Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Publish and be damned

Err…hello world, if you’re still there. I’m not coming back to blogging but it seems I have a final post to make. I actually wanted to write on this subject for at least the last sixth months of my blogging life but it had the potential to be so horrendously political that I wussed out. But now, bwhahaha, I don’t give a damn (I do miss you folks, by the way).

One of the topics that often floats around the blogosphere concerns the nature of disagreement between bloggers. Larísa wrote one a long time ago on Blogging PVP, Grimmtooth wrote up his typical calm take on the matter, and just lately Alas has waded into the fray. You can plot these posts pretty much on a spectrum with Grim in the middle (oo-er) but, without wishing to open myself to a charge of blog-bullying (or, actually, what does it matter if I do?), I disagree sufficiently strongly with the end of the spectrum covered by Alas’s post that I want to write about it. And to think I thought I was done with this stuff!

Don’t be perceived to be a dick

One of the oft-quote ethical “laws” of the internet, made up by some dude like most internet laws, is, of course “don’t be a dick.” And this is, of course, a wonderful idea. If nobody was a dick the internet would be full of heart-to-heart conversation and intelligent debate! Except “being a dick” is not an objective state. You can no-more point at somebody and say “he’s being a dick” than you can point at a shade of purple and say “yep, that’s definitely lavender.” Or, at least you can but you have to also accept that someone will come along any minute and say “no, that looks more like heliotrope to me.” I mean, to reference blogging drama long dead (as I intend to do often in this post, by the way) one of the points of contention in the whole Frostgate thing was the notion that he had set a bad example through his behaviour. However, this whole line of argument rests on the assumption that his behaviour WAS bad. Whereas more accurately it might be said: “some people perceived that his behaviour was bad.” Frost didn’t set a bad example to me because I didn’t think he behaved all that badly.

The problem with the law of be notteth a dicke is that it gives us a glib soundbite and allows us to forget that such things are largely subjective. Of course I’m not arguing that some things are not definitely dickly BUT when it comes to the complexities of human interaction “don’t be a dick” is basically equivalent to “behave in a way I like.” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this – we all like people to behave in ways we approve – BUT it cannot constitute a universal law of ethical or social conduct.

There’s a bit in Beowulf when our hero rocks up to Heorot and Unferth greets him at the door with a bit of light flyting. It’s a rather odd sequence but it goes something like this (forgive the liberties in translation):

Unferth: I heard you entered a swimming competition and you totally sucked!

Beowulf: That’s not true. I was awesome! I was so awesome I not only swam faster than any other man in the universe has ever swum but I killed like eighty million sea monsters as well.

Unferth: Yeah right. You’re totally lying, bitch.

Beowulf: I am totally not lying, bitch. And by the way you fucked your sister and killed your mother.

Everybody else: OMG HE FUCKED HIS SISTER AND KILLED HIS MOTHER.

Unferth:

Beowulf: Pwned.

As is often the case with Anglo Saxon texts I have no idea how we’re meant to interpret this. It’s genuinely hard to tell, isn’t it, whether Beowulf is being a total dick, whether Unferth is being a total dick, if Beowulf has no idea how this flyting thing is supposed to work and whether Unferth had it coming. But ultimately there’s some pretty serious escalation between “you lost a swimming competition because you’re as weak as a little girl” and “you killed your family, fucker!” It reminds me a lot, however, of the way disagreements in the game, and in blogs, tend to pan out. I mean to relate it to Frostgate again, he basically dropped the equivalent of “And by the way you fucked your sister and killed your mother” on his pug. But then he was there to help them kill Grendel Herald Volazj and they reacted by getting all up his in grill when what he really wanted to do was get his badges and go back to Scandinavia.

So what you get there is a case of being-a-dick escalation. Because we accept at face value the great law of don’t-be-a-dick we have to enter every situation like Debbie Does Dallas: looking for the biggest dick around. You win “don’t-be-a-dick” by making sure somebody else comes off as a bigger dick than you and points of contention occur when we can’t decide. Chas commented on Frostgate that if Frost had spent a bit more time tarring his fellow pugees people probably wouldn’t have given a damn. I’m reminded, in fact, of an old post of Chas’s in which he is a total and irredeemable twat to a group of strangers but it’s hard to condemn him for it because he’s gone to such trouble to make sure we could all relate to the awfulness of the pugees.

Another example of this was when I wrote about refusing to rez the whole group after a wipe (back in the days when we had to corpse run, remember those?) and because of that refusal brought the whole group to a screaming halt. One the things that infuriated me about the debate at the time was that I was dead set certain that refusing to run your lazy arse back to your corpse was by far the act of biggest dickliness but many, many commenters were convinced that holding a group hostage to my principles when all they wanted to do was get their badges and get out was far more dickly than the act that inspired my stand.

History is Written by the Whiners

And never have the problems attendant on looking for the biggest dick been more apparent to me than when I read perspectives on the Too Many Annas / Cranky Healer debacle. I mean, there’s not only the commentary in Alas’s post but I also remember a commenter cited it to me once upon a time as an occasion on which a large blogger bullied a smaller one into giving up blogging. Just to refresh our memories, this is what actually happened:

1.Crankyhealer wrote a post inciting members of the blogging community to grief RPers. It was meant as a joke.
2.Anna wrote a post in response to the post. She said it “upset” her, explained why and talked more generally about godmodding and griefing. She also spoke a bit about “bad RP”, and reminded us that no matter how risible half-vampire, half-demon bunny girls are, they are still played by real people. (You could argue, in fact, she is essentially reminding us “don’t be a dick.”)
3.As a consequence of Anna’s post, some of Anna’s more aggressive commenters swarmed over to Cranky Healer’s blog and weren’t very nice to her.
4.The blogosphere factionalised.
5.Cranky Healer CHOSE to stop blogging.

Now I am no way supporting the act of charging over to people’s blogs and yelling at them. HOWEVER, it also strikes me as profoundly unfair to hold Anna responsible for the choices of other people: the choice to attack a blogger (just because something isn’t very nice doesn’t mean individuals don’t have the right to do it) and the choice to stop blogging. Deliberately inciting others to go to a blogger’s blog for the explicit purpose of insulting and attacking them (as, for example, Total Biscuit did when he sent his army of fanboys to Dwism’s blog with the following tweet: "Retard on the internet blogs about how I am a 'sad man'") is one thing. Responding – passionately – to something a blogger has written is another.

Of course, it is not unreasonable to be upset when somebody doesn’t like something you write, nor is it unreasonable to be upset when people leave you nasty comments. But it is important to distinguish between the two. And I have to say it goes with the territory – it’s been something I’ve personally found rather a relief to leave behind, to be honest. It is nice to wake up the morning and have some control over whether somebody is going to say something shitty to you today. But this is a choice - or a sacrifice, if you prefer – you make when you publish something in a public space. You cannot hold other people accountable for your feelings, just has I have never held Alas accountable for the fact the seemingly endless saga of Dino-Tam has always made me uncomfortable as fuck. Just as you have the basic human right to be upset, other people have the basic human right to say things, and do things, that you MAY find upsetting. And I shall just flag up again for emphasis that I am not talking about explicit and specific attempts to attack and wound. I mean I remember quite recently Larísa had a post linked by WoW.com and somebody thought it a completely worthwhile expenditure of his time to write a paragraph about how he thought her post was banal and self-serving. That was nothing but criticism for the sake of criticism; pointless and disgusting. So, yeah, fuck you too, random guy. I hope you trip over a lose paving stone on your way to your unfulfilling job and mildly hurt your knee.

To put to put this whole incident back into the context of “don’t be a dick” what we have is a situation in which Anna called Cranky out on what she perceived as being a dick (inciting people to grief RPers) which several people then interpreted as Anna being a dick to the Cranky Healer. Again, we return to the subjectivity of dickishness – is it “worse” to (mistakenly) do something dickish, than it is challenge someone on it? But then of all this was topped by the fact Cranky Healer chose at that juncture to stop blogging. Now my respect for Cranky Healer leads me not to draw a direct connection between the two events – as it would honestly be pathetic to stop blogging because somebody called you out on a bad thing you did. I think, like any of us, she looked at what blogging is, and what it involves (which is taking a degree of shit because you think the rest is worth it) and decided she didn’t want to deal with it at the time. However, other people chose to establish the link which leads to the following, err, reinterpretation of events: “blogger is SUCH A DICK that it makes another blogger stop blogging.”

What really makes me want to stab my own eyes with a fork is that it is this misreading that seems to have gone down as the official history of what happened. To look at it in bald terms: Cranky Healer “won” because, by choosing to stop blogging, she (unintentionally I’m sure) succeeded in making Anna look, to some people, like a bigger dick than the Cranky Healer. Thus the actual issue – the treatment of RPers in the game – became lost in a welter of meta-textuality about whether it was okay for Anna to write a post about the Cranky Healer’s post in the first place.

Which of course it bloody well was.

It’s what you do with it that counts

Of course, a related issue to the whole debate comes down to the relationship between so-called “big” blogs with smaller ones. Alas writes:

And guess what? If someone is bigger than you are, it’s really easy to feel threatened. To use a real life example, the skinny guy who wears glasses and weighs maybe 90 pounds isn’t going to get taken as a serious threat to anyone who isn’t, like, five years old or younger


The thing is, this analogy cuts both ways. And, although, yes I agree a size differential can make a situation feel unbalanced to the more vulnerable participant ultimately there are plenty of things skinny guys can do to hurt, embarrass and threaten people who are bigger than they are. Bullying is not limited to threats of physical violence, and it is genuinely damaging to pretend that it is, even in analogy.

I mean, I remember a few summers back I was out punting with a group of friends and we went past a bit of the river called Parsons Pleasure which is a nice hang-out spot. There was a group of grim-looking fourteen year olds sitting around there, smoking and drinking, and as we went past one of them took it into his head to call one of my friends a fat cunt. I was out of that boat like someone had set it on fire. They scattered pretty quickly but I was furious enough to grab the kid who’d called out. And I remember standing there, having this struggling, cursing brat by the collar, thinking to myself, “oh shit, what do I do now?” I mean you can see the headlines, can’t you? Twenty Eight Year Old University Employee Beats The Crap Out of Child. I genuinely can’t recall a time of feeling more helpless or impotent. To be honest, I’ve never raised my hand to anyone in anything other than self-defense in my entire life and “Now, see here young man, don’t say rude things about my friends” wasn’t exactly going to cut it. In the end I just had to let him go and slink back to the punt feeling about 2 inches tall.

