Tobold's Blog
Saturday, June 27, 2009

There was a news story recently where a student inserted a fake quote in a Wikipedia entry of Maurice Jarre right after his dead, and watched newspapers all over the world copy that fault. In the MMO blogosphere the biggest story on journalistic accuracy this year was the Ed Zitron review of Darkfall, which contained several factual errors, and gave the game a 2/10 rating after the reviewer only played the game for a few hours.

This week I made two factual errors on my blog. I quoted a story by Spinks, where she said Aion did not have auction houses, which happened to not be true. And I said Mortal Online was eBaying 999 limited editions, because it looked like that on the eBay page, and I hadn't read the Mortal Online newsletter saying only the first copy was auctioned off. Both of these mistakes have been fixed by A) admitting the mistake, and B) correcting it in the post.

Which, as you will find, is exactly what newspapers do with mistakes, only they don't have the luxury of being able to edit the already printed copy. So why is syncaine making a blog entry (which ironically contains several untruths) calling me an asshole for my misrepresentation? Why did some commenters try to derail those threads, attacking me for "misrepresentation", up to the point where I had to delete several comments to get the discussion back on track? Why did Ed Zitron get death threats and a "war declaration" on YouTube?

"Misrepresentation" and "journalistic standards" are the latest weapons of discreditation in the arsenal of those trying to oppress the opinions of others. In fact my blog is probably full of mistakes, starting from spelling errors to factual mistakes, because I never double-check my stories. But you will note that it is only ever the hardcore fans of certain games who complain about misrepresentation. My real crime is not that I wrote things without double-checking, my crime is that I have a negative opinion of Aion, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. Aion actually not so much, I'm just not enthusiastic about it. But I definitely think that both Darkfall and Mortal Online are worthless pieces of garbage designed for jerks who like to gank other players. That is a strong opinion, and a completely biased and subjective one. But it is that opinion syncaine calls me an asshole for, not my "journalistic standards". As I said, his post saying that also contains several untruths, but he is just making his defense of a bad game look pure like snowflakes by dragging journalistic standards and charitable donations into it.

My journalistic standards have not changed in 6 years of blogging, and they won't change anytime soon. I do not double-check news. If the source I am using is wrong or incomplete, I am likely to report the story wrong or incomplete. Yes, I could have done better if only I had found that developers post buried on page 7 of a long thread in a sub-forum of that game I don't play, but frankly, I can't be bothered looking for that. Because "truth" is not a goal of any blog, opinion is. If I make a mistake, and it is pointed out to me, I will correct that mistake, and always have done so. If, which is far more likely, my offense is having a different opinion from you, you're out of luck, and I won't "correct" that. I would have had no problems whatsoever with Ed Zitron's review if it had been a blog post, because it totally confirms to general blog journalistic standards.

And as other writers can maybe express themselves better than me, I'd like to close this post with a quote provided to me by a reader in a comment from the site disclaimer of blogger and SciFi writer John Scalzi:
Everything on the site is my opinion (except comments written by others, which are their opinions). I have strong opinions. At times, you may not agree with these opinions, or how I choose to express them. This is not my problem.

I make no claims as toward being even-handed, fair, or nice. I write what I want here. Your being offended is not a reason for me to stop writing as I choose.

I run this site as I please. You do not get a vote. If you try to suggest that you do, I may be rude to you.

One way to deal with this kind of issue is to link your original sources for some of this information. For example, I presume that you didn't just casually search ebay for Mortal Online; the information that the auction was taking place must have come from somewhere.

This approach has two advantages:
- anyone who wants to can check the sources ad, if necessary, point out mistakes
- it's clear where any errors come from, so you don't get the blame for the mistakes of others.

Of course that won't give you 100% protection from nerdrage, but it will make it harder for people to portray you as being dishonest, when it is simply your sources that are incorrect.
You blog is great Tobold. Pull Stop. Do as you please with the stupid people of the world ;)
It amazes me how many of these issues are as a result of misunderstanding, or interpretation, or context. The Mortal Online post for example: I read it, and according to me the point was that some players are prepared to spend thousands of dollars on a copy of a yet to be released game. Whether it’s one game or a thousand, Mortal Online or TOR, are not as relevant as the point that somebody is prepared to pay thousands of dollars for a game and a lifetime subscription.

