dingsbeerblog

beeradvocate.com and me

| 118 Comments

Having been locked out of my beeradvocate account for nearly four weeks now (and only having received the most curt reply from Todd about the situation plus having one subsequent email totally ignored), I am coming around to the realization that I may never be back on the site ever again. That resignation leaves me with very mixed feelings indeed, and it seems fitting (and will perhaps be a little cathartic) to air some of those feelings here.

To see a little of the background that I posted earlier, see My beeradvocate.com account status.

If you read the title of this post expecting a vicious tirade against the Bros. and BA in general, then you’re going to be severely disappointed. I feel no personal grudge against Todd & Jason, how could I? I’ve never met them. Nor do I wish beeradvocate.com ‘the web site’ any ill-will. Given the amount of time that I spent there in the last 7+ years it would be somewhat churlish to do so. However, it is true that I am feeling a definite pang of sadness, which will of course, eventually pass.

OK, so how do we sum up what this has become? I suppose it would be good to start at the beginning and give some history and context to what has transpired in the last couple of weeks.

I first found beeradvocate in late 2003 when I was drinking a Chimay Blue. I was looking for information about the correct (and precise) serving temperature for the beer. I never found that data but I did come across what looked like a great little beer community online. At the time that I registered I already had well over 20 years experience of drinking high quality beer in England and had literally scores of continental trips to France, Belgium, Germany and the rest of Europe in my under my belt. I had umpteen beer reviews in hard-copy form, a decent beer library and of course an understanding and cultural background that was uncommon amongst my local brethren. At the time I’d been living in beer starved Atlanta for nearly 4 years, and I was beginning to get more than a little upset with the beer situation here; beeradvocate.com offered some kind of hope.

Over the course of the next 7 and a half years or so I contributed well over 300 photographs, over 300 place reviews, over 2600 beer reviews,  probably in excess of 10000 posts, became a founding subscriber to the magazine and bought several pieces of merchandise. I always promoted BA at every opportunity, simply because I believed that BA was the best resource on the web for American based beer folk – I still think that.

In that time it is true that I had a few posts deleted, and on a couple of occasions I had beermail exchanges with Todd where he asked me to tone it down, but I was never banned, never put in time-out and never asked to leave. Given my reputation on the site, most people would be pretty surprised to hear that my time on site actually had very little drama indeed. Not once did I ever consider any of my posts to be trolling – not a single one – and up until very recently Todd literally agreed. He wrote to me telling me SPECIFICALLY that he did not consider me to be a troll. In recent times though that has clearly changed. It means one of two things; either the BA community has re-defined trolling itself (and Todd agrees), or Todd has re-defined it for himself. Both are possible. To me, Todd seems to have become increasingly tetchy about BA in general. The copious number of locked posts sit as evidence of that, and he appears to be pressurized by the gilded cage that BA may have become. I believe that at least one of the reasons for my ban is the fact that sensitive BA people have increasingly complained about my posts and he simply doesn’t have the desire, time and patience to deal with their bitching. The easiest solution by a mile is to remove me rather than to deal with the complaints. I truly believe this is the reason that dissenting opinions are simply no longer tolerated at BA. There has been a bizarre recent track-record of posts being locked and removed at the slightest sign of dissension. BA has never been a democracy, we all know that, but the degree to which control has been wielded of late is really anti-debate and anti-conversation (an example of which is the manner in which Todd & Candice have asked people NOT to reply to their beermails). A shame.

It’s also patently clear that a couple of things are generally not tolerated over there anymore;

1. A genuine, passionate difference of opinion – a colossal number of threads are being edited, locked or removed these days whenever the content starts veering away from the party line, and

2. A BA member, either by design or accident, developing a certain ‘reputation’ or ‘status’ within the community (they are just not keen on individual’s gaining notoriety for ANY reason). Posts which have themes like, ‘Which BA…..?’ tend to be give short shrift, and they definitely appear to be against the idea that an individual member develops a personality within BA. Maybe this is an ego thing for them, I don’t know.

It seems to me as though BA has lost its’ punk roots, and has somehow become diluted by a combination of political correctness and a membership which has (and exhibits) a beer knowledge that is increasingly one that is a veneer rather than a deep and committed one. Of course, this is not BA’s fault and it is a reflection of the popularity of craft beer which is now reaching the masses somewhat. By definition, this has the effect of diluting the pool. Todd & Jason clearly have a somewhat difficult tightrope to tread. BA is their livelihood and in that respect they must protect and nurture it in terms of numbers. They cannot hope to keep it as an exclusive club if they want membership, page impressions and advertising revenue to grow. I understand all of that, and I really do hesitate to say they have ‘sold out’, but it’s sort of an inevitable consequence of the way things have progressed in the beer world in general and the way that beeradvocate has become ‘accidentally’ mainstream. It’s so much ‘safer’ for them to have benign posts and users than truly confront challenging issues. There is also a weird inconsistency over locking and deleting threads that has come to pass.

Of course I fully understand that BA doesn’t need *me* per se, but it does need people *like* me if it is continue to have a credibility amongst hardcore beer folk. That’s being eroded daily.

Going back to the great purge of 2007, far too many of the experienced and opinionated have been either kicked out or driven away. I suppose that one can speculate all day about why otherwise well-respected, knowledgeable individuals have left, and indeed circumstances may indeed vary from one situation to the next, but one constant in those situations seems to have been Candice. I have never met the woman so I wouldn’t dream of commenting about her personally, but in all my dealings with her (and the large amount of anecdotal evidence that I have heard over the years) she has been nothing but mean spirited, rude and extraordinarily unpleasant. Her acidic tirades have been personal (without having met me), and increasingly bizarre, including her tweeting on April 23rd 2011 that she “****ing hates me’ – strange since she doesn’t know me, but typical of her maniacal outbursts.