In short, size and apparent strength are no guarantee of security and it is just as easy for smaller bloggers to upset bigger ones, for example by misguidedly attacking RPers, than it is for bigger bloggers to upset smaller ones, for example, for calling them on their misguided attack on RPers.

Like Larísa, I have to admit I find the notion that relative size should influence our treatment of each other utterly absurd. One of the most liberating things about blogging, I would argue, is that it is an equal playing field – anybody can respond to anybody else. It’s not, y’know, boxing where you can only take people of equal weight or get smashed into the ground. And you may argue that this isn’t true, and that larger blogs have stables of fans, ready to rush forth and emit the prescribed opinion of the blogger, but this actually nonsense. Bloggers are separate entities from those who read them, and, for God’s sake, have some respect for your readers. Last time I checked, they were capable of independent thought. As much as I like the idea of sitting here on my dark throne, saying “Fly, my minions, and disagree with this person until they cry!” I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way. I think we forget just how meritocratic the blogosphere really is. It’s very easy to get all bulverist and assume that Xs readers only agree with X over you because X is popular, but actually we are broadly judged on our content, and that’s exactly the way it should be.

I also dislike the idea of a blogging culture in which size is the thing that matters, and defines how we interact with others. Doesn’t that turn us all into Matticus, wandering around with our subscriber numbers hanging out of our trousers (5th comment from the bottom) so everybody can see? Such a mentality is profoundly harmful to the life and energy of the blogosphere – you leave your bigger bloggers paralyzed with angst over whether they’re going to upset someone and your up and coming bloggers get fewer readers because nobody dares actually send them any traffic. I remember one of my final posts – one of my favourite posts to write in recent times, actually – was about the forthcoming changes – “nerfs” - to the heroic dungeons. I wrote it in direct response to a post I read over on Mauradin Musings, and I wrote it specifically to disagree, loudly and aggressively as is my style. Not long after hitting publish I had a little emotional meltdown and wrote to Janyaa to check she wasn’t weeping into her keyboard and sticking pins into a voodoo doll in a sissy robe. Of course she wasn’t. Duh. She was happy for the discussion, and we exchange a few cheerful emails.

And that was the point at which I realised how fucking stupid things had become. That I didn’t dare respond to posts any more. I mean nothing – to my mind – could have been more innocent or more gentle than Larísa quoting Xeppe on the occasion that she did. And yet no. It upset the blogger to the extent that she made her blog private – which, again, was a bit saddening because I always enjoyed Xeppe’s blog. Once more, as Larísa herself says in her comment, this has been chalked up to the long dark shadow of the big blogger. I genuinely don’t understand this. Even at the end of my blogging life, a link from Larísa, or Spinks, or Tobold – even if they weren’t agreeing with me – made my damn day. For that matter I even like seeing that little trackback from Gevlon or Adam calling me out for being a moron, and/or slacker, or some other flavour of idiot, because at least it reminds me I’m living in interesting times. It is discord, not accord, that keeps us honest with ourselves.

The Rules of Engagement

I suppose a thing that we might pick up from my previous point is that I took the trouble to email Janyaa about disagreeing with her. It’s also something that comes up with reference to the Cranky Healer / Anna issue. Here’s Alas on the subject:

There were plenty of other options for that blogger, including emailing Zel or leaving a civil comment with the reasons why they disagreed with Zel’s post


The thing is, (sorry Janyaa) but there’s an extent to which my email was an act of arrant and self-serving hypocrisy, although not consciously of course. What if she had been upset? Would I have taken down the post, moderated my language? Nope, nope, it’s all nope. I’d have said sorry, of course, and emphasized that it wasn’t my intent to cause distress but there was no way on this earth that the best post I’d written for ages was going away. Also I did email her after the fact so, again, it was more of a “I hope to God you’re not going to take this badly” email than a “I sincerely care about your feelings” message.

Okay, I’m over-stating my case here. Of course I sincerely care about the feelings of other bloggers. But there’s a huge difference in emailing someone to keep lines of communication open – I’ve often had email exchanges with bloggers and commenters when discussion has grown heated in public places – and emailing someone in lieu of writing a blog post. I mean they are both personal choices, one is not necessarily more moral than the other. It’s kind of like when you date somebody’s ex – you can, if you care enough about the other person, let them know but you’re not doing anything wrong by dating the ex in the first place. The point here is that not only you do have a right to date someone's ex, you are fully morally justified in doing it.

But many people seem to believe (as Alas suggests above) that Anna SHOULD have done something other than write the blog post she did. By emphasising options other than blogging, Alas seems to be suggesting that it is inherently more moral to discuss points of contention privately rather than publicly – which is not only absurd, because we are all part of a public community, but harmful to that community because it stifles discussion and imposes arbitrary limitations on certain people but not others. Little bloggers, for example, having the freedom to say whatever they like but bigger bloggers restricted to posting things only with permission.

There's a big difference between "it is courteous to tell somebody you intend to do, or have done, something to which they may have an emotional reaction" and "it is morally wrong to do something to which another person may have an emotional reaction without first seeking their permission.” It’s like saying instead of writing a review of Twilight, in which I castigate it for sucking, I should write privately to Stephanie Meyer and tell her I didn’t like it much, on the off-chance a bunch of people who don’t like Twilight either take encouragement from my review.

I know blogging does not have an established code of ethics but I would in no way expect an email notification of another blogger’s disagreement with me. That notification is already built into the system. It’s called a pingback. The “correct” way to respond to a blog post is by writing a blogpost. If someone says something in a public space that you feel needs to be challenged, there is no point in challenging it quietly. If for example someone writes a blogpost that (however inadvertently) encourages griefing, when you challenge it, you want to address that challenge to the people who read the original post and saw it as encouragement to grief. In an extreme case you might feel you have an actual moral imperative to publicly denounce a public statement you consider to be unacceptable – as I believe was the case for Chas during the wow-feminism ruckus. This is not bullying.

The other thing that makes me suspicious of the whole “there are better ways to respond to a blog post than writing a blog post” mentality is that it seems to be one of those rules that applies to certain people in the blogosphere and not others. I mean it’s fairly easy to call out Larísa for being a big meanie because she’s so nice and you know she’ll at least give you the time of day. But would you do that to Gevlon, or Rohan, or Spinks or Ophelie? Well you could try but you’d get laughed out of the house. And I kind of think that’s fair enough.

Don’t Learn to Read, Learn to Write

One of the points Grim mentions in his post is the importance of L2read. Again, perhaps it is because I am accustomed to having to defend what I write, but one of the things I have tried very hard to avoid – not always successfully I’ll be the first to admit – is whinging, and getting defensive, when readers have taken something away from what I have written that I did not intend to say. And to be fair, written communication being what it is, this happens a lot. And, sometimes, yes, the problem is that someone needs to L2R Noob and you’ll find yourself arguing with someone over something you never said, and certainly never meant. But far more important than L2R, to me, is L2W. And I don’t mean putting your commas in the right place, I mean taking responsibility for what you say and how you say. For the implications – intentional or otherwise – of the words you write, in the context you put them. And this isn’t meant to be a lecture. It is a lesson I am, myself, still in the process of learning.

One of the most difficult things, for me, about this particular post is the fact it takes as its starting point the encounter between Xeppe and Larísa. Yes, there is no particular commentary or judgement about the incident itself BUT nevertheless in presenting a discussion about the inherently threatening nature of large blogs to smaller ones it presupposes the fact that smaller bloggers ARE threatened and that this was an example of that in action. The thing is, I’m genuinely not sure smaller blogs are these shy and vulnerable flowers who would rather close down than experience a moment of conflict - many of us, I am sure, respond to the attention of larger blogs with relish. I know I did.

Mainly, however, I can’t help but feel it’s an incredibly bad example to use. Firstly because it’s profoundly unfair on Larísa who has to be the most diplomatic and generous-hearted blogger out there, and secondly because, although poor Xeppe had to deal with some unpleasant fallout (which makes me sad), the disconnect between Larísa’s link and the consequences of it could not have been more marked. I mean Xeppe writes here:

When a big blogger holds up the work of a smaller blogger to ridicule, my experience of what happens is that a whole lot of the readership of the big blog go across and leave comments on the smaller blog.


This is, err, the ridicule in question:

It's a great list and I won't belittle anyone following it, not at all. It was just that it became clear to me how little I have done. Out of 10 possible points of preparation, I failed at 8. Bad, bad Larísa.
(take from here)

If you want to see a blogger – size irrelevant – hammering, with and without ridicule, another blogger, you can look at RO Versus Codi or RO Versus Adam, neither of whom, incidentally, have been so traumatised by the experience that they felt the need to stop writing, and neither of whom, incidentally, received the courtesy of a “I’m about to disagree with you loudly” note. With hindsight, I do feel quite bad about how fervently we all disagreed with each other but I don’t think any of us believed we acted immorally, unreasonably or unfairly by blogging about it in the way did. If you want to see the real effect of an internet personality actively rallying people to attack someone else, go and read the comments on Dwism’s post here. If anything, what the Larísa example demonstrates is that you can link to someone with the best will and the most innocent heart in the world and sometimes it’ll just go wrong. Should Larísa really be accountable for her readers just because she has some? No.

Of course, what’s interesting about the whole business is that in choosing to situate the discussion in the context of an accusation of cruelty directed at Larísa, what we have here is an excellent example of a smaller blog – however unintentionally - casting a larger blogger as a bully, admittedly through context and implication rather than directly. And, of course, were Larísa to respond this, or blog about it, I’m sure that would only play into the points made in the post, especially because I imagine some of us might want to go to Larísa's defence. It really is a lose-lose situation for the bigger blogger.

If you don’t want to get hit in the face, step out of the ring

I guess it sounds harsh but, seriously, this is what publication – even publication on the internet – is. Do I think it’s right that it includes people who just want to demean you, ridicule you, criticise you and rip you apart? No, I don’t. But attacking our own, accusing each other of bullying, won’t help with that. Blogging is a choice. It’s worth it until it isn’t.

86 comments:

Redbeard said...

Waaaiiit.....

Do I know you?

/inspect Tamarind

Holy crap! It's Tam!

Tamarind said...

"Tamarind is wearing a sissy robe and casting a healing spell."

