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Whats going on with Epik and Rob Monster?

Located in Reviews started by MapleDots, Mar 20, 2019.

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  1. uglydork

    uglydork Top Member VIP

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    You're doing the right thing by customers and doing the right thing to Rob. You are living the best of both worlds.
     
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  2. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    At this point, this smells like a crisis-mitigating strategy to me. Especially when I see you post every time there is a potentially damaging post in the thread that could hurt Epik's brand. Usually having to do with the New Zealand mosque attacks. Moments later, Rob posts something off-topic.

    Please let us know when you cut all ties with Epik.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 10:45 PM
  3. Slanted

    Slanted Member ICA Member VIP

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    @TCK

    We were having a cordial private conversation today until you asked me to write a guest post on your blog. When I declined, moments later you began attacking me in this NamePros thread. Coincidence?

    So you're calling me a liar. Let's be clear about that.

    Conspiracy theorists and dogs live by their noses. I tell the truth. And I only ask that people take me at my word. Those who can't pay me that much respect deserve none from me.

    I have worked hard for 2 years straight to make Epik a success. So you're right that I'm protective of Epik – defending it from this scandal caused by Rob and from angry mob's overreactions and from Rob's politicization of the brand in the first place.

    What a twisted world you inhabit if you see something devious or dastardly in me defending Epik's brand! How is that a bad thing? Particularly if I am contradicting FALSE statements made by others.

    Also, what on earth is wrong with mitigating a crisis? Would it be better to foment the crisis, and burn Epik to the ground like Notre Dame? Since when is that a bad thing? Sheesh!

    During the initial week when people's knee-jerk reaction was to denounce Rob as a Nazi and demand that all domainers boycott Epik, of course I wanted to mitigate a crisis. If you were working at a company you cared about – a company with a hard-working team and many happy customers – and saw such a reaction caused by the personal opinions expressed by your boss, wouldn't you step forward to defend what you've worked for?

    Maybe you wouldn't. It means standing up to a lot of people who want to see me as a villain of some kind – a mercenary or a liar. It requires a spine.

    Your insinuation that I am posting based on some kind of secret strategy is false. I respond to whatever I think is worth refuting or highlighting. Rob's conspiracy theories, for example, I ignore – because everybody can see they're nonsense without my needing to chime in. Misconceptions about Epik's decision to delete a domain? I was personally involved in that decision; so of course I respond to set the record straight.

    Also, why must I report to you personally on my last day of work at Epik? You've got some nerve.
     
  4. Slanted

    Slanted Member ICA Member VIP

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    Raise your hand if you think Epik or Rob did something WRONG by banning a domain that was 100% devoted to the idea that women and girls deserve and/or want to be raped.

    Anybody? OK. I thought not. Then let’s stop trying to turn that case into a “gotcha” moment.

    Since you are trying to use my answer against me (for some reason), it’s important to accurately quote the question that I was answering. You yourself quoted it in full moments ago:

    I think my previous explanation should be clear to anyone attempting in good faith to understand how Epik decided to ban the domain in that case. Only someone who is intent on a “gotcha” will continue trying to find fault what I’ve said on that matter. The facts are not in dispute. I even quoted from the actual transcript.

    When I answered the original question a few weeks ago, I was asked for 1 example. So I supplied one example and described the case in detail. And how am I repaid for taking the time to discuss such a case? Someone tries to twist the episode into proof that Epik is banning domains arbitrarily based on Rob’s morality! Facts be damned. That’s the “gotcha” end result we want. Right?

    But seriously who would NOT want to ban that domain? Raise your hand. And how can you seriously cast Epik as the registrar that is arbitrarily banning domains willy nilly based on morality? How is that even plausible? Remember, the original Epik scandal was caused by Epik ACCEPTING the transfer of a domain that GoDaddy – not Epik – had banned on moral grounds. And apparently Epik was the only registrar willing to step forward and accept the domain. So if Epik is now being portrayed as a registrar that can’t be trusted because it bans domains left and right on moral grounds, then the sky is green; and I’m a giant rabbit.

    Really, folks, I understand that people want to criticize Rob and/or Epik. But let’s try to do so on legitimate grounds and not turn the facts upside down – to the point of using a case where a pro-rape website was banned by Rob as evidence of Rob’s irresponsibility. That’s nuts.
     
  5. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    You asked me to keep that conversation "off the record". But you are blatantly mischaracterizing it publicly. You are forcing me to put the conversation on record.
     
