Photo of Matt Asay by Ilya Schurov of Computerra WeeklyMatt Asay, an executive who writes CNET's Open Road open source blog, got so mad at commenters on his site yesterday that he began hunting them down:

... most people are not jerks. They just become losers when cloaked in anonymity. They say things they'd never say if confronted with the people they flame on discussion boards, in comments sections, etc. They're probably nice people "in real life." It's just on the web that they let it all hang out, to the detriment of the web and intelligent discussion.

Take the comments to one of my recent posts. The first is led off by "h3h" who apparently has no sense of humor (completely missing my point in the post), but can't leave it at that, then going on to lob ad hominems into his "argument."

"H3h" turns out to be Brad Fults. Judging from his Flickr feed and Twitter feed, he's probably an OK guy. He happens to be wrong in the way he chose to comment on this blog, but he's probably a well-intentioned person, normally.

Asay doesn't seem to understand the concept of anonymity. Fults' comments on CNET include a link to his web site, which contains his name and is presumably how Asay found it.

Anyone who reads Workbench knows that I get my fair share of anonymous abuse, particularly from people who read my Target story and let me know I'm a bad parent. That never gets old.

If you publish on the web and accept user comments, you're going to be a punching bag for a steady procession of dillweeds. Your choices are to stop taking comments, pick them off one by one like Asay, or just keep telling yourself you're a beautiful snowflake and soldier through it.

Credit: The photo of Matt Asay was taken by Ilya Schurov of Computerra Weekly and is available under a Creative Commons license.

-- Rogers Cadenhead


"by h3h July 3, 2008 9:32 AM PDT
If the two subjects in this post were any more unrelated or if it were possible for you to be any more clueless, the universe would implode. Do not write tech stories when you know nothing about tech. It's embarrassing for your organization"


This is what he outed the guy for? Maybe Matt Asay needs to grow some thicker skin. In the end it's the moderator who decides what and whom makes the offensive or rude comments, and it justice that is never dispensed equally.

Take the Retort, Rogers you have always catered to the whiners, I don't know why but you always give in to the bloggers who can't stand on their own two feet and fight and let them hide behind your moderation policy. When they realized this weakness, they exploit it, and use it to fight their own argumentative battles. It's your blog but it's bad policy.

I've been lied about, stalked, harassed, and libeled more then anyone out there. Most of it coming from your blog. Every day there are two or three threads that go on about 'Rex Zeitgeist' and the 'PWZ' and how we hid their dolls when they kids or stole their lunch money in the 4th grade. And I have never seen you make one move to stop it. One of your bloggers even contacted the place I was looking for a job and sent them a link to the PWZ and then bragged about it on your blog, and as far as I can tell, he still blogs there and laughs about it on a regular basis with the other haters.

But I don't cry about it, I don't whine about it, I tell myself I am a beautiful butterfly (cause I am) and solider on.

You should read your blog once in awhile Rogers, the same angry hatfeul crap goes on there like it always has and the whiners still hide behind your coattails and do the same thing they accuse other of.

I guess rude comments are in the eye of the beholder, the eye of the one typing them, and whom is reading them.


You are a beautiful butterfly.

The Retort receives more than 1,000 comments a day. All I can do is review the stuff that's flagged by users as offensive or abusive.

As for the person who tried to screw with your job search, I've said many times that it's against the site's rules to drag arguments out into the real world. When I find out about that stuff I do what I can to shut it down. The Retort's a place to share news, talk politics and fuck around. People who take it more seriously than that need to chill out.


Rogers, you're a jerkbag.


Bourne is right. Don't hunt me down though.


I'm a beautiful snowflake. I'm a beautiful snowflake. I'm a beautiful snowflake ...


I wrote a post referencing this post and then forgot to link it. Rectified.

I loved the "snowflake".


h3h could have been more diplomatic, but I agree with him. And Asay's lame accusation that h3h "happens to be wrong in the way he chose to comment on this blog" is simply a circular restatement of his premise.


Joel, see above post for a better example of a high quality rude comment.