Larísa said I could come play here occasionally... so here I am :)

Redbeard said...

Good thing, that.

The mental image of you grabbing that kid is something I'd have conjured up out of the old movie My Bodyguard. At the same time, your logic was perfect: okay, now that I've caught him, what the hell do I do now?

Kind of like the time I was driving through a neighborhood and some kids thought it was cute to throw iceballs at passing cars. When the first one hit my car and left a dent, I was out of that sucker like a flash (no, not THE Flash). I didn't catch one of them, mainly because the logic part of my brain said "this can only end badly" and I stopped.

It could have ended up with "who was the dick first?", but more than likely it would have been "so what if they were throwing iceballs, they were kids! you should have known better!" The greater dick would have been me.

Rades said...

I've often thought of the RO/Adam incident as a perfect example of mature blog discussion.

On one hand, it was a textbook example of a blog inadvertently sending furious traffic over to the blog they disagreed with. While Tam/Chas never TOLD anyone to go scream at Adam, it happened. Many readers were incensed by his opinion and went to his site to leave angry comments.

On the other hand, Adam did exactly what bloggers should do when there is such disagreement. He wrote a response. He went to RO to leave comments, and debate his point. But most importantly, he (as far as I know) shrugged and kept writing.

The thing I think many, many people forget is that...if your work is on the internet, and it's not password-protected, you are FAIR GAME.

You cannot get angry at someone who disagrees with your work. You cannot get angry at someone who DISCOVERS your work.

To think otherwise is naive and unrealistic.

I'm reminded of the stupid teenagers who take naked pictures of themselves and share them electronically, and then are shocked when they - surprise! - become public.

Bloggers need to be able to take some negative feedback. It's not a suggestion, it's a fact.

It's not as simple as simply avoiding controversial topics, either. Eventually someone will argue with you about even the most benign of subjects. And if you are the type of person who gets really upset by that...well, that's fine, but perhaps public blogging is not for you.

Don't be a dick is a nice rule. However, it's out of your hands. You can't control what other people will do, and if your blogging enjoyment relies on other people being nice, you're begging for trouble.

Personally? I follow a little rule from comedian Denis Leary. It's crude, but it's true.

"Life sucks. Get a fucking helmet."

Neil said...

Fuck, but I've missed your walls of text, Tam. Nobody does them quite like you.

Also: I agree; there's a big difference between doing something with the intent of hurting someone (dickish!) and doing something that happens to hurt someone (possibly but not necessarily dickish), and saying "I disagree with BloggerX's post about TopicY and here's why" definitely falls into the latter, IMO.

Also: Come back to the Interwebs? Pretty please?

Poneria said...

I'm just going to bookmark this for later when this discussion crops up again in another few months. Because, as always, Tam, you are brilliant and say pretty much all I want to say.

But I'd like to point out that Xeppe did not want to get hit in the face, so she then stepped out of the ring.

Which is exactly what people keep saying -- and yet still painting the smaller blogger in a bad light for it. Just like people defending the smaller blogger paint the bigger blogger as the Bloodlust keybind for internet trolls.

I'd wish people would stop dragging Xeppe & Larisa (or Anna & Cranky) back through the shitty drama that's clearly over between the two parties involved. For fuck's sake, people, LET IT GO ALREADY.

Linedan said...

Amen, Tam. You nailed it.

Good to see you in the blogosphere again, even part-time.

Disciplinary Action said...

A friend and I were just discussing how much we wished you could come back and weigh in on the matter, Tam, and poof! Wish granted!

I write a blog that really doesn't create any controversy (although someone once wrote me a *very* angry email that I should change the color of Kachunk's hair), so it's been difficult to form an opinion either way on this debate.

Our blogs are so much an extension of our person, though, that it is incredibly difficult to separate our feelings from our posts, and I'm sorry but not surprised to see so many hurt feelings on all sides of the issues touched on here.

The only thing I think to add is a gentle reminder to all of us: Big bloggers were once small bloggers.

If the larger can try to remember what it felt like to be new and vulnerable, and the smaller can try to remember that the larger has been in their shoes, perhaps we'll all be just a touch sweeter to one another, even while we have a jolly time disagreeing ad infinitum.

It's charming to see you, Tam, even if it's ever so brief a glimpse.

Kayeri said...

Good to hear from you, Tam, and thanks Larisa, for giving him space when he wants to say something. Good article, thoughtfully put, and it makes you think.

Suicidal Zebra said...

Very much disagree. Advocating that a blogger with a larger reach should not be cognisant of that reach when criticising directly another blogger is about as myopic a position as I think you can take whilst still trying to advocate building any form of 'blogging community'.

As for promoting your very special brand of asshole chicken, in-game and out, I'm glad that most people are above it. If you've been a dick, to the extent that you say to yourself "I've just been a dick", that's about as objective as you're going to get. Holding that up as some sort of virtue (as happened with Frostgate) is idiotic both from an educational and moral standpoint.

Frankly, if a pseudo-intellectual defense of "lets all be an arse, whoever quits first loses" is what we lose when you stop blogging, nothing of value was lost.

Rilgon Arcsinh said...

I think we forget just how meritocratic the blogosphere really is.

Really? I can't think of a less meritocratic system than maybe the federal government. Since you choose to use Frostheim as an example in defense of your point, let me then use your same source as ammunition against it.

I'm certain you know of the clash between Frostheim and myself until I essentially gave up blogging in the WoW community. My stance - as it always was and always has been - was that he routinely published articles with false premises, refused to listen to discourse on how he was wrong, and refused to credit anyone if he ever allowed himself to be corrected. My challenges on this were rather frequent, and yes, I'll admit that I was pretty damn relentless on it. That said, however, we can all tell how the community and the blogosphere allied - it only takes a look at any blog where I commented on the Frostgate fiasco to realize that any time I criticize Frostheim, it's out of "jealousy" because he got the Wow Insider job and I didn't.

You know, despite several articles at SES that were nothing but revisements of Scattered Shots articles - dispelling inaccuracies, correcting erroneous math, and most importantly, critically analyzing and proving my own work, something that Frostheim to date still refuses to do when called on an inaccuracy. Furthermore, there was also the attempt to hold an open discourse about it by Brigwyn. My piece was open and honest - I have no problem with Frostheim as a person (well, I did before his guild raided and crashed RP servers and he inconvenienced at least 4 people un-apologetically and bragged about it), I have a problem with Frostheim as a writer. And yet, where did the blogosphere side? On the side of the person with mathematical assertion of the facts, the one whose platform was one of "show your work"? Nope! They sided with the one that had a PODCAST! and a PAID WRITING GIG! and a GUILD!.

The WoW blogging community has never been meritocratic. I've actually shied away from Stabilized Effort Scope as a publication solely for that fact. I have actually genuinely been embarrassed by the fact that I could be considered a "WoW blogger" when I see the behavior of some other bloggers. It wasn't even attacks from the community (and don't get me wrong, I endured more than my fair share of those, believe you me), it was the attacks and in-fighting between bloggers themselves. The cliques. The spitefulness. The "our way or the highway" mentality. People that would unilaterally defend a publication that steals content from blogs without accreditation (WoW Insider) just because it had financial backing.

So no. The WoW blogosphere is something, but it certainly is not meritocratic.

And Frostheim was still wrong, by the way.

Ratshag said...

Got mebbe a third of the way through this, and thought to meself, 'Self? What's up with Larisa today? Sounds like she be hopped up on caffeine and five shots of top-shelf vodka." Then I saw what it were Tam writing it and thought, "oh, okies, that makes sense now."

Hiya Tam.

Analogue said...

I have always held that extreme pacifism is a tactic that only works if your opponent is a basically decent person. That Ghandi could accomplish his goals against the English, and not to denigrate those struggles at all, but that to fight Nazis you need bigger weapons. The same holds in the blogosphere; people who get offended and write notes and blogs and such about being offended will get a response from basically decent folks, but the really bad ones won't even care.

The "duty" - it's not a duty at all of course - of good-willed blog readers, commenters, and writers is to patronize blogs of good will and not patronize those of bad will. Of course sometimes the bad-will blogs are more insightful or interesting than another round of "here's a screenshot of my new shoulders, here's a post about my day". And so we read things where one person attacks another, or dishes up some good blog drama, instead. There's a reason why the Frostheim thing still resonates across the community. Drama requires two or more sides to an issue. When there's no debate, there's no life left.

I'd say all parties should take a hard look at themselves. If you're offended, step back and ask yourself whether you are being reasonable and look at it from the other side. If you're being accused of being offensive, make up your mind whether you are, and decide what you are going to do about the perception of being offensive, whether that means taking down a post or putting up another one clarifying.

But please, let's not stop arguing amongst ourselves. Ever. Because then all we will have is sycophants or trolls and that's not hardly healthy.

Tamarind said...

@Redbeard
Yep, I wish the brain had kicked in before I was standing here holding a kid and suddenly realising there is literally nothing you can do without being, and looking, the biggest git in the universe.

Damn kids. GET OFF MY LAWN.

Angry Gamer said...

Analogue is right keep arguing!

I may indeed blog in the future... and one of my ideas is to have regular troll feeding times with comment moderation off!


Blog Angry my friends
Blog Angry

Tamarind said...

@Neil - thank you, but it's just a flying visit, tbh. I had something specific I wanted to write so I did. It was nice to pop back though - and see that things are pretty much exactly the same. I'd forgotten how much sheer time blogging takes though!

Zelmaru said...

As I was reading through first Alas's post (and comments) and then Tam's post (and comments), this is something I commented on before, but I feel like I need to repeat it. But in TL;DR.

(1) If bloggers need to have thick skin, and take criticism, you're going to have a more and more homogeneous group as the more sensitive members with valid opinions self-select out of the pool.

(2) Self-selecting out of the pool is a bad thing. Unlike when someone flunks out of school for being dumb, and we were probably better off that he didn't become a bad doctor, we are NOT better off as a blogosphere when people are driven off by hostility.

(3) Sometimes you don't know that what you're going to say will offend someone. You shouldn't have to edit your articles like you're a politician just to avoid any possible angle of controversy. Otherwise, our speech would be constrained by overly-paranoid editing, and some articles wouldn't come out at all.

(4) We can't act on something until we know it's a problem. And the choices a blogger makes when he or she finally DOES find out it's a problem are what count.