  6. uglydork

    uglydork Top Member VIP

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    Please keep it between you two - please stop
     
  7. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    So how do I defend myself from the mischaracterization of the conversation?
     
  8. Slanted

    Slanted Member ICA Member VIP

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    You apologize.
     
  9. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Read again the question and your answer. See if you can do it with a straight face.
     
  10. Slanted

    Slanted Member ICA Member VIP

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    My face couldn't be straighter.
     
  11. MapleDots

    MapleDots Domain Properties 2010 - 2019 VIP

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    Reading this entire topic over again I can say this for sure....

    At this point in his career wherever @Slanted lands they are fortunate to get him.

    The man defends the brand even as he is leaving the company.

    I personally think Epik was lucky to have you and I for one wish you well in your new endeavours.

    Good luck to you (y)
     
  12. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    If that is true then I sincerely apologize.
     
  13. waterman

    waterman Established Member

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    Actually, it is about how some people (like you) call select posts "inappropriate" and try to have them removed, and censor/shame their posters.

    IOW, it's about free speech and those who for some reason won't tolerate it, and try to eliminate it according to their own desires/beliefs.

    Thanks for bringing the thread back on point.
     
  14. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    When I write inappropriate it is not in the sense of NP rules. It is in the sense of morality.
     
  15. offthehandle

    offthehandle . Gold Account VIP

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    @Slanted I am looking forward to your Domain articles and well thought out comments should you intend to continue writing them as you did before like for DNW. When you do, Please post something here to alert and let us know where such posts are by stopping by Namepros from time to time. Wishing you the best.
     
  16. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    You speak very fondly of Epik and defend it proudly. In your own words, you care about the company. This begs the question, why are you leaving Epik if you care about the company and defend it? And why aren't other present-day team members defending the company as you are?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 5:52 PM
  17. MapleDots

    MapleDots Domain Properties 2010 - 2019 VIP

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    Seriously though @TCK you need to leave the man be. He has already said he does not see eye to eye with Rob and is leaving the company. He also said he had a part in helping to build the company so you can understand he is still attached to what he helped build and he feels compelled to defend it.

    He has done his part and we need to lay off him a bit. The ship has sailed and his actions have spoken much louder than his voice. He left the company, one cannot say more than that. I am sure this was a very hard decision for him and I don't think there is much more to be gained by calling him out again and again.

    I would say let it be and move on.
     
  18. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I am sorry if you read that question in an antagonistic tone. It was not meant to sound that way.

    The premise of the question is simple. JP cares about the company. He defends it. I don't see anything wrong with that. But if he feels that way and enjoys working there, I also don't see any reason for him leaving. So why leave? Just stay there, JP.
     
  19. MapleDots

    MapleDots Domain Properties 2010 - 2019 VIP

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    We assume this is the reason he decided to leave but there were probably a number of reasons he come to his decision. Nobody takes the decision to leave their employment lightly, especially if they had a hand in building the company.

    To stay or go were probably all questions he has asked himself many times already. When I read his responses he seems to be a well spoken in control type of an individual, so I'm pretty sure he used the same control when making his decision. We should respect it and wish him well and hopefully he will drop by to say hello once in a while.
     
  20. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    @MapleDots

    Asking a question that is based on a current news item that has been reported on in mainstream domain blogs (I am not including mine for obvious reasons), is not showing disrespect. If you did not insinuate that I am showing disrespect, let me apologize in advance.

    However, I would like JP to speak for himself. He is perfectly capable and I am sure would want to set the record straight. He is a smart guy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 6:32 PM
  21. Slanted

    Slanted Member ICA Member VIP

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    Thanks @MapleDots. When I resigned, it was a private decision that I only discussed after the fact with a few industry colleagues whom I trust. Since 1 of my goals was to prevent unnecessary damage to Epik, I mentioned my resignation here at NamePros in such a way that it would be timestamped but not become a headline or add fuel to the fire.

    For a few days, nobody noticed, as intended. But then it got picked up – in part because of something Rob said, as I recall. Still, I'm glad that I did not become a distraction from the real issues. It's not that I'm afraid of exposure. Obviously, I've stepped into a public controversy and willingly taken plenty of flak for explaining "what's going on with Epik and Rob Monster". Nobody asked me to. But I'm not the story, and as "juicy" as a feud or rift between Rob and me would be, that doesn't help build consensus about real issues that needed to be addressed. Even though disagreements about those issues linger and will never be fully resolved, I think "what's going on" is now much clearer to people than it was in the immediate reaction to Rob's tweet about NZ.

