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Lucas
Hi everyone, 
 
It’s a pleasure to see that some of you feel able to give us feedback on what we do and communicate amongst each other on the forum. We always keep an eye on it and we try our best to get the most out of what you say. I just want to highlight that while most of it is constructive, some people here are clearly just negative and do not want to establish a dialogue. 
 
I have been involved in the Warwick Rowers project for almost 4 years now, and I am still involved even though I graduated back in July. I can’t tell you how many hours of the past 4 years of my life have gone into trying to better this project, to greater the positive impact it has on society, make interaction with our supporters easier, as well as posing naked. While posing naked may look the easiest, remember that we (contributors) are all exposing ourselves here, voluntarily and for the good cause. We’re all young men with different ambitions & aspirations, and they don’t always coincide with baring all to break down gender stereotype, homophobia in sport and the heteronormative society. We do it because it’s something close our heart and we believe that we can make a difference.
 
I am not telling you this so you all get on your knees to say thank you, but so you can be considerate when you write to us or about us on this forum and also in direct communication with support. We appreciate we are not perfect, we appreciate what we do doesn’t always deliver the best outcome possible for each of you and it’s why we have created this forum, so we can have a more constructive dialogue with our supporters. This forum is not a place for bullying others or bullying us. This campaign is also about acceptance and anti-bullying, so please be aware that when you’re writing here, we read everything and some of the negative comments have been quite discouraging instead of constructive. 
 
I also want to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support you have given for our 10th anniversary campaign, it’s not over yet, but we’re thrilled with some of the positive feedback we have received so far and it can only make us excited for what’s to come.
 
Wishing you all my very best for 2019,
 
Lucas Etienne 
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Pammy
wow i have very appreciate the work, and happy new year too. The people recognize you  in bar, street school….?
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PVogt
Hi Lucas, Great to hear from one of the rowers!  I'm sorry you have sensed some bullying and a lot of negativity. While I have seen comments that may read as  arrogant,  I myself, haven't witnessed what I would call "bullying", however, there are likely some posts that I have missed from time to time that reflect that. If anything, I  have not seen any negativity directed to you rowers, in fact, many have made that clear, that nothing they say is a negative to the rower themselves. I'm sure we all have great admiration for the work and time you guys have put into this over the years and especially you since you have stuck with the project for 4 years!  The only negativity that I have sensed seems to revolve around two areas... 1) a lot of confusion about peoples orders, when they were expected, not receiving tracking numbers, not being clear on what they ordered etc.  and 2) discussion (Perhaps may come across as argumentative ? Hmmmm?)   back and forth from us about the direction WR project seems to be heading. Some like it - some don't. But I think we ALL appreciate you young men doing what you have done. I dare say not many of us would have agreed to nude photoshoots and films so please understand that I really don't think you  rowers yourselves, should take anything personally!  Starting a open forum can sometimes open Pandora's box and not everyone is going to like what they read. Also try to keep in mind, that people who may be unhappy about something may come across as the loudest, whereas people who love or appreciate something , may not offer an opinion. I'd use hotel reviews here in the US as an example. If I took to heart every review I read about a hotel I'd prob never stay anywhere! haha. Many times I've read a negative review after seeing something or going somewhere and thinking - wow I didn't experience that at all!  Yet.. a forum is  a forum  for us  to express ourselves.  I suppose its easy for me to say all this. As I think about it, I could imagine that if I did nude photoshoots and films with my friends and people "complained" about some things - even along with all the good, that maybe it would sting me as well Lucas. I'm glad you are happy with most responses however. And again, we all surely appreciate the work and effort of you "boys" , and the whole camera crew and behind the scenes folks in the big picture, or we wouldn't be here in the first place but I am sorry that some of it has bothered you.   Hugs all around! 








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John RW
Thankyou for your words, Lucas, and your contribution and that of the rowers over the years. 
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emerson
Hi lucas, Thank u very, very much for your work. Its admired and apreciated. 
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NickWigorn
Well said Lucas.
You guys are amazing and the work you do is so important and very much appreciated.  Please do not let any negative comments change the way you do things.  There is still a lot of work to do and you are doing it brilliantly. Happy New Year to you and all the guys! 👏👏💪💪👊😉
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GregoryBS
Hi Lucas. I have been a supporter of the rowers for many years. I became even more interested when Sports Allies began doing its very good works. As an older gay man, I still remember what life was like in high school and college sports, and I am so please to know all of you are trying to make a change in those attitudes. I also very much enjoy looking at all of you and hearing you tell your stories. I felt sad reading your post today. I have not been reading posts on the forum with regularity because I thought the negative ones were hurtful and missed the point of what you young men are trying to accomplish. Forums often bring out the worst in some people. Politics here in the USA has sunk to a place where people say appalling things about others. The Warwick Rowers challenge very ingrained attitudes and put yourselves naked on the front lines. So you won't always be thanked for doing that. But I want to thank all of you for what you do. Some of us really appreciate it, and will continue to support your efforts. I wish you all the best.
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teacher56hr
Dear Lucas and everybody else involved in this fantastic project. I am afraid I haven't been very active on the forum, partly because of lack of time but mostly because I had nothing to complain about😉. I belong, as PVogt indicated, to a pleased majority, happy with what you do but lazy to state it on the forum. So, finally I would like to thank all of those wonderful people who have been doing so much good for years now. There is a proverb in my country which says that a person hasn't been born who can please everybody. I think that what you have been doing is fantastic and important at several levels. So, if what I had ordered didn't come exactly on the day envisaged or the lighting wasn't perfect on a photograph (this is just for example - the photographs are all fantastic) I don't think I should complain. A campaign like this is extremely difficult to manage and so much can go wrong, so we, supporters, should be more understanding and grateful for this wonderful gift provided by Angus, the boys and the rest of the team. I hope that you will keep up the good work for many years to come. THANK YOU!
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bejjinks
I haven't known what to say in response to Lucas. I have seen some negativity but nothing that I would consider bullying. Either those posts are in threads I haven't read or the negativity I've seen has been more rude and disrespectful but my definition of bullying is more extreme. (I've been physically tackled, had my shoes stolen, been chased with glue balloons and other more extreme forms of bullying.) I'm not trying to belittle Lucas's experience. I just don't feel like I understand enough to really speak.

