A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Dark Day

A message from Oleg Volk concerning The High Road:
In December 2002, I founded The High Road forum dedicated to the advancement of responsible gun ownership. Recently, it was discovered that in 2006, the volunteer forum systems administrator, Derek Zeanah of Statesboro, Georgia, changed domain registration to himself. After he was confronted, Derek locked out all other staff from accessing the Web server administration and would not share even backup copies of its content. After failed attempts to peacefully resolve the dispute, it has become necessary for me to initiate a lawsuit against Derek Zeanah for the return of thehighroad.org domain name and the forum database.

I am seeking and would greatly appreciate donations to help with the cost of litigation. You can use Paypal (olegvolk@gmail.com) or send a check to:
Oleg Volk 3112 Chambley Ct Hermitage, TN 37076

All donations shall be returned if the lawsuit is ultimately avoided. You can also aid me by re-posting this appeal on your blog, forum or web site. My legal position is already endorsed by almost all of The High Road staff as well as Rich Lucibella, the founder of The Firing Line forum.

UPDATE: Derek's reaction was to disable The High Road forum all together. He also removed most of the staff who opposed him.

The High Road went down as I was responding to several member's posts ranging from what would be the best choice for a first 1911 to whether a Browning 22 Auto rifle was really worth the money. The High Road has long been recognized as one of the most civil gun forums on the internet, with a dedicated crew of moderators who kept things in line without favoritism or nepotism.

Update: September 25, 2008, 4:53PM

Today, I arrived home to find that Oleg is again aboard with moderator privileges. Some readers will no doubt note that this post has been abridged as well as ammended. I think my compadre Don Gwinn has said it best. It is my hope that the forum will survive with Oleg at the helm.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well that explains why I couldn't get in today.

And it's a sucky thing to do, as well. And that's as low road as I'd better go for now.


11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is, "Wow." I love THR, I have learned so much from the members. I truly hope that Oleg regains control.


11:57 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

I have been a listener/occasional poster since THR went online. That is very sad to hear.

What is Derek's angle on doing this? Is he looking to remake the site into something he can make money off of, or what?

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I can add:

Even though there was that difference, it's a damn shame someone went to the Dark side.

$10 he's a victim of the "Obama racial equalization vengance protest"

12:48 AM  
Blogger Chrome said...

I will return only to take down my contributions. They will again be posted once THR is ours again. Good thing I saved HD copies.


12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate the heads up Xavier. It has seemed like things have been a bit contentious lately and a lot of new people making their third or fourth post as a snide remark about Olegs' work. Keep updating if would. Rey B

1:09 AM  
Blogger JAFO said...

Forum presently (0728EDT 25SEP08) says "Downtime- I'll have the board up tomorrow, with details about this outage. Thanks for your patience. --Derek".

Not quite bringing the forum completely down- there's still a webserver replying to requests.

From my personal experience in the past, I'll wait and see what he has to say for himself, then proceed with my donation. Not that I don't trust the fine folks here, mind you.

6:29 AM  
Blogger LJH said...

I read THR much more than I post there, but it has been a great refuge of mine for the past few years. I look forward to it being returned to the rightful owner. Seems like a very un-THR thing to do though.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well that certainly explains a lot doesn't it. Things had gotten so odd over there that I was spending 90% of my time on TFL. Oh well off to contribute to Oleg's lawsuit fund.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a relative newcomer to THR, but it's been a great place to learn things. I've actually purchased a couple of things throug the "buy/sell/trade" area from local folks, who've been fun to meet.

I'm very sorry to hear this. Please let us know if/when this situation is fixed, since I won't be logging into it until Oleg has his property restored.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

unreal...I'm not sure why Derek thinks this will fly. It's abundantly clear who owns the site content, and it's unethical at a minimum what he's doing. Criminal at worst.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was banned from forum by co-creators just after a little argument too. You watch domain name renewals and server access as they would be gold. Loosing those hurts. The point is you don't trust people you met on the INTERNET. I was browsing THR from time to time, nice place. I hope rightful owners will make things straight.


9:32 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Looking at the following website:


It would appear that Mr. Zeanah may have a long track record of scumbag behavior.

Keep fighting the good fight!!!

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't get to the TFL thread you posted ... still locked out as a new registree.

1:00 PM  
Blogger JAFO said...

THR is up at 1400. Seems like it came up around 1130EDT today, judging from the notifications in my inbox. Still looking for word from the guy running it...

1:49 PM  
Blogger JAFO said...

found it:

" Send a message via AIM to Derek Zeanah

Drama Warning
I'm sorry I had to leave such a vague message while the board was down these last 12 hours. Some legal threats were made, and I thought it prudent to get legal advice before reacting.

For nearly six years THR has operated as a voluntary community. Oleg has been the face of the board. I assembled and provided the engine. While user contributions were appreciated, I hosted the board almost completely at my own expense and preformed the technical work necessary to keep the system available 24 by 7 and ahead of our ever-growing user demand. The moderators kept things on an even keel, and over 75,000 others have contributed to make the board what it now is. I'm very proud of what we've become, and I’m committed most of all that the Board remain a place we are all proud of and where we all feel at home.

