Last updated: 15 October 1999

As I state on the current ETX-125EC Feedback page, my ETX-125EC and NexStar5 postings have generated a lot of email. This is good; I welcome both the pros and cons. However, there is an undercurrent there that we all need to be aware of. I've been asked many times over the three years this site has been online to do an "editorial page"; the controversy that is brewing has prompted me to finally do just that. Keep in mind that this EDITORIAL PAGE is just that. It is MY area to say whatever is on MY mind. Comments are welcome of course. I have no idea how frequently I will write something nor what the topics might be. But recent events have provided me with material for this first one.

On 12 October 1999, I posted my comments from a "telescope party" where I had a brief chance to use several Meade ETX models and the Celestron NexStar5. On 13 October 1999, I posted a DRAFT "specification comparison" for the ETX-125EC and the NexStar5. Very quickly email began arriving. Some emails were supportive. Some were questioning. Some were accusatory. Some called my integrity into doubt. Some called this site's integrity into doubt. Some called Meade's integrity into doubt. Some readers seemed to see a CONSPIRACY THEORY at work in my efforts. Lets analyze conspiracy theories a little bit.

On 13 October 1999, about one hour after posting the spec comparison, Weasner's Mighty ETX Site went offline. Over the next day and a half the site was only intermittently available. On 14 October, it was discovered that the ISP handling the Domain Name Service (how the internet converts names to numbered addresses) had a bad entry for my domain name. That bad entry propagated around the world to other DNS servers. Hum... I post something that someone doesn't like. That someone hacks into the ISP's DNS table and takes my site offline. Gee, I would have never thought that a fellow ETX (or even NexStar5) user would stoop so low. But someone did.

Or was it just a coincidence?

OK, now lets consider this from a different point of view.

What if Weasner took the site down himself so that he could make the above claim that someone who didn't like the postings had hacked the site? Who would know? And of course, no one would expect that Weasner would do this.

But it was just a simple error made at the ISP, right? Other ISPs have made similar errors.

The point of the above is that we could pile conspiracy theory on top of conspiracy theory to prove anything. And that is what some readers seem to be doing. They believe, or WANT to believe, that I am a marketing arm for Meade. They want to believe that receiving evaluation equipment from Meade (or I suppose any vendor) would bias that evaluation. They want to believe that because Meade did the initial, substantial work on the spec sheet, it should not be posted here to allow it to be improved. They want to believe that I have become so biased that the whole ETX site is called into question. They want to believe that Meade would deliberately tamper with a competitor's scope to prove something. They want to believe that ANYTHING that comes from Meade should be called into question. And on and on.

Does Meade get benefits from this site? Sure they do. Do some dealers get benefits from this site? Absolutely. Do negative as well as positive comments from myself and others get posted? Yep. Do I like the ETX? Of course. That's why I started this web site in the first place. Do users get benefits from this site? They seem to. If not, then the last three years have been a waste and I'll stop taking up a lot of my time maintaining the site.

I say the whole thing is a matter of TRUST. I trust the readers of this site to have enough integrity to not hack the site (or ISP). I trust contributors of material to be honest when they say that the material they are contributing is theirs and done with an ETX. I trust Meade, and other vendors and dealers, to be honest with me and you, their customers. Of course, if I learn that this trust is misplaced, readers of this site will quickly know it. And users need to trust that I am trying to provide the best possible support for them on my own time, at my own expense. I will continue to do that however I feel best.

Finally, it will be nice to get back to actually USING the ETX, reviewing products, and yes, beta testing products for Meade and others. Contributions of material are always welcome. By continuing to work together we can continually improve this ETX user support site.

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Copyright ©1999 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/ed-ops/editorial.html