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
    faith based non-prof­it cor­po­ra­tion no. 389646, 501(c)(3), SINCE 1965,



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