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Speed TV Conspiracy; Editor Whines

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I thought it as Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I guess it's WTF day instead. A reporter for Speed TV erroneously reporting lies about championship contenders Sunday night was just the beginning. NASCAR shot down the unsubstantiated report, even though Speed TV is stubbornly standing by the their disgraced "reporter". If Dilner still refuses to come forward with his source and apologize for libeling RCR by this weekend, he should be thrown off the air and fired by Speed TV.
That story may yet have some legs to it, because Kevin Harvick came on satellite radio and accused another team of sourcing the report for obviously nefarious purposes, but he then refused to name who. Havick is great, but that wasn't a good move. Someone talked shit about him and RCR and had it refuted almost instantly, so he should be riding what little sympathy there is from the deal to keep people on his good side, which will benefit him during the playoff races.

Now I like to bitch and complain on a regular basis, as if you haven't figured that out by now. But there is a subtle difference between bitching and complaining -- what I do -- and whining, which is what this guy over here is doing right now. I know a thing or two about what's going on, not because I've been keeping up with this particular situation, but because if you've seen one Internet fight, you've seen 'em all.

Typically you have a strong majority of people that graduated high school but have not benefited from any type of academic education in debating. They regularly confuse opinion with fact, and universally resort to logical fallacies and petty insults when anybody disagrees with them. The really sad thing about it is it's virtually impossible to teach them anything because being stupid has become a natural reaction. If you try to hold them to any formalized rules of debate, they either insult you directly, or just quit.

Debating takes skill and real effort because the rules can be used to absolutely beat the shit out of somebody who doesn't know they exist and cannot take advantage of them. You have to speak so very carefully because anything you say in a debate can be held against you as being literal, you can be forced to defend every single sentence, and if you can't (or won't), then you lose. Game over.

It happens on forums all the time, and is painful to be a part of because you (hopefully) are somewhat cognizant of how to debate, and despite your literal thrashing of everyone else that would surely have won the deal after 10 minutes, it drags on for hours because the others are so hopelessly weak that they don't even know it looks like to be beaten in the first place. They can't figure out that they lost an hour ago because they haven't any concept of how to argue properly.

One thing that people must realize is that debating is not about convincing the other side of your argument, or proving to the other side that you are right and they are wrong. If you want to win somebody over, be a teacher. Debating is about forming and articulating arguments supported by evidence and logical conclusions of your own, and then deconstructing those same things coming from your opponent. Without the evidence, their position cannot hold, and you win. Anything unsubstantiated damages you and your opponent can drill you on it over and over until either you admit you've got nothing, or everyone else sees your opponents statement was nothing but opinion, and you just tarred them.

Returning from the tangent upon which I could write an entire book about - Bob Henry is whining incessantly about being attacked by the rabid crowd of Internet junkies that stalk the comments and forums. He attacks them for emailing him about how much he sucks or some decision he made about the site, yet publishes his email address for all to use. He cries about the fights and viciousness in the comments, yet doesn't moderate or disable them.

I've seen a lot, and I think Bob probably hasn't even scratched the surface when it comes to people who like hearing their own voice first and foremost in life. The real crazies out there will find you where you work, and harass you in person. They'll send faxes to your boss about how you bad mouthed them, and tell everyone in your industry never to work with you because you are a [insert libelous and baseless yet extremely serious and damaging accusation].

Then come the death threats. First to you, then your family.

If Bob has reached that level of crazy, then I feel for him. If not, then he needs to shut the hell up. If you have comments on your site-sponsored blogs, then you're going to get this kind of crud, it's the way of things. Blogs invite this kind of crap because it brings the writer down to the level of the reader, and comments allow the reader to knock them down even more. Happens all the time. Is it fair and should it be tolerated? No, of course not. But dropping a post right into the heart of the people on your ass, whining about them and telling them off is probably the worst thing you could possibly do.

As a website editor, I suggest to Bob that he do the following things. Grow a thicker skin. Get a new email address and this time don't let the fucking public have it. Shut off the comments, they add nothing to the value of the content you provide and only make you look bad when things get out of hand -- and they always do. And stop crying for Christs sake or you deserve to get manhandled.

"When you were passed over for a promotion, were you able to send an outraged e-mail to the CEO or general manager, demanding to know what the hell he or she was thinking? Or the last time you got a divorce, were you successful in getting all of the information you demanded from your Ex’s attorney?

Didn’t think so."

If you gave out your email address, then you invited the comments and criticisms. To cry foul now because you don't like what you've been sent is childish. Would I, or anyone else send that email to a CEO? No, but then again we wouldn't make a huge long post on our sites weblog crying about how mean the other kids were to us at the playground today either. If you want your readers to act in a responsible and mature manner, acting that way yourself would be a good start. Whining and mocking your readers -- not so much.
"Turning away briefly from amazement, I suppose I should be content that, at least, you didn’t ridicule the myriad flaws in my golf game or say anything negative about my dogs. I know they love me in spite of everything I might do or you might say. And when you start bad-mouthing my puppies the way you have me over the last couple of days, that’s when I get will mad."
Sarcasm is not an endearing quality, and all you've done is confirmed to the readers that they've gotten under your skin, and now they'll just come at you thee times as hard. That was just plain stupid. You may be a good editor, but you are one lousy tactician and certainly no diplomat.
"Face it: Your outrage makes it difficult for any of us to take your concerns as seriously as you might like."
Get used to it, because your post just pissed them off even more. You really have no clue what you're doing, do you.
"But, here are a couple of things that have been sadly missing amid all of the the wailings, some facts. The writer remains under contract with our company. The people who run the site have done precisely what they said they would do in the editor’s note posted on Monday: They have interrupted the writer’s musings long enough to carefully consider where to best display them."
You could have solved the situation eons ago by turning off blog comments. In real blog software, you can even do this on a post-by-post basis, it doesn't have to effect everyone on a shared blog like your site has. All you did was let Internet readers push you around instead of taking three seconds to make the obvious decision. The fact that the content value of the writers posts in question are virtually non-existent, it makes this entire event even more hysterically stupid.
"As the note also suggested, blog comments have been a concern. Oh, and thanks again to so many of you for driving those concerns home so articulately since the hiatus note went up. Special thanks, of course, would be due to Veronica, Eric and others who – for whatever reasons – don’t use their real names and e-mail addresses in their correspondence."
Holy shit! People on the Internets don't use their real names! Please wait while I file a report with the Associated Press. Give me a break Bob, what world do you live in? I'd honestly like to know. Your blogs that YOU run allow anonymous comments and you're bitching about people leaving anonymous comments? On top of that, more stupid sarcasm that's not even funny. Hasn't anyone told you that sarcasm that's not funny is illegal? It's not? Well it should be.

If you can't deal with the heat, turn the comments off you goober.
"We hope for your continued participation."
That's funny since you just spent the better part of three pages mocking and insulting the readers for participating in a discussion you just invited them back into...right after you kicked them all out.

I'm sure few people care about any of this, but I'm just sick of people like Bob whining about people not acting civil when they themselves have given people a soapbox to stand on with absolutely no supervision at all. When you hold people to no rules other than "please be nice", they are going to do whatever they hell they want -- that's why we have police. If you really want control, mace them in the face and turn off the comments. Otherwise, step off and let them do their thing.
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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.