    3 days after I resigned on March 26, Kevin Murphy of DomainIncite asked me for an on-the-record statement explaining why. Since the cat was already out of the bag, I supplied one. I wrote my answer without consulting with anyone. After sending it, I showed it to Rob so that he'd know what to expect. Evidently Kevin decided not to publish it, which was fine by me.

    Later, so many people asked me about the resignation that it would have been handy to point to a public statement. If nothing else, it would have saved me time to point to what I'd already written. Pointing people to a sprawling NamePros thread, full of bickering and tangents, wasn't very useful as a synopsis of why I quit. Meanwhile, explaining that choice repeatedly, from scratch, in a hurry, tends to be sloppy.

    People are asking me directly why I resigned. It's a fair question, which I see no legitimate reason to ignore. So, even though I still have misgivings about becoming a hammer that people will use to bash Rob / Epik, I'll answer. Since the statement I wrote earlier was meant for public consumption and written close to the moment of my resignation, it seems like a suitable explanation. Here it is verbatim.

    Note: I'm not asking anybody to CARE why I resigned or even to read this. This post only exists because I'm not going to sidestep a direct question.

    Question: "You quit?"
    Answer:

    Yes, it's true that I decided not to continue at Epik. It wasn't an easy choice, since I've had a very positive experience working at the company. I like my colleagues and my boss. The job of running a registrar is interesting. No 2 days are ever alike. Epik products, features, and services are already strong and improving steadily. Customers are happy. In many areas, Epik has been an innovator. Growth opportunities are abundant, and I've enjoyed strategizing for Epik's success.

    I wasn't planning to leave at all. There was scandal, it's true, in 2018 when Epik permitted Gab.com to be transferred after the domain was suspended at GoDaddy. We withstood that initial controversy. Within the Gab forum, there is racist content that I consider utterly vile and abhorrent, even dangerous. But I have always taken a hard stance in favor of free speech and advocated for due process and registrar neutrality with respect to legal content. Since my views on de-platforming and censorship coincide with Rob's, it was easy for me to support his decision, once I learned of it, to allow Gab.com to exist in public view. And I still fully support that decision.

    The scandal lingered, however. Whereas for me Gab.com was just 1 domain among hundreds of thousands of domains at Epik, a controversial website that repelled me and to which I paid no attention whatsoever, for Rob the Gab forum was more important. With good intentions, Rob engaged actively with Gab members and promoted the site as part of a broader alt-tech / free-speech cause. Rob wants to make the web more open, websites more resilient, and browsing more private. Epik has developed products in those areas. Hence Rob found legitimate common ground with Gab members who distrust Big Brother and who have been exposed to censorship.

    Rob being politically and socially conservative, he also found enough overlap with Gab members that he could participate in discussions and share his individual opinions. Even though Rob doesn't share the racism exhibited by some Gab members, he was able to tolerate them, perhaps as a christian with a wish to convert and soften. Unfortunately, this proximity to racist views allowed the press, which was already hostile toward Gab and angry with Epik for having kept Gab alive, to caricature Rob unfairly as an antisemite and white nationalist whose free-speech concerns were merely a subterfuge for spreading alt-right propaganda. That is false. As a progressive, my own views are very different from Rob's. But I have always observed Rob to treat others with respect, including muslim employees, jewish board members and colleagues – anyone. Diversity of opinion and background has always been actively welcomed by Rob at Epik.

    None of this would have led me to resign were it not for some unfortunate public comments Rob made about the recent New Zealand massacre. Specifically, Rob disseminated a video of the shooting, expressing doubts about its authenticity. Acting as an individual, Rob has every right to share his opinion. And I'm inclined to believe, with Rob, that footage should not be censored everywhere online. But for any CEO to invite such political controversy is unwise. And this particular case was especially damaging for Epik, since we had inherited the Gab scandal after a similar shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue. So this unnecessary action now linked the Epik brand to 2 massacres targeting minority groups.

    Though Rob did not mean to give offense, this incident did bother me. Distrust of the mainstream media might lead someone like Rob to question the received narrative without any ill will toward muslims. And yet, even though Rob himself is as innocent disbelieving this footage as he is disbelieving in the moon landing, narratives dismissive of white nationalist terrorism strike me as insidious. Since Epik has multiple muslim employees and I myself have ties to the muslim community, the casualness with which Rob made these comments struck me as insensitive. One of the memes he shared inside Gab (which was later shown to me) was also insensitive toward muslims, though I must point out that such misconceptions are shared by half the population of the USA. More importantly, Rob shows himself to be tolerant and friendly toward muslims in actual life.