The negativity I have seen has been more like misunderstanding: people expecting the boys to act more like porn stars or people accusing the boys of being porn stars. It seems that there are some people who totally miss the point of what this whole thing is about and therefore forget that these are real human beings with lives that don't revolve around this project.

I hope that I haven't been one who has said anything negative or rude. At least it's not my intention. I don't write "only if I have something to complain about". That's not the reason I joined the forum. I write intending to give constructive feedback to help keep the project going toward it's goal. I write dreaming and hoping for a future in which homophobia disappears, in which the boys can talk about testicular cancer or other subjects without anyone making a judgmental gesture of any kind, not to complain. We're not there yet but we can dream.

I think some of the negativity I have seen is very similar to what I see at work. I work as a cashier and anytime anyone is in customer service, they're bound to encounter people who treat customer service like slaves. I recently had a guy who needed a product from the other side of the store. A coworker went to get that product for him but he immediately started yelling at me to go make that coworker hurry faster than humanly possible. He threatened to fire me. Then he went to other coworkers, one after another, telling them to make me go after the first coworker because he didn't understand that it takes time to get a product from the other side of our huge store. Another time when I was dealing with a customer over the phone, the customer said, "I'm allowed to yell at you if I want. That's what they pay you for." I told her, "No that's not what they pay us for." and I hung up on her. There are only a few customers like that but there are some customers that think that they are not paying for a product or service, but think that they are the queen of hearts, able to order people around and shout "off with her head" for the sheer fun of it.

As a customer service person, I've adopted the attitude that if a customer says, "I will quit being a customer." then I am happy to see that customer go. I let it roll off my back because that's not a true customer. For every one of those queen of hearts customers, there are hundreds of genuine customers that will continue their positive relationship with me.
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Keen Follower
Hello Lucas, nice to hear from you on the forum. I'm sure we all appreciate you taking the time to communicate with us.

I agree with PVogt in that I haven't seen any posts here that could be called "bullying", though I have noticed one contributor acting to slap down anything that might seem to criticise any aspect of the project. The only actual criticism I saw relating to the brave participants in front of the camera were directed at one of the guest "stars".This may be what you were referring to. I thought a lot of those comments were disrespectful, unappreciative and demanding. If I were that participant I would be deeply hurt by what was said, and how it was said.

Other than those comments, I haven't seen anything negative about the participants. Several people (me included) have expressed reservations about how the project is changing. But that's what the forum is for - feedback.

Thank you for your selflessness, bravery and humour during your time before the camera. The personalities have shone through in the films over the years. Perhaps that aspect hasn't come across as much in the most recent film. Feedback ... not criticism!
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PVogt
In follow up to Keen Follower - he brought up an interesting point. Perhaps Lucas is referring to "bullying" in reference to what some of you said about  Robbie Manson deciding not to do full frontal. I thought Lucas was referring to the rowers in general. And if Lucas' comment was about  some of your reactions  about Robbie's  decision , I still don't know I would consider those responses as 'my definition' of bullying though they do certainly come across as complaining and negative.  I believe we ALL will  understand that the words "feedback", "forum", "opinions" -  can be used somewhat interchangeably in this situation. The fine line (I 'think'  this is what is going on here)  is that Lucas and the rowers, Angus  and the rest of the team... that after a while,  negative responses start adding up and that in their minds it segways from "forum feedback" into "forum complaining". I think that's a human defense response for many of us, me included. I expect that I too, would feel like I was being criticized after a while. However, for the good or for the bad, that's the nature of what open forums can do. Not sure what the best solution is here. I am glad that Lucas appreciates overall, the responses,  and sees that's its not all negative , that there are many many positive comments as well. 
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John RW
I understand, as a high-level sportsman, using his real name, why Robbie would not want to go full-frontal, although I would rather he was not used if this was one of his conditions. In Australia most rowers come from church schools who, if the schools are not homophobic, are "conservative" when it comes to the gay community. It is an expensive sport, and the two state schools I taught at no longer row.  I'm disappointed by Warwick University's attitude, but in my experience, institutions don't like anything that is a success that is outside of their control. I'm not sure when "positive" feedback becomes "negative" feedback, and I think criticism of the delivery of the calendar and book this year is certainly warranted. I am more than happy with the quality of the product and the delivery of the online product, and I also appreciate the contribution of the rowers, their guests and the production team. I am also appreciative of Angus' honesty on this forum about what is happening with the Warwick Rowers.
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bejjinks
PVogt wrote:
that after a while,  negative responses start adding up and that in their minds it segways from "forum feedback" into "forum complaining".


We need to be careful that we don't start "diagnosing" what Lucas meant. We don't know what specifically he is referring to. It might not seem like bullying to us but we don't have his eyes. We can't read "their minds". The very attempt to tell Lucas how Lucas ought to think might be what Lucas is seeing as bullying. Only Lucas can answer that.
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