One thing I’ve discovered this weekend, is there are some people who suck the life out of a discussion. They use their popularity, their rank, their legions of fans, to overwhelm and crush any opposition. No, crush is a melodramatic word. They nullify opposition.

Sometimes they’re sweet in their weblogs; sometimes they’re not. Typically they’re held up for admiration and respect, and given accolades and affection by many. Yet there’s a dark side to them, a seeming need to control everything around them.

When they become involved in a discussion, the focus changes from the topic to the person. I don’t know about others, but it almost invariably leaves me going, “Why do I continue doing this?” They take what joy I have in this space, this writing, and they taint it, corrupt it.

People complain about trolls, but anonymous people who come into a space and leave a bit of snark are nothing more than the buzz of a bug. Flap your hand, chase them away. No, these people are never treated like trolls. Ostensibly, they don’t act like trolls. But when they’re done, if the discussion is not dead, it’s certainly been redirected. And they’re satisfied; they have control. Even if all their control brought, was discord.

I’m not perfect, I know that. This is more observation than proclamation. People read Techmeme to see what discussions to get into. From now on, I’m going to read it to see which ones to avoid. It’s not a healthy place for me.

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7 Responses to Nullifiers

  1. Bud Gibson says:

    Don’t let those people define you. You’ve written 3 books in the past year, remarkably productive.

  2. Shelley says:

    No wonder I’m so tired.

  3. McD says:

    Getting sucker punched by a bully is also pretty exhausting.

    I hope you realize you have fans rooting you on for standing up to the bully’s bluster. “It’s a dirty job…”

  4. It’s gracious of you to look inward, but I was kinda hoping you would kick around Little Mikey TechCrunch a little with this post.

    I’m sorry if this speculation is unkind, but he doesn’t seem to be accumulating happiness along with all the money and press attention, if you judge by the weird tantrums against you, Lane, and Mathew Ingram. (“I’ll do whatever the fuck I feel like, and you can decide to censor comments or not” really ought to be followed with “You’re not the boss of me!”)

    Considering all the career moves and life changes mentioned in his bio, and the ones doubtlessly left out, my completely uninformed guess is that he’s at the point where leave-the-company itch is getting pretty strong, and how could he scratch it when the Crunch Empire is chugging along?

  5. McD says:

    Rogers – The thing that makes Shelley’s work so compelling is the variation in character… she’s mercurial by nature.

    You can never predict her next wave of action or resignation.

    I hope she doesn’t mind us using her forum to discuss her… it usually re-charges her batteries for the next volley of “speaking truth to power”. One can only hope.

  6. Doug Alder says:

    Indeed McD indeed.

    One good comment on Arrington’s hypocrisy was Jonathan Peterson comment at Jeneane’s

    Why are people allowing Mike to get away with denigrating ip protection when his actions to kill parody website techcrush are so easy to find on google: