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You’re the gun: Krahulik’s fallacy and your role in it

You’re the gun: Krahulik’s fallacy and your role in it

We’ve all, by now, read about what’s gone on between Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing and Mike Krahulik, co-founder and comic artist for Penny Arcade. The exchange is posted on Penny Arcade, and Icrontic has a report on it over here. What’s happened since that report is this: Christoforo has pleaded with Krahulik to ask his horde of fans to back off. Krahulik responded publicly by making a comic about how pleased he is with himself, and telling his fans to leave Christoforo’s family, “If they are real,” out of the attacks. Tacitly or not, Krahulik has urged his fans to continue attacking Christoforo, with the implication that ‘bullies’ deserve what they get, whatever that may be.

Personally, I don’t agree with Krahulik’s actions. The punishment here—the ruining of a man’s career, buckets of hate mail (including death threats), the permanent ire of the entire geek culture, and the potential that someone will do him real physical harm—doesn’t fit the crime. Even if it did, Krahulik is not an elected official, nor is it his place to dole out justice on behalf of others.

What gives him the right? His celebrity status? His clout? Those give him the ability, but not the right. Celebrities have a lot of power over public thought, and they need to use it responsibly. If you’re the only man in the room with a gun, that gives you the right to shoot whomever you don’t like? No. It gives you the power to, but that’s completely different.

This is not a case of ‘wild west’ justice, as many have implied; it’s just a very mundane case of a celebrity abusing his sway over the public. Celebrity sway is not new or revolutionary. Celebrities have had this sway for time immemorial. Perhaps we’re just lucky that they rarely choose to use it for evil, but I like to think that there is an ethical understanding here that celebrities not use their power over the public to hurt people. If a TV star went on her show and told the public how mad she was at some guy, and people started attacking that guy because of it, it’s her job as the responsible celebrity to go back on the air and say “Look, guys, I know you want to support me, but knock it off now, okay?”

Would she need to do that legally? Could she get in trouble with the law? Unlikely (maybe an FCC fine, if anything, depending on how she said what she said originally). That’s not why she should do it. She should do it because it’s unethical to use her power to abuse someone she perceives as a bully (which brings up a whole other point I’ll address in a moment)

Krahulik should behave better than that. He should have taken the high road. It was fine to make business decisions based on this stuff. Deny the company a PAX booth? Fine. Inform the PR guy’s superiors of his behavior in an attempt to get him fired? Okay. Post the letter on your webcomic/blog that you know is read by millions of mob-justice geeks along with enough information about the guy that those geeks can make his life hell? Not okay. That’s where the line is.

Then, when they guy writes and pleads for Krahulik to ‘make it stop’, the cartoonist revels in his own power, and urges the throng to torment the guy further. This is not right. Krahulik has allowed himself to become much more of a bully than Christoforo ever was.

But to my other point: Do we really want someone like Krahulik to have this much power over our community? What are his credentials? He’s a popular cartoonist. A self-described victim of bullies. An angry satirist. We let him tell us whom to punish? For all we know he just made all this up. All the information about this situation originates with this one celebrity personality, and we only really have his side of the story. For all we know, this Christophoro guy just talked Krahulik into paying too much for some used carpeting, and he made up the rest as a way to turn the ire of his fans—which he knows is powerful—into a weapon against him. 

Sure you think you support what he’s doing now, but who else will we let him use this power on? Krahulik could do this to you. He could do this to me. If he sees this article, and decides that it makes me a bully too, he can turn that weapon on me, and turn my life to shit. Do we want one man, a cartoonist, not a Federal judge, to have that kind of power over us?

We have to be better than to let this happen.

This is not a lesson in internet politeness.

This is not ‘justice’.

This is not wild-west gunslinging heroism.

This is a mad-man with a gun.

Comments

  1. primesuspect
    primesuspect This is a complicated story, and there are some parts I agree with you on and some that I don't.

    First of all, you make it sound like Krahulik had some kind of master plan when he reacted the way he did. He didn't ask for power, and I don't get the impression that he revels in it (or even really realizes he has it most of the time). What we have here is a kid who grew up getting bullied who can now lash out when people piss him off; he just happens to have giant ham-fists and a mob of fans. I agree that he does need to come to terms with that and be more mature and careful about the way he responds.

    Let's not forget this gem, either:

    image

    This, in my mind, was the real mistake. You see this shit on 4chan and Reddit. "Oh, I'll just leave this here." is a classic and highly immature trope. This is where Krahulik admits full well that he wants the hivemind to strike. When I saw that part, any respect I had building up (and any rage I had for the idiotic Christoforo) was quickly shattered.

