Never Engage The Crazies!
I am a guilty man. I have violated not one, but two rules of the blogging world. Our friend Pressdog has a steadfast rule that we should all follow; Never engage the crazies – it’s a no-win situation. The other violation was for a rule that may not even exist, but it is probably one of those unwritten laws of blogger ethics; Never expose the true identity of a commenter. On Monday, I did both.
If you happened to scroll through the comment section of Monday’s post, you’ll see a comment from someone named “Frank”. I should not give this person the satisfaction of having attention drawn to his post, but since it was such a wretched comment – I am taking the bait.
As you can imagine, the bulk of the comments centered on Dario Franchitti’s frightening crash on the last lap of the Grand Prix of Houston. Most expressed their concern for Franchitti and/or the injured fans in the grandstands. There was some expected second-guessing of the fence that had given way. And then there was this from Frank: “Only bad thing about the Franchitti crash was that he wasn’t killed, was hoping to hear the good news that he was dead.”
I rarely respond to comments during the day, mainly because I am working and don’t have much time to check them. I usually catch them on my phone during breaks and lunch. When I saw what Frank said, I had to respond. As I said in my first of two responses, I do not censor or delete comments – ever. And it has to be very extreme to illicit a comment from me during the day. Obviously, this one fit that criteria.
At this ripe old age, there are very few things that get me riled up anymore. But I stewed about this comment all Monday afternoon. Most know that we bloggers have access to the IP address of each person making a comment. When I got home from work, I did a search of the IP address of Frank and found the computer that was used to submit that filth had an IP address registered to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto. Still seething, I suddenly felt the need to “out” the person as best I could for making such a vile comment.
I have since heard nothing and more than likely, I never will. This coward will slither back under his rock. If that move breeched some Bloggers Code of Conduct, I don’t care.
Almost all of the comments on this site are well thought-out and civilized. Although I generally don’t take part, the discussions on certain topics are always presented in a respectful dialogue – on both sides of each issue. That’s why I have enjoyed doing this site for all these years. But when I see a comment like what I saw on Monday, it makes me just want to throw my hands up and climb out of the cesspool for good.
You read those twenty-three words that Frank typed out and you wonder how or why anyone would say something like that. It’s bad enough to even think in such a way, but to feel the need to go to a site where everyone is obviously concerned about Franchitti’s well-being and post something like that – well, it’s beyond my comprehension.
Bloggers are sometimes considered the scourge of the earth because the perception is that we sit in our mother’s basement, never reveal our true identities, create a false persona that is far from reality and try to live for our fifteen minutes of fame. That may hold true for some bloggers, but over time – I’ve met most of the IndyCar bloggers, and they are pretty much what you see from them on their respective sites.
I have a personal acquaintance from years ago that started a blog on another subject about six months after I started this site. That person follows the stereotype and perception of bloggers, in that what is written by them is so far from the truth, it’s almost comical. I may be naïve, but I tend to believe that type person is the exception and not the norm. However, it is the phony ones that gives all bloggers a bad name. Likewise, it is the rare person like Frank who gives blog readers a bad name.
The internet is a wonderful tool. It gives us instantaneous news, the ability to listen to live radio programming from other markets and a platform for groups of people to speak out on some of their most passionate subjects. But that same platform has also given an unnecessary voice to pond scum like Frank. Does Frank have the right to hate Dario Franchitti? Certainly. Does he have the legal right to reveal his evil desires to the rest of us? I suppose so, but that doesn’t mean he should go to every racing site the day after Franchitti’s terrible crash and voice his displeasure that Franchitti is still alive.
Do the Franks of the world emit this sewage just for the shock value? Am I actually giving Frank an honor to devote this much space to the phlegm he left here on Monday? Is this playing right in to his plan? I’m not sure of the answer to any of these questions.
This much I do know…I encourage comments that go totally against whatever I’ve said, so long as they are presented in a civilized manner. Longtime commenter Ron Ford from the Milwaukee area is certainly not afraid to take me to task when he disagrees with me. Just last week, he let me know how wrong I was to put a premium on whoever is announcing a race. But Ron and I have gotten to know each other over the last few years, strictly through e-mail. We’ve never met, but we both look forward to the day we can pull up a bar stool and do some bench racing. We both know that our skin is thick and we can agree to disagree without losing sleep.
Over the years, I have responded privately to some comments that were a little out of line. At times, I was able to diffuse them with some logic and reason. Other times, it became obvious very quickly that there was no changing a person’s mind. They were adamant in their stance. I had such a situation about two weeks ago. That’s when I remembered Pressdog’s advice of “Don’t engage the crazies”. I just backed away from the rant gracefully. Such is the life of a blogger.
But to have a supposed racing fan come onto this site and spew his disappointment that Dario Franchitti did not lose his life on Sunday – that’s almost too much to take. That’s where I draw the line and feel compelled to respond and engage the crazies, no matter the consequences. If I violated some code of ethics, so be it.
So, if you think I’m going to accost you publically for disagreeing with me – I won’t. Not only do I normally like the comments I get, I also learn a lot from them. And please don’t think I will reveal your true identity and location simply because I didn’t like what you said. It takes an awful lot to offend me – an awful lot. Unfortunately, Frank found where my limit was on Monday.