To my deep regret, during these last few weeks an issue that Oleg and I should have worked out privately has become an increasingly public dispute. I deeply regret this development and apologize for having been unable to work through our differences in a less harmful manner. This is an internal dispute, and should not have gotten out in the open forum to be the distraction it has become.

During this time, I have continued to operate THR on exactly the same basis you have come to expect. My assertion this entire time is that the status quo should be maintained unless THR staff decide otherwise, and that we should use a rational process to evaluate potential changes. Having said that, THR has grown substantially these last few years, and our continued growth makes some kind of change inevitable in order to pay for the increasing resource commitments our growth requires.

As far back as I can remember Oleg and have had the understanding that we were joint owners. A few weeks ago, Oleg changed his mind. I have not. We need to resolve this equitably and between ourselves, but in my view neither of us should be willing to proceed in a manner that politicizes the issue and damages this community.

Last night, someone began to use the THR to solicit members to contribute to a legal fight. I took the board down after another moderator dealt with the posts and alerted me to them. This is a perhaps a harsh measure, but I will act as I am able to preserve this community. The Board may not be used to sabotage the Board, and I will insist on that. There are thousands of users out there who just want to use THR as they always have so they can pursue their interests in peace. We have already had many moderators resign due to the tenor of discussions surrounding this issue, and it is my intention that we prevent similar damage to the forum at large.

During whatever happens, I will make every effort to maintain THR in the manner you have all come to expect. I hope cooler heads can prevail to keep THR something we are all happy with and remain proud of.

-- Derek"`

1:58 PM  
Blogger Paul Simer said...

Derek has locked the discussion about the event because (surprise!) nobody has come to his defense. Most of the mod staff has been sacked. Topics are springing up every few minutes on the takeover, only to get locked and moved to a restricted forum.

It's very clear that Derek is now considered a hostile occupying force in the administration of the site. If for some reason he does get to keep it, it will die a fiery death as he and his mods attempt to subdue the rage of the users.

I gave what I could to the legal fund Oleg is building. I encourage everyone to do the same.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think all involved should be ashamed of themselves. Acting like a bunch of damn children. Grow the hell up! This is the worst possible time for gun rights supporters to be fighting each other. I'm completely disgusted!

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oleg and his moderators have routinely banned people at THR, for flimsy reasons, for years. When they tried to question the ban publicly, same mods squashed them like bugs.

"These (banning) decisions are not up for public discussion!" {Delete thread...} If you don't like it, there's plenty of other forums on the internet. That was the official line...sound familiar?

Now, when the shoe is on the other foot, Oleg and thebluesman are crying like little girls, all over the other gun boards!

Oh no! I've been banned! The horror! Send me money! Boycott the forum!

Can't these guys live by their own rules?

How many times did THR moderators haughtily admonish: take it to PM!
(before deleting said complaint).

What, you can't live by your own rules?

That, my friends, is hypocrisy.

Anyone else notice this?

6:55 AM  
Blogger The Freeholder said...

I hate to say it, but I'm not that upset. While THR was an incredible font of knowledge, what I viewed as "over moderation" was used by some moderators to enforce their personal views. (I said as much in a couple of threads and was promptly slapped down, although my account was never locked nor were any posts ever removed.) I got tired of it and ceased an regular participation, although I continued to stop by from time to time. I always viewed it as Oleg's place and his rules, and if he liked the way things were, it was my place to find somewhere I liked better.

I hope that whatever the truth is is eventually comes out, and that THR can resume operation. There is a place for it. But if it doesn't work out, another will take its place.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2 - you really are a one-trick bitter pony aren't you? It's not about being banned - it's about having your damn property STOLEN from you by someone you called a friend.

Guess what? I was banned from there five years ago, and somehow I'm not posting the same dreck all over the Internet, crying about over-moderation and how they deserved this because I was banned. Fact of the matter is this forum is Oleg's. It's his baby. It's the product of his labor, and it was STOLEN from him. Do you even get the concept? Do you even understand what is at stake here?


6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One must wonder if there is more than meets the eyes here. Could it be that Derek is just frustrated that he will never be 1/10th the photographer that Oleg is?

While I'm saddened to see all of the hubbub over control of THR, it was to be expected. In the forum it was universally known, often reiterated and NEVER DISPUTED, that Oleg was the SOLE OWNER of THR. But what most of the general members did not know was that Oleg had long been only a figurehead, having given the moderators carte blanche to run things as they saw fit with complete immunity.

Sadly Oleg became the Dave Thomas of the gunweb. But then, a tragedy such as this is bound to happen whenever something such as THR becomes too large for one person to handle.

Having said that I hope Oleg quickly regains control. Perhaps he can once again restore it to its rightful place.

Thankfully, A Human Right is still 100% his own. The loss of that site would really be a loss for all mankind.

2:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home