Mother always said "If you can't find something nice, then don't say anything at all"
Most folks don't listen to a word that their mothers said during our formative years.
Such is life.
Shiny Up,
Poet Horton


Dear Poet Horton:

Go fuck yourself




No one has to accept anonymous comments. Asay can configure his system to require that all comments be shouted from the sunlight.


You are 100% correct that it's the anonymity of the internet that causes some people to become jerks. People say things online they'd NEVER say in person. It's an "internet road rage" sort of situation. Road rage comes about because of a false sense of anonymity as well.



Rogers, you're a jerkbag


Careful there, B-boy, Rogers might just take a page outta Asay's book and publish yer real name fer that!

Then we'd all know... (wait fer it) ...the Bourne Identity.

/Yeah, yeah, deeply ashamed and all that.

I'm a beautiful snowflake. I'm a beautiful snowflake. I'm a beautiful snowflake ...

Umm, sorry to be the one to have to tell you this but A) Yer not Beautiful and B) Yer not made outta Snow.

That sed, Spud thinks you were on the right track with that whole "flake" thing!

* Ka-Zing *

Ah, even Whiny Rex has come to show us all his stiff upper lip and to further regale us with stories about wot a mensch he really is.

Ah, that shit never gets old.

Such an imagination, that guy.

Be Well.


I take the soldier's approach: don't make excuses.

Rogers says, "The Retort receives more than 1,000 comments a day. All I can do is review the stuff that's flagged by users as offensive or abusive."

It is, at the same time, such a delight, and so tragic when smart people do this to themselves!

No one with any sense who reads the "Retort" is fooled that "liberals/democrats" are not supported in their efforts to revile ad hominem, but any efforts to reply-in-kind by conservatives/republicans is met with a ban!

That conservatives/republicans don't play the tactic of whine-for-an-answer-and-ban-the-trolls is to their masculine/civilized credit, and which you socio-politicoes take advantage of as an excuse to ban them, while remaining inviolate to moderation.

The hypocritical liberals/democrats see to that by exactly doing what Rex described and you suborn from those incapable of receiving what they dish-out.

You can't pretend not to read your 'frontpage' and since you have rarely failed to reply to some rhetorical question which might interfere with your mandarin "Retort" face that I have made there. Indeed, I have seen you reply to others in similarly defined situations, and where you re-emphasize your special catch-22 of against honesty and honor.


I was taught to always be polite and respectful, and there is never an excuse for being rude or obnoxious. I try to teach other people that, too. It's really too bad that people can't just be polite to each other and feel that it is somehow 'OK' to be rude!


I was going to simply comment on your post about obnoxious people and their obnoxious comments and have to say how very sad it is that even making comments on a topic such as this is bringing out rude and obnoxious comments! So very very sad!


I have to laugh, because commenting on the "rude" or "obnoxious" commentors is hardly being polite, but is definitely "sad" ...

... Burns spins ...

The creation of the thesis, whatever the thread may be intended to infer, begs for rebuttal, but in some venues seems to shy away from unflattering conclusions; the more directly stated the more readily avoided.

This failure to engage, directly and on point, frustrates the discussion and promotes the very responses that are then used to further avoid any direct confrontation about the original points or inferences which continue in obscurity.

However, and although the ultimate in being a non-sequitur, the crowd/mob can influence the right-and-wrong by blaming those who attempt to address the point ... a victory of democracy over reason.

You might be proud, or you might have some skirts behind which to hide, and as 'impolite' as that reality might be.


I feel that commenting should be relevant to the topic of the post.


Anonymity is a comfortable security blanket. I get the most insane, rude, and offensive comments to my youtube videos and blog. I don't really care to tell you the truth. If someone has a gripe with me and they give me their real name with an intelligent comment, I'll respect their opinion and reply.


Can't we all be friends? I mean, come on, there is no need to be rude.


Matt I've got to hand it to you, that's probably one of the coolest things I've ever heard. I've often imagined what I'd say to someone's face if they replied to me the way they do online. This feels a little like redemption.


Tinnitus Miracle expert


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