Dojo (HowTo)







  Easter Eggs




  Martial Arts

Anatomy of an Advocacy thread
Sizzling slogans smell of ignorance

By:David K. Every
©Copyright 1999

I was invited to get involved in a debate thread. A "nice" thread that did not advocate personal attacks, and so on -- but they were talking about me, so maybe I should get involved.

The following about sums up that entire experience -- but is a bit of a Microcosm of many of the more extreme advocacy debates are like. This is also why I left to do a website where I could give information without extremists yelling "Crackintosh", "MacNazi" or "MacJihad" and so on. I would give out the URL to such places as examples -- but I don't think they need promotion.

[DKE got fired] I guess they got tired of having him bad mouth NT from his piss-ant web site when their flagship product runs on NT. Of course, I am sure that Mr. Every will deny he was fired, but considering that he was crowing just a few months ago how he had gotten out of the consultant rut and finally had a job with good long-range prospects, and considering he has only been there 8 months, I don't see any other rational explanation. Actually, it is pretty pathetic to see him begging for a job from his web site. It will be funny to see how long it takes him to find work, since I am sure he will trumpet his lucrative new posting just as soon as he can. My money is on 3 months.

As a total aside, you should check out his picture that includes his wife and two dogs. That boy just ain't right! I am now firmly convinced there is a God, since he has failed to reproduce thus far (and he is 37). For the sake of the gene pool, let's keep our fingers crossed.


Nice to see it wasn't going to be personal. And as many of the biggest mouths do, this guy was lazy and didn't research or ask. Just about everything he said was wrong.

The company I worked for is developing their flagship product (TeraCOM) which is Mac based.

I was less anti-PC/NT than many of my coworkers. I think Macs are superior -- but business is business, and there has to be serious support to strategic directions.

Companies that fire you for cause, don't give you options and severance (especially when your contract makes both clearly contingent on NOT getting fired for cause). This company will give me excellent reviews, and we parted on good terms.

I don't beg for jobs, I wouldn't work for a company that doesn't want me (or that I would have to beg).

I've already had offers on the table already, but I am taking my time to choose wisely. I won't choose until after WWDC -- but that is by my choice (no need to jump rashly).

My picture includes two cats, not dogs -- so someone is as visually impaired as they are lazy.

I'm 35 not 37 -- so someone can't subtract 64 from 99. And the comment about kids just isn't worthy of a response.

10 more articles on the subject of my looks.

Many more discussing how I insult those I don't agree with (while impugning looks is not).

Comments about how I don't research what I write about (while there were many errors caused by lack of research in their posts) and so on.

Then there was a thread about how I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't have a degree (not expert), or am unqualified to discuss computers. (20 years experience is irrelevant to some).

Another thread went on to talk about how I lie, harass, advocate spam, and was of obvious inferior genetic material.

There was a couple attacks like:

David Every "qualifies" as an expert the same way as those scientists who worked long and hard to convince us that black people and/or Jews were an inferior race, or those who tell you that tobacco use really really really doesn't cause cancer.

There was also an attack that I run a website so I don't have to talk to others and debate issues.

I came in, said the looks stuff were irrelevant, but those attacks don't bother me -- if I was that insecure I wouldn't have put my picture up.

I offered links that refuted each of their claims about me advocating SPAM, harassment and so on -- and I welcomed them to support their claims.

My site is about research -- lots of stuff is supported, and I gave examples. But it is about my opinions as well. I explained my qualifications for my views in Macs and PCs, and that I would welcome questions to prove expertise and so on. This thread died so I guess I won that one.

I asked them to support some of their claims that I was as bad as a racist scientists. I got more personal attack, no substantive responses.

I didn't even bother explaining that tobacco does not cause cancer -- it just aggravates your systems propensity to get cancer. It just wasn't worth it.

I refuted their claims that I do websites to avoid debate -- and asked any if they had sent email? [Silence]. I asked them to offer specific complaints about anything on my site, and said I would address it. I got no specific responses, but a few more broad accusations and attacks.

Someone made a claim about how I dislike companies that acquire technologies because of my article -- then said I was a hypocrite because the company I worked for had acquired other companies.

I explained that:

  1. I was not against acquisitions
  2. The article was about how legacy causes future directions to be different than they might be in the best case scenario.
  3. My company had basically acquired people more than products to get started, and that they should do research before attacking.

Silence after that. Time for them to change tracks.

I was impressed that someone had finally read something, but unimpressed by the fact that they missed the most basic premise (and failed to learn anything from it).

They mentioned Apple was going to Merced, and all that fluff.

Apple likely isn't. Someone else explained. I had an article on my site about this whole situation -- but these "experts on DKE and MacKiDo" hadn't read it. They also thought they were experts on technology, but if they were technically adept they might have known the reasons why the original article they quoted was so off base.

I was attacked for being rabid pro Mac.

They claimed there were no PC attack sites like mine.

They said that I never mentioned Mac weaknesses on my site.

I explained the many cases where Macs are not perfect, mentioned that they were examples on my site (I gave some links and some examples).

Opened up the discussion about some of the Mac flaws -- but counterbalanced with PC flaws. Did they care to address the PC flaws? [More name calling]

Someone else gave a list of sites which were rabid Mac-Attack sites. One the attack-sites was run by one of the guys involved in the debate.

One PC troll started the whole "I'll pretend to be defending you in such an extreme way, and misparaphrasing everything you say, to make you look like an idiot". The old, "We are perfect, you are goons" attempts at being an embarrassing ally. Of course the truth is that only makes the person making the posts look like an idiot, and anyone with a clue knows this type of person is not for real -- and their strawman support is a moronic attempt to end communications (not further it). But I just usually ignore these types. They were mad that I wouldn't take the bait -- and refuted some of what this person was saying.

Someone said I am biased as a journalist and implied that there aren't any examples of that in the PC world.

Someone else claimed that I don't provide links on my site.

A few other attacks on me for various reasons, and a bunch of off-topic stuff and playing games with my words (taking my statements out of context and rewording to prove some point).

I mentioned many PC magazines that are far more biased, and there were links on my site as to how.

I mentioned that I always try to provide links -- but sometimes articles I link to die, and then I pull them down.

I admit that I am pro Mac (based on years of computing experience with both platforms), and I don't try to hide it. Some pretend to be unbiased when they are not.

I also defended a couple of over-the-top attacks against PCs -- as I usually do.

Since I had already been attacked as a racist, I decided to get into this subject.

I got into a thread about how racism is about attacking minorities because they are different, closing minds to any alternatives, driving minorities out (of countries or companies) or making things miserable for them. It is about fear of that which is different, maximizing flaws of another, minimizing strengths, over generalizing and trying to eliminate those which differ. I went into the similarities of philosophy behind driving Macs (or any minority platform) out of companies or markets, and how it is similar to all the philosophies and attitudes that eventually lead to travesties such as the Holocaust, Pol Pot, Stalin and so on. I clearly said many times that there is no comparison between the actual act of eliminating platform choice and the eliminating human beings -- but that the philosophy behind attacking that which is different, and the early methods, may not be dissimilar. And that I fear more the attitudes of fear and attack, since the actual physical attacks are only the symptoms of this hate/fear.

"We are discussing the morality of humans that allows the to try to destroy that which is different. It is a fundamental moral flaw in many human beings, and has lead to many tragedies throughout history. The Mac is a very very minor one -- but the underlying poison [philosophy] is still the issue."

Of course this degenerated immediately into people intentionally not listening (reading) what I said, and not discussing the issue at all. Instead every response is about how to take what I wrote in the most extreme way -- paraphrase it 1,000 times worse than what was said, then attacking that. Strawman attacks. It was all about shutting down communications and not conceding points. There was also a lot of mock rage. How do I know the rage was only mock? One debaters site has had references to the swastika and Apple/Mac/Jobs/MacUsers, and there had been other references to this -- as have many other anti-Mac sites that were ignored by these anti-Mac people. For some reason those foul things don't matter -- but very mild comments about the problems with tolerating a philosophy of separatism and selective persecution, is taken way out of context and is considered a great offense.

Of course people can't admit that eliminating Macs (based on their own bias, ignorance and bigotry) has anything to do with intolerance (bias, ignorance, fear or bigotry) -- so they dodge through attack and intentional misunderstandings. It is a shallow form of attack, and I called it as much -- and wanted to discuss the issue. But it was no use. The motives don't matter to some -- and they surely didn't want to talk about it. In their minds I was wrong for even bringing this thread up -- even if one of their own had made references to it before. Of course things weren't that bad while I was on the area... but after they "banned me" they went to town -- then they were free to attack without fear of having to defend their points of view -- and they liked that a lot.

Still, from that point on, every topic I would try to discuss, would get the previous topic thrown in, in the horribly misparaphrased way. The old, "Oh yea, this from the guy that said eliminating Macs in one company is the same as eliminating all the Jews in Europe". Of course I said no such thing -- but that doesn't really matter to some -- tt is about debating their own constructs, and not what was said. Like a ransom note takes words out of a paper to construct something "new", my words were also borrowed (fragment by fragment) to create something "new" and unrecognizable as the original.

The problem is that the more individuals intentionally misparaphrase, and the more you protest, the more it gets into a debate about what you said, or they said you said. After the 20th time of stating the same thing, "I am not saying X, I'm saying Y" -- and them responding "so you are saying X AND Z", things get annoying -- and communication is successfully destroyed by those that don't want to face certain realities. Far easier to blame others for bringing it up. It is like that old parable, "Don't try to teach a pig to speak, you won't get anywhere and you will only annoy the pig". When people aren't ready to learn or communicate, there is no use wasting your time. I usually realize this when you have something like the following exchange:

I say the following fragment (with clarifications of what I mean), some parts of the following -- "That action is dumb", "We shouldn't view the world as only black and white", "Those that refuse to see any flaws or balances are being immature", "Those that won't consider alternative views are close minded", and "If people won't grow and learn, then they are destined to stagnation and stupidity/ignorance".

So they respond, "You're calling me dumb, black, immature, close minded, and stupid".

"No, I'm saying an action is dumb, a philosophy is immature, that if you can't consider alternatives then you are close minded, and that if you won't listen then you are doomed to ignorance"

To which they respond, "See, I knew you were calling me all those things".

To which I finally respond, "Fine, since you want to be all those things, then you are being those things."

Then it turns into "I know you are, but what am I".

Debates can often entropy to the lowest common denominator -- which can drag any argument into the muck (with enough effort). From that point on communication is gone and it becomes about name calling. Some don't understand the difference between an actions and personal attacks (between acting dumb and being dumb) -- but then they aren't at the level where they understand "grays" either -- everything is black or white. You play the game of saying, "This is gray". To which they response, "Ah ha! You're saying it is black". "No", I reply, "It is gray". To which they say, "So you're saying it is white, why can't you make up your mind". In those cases, they have usually proven the point that they are immature and trying to destroy communication rather than furthering it. But the end result is a lot of noise, and they can drown out any signal (information) that others are trying to contribute. Time to leave -- everything else is a waste of time.So I stated that there was nothing to be gained by furthering discussion with many that won't listen, intentionally obfuscate and misrepresenting others, and have nothing to contribute (because they aren't listening as well as responding). That ego has overridden reason -- and it has become about the "attack" and winning. I was thinking "maybe I'd come back if they want to talk" -- but frankly I wasn't sure they were ready to (emotionally, matured spiritually enough, etc.).

For saying I was leaving there was a flurry of further attacks that get more vitriolic. I was of course accused of being the one ending communication (assuming that communication is some pack of dogs barking to hear their own voices). They ended up by "banning" me from that group -- so that they could really talk about me with the interference of having to listen to my views. The whole site degenerated into what "DKE" thinks -- without consulting DKE. Quite funny, in a tragic sort of way. Of course me missing out on arguing with sophistry is no great loss. I enjoy peeking back in to watch them still talking about what they said I said, and never reading or listening to any of my points -- and in the process proving most of them. Basically their actions proved what they truly believe in. They decided that the only sure way to guarantee choice and freedom to express ideas, is to ban everyone who disagrees with them (to avoid that annoying dissent) then to gang attack anyone on their little forum that doesn't have the same views, and put up more and more slanderous distortions of what they claim others said. And of course, they attacked others for saying that they are ganging up and trying to end communication, I keep waiting for, "How dare you say that, you're banned too -- ban them all!".

Diamonds amongst the coal

It would all be a complete waste of time if it were not for a few gems of discussions going on, usually in the periphery. I had a couple of nice side topic discussions

One side thread got way off topic, and very interesting -- it was about the philosophy of aggression and defense and when it is correct to be aggressive in defense. The person communicated well, gave quotes and cites, and listened as well as spoke (typed). Naturally because it was off-topic, and civil, it was not exactly welcomed by the majority. Many wanted to get back into name calling.

Another side threads started when someone said (basically) that it was OK to eliminate Macs in companies since we live in a democracy and majority rules. To which I respond, "We do not live in a Democracy -- we live in a constitutional republic, and a pure democracy is foul". I explained why and gave example. Not only that, Companies are not democracies either. It started to get into an interesting discussion about our political system. I proved the "we are a democracy" group wrong, and showed what is wrong with pure democracy -- despite a few trolls trying to distract from valid points with extreme games (with taking every point you make out of context and exaggerating). But sadly the thread ended when someone finally admitted, "well of course we don't live in a democracy, what the hell was that all about anyway? Why don't you stay on topic" -- and it went back to the attack mode. It was not acknowledged that I was just responding to something that someone else had started, nor that their whole argument that majority should rule (and crush the rights of the minority), which is what I had been responding to, was void of any depth in the first place.

But still these debates can be worth while -- if you look for the value. One exchange alone was very nice. One person attempted to "guide my argument" into less controversial (and more politically correct territory) and to "help me". To which I responded:

Sometimes it just because an analogy is politically incorrect does not mean it should be dropped. It is worth fighting the political correctness (or incorrectness) of the analogy itself. Think about what was learned.

Many were close minded and didn't want to learn. They attacked without hearing me out. Maybe they are the type that will just blame me for that too. That's their loss. But hopefully a few will learn (about those other people, about me, or about themselves). Maybe they will learn that jumping the gun isn't good, and that they should hear someone out. Maybe they will think "his views weren't as extreme as some wanted them to be" -- and learn something. Maybe they will think, "Dave's not just an evil bastard just because I disagree with him". The hope in helping that latter group, outweighs the annoyance of the former.

Even if I had been more "politically correct", the former group isn't likely to like anything I say (that they disagree with) -- so they will find something to be annoyed about and take out of context. Proof is how they wouldn't listen to reason. The right analogy would still be attacked (it's all about winning to fragile egos). So by being "politically incorrect" I end up helping the ones I would like to help (the ones that listen to others) -- and the others (the ones that don't listen and just react) I am unlikely to help anyway, and they expose their true colors.

So how people respond to controversial things that others say, is really an inkblot -- it lets you look into the motives and the psyche of them -- by how those people respond, and how they respond to corrections and clarifications.

Look at you. You responded to something that may have been indelicate by trying to improve me (and the situation) by gentle correction. You felt I was wrong (at least partly), but I wasn't worth attacking -- just attempted enlightenment or clarification. Right response. Your responses reflect on you.

Look at many of the others -- they took an opportunity to make something far more extreme than it was. Some are going on to create whole pages out hate out of misparaphrasing me -- all as a tribute to who they are and what they stand for. They are wasting lots of energy on their own anger, producing lies, and intentionally miscommunication and altering a message. This is not an attempt to facilitate communication or education -- it is an attempt to destroy it and ridicule others. I guess that says a lot about them as well.


The point to all this? You are what you do.

If you run around attacking people and not listening to what they say -- then you are a close minded person that is not contributing anything to the situation. You are missing opportunities to learn and grow and gain insight. If you slow down, and think about what others are trying to say and really think about it, then you are doing the correct thing. You are trying to communicate and participate and might learn something in the process -- even when you don't agree.

Of course that doesn't change the signal to noise ratio in many unmoderated debates (forums). The few gems make the discussions worth while overall (in hindsight) -- but there are better ways to find those gems without wading through the muck.

Knowing when to fight, and when to walk away, is one of the toughest things in life. What is the right thing to fight about, what is worth getting angry about? These are all personal views. For me it is worth fighting for the truth -- and fighting FOR choice. I wouldn't fight to eliminate PCs from a company. I wouldn't fight to muzzle or censor even the most rabid advocate (though I might like to shut some up temporarily when they are drowning out some far more important message -- so I prefer moderated forums to unmoderated). Each person set their own levels. But when it comes to most advocacy arguments on various chat groups and debate threads -- it usually isn't worth it for me. There are just too many of the "loud of mouth, and the void of depth/thought". They are too busy talking to listen, and too much of their egos are wrapped up in their views to actually think about anyone else's. Instead I will walk away from them, like I will leave a lunatic in a park to stand on his soapbox cursing at the world (even if he has an audience) -- there are bigger fights to fight, and bigger wrongs to right. Maybe I can write an article to save others the annoyance of having to learn some of these lessons on their own -- or just commiserate with those who already have. Maybe I'll just write an article trying to explain something to others, and get some constructive and valuable feedback from those who truly want to communicate.

Twisting Words

If you are really bored, and want to read the way my words were twisted, I summarized the thread in [Twisting Words]. I know it wasn't the most diplomatic thread and all that -- but I wanted to take notes, since the trolls* were out there taking quotes out of context -- so I wanted to save the context for when the quotes were thrown back at me. *Note: Trolls means "trolling for a response" -- not bridge dwellers.

Created: 04/17/98
Updated: 11/09/02

Top of page

Top of Section