Tobold's Blog
Thursday, February 11, 2010
A question of internet etiquette

Ignoring people on the internet is harder than you would think. I stopped reading syncaine's blog a while ago, but unfortunately he hasn't stopped reading mine. So every time I make some blog post about some PvP game, like "I don't like legal RMT in EVE", syncaine goes and makes a blog post with my name in the title, full of personal attacks and lies about me and my blog. And because people on the internet just love blog wars, his posts then get linked to and commented on elsewhere. So I'm just surfing the blogosphere and I stumble upon posts by somebody quoting syncaine having said that I am getting paid by Blizzard to promote World of Warcraft, or similar lies and ad hominem attacks. I even get mails from other people telling me "hey, did you see what syncaine is saying about you now?". How does one ignore that?

So I'm really at a loss about what I could do, what I should do, to stop somebody from slandering me all over the internet. Never write another post about anything remotely connected to PvP any more? Defend myself and correct all the lies he is telling about me? Write attack posts against syncaine on this blog full of reciprocal slander? Take a lawyer and sue him? Remove all blogs that ever link to syncaine from my reader? Stop blogging? Report him to the IRS for not declaring his income from Darkfall? I don't think any of these solutions are feasible. I'm afraid syncaine will just continue writing anti-Tobold and anti-WoW rants. Such posts drive traffic, and direct traffic is important if you finance yourself with an affiliate program.

So what do you think is the correct internet etiquette to deal with repeated personal attacks and slander? What would you do if some blogger repeatedly dragged your name through the mud for no reason other than you liking a different style of games than him? I could really use some help here.
Mmh. You just got me to read his blog again, because I am a human being after all and curious by nature.

My advise:
Ignore him if you want to ignore him. It's the best (but not perfect) strategy to get him to ignore you and you know it.

Otherwise: You are a public person in MMO blogging. Obama can't do anything against evil lies against him in US politics and you cannot do anything against evil lies about you in the MMO blogging sphere.
While making a scathing, ironclad counterargument can be therapeutic once in a while, I recommend not doing anything. This isn't politics, where controlling the narrative is more important than your actual argument. If your opponents are busy slandering you and picking apart your arguments with every fallacy they can wield, let them. It will only increase the contrast between you and them. They're busy digging their own hole and will do just fine without your help.

That said, you keep that scathing, ironclad counterargument handy just in case.
Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
Sorry, couldn't resist :P

I'd say just keep ignoring him, completely, ignore his comments, delete the emails you mention, don't write posts like these, etc. I don't think there's anything else you can do.
I don't know what the American laws are on libel, but certainly in the UK there has been some landmark cases over the last few years which clearly set out that libel is libel; no matter that it's on the internet, on a blog, on a forum or whatever. If someone posts something libellous about you in the UK you can sue them over it just as if it was printed in a newspaper or open letter.

Here's just a few cases in the UK:

The Sheffield Wednesday case were the judge actually forced the administrators of the message board site to give them the users details (despite a privacy policy in place) so lawyers could formally open libel proceedings being probably the most relevant.

I won't claim to understand anything about how the American system works, but certainly here in the UK libel is libel.

So be careful what you post about someone :-)
You are a celebrity of sorts in the blogoshpere Tobold. Being such, someone, somewhere will inevitably post something about you in a slanderous way. More so on the internet where we can't easily find out who the real person behind the words is.

Even if you quit blogging that wouldn't stop people from bad mouthing you.

And at this point it's pretty obvious that his blog has turned into a horrible mess of sensational posts. It reeks of him simply wanting to reach "e-fame" by posting controversial crap, knowing that stuff like that will draw people to his blogs.

In fact just by posting about him you are promoting him Tobold. I would not doubt that a good deal of his readers would have never known about him if it weren't for you.

Your best course of action is to try and ignore him, even though that seems hard for you to do.
Simply ignore him and soon he'll ignore you.

He has no effect on your life. He cannot take your RL or ingame wealth, he can't destroy your blog.

He is might able to make people have bad opinion about you. But hey, those people have no effect on your life, cannot take your RL or ingame wealth and can't destroy your blog.

They might make even more people have bad opinion about you. (and you obviously noticed the repetitive nature of the things)

However the bottom line is that if ALL the people would have bad opinion about you, they still couldn't take ANYTHING from you.

Just think of me. I surely have more haters than you do. And you know what was the consequence of the widespread hate?