    Yet still, what is a guy like Krahulik supposed to do? I think he's just an adult kid who got scared and happened to lash out the only way he knows how.

    This is a passion play, nothing more. It doesn't matter how much or little power a person wields; when they let emotion get the best of them, they make dumb mistakes. We're seeing two grown-ass men acting like children.

    I wonder how poor Dave (the original author of the letter) feels right now.
  2. ardichoke
    ardichoke This guy definitely deserved to have his career ruined. The rest of it, I somewhat agree with you. Maybe. A bit.
  3. Ryan "The punishment here—the ruining of a man’s career, buckets of hate mail (including death threats), the permanent ire of the entire geek culture, and the potential that someone will do him real physical harm—doesn’t fit the crime."

    So what punishment would you deem as "fit" for a PR guy who made death threats towards a customer who was asking when the product was going to be released?

    This was a man who threatened that nobody should mess with him because he "knew the people who truly ran Boston."

    That's not a light threat, and it's not to a competitor or anyone else who was doing anything that deemed threat worthy.

    He threatened a CUSTOMER who asked why his product wasn't going to be there for Christmas.

    And his "apology" was far from an apology, it was very clearly a "hey I'm not really sorry but could you knock it out because it's damaging my career" plea.

    Obviously not someone who's learned that threatening the lives of your CUSTOMERS is not a proper thing for PR person to be doing.
  4. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum Krahulik's celebrity aside, Christoforo had a duty as a PR rep for the company that had hired him to act with tact and decency toward the customers. His belligerent responses to that customer were just the tip of the iceberg; as the investigations by redditors have uncovered, his entire business is predicated upon lying about his credentials and plagiarizing a variety of other websites in order to create his own. If, as Brian said you're implying, Krahulik had crafted the situation to leverage the hive mind against an otherwise innocent enemy, these facts probably wouldn't have come to light.

    I'm going to expound on something I posted on twitter, namely "if you don't want it all over the internet, don't do it." I stand by those words. If I don't want to be publicly called out on the internet for being cruel to someone, then it is my duty to never be cruel to others.

    Here's an example. "John" is an elementary school teacher. He thinks that if photos of him inserting penis-shaped objects into his mouth were to be posted on facebook, he'd lose his job as a teacher. Instead of ceasing to engage in the behavior that he thinks will get him fired, John simply implores his friends not to post the photos of his activities on facebook. How long do you think that's going to last?

    Here's another great example. These kids stole some stuff, then one posted photos on facebook. A family member saw the photos and called the cops. In my opinion, the moral of this story isn't "If you steal stuff, don't post about it on facebook" as NPR seems to suggest. The real moral of this story is, "If you don't want to be publicly shamed on the internet for theft (and then caught by the police), don't steal."

    We live in a world where social media is everywhere. Anything you do or say in an environment where even one other person is present can end up on the internet, and it can damage your reputation or even ruin your career, as Paul Christoforo found out the hard way when he misrepresented his customer by treating their customer like shit. There's no conspiracy, and there's no hidden agenda on the part of a celebrity, it's just a sign of the times. Don't be a douche if you don't want the whole internet to find out you're a douche, it's as simple as that.
  5. CB
    CB @Ryan and @Ghoosdum. Even if he does in fact deserve to receive this punishment, who has the right to dole it out. Are we suddenly all alright with mob-justice? because that can take a society to very dark places.
  6. SirCandle
    SirCandle If this guy made any effort at all to actually try and make things right with the customer, the reaction would not be as severe. Also, this is not the first time that he has pulled this kind of shit.
    http://www.natesnetwork.com/Poor-customer-service
  7. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum
    @Ryan and @Ghoosdum. Even if he does in fact deserve to receive this punishment, who has the right to dole it out. Are we suddenly all alright with mob-justice? because that can take a society to very dark places.
    I'm not saying I like the situation, I'm just trying to raise awareness of this reality. It takes some adjusting to get used to the idea that one's reputation is at the mercy of the entire internet. Personally, I think that the loss of privacy and the susceptibility to mob justice that it creates is largely negative. Regardless of how I feel, however, it's here to stay.
  8. shwaip
    shwaip The PR guy got his cummuffins [sic].
  9. Thrax
    Thrax A bully and an asshole bit off more than he could chew. His apology, a weak and obligatory attempt made only to stem the tide, was insulting.

    His family deserves nothing (again, if it exists), but he deserves most of it.

    Arguing that someone is in no position to deliver vigilante justice is exactly the kind of behavior that allows bullies to grow: never challenged or reprimanded, they fancy themselves (clearly) more important than they are.

