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A Use for Older Hashers

For a few years there, traveling hashers had a good run (so to speak): the internet made it easy to hook up with hashes around the world.  Kennels everywhere put up web sites, publishing calendars, contacts, and good-time photos.

No good deed goes unpunished, as too many of us are finding out.  There are reports of cops looking up hash start and on-after locations, then setting up DUI check points.  Outsiders with axes to grind have used web sites to track down individual hashers and do them harm.  Ex-spouses . . . well, you can imagine.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, when hashers ask webmasters to pull sensitive information from hash web sites.  What’s sensitive?  Contact information, for sure: phone numbers, e-mail addresses, real names.  Hash start locations and times.  Photos of people drinking beer.  When you get right down to it, just about anything on a hash web site can be used against us.

More and more hash kennels are shutting down their public-access web sites and going over to members-only Yahoo e-mail groups and HashSpace pages.  Some hashes are getting rid of telephone hotlines.  A few hashes are going completely off-line.  If trends continue, hashing will go back to the underground days, when traveling hashers had to rely on word of mouth to find out about hashing in other cities, states, and nations.  Shit, that’s how it was when I started hashing back in 1988.  There has to be a better way.

Who gets hurt when bad people gain access to potentially-damaging hash information?  Younger hashers, primarily: those with careers, marriages, kids, car payments, and mortgages at stake.  Who can blame them for wanting to be anonymous?

Ah, but who doesn’t get hurt?  Older hashers.  Hashers with their careers behind them.  Hashers with little to lose, should anyone come after them.  Hashers like my friend Tongueless.

Tongueless pulled down the Marin HHH web site when park rangers began showing up at events and making trouble.  He put up a new Marin HHH site that lists just one thing: his e-mail address.  When people contact him for information on hashing in Marin, he uses his experience and judgment in deciding whether to answer them or not.

At last, here’s an area where old, tired, DFL hashers can be of some use: having less to lose, they make great points of contact for the hash.  They also make great guardians, keeping the wrong people from getting information about their fellow hashers . . . they know hashing and hashers well enough that if an outsider tries to con them for information to use against hashers, they smell the con a mile away.

If you’re a hash webmaster and you’re starting to feel pressure from your fellow hashers about the type and amount of information you publish, by all means switch over to a members-only site on Yahoo or HashSpace, but don’t forget out-of-towners who might want to come hash with you some day.  Keep a public site up on the internet, listing one or two points of contact.  Ask the older harriers and harriettes to be those points of contact.

G knows, they’re not good for anything else (Tongueless excepted), and most of them will be proud to serve.

- Flying Booger

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