I just received a very disturbing PM from aportnoy in which he told me that he won't be posting at SF anymore. I'm sure all the regulars here in the forum have noticed how the atmosphere at SF has significantly deteriorated since the Vass USA incident, but I consider it seriously alarming if a valued SF member announces his departure, who has made plenty of useful, interesting and pleasant contributions. Now I have got my very own opinion on Vass shoe quality, Vass USA, Steve B.s infamous "blabbermouth" comment, and the personal or professional integrity of Andrew Harris and Gabor Halmos. I have not made them public, because I know that my comments can be far too caustic for many of the disagreeing members to digest. I also have read too many caustic comments from others to ignore the fact that mine would be but oil into an already huge inferno. However, may I ask everybody to spend a little thought on the actual value of certain contributions to SF? I see that the threads/postings of Andrew Harris and partly also of Gabor Halmos are considered "hard work" which deserve them compensation, because they introduced (out of pure philanthropy?) the realm of Vass shoes to the forum and thus to "the world". What about those members who out of TRUE benevolence take pictures and write reports, explanations, advisors or descriptions? Those members who happen to have a job outside the SF-realm and who yet give advice and inform others of interesting deals or products without the slightest expectation of an actual compensation? Andrew Portnoy has entertained plenty of SFers with his infamous "weekly shoe damage". He took pictures of his 'magic carpet', has shared his sources and advised others. Are his contributions to the forum worth anything? Are they not good enough to be considered "hard work"? In the pre-crash time I happened to post a picture story about my January 2006 shoe shopping trip to London. When SF was back up I was informed by a certain member that he'd appreciate if I'd repost the pictures, but only if I leave out my copyright markings. Now how crude is that? I am good enough for posting the pictures, but I better don't bother anyone with the fact that I am the one who took them? Hard work or just bollocks? I never reposted the pictures. I consider my time rather valuable and I won't provide its fruits to those who can't live with the little reminder of who did the actual work. We've got quite a few members that make considerable efforts to inform or at least entertain the community far beyond the omnipresent pseudo-witty remarks. The majority of these members is neither seeking immediate or future financial compensation, nor personal recognition. They just enjoy sharing their knowledge/experience and/or helping out fellow people. However, they don't want to be taken for granted or else they'll leave. The "Vass USA vs. Global Market" issue has poisoned the forum rather badly. The things that happened to the "Sartorialist shoots you" thread are a perfect example. As long as those posters with an actual (more or less obvious) agenda are receiving recognition, the guys who do it just for the love of the game should even more so. Now I suggest we do our best to keep Andrew Portnoy from leaving and let's hope there are ways to repair the damaged atmosphere. Andrew hasn't posted for four days, yet not one has stood up to make a comment in his favor. I don't know how you feel, but *I* want the "blabbermouth" back! NOW!