Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let's not go there

Normally I'd put this into the comments on a blog rather than jumping to my own blog, but I think it's worth saying in a full-scale blog post. It is a very, very bad idea to speculate in any sort of public forum about the identity of the YDIS guy, or, really, anyone who stays anonymous on the net. I don't mean to sound like I'm scolding Austrodavicus, although I guess I am, but mainly I want to point out something that he may have missed in making a public guess about who the YDIS guy might be.

The problem is this: whoever gets accused of "being" someone else has no way to refute that accusation. The accuser has basically thrown mud on someone who cannot provide any proof that the accusation is invalid. You can't prove the negative. In fact, even if the YDIS guy got on his blog and "admitted" to being someone, could you necessarily believe that statement? Of course not. Most likely the YDIS guy would think it was totally hilarious to see someone else being vilified in a case of mistaken identity.

Austrodavicus doesn't make a completely blind accusation, since he provides links to a couple of places where his accused person makes message board posts that are reminiscent of the writing style of YDIS. But I can think of at least a couple of people who can and do occasionally write that way when they are pissed off. Taking a couple of quotes in isolation, cobbling it together with someone's known opinions (the guy accused by Austrodavicus doesn't, for example, think highly of the blogging scene) might be fine for private speculations between buddies in a context like private messages or emails, but it creates a possible public slander of someone who is innocent and can't prove it. That mud sticks; it creates suspicions in peoples' minds; it is not fair.

I think that post is something where Austrodavicus didn't really think through the possible consequences if he's wrong about his guess. Not that I personally think Bill would care one way or the other, but what if he does? Part of the accusations that have been leveled at YDIS is that he targets people without knowing them personally, creating a lot of pain for someone out of the blue if they happen to be sensitive about it. Austrodavicus has done just that, even if Bill didn't care. Who can say if he cares or not? Who can clear his name of that kind of accusation? Making a public speculation about the identity of a very-disliked person like YDIS shouldn't be done unless there's a lot more proof than a few posts where the tenor or the content is similar. There is no way to disprove it, and thus no way to repair a reputation.

I've had this sort of thing, in a much less problematic form, leveled at me before, the most upsetting one being when someone claimed I had written something on the net that I'd never written. Try to disprove that accusation when it's possible for someone to delete posts, and where the assumption would simply be that I'd deleted the never-existing post.

If bloggers were to get into a public speculation and counter-speculation, naming names, there will be lots of people who get their reputations attacked -- and only one of those accusations would (or might) be correct -- every single other accusation would have been leveled at an innocent person. And it could never end, since even an "admission" by YDIS would be utterly suspect.


  1. All these blog posts related to YDIS is just more food to the troll. His ego has been well fed the past couple of weeks, now lets starve it. If nobody read the blog or paid attention to his polemics he wouldn't matter. Let him stew in his own juices.

  2. Speculating about the YDIS blogger ends up turning into exactly the same kind of smear tactics that were used against OSRIC when it first appeared, alas....


  3. I will still read it, I stand strongly by the fact that even though it is a negative source of information. It is still a great source for information.

    Plus it is not like he told anyone to pull there blog, so how is you all picking on him any different. Oh that is right he does not care lol.

    I am so sick of hearing all this nonsense it is over whelming lol. He is not going any where and she will not stop. Regardless of what you all do.

    I think one of you anit-YDIS guys should make a city dedicated to your hatred and leave the rest of us alone.

    Freedom of Speech is absolutely wonderful. Why don't you all go ask the Chinese what they think of there freedoms.

  4. Edit damn auto fix. I meant site. Nothing like looking like a jackass when you are trying to prove a point lol.

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  6. I made the same accusation and later took it down. We probably don't need a witch hunt. But a lot of people seem to think that the same person is behind YDIS. This does not indicate guilt on his part (and I regret having made that accusation), but if everyone were emailing ME to accuse me of having done something particularly asshole-ish, even if I were innocent I might re-examine some of my online habits. Just saying.

  7. Matt, thanks for the reasonable tone of your post, it's honestly much appreciated.

    Austrodavicus doesn't make a completely blind accusation

    Actually I didn't make the accusation but simply repeated it and then went on to give my opinion of it. I made sure that I pointed out (more than once) that the accusation people had made was speculation.

    I think that post is something where Austrodavicus didn't really think through the possible consequences if he's wrong about his guess.

    I gave the subject very serious consideration before posting it, it wasn't a spur of the moment thing. Bill made himself a public figure when he put his name to his An Open Letter to the "OSR Blogosphere". I gave some examples of his public attacks on bloggers and the blogging community to demonstrate that not only is Bill willing to go on the public record with his hatred of our community, but he's more than willing to be vitriolic and downright mean about it. I honestly don't believe anything I wrote on my blog will do any further harm to Bill's reputation than has been caused by his own words and deeds.

    @Tatem - Freedom of Speech is a two-way street and not just the right of the bigoted and abusers. Opinions and criticisms can be swapped in a respectful manner, just as Matt has done with this post. Sadly some folks think Freedom of Speech means a right to be abusive.

  8. Tatem, free speech is about government suppression, not about people being free from consequences. His right of free speech doesn't trump mine. He can say what he wants, but I get to say what I want as well. It's hardly the same as Chinese censorship. :)

  9. I am just saying them Canadians have porn on there TV's regular programming. I have to put a thing on my blog because I use profanity.

    I am glad you did say what you want. It is a beautiful thing. I was reminding people that freedom of speech is a wonderful thing and so is self censorship. If you do not like it then do not look at it.

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