Perhaps it’s not just her, since she claimed later that day in a subsequent tweet that ‘we hate him’, presumably referring to Todd and herself or perhaps the collectively BA hierarchy! Anyway, she was right about one thing in her tweet above,  i.e. that her calling for a  boycott of the Royal Wedding was ‘shit’ – an extraordinary post that was full of odd insecurities about the establishment. More bizarre stuff.

Oddly, she followed up with the tweet below in response to another tweet asking why she didn’t just ban me. It’s odd because since between the time of her posting it and me being banned, no other controversy occurred other than me reply to a beermail of hers (apparently she dislikes receiving replies) where she had instructed me that I ‘was done’ in the thread and I said in a playful way (including emoticon) that I thought she has posted the Wedding thread just for me!

Maybe Candice is a really nice person, I don’t know, but the way she has presented herself to me has not suggested anything other than quite the opposite. Most (if not all) of her communications are ones that come spitting venom and without grace, humor or spirit of conciliation. The spelling shambles that usually accompany them might have come from a ferocious, hasty battering of the keyboard rather than pure ignorance, but either way they undermine her position. Like others have experienced in the past, once she gets her talons into you there is no stopping her vicious attacks. I DO have one thing to thank her for though; before her wacky Royal Wedding tirade I had no intention of watching the event – I am a respectful subject, but by no means a ‘royalist’ – but as a direct result of her BA post I made a point to watch, was delighted that I did, enjoyed it immensely and was even more proud than usual to be British. Magnificent stuff that could not be replicated anywhere else in the world! I owe her for provoking me into that, I glad that so many millions agreed with me and not her.

Over the course of time no doubt news of this this post will get back to Todd and Jason and perhaps they will read it. Maybe they won’t. I guess that if they do they will disagree with much of what I have said, and it will probably result in my permanent expulsion and deletion from BA, but I’m prepared for that but hope that if they decide to remove my presence completely that they take the high road and also delete all of the beers, places and photographs that I contributed as well.

For me, I can only sleep well at night if I have been true to myself on my own terms. Either way I wish them no malice, but I’d encourage them to reign in Candice whose outbursts have become a real issue for the site. Her role in there being a significant number of experienced and committed users now no longer on BA is a pivotal and central one.

I’d like to publicly thank the somewhat enigmatic Jason (I secretly suspect he has a sense of humor and agrees with me more than he can publicly do so), and Todd for their hard work with BA and tremendous commitment and support for the beer community. The site gave me countless hours of entertainment and I even made a few acquaintances along the way. I owe the Bros. a debt of gratitude for that, it’s just a shame that they didn’t feel the same way about my very significant contributions over the years (at the time of writing I had achieved the pretty rare and revered, ‘Grand Pooh-Bah” status, which as BA itself defines, is “a measurement of what a user puts into BeerAdvocate”).

Anyway, there it is, it was fun while it lasted and I’m glad that I had the relationship with BA that I did – I wouldn’t change a thing from my point of view. Given the choice I’d still like to be able to go back since it’s a great place to record my reviews and it’s so much easier to research when being logged in and I still regard BA as a great resource, but I would most likely never post in the forums again since posting would have to be on my own terms and the unpleasantness associated with a Candice offensive is simply not worth it. In addition there’s just no way I would be happy censoring myself over the definition of session ale, beer culture in the south, limited release beer and a host of other subjects. On the old BA, such censorship would have been scoffed at as being totally unnecessary and derided with a resounding “hell yeah!”.

I hope for the Bros. sake that BA rediscovers its punk-based irreverence, and control of moderation is wrestled back into the land of the sane. If the truth be told, my overwhelming emotion right now is one of sadness as it seems such a shame that what once was such a great thing should have ended this way. If that last sentence sounds like one that one might be applying to a real-life relationship then I feel it is fitting. My love affair with BA came to end in a bitter way, and largely because of another woman.


118 Comments

  1. Ding my mate, sorry to hear what happened. I’ve been to your great country 16 times and counting as of today. Love it. talk soon I hope.

  2. beeradvocate has become the most petty site …

  3. Ding,

    Could you please email me at your convenience? As someone else who was also booted from BA, I have a project I’m about to undertake for which you would be perfect.

    Thanks!

  4. I’m JoeyBeerBelly and I was banned from BA on 7/19/13 for calling out a troll in a one-time post. I was a member of BA since 2006 and had over 1600 beer reviews on the site. It’s only been a week but I am enjoying my beer much more without the pressure of getting a “tick” or posting a picture of what beer I’m drinking at that moment.

    Cheers,
    JoeyBeerBelly

  5. How awesome would beeradvocate be WITHOUT that fuckface Todd?

    A world where people were free to peacefully dissent in regards to a beer opinion without having some loser overcompensating for his lack of an education, choice in heavy women and whatnot ‘taking his ball and going home’ if you dare disagree with an opinion.

    If Overlord, homebrew42, levifunk & nickd are gone (in addition to everyone in the 2007 + 2011 purges), it means you are doing it wrong you knob. Get over yourself, its beeradvocate, not beerasshole.

    I disagreed with some things you said Ding, but it was always enjoyable to disagree and never personal, that’s why you’re a class act, and he’s an ass hat.

  6. Old news, but a tremendously interesting read reflecting one of the original beeradvocate.com debacles from a few years ago can be read here.

  7. Ding , I was a fan of your reviews for a long time and never had the chance to say I was sorry to see you get the boot from BA. I was good friends with many of the 2007 purge folk (trades in person and through the mail) and I mostly stay in the Canadian forums as it is its own domain (I have been on the site for almost 10 years). I am posting my first beer post in my new blog and want to say that you inspired me to do it.