Intelligent discussion and argument can be made on whether this is a “hardcore” phenomenon only, or does the fact that a charity is involved change the issue. However, somebody else reads the same article and sees it as an attack on Mortal Online. Same with Aion – from my perspective you think it might be a good game, but you’re just not that interested at the moment. Hell, even your Darkfall comments are quite balanced: the game is implemented well and has a novel business model, but you don’t like that type of game. And yet again, other people read the same words and come to different conclusions. Strange.

In any case, you are spending a lot of time explaining the meaning of your posts, not arguing the points you’ve made. It’s all about context and perception, and maybe people who consistently get it wrong should look for another blog. They obviously don’t “get” your style of writing. Or maybe they’re just malicious. Or maybe I’m the one misunderstanding your posts!
My real crime is not that I wrote things without double-checking, my crime is that I have a negative opinion of Aion, Darkfall, and Mortal Online.

*grabs popcorn*

So why is syncaine making a blog entry (which ironically contains several untruths) calling me an asshole for my misrepresentation? Why did some commenters try to derail those threads, attacking me for "misrepresentation", up to the point where I had to delete several comments to get the discussion back on track? Why did Ed Zitron get death threats and a "war declaration" on YouTube?

Because they can. And as long as keep getting tasty morsels like this post as rewards, they won't stop.
And as long as keep getting tasty morsels like this post as rewards, they won't stop.

Agreed that in a way these posts are feeding the trolls. But it's a no-win situation for me. If I just delete comments without explaining why I delete them, not only is the deterrent less, but also people will accuse me of censorship.
He's mad I think because you let your opinion twist a neutral news piece-MMO auctions its first box on ebay for charity-into something that looks to be both a slam on the hardcore and on the company offering it.

Disliking a game and an error in facts is no problem, but when people start to worry your dislike is causing you to miss stuff and misattribute motives, you may want to take a break and consider.
Now imagine Blizzard did an auction of something on eBay with the proceeds going to exactly the same charity. I bet you that exactly the same people would dismiss that as a cheap publicity stunt. I don't "misattribute motives", I just have a very different opinion of what those motives are. If they just wanted to help the charity, they could just have donated anonymously.
It's a shame, because it shows where fandom goes too far. When you start inventing reasons to hate people who have opposing viewpoints simply because they are opposing. There is no excuse. That is when you need to re-evaluate your priorities. It doesn't matter if the fandom is of something silly or inconsequential like a video game, or something more important like political or religious views. All opinions should be addressed on their own merits, but people seem to never stop wanting to find the easy way around and use other avenues of attack that are fallacious and misleading.

Of course, Syncaine has long since realized that his relevance within the "MMO blogging community" has nothing to do with his ultimately mediocre writing, but rather with how much of an invective jagoff he can be while attacking the most people, so I doubt he will ever change. He does it because he gets a rise out of you and others. But, like you said, you are sort of between a rock and a hard place here, so I feel for you.
I don't think repeatedly emphasizing your unwillingness to check facts does you any favors.

I think part of the problem is that it's not entirely clear to the reader whether your site is "news" or "opinion". It's a longstanding journalistic convention that, so long as they are not libellous, columnists can be as opinionated as they like without having to back any of it up with actual facts. Indeed, that's largely what editors pay them for.

On the other hand, reporters are supposed to at least pretend to check their facts.

The problem with blogs is that often neither the blogger nor the readers have a clear idea whether they are there for information, education, entertainment or opinion. And when people expect one and get another, they get disgruntled.
Mistakes happen and I'd hardly expected extensive digging for obscure information, but I'd also expect double-checking when possible. When an opinion is based on inaccurate information, the opinion is wrong (yes, opinions can be wrong). I respect your writing and opinions and I hate to see them tainted by what are sometimes easily verified information. I remember a day when I decided I would not trust my memory or perception, but instead when forming an opinion about WoW I would ensure that my information was accurate and if I could not verify it I would withhold judgement. Obviously that's easier to do for WoW than it is for the many sometimes obscure or new games that you blog about.

So much could be helped with a disclaimer: "My opinion on this matter is based on the facts as I know them. If my facts are wrong, my opinion will seem strange and flaming it will not help anything, so try correcting my facts before you make yourself look like an asshole."
Are you guys even faintly aware of how much work it would be to check every bit of information against several verifiable sources?

You basically have the choice between me posting only one post per week diligently researched, or continueing with at least one post per day. The disclaimer that all I say is opinions and not absolute truth is already in my Terms of Service.
Syncaine's blog is full of misinformation, misinterpreted facts and untruths, mainly about WoW. He does not hide his negative opinion (bordering with blind hate) of this game.
And now he accuses Tobold of doing something similar for other games - sound very hypocritical to me.
Maybe his blog should be renamed to Hardcore Hypocrite.
"Are you guys even faintly aware of how much work it would be to check every bit of information against several verifiable sources?"

Very hard...but, I bet if you were REALLY into the subject, like WoW, you would do just that.

As you state, you do not like those games. Yet, those game are the ones gaining the most vitriolic responses.
If others opinions of YOUR opinions bother you..just go back to writing about WoW.

Me? I prefer some conflict, as that is what the blogosphere thrives on...and maybe secretly, you like it too..(smile)
Tobold: "But you will note that it is only ever the hardcore fans of certain games who complain about misrepresentation."

Tobold passim: I don't mind that Oz doesn't like Free Realms, but I do mind that he tries to discredit the game by writing things that are just outright falsehoods."

Hardcore Free Realms FTW! ;)
Feel free to react heavy-handed at times. It is up to you how much abuse you want to tolerate.

I agree with Hirvox, you give them too much attention. It is your blog, you do not have to explain or defend yourselves over and over, and you are not obliged to endure bashing of any kind at all.

I think you are much more liberal than the Darkfall developers who recently announced to purge heathens and infidels who taint the pure and constructive criticism of a supposed true and cool Darkfall community from their forums! :)
"But I definitely think that both Darkfall and Mortal Online are worthless pieces of garbage designed for jerks who like to gank other players."

Thats pretty narrow minded. Yes darkfall is for us people who like killing others and taking their stuff. Wouldn't say we're ALL jerks. But to say the same about Mortal online? i wasn't aware that you'd actually looked into the game so much as to be able to judge its playerbase before its even been launched.
Might it have something to do with Syncaine having the personality, intelligence, and tact of a nest of extremely agitated hornets?

The world may never know. All I know is that he's not on my reader. Tobold is.
I'll be honest, Tobold. I read this blog daily, but lately, I've grown a little weary of your constant referral to your comments and how they keep ragging on you. I understand that it's frustrating, and you are handling it a lot better than I would (I'm still new to blogging and have yet to piece together my thick skin), but having so many posts deride the negative comments from your blogs has really become stale.

Like I said, I understand the frustration, and this is YOUR personal blog, so you can do what you wish. I just wanted to put it out there that this blog, to me at least, is much more enjoyable when you post about games you like (or those you don't) using your voice rather than how you have to delete posts because people are being rude and inconsiderate.

Just delete their comments, refer to your ToS in doing so, and leave it at that. The more attention you give the trolls hiding behind internet anonymity, the more they're going to be doing that.

I think the atmosphere you fostered when I initially found this blog a year or so ago would quickly come back if the negativity were simply not addressed in public.

That said, the misrepresentation in journalism is different from a blogger because there are ethical standards a journalist upholds by being part of an organization whereas people like you and me can say what we want, and if we're wrong, it's just us. You're right in that you can correct it (like your Aion post). People who can't accept that need to take a step back.

But those are my two cents, and they're probably not worth that much.
syncaine is a troll with a blog. He got removed from my RSS earlier this week because he just won't stop to post anything useful or interesting.

It sucks, but eventually most of the great bloggers stop blogging because off all the negative feedback they receive isn't worth it anymore.
I wonder where people are getting their definition of "journalistic integrity." If you read any US papers, especially during the run-up to the Iraq War, it would be self-evident that Tobold's standards are at least as good as any major US paper, and probably better. Shoot, the NYT had a plagiarist/fabricator on staff for years. Bill Kristol, who had a column at the NYT and now at the Washington Post, was a complete slob at fact-checking.

Tobold does correct things promptly, which is also more than you can say about most MSM outlets. Usually you get one vague sentence on page A24 of the next edition, or nothing at all.

In short, keep it up, Tobold.
Just ignore the morons Tobold. I can't believe anyone is stupid enough to think a BLOG is something journalistic and needs "fact checking". Worse, none of the stories really changed even with the errors. The charity auction was still goofy no matter how many were on eBay. MMOs with no auction houses still suck, even if Aion actually had one. Only fan-boy nuts would even care, so ignore them.
If someone forms an opinion based on something which in untrue, then the validity of that opinion is less than worthless. Whether that person then publishes that opinion in a blog or keeps it to themselves is immaterial, the opinion is still invalid.

If we, the readers, feel compelled to place a certain level of importance on the opinions and writings of someone who has formed that opinion on something which is untrue, then we really only have ourselves to blame for even paying attention to said writer.
This is a pointless post. The issue is resolved and over. No need to try to reopen the issue.

Please don't beg for drama like this. It doesn't make you look good.
We only get to see comments that weren't removed. The viewable comments on that Aion "misinformation" thread seemed pretty reasonable overall.

People were pointing out the misinformation, and a couple people constructively called you out in terms of actually trying the game before passing judgment on it.

I'm sure you had to delete some obnoxious troll comments, but that's life as a blogger/forum personality.

Your posts create a lot of interesting dialogue on MMOs *in general* and WoW. That's why I check in here from time to time. It's worth my time.

IMO the issue with the Aion post is not that you quoted Spinks, who turned out to be wrong about the lack of an AH.

It's how strongly you reacted to that piece of information, and made a very strong conclusion:
"This feature single-handedly removes Aion from my "games I must play" list"

I think if you had, for example, simply stated your strong dislike of individual-vendor systems (and I've experienced some of the same issues you've mentioned), and that that would factor into whether you tried Aion or not, you probably wouldn't have gotten flamed to the extent you did.

Is this your blog? Can you say anything you want?

Of course!

But every time you come across as being subjectively opinionated instead of objectively opinionated, you can and should expect people to be quite critical.

To define the terms I just used:
- subjectively opinionated = having an opinion not based on first-hand experience and/or facts
- objectively opinionated = having an opinion based on first-hand experience and/or facts

I would suspect that that is why you sometimes get strong responses from people, esp if they are fans of a particular game that you are criticizing without first-hand experience.

"Are you guys even faintly aware of how much work it would be to check every bit of information against several verifiable sources?"

It's up to you how much fact-checking you do on the posts you write.

Obviously you already invest a lot of time on your blog as it is, I'm guessing north of 30 hours per week.
There is no measure by which you can judge a man and his views.
Yet the amount of assholes foaming at the mouth he leaves in his wake is a good enough measure for me.
Obviously you already invest a lot of time on your blog as it is, I'm guessing north of 30 hours per week.

Not that it matters, but 30 hours is an unreasonable number. If he spent that much time on this blog, I'd be expecting a lot more out of it.

As an example, It takes me an hour to write one post and most of that time is spent on research. My posts are not much shorter than Tobold's, but they tend to have about as much content (if not more). I estimate it takes me 10-20 minutes to actually write a post if I just sat down and wrote my opinions, the way it seems Tobold writes most of his posts. If he writes two posts a day for a week, that's 7 hours of work. I'd round it up to 10.

It would be interesting, actually, to hear how long Tobold spends on his posts. If he's averse to fact-checking (which can't take more than 10 minutes per fact--in the case of the Mortal Online tidbit, a visit to the game's site would've verified information in 5 minutes or less), I can't imagine he's spending anywhere near 30 hours.
Personally I read your blog because you write interesting stories, thoughtful and concise. I don't agree with everything you write but it doesn't make it any less awesome.

Your popularity in many ways may be a bit of a curse - because you're, "The Tobold," well everyone likes to find a mistake from a great. People like that special feeling they get when someone successful fails, it's petty and small but largely human.

Me, if I was you I'd just move on. You've got a billion people who like what you write, so keep writing for them and for yourself. Perhaps even stop acknowledging this stuff on other blogs and sites - I suspect getting attention (not just personal, but driving site traffic) is a motivator for them.

I'll still read your blog tomorrow, errors and all :)
>>>Are you guys even faintly aware of how much work it would be to check every bit of information against several verifiable sources?

Instead of looking at one link, look at two?
Huh? You only have one link. If the source then has further links, they usually lead to sites that don't cover whatever the original source got wrong, because otherwise the author would have caught it. If you wanted to double-check, you'd need to find an *independant* second source.
So why is syncaine making a blog entry (which ironically contains several untruths) calling me an asshole for my misrepresentation?

Welcome to Blog Wars(tm), the new pvp game for people who are bored of Darkfall but too hardcore to admit it.

Blog Wars pits you against the mightiest of bloggers in a battle of wits, misrepresentation and slander!

Ideal for Darkfall Tourists everywhere!
Stabs, absolutely hilarious and true at the same time. Nice and short too.

I looked over at Syncaine's blog, who I had only glanced at now and again when linked from Tobold, and there really isn't too much there of substance this week, other than bad mouthing Tobold about giving WoW a pass on Wintergrasp world PvP (which is only a pass if you hate WoW and don't actually read what Tobold wrote), and the latest name-calling post...where surprise surprise, Tobold isn't really a journalist who fact checks everything before going to print! Stop the presses! Oh wait, they were never running to begin with.

Anyway, I see it as trolling. You nitpick one inconsequential thing, like getting a fact wrong about a game that isn't even out yet, ignoring the correction made by the author, and then taking the high road to lambasting them for not having journalistic integrity on a blog that is done for fun.

Syncaine, Chris (the guy who basically disagrees with Tobold in every post and posts on Syncaine's blog) and others are just trolls, plain and simple.

They have nothing else to say, as it's already been said, and focus on tengential issues to keep the side issue alive. Why? To troll and attempt to incite anger and back-and-forth bickering about a non-issue.

Censorship is not allowing someone to get their opinion/idea out. Tobold deleting comments that do nothing but create a trolling atmosphere is not censorship.

It's quality control.
Keep up your blog Tobold, you're the best MMO writer in the blogsphere. I read the rest, but yours is the best :D

Have fun, don't let 'em get you down.
Syncaine, Chris (the guy who basically disagrees with Tobold in every post and posts on Syncaine's blog) and others are just trolls, plain and simple.

This is patently untrue. Yes, if you look back at the number of recent RMT posts that Tobold has seen fit to make lately, you will see that I disagree with a good portion of his ideas that are RMT related. But I have also praised a great many of his posts and ideas in the past. We are on opposite ends of the spectrum where RMT is concerned, but that doesnt mean that resistance or disagreement with his views institutes a dislike for him personally.

What -I- addressed in my now deleted comments arises from a concern over the quality of his opinions when they are, in fact, based on erroneous information. As several others here have already said, when your opinion is based on incorrect information, your opinion is also incorrect or untrue. It was a simple attempt at keeping the information he provides more truthful, and not an attack on him personally. There was no profanity used on my part whatsoever, nada.

If Tobold cannot accept simple correction, when done in a non-profane manner, then the impetus is on him when deciding how to react.

In the off chance that I am not banned, and this comment actually posts, let me extend an apology to Tobold if what I commented was actually inappropriate. I'm at least willing to meet him halfway on the matter.
Chris, I do apologize for deleting your comment as part of a greater purge action. Your posts never contain profanity and personal insults. And I think you will have to admit that I never before deleted any comment of yours, even the most critical ones. And you are most welcome to express your opinions here.

The difference is that before what was attacked was my ideas. I'm not only okay with people disagreeing with my ideas, I'd even say that the discussion of ideas is what this blog is about. But that series of comments I deleted wasn't attacking my ideas, they were attacking me personally. Yes, I did make mistakes, and REPEATEDLY admitted those, and corrected those. But in order to not have to discuss the merits of a publicity stunt by Mortal Online, people just derailed that thread with attacks on my "journalistic integrity", with demands that were way overblown and standards higher than national newspapers.

I must say that I am disappointed by syncaine (and by you for agreeing in his comment section). Because if you look at it, what I did was to attack Mortal Online. I expressed a negative opinion about a game and a publicity stunt they were doing to advertise it. And in return I get called an "asshole". Do you think that is the correct level of intellectual response?

Other than admitting any factual errors and fixing them in the posts, what do you propose I should do? Delete every post that offends anyone? There wouldn't be much blog left afterwards.
It's all really overblown. There could've been far less drama, and you didn't really work towards that, but I didn't either, so it's best to forget about it and move on... and make better decisions in the future.

I would be happy if you just spent five minutes getting your facts straight before you make "news + opinion"-style posts. I know you can't be right all the time, but you can be right 90+% of the time with not much more effort on your part. This is the last I'll say of it.

You do a good job here; you're a productive blogger contributing regularly to the community at large. I appreciate the work you do and I'll keep reading. Thanks for the work you've done.
I honestly thought that I was banned at the point that my posts were deleted. That is why I posted on Syncaines blog. I can see how my responding to that thread would give the impression that I was ok with him calling you an "asshole", but I am not. You will find that I am against the use of profanity for any reason. It serves no other purpose than to insult or inflame, and never adds anything of substance to the discussion.

I apologize if what I posted seemed a personal attack, as it was not meant to be. You are my favorite MMO blogger, and when I see you making such mistakes as you have in the past week, I simply attempted to point out your faux pas.

In hindsight, I think the best way to deal with factual errors, if they are encountered, is to simply send you an e-mail instead of commenting them in public on your blog.
Tobold, there are two options open to you on this issue:

1) Disable comments. Nobody will be able to express disappointment in the things that you write, but, nobody will be able to express admiration either.

2) Take negative comments on the chin. You can run around deleting comments, but they can always be re-posted, and most of the offensive ones are from Anonymous people, it's not like banning them is going to have any effect.

3) Stop posting the type of things that generate so much hate in the comments. I'm sure you know the ones.

Each of the above options has it advantages and disadvantages. Whichever one you choose, remember that this is the internet and the site is open to the public. Not much you can do about it champ.
Of course, I meant to say 3 options.
Melf: "Of course, I meant to say 3 options".

Omg, you lied!

Lucky I have Syncaine on speed dial.
I think Beej made a few good points earlier. This blog is best when focused on its reason d'etre: mmorpgs. Unwanted comments should just be deleted, period, not discussed, certainly not in a seperate post. At the most, the TOS could be explicitly mentioned. Otherwise meta-content would take over the blog, and while this may be interesting for those so inclined, it's not why i have the blog bookmarked.

Also as a blogger myself i also have to say i have difficulty understanding why you care so much about the negative comments (apart from profanities which should just be deleted) and also the opinions of those who comment. You almost seem to take it personally.

You dont have to justify yourself to anyone. You dont have to be friends with those who comment. Self referential meta posts, be it for justification, warning or otherwise are not what most will want to read i assume.

Another thing is the research point you made. Now bloggers are not journalists and usually dont get paid for their efforts. But on my blog i purposefully try to make an effort to be as accurate as possible, even it takes more time. But because the subject matter of each post is about things im very much interested in, this is a process which happens almost automatically. Its a hobby after all! (and so is writing).

It seems to me that the work on your blog is slowly creeping towards job-status (which would explain posts on subjects you may not be 100% interested in).
I'm not sure if you read my entire post, but aside from the jab of calling you an asshole (because you seem strangely sensitive to swearing), the point was not that you got some facts wrong, as we all do that, but that you took a shot at a community and game when they were doing something good for a charity, and when people (myself included) tried to explain what MO's intent was, you mass-deleted all our comments. The eBay auction has nothing to do with how much money you can get out of hardcore fans, but like any other auction of it's type, it's a way for those with more to make a charitable donation while getting something they might be interested in as a side bonus. As I said in the deleted comment, this is NOTHING new when it comes to charity.

If FR put up their first copy on eBay, would you have made the same post taking a jab at how much money you can get from RMT fans are? If it was Aion, would you have taken a jab at eastern gamers?

I doubt it, but you saw MO, a PvP MMO, and decided to take the shot quickly, without really reading the eBay post that's rather clear it's only one copy, and that 100% of the proceeds go to charity.

Myself and others tried to point that out, you decided you did not want that conversation here, so luckily for me I have a blog and expressed my opinion there, as did others.
"this is NOTHING new when it comes to charity."

Very true, but it is STILL a publicity stunt. As Tobold said, if they want to make a contribution to charity they CAN do it anonymously.

And how much exactly is MO actually donating? A single limited edition game with a lifetime membership and a few other goodies. Regardless of how much the final person pays for it, that is not a huge donation coming from a company. If they were donate all 1000 of their LE to be auctioned and the proceeds which they double goes to charity, now that I would call a generous donation.

But no matter what, how much or who donates: unless it is anonymous IT IS STILL A PUBLICITY STUNT. This is not taking a shot at a company, but merely calling it like it is. If Blizzard did it that would not change the fact that it IS STILL A PUBLICITY STUNT.

And what is wrong with it anyways? All companies have publicity stunts. Yes, this one is giving the proceeds to charity and that is a "nice" gesture, but that doesn't change what they are or what the company is trying to get out of it.
when people (myself included) tried to explain what MO's intent was, you mass-deleted all our comments

That is a lie, and a verifiable one. I deleted the posts trying to derail the thread by complaining about my journalistic integrity and standards. Just check the thread, there are still several undeleted comments explaining MOs charitable intentions. I didn't touch those.

The problem both with profanity and with more politely formulated personal attacks is that it derails the discussion. Unfortunately your lot appropriated that technique since it worked so well on Ed Zitron. Nobody ever discussed the 90% of his review which were factually correct, everybody jumped on the personal attacks on him for having made some mistakes and not having played the game long enough. So now whenever I write something negative about a hardcore game, you come and instead of discussing the subject matter, you just call me an asshole, or try to discredit me based on "journalistic standards" I never claimed to adhere to. Then if that strawman argument fails because I delete it, you come with the next strawman and cry censorship. Meanwhile the subject whether $2500 isn't completely overpaid for lifetime subscription to a game nobody has played yet is forgotten. Your argument that the charity part made it worth it is valid, and if it hadn't been coupled with a personal attack would not have been deleted.

This is a pointless post. The issue is resolved and over. No need to try to reopen the issue.

As part of the discussion of the issue disappeared with the deleted posts, the reason of this post is to give a valid place for the discussion of subjects like how much research a blogger should do for a blog entry. As I said, I don't want that discussion to derail other threads with MMO subjects, so I dedicate separate "meta" threads to them. I do think the discussion is important, I just don't want it to pop up in every thread as strawman argument.
I can't control what others post, but I know my own response to the MO post was NOT a personal attack, but simply pointed out the standard practice of this kind of charity auction. I've never talked about journalistic integrity, because as a fellow blogger I know exactly what standard we are held to in that regard (none). When we make a mistake, people call us out on it, and it's up to us how we deal with it. I made a similar mistake with my EQ2 graphics post, and went back to get better screens when people pointed it out. The Aion thing was a very simple mistake, and like your own post said, the point was still valid (no AH = deal breaker)

And you are still trying to justify WHY someone would pay $X for a lifetime sub to MO, when it has very little to do with that. Trust me, whoever wins the auction is not going to place the final bet because they REALLY want that lifetime sub or beta access, but rather because they want their money to go to a good cause. There are far, far cheaper ways to get early access to MO, or to pay a sub fee for the life of the game.

And calling it a publicity stunt is a low blow too, as it discredits the good deed they are doing. Beyond the simple cost of the whole CE package are all the lawyer/PR fees for doing something like this, the time/effort to set it all up by the company. The eBay auction might get MO a few more subs or at least some attention, but calling it a publicity stunt makes it sound like their main motivation was to profit from this, rather than to do some good.

