Perth Skeptics is a meetup group that was founded in 2009 by Kylie Sturgess aka the "Token Skeptic" and although I have been a member of this group since 2009 and still attend some events it has been my policy since 2011 never to help or assist the Perth Skeptics in any official capacity due to a conflict with Kylie in 2011.
However things have now changed for the Perth Skeptics and the Token Skeptic is out. On the 23rd of September I was handed this leaked email by an anonymous source:
Your Organizer, Kylie Sturgess, sent the following message to some members of Perth Skeptics: Paul Wright was kind enough to let me know what was going on - I don't hold any grudges, I just want to finish this and move on with my life. Sadly, today is the day that I discovered that people have an issue with my spending hundreds of dollars since 2006 to run a group, and not having the time to take part in certain (not all) events run. Often I just never hit "will be attending" on the Meetup page. My not taking part was due to podcasting, blogging and studying radio and design in order to promote skepticism, atheism and the like - but over the past year and a half, I was less keen to join in on Meetups after being stalked by a former member, who even impersonated me on Facebook and contacted members of my class using my name, at the start of last year. Without my knowledge, I was removed from the public Facebook page this week for the group, and accused of not being communicative, despite asking to discuss matters privately. The Meetup group for Perth Skeptics will close tomorrow, due to the actions of that one member who announced their dissatisfaction with the group. I wish everyone the best with their future endeavours. If anyone wants to take over the group, do so with my blessing. I'll leave it for the end of tomorrow to remove myself from the group. The next payment for the Meetup is in November, if it is continued.
Nobody seems to know who her stalker is, but if she knows their identity (as she apparently does) then getting the police involved should be a trivial matter. Although I personally have doubts about this claim due to my past dealing with her. Whatever the truth to these claims it is Kylie's choice if she wishes to withdraw from the group, she even offered to hand it over so the other organisers who have devoted considerable time over the past few years could continue running it. If only things were that simple.
On the 26th of September all members of Perth Skeptics received the following email:
Dear Perth Skeptics,
Well, it's been an interesting five years running the Perth Skeptics Meetup group and now that time has come to a conclusive end!
This hasn't been an easy decision to come to and I have relied on the advice of a few friends over the past few days who have suggested that this is the best course of action for everyone.
I'm shutting down and removing the Perth Skeptics Meetup from the Meetup site entirely, leaving it up to other groups to create their own new name for new groups, if they wish to.
A new group not called the Perth Skeptics will have several benefits: people can start afresh with new projects, new ideas and a brand new name, with their own impetus. -Kylie Sturgess, via email
Really, what ever happened to allowing the group to continue? This is the old "If I can't have it, nobody can!" mentality which is to be expected from children not grown adults. Particularly laughable is Kylie's insistence that the name Perth Skeptics no longer be used if she is not in change.
As one long term organiser pointed out.
I can only speculate from what I know of Kylie Sturgess and my own dealings with her that the deleting of the Perth Skeptics meetup group was done purely out of spite.
5 years of history, 152 successful events and over 200 members simply deleted.
However contrary to what she may believe Kylie does not own Perth Skeptics, yes she may have started the meetup group and payed it's registration fees but that a lone does not make it exclusively hers especially when so many people have all contributed over the years. So Perth Skeptics is simply going to continue without her. This unfortunately means recreating the meetup.com page from scratch but that's the best we can do at this stage. You can now find us at http://www.meetup.com/Perth_Skeptics/
My policy not to promote or assist Perth Skeptics expires with Kylie's departure. So I will be offering my assistance and advice on raising the groups profile in the near future. Which includes firmly cementing the groups identity as Perth Skeptics.