RIP Tremonter

I killed Tremonter tonight. It was a good ex­per­i­ment, and taught me a lot about the neigh­bor­hood. Through it, I met a bunch of won­der­ful neigh­bor­hood peo­ple and an­oth­er bunch of won­der­ful Cleveland peo­ple. Through it, I be­came part of the Cleveland Foundation’s Neighborhood Connections Grant Committee, and was sent to some neigh­bor­hood lead­er­ship train­ing in Nashville. Through that, in con­junc­tion with some oth­er folks from Cleveland, I helped put to­geth­er a Cleveland Youth Summit at City Hall. Because of Tremonter, I was threat­ened with a law­suit, threat­ened with phys­i­cal vi­o­lence, told I was racist, and told I was a cor­po­rate shill. Good times.

For the first year or so, the site just con­sist­ed of me post­ing things I found on­line that had to do with my neigh­bor­hood, busi­ness­es, lo­cal weblogs, lo­cal artists, art gal­leries, events. Eventually the read­er­ship was high enough that strangers start­ed com­ing up to me and telling me how great the site was.

Then I opened the site up for any­one to post, which is prob­a­bly why I now have gray hairs. At first it was still shiny, hap­py peo­ple hold­ing hands, but then folks start­ed show­ing up and forc­ing their agen­das all over the place, in your face. Names were called, feel­ings hurt, and new rules had to be put in place. About the time I raised mon­ey for two more years of host­ing by putting ads from lo­cal busi­ness­es on the site [some­thing like $30 for a year of ad­ver­tis­ing], I start­ed get­ting emails from peo­ple who were try­ing to fig­ure out why they were be­ing at­tacked by com­plete [to them] anony­mous strangers on my site. At first I tried to ex­plain, but more and more of­ten I had to read emails that were from peo­ple who were telling me that they could no longer vis­it Tremonter be­cause the tone was now so an­tag­o­nis­tic.

The com­pli­ments about the site be­came less fre­quent, and then stopped al­to­geth­er. Users threw my rules back in my face and were shocked when they were pun­ished for it. Folks start­ed reg­is­ter­ing mul­ti­ple ac­counts un­der anony­mous names and post­ing pos­i­tive things again. For a bit, this gave me hope, new, pos­i­tive blood, un­til I found out that it was ac­tu­al­ly the case and had to put my foot down.

For the last year, the site has been noth­ing but an en­dur­ing headache. The on­ly emails I get now are from peo­ple who have com­plaints about the peo­ple us­ing the site, or com­plaints about the site from peo­ple who are us­ing it. I no longer de­rive any per­son­al ben­e­fit from Tremonter. It has been that way for awhile, I’ve kept Tremonter open for longer than I should have, out of a sense of re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for what had be­come an im­por­tant news and gos­sip source for the neigh­bor­hood.

I con­sid­ered burn­ing the cur­rent in­car­na­tion of Tremonter and re­set­ting it as a picked-au­thor neigh­bor­hood ‘zine, and even bounced the idea off of a few trust­ed folks. Then I tried to fig­ure out just how long it would take me to get all of that set up. Then I re­ceived a few more emails from peo­ple who were very po­lite, and not con­de­scend­ing in the least, but were once again hurt by be­ing at­tacked by strangers on the Internet. I let this hap­pen, time and time again, in my house. I can no longer ap­ply any sort of moral rel­a­tiv­i­ty to the sit­u­a­tion. I nev­er liked the movie Old Yeller, but if your dog goes ra­bid, you put it down your­self.

I have a whole host of oth­er projects that I’d like to work on, the most im­por­tant be­ing Abraham. With the weight of Tremonter off my back, maybe I can ac­tu­al­ly get the chance to work on one or two more.

18 thoughts on “RIP Tremonter

  1. Hello Mr. Harvey, 

    I have known about Tremonter/​you on­ly since I bumped in­to Frank Giglio a week ago, but I do know that open com­mu­ni­ca­tion via the in­ter­net is vi­tal to all of us in NEO

    Having been in­volved with Realneo for more than four years I know that keep­ing a web­site go­ing is chal­leng­ing, ex­pen­sive, and of­ten with­out ap­par­ent ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

    The con­tent that you have ac­cu­mu­lat­ed on Tremonter is of im­mense val­ue — and I hope you will keep the serv­er alive so that the archived dis­cus­sions of your com­mu­ni­ty will be avail­able for all of NEO in the years to come. (re­al­neo can help in this re­gard if you wish)

    Instead of RIPping Tremonter, I en­cour­age you to take a hol­i­day break, and then re­con­sid­er snuff­ing it in the new year. 

