Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I used to have a home, now I don't even have a name

Marc Rossmiller invited you to join him on Google+

No. Die.

Moving on--how about an entire page of great fandom cakes? And man, some of these are amazing. Not a cake wreck in the batch.

More Hurricane Irene news: LordKat, an occasional correspondent through That Guy With the Glasses, lives in Staten Island. This is relevant because for the past couple of days, he pointed his webcam out onto his street. (And no, the film's not shown in reverse; the car near the beginning does back up and out of the street because it was blocked.) From a mild drizzle to Atlantis and rising damp in 48 hours. Impressive in a slightly unnerving way.

So yesterday, I mentioned the whole Alyssa Bereznak fiasco, and there's been a couple new points of interest pop up. First, Dork Tower actually put out a strip commemorating the whole controversy, and there was a link at the end to another article. That's where the real interest for me picks up.

See, apparently, Ms. Bereznak, forgetting she worked as a geek blogger, and that her little 'ew Magic he's so gross' post would turn into the shot heard 'round the geek world, changed her blog entry twice over the course of the next day, trying to make herself sound more like a victim, and Finkel more like a bad date that any thinking woman would have fled from. (Which doesn't really fly, either, because Australia's branch of Gizmodo preserved the entire thing so they could rant about her, too. But--interesting side note--even the Australian version of the article has now been edited to take out her copious links to Finkel's Wiki page, YouTube videos, and personal details she gave out that made him seem like the worst form of predatory stalker. Way to stay classy, Alyssa.)

But it gets better. Forbes Magazine thinks she made that post deliberately, just to get page views. There are now parodies. She's been made into both an online Magic: the Gathering card, and an online meme at once. Buzzfeed gathered up the ten best responses to the article and posted those. The Renaissance Dork got involved. Federico lo Giudice calls the whole thing a witchhunt. Dr. Nerdlove calls it a horror story. MovieBob jumped into the fray. The lady behind GeekGirlDiva included a ton of fun links at the bottom of her rant.

And ultimately--whether or not it was linked to this faux pas of epic proportions--Alyssa Bereznak was terminated from her position at Gizmodo.

I think for me, the story's pretty cut and dried: she's a shallow woman with all the depth of character of a lunch tray, and she went out on a date with someone who, to her, fit whatever criteria for "normal" she holds in her head. Who then revealed his geeky side, after, it must be remembered, she revealed that her brother is a gamer. Finkel's likely side of that conversation: "She has a brother who games. I have a gaming hobby. This could be a fun topic." Bereznak's blurrier, because apparently--at least according to everything she's written--she was either deliberately angling to discover nerdy skeletons in his geek closet, or chose Finkel because she knew he was a gamer, and thought it would be a good article? Or maybe she was really that clueless and vapid.

Either way, as others have pointed out, this then shifts the blame to Gizmodo, for deciding to run with the article--because...again, because why? Why would they deliberately do anything that would tarnish further their reputation with their own readers?

Maybe they thought it would be funny, a bit of fluff to fill the day's quota, a light humor piece that their ardent readers would embrace, inhale, and subsequently discard. What they never sawn coming was the fact that most of the online world would rise up against Berezak, including women gamers (more on that in a bit).

In short, bad decision-making all around, but also, it's definite and final proof that no one is writing in a vacuum--if it's on the net, anyone can read it, react to it, and lay blame for it, pro or con. Me, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, overall. Stand behind what we say, say what we mean, then--"mean" or not--we're taking responsibility for ourselves. Which Ms. Bereznak clearly did not.

Now, getting back to Susan Arendt's apology to Finkel. It contained this line:
Except humiliating someone by name online to make yourself seem cool is disgusting, unfair, and mean.
Which did make me stop and think, involving the various 'name' fiascos that have hit this blog.

I know, 100% know, no doubt whatsoever, that anyone I have ever mentioned on this blog by name--be that "real" name, Second Life name, online handle, business, blog, whatever--I have done so with no intention of seeming "cool", or making myself seem superior, or even in the right, at all. Humiliation has never been my game, though I will freely accept, nay even embrace, the "mean" part of that statement. Put plainly, that's never been the point.

I have wider goals, sure, and some of them, to long-term readers of the Train Wreck, should be obvious by now. I also have more than my fair share of aggrieved pettiness, and that I'll own too. But I've never sought personal gain by mentioning anyone in an entry.

