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   Copyright © Ric Einstein 2009





Wine Forum Moderation or Blatant Censorship? – You Be the Judge

As this is now germane to this Short Comment, the reasons and history as to Why I was Banned from Squires/Parker Forum can be found here.

Here are the facts and nothing but the facts; (there is one gratuitous comments by me which is there for the purposes of clarification of the facts).

On the Auswine Forum, Mike Pollard opened a subject for debate and posted a link to the Mark Squires forum, which is hosted on the Robert Parker web site. The Auswine board owner, Gavin Trott is confident enough in the strength of his board to allow links to competing wine boards if the topic is relevant.

The subject “Why have (Australian) Shiraz sales declined?” had came up in a thread on the Mark Squires wine board and I clicked on the link to read the topic on Squires site.

After a few responses, Bob Davis posted this (in answer to the topic originators question):

"Post By Bob Davis  - 09-01-2006, 06:54 PM

Originally Posted by Rick Nelson

Since I'm fairly new on the BB, I checked for previous threads addressing this topic but didn't discover any . . . I'm ITB and have noticed a sharp decline in Shiraz sales over the past year. Why? I've read occasional comments on the BB that Shiraz is "monolithic", "flabby", and "difficult to pair with food." What do you think? I wonder that with so much of it being imported, maybe the market is just too saturated or people are OD'd . . . I thank you in advance for your feedback.


Check out these 2 threads (if this post doesn't get deleted first). Make sure you read the articles Ric wrote that are linked off the page. This got discussed at length."

As twenty fours hours had passed and many more posts had been made in the thread, I thought that Mark Squires had decided to let Bob’s post (with its links) stay, so I sent him an email. Here is what it said.

“Hi Mark,

I  know we have had our differences in the past, but I just wanted to thank you for not deleting that post by Bob Davis (in the "Why have Shiraz sales declined?" thread) that linked to WCWN and subsequent links to my site.

Leaving it there generated a lot of useful debate on your site and helped highlight a massive problem facing the Oz wine industry.

Congratulation on your new role with the WA.  

Cheers Ric”

After sending that email, within a very short period of time, Bob’s post was deleted, but that’s not all. An entire post by David Glasser was also nuked because he had mentioned my name. David’s post said…

“Those were interesting articles Ric Einstein wrote.

I'd been buying and enjoying small quantities of Australian Shiraz for years before the '98s come out. I bought heavily into the '98s, based on my past experience and RP's enthusiasm for that vintage. Over time I simply lost interest in the bulk of those '98s. Most of it was fun, fruit-forward stuff on release, but it got too boring and repetitive to want to keep buying in quantity. And most of it isn't turning any more interesting with age - at least so far. So now I buy a few of the more interesting ones for near-term consumption, but nowhere near the amount I used to.”

 Without having seen the previous posts that had been deleted, Mark Dignam wrote…..

some of you may be interested in reading about the same issues in a local blog,

There are many reasons why there are problems with the medium to higher priced wines, viz:

·         Failure of the Aust industry to market the entry vs. super premium wines separately

·         Too much reliance on Parker Points as a marketing strategy (or an excuse for one) ……Etc etc ……"

The introduction to Mark’s post was deleted too.

And this was where I had originally ended the snippet (except for the last line), but it gets stranger and stranger.  Mike Goldberg posted this post:

"I can't believe nobody else has mentioned these articles on the same subject.




Some good articles on this subject that are right on point."


Notice that the the system software doesn't allow the letters TORBWINE to appear, and the links don't work.


Chuck Haywood then wrote:

"For more opinions on this topic, also check Jeremy Oliver's interview with Paul Henry, the new director of the Australian Wine Export Council, on his website as well as even more extensive writing from an Australian perspective by Ric Einstein on his ******** website which also has many of the comments that John Gorman has discussed. I recently spoke at the Shiraz Alliance in the Barossa Valley a few weeks ago about this very topic and will get my presentation up for others to read very soon."



Mike Goldberg posted another post asking why the software edited the the text and would not let him post the links.  This was Mark Squires Response.


