Open Letter

Who invented it, who was first etc. This forum will be for members to hash out disagreements. Please keep all disagreements within this forum and keep the discussions civil (no profanity please).
air.command
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Open Letter

Post by air.command »

This is an open letter to Bill W from Team Senaca, USWR and the WRA2 Admin.

It appears that Bill has been personally attacking myself and my family publicly for a number of years but has recently stepped up his attacks so whether wisely or not I would like to address the issue now. The greater issue also goes beyond just Bill but also extends to WRA2 management and USWR.

Let me start off with a little history. I found myself joining the MSN water rocket forum run by USWR and the Yahoo water rocket forums IIRC around 5 years ago. Quickly I discovered that there was a war going on between two tribes and found myself taking sides. I believe both sides had valid points but that doesn't matter, I took sides.

Over the last few years I have grown quite disillusioned with the WRA2 admin, USWR and Bill W for their continued attacks on myself and the Yahoo water rocket community, most likely stemming from the fact that I took sides. This animosity fed on itself and has progressed to get worse. Over most of last year I have attempted to ignore the issue hoping that we could move on, but that has obviously failed.

I do not speak on behalf of the Yahoo community, but as a member. The Yahoo forum has provided a great amount information on water rockets and I have made some good friends through there. I will continue to advocate the group's activities, as the forum members have a great deal to offer to the online community. I know there are disagreements between certain parties on both sides and these are likely to continue for some time. Perhaps one day the two tribes will learn to tolerate each other, perhaps not. I know quite a few people are members of both forums, and stay out of the politics, something in retrospect I should have done also.

As much as I have a personal dislike for Bill W, he does bring up a lot of valid points about my team's on-line presence.

Let me address some of the issues I believe Bill is the most passionate about

1. It has been my long time policy to not link to articles on the WRA2 forum due to the open hostility towards us, and understandably precipitated due to some of my actions. I believe this then fed Bill W's point about our lack of acknowledging the work of others. Where possible, though not always, I tried to link to the original work if it was available outside the WRA2. I was not prepared to promote a website that was hostile towards me.

I would like to stress that at no time it is my intention to mislead the source of information we publish on our site. It is not an excuse but I do read a great many forums, not just water rockets but pyro related forums, and talk to many people through email about a large number of designs. A lot of our work is inspired by a great number of people, and where ever I can I always try to give credit to those where the design originated. Go to a lot of our posts and you will see that the inspiration of virtually all designs are credited. Many of the designs we work on, are in their 2nd or 3rd iteration, and as we present these in our updates, the progenitor idea isn't re-credited, as these are credited in their original discussion about the idea. Sometimes the credit is presented in the original forum discussions, but not reflected on our website. This is in the least sloppy on my part, but in the worst hurtful to those of the original idea.

There are occasions that several people come up with the same design, and there have certainly been a couple of instances where this has happened to us. We then published the idea and are accused of stealing it from someone else. The example here is Tim Chen's concept for the variable nozzle, though our implementations were quite different. Because of this dispute, we have never published our results so that Tim has the opportunity to publish his results first if he chooses.

2. Selling products. The only products we only ever sell are the timers used in our deployment mechanisms. I have put a lot of effort into developing the hardware and software and testing that goes into these. We only ever sell enough of these to cover the costs of the ones we keep for our rockets. Custom electronics are expensive and it is the only way we can afford to develop them for our use if we sell a small number. The intention is always to break even by the time we sell the spare ones. Once sold the design becomes fully open source, freely available to anyone who wishes to make these themselves free of charge. We provide the full source code, board layouts and compiled HEX files to anyone who asks. I have been developing electronics for over 20 years and have used them in most of my hobbies to solve problems and to suggest that we stole the idea of using electronics for parachute deployment is non sense when there are countless such examples in the pyro rocketry world, and as was shown numerous times that servo electronics was used in water rockets even predated those who claim they were first. We have never claimed we were the first, we simply publish our own designs.

3. The issue of using copyrighted music in our videos. When we first started making our rocket videos, we used songs the same way we saw 1000's of other videos use them, and therefore didn't consider the effect that has on the original artists. As YouTube increased it's content matching technology this made it increasingly evident that their rights obviously need to be respected. Recently we started a new YouTube channel that attempts to address this issue, and the only music we now use are "CC By" or "CC 0" attributed or direct permission from the artists who we know personally that have allowed us to use their music. These are not just free for non-commercial use but free for commercial use as well. We are in the process of re-uploading the videos from our old channel re-edited, not only for music but for content as well.



Though one can't change the past, one can decide to do things differently in the future and so sincerely...

I would like to apologise to you WRA2 admin for not showing enough respect for the work that you do. I know it takes a lot of hard work to run a forum and the competitions. I know some of my past actions on the forum were inappropriate, and for that I apologise. Hopefully I can continue to make useful contributions in the future.