And finally, as I was reading over memory lane of RO v Codi (which I wouldn't have occasion to recall but for this post), I realized that Tam and I have vastly different views of OK behavior. That exchange (post, comments, and then comments on Codi's blog) was not OK in my book. It was bullying.

Tracey said...

@Larisa - Ah, my dear. I hope this sort of emotional altercation won't drive you away from the blogosphere. Perhaps the sting of these kerfuffles can be lessened by the knowledge that at least some of your readers (me!) feel their days are improved by reading your posts - upbeat, reflective, weary, serious, lighthearted, or personal, as the mood strikes you. I don't normally hug non-family, but may I offer you a comforting mug of warm milk (or drink of your choice - and not in your own inn, but as my guest, for just a moment)?

Tam said "The “correct” way to respond to a blog post is by writing a blogpost." I wonder if having these arguments via comment does more harm than good...

@Tam - Thanks for a thoughtful, strongly worded position. I miss your blog... One piece I MUST highlight: "Should Larísa really be accountable for her readers just because she has some? No." QFT. Some of these arguments are more about the response of the various readers/commenters (and wandering trolls) than about the original parties' posts or followups.

Tamarind said...

@Poneria
Thank you, nice to see you :)
Looking back over this post I wonder if I expressed my take on the Xeppe/Larisa clash badly. Don't get me wrong, I completely support her in withdrawing her blog (aside from a selfish sadness that I could no longer read it, of course) and I can completely understand why she did it. There's nothing quite like getting, err, unexpectedly hit in the face to make you think that blogging isn't worth it. But I also think we can't blame Larisa for it - it's not like she sent an army of angry monkeys over there to make Xeppe feel bad.

Tamarind said...

@Linedan
Thank you - and good to see you :)

Matticus said...

"I also dislike the idea of a blogging culture in which size is the thing that matters, and defines how we interact with others. Doesn’t that turn us all into Matticus, wandering around with our subscriber numbers hanging out of our trousers (5th comment from the bottom) so everybody can see? "

I prefer to not think of it as subscriber numbers. I look more of it as the number of people who I've helped become better at this game on a regular basis.

As for the intent of the comment that was made a _YEAR_ ago, it was to acknowledge that I remain conscious that any factual mistakes are known quickly and largely to anyone. It's not like I'm going through everyone of my posts or everyones blogs and putting down HEY I HAVE OVER X NUMBER OF SUBSCRIBERS AND FOLLOWERS. Its one metric I use to measure stuff, but it isn't the only one.

Tamarind said...

@Disc Action
Yes, it's what happens if you say my name three times while standing in a black pentagram and sacrificial a chicken. It's just a flying visit, tbh.

I have to say I find your anti-smite pretty damn controversial ;) Although actually since the patch not so much.

The thing is, I think you have to be bloody lucky to write a blog without controversy - perhaps comics are the answer to all our angst. I remember saying to Alas once that you could probably write a post about much you love sunshine, rainbows and kittens and somebody would rock up specifically to tell you stupid you are for liking them.

Also I don't think anyone every really thinks of themselves as a "bigger blogger" - I mean I know some people though we were one, but I never felt like I was doing anything than blogging out my backyard.

Oestrus said...

Oh, Self-Righteous Orbs. How I have missed you!

Let's begin.

I seem to remember a conversation that you and I had a while back, regarding the RO vs. Codi debacle that you two instigated (more on that later) and me being of the belief that a person can make the choice to be offended by something or not and you firmly believing that such a thing was not possible.

Now here you are, stating that you were not affected or offended by the Frostheim scandal, because you believed that he did not do anything offensive. You then go on to say that "we all like people to behave in ways we approve – BUT it cannot constitute a universal law of ethical or social conduct" sort of like you were trying to do back then and have continued to do since. Hell, you have made a career out of it!

Another winner from you: "Now I am no way supporting the act of charging over to people’s blogs and yelling at them." I call bullshit on this one, too. You even go on to support this by making another wraparound comment of "With hindsight, I do feel quite bad about how fervently we all disagreed with each other but I don’t think any of us believed we acted immorally, unreasonably or unfairly by blogging about it in the way did." So you feel bad about it, but not enough to admit that you acted in a way that was not terribly appropriate given the situation. Way to have your cake and eat it, too.

You had no problem writing a post that you knew you were writing for a fan base that is insanely loyal and devoted to you (even to demeaning ends, no less) and you chose to wrap that post in clips and phrases that would be seen as incendiary and would motivate people to respond to the person that you were criticizing. You knew full well you were doing that and trying to hide behind the modest "Gosh, we didn't think we had any readers that would do that" is reckless and extremely tacky.

Of course you believe that a large blogger should not be responsible for the comments that their followers generate because you yourself have made a habit of doing that and have benefited from it. Why would you be against such a practice?

The very idea that you would think you're even remotely qualified to discuss blogging politics or decorum is such a laugh to me and if this was what you felt was enough motivation to bring you out of hiding and post then I sincerely hope that you never come across such a waste of inspiration again.

Tamarind said...

@Suicidal Zebra
I would like to answer these points but you haven't really made any - just bald assertions with which I am having a hard time engaging.

Also I think the post you're referencing with reference to Frostheim was written by Chas, not by me. I don't think anybody has ever tried to say the guy is a pattern of virtue. He's kind of a dick but I don't think the fact that his brand of dickliness has garnered him a large audience means he has a greater responsibility than the rest of us to bend over and lets pugs have their way with him.

I, err, have no claims to being a loss to the blogosphere. I'm just someone who wrote some stuff once.

Tamarind said...

@Kayeri, Thank you, and as I said, it was just a flying visit. But, it's, err, nice to be back. Well, occasionally.

Tamarind said...

@Rilgon Arcsinh
I'm afraid, being a healer, hunter-tension slipped me by, and I pay very little attention to what goes on with WoW Insider. But I'm really sorry to read this - and no wonder you're bitter, and disillusioned with the blogosphere. I guess I have been largely insulated from this sort of thing because I have only ever really been a frivolous blogger.

I guess ... though ... and I don't mean to sound glib in saying this ... I'm not sure we can say something is not a meritocracy because it did not go our way. I mean yes there are problems in the system but you can't, for example, argue that publishing isn't a meritocracy because shit gets published and your own novel does not.

I guess the weird thing about a meritocracy in practice is that you (you in the general, not the specific sense) don't get to define what the meritocracy rewards. I mean we don't get to say where other people will find merit, or what they value.

I mean WoW Insider is a for-profit organisation - they would not have specifically chosen the inferior hunter blogger. Presumably they chose the most, err, saleable hunter blogger.

Tamarind said...

@Ratshag
Avast tharr Ratters... and, yes, I don't think the PPI has seen this much cussing since ... well ... ever. I feel quite guilty.

Rilgon Arcsinh said...

I mean WoW Insider is a for-profit organisation - they would not have specifically chosen the inferior hunter blogger. Presumably they chose the most, err, saleable hunter blogger.

That's precisely the point, and precisely why this is not a meritocratic enterprise - at least, if you assume that it is decided on merit of "who can condense the often arcane and mathematical theories behind Hunter DPS down for the masses the best but still back their assertion up with fact if called on it".

I know as much as anyone that Frostheim was chosen because he would bring more eyeballs to the space. It's the same reason things like Jerry Springer exist.

Neither one is a good thing, though.

Klepsacovic said...

I read almost none of the blogs you mentioned and I think I'm glad of that.

Why would I want to read a lot of whining and drama? I can get that on my own blog.

Tamarind said...

@Zelmaru

I don't mean to sound harsh but the contribution of someone who can't take criticism in a critical discussion is ... well ... worthless. And I'm not talking about attack or abuse here - nobody should have to take that (although, sadly, as I said in the post, it comes with the territory). You can't have a situation in which some people are allowed to say controversial things but other people are not. Essentially you're conflating two different issues which are: homogeneity of opinion and homogeneity of approach. Homogeneity of opinion is, of course not desirable but if people have an approach to the community which means they cannot engage in a reasonable discussion then having them self-select out benefits the community. It's, like, um teaching. Obviously you want a wide and varied approach to teaching present in the profession but impatient child-haters are probably going to self-select out. Also if you have a system in which bloggers are not expected to deal with criticism then you do, in fact, end up with a homogeneous community of people who exist only to agree with each other.

I certainly agree that we shouldn't have to edit what we say in fear of offending.

With reference of Codi, I think the discussion got very personal between Chas and Codi - she explicitly insulted him so she insulted him back. However the original post? I thought that was fair game. Also, because Codi's original post contained an implication that using add-ons made you a bad healer, I felt very strongly that I needed to present an argument that it didn't. Which I did. It was not a personal attack on Codi.

Klepsacovic said...

As for the meritocracy claim, that is highly dependent on the concept of meritocracy. Are the best bloggers the most popular? By how I define best, no, not at all. Some really awful people with awful ideas are popular. Some great people with great ideas are tiny. If we define meritocracy as giving people what they want, well then sure, it's meritocratic. Some people really like shit and good for them, but if that's how we're going to define meritocracy, then it's a redundant term when we already have popularity.

Tamarind said...

@Rilgon

"At least, if you assume that it is decided on merit of "who can condense the often arcane and mathematical theories behind Hunter DPS down for the masses the best but still back their assertion up with fact if called on it"

This might by your definition of merit - and admittedly mine too - but the fact is not WoW Insider's does not mean the system is not a meritocracy. They place their emphasis elsewhere.

I think Jerry Springer exists because lots of people enjoy that sort of thing. I personally don't but that doesn't mean it is not, in fact, good television. You can't argue that television isn't a meritocracy on the grounds that the most popular TV is not TV you like.

Tamarind said...

@Matticus

It was a frivolous aside - I just thought it was a funny comment.

Tamarind said...

@Klep

That's where I get it, baby.

ACCEPT NO IMITATIONS.

Stubborn said...

On the big/little blogs comment, I can say that when I linked to Matticus's blog the other day and added on to a point he had made, then saw I had a comment from him, I actually got a little nervous. Once I read it, of course, he was a perfect gentleman and had responded in a gentlemanly manner that added to the conversation. I had no reason to doubt that he would.

Still, my stomach did turn at first.

Rilgon Arcsinh said...

...So if you are going to redefine "meritocratic" as "what is most popular", then why not just say so? Why not just admit that the WoW blogging community has essentially devolved into what some people have claimed it is - a popularity circle-jerk?