    CB's treatment of the justice debate is more appropriate for mob justice in response to a crime, something we let courts decide. There are no courts for PR bullies (and there are many). If it wasn't Mike to cut this guy down to size, it begs the question: who IS the "right" person, then?

    Frankly, I feel this article is based on an incomplete evaluation of the situation.
  10. QCH
    QCH @CB, There seems to be two different but connected events. One is the Paul Christoforo, Customer, and Mike Krahulik interaction. The other is how the internet jumped to the side of the customer and Mike Krahulik.

    The only way to shut Paul Christoforo's mouth and "catch" Paul Christoforo on his treatment of the customer is to show him that Mike Krahulik is not to messed with. I have absolutely no issues with how Mike Krahulik stood up for the customer. NONE. Paul Christoforo needed to be caught in the act. He was never going to back down and didn't until he witnessed that Mike Krahulik was really who he said was... and that required Mike Krahulik posting the info.

    Now... the second part is where I do feel torn about. In order to stop Paul Christoforo in his tracts, he had to release some info. The amount of info is where I do not agree with. But this is tricky. How much info is enough to have the internet hit Paul Christoforo but not take it too far? Maybe cleansing the info so only the email or twitter account... I don't know. These days, any one piece can give enough info for the internet to find the rest.

    Once Paul Christoforo started down the path of dragging his "contacts" in the industry and in Boston and took his wonderful "customer relations experience" and turned it against Mike Krahulik, I started to lose any care for him. I only wish Mike had made a plea, upfront, to not get violent or personal Just email the guy's "Ocean Marketing" and NOT go any further.
  11. shwaip
    shwaip

    Now... the second part is where I do feel torn about. In order to stop Paul Christoforo in his tracts, he had to release some info. The amount of info is where I do not agree with. But this is tricky. How much info is enough to have the internet hit Paul Christoforo but not take it too far? Maybe cleansing the info so only the email or twitter account... I don't know. These days, any one piece can give enough info for the internet to find the rest.
    the twitter, email and other contact info was available on oceanmarketting (lul) and the controller's website. His job is PR - his info is out there.
  12. QCH
    QCH Yep... unless he just said "Paul" and never mentioned the product but then all the leverage and bit would be lost. It's a all or nothing situation.
  13. Jason
    Jason Here's my take, as this is the first I've heard about any of it:

    Some corporate bigwig (or at least someone who fancies himself as such) named Paul sends a few condescending replies to a customer named Dave, who actually has a legitimate question/complaint regarding his order of 2 Avenger controllers; and when the customer gets frustrated, becomes even more unprofessional, verbally abusive/insulting, and threatening.

    Mike, an artist for Penny Arcade and co-founder of Child's Play, steps in and tells the customer that this guy won't get a booth at Pax East because of his conduct (which I think understandable). The customer, on the other hand, feels bad that his 'pissing match' may ultimately prevent people who could really use this product from getting it, asking Mike to not cancel his booth (a very nice and mature thing to do, I might add).

    Apparently, Mike has already done so, however, as Mr. Bigwig now starts to send Mike extremely condescending, abusive, and tasteless emails that increasingly become threatening as Mr. Bigwig begins to name drop and listing off his credentials, contacts, etc., telling Mike that he'd better side with the company rather than the customer "unless you're his boyfriend." (Classy.)

    To his credit, once Mr. Bigwig figures out who Mike is, he tries to smooth things over, admitting that he fed "into [Dave's] emails a little bit too much," and stressing that it's only one person (as if that somehow makes the shit he said to him OK). But Mike obviously doesn't like this guy (who can blame him?), and asks to be removed from his mailing list despite the unapologetic apology.

    And here's where Mr. Bigwig truly shines, shitting on Mike's website, and overtly threatening to put his 125 person marketing team "on a smear campaign of you and your site and your emails." (Shit just got real.)

    All things considered, I think Mike's best option under the circumstance was to go public. For one, the legal authorities probably wouldn't do a damn thing about Mr. Bigwig's threats of launching an all-out smear campaigns, and I'm sure Mike was a little scared about it, as well as angry. I think preemptively going public with the emails was a smart defensive strategy on his part. He was simply utilizing a resource at his disposal.

    From a purely strategic point of view, having the solidarity and support of his readers put him in a much stronger position, one where he felt safer. It's the exact same principle behind unions and other kinds of organizations, i.e., alone, you're at a disadvantage against your employer or whomever; but together, workers or whomever have the strength to address grievances, bargain, be protected from threats by someone more powerful, etc.

    In this situation, I find nothing wrong or unethical about what Mike did — who was not only trying to stand up for the 'little guy,' but protect his own career and reputation — and I'd probably do the same thing if I were his position. That said, I do think that putting an end this would be the more skillful thing to do.

