Housekeeping note: Kevin Finisterre

By Chris Anderson

May 31, 2012

In the five years that we've been running this site, the Moderators have banned thousands of spammers, but only three or four members for violations of our Terms of Service [ ], which make clear that civil discourse is paramount and personal attacks will not be tolerated.

This is not something we do lightly. It happens only after repeated violations and warnings, and we do it with a heavy heart and for the good of the greater community, who deserve a place for civil discourse and mutual support. We also try to be as transparent as possible about the process when it has to happen.

I'm sorry to report that we have come to the point of having to do this again. We have suspended Kevin Finisterre for repeated violations of our TOS, including multiple personal attacks and the publication (via Twitter [ ]) of the contents of a private message communication with another member, which is a gross violation of that member's trust. This is the final straw in a long track record of abusive behavior to other members here, and he has been warned several times that he was at risk of banning for this. He has hurt many people here and otherwise made this a less happy place. That's bad for everyone.

This is a shame, because despite Kevin's mistreatment of other people, he made some good points and otherwise could have been a valuable contributor to the community. That's why I want to make it clear that we are not deleting any of his content, which will remain on the site, despite its tone and violations of our TOS. Also note that it is a suspension, not outright banning. I hope we can find some agreement with Kevin that will bring him back on more civil terms.

I must also report that he has threatened to create aliases and attempt to cause chaos here if he is banned, so if this happens the Moderators will attempt to be as vigilant in tamping this down as possible. But we would appreciate the community's help us in spotting and helping stop any behavior that seeks to undermine the civil and mutually supportive atmosphere that we have tried so hard to maintain here.

Thank you for your understanding and help in preserving DIY Drones as a friendly place for civil discourse and sharing. And my special thanks to the 50+ Moderators, who work so hard every day to help maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio here. If you'd like to join them and have a track record here, please PM me. We'd love to have you join us!



By Jake Stew [ ]

June 2, 2012

Too bad how this all worked out. Because of the censorship involved we'll never really know the true story. All we really know for sure is that whatever happened, it was quickly covered up and swept under the rug.

The last thing I heard from him was about 3DR quickly removing a Spektrum PPM encoder from the store after he revealed it fixed the PPM encoder issue on the APM.

Despite what was said above, at least several of Kevin's posts were deleted, with no trace left, by the administration. I don't blame him for deleting his posts since it's really not fair for the administration to pick and choose which ones to delete.

Maybe the administration was fair, maybe not. What is certain is that the whole mess was covered up and the administration did have interests involved. All this makes it pretty hard to think everything is on the up and up and that it wasn't censorship of a user bringing up safety issues that 3DR wanted to ignore and deny.

My suggestion to avoid this in the future is to start following common sense forum netiquette. It's pretty standard to leave a stub with an explanation when deleting a post. You also don't delete them you move them to the trash, leaving behind a link for the curious to follow. This leaves threads clean and useful, without censoring anyone. Censorship followed by a cover-up is almost always the wrong way to go.


By Chris Anderson [ ]

June 2, 2012

Jake: As I said above (with link to Kevin's Twitter post) and several people have already told you, there was no censorship. We suspended him after he violated the privacy of another member by posting the contents of a private message, but we left all his content intact. He then took it upon himself to delete all his own content [ ]. I personally did not delete any of his comments prior to that, and if any other moderator did it would have been for direct TOS violations, such as personal attacks.

He is wrong about the Spectrum PPM encoder. We temporarily stopped making it because we ran out of a component (furthermore, it did not use any of the PPM encoder code and had no failsafe function at all). All of our other PPM encoders, with the same code, are still offered. You should take what he says with a huge grain of salt.

I don't know how much more transparent I could have been about this unfortunate situation.

Let me be clear: this is a moderated community. We take enforcement of the TOS seriously, with the hope that requiring people to be civil to each other will avoid the toxic atmosphere that too often infects other communities, just has it has comments in general on the Internet. If you want an unmoderated community, there are plenty others out there.


 By Chris Anderson

June 2, 2012

Jason: to your point about homework, Monroe was correct. That article confused revenue with profit (or the translator did). We have always managed the business for zero profit, and reinvest all earning into R&D and customer support. I've personally put more than $100,000 of my own money into DIY Drones and 3D Robotics and have not made a single penny in income or profit (I don't even take a salary).


By Chris Anderson

June 2, 2012

Just to be clear, in America "profit" means pre-tax profit. We are managed to generate no pre-tax profit (and thus, no income tax, although obviously we pay payroll taxes). Bottom line: this is run as a break-even enterprise, to generate the maximum amount of R&D for the community at the lowest prices. As such, we are modeled after most of the other open source hardware companies, from Arduino itself to Adafruit. If we were in this for the money, we wouldn't be giving away all our IP!


Copyright 2012