee Smith has sold out, that Margaret and some others are gone, that new people are in key leadership positions here, that there are no attorneys involved in the posting fraternity any longer, and that more is being changed here than just the store-front appearance of the Forum. Is any of this true? Is all of this false? If the answer to these questions, respectively, is other than NO and YES, please elaborate. We deserve answers.
I live here in Middle TN and tried to call M Lee Smith in Brentwood today to ask some of the questions you posed. I could never get a "live" person on the phone. Every time I thought I was pushing the right button to get someone, I was taken to another menu. I'll try again tomorrow.
I talked to customer service about this, and we're not sure why you're not getting through. We have a lot of phone numbers - try 373-7517 or (800) 274-6774. From 8 to 5 Central Time, those numbers are answered by a real live person, usually Denise, who's a real nice person and a pretty good pool player, too.
Ask for me if you want, although I'm leaving early today (been a long week).
Editor, Mississippi Employment Law Letter
Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis, P.A.
Someone called my voice mail to tell me that Don D have invoked my name in some form or fashion. I read this post and the other huge one about format changes. While I don't work for M. Lee Smith, I know lots of the people there. Lee Smith is still there, vey much running the place and alive and well. I just saw him at the conference in Las Vegas.
I know the people that work constantly to keep this site up and running for us. They really care and want to make it as useful as possible for us. I think we need to give them a break and simply help them de-bug the new format, e-mailing them (or posting) problems as we experience them.
This is not the first time we've had a change to the format. Each time it gets better and more useful once things settle down. I also think that we need to remember that they provide this as a service to us and don't have to do it. Can we tread a little more softly because I've learned a lot, gotten lots of help and made lots of friends? I don't want to become such a pain that the people at M. Lee Smith become sorry they ever hosted this website for us.
I'll try to catch up with every thing on The Forum next week. I'm sorry I've not been as faithful as I have in the past, but I still want to participate!
Have a good weekend all of you. I think you've earned an extra margarita, for sure. Don D, that goes double for you...and you'd better lay off the raw meat!!
I don't think the Forum has been redirected. Honestly, we weren't trying to alter the Forum in any way except as part of the overall redesign of the site. As James said elsewhere, all of the changes were unintentional side effects of intentional changes to non-Forum pieces of HRhero.com.
There's only one change in a key leadership position: Dan Oswald has come on board as president. He hasn't been here long enough to make any changes. In fact, his first full day was Wednesday. I've known Dan in the industry for several years, and I have a high degree of confidence that changes that come about as a result of his arrival here will make our products more valuable to our subscribers and other customers.
Margaret Morford is still around; her business relationship with our company has changed, but that happened quite a while ago. She's involved with the Forum because she's good at this stuff, enjoys contributing, and hopes she may get some consulting business out of it.
Several of our attorney editors continue to be involved. Peyton Irby in Mississippi jumped on this one, for instance. They tend to jump in on questions of a specifically legal nature, particularly if the question involves state law and is asked by a person from their state. Some of them can't participate fully because of the strictures of legal ethics rules in their states.
The only personnel change I can think of that's had much of an effect on the Forum was James's arrival in Christy Reeder's position as web editor. They are both immensely talented people, but they are different people. In addition, you may have recently seen the names of some of our staffers who have always worked on our web products but with the asbestos shield of anonymity. Chastened by their reception, they have now retreated to lick their wounds.
The only major, substantive change that is under consideration - and has been since our earlier airing of the pro's and con's on the Forum - is the idea of limiting Forum participation to newsletter subscribers. I just bring it up because I don't want you conspiracy-minded types to think that such a decision, if it comes, was driven in any way by recent unpleasantness.
If any of you have further concerns about any of this, feel free to email me or James.
Director of Publishing
M. Lee Smith Publishers
For those that have retreated, licking their wounds, --Welcome to the forum. The forum learning curve can be a bit steep at times, but taking the lessons personally and not returning to the fray is not what is intended by most of the posters, except maybe the Forum Mafia, why else would they use a name with those connotations?
The forum tends to have it's own brand of "natural selection." If you allow yourself to be selected out, then your brand of intellect, wit, information and perspective will not benefit the forum users or yourself. Don't allow yourself to become an 'extinct species' - contribute.
Looks like a couple of posts squeezed in between Brads and my posts, perhaps that created the confusion? Or perhaps it is my writing style?
Either way, sorry for the confusion.
James and Brad, you've allayed many of our concerns. And I do understand the bugs that come from a major technological overhaul of a website as large as this. Why, though, was some foresight not given to what these changes would do to the Forum, where, I daresay, 90 percent of the participants are subscribers? All the pretty colors and graphics in the world aren't going to be appreciated if it takes even a few secondss more to download a thread - and right now it's taking more than that. I'm alright at work - but at home I'm on the old fashioned phone line. I won't dare try to sign into the forum this weekend - I'd time out before log in would even complete. While some of the comments may have seemed a little rough, it's criticism out of frustration. We had a tool that worked great, and, as I'm sure you're tired of reading, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Anyway, y'all have a great weekend and hopefully we'll come back on Monday to no more big blue boxes on the side!
I continue to participate in The Forum because I learn something new all the time as well as meet other HR people on-line. I recommend The Forum as a wonderful learning tool to all the HR groups I speak in front of. (I hope some of our new members came from those recommendations and find it to be alot of help to them.) I answer questions and offer help because I believe it's what good HR people do. I got help when I started in HR and I believe we owe it to our profession to help others learn and grow. I think I've gotten a few inquiries about the services of theHRedge, Inc. from my answers (no business that I'm aware of), but after almost 2 1/2 years of answering questions, I'm definitely not doing this to drum up business! There are much better, more cost effective ways to market the business. I participate just like everyone of you, who make time to help your fellow professionals.
Hope that's a clear explanation.
I think we, all of us, have every right to voice our concerns about the redesign in whatever manner we choose, unencumbered by the thoughts others have about how we might have voiced it differently, or more gently. If hides are too thin for the constructive criticism and screaming protestations, they can either retreat to lick their wounds or kill our passwords. After all, they obviously control the buttons.
I've gotta get coffee. I hear the rooster crowing.
Just some gentle teasing intended.
Sorry Beag, I was just getting mystical again... or is that mythical?