    Mr. Bigwig has been publicly shamed and lost his position that got him into this mess; Dave, the archetypal 'lowly, individual consumer' has won a victory over the 'condescending corporate bigwig'; and Mike doesn't have to worry about being hit with a massive, corporate smear campaign—at least not by Mr. Bigwig, who's now just a humbled and humiliated Paul at this point.

    To encourage any further actions against Paul at this point is, in my mind, excessive; and lowers the probability that Paul will take this whole experience as a 'lesson learned' and grow from it. Instead, he'll very likely continue to feel persecuted (because he is) and become even bitterer about the whole affair, which won't help Mike, Dave, or anyone else for that matter.

    That's my unenlightened two cents, anyway.
  14. shwaip
    shwaip close-ish.

    Gabe = mike (Penny-Arcade owner/artist)
    Dave = customer
    Paul = asshat PR guy

    Dave contacts paul for info about his pre-ordered product (both sides escalate to being dicks, paul is arguably more culpable). Paul continues being a huge dick. Dave then CC's the penny-arcade people, as well as other gaming/tech websites. Things continue to escalate, and gabe/mike posts the info on the penny-arcade page. The internet does it's thing and now paul is in a shitstorm.
  15. Jason
    Jason Yeah, corrected the name bit. One of the inevitable faults of the 'quick skim.' :D
  16. Gate28
    Gate28 The sad thing is that Paul thinks that if Mike tells the hive mind to stop, it will. Once the ball is rolling, it's not going to stop rolling until it runs out of steam.
  17. Jason
    Jason That's true, although I think Mike saying 'that's enough' would help lessen the fuel on the proverbial fire.
  18. Jason
    Jason Great topic and discussion, by the way.
  19. J Herp Derp, some asshole got what he deserved, stop the presses.

    It's people like you that allow shitbags to walk the earth unmolested.
  20. primesuspect
    primesuspect We should definitely molest all the shitbags.
  21. Ilriyas
    Ilriyas
    We should definitely molest all the shitbags.
    ^This

    Personally I say all power to Gabe for putting the emails on Penny Arcade, I don't however agree with him putting Paul's email up on the site.

    Asshole or not no one deserves to be swarmed by millions of rage emails.
  22. csimon
    csimon I think that it's beyond time to let the "douchebaggery" settle so Paul can get on with his life (or until he does this again). As for Dave & Gabe, in no way do I see them as the badguys here for what they've done ...I find them rather heroic. And as for Paul, in no way can I bring myself to see him as the victim. Perhaps he got more than he derserves and perhaps he didn't.

    Like I said though, I think it's time for things to settle.

    Perhaps Paul will learn from this situation and grow up to be a nice gentleman. He can start by following pointers from GHoosdum.
  23. Thrax
    Thrax
    We should definitely molest all the shitbags.
    ^This

    Personally I say all power to Gabe for putting the emails on Penny Arcade, I don't however agree with him putting Paul's email up on the site.

    Asshole or not no one deserves to be swarmed by millions of rage emails.
    The email address was available on the guy's Twitter account. You know, for millions of Twitter users to see at their leisure.
  24. Ilriyas
    Ilriyas I don't use Twitter, so any comments on my part must be taken with that in consideration.

    And yes, millions of Twitter users can see it but I'm talking more of the principle of the thing, I mean I'm sure if I were to surf the net a bit I'd be able to find it regardless of Penny Arcade or Twitter from a standpoint of principles that move was imo out of line.
  25. Tushon
    Tushon I'm kinda lulzing at people defending this guy still. The far reaches of internet keyboard commandos aside, he was dumb and made what will be the biggest mistake of his career.
  26. PirateNinja
    PirateNinja He's probably been making mistakes in his career for years and they had gone unscathed until now. It's just that this one time, through unique circumstances, it bit him hard. I doubt this guy has any other career choices, and if he wants he can start another Incorporation and keep doing what he is doing. He will figure it out. He isn't going to get killed, his alleged family isn't under immediate threat, and everyone will have forgotten about this in another week or two.

    Both antagonist and protagonist in this little story have character flaws. Life goes on, and more important things are on the horizon. I think we can all agree on that much.

    If we really want to get on the topic of mob mentality, however, I am sure there are more appropriate examples that have long term consequences and impacts on many lives -- unlike the above.
  27. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster As a consumer I despise Mr. Christoforo's actions, yet I can see allot of value in what CB is saying.

    First of all, props to @CB who had to know this opinion was not going to be the popular and sharing this anyway, its sparked a thoughtful discussion.