    I would al­so be in­ter­est­ed in hear­ing more about the Cleveland Foundation’s in­volve­ment with the es­tab­lish­ment of the Tremonter site — specif­i­cal­ly, did the CF change their orig­i­nal sup­port for the site in re­sponse to opin­ions on the site? Did you have com­plete ed­i­to­r­i­al free­dom?

    NEO needs as many vo­cal in­ter­net sites as it can gen­er­ate, so I en­cour­age you to keep the lights on.…I re­spect your ef­forts.

    jeff buster

  2. You did good, Adam. It’s a thank­less job to host a com­mu­ni­ty site, and Tremont is such a bizarre neigh­bor­hood (in a good way!) with lots and lots of folks who care deeply about it (man­i­fest­ed in pos­i­tive and not-so ways).

    You did good.

  3. Hi Jeff,

    To be clear, the Cleveland Foundation has nev­er had any­thing to do with Tremonter. Neither has Tremont West. Nor have they ever tried to in­volve them­selves with the way the site has been man­aged. It has al­ways been mine and on­ly mine. The rea­son I end­ed up on the Neighborhood Connections team is be­cause the work I did on Tremonter came to the at­ten­tion of TWDC through my in­ter­ac­tions with the TWDC com­mu­ni­ty or­ga­niz­ers, and they sug­gest­ed I ap­ply for the com­mit­tee.

    The Neighborhood Connections pro­gram is fan­tas­tic, and the peo­ple on the grant mak­ing com­mit­tee are all folks who have proven them­selves as cit­i­zen ac­tivists in their own com­mu­ni­ty.

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the words of sup­port.

  4. Adam,

    Congrats on walk­ing away from a project that drains and not grows. Cleveland can of­ten tear down the walls peo­ple try to build a com­mu­ni­ty up­on in un­usu­al ways and means. After run­ning a Tremont gallery for sev­er­al years and then own­ing my own for a few; I say you get sick of the fin­gers in your face telling you what you should do while you try to keep a func­tion­ing ef­fort alive & en­er­getic. All neigh­bor­hood frac­ta­tions of Cleveland hoods have their is­sues and ku­dos for you for try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence. With a grow­ing fam­i­ly and your time shrink­ing, you should sell it to the neigh­bor­hood.

    Cleveland Learning Moment :
    A beau­ti­ful case study of a per­son want­i­ng to make a dif­fer­ence where they live, ob­tain­ing sup­port from the com­mu­ni­ty by mak­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact and now it may be time for the com­mu­ni­ty to adopt it if they still need a space to hold hands. Buy it now.

  5. Adam,

    Thanks for all the work on Tremonter. It was one of my most vis­it­ed book­marks for years. I think that we’ll miss the site in the com­mu­ni­ty, but the re­cent tone and com­ments be­came too much to let it con­tin­ue. I think that the voic­es that over­took the site had a point at the root, but their tac­tics and tenor were self de­feat­ing. They al­so li­beled and per­son­al­ly at­tacked peo­ple too quick­ly. The site was be­com­ing over­run with ac­cu­sa­tions and in­co­her­ent rants. It is un­for­tu­nate that the peo­ple who abused the site will nev­er re­al­ize that they ru­ined the FREE (to them) com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice that al­lowed them to en­er­gize their voice. They have since moved to RealNEO where they have been wel­comed. Hopefully they’ll wake up and re­al­ize that posts are pub­lic and peo­ple from the neigh­bor­hood, like my­self who ini­tial­ly agreed with some of their points, can­not con­sid­er them a sound or sober voice in the com­mu­ni­ty. I can on­ly imag­ine the frus­tra­tion you en­dured wait­ing for the Tremont com­mu­ni­ty to post and clar­i­fy the con­fused voic­es. Thanks for wait­ing as long as you did. We’re lucky yo have you here in Tremont. You’ve done you’re fair share al­ready, but I’m look­ing for­ward to your good work in the fu­ture.

