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Friday, May 02, 2008

A Dividing Line (10 Days Remaining...)

I've been an off-and-on consumer of Jill Golick's Story2Oh story/experiment over the last while. It was a fun diversion when I was bored, at the very least.

Well, apparently someone decided that they didn't like the story she was trying to tell because after an appearance at CaseCamp (a New Media industry shindig) many of her fictional characters' Facebook profiles were summarily deleted - apparently she breached the site's TOS by having 'fictional' characters.

Now there's been a lot of finger-pointing and gnashing-of-teeth yet the official excuse, to me, just comes off like a childish attempt at spin. "You broke Facebook's TOS" might as well be: "You broke my dolly!" "Yeah, well, it was in my way - you should know better!"

I mean, really... "breach of TOS"? It's not like she was using Fictional characters to spout Hate speech.

Anyways, I digress...

This shitstorm has been going on for a while - Mr. McGrath has a great summation of it on his site - but I've been sitting on it. Thinking. There's something missing in all this, something I don't think people are getting. I want to say it's just the 'new media types' but there's a wide variety of people that just don't seem to understand what all the fuss is about.

Allow me to break it down a bit - play it from another angle for you:

How would these new media types (or anyone, for that matter) feel if someone - someone who they didn't know - showed up out of nowhere and had a huge chunk of their work destroyed on a simple technicality? What if it was destroyed without their knowledge and they had no way of getting it back? Work that they had put hours or days or months into just... gone... with a little message saying "Oh, yeah, by the way, you broke Rule 432 of Article" in its place?

They'd be pretty rightfully pissed off. At least I would be.

After careful consideration, I think what bugs me the most about this whole thing is the lack of basic decency and understanding in the matter.

I mean, hey, if Jill broke a site's TOS, that's fine - but there was no consideration given at any step along the way. Especially knowing what she was trying to accomplish.

No one saying 'hey, you broke the TOS we're going to have your accounts deleted'. No warning, no chance for her to at least back up parts of her story that are now irrevocably deleted.

Someone was sneaky, went behind her back and had her creation destroyed.

Simple as that.

There could've been an open dialogue. There could've been pleasantries and warnings, there could've been time and accomodations made through the use of 'communication' (that wonderful word that seems to be thrown around but seldom acted upon) so that she would not lose vital information.

All of those things COULD have happened.

But someone chose not to.

And THAT is what gets under my skin. It was unnecessarily destructive. It was an action that served no purpose other than to create harm.

We can talk about sitting around in circles and singing kumbayah all day and dreaming of the wonderful world we want to 'create together' but until people start acting with basic Human decency you can kiss that dream goodbye.

What's most troubling to me is that it's such a simple thing - a courtesy, if you need the label - and it was missed (or ignored). Frankly, it all seems very cold to me.

In the end someone's need to be destructive overruled someone's intent to be creative.

And that, perhaps, is the greatest shame of it all.



Jill Golick said...

I think you've made some very smart, thoughtful comments here and elsewhere. This has been a crazy heated debate and it's great to have a commentary that is so calm and even-keeled.

Elize Morgan said...

La! Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, Brandon.

I'm still trying to branch out and find more people, but I was hoping to create a more online reader-response-based group of intermediate-expert writers who are still attempting to break in and/or on the periphery of the industry. E-mail me at my username at gmail and we can discuss it a bit more.