A Day in the Life

A day in my life. Thoughts on leadership, management, startups, technology, software, concurrent development, etc... Basically the stuff I think about from 10am to 6pm.


Just Say NO: To Flamers

Now I’ve got a bee in my bonnet because Robert Scoble is getting flamed by some guy about Apple. Here is the link, make sure you read the comments. This type of thing bugs the hell out of me. What is Mujibur’s point? He isn’t having an adult back and forth but an adolescent flame on. I don’t see a link to Mujibur’s blog where we can read about HIS technical adventures and opinions. He doesn’t even have an email link. Just a name that may not even be real. No last name, nothing that would tell us who this guy really is and if his opinion has any merit. I’ve been reading Robert’s blog for awhile and I haven’t seen anything from him that looks like Apple bashing. If anything he writes very nice things about the Apple products. It’s easy to stand in the dark and take potshots; it would be nice if flamers had the courage to expose themselves. Or if they just feel the need to get attention why don’t they just strip down naked and run down the middle of the street? That will get them out of our hair and perhaps expose them to some much needed therapy.


At January 12, 2006 2:03 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

Could be worse. You could be dealing with comment spam.

Also, Slashdot faces with flamers and conspiracy theorists every day.

At January 12, 2006 2:30 PM, Blogger BP/CMB said...

I think Scoble can take care of himself, anonymous posters or not. I'm torn at times between thinking that he serves as a "useful idiot" for Microsoft versus the notion that he is a shrewd propagandist. In either event his post on the power cord was in my opinion, just stupid. You read regularly about people having lost critical data due to laptop mishaps and anything done by any company to improve the situation should be applauded. I guarantee you he would not post the same thing if there was such a power cord on the Xbox. Think about it. Every time Microsoft copies some new idea from Google or elsewhere he hypes it up as if it is revolutionary, but he also regularly takes pot-shots at useful products (whether they are innovative or not) from other companies.

He DOES criticize Microsoft from time to time, but never on any fundamental issue like having an insecure bloated operating system, but rather on some minor nit that could well be fixed in a subsequent release. I have no problem with him being a paid shill for Microsoft, I just think he should be more honest about it, rather than pretending to speak only for himself without regard to MS interests.

As to anonymous posting (back to your topic): I think it is a tough call whether anyone should publish their real name on the Internet, unless the circumstances are carefully controlled. If you are a journalist (a real, paid journalist) then publishing under your own name for your publication (along with carefully controlling how you use your name in other situations) is the norm. And in case you didn't know, Scoble is a journalist. That's what he got his degree in, and nominally that is the function he performs at Microsoft. Everyone has the right to an opinion, but his are often ill informed from a technical point of view.

I started out using my real name on the Internet (I was an early OS/2 user too) and at the time there seemed to be no downside for doing so. There was no such thing as spam, most of the other people you interacted with were professionals or university types. Back then people didn't do exhaustive searches for your name when you applied for a job (they do now though), and back then, knowing someone's real name and a couple of other bits of information didn't make it so easy to track down everything else there is to know about them: court appearances, real estate transactions, not to mention hastily dashed-off forum postings. I can still find early web pages and newsgroup postings with my name in them from the late 80s and early 90s and while there is nothing that I am truly embarrassed about, some of it looks pretty silly by today's standards. I really wish I had picked a pseudonym earlier.

Anonymous posting is common these days on Slashdot and many other technical forums. Everyone, including me, probably downgrades a bit the value of any posting that is completely anonymous, but I suspect in many cases the anonymity has more to do with preserving personal privacy than anything else. My understanding is that you can't post to Scoble's blog without providing a real e-mail address (even though it isn't made public). I've gotten both e-mail messages and blog postings from Scoble when I said something he didn't like (which is probably more often than he responds) so I know he makes use of this info.

At January 12, 2006 3:24 PM, Blogger Kim Greenlee said...

You’re right Scoble can take care of himself. I just got frustrated with that guy. I do my best to ignore the flamers but the guy kept coming back with his anger. I wanted to yell, “THE HORSE IS DEAD!” And I know the reasons for staying anonymous, but I just feel very strongly that if you’re bashing someone or something from an emotional perspective and not rationally, take it somewhere else or be a man and stand behind what you say. Thanks for your comments they were well thought out, articulated, and appreciated.


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