That having been said, especially after I spent four hours yesterday gutting out any mention of Miss Insect on this blog (by her request), I think it's time for an official change of policy.

Unless it is an estate owner (think people like Desmond Shang), a Linden (I refuse to anonymize Linden-made statements), or a maker of things I want people to be able to find (by mention of proper name, business, or blog), I'm going to do my level best to anonymize anyone I feel the need to directly mention. This may mean blurring of faces, changing of names, changing of locations, because frankly? My former insistence on the authenticity of names being important has dissolved completely. Facing the growing-endless hassle from people who've Googled themselves, and then freak out entirely that I actually (ohthehorror, you'veruinedme, I'mabrokenwoman, youFIEND) mention people on whatever entry it happens to be...yeah, I'm done with it.

[Expansion from the Editrix: I'm also not going to anonymize names and comments pulled from the JIRA, and from the forums. You're on your own lookout, there.]

Also, Mr. Dagger designed a new banner that I quite like, but I'm now pondering a change back to sepia tones for the blog. Why? Because it's a sepia banner. And while I could tint it, I like it the way it is.

But that means finding (or making) a new background, possibly altering the layout slightly, et cetera and so forth, and that will take a few days, depending on how busy I am. Still, expect a new look no more than two weeks away.


Icterus Dagger said...

[grinning]You could always rotate the designs...


Emilly Orr said...

I could!

This is where I miss other services' offering preset selections. Blogger doesn't 'remember' anything--it's a one-off, all the time, unless I'm just switching totally from one of their internal themes to another.

Winter said...

You know of course that I personally agree with this decision (anonymizing).

In part, it's because when you remove the other person's name from the equation, the discussion becomes instantly less likely to create/escalate drama, and it allows the focus to remain more-or-less on your observations, reactions, and emotions in the moment, and on the strangeness (inanity or whatever) of the situation and actions, rather than on the person or their friends coming in to defend the person, and/or their actions or motives.

Secondly, and kind of counter intuitively.. the act of choosing NOT to put their names up as a poster-child for idiocy, for all to point and laugh at, actually DOES make you look cooler.

And just realizing that it's a good idea to keep names out of it? Actually MAKES you cooler.

Seriously.. you're cooler.

The comments about Jiras and running commentary on "other people's blog/forum drama" (that whole "Escapist" thing).. When people "post" things then they put their own name on that. As for bloggers.. especially when you're responding/commenting on things going on on their blogs.. that's another issue entirely. The same goes for celebrities and politicians.

The inworld stuff is inworld, and stupidity done in a space where text generally lasts 10 seconds on screen, and is thought to be tied to a single 10m radius of virtual space, and then is perceived to be gone forever. An offhanded comment made in a single moment in a single place in time and space. Once we have our vent or our little dramas, we walk away and calm down, thinking it is over and done and behind us.

Pulling that stuff out, making it permanent, and google-able, and attaching their name to it for all of the world, friends, customers, and business associates (and the internet archive) to see and judge them by.. the idea that there is no mistake, no argument, no disagreement or heated words, even some random argument with a stranger over a lucky chair, that won't be made public forever.. is frightening.

I know I'm careful about what I post to your blog.. if only because of the number of people who apparently read it. Not that I'd really ever have much negative to say, but I do do a lot of editing of my comments before posting them, and I generally don't attach my full name to all of my comments.

That's not out of fear of you or your readers, or anything like that, it's usually just because I don't want my pseudo-celebrity inworld to change the tone of the conversation.

I occasionally will share a notecard of a conversation with a few friends, most notably when an inworld discussion goes so horribly wrong, and I want to learn why it happened. But I don't generally like to post that kind of thing online. (Yes, I know, inworld is online).. but I mean I don't want to stick a post up that says "crazy insane argument I had with a noob" cause that's just not good for business.

I think we're pioneering the new netiquette here. That things said "in chat" shouldn't hold the same permanence and accountability as things posted on the well-spidered web.

But all that said, I just want to say that I am proud of you for this decision. And I don't mean that at all as condescending. If anything, this move is just "another step up" for you.. and it's a good step that you really should take pride in.

Because you really are cooler now... and I honestly didn't think that was possible.