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

CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄ƷDer Millionendorf-
edited December 2011 in Lifestyle


  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    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:


    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.
  • This guy definitely deserved to have his career ruined. The rest of it, I somewhat agree with you. Maybe. A bit.
  • "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.
  • edited December 2011
    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.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf-
    @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.
  • 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.
  • @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.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin
    The PR guy got his cummuffins [sic].
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited December 2011
    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.
  • QCHQCH Ancient Guru Chicago Area - USA
    @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.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin

    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.
  • QCHQCH Ancient Guru Chicago Area - USA
    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.
  • JasonJason PDX
    edited December 2011
    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.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin

    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.
  • Yeah, corrected the name bit. One of the inevitable faults of the 'quick skim.' :D
  • Gate28Gate28 Orlando, Florida
    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.
  • That's true, although I think Mike saying 'that's enough' would help lessen the fuel on the proverbial fire.
  • Great topic and discussion, by the way.
  • Herp Derp, some asshole got what he deserved, stop the presses.

    It's people like you that allow shitbags to walk the earth unmolested.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    We should definitely molest all the shitbags.
  • IlriyasIlriyas The Syrupy Canadian Toronto, Ontario
    edited December 2011
    We should definitely molest all the shitbags.

    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.
  • csimoncsimon Acadiana
    edited December 2011
    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.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    We should definitely molest all the shitbags.

    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.
  • IlriyasIlriyas The Syrupy Canadian Toronto, Ontario
    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.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA
    edited December 2011
    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).
  • NiGHTSNiGHTS San Diego
    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?
  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA
    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.
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