    Geek culture, what is it about? We all have struggled to fit in, many of us bullied so we certainly understand the desire to fight back, and in some way the internet gives us that power. Geeks also are amazingly loyal to the point of obsession. When women tell me about their guy troubles, I universally dispense the same advice, find a nice geeky guy, his loyalty will know no limits.

    So, in part, this is what CB is talking about. You have a community leader who has the absolute undying loyalty of a bunch of geeks.... With that comes a level of responsibility. He can incite the mob, or perhaps deal with it some other way.

    " But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also." - Jesus.
  28. Tushon
    Tushon I also agree that @CB deserves some props for posting, however much I disagree with his position.

    I imagine this will be over as far as the mob is concerned w/in 2-3 days. Reddit et al moves on pretty quickly, and I doubt that Gabe will prod this any further.

    I can only presume that you intend for that last little bit to go towards Gabe, the internet in general and not to Paul himself, though by my understanding of the philosophy, (however flawed either the philosophy or my understanding of it may be), the best person to apply this advice to would be Paul himself. He should be thanking Gabe et al for helping him to learn the error of his ways. :P

    A great explanation of why "turning the other cheek" is bad:
    In refusing to defend ourselves against bullying, abuse, or disrespect, we fail to correct our abuser’s behavior, to communicate the important idea that mistreatment of others is wrong. In failing in this way, we actually lack compassion for our abuser, who will likely suffer in the future in some way for not having learned this important lesson. Not only that, we lack compassion for our bully’s future victims, whom we might have helped spare similar abuse by demonstrating with our lives that abusive behavior is wrong and won’t be tolerated (that such a lesson isn’t guaranteed to stick as a result of our standing up for ourselves in no way frees us from the obligation to try to teach it).
    Source
  29. NiGHTS
    NiGHTS It's an overreaction on both sides to a relatively mundane and entirely normal process of everyday life/business.

    The internet will be the internet, and a naive PR guy tough guy had to learn it the hard way. Unfortunately, for him, the internet won't stop when you tell it to.

    IMO, crap like this cuts the internet's legs out from underneath it when you attempt to defend it's 'rights' and proper use. Who wants to defend something where anonymity allows you to be as ...unhuman as this?
  30. drasnor
    drasnor WTF? Calling this mob justice implies a mob mentality; logging onto the Internet, reading Krahulik's blog, and then choosing on your own to do something with the information presented there hardly qualifies. I fail to see how this is any different than any other public figure getting called on their BS.
  31. Straight_Man
    Straight_Man
    WTF? Calling this mob justice implies a mob mentality; logging onto the Internet, reading Krahulik's blog, and then choosing on your own to do something with the information presented there hardly qualifies. I fail to see how this is any different than any other public figure getting called on their BS.
    Frankly, it is the publicity that made Krahulik's blog a public thing, so I have to agree some with the mob thing as what appears to be happening. BUT, it is justified because of the BS that Krahulik posted in blog I think. And yes, he made himself public, just as anyone who is on Facebook or Twitter is publicly speaking when he or she posts.

    The whole Internet, thanks to Google, is now pretty public - some hta'd pages and subfora excepted - so folks need to watch what they say. That includes me and everyone else hanging here and on every place they hang out and any forum and blog and newsgroup on the web that Google can index.

    So even our discussion is public.

    John.

  32. BHHammy
    BHHammy Honestly, the reason WHY people like this Paul guy exists is because we have LESS people like Mike with the capability or the attitude to do what he did. I adamantly refuse to put Mike in the wrong for this, and quite frankly, I'm kind of shocked that someone would -legitimately- take offense to what he did.

    Is it childish? Sure.
    Is pretty much unleashing the internet on a single asshole and his career an extreme measure? Of course.

    But it was Mike's finger on the button, and honestly if you had just come off fresh from witnessing said injustice, you would have pressed it too. Bullies only persist when there's nobody that'll stand up and push them back into place. And the degree of douchebaggery that Paul showed certainly calls for a strong shock to his system and ego.

    This is not the way to do business. Examples must be made. Paul and Ocean Marketing is now one of them.
    And I honestly believe that is quite fine in the universe, in my opinion.
  33. Tushon
    Tushon
    It's an overreaction on both sides to a relatively mundane and entirely normal process of everyday life/business.

    The internet will be the internet, and a naive PR guy tough guy had to learn it the hard way. Unfortunately, for him, the internet won't stop when you tell it to.

