[volunteers] Looks like sbay.org has quietly evaporated (?)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Nov 18 18:47:30 PST 2015

Quoting Jesse Monroy (jesse650 at gmail.com):

> Might I ask, is this organization in any way related to
> (unamed) former officers of SVLUG - who during their
> tenure stated that *liability insurance* was a necessity,
> but in fact is not.

You're thinking of the right group, yes -- but the claim about 'former
officers' is perhaps misaimed (depending in part on what 'officer' means).

The term 'officer' used to arouse some confusion within SVLUG.  From
1988 to 1997, one person met that description, Dan Kionka, President.

Around the end of that period, SVLUG became a lot bigger and more
active, with self-selected volunteers running a majordomo (later,
Mailman) mailing list and Web site.  Some started calling these
self-activated volunteers 'officers' or 'appointed officers'.

Dan stepped aside at the end of 1997 in favour of Ben Spade and Chris di
Bona, and the office of Vice-President was conjured up out of thin air
so that both of them could have titles, and someone decided to start
periodically re-anointing these two posts' occupants with elections,
sometimes Web-CGI-driven, sometimes in person.  Term of office wobbled
between 2-year and 1-year.  The number of other volunteers (also
'officers' to some) went up and down.

Don Marti and Marc Merlin stepped down and walked away at the end of
2004, and there was something of an interregnum, in that their eventual
elected replacements, J. Paul Reed and Bill Ward, seem to have not
talked to their predecessors much at all, and ended up rather at odds
with many of the ongoing non-President, non-VP 'officers'/volunteers.
For example, without discussion, they decided that SVLUG's Officers
Mailman mailing list should immediately eject everyone currently a
volunteer except themselves on grounds of them being the only
'officers'.  This had the immediate effect of killing that mailing list,
and it's been dead from ~2004 to the present.

VP Bill Ward happens to have been (IIRC) VP of Sbay at the time, as
SVLUG Web Team volunteer Heather Stern was also later.  Sbay President 
Ian Kluft was also an SVLUG Web Team member and occasional presenter at
SVLUG meetings.

This was the period, in 2004, when someone suddenly claimed SVLUG's 
corporate parent, Silicon Valley Computer Society, had ceased to exist.
This was deemed -- in error -- to be a crisis, and Sbay offered SVLUG
shelter under its corporate liability umbrella (that didn't exist) and
coverage by its upcoming liability insurance (that never came about).
SVLUG members voted at a monthly meeting to accept this offer.  

I was not present (wasn't involved in SVLUG that year), or I would have
pointed out multiple errors.  1. SVCS was just fine; the claim was in
error.  2. A corporate liability shield doesn't mean what everyone
seemed to think it does.[1]  3. General liability insurance of the sort
discussed is far too expensive for a small non-profit, and in any event
would cover only specific specified corporate officials performing
official actions detailed in the insurance policy.  I might have even 
uncovered  4. That the claim of Sbay being incorporated wasn't even
correct to begin with.

You speculatively attributed one of these errors -- the insurance one --
to '(unamed) former officers of SVLUG':  But I would not know.  I wasn't
there.  Maybe it was just the error of everyone around at that time,
and was an innocent if hapless blunder.  Certainly, a great deal of
trouble could have been avoided if someone had bothered to check basic
facts.  But nobody did, even though checking many of them would have
been incredibly easy.  (There's a lesson, right there.  Don't trust 
computerists on matters of business and law.  They not only don't know,
but know many things that aren't true, and are too oblivious to check.)

So, the re-affiliation was a huge blunder that I really cannot
understand, to this day.  I assume good intentions, and, after all, Sbay
is or was basically at its core a ham radio collective, and hams are
Good People[tm], whom we should appreciate.  (At the same time, some
Sbay personnel acted in remarkably bad faith towards SVLUG on several
occasions.  But this is all a long time ago.)

I notice that the downed Web sites appear to be all hosted on one of Ian
Kluft's personal servers[1], nimbus.thunder.net AKA www.thunder.net, which
currently responds to DNS queries (it's a nameserver) but not Web
queries.  So, some of its services are up but not others.  Might just be
a problem with the httpd: If so, it appears to have been down for a long

Last Internet Archive successful snapshot of that Web server was almost
a year ago:

Of the domains listed on that front page as locally hosted, one of them, 
Bryan Klofas's site http://klofas.com/ , had no Internet Archive
snapshots between Jan. 6th and Aug. 1st of this year -- and lately is on
a completely different IP address.  My surmise is that Bryan noticed his
Web site was missing around August, and re-hosted it from backups
somewhere else.  Maybe some news about prospects for nimbus's Web
server?  I really have no idea.

Anyway, I'm relieved to see that nimbus's owner, Ian, is posting today
to Twitter, so I infer that he's OK.  I hope Sbay is, too.

[1] Passing observation:  At no point did Sbay, the corporation, even own
its own domain.  That is in the name of 'Thunder.Net Communications',
at Ian's residential address, and my understanding is that that's
basically a d/b/a of Ian's.

> Or am i mistaken?
> Jesse
> On 11/18/15, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> > Between 2004 and March 2006, SVLUG agreed to be a Special Interest Group
> > of local non-profit ham organisation South Bay Community Network, Inc.
> > (Sbay.org) having been told Sbay.org was a non-profit corporation and
> > would be seeking to shield SVLUG using corporate liability insurance.
> > After SVLUG's 2006 severing of this relationship, it emerged that
> > Sbay.org was _not_ incorporated but had merely (recently) applied to
> > become a corporation (explaining the strange silence when we asked their
> > corporation number and said we'd been unable to find the corporation.
> >
> ::::SNIP::::

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