    Insensitivity is not intolerance. Rob made a mistake and has already shown a willingness to listen to concerns raised after this scandal by muslims and others. I would not quit based on insensitivity or a mistake. Both can be fixed. Rob has always been open and receptive to input.

    Rather, I came to the conclusion that some of the public identifies Epik with Gab and with alt-right politics to such an extent that repositioning Epik as a mainstream brand will be difficult. The abstract principles of registrar neutrality and free speech, which I care about as much as Rob does, are now, in Epik's case, entangled with questions of political ideology. That is to say, the public suspects that free speech has a sinister covert agenda. Disentangling free speech from political views is possible, but the explanations are long and often disbelieved. In practice, most people draw superficial conclusions without fully understanding the circumstances of Epik's involvement with Gab or even the distinction between Rob's personal views and Epik positions.

    This recent scandal emerged as a result of my boss's private political views while I was focused on Epik features, products, and services. It is difficult to work effectively under those conditions. It is unclear how I should defend the Epik brand when it is being attacked for private opinions, which I don't share and which have nothing to do with Epik really. The public insists nonsensically that Rob = Epik, and I'm not Rob. Even worse, many seem to think Gab = Rob = Epik, which obligates me to distinguish between Rob's views and the views of racists in Gab, neither of which are mine or Epik's.

    Dealing with the scandal has proved to be a distraction from my primary role at Epik, and it interferes with my responsibility to present Epik as a neutral registrar. Also, given Epik's investment in innovative services related to website resiliency and privacy, it is inevitable that controversial websites in the future will cause this current scandal to resurface in the media, which has already written distorted, overtly hostile articles. Given this baggage, I prefer to step down and begin fresh in some other role.

    Epik is a good company that I would recommend to anyone seeking a registrar or an employer. I continue to respect Rob for taking a courageous stand against de-platforming and censorship. A registrar's role in fostering free speech online remains dangerously undervalued, and Rob's decisions and motivations deserve more support and understanding from the domain industry. Gab is only 1 domain among hundreds of thousands of domains at Epik. To ensure continuity for Epik customers and staff, I will be staying on at Epik for awhile to complete unfinished tasks and projects, hand over responsibilities, and train my replacements. Epik customers will continue to receive what I genuinely believe is the best support offered by any registrar in the industry. Rob set that standard personally.​
     
  22. Internet.Domains

    Internet.Domains Top Member VIP

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    I respect and honor your decision. It is your right. However, I have to fundamentally disgree with your interpretation of the events described as a "scandal."

    I find using the word "scandal" is unwarranted. Completely unfair and unjust. There was no immoral or illegal activity as you describe when using the word "scandal."

    Using the word "scandal" is not only unfair to Rob, but to all of those with different and opposing views.

    For clarity, here is the definition of "scandal":

    scan·dal
    /ˈskandl/
    noun
    1. an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage.
      "a bribery scandal involving one of his key supporters"
      synonyms: outrageous wrongdoing, outrageous behavior, immoral behavior, unethical behavior, discreditable behavior, shocking incident/series of events,
     
  23. Slanted

    Slanted Member ICA Member VIP

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    No. "Scandal" is a neutral description, which is precisely accurate in this case.

    Saying that something is a "scandal" does not imply that it is immoral or illegal – only that many people regard it that way. It's in the definition you quoted:

    Undeniably, many people have judged Rob / Epik in that way. They have said so here at NamePros. Undeniably, there was "general public outrage" following the Gab.com transfer and also following the tweet about NZ. Members of the general public complained to Epik customer support staff.

    That's a scandal. Saying so is not a judgment about morality. It's just a description of people's reactions.
     
  24. Internet.Domains

    Internet.Domains Top Member VIP

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    I won't deny there was public outrage, but the circumstances had nothing to do with moral or legal reasons. Again, using the term "scandal" because of different opinions and misinterpretations is completely unfair to many.

    If I disagreed with your views and called it a "scandal" while creating public outrage I am confident you would see it differently.

    Best to you!
     
  25. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I believe semantics have little or nothing to do with this thread. If we are going to agree or disagree on something, let's focus on the actual argument itself.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 8:02 PM

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