Whew! Talk about an uproar! Yesterday afternoon the derby community was shocked and upset (myself included) after Roller Derby Test O’Matic (RDTOM), a popular website and app widely used internationally by the Roller Derby community to learn the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s (WFTDA) convoluted rule set, announced that they were shutting the site down and discontinuing their free apps after receiving a letter from a law firm representing the WFTDA.
RDTOM gives completely randomly generated questions based on the most recent WFTDA rule set and if you get the answer wrong it directs you to the exact rule section, on the official WFTDA website, that you need to review in order to understand why you answered incorrectly. It is an INCREDIBLE resource that made learning and understanding the often overwhelming rule set much less harrowing.
Word of the announcement quickly spread and Facebook exploded! Needless to say, derby folk across the globe were upset and did not delay in expressing their disappointment. Things have been resolved, but not before the storm hit derby circles on social media sites.
Less than 3 hours after making the original announcement on Facebook, Roller Derby Test O’Matic’s post received a direct response by Juliana Gonzales (aka “Bloody Mary”) of the WFTDA in which she apologized for an error made on her part in regards to this matter.
“Hi everyone, this is Bloody Mary from WFTDA. I’m so sorry this has happened, and in this way.
I personally authorize those letters from the WFTDA lawyer, and so if we made a mistake that is on me, and my failed radar. I’ll go look back through emails and reach out to the Test O Matic crew directly, and we’ll work it out.
Before I get to it, I wanted to apologize publicly to Test O Matic for what is most certainly my mistake. I’m very sorry for the issues my carelessness has caused for you. (And so glad to see everyone be so supportive of your work!)”
Response to the apology has, of course, been divided. While some were overjoyed and quick to forgive, others were unconvinced and remain unimpressed.
I for one would like to applaud Bloody Mary for publicly admitting to her mistake. She took ownership of her responsibility with personally authorizing letters from WFTDA lawyers and apologized for her carelessness on this occasion. As I’m sure many have experienced before, it is never easy to make such a mistake, or realize an error of judgement, in the public forum. Some may work hard to cover up their blunder, others might make a series of extravagant excuses. If you’re the mayor of Toronto you may opt to sarcastically say: “How about, I am so sorry? Super, super, super sorry?”. If you’re a celebrity perhaps you’d instead spend thousands of dollars to sky write an apology. Bloody Mary chose a simple, more honest, less defensive approach. It is refreshing to see!
So, the good news to take away from all of this is that Bloody Mary has said she will “go look back through emails and reach out to the Test O Matic crew directly, and we’ll work it out.” Maybe all of today’s discussion will also be a push for the WFTDA to work hard on making their rule set more reader friendly so that things like RODTOM aren’t as essential. In the meantime, come back, RODTOM! It’s fresh meat season and they have rules to learn!
Seriously though, that rule set is often a monster of a head scratching read…