  8. Dang! Ding! I always enjoyed your reviews. I spent about two years away from BA cause I didn’t drink much craft anymore. I was drinking Bud Light. My light yellow era came to end and I went back to craft beer and I was wondering if anyone ever reads the reviews on BA anyways so I Googled that and I found this.

    They should let you back on. I wouldn’t say you were a “colorful” character but you sure were a big part of BA. It’s like they chopped their side burns off. Grow back!

  9. Pingback: It would be really interesting to have an off-the-record chat with Jason Alström over a beer… | dingsbeerblog

  10. That’s how they roll. I’m cancelling my subscription as well. I encourage everyone to start their own blog, those ********* have a lifestyle of getting to travel the world and drink beer, in large part, because of the work put in by the very people they arbitrarily ban.

  11. Today I attempted to access BA as I routinely do on a daily basis, and found myself banned.

    Absolutely without warning, I at first thought my phone was just being glitchy. I’ve never even corresponded with (nor have I received correspondence from) the Bros or the infamous Candice. My comments in the forums (save for one, months ago) couldn’t by any stretch of the imagination be considered particularly colorful or inflammatory. I genuinely enjoyed the handful of trade relationships I forged in my year spent on the site.

    Confused, I googled ‘banned from beer advocate’ and found this. Guess I’m not alone.

    Tomorrow when I go to work, I’ll remove their magazines from our display. I’ll cancel our bar’s subscription. I’ll never reference the site to customers, craft beer noobs/vets, or vendors. It feels like I got booted from a clique in high school.
    Sounds like you were/are quite the character Ding. Hopefully one day there will be a site as great as BA where genuine advocates and contributors can go for discussion without oppression.

    • Andrea – I am very sorry to hear that. Of course, this COULD be a genuine mistake, so I would at least try to check in with the admins. If you really have done nothing controversial then perhaps this is a genuine error. Keep me posted.

  12. Dingy, Dingy, Dingy boy (and that’s “dingy” with a soft or hard ‘g’, both fit you quite well). I’ve been thinking about what I might say to your session beer loving British “arse” (LOL you people talk so stupid) the next time we met. You trolled my site for years and thought you were so damn smart. No doubt you put thousands of hours into my site out of your otherwise useless existence. Nice productive use of time there, champ. Then I had the last laugh. I brought the ban hammer down on your ass, and I loved every minute of it. Given the chance, I’d ban you again in a second. Matter of fact, I will ban you again. Just try posting on another beer site. I dare you. Hell, I’ll probably ban you from your own blog!

    You see, Ding, I don’t and never did care about you. It’s not little whiny punks like you who make my site great, it’s me. Look at the great empire I built and how the masses have flocked to me. I get to go to Belgium for free and brew beers with Harpoon. Clown Shoes pisses me off? I’ll fucking ban them from ever brewing again. That’s the kind of shit I do every day, buddy.

    But hey man, enjoy your little blog while it lasts. Maybe someday you’ll have 300,000 posters on here like my site does. Pffft! Just kidding, like that’d ever happen! You’d be lucky to get 300. You’re nothing. I’ve got the world’s best beer website, beer connections you could only dream of, a beautiful and intelligent wife, fortune, fame, hey I could go on all day but I’ve got an important meeting with Jean van Roy. But at least you’ve got….um……session beers I guess LOL! Have a field day criticizing my site you whiny British arsehole! You’ll never post on it again. Ban you later!

    Cheers,
    Todd

  13. Hi Ding,

    I was reading the “banned from BA” post yesterday on BA (until it disappeared) and found your Blog. What is an example of some of your posts that they found so objectionable, and what was the “final straw?”

    • Well, the final straw is detailed in the post above, and it was connected to Candice calling for a ban of the Royal Wedding because they had apparently declined to serve beer at the event.

      As for other stuff, again, as detailed above, I was never banned or even put in time-out before that, but it is true that over the years *some* people found the facts surrounding definitions of session beer, and my general stance on the differences between American and British beer culture, unappealing!

      • I felt like a tool when I read the answer final straw in your post above after I posted!

        In any case Free Ding!

  14. How can you like the bros anyway. They are two *** *****. The website is kick ass but it is too bad the bosses are blowhard neck beards.

  15. Ding,

    After reading this, I’ve felt the need to apologize for my past comments towards you on BA. I’ve come to realize that you had beer truly in your intentions, and for that I commend you. You do not deserve the ban from what I’ve read/seen. I honestly think that Candice and Todd are what are wrong with BA. They need to stop being so damned serious and realize that their motto is Respect Beer, not Respect Beer Or Else.

    Cheers,
    Ohioguy

    • No need for apologies, none at all, but if the arguments were about session beer, I still think you are incorrect! ;-)

      I have softened after the initially ‘sting’ of leaving BA, and as I said in the post I feel no animosity toward the Bros. or the site, but Candice has been nothing but extraordinarily aggressive, rude and unpleasant toward me, with I feel, without justification. Ho hum, their loss.

  16. I was wondering where you went to, I figured you got disgusted and quit becuase of all the simpletons screaming that “of course you can session a 12% ABV beer” . Then I ran across a thread today that linked to this blog. I’m sorry to see you go, you were one of the sane and intelligent people that seemed to bring out the torches and pitchforks when you said something that actually made sense. I spend about half as much time on BA as I did 2 years ago and it’s mostly in the homebrewing section. The members there seem a little more mature to me.

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  18. Why havent you become active on the ratebeer forums? I find them to be more informed anyway. Plus the beer database is more accurate and complete.