I would like to also apologise to USWR personally as I have not shown enough respect for the work that you do and the inspiration you provide to a lot of people. Again this has stemmed from the original tribal war, and as can be seen from the original MSN forum we used to be on good terms once. Perhaps we can be again.

I would like to apologise to you Bill W. and thank you at the same time. It is ultimately thanks to you that I could see that some of our actions have hurt yourself and others in the greater community. We will most likely never see eye-to-eye, but I can at least use the issues you have raised to try to do better in the future.

So I would like to correct some of the ill feeling where I can. In the least I can start by adding links to the WRA2 forum entries from our website where appropriate. I'm also happy to listen to advice.

We find water rockets a fascinating and enjoyable side of engineering as I'm sure many others do here as well, and it is apparent that before publishing we need to be more thorough in providing links to the appropriate sources.

And last but most importantly, I would like to apologise to the members of the water rocket community who believe we have been less than honourable in our dealings with you. I do thank you very much for the support you have shown us, and I hope we can do the same for you in this new year and into the future.

- George
http://www.AirCommandRockets.com
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Re: Open Letter

Post by WRA2 »

air.command wrote:This is an open letter to Bill W from Team Senaca, USWR and the WRA2 Admin.

It appears that Bill has been personally attacking myself and my family publicly for a number of years but has recently stepped up his attacks so whether wisely or not I would like to address the issue now. The greater issue also goes beyond just Bill but also extends to WRA2 management and USWR.
Hi George,

This is a very interesting first post of the new year but I am a bit confused and concerned. I have searched Bill's recent posting activity and found no evidence that he is attacking you or anyone else. If there is a particular post here on the forum that you have issues please provide a link to it. Has he been abusing the private message service that the forum provides? If so please provide me copies via PM and I will take appropriate action.


air.command wrote: Let me start off with a little history. I found myself joining the MSN water rocket forum run by USWR and the Yahoo water rocket forums IIRC around 5 years ago. Quickly I discovered that there was a war going on between two tribes and found myself taking sides. I believe both sides had valid points but that doesn't matter, I took sides.

Over the last few years I have grown quite disillusioned with the WRA2 admin, USWR and Bill W for their continued attacks on myself and the Yahoo water rocket community, most likely stemming from the fact that I took sides. This animosity fed on itself and has progressed to get worse. Over most of last year I have attempted to ignore the issue hoping that we could move on, but that has obviously failed.
The forum was created with the purpose of uniting the water rocket community. Everyone is welcome and anyone that is a member of the yahoo group is welcome to join the forum and participate in the discussions here. We believe we have done a good job of stopping the back and forth bantering that used to go on. The last issue I found happened in 2008 and it has been quiet since. If anyone is posting messages that you feel are meant to antagonize you then you will need to point them out and explain them.
air.command wrote: I do not speak on behalf of the Yahoo community, but as a member. The Yahoo forum has provided a great amount information on water rockets and I have made some good friends through there. I will continue to advocate the group's activities, as the forum members have a great deal to offer to the online community. I know there are disagreements between certain parties on both sides and these are likely to continue for some time. Perhaps one day the two tribes will learn to tolerate each other, perhaps not. I know quite a few people are members of both forums, and stay out of the politics, something in retrospect I should have done also.
Members of the Yahoo group are all welcome to join the forum and participate here if they want. No one is prohibiting them from joining.
air.command wrote:As much as I have a personal dislike for Bill W, he does bring up a lot of valid points about my team's on-line presence.

Let me address some of the issues I believe Bill is the most passionate about

1. It has been my long time policy to not link to articles on the WRA2 forum due to the open hostility towards us, and understandably precipitated due to some of my actions. I believe this then fed Bill W's point about our lack of acknowledging the work of others. Where possible, though not always, I tried to link to the original work if it was available outside the WRA2. I was not prepared to promote a website that was hostile towards me.
If I remember correctly, you were invited to join the forum and the WRA2 prior to the hostilities and you took advantage of our generosity to gain access to the forum and start the hostilities as "Rockets42". Apparently, you had already taken sides.
air.command wrote: I would like to stress that at no time it is my intention to mislead the source of information we publish on our site. It is not an excuse but I do read a great many forums, not just water rockets but pyro related forums, and talk to many people through email about a large number of designs. A lot of our work is inspired by a great number of people, and where ever I can I always try to give credit to those where the design originated. Go to a lot of our posts and you will see that the inspiration of virtually all designs are credited. Many of the designs we work on, are in their 2nd or 3rd iteration, and as we present these in our updates, the progenitor idea isn't re-credited, as these are credited in their original discussion about the idea. Sometimes the credit is presented in the original forum discussions, but not reflected on our website. This is in the least sloppy on my part, but in the worst hurtful to those of the original idea.