Tamarind said...

@Rilgon
I didn't think I was re-defining it - I just think it's a mistake to assume that because something is popular it is ONLY popular because people are stupid. I mean - isn't Larisa one of the most popular bloggers in the community?

Tamarind said...

@Stubborn
Hey there - just wanted to say you started blogging at about the time I stopped but I still do a little reading here and there, and I've very much enjoyed your posts :)

Zelmaru said...

@Tam

My point was that all voices matter, and your point was that mine does not. We're going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

Ophelie said...

I got put in the same category as Gevlon, Rohan and Spinks! My day is totally made! <3

I used to be very much of the "say what you want" school, but I've mellowed out lately. I'd have no problem openly criticizing a brash blogger, a blogger with good debating skills or a blogger who frequently gets into heated discussion. (But I don't very often because I'm too conceited to pay attention to what's going on around me ;D) But if I suspect someone to be more fragile, I'll give them a heads up before a cold shower.

I don't expect other bloggers to be as courteous, but I remember too well how nervous and sensitive I was when I started writing.

It's interesting how different people perceive different things. I can recognize a troll when I see one, but a lot of comments that are flagged to me as "troll comments" are actually valid discussion comments, or jokes that I find funny. I think there's this paranoia in the blogosphere that our blogs will all turn into Youtube pages, so we're constantly crying wolf.

On another note, what surprises me whenever this topic comes up, is that the bloggers who are the most anti-public-debate tend to be the bloggers who are the nastiest about dishing guild dirt. Why is wrong to make a blogger look bad, while it's totally ok to slander a guild or guildies? At least bloggers have an opportunity to give their side of the story. Guilds aren't allowed to have a voice at all.

Tamarind said...

@Zelmaru

You weren't arguing that all voices matter - that's a soundbite. I've always enjoyed your voice. What you were arguing was that some people should be treated differently to other people.

Stubborn said...

@Tam
Thank you very much for your support (:
I'm enjoying it very much so far, and I have to agree with your point about getting linked from a big blog. I was quite happy when Larisa pointed out one of my early (meaning about a week ago) posts (this is to contrast the later posts, which are ... oh who am I kidding I've only been doing this a week or so).

Overall, I have torn feelings about responsibility in regards to our readership. I agree that no blogger should be responsible for their readers behavior, which I believe is your main point. That said, there's some crazy people out there; just take a look at the "Raped by Dickwolves" debacle at Penny Arcade that ended with one of the comics having his wife and child's life threatened by people who supported a perfectly reasonable anti-rape advocate who just wanted to make sure that rape was taken seriously.

It's a crazy Internet out there, and while I agree that no one should have to pull their punches, I think it's everyone's responsibility to keep the punches above the belt, that is, to keep the discourse as civil and moderate as possible (the metaphor fell apart at the end there).

Anyway, it's the first post of yours I've read (I got into this about the time I started writing, so I'll have to go back and do some catch up), but I think this was an excellent post that a lot of new bloggers should pay attention to.

Larísa said...

@Tracey: I'm fine. I'm sitting here sipping a pint, warming my feet by the fire for a while, listening to the discussion. It seems a bit loud tonight, but that's OK. Exchange of opinions, that's what we're here for, right?

And I can't deny that it feels damned nice that someone is sticking up for me after I - what I think - unjustified has been described as some kind of bully (although not explicitly, rather by guilt by association.)
It's as if a knight with a sharp sword and some rightous fury just stormed in to assist me, while also bring up some other valid points to the discuassion.

And a Tam rant is always a pleasure to read.

Tamarind said...

@Ophelie - heh, putting bloggers into categories = dangerous. But you always stuck me as straight-forwardly no-nonsense about the act of blogging.

I know what you mean about guilds though - I fell into that trap a couple of times myself but I think I learned by the end.

Also, yes, I hope I'd be fairly careful with a fragile blogger - but then somethings just seem to backfire whatever you do. I'm absolutely not criticising Xeppe for backing away from public blogging but the fact that even the gentle eye of Larisa can make someone feel threatened is ... well ... it's discouraging isn't it? We got ourselves into some pretty heated debates in our time but I they were always with fairly assertive, resilient people.

Zelmaru said...

@Tam

Again, I don't think you have it right. I think we should *all* be polite to *everyone*, and I don't think that's a double standard. I never said anyone should be treated differently than anyone else. I said that we should preserve the bloggers who may not meet the "ideal" blogger profile in thick-skinned-ness. I wasn't clear perhaps, but I did not advocate that we treat them *differently* - but rather I'd like that we treat *everyone* politely, even those who are presumed to be thick-skinned and take harsh criticism well.

That's what I get for taking the TL;DR approach (confusion) but I didn't want it to turn into a commentwall or a post of its own.

Rhii said...

I wasn't going to comment, because I don't like these firestorms, and honestly I feel like I said all I had to say on Alas's post (and I feel it still holds true with everything you've said here), but on a frivolous and lighthearted note:

I never haz dramaz, I'm doin' it rong!

:P

Good to see you, Tam.

Rades said...

(Sorry Larisa, I left a second comment because I didn't see my original one near the top and I heard that commenting was a little wonky this morning. That's why I deleted the 2nd one, in case you wondered.)

Tamarind said...

@Zelmaru

I don't think treating people politely need necessarily include not blogging about points of disagreement. I mean I'm sure when Gevlon wrote his post about why it was economically unsound of me to refuse to rez my party he had no intention of sending a bunch of sub-Randian trolls over to my blog to call me a fag. This did, of course, happen but he wasn't impolite. The problem with a bunch of a bunch of sub-Randian trolls coming to call me a fag is that it's homophobic, which is independent of politeness, and non-constructive, which is also independent of politeness.

Beruthiel said...

You know - I had started to type a huge long ramble here, but decided to stop and just say a few direct things.

1) It's great to see (hear?) from you again Tam! /waves excitedly

2) With all the worry you put on yourself, it's no doubt that blogging weighed so heavily on you. As you grew as a blogger, I will admight that I missed some of your very early frivolity and lightheartedness. I mean *I* remember those murloc underpants! ;)

3) I really hated high school. In fact in all those (many) years since I left I haven't really ever looked back.

4) I'm truly sad to see that someone feels "bullied" by Larisa - I think she's one of the most honest and open bloggers out there. Honestly, if I ever had a crisis of one sort or another, she's truly a person that I feel I could open up to and who would place her (virtual) arm around my shoulder and offer me solace - a bit like my mother would might do in a time of trouble.

5)I feel really disapointed by so many people on so many levels right now (no, this is not directed at you, Tam).

6) Come to think I feel pretty darn confused too. I imagine I feel a bit like a Child whose parents are going through a divorce.

7) Conflict is great - as long as it's done well. In fact, I think I even did a blog post at some point about how to respectfully dissent (because, y'know, if there wasn't dissent it would be a pretty boring place).

and lastly...

8) I'm so glad it's Easter time, because Cadbury Eggs (the creme ones) are the absolute best treat ever.

Reala said...

It's nice to see you again Tam, albeit briefly! And thanks for deciding to publish this post, it's a very worthwhile read I will be recommending.

/wave at Larísa

~Reala

Ophelie said...

@Tam - On the guild thing, I was just pointing out the double standards of several people on the "NO PUBLIC DEBATES! SOMEONE MIGHT GET THEIR EGO BRUISED". (And while I do feel what Alas was saying in her original post, she showed some double standards by using false representation which made Larisa look bad, in a post advocating being nice to people.)

Liore said...

In my opinion, the only way to be a happy blogger is to have the confidence to stand behind your work. This means that when a big blogger links to you, like Larisa and that raid readiness list, you don't panic from the attention. It also means that when someone doesn't like what you wrote that you either defend it rationally or just ignore the detractor and move on.

We're not writing in our journals and then carefully storing them under our pillows at night. We're writing for an audience, and a random audience at that. I try to be respectful on my very small WoW blog, but one morning last year I woke up to a link from wow.com and about 75 comments on my blog calling for my head as an elitist jerk. (It's all true! I hate casuals and puppies and when babies smile.) My first thought? "Well, that's 75 more readers today!" ;)

Disagreement does not equal disrespect. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with another blog, and with posting about that disagreement, and linking to the blog in question. We shouldn't disrespect each other, but it's unreasonable to publish publicly and then expect no one to ever think that you're wrong. And that is just as applicable to blogs with 6000 readers as it is to those with 6.

Snail said...

I think a lot of you need to stop admiring yourselves so much.

Nothing any one of you writes is going to alter my opinion of what another one of you writes.

I could care less of your opinions of each other.

Tam, you wrote a very good article. It kept my interest till the end. Nice to see you about.

Suicidal Zebra, never heard of you. Apparently you don't miss Tam. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. REMEMBER THAT. It applies to others as well as yourself.

LabRat said...

I have two blogs, a Warcrack blog that no one reads because I barely ever write in it except when tanking mechanics undergo a major change, and a science/politics/firearms/kitchen sink blog with a moderately sized readership.

It's striking to me which arguments are had in the respective communities I somehow fall into. Political bloggers are just as rancorous as you'd expect. Science bloggers will tear each other to micron-wide strips at the drop of a hat, which is not an unexpected thing if you've ever read the letters columns in some of the bigger journals. Gunbloggers are normally much more civil than the other two groups but also hold much bigger grudges for much longer when people do get cross-threaded.

None of them ever has this basic discussion, though in the WoWblogosphere it seems to be perennial. Conflict is taken for granted. I've made a couple of starts on trying to guess why but they all have some basic flaw. Odd, that.

Honestly I think there's more than a little room for people on diametrically opposed sides of the debate to be absolutely right at the same time. The whole "don't be a dick" rule is so vague precisely because it's meant to cover a subject with a lot of grey areas that people sometimes inhabit by accident, sometimes inhabit by the nature of the situation, and sometimes inhabit because they are rules-lawyering fuckknuckles who can rationalize any word or action as somehow not being dickish on a technicality.

There's a lot of "nature of the situation" in blogging. When we disagree in person there's usually all sorts of little social soothing gestures and such. When you set out to disagree with someone in a blog, it's a big block of every reason you can think of why the other person is wrong. Even set out in the best of spirits and intentions, it has a bit of punch to it- especially if it's followed up with a bunch of people saying "holy crap how could you not see all the reasons you are completely wrong".

At the end of the day I think it boils down to "in the right" versus "the right thing to do" and the boundaries of their overlap. And accurate rules indeed can't be always be made in that territory.

Chastity said...

@Oestrus:

Fielding this one for Tam, because an advantage of ducking out of the blogsphere is that he no longer feels compelled to deal with your annoying baiting.


I seem to remember a conversation that you and I had a while back ... that you two instigated (more on that later) and me being of the belief that a person can make the choice to be offended by something or not and you firmly believing that such a thing was not possible.


Yes, I distinctly remember this.

Now here you are, stating that you were not affected or offended by the Frostheim scandal, because you believed that he did not do anything offensive.

Yes. There is no contradiction here.

If I believe something to be offensive, then I am offended by it. If I do not believe something to be offensive, I am not offended by it. Under no circumstances do I have a *choice* about what offends me, which was your original assertion.

Another winner from you: "Now I am no way supporting the act of charging over to people’s blogs and yelling at them." I call bullshit on this one, too.

Firstly, the yelling in that situation was me, not Tam, we are different people.

Secondly, I did all the yelling myself, I didn't send anybody to do it for me.

Thirdly, it is entirely possible to feel bad about something without in any way feeling your actions were unjustified. One often feels bad about doing the right thing, because doing the right thing often has consequences which upset people.

You had no problem writing a post that you knew you were writing for a fan base that is insanely loyal and devoted to you (even to demeaning ends, no less) and you chose to wrap that post in clips and phrases that would be seen as incendiary

Again, it wasn't our "fan base" that went and had a go at Codi, it was me, personally, and I did it because I firmly believed that she deserved it. I'm sorry it got as nasty as it did, but given the choice I'd do it all over again because I believe I was in the right.

Of course you believe that a large blogger should not be responsible for the comments that their followers generate because you yourself have made a habit of doing that and have benefited from it.

Umm ... again, no we haven't. I, personally, have gone over to people's blogs and told them that they were stupid, or bigoted, or all three. I neither know nor care what my readers do or have done.

I would also point out that, once again, you're resorting to bulverism. You haven't demonstrated that I'm wrong, just that I'm apparently the sort of person who would believe the things I believe.


The very idea that you would think you're even remotely qualified to discuss blogging politics or decorum is such a laugh to me

I'm entirely qualified to discuss blogging politics. I have direct experience of it, and can construct sensible, clearly reasoned arguments about it, that's all the qualification one needs. I understand that this is a hard idea for you to get your head around, since you have made no effort in any post I have ever seen to actually construct anything resembling a logical argument.Your arguments in this post so far have been: "you're wrong because you disagree with me", "you're wrong because you made my friend cry", "you're wrong because you're mean" and "you're wrong because I say so" all of which are pathetic.

You've been hounding Tam and me for the best part of a year, just because we once had the temerity to tell your friend that she was talking bullshit. It's honestly very sad. I also find it deeply ironic that you take such a high minded tone with us after sinking such an inordinate amount of time into your petty, childish vendetta.

Oestrus said...

Aren't you cute, Chastity. And to think you actually believe most of the things you spew. I do believe that is the very definition of self-righteous. No?

Again, it wasn't our "fan base" that went and had a go at Codi, it was me, personally, and I did it because I firmly believed that she deserved it. I'm sorry it got as nasty as it did, but given the choice I'd do it all over again because I believe I was in the right.

I'm actually referring to other instances in which you have done this sort of thing and there have been others and in each instance your "fan base" did in fact do more commenting and have more of a presence on said pages than the two of you did.

Would you like me to dig up the links for you and take you for a walk down Memory Lane on those? Kind of makes you wonder why you guys are in such a rush to shut down your entire site, like you mentioned in your supposed goodbye post. Boy, imagine what we could do if we were able to constantly view your posts and compare notes with the things you say and do. Oh, the inaccuracies!

See, we're also right back 'round to that whole "choice" thing. I have come at you guys plenty with examples of your hypocrisy and your poor standards of defending your choices and you simply choose to not acknowledge your misdeeds, because why would you? You have all the enablers in the world telling you that you're right and fabulous and you even buy into it yourselves. That's a crying shame, Chastity.

Your arguments in this post so far have been: "you're wrong because you disagree with me", "you're wrong because you made my friend cry", "you're wrong because you're mean" and "you're wrong because I say so" all of which are pathetic.

I never said any of those, but I'm sure it helps make you look much higher and mightier than I if you're able to essentially dumb me down to an irrational, angry woman. Weren't you two champions of women and minorities at some point? I can bring up that post or those posts too, if you would like.

Oh I didn't like you guys well before that happened and haven't liked you since. It's a pity that you have managed to accrue enough of a following to buy into your bullshit, rabble rousing and favor currying and that people think they are better people for being seen with you and you acknowledge that they exist.

It is nothing short of disgusting.

Saunder said...

Tam, we have all missed you ... But if you are going to post here, we need screenshots, man ... In a sissy robe WITH PINK PIGTAILS. bwahahahaha.

Snail said...

@Oestrus, You're really nasty and you have added nothing constructive, just malice, spite and poison.

I know nothing about you or your writing, but I dislike you already.

Tamarind said...

Um, can I just remind folks that I'm here due to Larisa's kindness. I wanted somewhere to express some stuff, and she kindly offered me a table at the inn. I don't feel entirely right starting, or at least being involved in, a bar-room brawl.

Oestrus, I know you've never liked me for many, many reasons, some of which you've expressed here, - but ultimately there's not much I can do about that. It's not like I can make you think better of me simply by hoping and trying. Your hobby has long-been finding fault with whatever I say, and I've done my best to deal with it.

It makes me sad that you think the people who read the blog were doing so because they're ... I don't know ... some kind of mindless minions. Plenty of people read what I had to say and disagreed with me. And sometimes I just tried to write silly shit that made people laugh. Towards the end, I didn't have has much time to put into the community that I used to - but I had over 500 blogs on my feedreader, and I always tried to read and think about what other people were saying, and search out new blogs. I largely did this because I enjoyed it but comments have always meant a lot to me and I hoped in commenting elsewhere I was encouraging others in their blogging.

I was a little hesitant to publish your initial comment because ... well ... it's basically personal abuse. I entirely support your right to dislike me but I'm not sure it's fair to Larisa if you and Chas throw shit at each other across the bar.

Chastity said...

And to think you actually believe most of the things you spew. I do believe that is the very definition of self-righteous. No?

Umm ... no?

The definition of "self-righteous" is something along the lines of "confident of one's own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others." Now I may also be that, but that isn't "believing what you spew". I think "believing what you spew" is generally considered to be "consistency".

Would you like me to dig up the links for you and take you for a walk down Memory Lane on those?

Umm ... you can if you like. I'm not sure what it would achieve.

I say that I don't believe that I have any moral responsibility for what people who read my blog say on blogs to which my blog links. You offer to provide me with links to blog posts which were linked from my blog on which people said things which you consider to have been my responsibility.

This is roughly equivalent to you making the assertion that my blog posts cause earthquakes, and offering to prove it by showing me pictures of earthquakes.

I have come at you guys plenty with examples of your hypocrisy and your poor standards of defending your choices and you simply choose to not acknowledge your misdeeds, because why would you

Umm ... actually you've come at us plenty with poorly grounded personal attacks.

You've spent a lot of time trying to prove that Tam and I are hypocrites, and you've basically failed. You can certainly prove that we're not very nice (at least I'm not) but guess what, I never claimed to be. I'm rather like Gevlon in that regard.

I never said any of those, but I'm sure it helps make you look much higher and mightier than I if you're able to essentially dumb me down to an irrational, angry woman.

Oestrus dear, you *are* an irrational, angry woman. Although I should add that the first two qualities are nothing to do with the third.

I say you are irrational because I have seen no evidence that you are capable of expressing yourself rationally. You sit and spit venom at Tam and me but you never present anything remotely resembling a coherent argument. Your continued insistence that we are somehow "hypocritical" is a clear and present example of this.

I say you are angry because you clearly are, and effectively admit as much in your posts. You are clearly bitter at the fact that Tam and I have (or had) a large readership, and clearly hold a serious grudge against us, which causes you to indulge in spiteful sniping at every opportunity.

The fact that you are a woman is neither here nor there.

Weren't you two champions of women and minorities at some point?

Not particularly, although I am a strong supporter of the right of women and other margainalized groups to equal treatment.

Note that in this context "equal treatment" means "calling you out on your bullshit and telling you that you're being angry bitter and irrational." I assure you I'd do the same if you were a man.

Again, I cite this as evidence of your fundamental failure to grasp the tenets of logic. You seem to want to claim that the fact that I am criticizing a particular woman for pursuing a petty vendetta against me is somehow inconsistent with my belief that women should be treated no differently from men. This is clearly wrong, and clearly evidence that you have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

Perdissa said...

For a minute I though Larisa was leaving.

Whew.

And who the hell are all these people coming here to spew vitriol all over the place? Reading these comments totally makes me want to go and read your blogs!

Not really.

Nebula said...

@Larisa thank you for your kind hospitality. I rarely comment on blogs, but want you to know how much I appreciate yours.

@Tam and chas, gosh, I am a bit shocked at how much I miss your blog. Does that make me a minion?

@oestrus, thanks for reminding me how important Melanie Klein's work is. http://www.brainyquote.com/words/en/envy160724.html

Eccentrica said...

Tam and Chas, I really wish you two would reconsider your decision to put up the shutters.

Your writing gives one pause to think. You take many threads and weave a coherent fabric of thought. Not everyone can write well, but you both can.

Sod the vindictive; put them on ignore and keep writing.

spinksville said...

Hi Tam (and Chas)!

Maybe I'm naive but I always thought one of the nice things about growing a bit of a readership is that I can send some links to newer blogs. (And yes, I have always enjoyed it when people disagreed with me.)

Having said that, I sympathised deeply with Anna about the RP griefing and think I may have posted something to that effect. I don't care how little and fragile a blogger you are, the moment you encourage griefing you are an open target.

Is it so much to ask that people just stand by what they have written?

Anonymous said...

There are some bloggers so desperate for attention that they will come and attack someone else's blog in the hopes that that person's readers will come visit them and bump up their views.

This is Oestrus.

@Oestrus: Just be quiet already. You obviously didn't understand a single word in the post if all you got was "you're wrong because you're mean". L2read, poisonous little nerd.

Imalinata said...

Discovering the post was from Tam when I was over halfway done with my lunch break sucked because, while I tried, I still couldn't finish it before I had to go back to the office. :D I've missed your posts with the literary references strewn throughout. I'm still sad we won't know what happened to Gerald.

Anyway, on point, I had to go back to find Larisa's post referencing Xeppe's post. I remember reading it but didn't think anything of it other than a brief thought on how it was interesting how many different ways people could get prepared. The few comments that happened between the two of them on that particular entry I perceived to be a bit harsh/short/not-quite-right. I don't know if I would have read into it that way without the subtext of what happened after. My feeling on it was that the blog post itself seemed totally fine, but that the comments, particularly when Xeppe seemed to get more tense/upset over the linkage, probably would have been better as a private discussion of some kind rather than escalating in the comments section.

I think my philosophy when it comes to blogging is much like my philosophy on Facebook content: don't post anything that you wouldn't be okay with having to explain to your boss or your family. Bloggers shouldn't be punished because a _READER_ goes too far and decides to go be a douchebag to someone. We can only be responsible for what we, ourselves, do/write.

Secondary to that, don't use names/identifying details if you don't want people to know your business. That doesn't mean that you can't post about your guild/job/whatever, but it does mean that you need to be smart about what details you choose to include.

Taemojitsu said...

:| This is why more people need to read up on Internet basics like Encyclopedia Dramatica.

Tamarind, from OP—
"The other thing that makes me suspicious of the whole “there are better ways to respond to a blog post than writing a blog post” mentality is that"

If there is a reason to write a blog post, everything you said is irrelevant and nearly TL;DR. Cases, after (for no particular reason) taking the time to read up on what happened for them:

- crankyhealer wrote a post which would have had a positive effect if only intelligent people (her readers) read it, but would have had a negative effect on people's perception of community cohesiveness if stupid people were linked to it from other blogs. It isn't her fault that bloggers with less intelligent readerships decided to link to, and quote, her post on reducing gratuitous public erotic RP. This intentional taking offense at something that was not harmful to the game or community was why she chose to discontinue that blog.

- It was suggested to Xeppe in the comments of the relevant post that they should password protect their blog. The blog post was implying that Xeppe was setting a standard for other players to live up to, and furthermore the wording of both the blog post and comments implied that the purpose of Xeppe's post was to benefit Xeppe, instead of the reader. This treatment came from the assumption that the purpose of blog "content" is to entertain, as opposed to being informative, and this attitude remained unchanged despite the open discussion of the issue by Xeppe in the comments. The correct way to link would have been to NOT discuss all the various ways in which the advice was not worth taking as a way of creating "interesting content" for the person linking to Xeppe's blog.

(Random emphasis so it makes this comment stand out, or something)

If you have a reason for linking to a blog post, which provides constructive benefit to the author of the post or readers (especially in the form of discussion), by all means go ahead. But "having something to argue about while bored at work" is not something all bloggers seek to facilitate.

Taemojitsu said...

Since this issue is described as "it takes as its starting point the encounter between Xeppe and Larísa", (/wave Xeppe), here is the simple places that were not identified:

- "Out of 10 possible points of preparation, I failed at 8. Bad, bad Larísa."
 ‣ misidentification of audience. It was not a test, and this introduction prompts readers to be critical of the list and entirely lacks understanding of intent of the linked post.

- "I have not reviewed every spec on every level 80 toon I have.... If I die more often than the mobs I guess I'll go looking for something else. Big deal?"
 ‣ retaining the critical perspective, as with every other reviewed point. THE ONLY REASON to review each point is to be critical, from the perspective of "a blog is meant to provide helpful information". If the purpose of a blog post is NOT to provide helpful information but rather to provide a conduct to the emotions of the blogger and an interesting read, then the failure to inform the original blogger of the incoming traffic displays a disregard for the emotions of the ORIGINAL blogger, and it seems clear that the usage taken was in fact the former, which implies the criticism and devaluation of the original post.

The response to Xeppe's comment on the link:

- "@Xeppe: I really didn't mean to ridicule your efforts, I hope that was clear. I just wanted to show a different approach, which I also think is valid."
 ‣ the (hidden) implication is the link was intended to benefit Xeppe, by providing traffic. This was entirely missed because many authors, including Xeppe as described in their comment, was not at all interested in the momentary traffic that would be generated from a link from another blog. Without this assumption of "benefit from traffic", and with no notification, the implication is again that the list of preparations was flawed, and not helpful, if the readers were to benefit from a description of how the list was NOT being adhered to and a point-by-point description of having absolutely no intention to take its advice.

- "@Xeppe: Oh don't worry. If you're that sensitive, I'll refrain from writing any posts referring to your blog in the future. It seems safer that way."
 ‣ The implication is that Xeppe's concerns over the point-by-point refusal to take any advice on the list, and how its mention seemed to provide no positive benefit for either Xeppe or the blog's readers, were not valid. Under the assumptions of blog usefulness as previously described, there is absolutely NO attempt being made in this reply to deny that it was a 'harmful' description of the list.

The discussion ends with an insistence on not needing to inform when LINKING to a post, to admitting that the post was, in fact, extensively discussed and criticized, and then denying any harmful intentions while continuing to totally reject the nature of the use of the list without prior notice was done in such a way that, from the assumption of a blog as useful information and not merely as "interesting reading material", it was harmful to the perception of Xeppe's blog despite the professed lack of intention to be so.

The final comments on the issue :-

- "Seeing your reactions I regret deeply linking to you and I'll be very careful not to do it again in the future."
 ‣ regret by no means implies apology, as the repeated statements that Xeppe is just "oversensitive" showed.

- "@Xeppe
Run away little girl, run away!"
(the final comment on that post)

Larísa said...

@Taemojitsu: I'm sorry, but for all your words I don't understand what you're trying to say. More than it appears as if you think I'm a dick? Well, I don't think I am. But I can live with our disagreement on this point.

Syrien said...

Hello Tam, thanks for a good read, and thanks barkeep for letting the crazy prophets in ;)

As a reader I appreciate getting links from the blogs I read to other posts. Especially small blogs that I don't know about from before. If it turns out a bunch of people for some strange reason read the link as a "please go to this blog and call this person names", then I also appreciate it if the blog(ger) I read defend the blog they linked to some extent (not their viewpoint if they disagree, but their right to be treated politely and argued with in a factual manner). I understand that not all bloggers are hanging out on the internet 24/7, this is not a "do this or you're bad" thing but it is a "I respect you even more if you do this" thing.

Sometimes being thick-skinned is not so much about being able to ignore 100 people yelling at you as it is about having at least one other person saying you're great. And every one of us who like reading blogs (be we bloggers or just readers) can choose to try be that one person to help blogs we enjoy continue.

Also, I think Alas is right that bigger bloggers hold more power/influence. But I think vulnerability is as much a personal quality as it is a reflection of blog size. Being called a bully by someone doesn't have to be nothing just because you have many readers.

Tamarind said...

Taemojitsu: TL;DR is my middle name.

"This intentional taking offense at something that was not harmful to the game or community was why she chose to discontinue that blog."

Errr, I think most people would agree that *griefing* is harmful to the game and the community.

Equally I don't think it matters whether you're intelligent or stupid, if you read a post in which you are encouraged to grief players what you will take away from that post is, err, encouragement to grief players.

"It was suggested to Xeppe in the comments of the relevant post..."

Again, you surely cannot hold a blog author responsible for what people say, or don't say, to other people in comments, either on your own blog or another blog. That would be ludicrous.

However, what is relevant is the discussion between Larisa and Xeppe herself. Let me quote Larisa directly on this: "However my intention was never to attack your post, to suggest that you're stupid for doing all those preperations, on the contrary I belive I state clearly that it's a great post and I don't belittle anyone following the advice. I just wanted to show a different picture, show how it looks through the eyes of someone more casual/relaxed/slacking player. I thought I was clear enough. Again: this post wasn't about your post, it was about the entire genre "be prepared for Cataclysm posts". Seeing your reactions I regret deeply linking to you and I'll be very careful not to do it again in the future."

Again, all words are open to interpretation, but I read ... compassion, understanding, apology, genuine regret here?

I entirely support Xeppe in making her blog private and being upset by some of the comments she received - I feel bad just writing about it, to be honest, because the woman so clearly wants to be left in peace but ultimately you can't hold Larisa accountable for Xeppe's response.

"If you have a reason for linking to a blog post, which provides constructive benefit to the author of the post or readers (especially in the form of discussion), by all means go ahead. But "having something to argue about while bored at work" is not something all bloggers seek to facilitate."

Again, I refer you to the original post - what Larisa was doing was assembling alternative perspectives and reassuring more casual players that choosing not to prepare was a legitimate choice as well. I consider that entertaining AND constructive. "Looking at this stupid person making a list, ha haha only stupid people make lists" would be an example of a comment neither entertaining nor constructive.

Campitor said...

Once you become a blogger you become somewhat of a celebrity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebrity

I don't condone the maliscious discourse in the internet media but in a world where people hate each other for the color of their skin or nationality, getting attacked for an idea or opinion, stated in a public media for general consumption, should be expected.

If you find the negative comments too much to take then you should quit writing or quit reading the comments/emails of your detractors.

To quote a famous first lady: "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent".

Tamarind said...

@Taemojitsu cont.

"It was not a test, and this introduction prompts readers to be critical of the list and entirely lacks understanding of intent of the linked post."

Alternative interpretation: self-deprecating humour. Larisa is actually encouraging people to be critical of Larisa. Also it's hard to support a claim that Larisa is prompting people to be critical of the list when she says explicitly: "It's a great list and I won't belittle anyone following it, not at all." The very next sentence is " It was just that it became clear to me how little I have done" carefully guiding the reader away from Xeppe and towards Larisa.

"THE ONLY REASON to review each point is to be critical, from the perspective of "a blog is meant to provide helpful information"

Again, I take issue with this. You see criticism, I see engagement. Let's call the whole thing off? Also we've already established that this whole post is an extremely *personal* take on Cataclysm - how can we go from there to "from the perspective of a blog is meant to provide helpful information"?

As we're demonstrating here, even the simplest of sentences are awash with potential interpretations. However, I don't think you can argue multiple interpretations *simultaneously*.

"to provide a conduct to the emotions of the blogger and an interesting read, then the failure to inform the original blogger of the incoming traffic displays a disregard for the emotions of the ORIGINAL blogger"

Again, I'm not sure this necessarily follows - I'm pretty sure the only emotional conduit you provide is your own. I think if somebody wrote a post in which they said "I saw this thing and it made me really sad" and you wrote a post going "Haha, somebody saw this thing and it made them. People who are made sad by that thing are stupid" then, yes, you're disregarding the emotions of the original blogger.

However, I *remember* Xeppe's list post and, although I'm not disputing it was a good post, you'd be hard pressed to read any deep emotion into it. She basically said "here are somethings I'm doing to prepare for Cataclysm", which inspired Larisa to write a post in which she said "I've read lots of posts of people preparing for Cataclysm [she linked to several people] and I'm not preparing for Cataclysm and that's okay too!"

I feel see any disregard of anything here?

"the (hidden) implication is the link was intended to benefit Xeppe, by providing traffic...."

That's not an implication - you link to people *to* send them traffic, not because everybody is droolingly obsessed with traffic but it is generally accounted a good thing to do. Most bloggers enjoy traffic, and the opportunity to find more readers.

"the implication is again that the list of preparations was flawed, and not helpful, if the readers were to benefit from a description of how the list was NOT being adhered to and a point-by-point description of having absolutely no intention to take its advice"

Again, again, this does not follow. "Somebody is doing this and I support then in it, but it's my way" is not the same as criticizing the original proposition.

Chastity said...

@Taemojitsu

Firstly, you seem to be mistaking Encyclopaedia Dramatica for the bible.

Secondly, you're just plain wrong:

crankyhealer wrote a post which would have had a positive effect if only intelligent people (her readers) read it, but would have had a negative effect on people's perception of community cohesiveness if stupid people were linked to it from other blogs. It isn't her fault that bloggers with less intelligent readerships decided to link to, and quote, her post on reducing gratuitous public erotic RP. This intentional taking offense at something that was not harmful to the game or community was why she chose to discontinue that blog.

This is flatly untrue.

Or more precisely, it is true only if we assume that one person (namely: you) has the right do decide what constitutes harm to the community.

Your argument would be correct if Anna was employing some kind of spurious, slippery slope argument, or misrepresenting the Cranky Healer in any way. She didn't. Anna's argument was that the behaviour which the Cranky Healer was *explicitly advocating* was harmful to the community.

It is not a question of "intelligence" it is not a question of "intentionally taking offense" it was a question of declaring that it is *not appropriate* to godmod and grief RPers *even if those RPers are bad*.

By your logic, if I was to write a blog post suggesting that we all get together in Stormwind and spam "GOD HATES FAGS" over all available channels, and somebody else was to suggest that this might be offensive, it would be their fault because my actions would not be harming the community (since from my perspective, which is apparently the only one that matters, the community would be improved if the number of homosexuals in it were reduced).

Chastity said...

@spinks

Is it so much to ask that people just stand by what they have written?

As far as I can tell, the consensus in the community is that it is wholly unreasonable to ask people to stand by what they have written, unless what you have written contains a link to another person's blog, in which case you must stand by not only what you write, but also by anything that anybody else who might conceivably agree with you writes.

This, apparently, is called "ethics".

Disciplinary Action said...

I've been rolling this around in my mind for a while and finally realized I can only think straight in comic form. So that's what I've done, and Kachunk is the messenger on this one over at DA, if anyone's so inclined.

Tamarind said...

@Disc Action

Yay! Everything is better with pictures!

Disciplinary Action said...

@Tam I find it deeply, deeply disturbing that I tried for an hour to comment intelligently, and in the end had to say, "Fuggit, I can only express myself as a semi-retarded orc!" /sigh

Ratshag said...

@DisciplinaryActionsAndBeatings -

Never underestimate the wisdoms of semi-retarded orcs!

Talarian said...

Wait, hold on here. This massive blog post plus huge drama came out of a link from one blog to another, along with commentary?

This is the *internet*. The entire existence is predicated on links from one page to another, its the entire point! There should be no moral obligation when it comes to linking to reference material. Its a public space. Its like painting a mural on a building wall downtown, then getting upset because someone wrote a letter to the local newspaper editor saying they'd have liked it better in neon rather than pastelle.

Your stuff will be linked, people will say things about it, other people will troll one, the other or both venues. People either need to grow thicker skin, get over themselves, or get out of the kitchen as appropriate if they can't deal with it.

The only case I can think of where you actually should give someone a head's up is if the traffic you generate will DOS the end point, because the last thing you want is to be accused of cyber terrorism. Considering all sides seem to be accusing the other of many other things anyways.

Runzwithfire said...

By Harry the bar was rowdy last night. I pop in hoping to get a sandwich whilst on my lunch break and here I find poo up the walls, a veritable host of bruised and battered patrons and a nonchalant Larísa who still makes me the best god damn sandwich going, yum! (RP-esque metaphors FTW).

I have to say I am with Alas on this one on the grounds of "Don't be a dick" is a fairly good mantra to go by, although I certainly empathise with Tam's view that the perception of dickish behaviour is subjective so it is sometimes fairly difficult to judge.

From my own point of view it goes along the lines of: debate (even debate where you continue disagree and cannot reach compromise) is better than derision. If I believe someone is wrong or I disagree with them I will tell and do my very utmost to back up with point of view with constructive argument and a factual basis. I will digest and consider any counterpoints made and often, whilst I may stick to my original premise, I will at least have a greater appreciation for the other person's point of view on the matter.

Of course a "LOL FAIL YOU TARD I AM SO RIGHT COS I IS AWESOME AND MY EPEEN IS SO BIG IT COULD BE USED AS A MEDIEVAL BATTERING RAM" is not a well reasoned response, I have no counterpoint to consider and it boils down 'I'm right cos I said I'm right'.

So once again, my line of thinking naturally sides with Alas' original post but Tam's well reasoned counterpoint does give food for thought. I find myself disappointed with Oestrus' response at seems to amount to little more than a personal attack on Tam (and Chas) - I say this as someone who does periodically enjoy reading her blog and posts so it's definitely a feeling of disappointment. I don't find her responses agreeable or defendable.

As a blogger yes you have to be prepared to accept criticisms of your work or, indeed, your values cos not everyone is going to agree. But I do think it is reasonable to expect a little decorum and a well argued point in a response post (or even a comment) - well unless of course you are spewing out some hateful shit in your blog and generally being obnoxious in the first place. In the case of Larísa's response to Xeppe I definitely don't think there was anything untoward there and personally I would be chuffed to bits that I had elicited a response from such a seasoned blogger - it shows they are at least engaged in the article. (I was thrilled to find myself on the PPT blogroll; I know I know say it with me 'hero worship' lol).

Ultimately here I am agreeing with Tam (many of the points here are similar to Tam's), but our perceptions on what is and dickish behaviour appear to be different. I maintain that in 99% of cases you will have a fairly good idea whether your blog post is a well reasoned unoffensive post or whether it is a rant that may well incite unrest, violence and social revolution (or at least a few angry or upset comments).

Phew what a long comment reply - I never write this well on my own blog lol. Anyway, try to place nice and if anyone trashes up the Inn I will sheep you and port you to a Welsh mining town so fast your head will spin.

Thanks to Tam for an interseting counterview and thanks for the sandwich Larísa, it was munchy XD

Larísa said...

@Runzwithfire: You're welcome. Have another one? I've got plenty. And help yourself in the bar, by all means. Friday night ftw.

Len said...

Just wanting my two penneth on the whole 'choice to be offended' debate, which pretty much sums up my thoughts on how people respond to blog posts about/towards them.

I am a firm advocate that people are entirely in control of their own thoughts and emotions. I am also a firm believer that we can change the way we think or feel about something. In fact my job is based on these two principles.

So, you CAN choose whether you are offended by something. You can listen to someone's opinion and decide whether a)you agree or disagree with it, b)it is important to you, c)it is useful/rational/important to be offended, d)letting the other person know you are offended is useful/important.

For example, when someone makes a 'blonde' joke, I choose not to be offended by it. I decide that yes, it could be taken as an attempt to undermine my abilities and could be intended to hurt me. But I don't have to LET them hurt me. So I don't.

Reveal said...

I know this is Larisa's blog, but since other people are talking about Oestrus vs Chastity, I will add something as well...

I think Oestrus is right and Chastity is all she calls him. The guy can't say a word without being arrogant and abrasive. He also unfailingly tries to assert his superiority in logic, which looks comical when supported by failures like this:

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O: I seem to remember a conversation that you and I had a while back ... me being of the belief that a person can make the choice to be offended by something or not and you firmly believing that such a thing was not possible. ... Now here you are, stating that you were not affected or offended by the Frostheim scandal, because you believed that he did not do anything offensive.

C: Yes. There is no contradiction here. If I believe something to be offensive, then I am offended by it. If I do not believe something to be offensive, I am not offended by it. Under no circumstances do I have a *choice* about what offends me, which was your original assertion.
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So, Oestrus says that if something happens to person A, that person can choose to be offended or not depending on what he thinks about what happened. Chastity repeats this in his own words (his exact implied words are "yes, if he thinks that was offensive, he should be offended, otherwise he should not be offended"), but then manages to look like he disagrees and tries to score a "win". :-) That only works on five-year olds, man.

More often though, Chastity just goes "bla bla bla" sounding like he is making some imaginary point, and maybe even thinking that, but really doing nothing of the kind:

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O: And to think you actually believe most of the things you spew. I do believe that is the very definition of self-righteous. No?

C: Umm ... no? The definition of "self-righteous" is something along the lines of "confident of one's own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others." Now I may also be that, but that isn't "believing what you spew". I think "believing what you spew" is generally considered to be "consistency".
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So, no, believing what you spew is not the very definition of self-righteousness, but Chastity almost admits he or his behavior is or seems to be self-righteous. Which is what Oestrus was alluding to, and which was the main point all along. What a way to waste time...

Chastity, thumbs down, your mouth does you no good. Oestrus, thumbs up. Larisa, sorry for making an off-topic post.

River said...

I think alot of bloggers are hypocritical self righteous douchebags. This post, and alot of the comments here prove it.

If you're offended...you're probably one of them.

gnomeaggedon.net said...

Typical, just typical...

I no longer have to check whether it's Chas or Tam...

no, now I have to check if it's Larisa or Tam...

Confuzzled Gnome...