    • I really can’t stand two things. One, the animated gif avatars, and two the one-line, ticker based reviews. It’s true that RateBeer has a more international feel (which I like), but the look and feel of the site is horrible. I just don’t like it.

  19. Ding —

    Count me among the group who knew you had been banned from BA.com, but didn’t know exactly why. I had heard that it had something to do with a thread about the royal wedding (or is it supposed to be written “Royal Wedding?”), but I didn’t investigate beyond that.

    You and I had our disagreements on that website’s forums — one in particular comes to mind for me — but from the sound of things, our differences weren’t nearly as significant as those you had with the people in charge of the site.

    I actually once unleashed a scathing screed against the Alströms in a Beer Mail to someone in the conscious hope that one of them would read that “private” message and ban me from the site. It is a terrible shame that those people continue to reign over their creation like the Communist dictators referenced in previous responses here.

    BA.com is, at its heart, a highly useful resource for people interested in learning more about good beer. I get the sense that the site once welcomed “extreme” opinions, vigorous debate, and nearly uncensored conversation about beer, but that had clearly changed by the time I found the place (in late 2008).

    The Alströms’ capricious, narrow-minded approach to moderating their website’s forums does both them and their website a massive disservice. Todd and Candice both seem to go out of their way to selectively enforce a constantly-shifting set of forum rules. They do this by locking and deleting threads, but not before chiming in to make it abundantly clear that they don’t think whatever topic they’re shutting down is appropriate. They never see fit to explain WHY they have decided that topic is off-limits (often when the same topic was freely discussed only days before); instead, threads simply disappear.

    Todd and Candice are alienating SCORES of potentially valuable contributors to their website. Indeed, some of the people they’ve run off might have turned out to make direct FINANCIAL contributions to Todd and Candice’s income! It is simply maddening to see the way they comport themselves and run their website.

    Count me among the apparently sizeable group of people who wish they had the time and know-how to set up an alternative website to the amateur-looking mess that is RB and the tyrant-run nonsense that BA has become. I’ve reached the point where the next time Todd or Candice deletes one of my threads or posts without any warning or explanation, I’m banning MYSELF from their site. I only wish I’d recognized their nonsense long ago, before I subscribed to their shitty, masturbatory magazine and contributed to their travel budget under the pretense of helping with site improvements.

    What a profound waste of an opportunity that site is…all because of the severe shortsightedness and egocentricity of its progenitors.

    • Hi Justin

      A few months removed form the situation, and I feel much better about it than I did when it first went down. I do remain a touch sad since as you say, BA is still a good resource (at least in terms of the database) and there are plenty of good folk over there. Having said that though, Todd & Candice do seem to have continued with some really quite bizarre, inconsistent and bludgeoning moderation which alienates more and more veterans. They seem to be adopting the tactic wanting to grow the membership (a wise move), but at almost any cost. Candice is has an extraordinary online persona (which is rich coming from me) and her postings seem unstable. Respected, experienced people have been put off by this, and as a result, the forums have become quite stagnated evidenced by a typical thread that I saw last week;

      “Best beer you’ve snuck into a theater”! I mean, come on, is this a ‘beer’ thread?

      To be honest though, if you went back to my early days on the site back in ’04, I may have been guilty to contributing to threads like that, hell, I may have even started some, so I think that may point to the fact that I (like many others) have simply outgrown the nonsense that BA has become.

      • Why not just rejoin under a new user name to just use the resources
        I’m sure you have already done so.

        • Well, obviously that’s easy, but the unceremonious dumping (without a SINGLE acknowledgement of all I contributed over a seven year period) of all 2600+ beer reviews, 300+ place reviews, 10,000+ posts, plus the simultaneous retention of all of the beers and photo’s that I added, leaves a slightly bitter taste as I’m sure you can appreciate! Luckily I recovered all but a few place reviews, but that’s not really the point. It’s users like me that built the site and way I was treated was really classless.

  20. Guess I’m a little late to the party! Another one here who almost always disagreed with your opinions but always appreciated your thoughtful counterpoint and contributions to BA. I was sorry to see you go, but glad to see that you are keeping busy with the blog. Well, while I am here might as well disagree with you again. I don’t want or think the Bros. should delete all your additions and photo’s. It may be selfish but selfish with a very community based standpoint. The contributions you’ve left would be for all of us BA’s and I would bet most of us would like whatever remains to stay put. Take care, good luck and tonight on my way to meet my wife for dinner I’m going to have a (more than) 4% “Session” cask ale and think of how it pisses you off! Cheers

  21. I would say the older and more frequent BA users are probably pretty aware of what happened but for the likes of me, an infrequent user of just over a year (though I’m of a similar age and drinking experience as you), its likely a bit of a mystery.
    There does seem to be a fair number of new users and I have noticed a decline in the last few months in the number of posts from the older more frequent BA users as well, at least in the general talk forums. I’d be surpised if I was the only one who has observed this.

  22. Ding,

    A really riveting read. Until a gentle nudge pointing me here I had no idea why you were banned.

    This blog really presents you in a much better way than how people might have seen you in a BA forum. Its probably something you should have done long ago. But undoubtedly you are missed by many BAs.

    • Thanks man, i appreciate the words and the input. Are you saying that people on BA are not aware of the history and the tyranny?

  23. Wow – I just realized you were gone from the site when I came across this blog post through a Google+ Spark I have set up.

    I’m not really going to comment one way or another about the bros and candice (I don’t think I’m spelling that right). I have met them and have enjoyed their company… and I CERTAINLY enjoy writing for their magazine.

