February 6th, 2006 at 11:05am
Some of you may be aware of (or in some cases be an editor of) a website called The RiotACT. For those of you that aren’t, I will provide a brief description.
The RiotACT is a Canberra based news and opinion website which often looks at ACT politics and ACT events. In much the same way as Slashdot, readers are able to submit articles, and after review by an editor, the article may be published.
I first became aware of The RiotACT in April, when one of the editors, Johnboy, posted a review of Linux.conf.au 2005, I did much the same as a comment. After becoming aware of the main subject matter of the site, I decided to stick around, and became a regular commenter, and occasional article submitter. This went on for quite some time, and I found the debates to be quite interesting.
After a long while though, it became apparent that certain people either didn’t like me, or didn’t like my opinions, and took it upon themselves to take minute sections of my comments out of context, make a huge deal of it, and let everyone else tag along for the ride. The personal attacks didn’t bother me too much, you learn to deal with it after a while online, the constant being taken out of context didn’t overly bother me either as I would try and correct what was said. What bothered me was the way anything which was taken out of context became the subject of debate, and treated like some bigoted statement, which in turn resulted in constant “Samuel is an idiot” type posts.
After a while, it got worse, and became more consistent, with people starting to skip the “take Samuel out of context” stage, and just go straight to “Samuel is an idiot, yell at him”. This made it impossible for me to get my point across, and really hindered the ability of the site to remain on topic.
There were also some fundamental differences in opinion between myself and certain people, including an insistence that I live my life in a way which makes my opinions invalid. Apparently drinking to excess, getting into pointless fights or doing other things which I’m not interested in would turn me into a psuedo-fountain-of-wisdom. (Interestingly, there were some assumptions in the linked comment that I haven’t done certain things that I actually have done, which is why I linked to that comment. There are plenty of similar examples of pointless comments directed at me to be found if you browse through the archives of The RiotACT. There are also some interesting and factually incorrect generalisations about commercial talk radio in the linked comment.)
It was these fundamental differences and the inability of decent discussion whenever I made my views clear, which made me make the decision to leave The RiotACT. I have checked in on it a couple of times since taking that decision, and it seems to be functioning in a normal manner without me. On topic discussions seem to have returned, and the site seems to have some value again.
To summarise this, I made the decision to leave for two reasons:
- There was no point wasting my time making my opinions known on The RiotACT if people were going to take them out of context and spend their time telling me how worthless my opinions are. I have no problem with people telling me my opinions are wrong (if they have a good reason), but telling me that they are worthless is just fundamentally stupid.
- As long as I stayed there, The RiotACT was losing credibility due to constant flaming of me. The solution was simple, leave and focus on other things, it seems to have worked, RiotACT is better off without me and the pointless flaming directed at me.
The RiotACT has very noble intentions, and is a very interesting and useful website, it is just a pity that people felt a need to rubbish me, not because of my opinions, but because I am who I am. I wish The RiotACT success, and I didn’t want them to lose visitors because of constant junk. The people who run the site have worked hard to build it up over more than five years, I respect that, and felt that it was best for them if I left as it is the ultimate cure for the garbage directed at me, which ultimately lowered the standard of the website.
So there we go, for those who were wondering, that is why I left The RiotACT.