I was procrastinating this morning, reading through the comments on my blog, and decided to do what an anonymous commenter in the "Hypocrisy 101" discussion did — run my name through Blogpulse. What I found astonished me.
Naturally, there were a lot of folks (mostly on LiveJournal) trashing me for my views on fanfiction, which is fine and to be expected. But what surprised me is that on far too many occasions, I was being crucified for things I never said (and, in many cases, never would). People were attributing to me comments that other people posted on my blog and trashing me for them. There’s nothing I can do about it now, but the irresponsibility, laziness and stupidity of attaching my name to someone else’s opinions is infuriating and frustrating.
I was tempted to defend myself at each of those blogs or discussions, to say I never said those things they said I said, but it’s futile and time consuming and ultimately pointless. The damage is done.
I’m not sure what I can do to stop it.. I mean, I take responsibility for my views and deserve to be held accountable for them. That’s why I put my name on everything I write.
How hard is it to make the distinction between my views and those of complete strangers –and a few of my friends, colleagues, and family — who post comments on my blog? Here’s a hint. My opinions are the ones with my name on them. Trash me for those, not someone else’s.
UPDATE – Here’s an example:
"The number of people worldwide into a particular segment of fanfic would
probably have trouble filling a bar for a Thursday night set by your average
garage band. Those who read it are even fewer."
~ Lee Goldberg,
winner of the WTF?!YouLoseAtTehIntarweb award, 2005 ~
I don’t know which of hundreds of commenters here over the last few months actually posted that, but it wasn’t me…nor is it something I would say.
18 thoughts on “Not My Words”
Maybe this is a new phenomenon: BlogFic. It’s where people rant about stuff that [blog author name here] never said.
Somewhat more seriously, some people don’t “get” the concept that other people leave comments on blogs, and those people are in no way connected to the author(s) of that blog.
It reminds me of a customer call I once received when I did technical support for an ISP. This guy called up complaining that his internet service was serving up advertising.
“We pay $20 a month for this, and we shouldn’t have to put up with *your* ads on top of it.” What site are you looking at, I asked, [ISP].com? “No, [some other site not controlled by the ISP]. Get your ads off of there.”
This is, unfortunately, one reason why people choose to be anonymous. By giving your name, you are not only linked with every thing you said but with everything said in your name. And people are just as likely to believe the things attributed to you as the ones you speak directly. People will believe anything.
In this case, you are being associated with things said by others at your blog — at least the choice of having a blog and introducing a topic are yours. I saw one writer who ran afoul of a crackpot who began writing ABOUT her on discussion boards and mailing lists all over the internet, claiming things about herself and her work that he made up. He even called her agent, making more claims about her. The time spent in damage control with her agent (she decided to ignore the rest, upsetting though it was) could have been spent writing. If you asked her today if she wished she had stuck with anonymity in her online life — she would definitely tell you she wished she had.
Putting your name out there is a two-edged sword — publicity on one side/nut bait on the other. Many (though not all) who choose not to do it, do so because they prefer having their anonymous motives questioned MORE than they prefer having their real names smeared when they annoy someone with a loose screw and a vengeful nature.
This has nothing to do with anonymity; just stupidity on the Internet. It’s a haven for misinformation, and disinformation spread by ignorant rumor monguers. It’s outrageous and by far the norm for this venue.
And let’s not forget something Anonymous said, a few hundred posts back. A lot of fanfic writers are kids.
That could be a factor but other experiences show older folks do it too also en masse. In the case of fanfic though I think that’s the key point Keith.
I have experienced this myself. In fact, I’ve even found posts that were supposedly from me saying things I would never say on other peoples’ blogs.
I contacted blogger to try to find out the IP address of the person posing as me and they never got back to me.
I just did it with my name…
Apparently, I’m some guy named “Ziggy” with a blog somewhere other than mine and you and I, Lee, are trying to destroy all fianfic folks.
And one of my many pot-stirring comments I made around here about fanfics having no soul or something has gotten pages and pages of play. And to think I was just trying to make Montgomery laugh!
I saw your “soul-less” comment attributed to me several times in my travels in the blogosphere this morning. Thanks a lot, Paul!
I also came across the insane rantings that you were some accountant named Ziggy and juggling more than one blog. It’s mindboggling, isn’t it? Wait until they find out that you’re also Kete.
You might be interest to know that someone is posting with your name here:
And as for Ziggy? He’s been hounded out of Blogistan by people claiming he was you and My. Guyot joint and severally.
That person claiming to be me is…
You really don’t want to get on the wrong side of the Colonial Fan Force.
Hahaha, welcome to the club, Lee! I’m personally and singlehandedly responsible for half the anonymous posts on the web (despite the fact I’m always signing my name) and that was before anyone found out I’m also Paul Guyot (btw, did I have a sex change without noticing it?).
I had a nutcase steal my picture and start a new blog with my name. I reported it and he ran like a scalded cat; deleted everything.
Back in the days of newsgroups, I worked at a mail-order shop that sold fanstuff, handling customer service. I was a fan, too, and read the lists.
It amazed me to read the lies people told about conversations that I had had with them. I have wondered if they were deluded and lied to their families about how awful their co-workers were (and vice versa), and just carried this habit into their online life. Or if it was just an online thing. They weren’t even neccessarily posting anonymously.
I think some people just always need to be right, and unfailingly the victim.
But that period is why I post under two names. My real name when writing about anything connected to my professional life, and a nickname when posting about hobbies, politics, etc.
the irresponsibility, laziness and stupidity of attaching my name to someone else’s opinions is infuriating and frustrating.
On that very Hypocrisy 101 thread someone was expecting me to defined something I didn’t say, that have never said and that I am very unlikely to ever say.
So while I sympathise with you, quelle surprise.
Defend. Ah, defend. Some day I will learn to type.
Part of the recovery process from that fallout is what you are doing now, being receptive, open, honest and accessible to us here. If someone wants to check facts of fact vs fiction all they have to do is ask you.
We’ll call off the House Detectives.
You’re correct that people should be more careful about attributions; lord knows they get screwed up enough as it is. However, one thing that may contribute to it is the format of your blog. When I read it, I find it very difficult to track the attributions visually, since you have — in very small type — “Posted by:xxxx|Date” at the BOTTOM of the post, separated from BOTH the preceding AND succeeding posts by one line. This makes it VERY difficult, especially once you get into a long line of discussions, to recognize that it’s the prior post, not the succeeding one, that belongs to the name you’re reading. Most other fora tend to make the labeling much clearer and separate the postings much better.