    Ding – I won’t miss your posts. I found you to be one (just one) of the hardest headed people I’ve ever “met.” However, I too hope that BeerAdvocate.com can return to its irreverent punk roots. I wasn’t around at the start, hell I wasn’t even around for the 07 purge, but I’ve been around for a bit and like most am pretty sick of the banality that gets tossed back and forth (If I could only drink one IPA from one brewery that I loved but gets bashed on BA it would be a Shut the Fuck Up Already Pale Ale).

    I think perhaps in an effort to avoid some of the worst parts of the interwebs – the bashing, flaming, trolling, etc – the bros and Candice have developed a heavy hand in the moderation department. It’s unfortunate, but I’m not positive that it would be better if they didn’t. Maybe I have thicker skin than most (my favorite editor once told me that a story I worked very hard on was a “flaming pile of shit”), but I find a community without hard-headed, stubborn, broken-record-playing a-holes to be lacking in authenticity. And for that, you will be missed.

    And if you’re ever in Santa Barbara shoot me an email and I’ll show you the good places to drink. We just won’t talk about BA, tipping, session ale or extreme beer because it may come to blows and we don’t have shatter-proof glassware out here. Cheers, and good luck with this blog.

    • Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      I think it’s entirely fair that you should speak as you find regarding the Bros. and Candice, but equally it’s entirely fair that I should do the same. In my dealings with her she exhibited a truly bizarre, foul-mouthed, tyrannical, apparently slightly unhinged approach, which coming from ME is quite the statement! ;-). The irony is that there was a time on BA when strong opinions were welcomed and now that time has passed. That’s fine, it’s their site, but it’s poorer for it.

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  25. Cayandace is an idiot … and for some reason, she thinks people actually cares about what she says, but really, everyone just hates her and want to push her down a flight a stairs.

  26. It’s Khandice. She doesn’t like it when it’s spelled wrong.

    Side note: I tried Pannepot last night and it blew my mind. It’s all about the beer in the end.

  27. Nice to see you here, Ding. I was erased from beeradvocate a few months ago, although I still don’t know what me crime was. I don’t like to confess it, but I have gone through some mild withdrawal from the BA forums and decided to see what other beer-oriented forums are here on the interwebs. It’s good to see you here, and I’ve enjoyed have a look at your blog. Perhaps my BA DTs will disappear ASAP.

    • For me, the withdrawal was VERY short. I think this blog helped a great deal, but within a couple of weeks or so I was actually feeling better off out of it. When you hear about the threads over there, along with the constant threat of reviews being erased, I am now quite happy to be out of it – I honestly never thought I would say that.

      • One last question, for now, Ding: Was your reference to emoticons a riposte to the Brothers Alstrom? You write, “I said in a playful way (including emoticon) that I thought she has posted the Wedding thread just for me!” My issue with BA came during a thread in which Jason and Todd chanted “Learn to read” to the BA community. I posted a comment that I thought was on-topic and satirizing a dense comment made by a BA member. My comment earned nearly immediate email responses by Jason and by Todd. One simply wrote “Lead paint much”? and the other noted that the comment had been removed because it was so “stupid.” When I pointed out that my comment was as sincere as Swift was about eating Irish children in “A Modest Proposal,” I was told to use emoticons. I mocked the emoticon comment and POOF! I was gone from BA. So, had BA suggested that you also use those loathsome emoticons? If so, I’d say that they were becoming bizarrely pedantic . . . but it’s difficult to argue that the call to use emoticons if obsessively learned behavior.

        • My advice? Don’t start looking for moderate, logical, measured responses from BA anymore! Candice is running the show in terms of the forum banning roadshow these days, and she obviously has Todd by the ‘proverbials’. Jason seems like the moderate, sensible one in the camp, but his influence appears to be very minor in terms of forum moderation. Candice is clearly angry beyond belief, and her actions and language suggest a person in some kind of whirlwind of spite. Her posts are often bizarre, and as others have noted they would not be tolerated if made by other BA’s. As for the emoticon, I simply added it in an attempt to introduce some levity – however, the acid spitting clearly obscured that effort!

  28. When a community that is based almost entirely on user generated content gets to this point there is really something wrong. I decided years ago to limit my posts to the homebrewing forum and recent developments only serve to make me glad I did. It seems really silly to feel like your every move is being watched on an online beer site, but it really has turned into a bit of a thought police situation on BA. It seems like a lot of users feel like they are being held hostage by the threat of their reviews being deleted. And that is apparently the administration’s intention considering that Todd got upset about software that could easily pull reviews off the site.

    • Nicely summed up. It’s really sad actually, but YKW is having a disproportionate (negative) effect over there.

  29. I don’t know if you can read the responses without being logged in, but Candace was at it again today:

    http://beeradvocate.com/forum/read/3900201

    Most of the 350 replies were telling her how fooking stupid she is before it was finally locked.

    Candace is a dumb c***!

  30. I just keep my head down and stick to the local groups. I really miss Venom, Davo, & slander. 2005 seemed to be the high point for the site.

    I never like it when a strong opinion is taken as an attack or something to be squelched. Oh well.

    No use attacking anyone personally.

    • I miss them too…. 2005 was a good year. And 2011 marks the year I’ve been banned. Their loss!

  31. Similar deal when I got the boot years ago. I was the 2nd most active poster on the site (according to an advertisement in the magazine), over 1200 reviews, over 100 places added and reviewed, lots of pictures of places and beers, and more. I’d had plenty of back and forth with Todd. He was a dick at times but in the end we worked things out most times. Jason was a good guy. Sense of humor as others have said. Candice on the other hand couldn’t not only take a joke but also didn’t even seem to understand when someone made a joke. I got plenty of nasty messages from her.

