Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Open Letter to the Deadspin and MKMUB Commentariat


How are you all doing?   Really?  That bad.

Look, I'm going to do this one little posty thing and then vanish, because this Marv and CJ's balog now, and I genuinely have nothing to do with its management at this point, other than still having a copy of my security badge that no one made me turn over at my exit interview.  I don't know that they'd agree with any of what I'm about to write, so I'm just speaking for myself here.  And, frankly, I'm so sick and jet lagged, I may not even really be doing that.

I love you guys.  All of you.  Okay, maybe not Raysism, Bronze Hammer, Hammerclaw, or Dubai, but you get the point.  And that's why it pains me to say this, but I feel like about 98% of the readers have gotten so caught up in their pity party that they've turned into a miniature Pete Gaines without even noticing it.

Yeah, things are different.  Yeah, I hate reading anonymous internet commenters' opinions about anything.  Yeah, I hate trolls.  Yeah, all those things seem to be a part of the new commenting system for the time being.

But, you know, things aren't perfect, and this is a really small piece of imperfection in the grand scheme of things.  The writing is still really good.  There are still dozens of clever hysterical people perfectly capable of making great jokes visiting every day.  So, the choice seems pretty simple: (1) make the best of an imperfect situation, same as you do every day you commute to work, visit the airport, or get married, or (2) you know, leave.  I hope people would opt for (1) between those options, but (2) is perfectly valid if that's how you feel.

But creating shitty burner accounts and torching the place is bullshit.  I remember back in my college days, we lost our lease on our house, and proceeded to absolutely trash the place.  I mean, threw bottles through every window, punched through the walls, dumped garbage everywhere.  It was a totally mature adult reaction.  And the best part was that the people it hurt the most were us, because we still had to live there and try to bring girls back there for another semester.  The landlord was going to tear it down anyway, so we basically did him a favor.

That's what you're doing.  I don't know if you think you're Robert Redford in Sneakers - which is such an awesome flick albeit a little dated - and you're exposing weaknesses so they can be fixed, but you're not.  You're just making the place more hospitable to trolls and less like a place people will want to comment.

I have an email account associated with this balog.  It basically only gets email from two sources - other Deadspin commenters who have my email, and a notification when there's a new comment here.  It's getting harder and harder for me to check that inbox.  It's just endless negativity.  And if try to say something radical like "hey, you know, maybe shit will get better if we all just go back to making jokes," I'm somehow in Denton's camp.

I hate to say it, but I feel like the comment section is in better shape on Deadspin right now than it is on MKMUB.  We're trashing our own house.  You can blame Denton all you want, but he hasn't created a single burner troll account yet.  A bunch of you have.

If any of you are interested in preserving what the Deadspin commenting section was, the best way to do that is to go about business as usual.  I hope you'll do that.

I also hope you all die of syphilis.

With love,



  1. I finally get it. All these times you mentioned retiring, you were talking about putting new Pirellis on your Porsche.

  2. Guy who Might Be Cobra, brah! Who Might Be Insulted IMG Did Not Include Him In The "Unloved" Group Listed AboveAugust 1, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    He's so right.

  3. IMG is right. It never made sense that Brad Pitt's character in Spy Game was old enough to serve in 'Nam.

    1. Wait, I thought the whole twist was that he was born old and got younger as the movie went on? Or was it that he was really Ed Norton and he was the one who freed the 12 Monkeys in the first place? I am so confused.

    2. Beats me. Malick's films confuse the hell out of me.

    3. @ Rec Specs

      Neither was Laurence Fishburne in BOYZ IN THE HOOD.

    4. Wrong. He was still going by Larry Fishburne in that movie.

  4. The Amazing SneijdermanAugust 1, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    I don't normally get involved in these things, but I really feel like there's a middle ground here between 1 and 2. Yes, some, and I stress some, regular commenters are creating burner accounts to trash the comment section. But I don't think it's really that prevalent of a problem that it warrants half of this post and the brunt of your criticism, IMG. I honestly think, and maybe I'm off here, but it seems to me that there are comment sections on the Internet where people post "obligatory," and gifs, etc, and that's par for the course. Which is to say, I'd guess that the majority of the burners are just people coming from other comment sections having never seen Deadspin before.

    The middle ground is in participating as normal commenters while still suggesting improvements. I actually think Dubai did a great job of this earlier today in his Twitter convo with Sean, and someone else had a similar talk with Tom Ley. These are the types of discussions that, at least for me, are infinitely more useful than anything else. The choice doesn't appear to be between "grin and bear it" or "leave." If that's the distinction, then it does boil down to a troll vs. non-troll choice. But I'd like to think there's a little more nuance.

    We're probably not disagreeing at all, IMG. And maybe I should put in contacts instead of putting on my rose-colored glasses. But I'd like to think it gets better *with* our feedback, not in spite or in the absence of it.

    1. /adds Sneijderman to hate list

      No, I think you're right that there are infinite shades of gray here, but I have thought since day one that the vast majority of the trolling is coming from inside the house.

      I'm not talking about the people who log on to say "yeah, the Pirates suck" or whatever, but I do think the dramatic increase in "obligatory" posts and outright trolling is contrived. We would have seen it in the pinks more if it were coming from outsiders. They wouldn't even appreciate the distinction between approved and unapproved commenting.


    3. @ IMG

      Hear, Hear. Not a perfect system, will never be a perfect system, but still see oportunities to have fun.

      But then, I'm pretty boring, and this basement is damp & musty.

      Still IMG is right. Quit yer bitchin.

  5. I've never used a burner account to post shitty comments. I always my real (fake) screen name to post shitty comments.

    You showed incredible poise today IMG, by not rejecting Kevin Van NatterDamnThingFunnyToSay's inspired reply.

