If You Build It, They Will Come… And Be Assholes

**contains language**

Let me make something perfectly clear right off the bat– This post is not a slight on Jeremy Tolbert or Steve Eley. I am humbled and privileged to have read for Escape Pod. It’s all the  fucktards out there who need to have their virtual tongues cut out and smashed under very large and heavy rocks.

As many of you know, I am a narrator and a podcaster. I am also fucking pissed.

This last week, a story by the lovely Genevieve Valentine, read by me, was put up on Escape Pod. While I’ve listened to Escape Pod audio in the past, I never dived into the forums or comments on each. I usually got the episodes from Itunes.

As any curious narrator would be, I wanted to know what people thought of the reading. I’m always interested in constructive feedback to enhance my future narrations. If you thought it was deadpan, fine. I can take it. I’ll make a note and try to be more enthusiastic next time I’m reading about death. No, really.

When I went to both the forums and the comments on the individual stories on the Escape Pod site, I found myself barely controlling my rage at some of the comments. In case the entire Internet hasn’t been taught — there are ways of offering criticism that don’t include the words, “Suck”, “terrible”, “Bad”, “Boring”…. the list goes on.

It’s fine. A story may not work for you.  You may be disappointed where the author (and reader) take you while on your journey. You may find yourself wondering why you stuck around for the ending. People are entitled to that opinion.

What people aren’t entitled to be are assholes about it.  See: how to offer constructive criticism.

I was once a proponent of open commenting and forum posting. No one should be moderated. As I started my blog, visited Youtube,  read news articles which allowed comments, visited friend’s sites, and saw the pretentious, asinine drivel flow like rabid spittle from the mouths of inconsiderate beasts who should never have been allowed an internet connection, my stance slowly changed.

See John Scalzi — “Moderation Matters”.

John is happy that most of the members of his community are civilized human beings who pride themselves on having compassion and understanding for other members of this race.  It’s fun when you have an adult conversation comprised of adults acting like adults. It’s great to have lively discussions that don’t veer off into hate-filled, often unassociated tangents.  It stops being fun when scum start adding their drivel to the mix.

See, here is the deal. I don’t care you said nasty shit about me. Really, I don’t. What I care about are the people who pour their hearts into bringing you content every week. What I care about are the writers who are telling a story. What I care about are the producers and editors who are mostly volunteers and don’t get paid for their effort and time. What I care about are the listeners who have constructive things to say.

So really, to all the people who can’t stop vomiting up shit and getting off on their self proclaimed righteous verbal masturbation; fuck you. Seriously, fuck you.  Oh, that’s twice. You know I’m angry, now.

Places like Escape Pod who offer free content for the love of the genre, should be commended for their dedication and perseverance. Especially on the internet, where the term “asshole” is not only a state of mind, but now comes in anonymous flavor packs.

For the record, if you read this Genevieve, and countless others who’ve been ripped apart by people who really should be wearing muzzles and straight jackets and locked in rubber rooms:

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for writing, producing, narrating and editing.

11 thoughts on “If You Build It, They Will Come… And Be Assholes

  1. Vince says:

    The frothy commenting is rampant across the Internet. Pick pretty much any major news or sports site that allows commenting, and you’ll see the same kind of utter crap in the comments. It’s endemic, and there’s little doubt in my mind that it’s in part because these people can do so anonymously. It’s one of the reasons, small as it is, I don’t allow anonymous comments on my blog. I also think it’s a reflection of how many people respond to things today period. Look at the health care “debate.” There’s very little actual debating going on in most quarters.

    We need more sacks.

  2. This is just an opinion and not an attempt to tell you what to say. Oh wait, this is my disguised way to tell you what to say, so I’ll apologize in advance.

    Having dealt with you off-line and found you to be an excellent communicator and clear writer, IMHO you’re better than the comments you’ve received. My only suggestion is not to stoop to their language or level.

    The fact that you get to do VOs is faboo as far as I’m concerned. May you have more VOs, and a moderated environment.


  3. I appreciate it, Octo. This was mostly an exercise in cathartic expression. I don’t name any offenders, so my beef is with jerks in general.

    I think had I started identifying people, I would be sinking to that level, but now, I’m far enough removed from each individual, that it’s mostly just a rant about being impolite.

    I do realize that I could be seen as no better than the jerks out there, but at least my message is condemning the a-holes and celebrating those who bring the content.

    I don’t know, I just needed to say it.

  4. You’ve been spoiled by the Sofa’s forum. That’s one of the few places online where everyone is civil and mostly pleasant. Diane got chewed up on the Pod Castle forum months ago for one of her narrations. Best to do your work and ignore what people say about you.

  5. Having listened to your VO work, Kate, I can say with authority that it is most excellent.

    I can also say, and I think you’ve heard me say on more than one occasion, that the Internet is infested with little snobby dipshits who have the manners and mentality of high school children. They’ve been nowhere, they’ve seen nothing, they’ve done nothing. Their disdain is all they have. These are the morons who can’t leave a comment on IMDB or a blog without oozing sneering contempt for everybody and everything. Really, it’s all they have – because once you take away their internet connection they really are nothing but sad sorry little cowards. And that’s pretty much all they’ll ever be. Ultimately that’s all trolls are, cowards. They think the internet makes them something, they think their rabid disdain makes them something – but it doesn’t, inside they are still who they are.

    And every once in a while they need to be jerked through a knothole. Cowards deserve nothing but contempt. Well said, Kate.

  6. Kate, I’m very sorry you had to experience it first-hand. As Matt said, I had a similar experience on PodCastle a few months ago. My more recent narration was more favorably received, but I think that’s more just the vagaries of the type of people who leave comments on a forum like that. I have to admit I took the comments the first go around too personally, caught me in a bad time, I guess. But honestly, you really have to take these things with a grain of salt. There might be some truth or something to be gained from the criticism, but it’s not worth it if it is packaged in an insulting way. All we can do is ignore them. And stick with StarShipSofa’s forum. We love you there and people are always respectful. Looking forward to more narrations from you! Keep up the fantastic work!

  7. All, thanks for the lovely comments. I am fortunate enough that even though I moderate all new people, I’ve never had to use my +100 to large rock enchant. You guys are the cream of the crop and I adore you for all the support.

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