"Originally Posted by Mark Squires
Sorry, but some websites the board software is programmed not to permit mention of.

This one in particular is run by a banned board member who has spent his career attacking me and Robert Parker. I see no reason why on a board I own that Robert Parker pays for should give him advertising."


The above text in Chuck Haywood's post was deleted, leaving a meaningless one line of text. Mark Squires a little later the deleted Mike Goldberg's posts as well as his own response.


For the record, I have hardly "spent my entire career attacking Mark Squires and Robert Parker." What I have done, and will continue to do is two thing. Firstly, continue to write balanced opinions about Robert Parker, and if that includes criticising Mr Parker  from time to time because I disagree with him, then so be it. There are numerous articles on TORBWine, including this weeks article that readers can read and see for themselves if I am expressing a differing viewpoint or Parker bashing. Secondly, all I have said about Mark Squires is the truth, and if Mr Squires thinks telling the truth is bashing, then so be it and I am guilty as charged.

The facts speak for themselves and readers can judge for themselves too.


Feel free to submit your comments!

From: Bob Foster

09/05/2006 18:39:20 It's the same line they used on me 10 years ago. They will not tolerate any serious, content based criticism. When they can't deal with the merits of your comments, they ban you. So much for their professed belief in a full discussion of the issues. Welcome to the club!

From: Brian

09/05/2006 19:32:26 Maybe Mark should change his name to Marvin - the Paranoid Android.

From: GraemeG

09/05/2006 20:39:51 The phrase "Moderator Mark Squires" is the ultimate oxymoron in itself. I laughed at the row of ******; nothing gratifies a fragile ego better than the electronic ability to censor someone who disagrees with you!
cheers, Graeme

From: Pat

09/06/2006 03:50:00 He does seem like a bit of a knob. Have read a few of his responses on the board and he comes across as someone with an ego the size of Texas! Seems as if anyone challenges his way of thinking/belief systems they become public enemy number 1(I think he must have a very fragile mental state). Shame really as its folk like him that give Americans a bad name.

From: Ian Sutton

09/06/2006 17:28:36 No surprises.
Mark Squires will not accept criticism of himself or Parker. It's his site and he feels right to censor it. Fair enough, but it will never count me as a member (and as I've never joined, it kind of excludes any comments he might have about bitterness).

Robin Garr, Gavin Trott, Tom Cannavan and Bert Werdon understand the skills required for moderation and their sites are all the more pleasant for it. Sadly the contributions of many wine lovers on Squires board are mostly spoiled by Squires himself and his unwillingness to moderate out the more anti-social postings - in fact he's one of the worst protagonists.



From: Joe

09/08/2006 09:35:18 I read alot of wine forum and information sites such as this, but this is the first time I've posted on any. I have read Mark Squires forum for about 2 years, and I have not seen worse forum moderation anywhere on the web on any subject, not just wine.

Congratulations Ric, You have something in common with Jancis Robinson. That is being on the receiving end of Mark Squires worst vitriol.

btw I drink only reds:-)

From: Mike Pollard

09/13/2006 13:24:41 The eBob crew are just so weak and petty. That thread was probably one of the best they have had for a long, long time. Its a pity we could not have had it elsewhere and allowed the links to stay, opened it up to comments from retailers, wineries and shippers etc. Could have been a worthwhile discussion that could have helped the industry and the consumer on both sides of the Pacific.


From: Paul Taper

09/20/2006 08:39:14 As you well know Ric, when i asked a simple question on Robert Parker's tasting methods, be it blind or not i was attacked by Mr Squires and his attack dogs. I've never bothered to post there again. Why bother if you dare to disagree or question anything Mr Parker does or says.

From: Serge Birbrair

04/13/2007 18:36:34 TORB,
you were the one who suggested Gavin to ban me and now you whine like a bitch because Squires done to you what you asked gavin to do to me!?
I am glad Squires has nailed your hypocrite ass and I bet that your pippy is too small to post this on your website.
I am making a copy of this post and cc it on other wine boards so everybody can see your flaccid little pipy.

TORB Responds:

This thread is continued here.

Copyright © Ric Einstein 2006