  6. Adam, I am so sor­ry ex­cept that to do what you think need­ed to be done is more im­por­tant than keep­ing some­thing go­ing which be­came some­thing oth­er than what you want­ed. I didn’t fol­low Tremonter much but I re­mem­ber when Organic/​Mechanic came to my at­ten­tion when I first start­ed blog­ging. I wish you the best of luck how­ev­er things on­line shape up — if at all — or re-shape. I to­tal­ly un­der­stand the gelati­nous way in which blogs seem to morph — it is ex­cit­ing and frus­trat­ing. I’ve def­i­nite­ly been in a mode about it for a few weeks now my­self.

    Best of luck and hap­py new year.

  7. Thanks

    Hit you ear­li­er by email.

    If it is any con­su­la­tion many of us who have in­vest­ed in Tremont find our­selves on the re­ceiv­ing end of “no good deed goes un­pun­ished.”

    But do know there are those who ap­pre­ci­ate your time and ef­forts.

    I nev­er had any ex­pec­ta­tion that Tremonter would be around for­ev­er. Seemed like some­thing you were us­ing to en­hance some of your own un­der­stand­ings (as you seem­ing­ly ex­press above). 

    Was fun to watch and en­gage.


  8. Hey Adam,

    I still haven’t come to any strong con­clu­sions, but I want to speak be­fore it’s moot or the is­sue fades fur­ther from mem­o­ry.

    First, thanks so much for your con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­ni­ty. You were one of the first folks I met here, (hav­ing moved to the hood around the same time,) thanks to your Guinness Pub Crawl. Having a web front-end to the neigh­bor­hood was es­sen­tial to a geek like me, and though it def­i­nite­ly changed, it re­mained high pri­or­i­ty in my feed-read­ing and al­ways a back-pock­et ref­er­ence, (even if the bar­ber­shop hours weren’t kept up-to-date 😉

    I’m sor­ry that we, the bene­fac­tors of your ser­vice, didn’t com­pen­sate you enough in de­served re­spect, or sup­port.

    My #1 con­cern is that the site con­tent stays avail­able. Can you give us some word on that? Even if you lock out lo­gins, I think it’s re­al­ly im­por­tant that the sto­ries that have been told on Tremonter re­main avail­able. (And no, I don’t be­lieve the Internet Archive suf­fices.)

    I am of­fer­ing to help fix is­sues that arose from the up­grade, and to re-work a new­er theme (to have a sim­i­lar old green look as pre­vi­ous,) and help with host­ing — if any or all of those will keep the con­tent up.

    Thanks again…

  9. I would like to point out that the rea­son I came to start read­ing and post­ing on Tremonter, a lit­tle over a year ago, was be­cause a friend of mine (we’ll call her “Z”) was be­ing at­tacked on the Tremonter. A cer­tain poster (we’ll call him “A”) even went so far as to say she was a pros­ti­tute and post­ed sur­veilance video of her on Tremonter, pri­mar­i­ly be­cause she shunned his wild­ly in­ap­pro­pri­ate ad­vances. She was right­ly up­set, men­tioned this to her girls, and we came to her de­fense.

    What is relevent here is that these wild at­tack posts went on for over a month. The were nev­er cen­sored. They were nev­er banned. “A” was sub­se­quent­ly banned, at a lat­er date, but I do not be­lieve it was in re­la­tion to this se­ries of in­ci­dents.

    So, how is it that now the Tremonter takes on an air of sen­si­tiv­i­ty? “Z” is just a friend­ly beau­ti­ful young artist. She’s not on any Boards. She’s not a big shot lawyer or banker. She’s not em­ployed at TWDC. And she cer­tain­ly did nOT re­ceive pro­tec­tion from those in­ces­sant posts. 

    So why do they shut it down now?

    My guess is that there is in­for­ma­tion they do not want re­vealed. My guess is that some of the ob­jects of the re­cent po­lit­i­cal posts were very un­com­fort­able. My guess is posts that did not fol­low the rah-rah men­tal­i­ty of the Tremont Leaders were un­fair­ly char­ac­ter­ized as “neg­a­tive” and per­haps the “slan­der” went the oth­er way. 