    IMO, crap like this cuts the internet's legs out from underneath it when you attempt to defend it's 'rights' and proper use. Who wants to defend something where anonymity allows you to be as ...unhuman as this?
    I'm kinda confused here. I'm going to side with PR guy overreacted in the complete opposite way to the initial conversation, then you described him as unhuman. Did I get that right, or are you trying to say that calling out an asshole on being an asshole on the internet is unhuman? See the last paragraph of my earlier post.
  34. NiGHTS
    NiGHTS Death threats to an asshole would qualify as relatively unhuman, in my book, at least.
  35. Tushon
    Tushon Keyboard commando death threats are unlikely to meet with reality, however fucking moronic those kids are to make them in the first place. Welcome to the internet :/

    Someone driving by your house and throwing a brick through your window with a death threat would be vastly more scary.
  36. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/114994-Ocean-Marketing-Attempts-To-Extort-Former-Client

    Guess Paul is being extra awesome by not turning over the social media account info belonging to his former clients.
  37. ardichoke
    ardichoke I don't see how anyone can defend this prick, especially after this most recent dick move. Unless someone actually physically harms him, I don't feel one iota of pity for him. Dude has made his bed (and continues to make it), now he must lie in it.
  38. Tushon
    Tushon
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/114994-Ocean-Marketing-Attempts-To-Extort-Former-Client

    Guess Paul is being extra awesome by not turning over the social media account info belonging to his former clients.
    I came to post just this. I reiterate my claim that this guy is indefensible, deserves what he is getting and thank Dave/Mike for making it public.

    @CB and @Nights: do you guys reallllllly want to keep defending him after reading the escapist article, and in particular, this quote:

    Paul told me on the phone two hours ago that "Eight months ago, I locked down all this stuff so they wouldn't be able to fuck with me. If they don't give me what I want, it's war." His demands include a contract written on his terms and substantial compensation, both immediate and for as long as the company continues to exist. He flaunted the PR debacle he created as proof that he "made the company a success", citing all the media and public attention as the "best thing that ever happened to Avenger".
  39. primesuspect
    primesuspect I certainly am not defending Christoforo (and the entire douchebag industry that's just like him). Hell, I worked for a guy who is exactly LIKE Paul Christoforo. I loathe people like this, with a passion.

    I think what CB is trying to say here, rather obtusely, but genuinely, is this—be careful of whom you allow to influence you. Mob justice has no brain.
  40. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ Trufax. Mob justice isn't justice. It's just an excuse for otherwise inappropriate behavior.
  41. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum @Tushon and @ardichoke: never once did CB defend Christoforo's actions, he's meaning to open debate on the point of where the responsibility for dispensing justice should lie. Be careful not to misrepresent his position here.
  42. primesuspect
    primesuspect Owen Good at Kotaku has another great look at the Ocean Marketing/Penny Arcade debacle
  43. Straight_Man
    Straight_Man
    @Tushon and @ardichoke: never once did CB defend Christoforo's actions, he's meaning to open debate on the point of where the responsibility for dispensing justice should lie. Be careful not to misrepresent his position here.
    True, that is kinda what this seems to have been about, using the working example of what Brian wrote about and what then developed. Christoforo committed PR career suicide himself by messing up.

    But, as to justice, what is criticism??? Is logical criticism that is justified by circumstances the sole purview of judges??? NO, absolutely not.

    In the US we have freedom of expression, which cuts both ways. Joe (or Sam or Harry) can hold one position, others can hold others, and US constitutional amendment protects BOTH of the two or ALL of them severally and/or singly.

    Consensus is powerful, let us make no mistake about this. Some countries have other ways of ensuring freedom of expression - some legally, some by populace custom over ages of time which have the FORCE of law if not the letter (and written expression of spirit) of law also. BOTH work. For some countries, people in them have to use the web to have freedom of expression.

    This is a US website, Ocean Marketing and the other primarily involved parties in this mess are in the US. So, US rules as to results apply.

    Is the world a dog-eat-dog world in some cases??? It CAN be if voices of REASON do not prevail.

    John.

  44. ardichoke
    ardichoke
    @Tushon and @ardichoke: never once did CB defend Christoforo's actions, he's meaning to open debate on the point of where the responsibility for dispensing justice should lie. Be careful not to misrepresent his position here.
    The punishment here—the ruining of a man’s career, buckets of hate mail (including death threats), the permanent ire of the entire geek culture, and the potential that someone will do him real physical harm—doesn’t fit the crime.
    This is all I was referring to. He's saying that the guy's actions didn't warrant his career being ruined. Given that his career is supposed to be in PR and customer relations, I'd say that's damn close to defending the guy. Also, given all that's come to light, his career definitely should be ruined because he sucks at it. I'd say he deserves the ire as well given the contempt he's shown for his customer and their customers.

