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.

    best,
    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.

    Thanks

  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.

    TCJ

  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

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  14. FUCK ALL OF YOU IF YOU DONT LIKE HOW WERE OUTSPOKEN THEN GET THE FUCK OUT OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD YOU SO CALLED RICH BITCHES!

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