    It is not neg­a­tive to re­veal in­for­ma­tion that shows the fund­ing, as­sets and com­mu­nal trust giv­en cer­tain mem­bers of a neigh­bor­hood, mem­bers in po­si­tions of “lead­er­ship”, are be­ing mis­used for per­son­al prof­it and gain. Perhaps that is in­cor­rect — I would cer­tain­ly hope so. An open di­a­logue, in a com­mu­ni­ty fo­rum might dis­prove that, no?

  10. Good job Adam. Setting it up in the first place and putting it out of it’s mis­ery.

    As to what to do with it now? Simple: 1. lock the name up so no one else can use it. 2. copy the whole damn thing and put in a lock box some­where. 3. Publicly burn the web­site, as lit­er­al­ly as you can fig­ure out how to do that. Throw a par­ty and burn it. The flames can burn on­line till… 

    Think about it. Fire is very cleans­ing. Tremont re­news through fire.


  11. Adam,

    Tremonter was my first link to this neigh­bor­hood, but it’s hasn’t been the same for al­most two years. I will miss it, but hope to see you around some­time. 🙂

  12. Adam,
    I first start­ed post­ing on Tremonter about the time the stepped up hous­ing code en­force­ment start­ed — and it was in re­ply to some oth­er post I read on Tremonter — but what I find most in­ter­est­ing is that this com­mu­ni­ty is in need of ma­jor lead­er­ship changes and whether it is Tremonter, Plain Press, Sun News, REALNEO, Channel 19, Public Broadcasting System, or a Xerox pham­plet rub­ber band­ed to everybody’s door knob, we are no longer go­ing to sit by and just ac­cept what is dolled out by those that are put in place to be of as­sis­tance.

    There is a lot of neg­a­tiv­i­ty, be­cause we are deal­ing with a lot of neg­a­tiv­i­ty in the neigh­bor­hood right now. A lot of un­fair treat­ment and un­equal­ly bal­anced rep­re­sen­ta­tion — and, oh yes, I am so sure, that if we on­ly wrote rosy po­et­ry and bragged about the good deeds that the fine do-good­ers were do­ing every­body would be hap­py and all would be well — but in­stead, we are ex­pos­ing the ug­li­ness of what goes on that no­body wants the rest of the world to know about — and by clos­ing Tremonter be­cause we were bring­ing the nasty truth to light — it is no longer a se­cret that we have fine peo­ple that take away peo­ple homes — that there are rich peo­ple liv­ing in our mist that want the home­less re­moved from our so­ci­ety — that some of the do-good­ers mis-use the sys­tem while the pover­ty lev­el and needy — have a hard time re­ceiv­ing as­sis­tance — that the very or­ga­ni­za­tion cre­at­ed to look af­ter those less for­tu­nate isn’t even run by it’s own guide lines.

    There are so many that read Tremonter that did not post — I’ve had peo­ple ask me how do we find out what’s go­ing on now — we count­ed on you to fight for us — well — I will con­tin­ue the fight — the on­ly thing you have done — giv­en us the rea­son to do our own thing. There is noth­ing wrong with healthy de­bate — with dif­fer­ent opin­ions — so we’re cre­at­ing our own web­site — and we’re post­ing on REALNEO.
    We still have the Plain Press — and so we’re still go­ing to speak out.

  13. adam you were called a racist be­cause you delet­ed my
    barack oba­ma, for pres­i­dent posts — and than you banned me–
    you stat­ed you were on­ly go­ing to sus­pend me my post­ing for a week–
    to pun­ish me — you nev­er let post af­ter the week.
    anger comes from guilt and fear–
    so don’t let your guilt and fear ra­tio­nal­ize cen­sor­ship and your po­lit­i­cal
    fa­voritism for the sta­tus qua–
    i don’t judge you for get­ting a coun­ty job from poli­cal fa­vors–
    but dont’t be­live you own lies — be­cause its called psy­chot­ic be­hav­ior–
    self de­scep­tion leads to de­struc­tion be­cause you think or one thinks that the ones above them with mon­ey and con­tac­tions know more then you do–
    as we can see with the world con­di­tions — this isn’t the fact — truth–
    eter­nal thanks for the most of posts that you post­ed that helped
    the com­mu­ni­ty–
    all the luck in the world for you and the miss­es and new born–
    eter­nal thanks, yo­gi and guy

    753 BRAYTON AVE., CLEVELAND, OHIO 44113 – 4604 USA, V:216.861.7368, F:216.861.7368
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