There are occasions that several people come up with the same design, and there have certainly been a couple of instances where this has happened to us. We then published the idea and are accused of stealing it from someone else. The example here is Tim Chen's concept for the variable nozzle, though our implementations were quite different. Because of this dispute, we have never published our results so that Tim has the opportunity to publish his results first if he chooses.

2. Selling products. The only products we only ever sell are the timers used in our deployment mechanisms. I have put a lot of effort into developing the hardware and software and testing that goes into these. We only ever sell enough of these to cover the costs of the ones we keep for our rockets. Custom electronics are expensive and it is the only way we can afford to develop them for our use if we sell a small number. The intention is always to break even by the time we sell the spare ones. Once sold the design becomes fully open source, freely available to anyone who wishes to make these themselves free of charge. We provide the full source code, board layouts and compiled HEX files to anyone who asks. I have been developing electronics for over 20 years and have used them in most of my hobbies to solve problems and to suggest that we stole the idea of using electronics for parachute deployment is non sense when there are countless such examples in the pyro rocketry world, and as was shown numerous times that servo electronics was used in water rockets even predated those who claim they were first. We have never claimed we were the first, we simply publish our own designs.
The WRA2 has no issues with your selling products we even have a "stuff for sale" forum that you can use to let people know about your products. As a matter of fact, the rules were recently amended to allow use of one of your products in the competitions.
air.command wrote: 3. The issue of using copyrighted music in our videos. When we first started making our rocket videos, we used songs the same way we saw 1000's of other videos use them, and therefore didn't consider the effect that has on the original artists. As YouTube increased it's content matching technology this made it increasingly evident that their rights obviously need to be respected. Recently we started a new YouTube channel that attempts to address this issue, and the only music we now use are "CC By" or "CC 0" attributed or direct permission from the artists who we know personally that have allowed us to use their music. These are not just free for non-commercial use but free for commercial use as well. We are in the process of re-uploading the videos from our old channel re-edited, not only for music but for content as well.



Though one can't change the past, one can decide to do things differently in the future and so sincerely...

I would like to apologise to you WRA2 admin for not showing enough respect for the work that you do. I know it takes a lot of hard work to run a forum and the competitions. I know some of my past actions on the forum were inappropriate, and for that I apologise. Hopefully I can continue to make useful contributions in the future.
This "tribal war" as you call it must be something only you are aware of. We reached out to those who took issues with this association and when they realized we were trying to do good things and bring people together we made peace with them. The water rocket community would benefit greatly if we could work together to promote the hobby.
air.command wrote: I would like to also apologise to USWR personally as I have not shown enough respect for the work that you do and the inspiration you provide to a lot of people. Again this has stemmed from the original tribal war, and as can be seen from the original MSN forum we used to be on good terms once. Perhaps we can be again.

I would like to apologise to you Bill W. and thank you at the same time. It is ultimately thanks to you that I could see that some of our actions have hurt yourself and others in the greater community. We will most likely never see eye-to-eye, but I can at least use the issues you have raised to try to do better in the future.

So I would like to correct some of the ill feeling where I can. In the least I can start by adding links to the WRA2 forum entries from our website where appropriate. I'm also happy to listen to advice.

We find water rockets a fascinating and enjoyable side of engineering as I'm sure many others do here as well, and it is apparent that before publishing we need to be more thorough in providing links to the appropriate sources.

And last but most importantly, I would like to apologise to the members of the water rocket community who believe we have been less than honourable in our dealings with you. I do thank you very much for the support you have shown us, and I hope we can do the same for you in this new year and into the future.

- George
I thought that we had settled our disputes with you some time ago after the "Cyndi" incident, and Tim Chen nozzle fiasco and we had made peace at that time. There's no need to apologize to the WRA2 a second time. I believe that the "call out forum" is not the right place to publish an apology to the community. It would probably be better if this thread was published to a more public place such as the public area of the forum, your website, the Yahoo mailing list or your personal blog/Youtube page (or maybe all of the above). This call out forum is only accessible via URL so not many of the people in the water rocket community will know about it or see it.

Happy New Year from the WRA2 staff and the forum staff. :2011D:
Lisa Walker,
:WRA2: Forum Administrator. :WRA2:
:WRA2:The Water Rocket Achievement World Record Association :WRA2:
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U.S. Water Rockets1
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Re: Open Letter

Post by U.S. Water Rockets1 »

From the sound of it, there's more going on here than meets the eye. It's not clear why we're getting pulled into this since we were under the impression that this was resolved a few years back and everyone was going to be content to do their own thing. If George is talking about the whole flare up that happened years back when the guys going for the record on the Yahoo list discovered we had broken the Antigravity Research record, we think we should put that behind us and look ahead to the future.

We hope that everyone here can put the past behind us and work together to promote and support all of our fellow enthusiasts.
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