"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards."
- Lois McMaster Bujold, "A Civil Campaign", 1999
Unfortunately, you can't stop other people from taking a pop at you on the internet.

We all tend to get defensive about our favourite games and EVE players do have a tendency to get all holier than thou. (To my mind, it's the way people actually defend rampant metagaming that puts me off as much as anything, and I've played sandbox games before.)

You can either ignore it and let it wash over you, he'll get back to talking about Darkfall eventually. Or give him a poke and write more about RMT and precisely why you have these issues with it (I know it's a subject you've brought up before but there's still plenty of legroom in it for more discussion.) Or maybe re-examine whether EVE is or isn't a good example. I dunno.

I figure you can either ignore it, or see if you can work up some more content from it :)
Ignore him.

Don't feed the trolls.
I believe this should be the number one rule of the internet. Just above, never give out your personal information.
Hmm I cant see too much 'slander' in his recent post, sure he has some light hearted, tongue in cheek digs but I cant get away from the feeling that you take things far too much to heart.

You are as people say a 'celeb blogger' and you will have people disagree with you and perhaps take digs (which I did in the past for you publishing a link to a crap (imo) Fallen Earth review).

Blogging about MMO's certainly boils down to opinions and because people disagree doesnt make one right or wrong. Its all part and parcel of the internet Im afraid. The fact you and SynCaine are both pretty high profile and have opposing views it just means you bump heads more often.

P.S. I actually like the little fun rivalry and tit for tat between the two of you, it keeps things fresh.
What can I say? Stuff like that works.
I once (totally unintentionally..I swear) got you yourself to comment over on my blog, after I linked to your post and disagreed.
And like you said, people on the internet love blog-wars, so it will attract viewers.
Hell It even got me (and Nils it seems) to read his boring angry blog once more. Thus boosting his reader number for the next time he has to negotiate a salary from Darkfall. So it works.

(btw Tobold gets payed by Blizzard to promote their PVP-scene, read all about it on my blog!!)
Sue him, or spread lies about him.
Not making posts like this, or, like everyone is saying: just ignore. Even if he goes on forever. Apparently he's still bothered with you something you said, so let him remain bothered, his problem.

Can't resist a quote :)

"Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much"
- Oscar Wilde
Hmm I cant see too much 'slander' in his recent post

I didn't even read his recent post, only saw the title in my automatic link section of the post he linked to. One example for the slander part was about finding posts on other blogs like this:, where he suggest I'm only playing WoW and writing about it because I get freebies from Blizzard. I don't get freebies from Blizzard, except for ONCE a press pass to an European Blizzard event two years ago. I found that particularly annoying because HE gets 20% from selling Darkfall via his blog, pretends that doesn't affect him at all, and then suggest I'm the one who has been bought by a game company.

I also know he made some claims previously about me not having played certain games before writing a review, which wasn't true at all. Add to that the constant personal attacks, up to and including him writing a blog post just to call me an "asshole", and you can maybe understand that I'm getting fed up a bit.

About his recent post, you read it. I know my name is in the title, making some comparison with Keen I can only assume is meant as an insult. And for what reason? I did nothing to deserve a personal attack, I just said I don't like legal RMT in EVE. Is not liking RMT such an extreme point of view that it requires some ad hominem attack to respond?
Fair point about the 'bought by blizzard' but overall I just didnt think his last one was too bad, more in jest than anything else.

I think alot of people are perhaps looking into it too much and trying to get you wound up.
My opinion: write what you write and stop worrying about syncaine. Your reputation (whether you like the term or not) is pretty established and can be confirmed by reading any handful of randomly selected posts on your blog. Thus syncaine's rage can't harm you (i.e. your blog), because anyone he directs to you via his ranting will have an easy time to form their own opinion. They may like you or not, but it won't be based on what he wrote. Not least because his own reputation pretty much went down the drain over the course of the last (half) year. He used to be a controversial blogger with often radical yet sometimes insightful views. Now he's a laughingstock, lacking anything even remotely resembling objectivity, measure or inquisitiveness. The only people who still care about what he has to say are either fellow raging fanboys or those who just enjoy watching others embarrass themselves. Do you really care what people who consider him credible (so credible, that they won't even bother forming their own opinion) might think about you? I wouldn't. Keep ignoring, and keep doing what you're doing (as I suspect you're enjoying it).
My response is to never directly link or refer to people like that. Bring up whatever subject it is, state your side, establish that mentally flawed people think something else, and move on. If people do read him, they'll see what you're saying. If they don't but you write it to stand on its own, they'll not be confused and he won't get the additional traffic.
What Gevlon said. That and the fact that you should constantly make sure to keep your irl identity completely separated from your e-identity.

At the end of the day, if that syncane fellow makes money from the traffic he gets on his blog then he is basically acting on his own interest creating controversy so that he attracts the most people out there.

So for your sanity all you have to do is pretend he doesnt exist.
I find the idea of Blizzard "bribing" bloggers to promote WoW absolutely ridiculous. Come on people, do you actually think this would produce enough results to justify the hassle, cost, and potential PR disaster?! Even if Blizzard, in a fit of madness, decided to pursue such an advertising strategy with Tobold, it would only be preaching to the choir. I'd bet that the percentage of Tobold's readership that has never tried WoW (or has no opinion on it) is tiny.

This syncaine fellow seems to be falling prey to the "loud, frothing at the mouth, PVP fanboi" stereotype. Ignore him, let him drown in his own vitriol!
Or find out where he lives, pay him a visit, and find out exactly how much he truly loves PVP ;)
@Tobold: "I did nothing to deserve a personal attack, I just said I don't like legal RMT in EVE. Is not liking RMT such an extreme point of view that it requires some ad hominem attack to respond?"

Your EVE/RMT post/comments framed "hardcore EVE fans" as "swarming" and went on to describe them as "rabidly opposed to RMT in other games."

You may have used exaggerated language for comedic effect about a group of players you may not feel overwhelmingly positive towards. Something similar could be said about Syncaine's "Keen/Tobold" post which doesn't, to my eye, seem particularly insulting. Satirical, perhaps.
I recommend ignoring him too but I don't think that will really stop him. You are his only way of producing new readers.
I'd agree with Gevlon here. Just ignore him. If Syncaine's fans end up hating you, so what? They probably already do anyway, because you aren't "hardcore" enough.

Sadly Syncaine's blog has disappeared into the "conspiracy theorist" pothole (wonderfully described here). That old "I'm obviously right, so anyone who disagrees with me must therefore be an idiot or a crook" schtick gets boring after a while.


I'm still waiting for my bribe from Blizzard for preferring WOW to EVE or Darkfall. They must be bribing a lot of people, though, so maybe it just takes time to process it all ;)
I'd say you should just understand and assume we the -readers- are not idiots. If you can spot this obvious tactic from syncaine, so can we :)

I read both Keen,Yours and Syncaine's blogs and i know what he's doing. I'm sure we all know there's just so much traffic you can generate talking about Darkfall this and Darkfall that. He even made a post about some statistics as to how he will throw in a "non darkfall" post to see how it attracts traffic...and that is exactly why he is doing it.

Just go count the comment count on his Darkfall posts vs. any non-Darkfall post...somewhere even Syncaine has to realise catering for a very niche crowd is gonna "shrink" his own blog into niche.
if you can prove prejudice to you, you can take legal action. Every other option sounds more costly than it'd worth.

In all honesty, you're sounding like YOU have a problem with him, not the reverse :P
Syncaine is often deliberately provocative and I don't doubt he has an ulterior motive for being so. Perhaps he is just trying to boost his traffic but I wouldn't be surprised if he is also trying to re-establish some kind of dialogue with you. Despite your rejection of him he is still a regular commenter on your own blog.

You are not about a bit of intentional provocation yourself Tobold. Your recent piece on EVE being a case in point. You however have the personal marturity and writing skill to be provocative without descending to personal attacks.

Syncaine is not as skilled a writer as you. He is also somewhat younger and less mature. Nevertheless he writes a very interesting blog. You yourself know that he has produced gems of insight on occasion. Plus Darkfall is an inherently interesting game to read about.

You asked for advice. I am no expert on the problems of internet celebrity but I guess you could, as some other posters have suggested ignore him completely. Never make a post like this again. Never publish his comments to your posts. Train yourself not to worry about the occasional headline you see with his name under it.

Alternatively you could try to engage with him one more time. I know Syncaine wrote to you asking for a truce. Did you respond?
I have only heard about this guy through your blog - I wouldn't worry about the optics of some meager dude on the internet. I found I enjoy WoW so much more since I stopped frequenting the wow official forums.
Just ignore him.

Really ignore him. Don't blog about trying to ignore him, don't permit him to comment then reply indignantly or any of that. If a third party gets involved either don't reply or give a short reply sorry, not interested in Syncaine.

It would probably be easier for you if you don't allow his comments on your site. After a while the drama will starve for lack of publicity.
Just ignore it.

For some time his tactics have been the same.

Sticks it to EuroGamer and Zitron for the Darkfall review then rages about Aion and anyone playing it - without playing it himself

Thinks reading about recent WoW stuff qualifies him to give a negative opinion, but if you read something about EVE and post an opinion he jumps all over it.

Makes some comment about you getting freebies from Blizzard to promote WoW, whilst taking a 20% commission on his Darkfall affiliate link and claiming it in no way affects his opinions.

Hell, the guy managed to make a totally unrelated anti-wow comment in an article talking about sex/social responsibility in games?

The post was talking about game devs claiming they are trying to represent all aspects of humanity when they put a bit of side boob/same sex relations in Mass Effect 2 and Syn pops up with;

"You have to give props to Blizzard here, making WoW wheelchair accessible with WotLK. (sorry, too easy)."

For someone who dislikes WoW as much as he says, he sure finds a way to crowbar it into several of his posts each week... and into discussions that have nothing whatsoever to do with Warcraft.

At some point sensationalism not only draws in bigger hits, it's also easier to troll WoW players/other bloggers than it is to actually write content of any worth.

Hypocrisy takes less effort than integrity
Just accept it unless it gets really our of control. Like you, I stopped reading Syncaine a while ago. His preference for opinion-based jabs gets old fast. The Internet is full of unsupported opinion and distorted facts.

We live in the MIS-Information age.
The Internet is like the playground all over again and unfortunately, there will always be bullies.

When harrassed, you can either walk away, complain, or stand up for yourself.

Personally, I'd just ignore him because it really isn't worth the hassle but if it's keeping you up at night why not hit him where it hurts?

Do a bit of e-digging and tip off the person's boss about their employee's Internet conduct at work? Most people don't get paid to blog and harrass people...
You may have used exaggerated language for comedic effect about a group of players you may not feel overwhelmingly positive towards. Something similar could be said about Syncaine's "Keen/Tobold" post

I think there is a huge difference between saying something about a class of people, or about a specific person. If, as one commenter here remarks, syncaine talks about WoW players in general as if they were handicapped, I could more easily ignore it. My name in the title of his blog posts is a lot harder to ignore.

For example if I said "hardcore players are all basement gamers" that isn't very nice, and would justifiably get me some angry responses. But if I said "X sells out to Darkfall, because he needs the money, living of welfare in his mother's basement", that is a totally different beast. It is personal, it is untrue, it is slanderous. While anyone could choose to ignore the former, general remark, it would be nearly impossible to not be offended by the latter.
If you are not going to ignore him, because you think you are incapable of it, then don't ignore him.

This is, however, exactly what he wants, so I really don't see how you could even consider doing him that favor.

There is no easy way out here. Your 'name', Tobold, is out there. Everybody can shit on it whenever he wants. All you can do is minimize the future impact. The best way to do that is to murder him. The second best way is to ignore him.
one of two things is happening. Either he's really frustrated his game isn't as popular as he thinks it should be and is blindly thrashing around trying to blame someone. And believing all successful bloggers who like wow are paid by blizzard makes a great mental crutch for his failure.

Or he's just trying to increase his traffic by upsetting your readers.

either way ignoring him is the only productive option
"You are a celebrity of sorts in the blogoshpere"

Take it as a matter of pride that syncaine and his like are misrepresenting you. It is confirmation you are celebrity of sorts.

And way, please keep writing. You, not syncaine, are on my blogroll.
Been reading your blog for a while - love it. By that I mean your style of writing. I don't always agree with what you say. But I like the way you say it. You are logical and knowlegable and I learn things. I'd like to thank you for your insights and opinions. Just thought I would toss that in first. :)
On the topic of "that person", I will advise ignoring "that person". By that I mean - delete any emails that contain any reference to him. Don't blog about any of it. Take a deep breath. Do what you do best - writing about what you enjoy. Ignore Ignore Ignore -- will be your mantra about "that person".
I try to avoid his blog at all costs as I find him pretty rude to others...which I find offensive.

My advice...which isn't the best but something my mother used to tell me when my brother used to "wind me up" (which is similar)
Is to ignore him, turn the other cheek...he will get bored and move on to someone else..
You will remain looking professional while he looks like an idiot.

Good Luck
My advice would be to grow thicker skin. *shrugs* Not much more you can do.
My advice: Defend yourself on your blog when you see fit, ignore him otherwise. Any reasonable person can be expected to judge something ultimately on that "something's" content, and not simply on the perception of others.
there's a name given to people like that: anti-fan

"Anti-fans spend a great deal of time, effort and considerable resources defiling, rallying against or applying methods of detournement to the celebrities"
Don't feed the troll. Honestly, that's what is happening over there. I say dismiss and ignore.
My father, a man I respect very greatly, has a simple rule, and he lives by it.

If he respects someone, their opinion matters to him and he cares about what they say. If he does not respect them, then he doesn't care what they say nor does he pay them any attention above what common politeness requires.

He has a small number of friends, is very close to his family, and is happy and confident. It's not the quantity of the people out there that like you that’s important, it is the quality.

"You can judge a man by company he keeps." etc. etc. etc.

That Bujold quote earlier in this comments section about honor vs. reputation is a favorite of mine.

What you have to do, Tobold, is decide whether or not Syncaine is someone you respect, someone whose opinion matters to you.

If so, then take the time to analyze what he is saying about you and if it is something you need to correct in yourself, a point you need to refine in your posts, then use it.

If he is not someone you respect, then you already have your answer for how to deal with him. Ignore him. That means TRULY ignoring him though. Ignore that part of you that gets upset when he says something untrue about you by reminding yourself, "This isn't true, so it doesn't matter." You can’t erase the person’s existence, or avoid all possible indirect contact with him, but you can deal with your own reaction to him and his words. That is the part you have to ignore.

In essence, you have to ignore yourself, not Syncaine.

Finally, I would also suggest that this litmus test applies to the ideas themselves. Do I respect the idea behind the words? That doesn't mean "do I like the idea," but "do I see merit in the idea?" Is it true dialogue? You already do this with the content of your comments section. You just need to take that to the next level.

It's something many of us struggle with.
In what way is this any different from the spats that used to occur all the time in the letter columns of comics and science fiction fanzines back in the 1970s and 1980s?

It's part and parcel of fanzine culture, and blogs are just another form of fanzine.

If you don't want to participate, never, ever respond. Not at all. Not even a hint or an innuendo. Just carry on posting what you want to say and nothing more. Eventullay the other person will begin to look silly or even scarily weird if they keep badgering a target that appears not even to know they exist.

As for what SynCaine actually said, it looks like fairly harmless, knockabout stuff. I just re-read it and I can't see anything that suggests he claimed you were being paid by Blizzard. If some third party claims he did say that, I would think that would be the person you'd have a case against, not the person who'd been misquoted.
> Sue him, or spread lies about him.

One of these is a bad idea. And yet anyone who would listen to me probably already knows that.

>[...] if that syncane fellow makes money from the traffic he gets on his blog then he is basically acting on his own interest creating controversy [...]

There was a Boston Legal episode that echoed this sentiment, and recently an O'Reilly Factor interview with Jon Stewart where he says (and I greatly paraphrase) 'the political view I choose is irrelevant, because this show is mine and anyone who watches it knows its mine, and not fair or neutral.'

Do all actors in a movie automatically have to like the movie in order to act in it? NO! They must only like their paycheck. Your friend doesn't even have to believe what he's saying. If it gives him views (equivalent to TV ratings) then he should do it.

That being said, if he does something illegal, then you can sue him. Of course, that might not be in your best interest. I had a friend who didn't report his car being broken into because his insurance premiums would have gone up. If you value your RL-identity being anonymous, then it's probably not in your best interest to send anyone a lawsuit.

All this being said, I offer no advice on the course of action you should take.
Don't give him any attention, the mere fact that you are bring his name up in a post shows that he is getting to you and that his thoughts and blogs are an effective means to get his voice heard and get a reaction from you.

The best way to fight this is how I used to deal with negative people in my life, just tune them out and pretend like they don't even exist... that'll show someone you no longer respect them if that's the way they'll treat you or conduct themselves.

Anyone who's willing to take his claims about you as truth just because it is on the internet is a dumbass because obviously you can't trust everything you read. Try to do some damage control on the OTHER blogs that may quote him or bring it up (if they are notable communities/blogs) otherwise just ignore it and it'll go away.
I do not think Syncaine really believes you only play wow and write about wow for some blizzard swag. He was sarcastically responding to your accusations that money is why he writes and plays Darkfall by referencing your Blizzard swag. The two of you have really different personalities, but you both contribute a considerable amount to the issues you discuss.
Shakespeare says it best, I feel:

"He who has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee. If weaker, spare him; if stronger, spare thyself."

"In a false quarrel there is no true valor."

Yeah, I just quoted Shakespeare, so sue me! The point is, the weaker vessel here is the one making the attacks, so spare him, and by so doing retain your integrity.
So, is it a full church ceremony for you two or just a simple registry office do?
Ignore it and, above all else, don't even acknowledge it. Just delete any comments you don't like and move on.

I think as soon as you start acknowledging people being jerks and respond to it, you recognise their actions and give them value. By ignoring it completely, they will stop and you won't stress.
All these other guys are right when they say "Don't feed the Troll, just ignore him" and "He's just trying to boost his own viewer count".

Your blog is very well written, and you appear to have a sense of journalistic integrity that is lacking in most actual journalists nowadays.

Anyone who comes to your blog and reads just a handful or so of your posts will be able to see that, and he is funneling them right to your doorstep.

This is an entirely good thing.
What do you stand to lose by doing nothing? Not much that I can see.
Personally I think you should man up and actually read Syncaine's post about you not liking RMT in EVE. There is nothing slanderous in it. At no point does he insult you in any way. He makes a valid point which happens not agree with yours.

It may be that in the past he's been less than tactful. But to base your judgement of each post of his which disagrees with you on that basis is illogical.

Additionally, if you can't take the occasional barbed comment then maybe you shouldn't be publishing anything.
Quoting Tobold: "...and you can maybe understand that I'm getting fed up a bit."

We have a saying here in 'merica: "grow a pair."

Shrug it all off, honor > reputation, and if things get really serious (threat to your life or family) get the law involved.

I could care less what Syncaine, or most other bloggers, think, and I care less about your posts like these than on the other, more productive subjects.
I hate to use the old maid's argument but in this case ignoring the crap might be the best option. Don't feed the troll.

You can't make jackholes appreciate you and your fans are already your fans.
You are for better or worse the most popular general MMO blogger around. His constant attacks on you strike me as a pretty bald faced attempt feed off of your popularity. Bashing WoW every other post was getting him hits for a while, but readers got bored with that. The "Blog wars" got him another spike, and he's still feeding off of that.

Your popularity isn't being hurt, and I dare to speculate that your opinions are no more or less respected by an given reader because of Syncaine's outbursts. You guys are inhabit such opposite extremes of the opinion spectrum that %99 of readers know which of you (if either) they will agree with before ever reading one of your posts.

You have nothing to gain by responding to him directly. However Syncaine stands to gain a lot of hits if you do.
I've been reading yours and Syncaine's blog for about the same amount of time--around 18 months. You're both wrong. Syncaine for being mildly condescending and you for acting like a baby about it. Seriously Tobold, you can't say "unfortunately, he hasn't stopped reading mine" without completely failing the rest of the argument. Either you were fed information about his post, which means you can't comment accurately, or you're reading his blog and you're lying about not reading it. Which is it?

I read Syncaine's post. I don't see any personal attacks or lies. Mind pointing them out? He criticizes you, fairly, for equating EVE RMT with WoW RMT. You don't know how EVE works if you haven't played it in 7 years. Some games function perfectly fine with time-saving RMT. You completely discount a huge part of what EVE is (PvP) to conclude that EVE's RMT transaction system is "bad." Don't you see how silly that is? It's kind of like saying you don't understand the point of buying a gun instead of constructing your own because you don't like shooting them. It makes no sense. Your premises, arguments and conclusions are untenable. Sorry.
Ignore it. He's just baiting you. If you get a legit email asking if you get paid, answer it (as long as that doesn't rile you up. If it does, ignore those too). You don't have to answer to them, ESPECIALLY when it's in your ToS.

If blogging 'friends' talk about you, and you have some semi-blogger-relationship thing with them (like you do with gevlon), correct them in an email (IF it doesn't rile you). If they don't believe you, there loss.

If it will make you feel better, throw up a little comment on the top right where your ToS is with a "I do not get paid for this blog". Add it right under the ToS.

"I didn't even read his recent post, only saw the title in my automatic link section of the post he linked to."

Block it, preferably with just a filter for his name.( i dont know if you can do this)

Also, it's possible there is something in the blogspot ToS

There is no shame on bringing it up if he broke it. if he calls you a loser for doing so, he's just trying to guilt you into not doing it. Stand up for your rights as a blogger.
[Tobold] declined my suggestion citing that while he appreciated my "PvP Approach", the "personal attack stuff just isn't my style." And honestly, that more than anything else really illustrates the point that this blog war is one-sided.

Here is my email to Tobold in it's entirety: [...]

Dealing with Syncaine
-Serial Ganker (Sid67)
Whenever I see someone smack talk me, I usually reply with something like:

"Hi <3"

Bottom line is if you counter-attack you are feeding them. He wants you to react negatively, that's how he wins.
Syncaine is jealous of your popularity and the respect you have in the community. He only strives to obtain. You lend yourself to him when you recognize his tantrums.

Ignore the cry baby. Don't help his blog and Darkfall sales by paying him attention.
If you can manage it and be stoic, just ignore him. I never am forced to think about the little weasel unless you mention him, so it would be nice if you just didn't mention him. I know you don't have the luxury of just never hearing about him and that is unfair, but can you take one for the team and save your readers some pain?
Why don't you just ignore him? The internet is full of this, and when you're a blogger it's just par for the course. You have to learn to just move on. It's not slander to call someone out and disagree with their opinion.

You are overly obsessed with your TOS and people saying bad things about you. Just move on, it's no big deal.
The Power or Words

Words have no power on their own. Words are empty and alone.

Readers give words life. Even if the only reader is the author.

A diary - the writer has a diary to remind himself of his past in quiet reflection. The words have power only when he reads them. If they go unread, they are meaningless - a temporary catharsis at the time they are written.

From this, we can conclude that the more readers a message has, the more strength the words gain. The family finds the diary after the author is deceased - the words may now touch many more lives. If that diary is published and is widely read, the words can live forever.

At this point, you're asking yourself why I'm telling you all this nonsense...

... because if you use words to complain or defend against someone, you are directing others to those words, and thus you give those words strength.

Oddly, what this person is doing is giving YOUR words strength. Every time he writes about you, many of his readers will come to see your words for themselves. Among those who do, some will relate to your point of view and like what they see. Those that stay for the long term give your words more strength, and they will leave his words in the dark.

Practical advise from this: Don't give his words power - you do this best by ignoring them. If his words mention you, they cause your words to gain strength over time. Superior writing and reasoning, with a likeable, readable style will accelerate this process (you have this down pat).

If a third party mentions you both, they give power to both parties, and people will decide for themselves on the merit of each.

So... think about this for an hour. When you're 90 years old and you are rereading this blog in quiet reflection on your life's accomplishments, do you want this post to be part of what you read? If not, remember that Blogger has a delete function. Destroy this post along with all its comments and leave his words in the dark.
I've said this before and Ill say it again Tobold. Stop worrying what others think and say. You make yourself the slave to the situation and that is something entirely in your hands.
I think you are just looking at it all wrong. If he is posting about you, even if it is negative, that's publicity for you.

Let them worship as they want. You still make out in the end. The people know what is true and what is untrue. Let them decide.
When I read blogs, I always do so with a certain amount of balance - in that I always read what I consider a healthy mix of opinions to keep the neurons from settling in one place. I play WoW, and I have never played EVE, but that doesnt mean that I will blindly follow along and take every opinion about EVE as a gospel.

The impetus is on me as a reader to make sure I am not being duped, exploited or otherwise. Checking facts as offered by bloggers should be on everyones to-do list in an effort to maintain accountability as it relates to the entire circle of blogging(bloggers posting and commentors commenting).

Tobold, as more than a few here have already suggested, and to hold you accountable for a recent promise that you yourself made, you need to grow that thicker skin and just ignore everything that is Sycaine. When you stop to make a post such as this, it disrupts the flow of your blog and does nothing to solidify anyones opinion about Syncaine. In fact, most reasonable people will go to his blog to check facts and to give weight to the actual text that is used before rendering an opinion either way.

So, at the end of the day you have increased his traffic and quite possibly generated a few sales netting him his 20% cut. You gain nothing but a bruised ego in all of this, while it's bussiness as usual and a -win- for him.

Your blog is the first one that I load up while having my first cup of coffee, and the posts of the past few days have been great, but then you get all worked up about something like this and allow it to completly derail your focus. It really is growing tiresome, and you really should consider how these repeated "ego clashes" could be affecting your readership.

