Android and chill: Writers are people, too
Disagreeing is cool. Being hurtful isn’t.
I really love peanut butter swirl ice cream. If I worked somewhere and it was my job to write about ice cream and I was to compare peanut butter swirl to chocolate or cherry vanilla, I would tell you I think peanut butter swirl is better. I can say why I think it’s better — peanut butter trumps the lack of peanut butter, in any configuration, not just a swirly one. Even though it lacks the delicious bits of meaty maraschino cherry it’s still better because of peanut butter to me. If I’m going to express my preference, it will be swirly and peanutty unless someone can invent ice cream that tastes like fried chicken.
100 people will have 100 different opinions. Every single one of them is valid, but 99 of them won’t match yours.
If ice cream blogs exist (I’m not sure and afraid if I look I’ll never leave) that means there will be a lot of people out there who disagree and think their chocolate is better than my peanut butter swirl. Some would take the time to comment on articles about ice cream and tell me why they think I’m wrong. I’d enjoy reading those comments because I’m really glad everyone doesn’t have the same opinion. But others would claim the Peter Pan / Skippy coalition is paying me under the table to ruin the good name of Neapolitan or whatever they like, and I’m no longer to be trusted whenever I write another article. Others would go further and insult me and berate me because I like peanut butter swirl better than anything else.
That sounds really petty and stupid, doesn’t it? Know what? It’s just as petty and stupid when it’s about phones and not ice cream.
In the past month or so I’ve seen writers derided and berated for having an opinion. Even worse, I’ve seen their family insulted, their bodies made fun of, their sexual orientation questioned and the size of their genitalia (both length and girth) remarked on. I honestly can’t understand it and am left with the feeling of WTF man, WTF. It’s just a phone, man. Stop.
Ridiculous comments won’t change anything except how others think about the person making them.
To be clear, there are relatively few people doing this sort of shit. It’s not terrible here at AC, though some do push the limit. (You know who you are.) When it’s done to me I don’t care. If I can think of something I feel is witty to reply with I’ll do it because I’m a bit of an asshole, but otherwise, I chuckle and move on to the next thing. Hearing that I should take all the money Google pays me for good reviews and get bigfoot’s ass hair surgically removed from my face was pretty funny. But others who do what I do for a living may find it very hurtful. That does bother me. We’re people writing about phones or game consoles or another cool tech products. Abuse — and to be clear, that’s exactly what behavior like this is — is never a pretty thing. Nobody deserves it, regardless of what they have said or typed.
The internet is a big place filled with people who don’t think the same way. Whether it’s about phones or politics or sports nobody has the right to abuse another person because they said something you didn’t like. We’re just regular people doing our job. Part of our job is to be publicly judged in open comments by people from all over the world. No matter what we say there will be people who disagree. This isn’t about disagreement. You should never stop voicing your opinion, no matter what anyone else says. I am also pretty sure that nobody wants any tech writer to lie about what they like or dislike to stave off shit comments. I can’t think of one good reason anyone would be so forceful and ignorant to another person because of words. I’ve come to the conclusion that if you feel a need to get toxic when you talk about phones you should talk to a professional about your feelings. If you do it “for the lulz” you’re just an asshole.
If you want people to listen to what you have to say, be respectful. It works.
I’m not trying to say you should like the peanut butter swirl as much as I do. Nor am I saying your opinion is any less valid than mine or anyone else’s. I’m just saying you don’t have to be a jerk about it. Being cool to other people — especially when you don’t agree — never hurt anyone.
Have a recipe for the best ice cream of them all and remember to keep things chill.