    One day the website was down during one of those many times with lots of website issues for a couple month stretch. The typical “Donate so we can get better servers.” where the servers don’t improve yet they seem to suddenly be traveling around the US and world to drink a lot more (donations have to help that). I make the comment on Twitter that “BA goes down more than a cheap hooker.” As soon as the site goes back up, my account is locked. Never bothered emailing to ask about it. Soon my reviews were gone (I’d backed them up before that).

    In the end, it was really for the better. The place has turned into a place filled with people much more interested in finding the rarest and most limited beer and really moved away from being a place with great discussion about beer. Since then I’ve found much better resources for information and discussion where every topic isn’t “What beer should I drink while watching the NASCAR race?”

    • Interesting – sounds almost identical to my experience. Funny, as a couple of days ago Candice tweeted, complaining about someone posting, “What to drink in a Tornado” thread. Obviously BA has no way of controlling what people write (at least in the first instance), but by removing the likes of you and I they are creating an increasingly very young and inexperienced base that will tend to gravitate to the trivial.

  32. Excellent post. I have agreed with you and I have disagreed with you, but I respected your contributions for the most part.

    The level of arbitrary censorship on BA is ridiculous. If ratebeer had cleaner looking forums, I’d have made the jump long ago.

    As someone noted above, BA is a resource to exploit and not a community anymore.

  33. looks like the entire discussion got deleted. not sure if it was due to the thread about ding – the original post was kind of useless to begin with – but i’m guessing the simple mention of the word “ding” contributed to it.

  34. Candice is a *********************

  35. Miss being able to check your reviews, Ding.

    I wish Jason would post more. Todd and Candice’s posts come across pretty harsh and combative, so I guess it’s nice that they don’t post much. Candice certainly has some issues. Only needed to see some of her posts in the Beer & Food section a few months back to arrive at that conclusion…

  36. I was extremely bummed to hear that you were gone Ding (there are many others too that I miss). Like all people who brutally speak their mind, sometimes I felt you were spot on and other times off your rocker, but this is internet and it’s all about entertainment and information…both of which you provided on a daily basis.

    Biggest bummer of all is to lose all your reviews and contributions. Just because one day you rub some folks the wrong way and end up booted shouldn’t discredit the 7+ years where you were a vital contributing member of the community. Ultimately these sites are ruled by the moderators…good, bad, or indifferent.

    Hoping to hear from new member “Dong” soon…

  37. Looks like some folks miss you and your take on things (assuming the thread doesn’t get deleted): http://beeradvocate.com/forum/read/3821197

    Hope to see you around the pub in the near future.

  38. I’ve seen C******, and she looks *****ier than she is online.

  39. I have been floating around the online beer community for many years and it always seems like you (Ding) put up some good points and then you get a herd of little BA wannabes jumping all over you personally – (looking for a pat on the head by the Bros?) and not actually discussing the topic. Glad to see you so open minded and still hanging around.

    As for Candice, I don’t even bother reading threads that she is in. Her comments are all like nails on a chalkboard.

    When is Ding-fest 2011?

  40. I must admit that the constant need to define session beer would get to me on occasion. However you were correct and perhaps attempting to educate others isn’t such a bad thing. Sadly I find I’ve come full circle on BA like many others I started as an anonymous lurker for many years and have now become one again. If only beeradvocate could be more like the Diane Rehm show tolerant of different opinions and promoting civil discourse. Your comments on what occurred are well thought out and mature perhaps you’ve outgrown BA of vice versa.

    • I like this guy. His circle of BA matches mine. Much like all of the “Hopslam was better last year” threads, BA was much better many years ago, BC.

  41. I am very glad that you are gone from BA. You were easily the worst thing about that site.

  42. Not been on BA much myself lately, the site had to me gone downhill. Its too American, while I was born here, I have traveled for many many years. I was another old timer beer wise, as I’ve been drinking good beer since ’73. Anyway I have met the Bros, and to be honest, the were not very friendly, to me they might mean well and they are beer geeks, but sadly I found them to be a tad standoffish. I had a few run ins with them and I gave up and figured oh well they are assholes, but its their web site. It’s really sad they banned you with no notice, but it figures. I read your post but I guess I need to reread closer as I did not find the exact reason they banned you? I will look for you on RB, or that other site, as I rather tweet and just drink the beer and stop posting about it.

  43. Miss you, Ding! The forums on BA are basically unreadable at this point.

    • They were pretty entertaining last night. My favorite threads having to do with is beer better tasting in a Styrofoam cup and defining super cold.

  44. Candice is a Harry Seaword. As much as I hated your replies/threads/thoughts you did contribute a lot and were always entertaining.

  45. Just looked at our reviews (for Busy Bee Cafe) and they even took that down. They’re like a bunch of little kids not sharing their toys at this point….pretty ridiculous. Especially frustrating that they not only haven’t been responsive to you, but they also don’t seem to care about everyone else that’s upset at how they are handling themselves with this.

    • I notice that all recent posts that mention me are being erased! Perhaps they are applying a voodoo doll philosophy!

      • They BA Bros model themselves after Stalin, the same thing happened after the purge of 2007

      • I took a hiatus from the site for awhile, but have been back on to update some reviews. Even now 2 years later, I believe I mentioned you in a post (nothing derogatory) and my post was deleted within minutes. I think they hired someone solely to monitor “Ding-content.” I have always chafed at the d-baggery of Todd and the other mods, but mostly shrugged it off. I’m glad I stumbled onto this site. A breath of fresh air! You have a new follower. :)

  46. As much as a dirtbag Todd is, it’s Candace that pulls all the strings in terms of who stays and who goes. She’s a dour, sad and angry thing.

    Besides, as a previous commenter said, being social retards, these clowns have completely missed a gigantic money making opportunity. Their magazine is sporadically printed on 1-ply toilet paper and their presence on social media is a laughable at best. They have how many thousands of followers on twitter and the best they can come up with is “what’s in your glass tonight?” Captivating. It makes me happy that these assholes are inept at capitalism and are sated with solely moderating a message board and banning anyone with half a personality.

  47. Ding,

    You are a d*******g that cried to your heroes Todd and Jason every time someone gave you a hard time pre-2007 purge. Well, the targets have now changed in the new era of BA. Welcome to the reality of Cu**ice. F*** you and f*** BA.

    • Not sure that I understand. I ALWAYS reported posts on BA that I thought deserved to be reported, and I stand by that. Todd & Jason were never my ‘heros’, but as I have said over and over I do thank them for their hard work in making BA a ONCE great web site.

  48. This beerinator comment from January 2007 sums up BA well

    I am going to wait a couple of days to collect some addresses, then I’m going to post some stuff on BA that will be quickly deleted and get me booted as well. I’m with you, Chris. Todd is an asshat.

    Todd and Cuntice are assholes. Are they still asking for donations to update their server? How about a nice new smart phone application? How many more trips will they take on the BA dime? Oh yes, how is the beer at the Purgatory brewpub?

  49. You will be missed friend but never forgotten! Thank you very much for the PERFECT review it was quite a pleasant suprise and an honor!

  50. Which one of the brothers is married to the flailing harpy?

    • Nevermind, I read it on the beerinator thread. Karma works that way, the miserable end up the miserable.

  51. I know you don’t agree, but you are really better off out of it. BeerAdvocate is a cesspit. It’s full of people blathering the same half-learned pseudo-knowledge over and over again, petty whines, and uninteresting gossip. The beer world would be better if BeerAdvocate had never existed, and I really mean that.

  52. Well said, Ding. Jason has always been the more rational of the Bros, but it sucks that he seems to take more of a backseat in these kind of matters. I had an issue a few years ago and Todd refused to help and basically told me to f*ck off. I email Jason and he promptly took care of it. Todd is a tool bag and everyone knows that and what can be said about Candice that hasn’t already been said? She’s awful. If I had any programming knowledge I would love to make a beer community site to give BA a run for their money. The site is awful, in terms of usefulness and design. It functions as a site that was designed in the 90s and never upgraded. They’re behind the technology curve and it’s surprising how popular they remain (still no smart phone app, really???). I think they continue to be strong due to their history, but definitely not due to their resourcefulness.

    The sobering reality is that so many people feel this way, yet no one has stepped up and created something comparable. RB is decent, but it’s still a long ways from being a functional/relevant website in 2011.

    • Without actually knowing Jason, that’s the impression I get – seems reasonable and has a sense of humor.

    • The site programming is not that hard. Lots of pre-made forum software packages out there. That said, there are 1000′s of sites now about beer, and forums are always a pain to manage. You will always have issues. That said, BA has a problem; they do not want to discuss anything deep.

      I could create a web site but would anyone care? No, you need a user base, and something new to offer folks. There needs to be a European BA site. I love http://www.belgainbeerboard.com, but no-one is on there much.

      Just my 2 cents

  53. Maybe you forgot to leave a tip.

  54. Thanks for the insightful look at what goes on behind the scenes at BA. I also find it very interesting that beermail is not private. Beer mail could be a pretty good intelligence tool if you ran a craft beer magazine.

    I don’t always agree with you Ding, and sometimes I think your a bit nuts, but you have made a lot of good posts and points on the BA forums.

  55. You already know my stance on this and I have greatly reduced my footprint on the site as a result. I have had the same run ins as you. it is a shame as you were more then an adequate debater and your opinion, whether right or wrong, was an opinion unbiased by hype. I still hold out that things will get better, till then find a way to back up your reviews.

  56. that’s the thing about beer advocate… it’s not a community anymore, it’s a resource to be exploited. if you think about it like that, it’s not so surprising.

    as for the first statement that prompted my post, and scuse me for being blunt… candice sleeps with what stands as the head of beerad… you can’t really say she doesn’t have a voice, just ask venom or read her reposted public blog.

    I was part of the candice purge (the original black tuesday) in 07. they let me back in after a while. it’s a weird withdrawl, but you do realize how much time you’ve invested in a site who’s admins really don’t give a rats ass about you or your opinion.

    and as the posts have said, i’m sure they’re great people, i’ve met jason a couple of times, pleasant guy. todd i’ve met once and seen from across the room a few times… and candice i’ve seen once…. once. i’m sure they’re good individuals, but as they told me when i made suggestions about their website, and i quote…

    don’t tell us how to run our business….

    it’s their business, not mine.
    i just resource it.

    am i still on there… for now.

    and as for being snubbed… that’s par for the course, you have a popular website that people devote hours to building friendships and expressing opinions (*when they aren’t banned) you don’t really need to press the flesh with every one of them.

    respect the site, people second, something like that….

  57. As a long time BA member/contributor I’ve always enjoyed your reviews and *most* of your posts. I think your reviews were some of the best. I think at times you shouted your opinions at volumes that got everyone’s attention, and therefore everyone’s response. Your overall negative attitude towards American brewers/scene put a bad taste in many people’s mouth. It’s not that your opinion isn’t valid. It’s that if you truly want to make a meaningful impact into shifting the American beer landscape – I think there’s a different road to take than a constant blow of insults. It’s confusing because I can see that you really do wish to see change, but you aren’t willing to think about how you can generate supporters of your opinion/movement. You’re like a brilliant professor who sucks at teaching. You are correct in that it is not trolling. I think the Alströms are wrong to suggest that. You have vast knowledge and opinions that are much more interesting to read about than helping someone figure out “which beer they should drink tonight” or “what is the best xxx style beer”. Intelligent beer discourse is one thing that is severely lacking on BA.