    As for the rest of it "potential someone will do him real physical harm" is a red herring. There's ALWAYS potential that someone would do anyone real physical harm for any or no reason every single day. Someone could just walk up to you on the street and punch you in the face regardless of what anyone on the Internet says. Unless it actually happens, that whole line of argument is meaningless. As for the hate mail, I'm not defending that. At the end of the day, he can always change his email address or Ctrl+a, del though.

    In the end, as someone who was victimized by bullies for most of my young life, I'm not shedding a single fucking tear over a bully that is getting a taste of his own medicine.
  45. NiGHTS
    NiGHTS
    In the end, as someone who was victimized by bullies for most of my young life, I'm not shedding a single fucking tear over a bully that is getting a taste of his own medicine.
    This is exactly the issue here. Essentially, this guy wandered into the wrong neighborhood and shit on the wrong guy's lawn. I'm painting with a very broad brush, here, but the internet has a very large population that have gone through exactly this in the 'real world'*. When 'real world' bully comes into internet world's domain and attempts to do the same thing, this is what happens.

    Anyone who has spent time on the web knows this is what was to take place. I think we can all agree. So, that having been said:

    Where I disagree with what went on is how this entire thing was carried out: publicly. You're kidding yourself if you don't think real world toughguys do this same shit in the real world. The difference, however, is it results in burned bridges and a loss of business - one way or another they always lose business.

    The could have just as easily been carried out in private, through e-mail, to the right channels to ensure that this guy not only loses business, but never gets any again for this type of media: the internet. The players involved here are large and important enough to essentially blackball this guy from internet PR existance. To be fair, by all accounts it looks like this is what the initial guy that inquired about shipping did this.

    Instead of keeping it that way, however, Gabe chose to air the laundry out in the open and allow for all to see for exactly that same reason: he'd been bullied before, so it made it right - 'you wandered into the wrong neighborhood'.

    Am I defending PR dope for his actions? No. But I'm also not going to defend actions of a larger populace that should know better.

    *Internet of course is considered real, as well, but for the sake of differentiating the two to explain my position I've noted a difference.
  46. RyanMM
    RyanMM Wow, CB, I never thought you could be so wrong about something. Sorry man, you're totally off base here.
  47. ardichoke
    ardichoke I'd rather this take place all out in the open as opposed to some powerful players blackballing someone in secret. Secrecy leads to REAL abuse of power. The point of the Internet is the free dissemination of information. If you don't like it, or if you're going to be an asshat in such a way that would ruin you if it became public, maybe you shouldn't be doing it on the Internet.

    I suppose you also take offense to negative reviews on sites like Yelp @NiGHTS? What happens when a bunch of people leave negative reviews about a terrible restaurant and put it out of business? Should they also have just kept it quiet and not made it public?
  48. NiGHTS
    NiGHTS *sigh* No, @ardichoke. All that talk about red-herrings and you drop that?

    A site like Yelp exists explicitly for that purpose: review my business. Now, if you want to keep with the Yelp theme, had Gabe done this on Yelp, I'd have no problem with it - that's what it's there for.

    Without drawing this out further, since I'm just trying to explain my point of view - I guess my opinion on proper ways of doing business differ dramatically from yours. Dealing with an issue like this isn't 'secrecy' in my book, it's proper conduct. Putting it on a website millions of people visit for, by and large, a daily comic, is the abuse of power. I don't need to air that dirty laundry for all to see; those that need to know, will.
  49. Camman
    Camman I think the real fallacy is all the tech sites using this incident to write editorials about what happened that are basically click-bait for a hot tech news controversy.

    I feel like anyone who was really outraged about the whole thing would do better to just leave it alone instead of giving additional press to either Penny Arcade or "Ocean Marketing", the power you're speaking of largely sits with the tech media on this and by publishing op-eds and getting more people stirred up you're just feeding the machine.

    Also, I'm not just speaking about this article in particular, but it hit me after reading the Kotaku article that Brian linked that basically every tech site out there now has an article tracking this thing and providing updates and opinions and it's just breathing more life into it.
  50. ardichoke
    ardichoke

    A site like Yelp exists explicitly for that purpose: review my business. Now, if you want to keep with the Yelp theme, had Gabe done this on Yelp, I'd have no problem with it - that's what it's there for.

    Without drawing this out further, since I'm just trying to explain my point of view - I guess my opinion on proper ways of doing business differ dramatically from yours. Dealing with an issue like this isn't 'secrecy' in my book, it's proper conduct. Putting it on a website millions of people visit for, by and large, a daily comic, is the abuse of power. I don't need to air that dirty laundry for all to see; those that need to know, will.
    It's also HIS site, where he commonly posts HIS thoughts and rants on HIS blog. He has every right to post that there.

    I don't think our opinion on the "proper ways of doing business" differ, I think our opinions on whether or not it's acceptable to publicly call out someone for conducting business inappropriately is what differs. What I've taken away from your posts is that if a PR guy, representing a company to which you may have paid money for a product or otherwise had business dealings with, treats you like shit or name-drops you while bashing a customer, you shouldn't be able to post that publicly and call him out for behaving completely inappropriately. I think they should have every right to do so.

    The way I see it, if I were in Mike's shoes, I'd be concerned that this tool had used my name when bashing and threatening other customers as well without me knowing about it. I would then want to post the email and a scathing rebuttal solely to distance myself from him and make it very clear that I was not in any way associated with him because I would not want ANYONE to think that I was associated with him in any way shape or form. Dealing with him in private won't do that and wouldn't discourage him from using my name and reputation in the future. Posting a very public rebuttal as well as his own emails will. Simple as that.
  51. PirateNinja
    PirateNinja
    I think the real fallacy is all the tech sites using this incident to write editorials about what happened that are basically click-bait for a hot tech news controversy.

    I feel like anyone who was really outraged about the whole thing would do better to just leave it alone instead of giving additional press to either Penny Arcade or "Ocean Marketing", the power you're speaking of largely sits with the tech media on this and by publishing op-eds and getting more people stirred up you're just feeding the machine.

    Also, I'm not just speaking about this article in particular, but it hit me after reading the Kotaku article that Brian linked that basically every tech site out there now has an article tracking this thing and providing updates and opinions and it's just breathing more life into it.
    I completely agree with this, which is what I was saying in my post too. I can't wait for this to blow over. However, I'm somehow addicted to reading the comments in this thread for no other reason than I find all the attention this is getting to be completely absurd.
  52. NiGHTS
    NiGHTS
    It's also HIS site, where he commonly posts HIS thoughts and rants on HIS blog. He has every right to post that there.

    I don't think our opinion on the "proper ways of doing business" differ, I think our opinions on whether or not it's acceptable to publicly call out someone for conducting business inappropriately is what differs. What I've taken away from your posts is that if a PR guy, representing a company to which you may have paid money for a product or otherwise had business dealings with, treats you like shit or name-drops you while bashing a customer, you shouldn't be able to post that publicly and call him out for behaving completely inappropriately. I think they should have every right to do so.
    Oh definitely, I think they should have every right to as well, sorry to mislead. I just don't think this is the most mature way of handling it. I mean, Gabe even points out it's caused legal problems in the past, but this line:
    I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames.
    kinda drives that point home. He even has the self-realization that he might indeed be the bigger bully, this time.
    The way I see it, if I were in Mike's shoes, I'd be concerned that this tool had used my name when bashing and threatening other customers as well without me knowing about it. I would then want to post the email and a scathing rebuttal solely to distance myself from him and make it very clear that I was not in any way associated with him because I would not want ANYONE to think that I was associated with him in any way shape or form. Dealing with him in private won't do that and wouldn't discourage him from using my name and reputation in the future. Posting a very public rebuttal as well as his own emails will. Simple as that.
    Fair enough, I'd be just as concerned as well. By proxy, this man now represents my business (however loosely) and must be dealt with. For me, dealing with him in private would only be the first step in a larger chain. In the end we're agreeing on the same thing: let your shareholders know. My stance is that I'd prefer to do this by phone/e-mail/whatever to my shareholders/customers/prime interests instead, though, to get ahead of it. Gabe is certainly large enough to get the ear of anyone who will listen, and I would have preferred he'd done it more discreetly.

    Just for giggles, say Gabe sends an e-mail. We both know it would have gotten out on the larger websiphere anyway, but the attitude would have been totally different. Gabe doesn't look vindictive, it looks like he's keeping everyone aware of what's going on. Hey, I've got a problem here, this is the guy, this is what he's up to, he no longer represents me in any way. I've taken these steps to remediate the issues, I'd ask you consider doing the same based on the following.

    End of the day, we both agree on the main issues. Like you said, we just differ on how we'd go about solving this idiot's mess. :)
  53. aChad If I'm the gun, and Mike Krahulik wields me, then the extent of his action was to place the gun in Christofo's hand and watch him shoot himself. Over and over and over again. This is not a "Jenny Jones" situation where someone was murdered after getting outed on TV. This is a case where a bad businessman had been dealing in threats, evidently for a while, and got his bluff called. Chistoforo can only suffer damage equivalent to the size of the castle of lies that he built.
  54. CB
    CB bump for relevant recent events.
  55. primesuspect
    primesuspect What recent relevant events?
  56. Tushon
    Tushon Was relevant at the time

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