If eBay auctions were indeed an ingenious way to profit off the hardcore, MO would not be the first company to do it. (and if we really want to take shots at companies milking their most dedicated players, we need only to look at Bliz and their PvP tourney servers with the $20 fee, but milking the hardcore is not the point here)
So I deliver a "low blow" to Mortal Online, and you think the correct response is making a blog post calling me an asshole? If that isn't a personal attack, I don't know what is.

Don't worry, I'm not going to make a big "syncaine is an asshole" headline, which due to the way Google works would be the top hit everybody sees when googling for your name. Because me, I'd be worried how such a personal attack would make me look. Apparently you aren't worried about that at all. What does that tell us?
The initial response was to point out that it was for charity, and that your post (especially the original, unedited version) sounded like you were taking a shot at people who would buy the auction, IE: those donating to charity. You still continue to dodge responding to that directly, as even your now-edited version still has a similar tone.

When you went on your delete rage, I used my resource to give people a place to voice their opinion without the threat of censorship. Notice your name was not used, and only those following this knew what it was about initially.

The first response was not an attack, but when you went ahead and deleted it anyway, I went to my blog.

Oh, and you might want to learn the Google search formula a little better, as that post of yours would not be the top result. Overall page ranking is not the only factor in determining listing placement. Again though, just facts...
I only edited the factual mistake, my opinion hasn't changed a bit. If you were to give $2,500 to Doctor's without Borders anonymously, that would be charity. If I persuaded you to give me $2,500, which I then passed on to Doctor's without Borders with a big drum roll and press release, that would be a publicity stunt. It reflects badly on both the giver and the passer.

I have no problem you calling that a "low blow", or protesting against "censorship" when I delete comments I deem derailing and inappropriate. I do have a problem with you calling me an "asshole". And I find it sad that you apparently can't even see that such personal attacks and profanity aren't conductive to any sort of discussion. With an attitude like that, you are not welcome on my blog any more.
Must we view the world in such binary fashion? Allow me to expand your black and white worldview to include some shades of gray:


1. Doing the right thing for the right reasons

2. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons

3. Doing the wrong thing for the right reaons

4. Doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons

>>>Huh? You only have one link. If the source then has further links, they usually lead to sites that don't cover whatever the original source got wrong, because otherwise the author would have caught it. If you wanted to double-check, you'd need to find an *independant* second source.

Yes this is exactly what I was talking about. If you can find one source of information, you can find two without much extra difficulty. It's not about "journalistic integrity," it's about being sloppy towards your readers or not.
But it's not the makers of MO that are giving the 3k+ (last I checked the listing), it's some fan. How could they (or anyone else doing a similar auction) accomplish this without announcing it? What you are talking about is if the company themselves donated the money directly, and instead of doing it quietly they had one of those giant checks created and made a big PR announcement saying "look how great we are, giving to charity". That's not the case here (and even that is fine, it's still money to charity), and that's the issue IMO. In fact, it would be disingenuous if they did NOT try to do everything they could to get the final bid price up, as the higher it goes the more money the charity gets.

And again, this type of charity work is rather common, and you are the first person I've ever heard to think it's an underhanded way to raise money. Locally here, every year the Jimmy Fund (cancer research and treatment) does a huge fundraiser on TV and radio, and every year part of that fundraiser is auctioning off special sports packages with the local teams. Do you honestly believe that the Jimmy Fund or the winner thinks this reflects badly on them?

Maybe it's a cultural difference, but that's not how people view giving to charity here.
There is a reason Christ talks about giving in secret.

In his day the Pharisees made a big show of giving charity, to gain attention and praise so people could see how holy they were.

Don’t blame Tobold’s nationality on his view on this. I am American, and I definitely agree with him.

I remember, back when he first stared making it big, Josh Groban mentioned people were getting on him about picking a charity. He then made this announcement that he had finally picked one, and I found the whole thing rather sad. Celebrities HAVE to have a charity. It's part of the image thing. PR.

MO is doing the same thing. It happens to benefit a worthy cause, but they do get something out of it. They get positive PR. Charity, in its truest form, is when you give and ask for nothing in return. In this case, MO is getting advertising and recognition, in return for organizing this charitable fund. In short, they profit a little from this.
uhhh... i didn't read too far into this, but i reckon syncaine is calling you an asshole because that's uhh... what he does?
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