    For the record, I think that Candace has been more obnoxious than you at times. I think both her and Todd spend a little too much time in the grey area of being simultaneous contributors and moderators. Sure it’s their site, but I seriously hope this changes.

  58. sorry to hear about this ….tho you and i many times did not see eye to eye many times …your right to have a different viewpoint is more important to me…..it is interesting to me to see some of the “lady’s” language in print from a forum post like that…it is precisely that kind of language that set off the purge of “07″….good fortune to you

  59. An intelligent and mature post, as usual.

    I will add that you disputing the validity of the almighty Alstrom brothers’ knowledge, at least what is contained on the site, probably played a part. Everyone knows the information on BA relating to session beers and ales/lagers is 100% accurate. It seems as the site grows, the associated egos are swelling.

  60. The goat bros. and the pig are a bane on the beer world. You’re better to be done with them. Come over to RB and stir it up a bit. That’s what I’ve been doing since The Great Purge.

  61. i actually had a couple great friends approach them back in 2007 at a beer festival and the bros completely snubbed them. they went over and had a conversation with sam from dogfish head and ray daniels and the head guy at five star (real rock stars in the beer world).

    • Saw them at a couple GABFs. They are social retards.

    • My experience was the opposite. I met them out in Philly, and they were both nice, and seemed more than willing to talk. They also introduced me to the brewer and owner of Nodding Head, and a Dogfish Head rep.

      Maybe your friends caught them on a bad day, or they were drunk? Maybe I caught them on a good day, and we were all sober? /shrug

  62. What did I say? They are petty, mean and in their world there is NEVER anything you can say bad. God forbid it may impact their revenue stream.

    The only reason they exist is they’ve been around long enough that they attract newbs to fill their ranks.

    I have less than nice things to say about them and I pray I never meet them in person. My clothes aren’t slime proof.

  63. “Hundreds of photographs, umpteen beers added to the database, thousands of reviews, opinionated & knowledgeable posts in the forum.”

    All of it gone as of this morning, sadly. What curious timing. Although, I’m not 100% sure about the photos.

    Why not give the Pepsi to BeerAdvocate’s Coke a try? I believe you already have a RateBeer account lined up and ready to go.

    • Photographs still there as of earlier today; haven’t checked all the beers and places that I added though.

  64. i enjoyed reading your posts over there. The past couple years over there have been beyond meh though and it seems that site is becoming the antithesis of beer advocacy.

  65. Well, this just confirms my prohibition against posting in the forums, I crossed her unintentionally once on BA and got a warning. I posted something in a thread that she disagreed with, nothing too controversial, just a difference, it wasn’t in reply to her and she hadn’t responded in the thread before I posted and I didn’t respond to her post. When I got the “keep it up and you’re gone” beermail I had no idea what the hell they were talking about. oh well (this was in 2008). The forums are mostly little kids arguing about the bestestest IPA ever! Or the biggest bourbonest stout, this stout is actually 90% bourbon. I’ll just keep reviewing and leave it alone. I won’t post in the forums until I see the “Ding is back!” thread. If that never happens oh well. People won’t know what beer I’d drink for the rest of my life if I could only drink one beer. You can now join Venom in beeradvocate exile.

  66. Perhaps your head is larger than you think. What significant contributions have you made? Personally, I find your posts to be obnoxious.

    • Hundreds of photographs, umpteen beers added to the database, thousands of reviews, opinionated & knowledgeable posts in the forum. Without people doing that stuff, BA does not exist.

    • Candace is what historians will say say is the point where the decline of BA occurred. Obviously Todd laps it up from here and Jason sits there like a lump on a log

  67. Perhaps you’re contributions weren’t as massive as you think. Volume or mass does not equal quality. Ultimately, I’m not the judge here…the Bros are.

    • Joe, I would say the number of reviews, photos, and most likely beers added to the database should be a big deal considering BA is a “community” based forum that relies on users to make it what it is.

      That site could care less about its users, and that is sad. I think it is also sad that their minions refer to them as the “Bros” as if it holds some sense of title or power. “Doesn’t matter what I think, gotta differ to the Bros.” Grow a pair and get your opinion.

      I agree with a great deal of what Ding is saying here, and I hope a day comes that the users of BA realize how little they matter to Todd and Candice. That they are viewed more as a meal ticket than anything else. Once the users realize that, I hope it is finally proven to those in charge of BA that they truly are no one.

    • Although I never agreed with Ding attitude and way to voice his opinions, he is very rarely wrong. His reviews are all of top quality and I quite often refer to them while reviewing a beer (in case I forgot something).

      It’s a shame they banned you Ding, but what’s hilariously ironic in the situation is that they banned you but decided to keep your massive number of reviews. LOL.

  68. Your animosity toward Candice may be a bit over simplified. She can be combative but ultimately the Bros made this decision. Even if she was the instigator of your ban the decision would not have been made in a vacuum. Personally, I found many of your posts to be obnoxious but I always enjoyed reading them. As you are aware online communities change and evolve, perhaps they just thought you weren’t a good fit for where they wanted to take BA in the future. Many other beer communities exist, I say move on and enjoy another.

    • Fair enough, but to toss my massive contributions aside ‘just like that’ seems shortsighted.

    • As for Candice & Todd and their relative roles, I can only speak as I find. Todd and I have had disagreements in the past but in many of my prior communications with him he has been largely civil and willing to debate and concede some points. Candice on the other hand has been like an attack-dog! Some of her threats (to me and other users) have been truly bizarre, nonsensical and knee-jerk beyond belief. Really crazed, ‘foaming at the mouth’ stuff. ‘Combative’ is a VERY generous adjective!

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