  6. Guys, IMG is so right. Trashing your own house is only awesome in movies like "Weird Science" or if you literally live in trash, like Natasha Lyonne when she lived in that dumpster.


    1. Man, that feels good. Not "masturbating to David Frum's Daily Beast column" good, but still good.

  7. Baloggy By NatureAugust 1, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Baloggy by Nature here...I just want to say

    Everything's gonna be all right...everything's gon..

    /gets kicked in the head

  8. As someone who has continued to post extremely funny comments for the last three weeks, I welcome a lecturing from someone who has basically not commented in the last three weeks.

    1. 1. Boom.

      2. Roasted.

    2. Mangini In A BottleAugust 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      [shrugs] Well, okay, you asked for a lecture...

      [drinks water, takes deep breath]

      The Marree Man, or Stuart's Giant, is a modern geoglyph discovered by air on 26 June 1998. It appears to depict an indigenous Australian man, most likely of the Pitjantjatjara tribe,[citation needed] hunting birds or wallabies with a throwing stick. It lies on a plateau at Finnis Springs 60 km west of the township of Marree in central South Australia. It is just outside the 127,000 square kilometres (49,000 sq mi)[1] Woomera Prohibited Area. The figure is 4.2 km (2.6 mi) tall with a perimeter of 15 by 28 kilometres (9.3 × 17 mi). Although it is the second largest geoglyph (and largest non-commercial geoglyph) in the world, its origin remains a mystery, with not a single witness to any part of the expansive operation. The name "Stuart's Giant" was given to it in a fax sent to the media anonymously by those believed to have created the figure, after John McDouall Stuart.
      Shortly after it's discovery, the site was closed by the South Australian government following legal action taken in late July by Native Title Claimants but, as of 2010, joy flights were still allowed over the site as Native title falls under federal government jurisdiction.

      Outline of the Man
      The Marree Man geoglyph depicts a man holding either a throwing stick once used to disperse small flocks of birds, or a boomerang (but see Plaque section below).
      The lines of the figure were 20–30 cm deep at the time of discovery and up to 35 metres wide.
      Selecting a suitable site would have required aerial photography or satellite imagery.[citation needed] Using a computer, the figure could have been superimposed over the photograph and adjusted to fit the geography with the corresponding latitude and longitude coordinates mapped out. Some surveying skills would have been needed to plot the outline, and then with the aid of a hand-held global positioning system stakes could have been placed every hundred metres or so.[2]
      The image is gradually eroding through natural processes, but because the climate is extremely dry and barren in the region, the image is still visible as of 2012. While there is a layer of white chalk material slightly below the red soil, the figure was not defined to this depth. This raises the question why the creators did not dig a little deeper to make the image both more visible and more permanent.

      Trec Smith, a charter pilot flying between Marree and Coober Pedy in the remote north of South Australia spotted the figure from the air on 26 June 1998. The discovery of the geoglyph fascinated Australians due to its size and the mystery surrounding how it came to be there. At the time of the discovery there was only one track entering and one track exiting the site and no footprints or tire marks were discernible.
      Shane Anderson from the William Creek Hotel, located 200 km north-west of the town of Marree claimed the hotel received an anonymous fax describing the location of the artwork, but they ignored it, dismissing the fax as a joke.

      While the figure was shown nude, if the picture were copied from a 19th-century photograph it has been said that it may have had a loin cloth.[citation needed] There was also initially some question as to whether the figure is holding a throwing stick or a boomerang, but these issues seem to have been resolved following discovery of the plaque and the origin of the plaque quote and likely source photographs of similar nude hunters.[4] The hand which is not throwing has the correct posture in the normal Aboriginal technique for throwing.[5] The initiation scars placed on the chest have also been said to have been placed perfectly. The figure appears to be an amalgam of the body of a man photographed in the distinctive throwing stance and the head of another man wearing a headband and chignon.

  9. Just throwing in my two cents before I go back to annoying everyone on twitter. I gotta agree with IMG on all of this. That being said I know I don't comment nearly enough to talk, but I agree jokes and ignoring burners is the way to go. DS and associated balogs are my little escape from an otherwise stress filled day, so I really don't want to lose it all to some low rent Yahoo! ne'er do wells. Although that means I have to start making jokes sometime soon, so don't get your hopes up.

  10. Has anyone else ever had a dream that they were up all night trading idiotic barbs with anonymous trolls?

    It seemed so real that I actually checked MKM to make sure, but with only 18 replies to this post, it obviously didn't happen. So, that's cool.

    Anyway, how is everyone?

  11. No, YOU are the burner with the syphilis!

    /Attempts to "dismiss" Open Letter

  12. How fucking stupid was the Jordyn Wieber post?

  13. Hi guys! Things seem to be going swimmingly around here.

    1. Hi Phin!

      Welcome back. I kept the middle aged father of three muck-raking punching bag seat warm for you.

      (There might also be a bit extra in the seat. Sorry - you were gone longer than I expected.)

    2. The Real Phin, For RealAugust 2, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Sheesh, looks like you've got that role sewn up. Have fun!

  14. On a positive note, the Chris Kluwe Q & A was really fun.

  15. Guy Who is curiousAugust 2, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Just curious, how much would a site like Deadspin cost?

    Did anyone answer BronzeHammer's question? As preposterous as it sounds, there seem to be a few folks around here who have some extra cash [looking at you, IMG] - what if we did buy it?

  16. I felt like Kluwe was a bit of a douche tonight. Don't know what Dom thinks.

    1. There was a lot of references to his wife, which I thought was odd. Maybe he was trying to be like what he perceived the audience was/is. There were some really stupid fucking questions in there, and there were some really funny fucking questions. Overall, I thought it went better than most of the fare over yonder lately.