There are times after a long day that I simply grow weary of the internet and what it reflects of the greater world — that it seems to be full of complete idiots. Today is one of those days. I’ll vent, get it off my chest, and perhaps some imbecile out there will learn from it. Perhaps that dumbass will grow, impossible though that might seem.
One of the sites I oversee is Sphinn, a Digg-like site for internet marketing news. Got a good story about internet marketing you want to share with a community of marketers? That’s what Sphinn is designed for. You submit a story, and people vote on it (sphinn it, as we say), and the stories that get the most sphinns make it to the home page in front of everyone.
Sounds easy, right? Sure, but as I’ve learned in the two years since we’ve run it, it’s a minefield. Someone does a post about some internet marketer’s birthday — it makes the front page — then people complain it’s not “serious” enough. So you make a rule against that, then someone else complains that a similar “celebratory” story gets through and starts yammering about double-standards.
You make a rule against contest submissions because most of them are crap. Then you get a prominent person who gets upset when THEIR content post gets pulled, and bruised egos lead to conspiracies about censorship and so on.
Hey, it goes with the territory. Building and maintaining communities isn’t easy work. It’s like having a family of thousands. You can’t please everyone, and you hope that on the whole, you make the right decisions overall.
But I really hate the censorship word, when it gets tossed around — and it gets tossed around way too lightly often by people who have no idea what it really means.
That leads me to today. While a community site can be fraught with egos, and concerns about double-standards or fairness, at least you have sympathy for people who are part of the community itself. Who have invested time, or energy or part of their souls to it. You want to do well by them. You want to do nothing for the drive-thru asshole who makes no effort at all.
Tonight after someone’s submission got removed, they sent this message:
what kind of horseshit site is this anyway? I posted a link to a story, and get banned. So, you are big supporters of censorship I see, so it doesn’t matter one way or another if I use your site at all. I’ll also pass the Internet word around about this horseshit site as well.
Curious, I went to look at what this person had submitted. It was, best I can tell, a country-western short story. He submitted this to a site that, right under its logo, says it’s about “internet marketing news.” To submit it, he used a submission page that said:
Be sure you’ve read the submission guidelines. Done that? Then enter the news story URL….
Those guidelines, right at the top, said:
News submissions must be related to the internet marketing industry and submitted to the most relevant topic category.
Despite all of this, he drove like Homer Simpson through all our warnings and pleas to dump his big silo of pig shit into our lake. And after polluting it in this manner, he has the gall to cry “censorship” and call us “horseshit.”
I shouldn’t have bothered even trying, but I tried to explain things to him. No help. He simply didn’t understand. Didn’t care. Didn’t mind that he’d wasted everyone’s time — mine, his, those of our readers. He makes me wish he had an internet license to drive that could be revoked.
I know. The internet isn’t full of idiots like him. In fact, there are plenty of smart people out there. It’s the idiots that simply stand out most, suck so much energy that could be better used in other ways. It’s sad.