My coffee will taste the same whether I'm reading yours, or someone elses blog.
" won't claim to understand anything about how the American system works, but certainly here in the UK libel is libel"

I had a law class in high school. Like 20 years ago. Before the Internet was available to most folks ("Back when ethernet was 3 megabits...and yellow!").

I remember there are some important differences between US and UK libel/slander laws. In the UK it is important to establish that there was an intent to harm, or a reckless indifference. In the US (and NOT the UK) the truth is an absolute shield. So in the UK you can be found guilty of libel if you write something true, and intend to harm. In the US you can not be found guilty no matter what your intent if what you say is true.

That "truth shield" is so strong that successful defenses can amount to no more then "my client believed X, he took the following steps to make sure X was true...and he turned out to be mistaken, but my client not only believed this to be true at the time of writing he took all reasonable steps to confirm it".

In the US "public figures" also get less protection, I don't think that is true in the UK.

(and again, note I'm not your lawyer, I'm not even a lawyer, I haven't passed the bar in any state, and with my limited legal training, I doubt I could pass in any state -- while I think my ramblings are true, they could be total crap, if it is important to you, obtain your own legal representative and pester them! -- also a jury can always ignore the law)

So assuming syncane is in the US, you will have to show he intended harm, or was indifferent to it. You will have to show your "blogger status" doesn't make you a real public figure, or at least limit "how public" the jury thinks it is. You will have to show that what he is spewing is not only false, but that syncane either didn't think it to be true at the time of writing, and that he took no significant steps to determine the truth.

Doable? Could be. Sounds like a lot of bother though.

If it were me I would once in a while pop up in some venues and drop a more or less canned response like "I don't think anyone is dumb to like whatever it is they like, or dislike whatever it is they dislike in a game. I have stated my own opinion on RMT in PvP games or whatever partly to express myself, and partly so people can judge my game prouncments with my own biases in mind. I'm not out to change anyones mind about what they should or should not like. Regrettably some people seem to think not liking their game is a sign of a mental defect, and enjoy misrepresenting my views. Rest assured that if you love some game or other, I really don't mind. I only mind it if you think I'm an idiot if I disagree...oh, and I mind when folks willfully misrepresent my words"

Or maybe something less wordy :-)
As you describe it, it sounds like you could bring a suit for libel. So, if it really bothers you and you can't work it out otherwise, collect the evidence you can and get a legal consultation. Standard caution though: legal actions can be tragically expensive for both sides (unless your bring suit in a winner takes all jurisdiction), and they can take a long long time to run their course. Also, for many good reasons, libel tends to be difficult to prove.
You could always ask Syncaine to refrain from posting about you and perhaps to edit his post about you.

After that, you should read the EFF's article on Online Defamation (

and then if you wish to proceed, contact Automattic, the company that hosts, to investigate a possible breach of their TOS over defamation.

In my opinion, doing nothing is the worst possible thing you can do. It implies that you (and we) tolerate such behaviour in our part of the online community.
Since you are both largely anonymous bloggers, I think ignoring him in all public forums would be the best course. He isn't posting slanderous information that would negatively effect your professional reputation. His attacks aren't ad hominem so much as ad avatar; let bygones be bygones but don't give him the added pleasure of being public frustrated by his comments.
I understand your point about not being able to completely ignore him, obviously you both occupy a space that causes you to indirectly see him. However not being able to completely ignore him doesn't equate to needing to feed into the cycle by replying in any way even indirectly.

Now as a second point, I have to echo some other readers here in that I believe the comments lately about you haven't been malicious in nature or as bad as you make them out to be. I know you cannot verify this since you do not read him directly and only get residual effects of his comments but I felt it had to be echoed once more. Please do not consider this as a negative point towards you though since I do not mean to say you're 'intentionally' exaggerating him, as that is not my meaning and I am in fact a daily reader of your blog.
Gotta ignore the guy. I'm not familiar with him but he sounds like a bonehead.

One thing you might consider is, instead letting all these folks get attention using your name, you might see if someone will hire you for your writing, knowledge and expertise. It is easier to take potshots at a lone blogger, not so easy if you're under the umbrella of a larger organization, perhaps.
You use derisive language and mischaracterizations with ideas, articles, or authors who you don't agree with. Syncaine might use more explosive language, but it's just the same thing. If you don't want other people to read and comment about your opinions, buy a journal.
Mate, you are a blogger in the MMO publics eye, and as such will be targetted by "Angry Internet Man" when you post things they disagree with.

Get a thick skin and ignore them, or stop blogging. 'tis the only way :(
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool