TrevorPresiloski
Put The Hashtag Down
December 5th, 2014

I read, with some dismay, what has been going on with Randi Harper (aka @freebsdgirl) lately.

For those who aren’t up to date on Internet drama, apparently some dude strolled by her work over the weekend and Tweeted out a picture of himself hanging out in front of it. I know I have been critical of Harper here in a couple of pieces I have written on my website, but for me, that’s just having a difference of opinion. You’re allowed to disagree, and I doubt she’d ever really read my shit. I’d never think to go out and take pictures that are meant to intimidate someone.

Because that’s what it is meant to be: intimidation. I’m willing to be skeptical or give the benefit of the doubt in most circumstances, but there’s really no other way you can twist it. It sucks and anyone trying to defend behavior such that probably doesn’t understand the implications of doing something like that.

I’ve worked in the bar industry for a number of years now. I’ve gotten to work with a number of awesome people who have had a super positive impact on my life and have been the source of a lot of awesome memories. Some of those co-workers were women who have had to be put into a number of, frankly, shitty situations.

There was a girl I worked with who had a guy come up to her and started asking her questions about her life. Well, that’s a bit of a misnomer. The guy was asking questions, but he was essentially telling her that he had all sorts of information about her. “Are you still living at [address]?” “How is your other job over at [location there]?” “What about your mother, Susan?”

It was frankly one of the weirdest/creepiest things I had heard about. Apparently this guy had gotten infatuated with her and dug up all sorts of information about her, but since she had a boyfriend and wasn’t interested in this guy, she rebuffed him as politely as she could. When he started pulling 20 questions on her, she was understandably freaked the fuck out and quit. I believe the police were involved.

There have also been a couple of instances where guys (usually drunk ones) will hang around outside the bar after we’re closed, hoping to talk to a girl that they were hitting on. These guys are usually chased off by our security staff long before they become a problem, but there have been a couple of instances where we’ve had to call the police because they just wanted to “talk” to a girl. We have a mandatory rule where every female who works in our establishment has to be walked out by door staff, and it’s because of shit like this.

There are other, non-women specific stories, too. Like the guy who was hopped up on drugs and was asked to leave because of his erratic behaviour. He did so, but was found about a half a block down the road from our bar waving a machete at passing cars.

Generally, I’d like to think that a lot of this can be chalked up to people making really stupid decisions thanks to the help of liquor. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be working an office job like a programmer and having to deal with shit like this. Particularly when these idiots are having an open discussion about it on Twitter and are talking about bringing weapons “just in case.”

I have nothing against Harper as a person. I don’t necessarily agree with some of what she believes in, but that’s okay. I would assume she’d never wish actual fucking harm on me and I would absolutely never desire the same of her.

If the only way you can articulate your disagreement with someone is by doxxing them (directly or indirectly) or by trying to intimidate someone with threatening-but-not-really pictures, you need to rethink your argument, and then probably see a mental health professional.

I still think that the “ethics in gaming journalism” is an important discussion to be having. But do folks really need to be rallying around a hashtag? Aren’t we mature individuals capable of having discussion and discourse?

 

 

 

How Jian Ghomeshi and GamerGate Relate
December 4th, 2014

jian-q-ghomeshi
 

At first glance, the recent scandal with Jian Ghomeshi seems to be a perfect point of comparison to GamerGate. You have a man accused of a number of gross behaviours, many of them sexual in nature. He was part of the more “progressive” movement, speaking up as an ally for feminist issues and causes. You have random Twitter accounts. Harassment. Cries for lawyers. People coming out to speak up. So yeah, it seems that this is perfect fodder for Yet Another GG Piece.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

The Toronto Star published an article Wednesday talking about other details of Ghomeshi’s life that are now coming to light. The now disgraced CBC posterboy apparently had a rather large conflict of interest going on with guests booked on his show: a great deal many of them shared the same booking agent as Ghomeshi.

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Learning About Journalism
November 28th, 2014

yay_writing
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As though I haven’t mentioned the word “Harper” enough to warrant an investigation from Ed Greenwood or CSIS, here are some more thoughts regarding what’s going on with some recent developments pertaining to the GamerGate Autoblocker.

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On Blacklists, Censorship & Twitter
November 25th, 2014

twitter-bird-censor-cc

 

Oh Christ, another Gamergate (GG) article? Isn’t that so last month?

Probably. But I did want to talk about GamerGate, considering that I have written about video games and media coverage in the past on here, and arts and media criticism is one of the things that I “do” on here. It scratches a particular itch in my brain, and I’ve found I haven’t been able to avoid all the coverage cropping up on the web these days.

I wanted to touch on recent events and this will probably be a kickoff to discussing other stuff relating to GamerGate.

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Thoughts on Pat Quinn
November 24th, 2014

patquinn-trevorlinden

Woke up this morning due to an alert from the Vancouver Sun. The last times I recall the Sun waking me up like that was over fairly serious stuff — the end of the BC teacher strike, the Ottawa shooting — so seeing the Sun’s logo appear on my phone gave me a bit of trepidation, as I scanned the headline to see what it was announcing.
Former Canucks player and coach Pat Quinn, dies at 71.

Damn. Yeah, that was pretty significant.

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Winter is coming…
January 31st, 2012

Ritch Winter’s take on a recent blog post on Pass It To Bulis led to a minor brouhaha on the Internets today.

Winter, who took issue with the theory being floated that he was the unnamed person in a Tony Gallagher column talking about Cody Hodgson’s icetime, went on at great lengths to express his disdain for the current state of journalism, narrowing his focus more specifically on sports journalism and how they’re constantly in a rush to be first and not factual.

Of that, there can be no dispute. Plugged-in hockey fans have sniggered over TSN or Sportsnet passing on an Eklund rumour or, worse, taking a completely made-up rumour and passing it along like it was the gospel truth. There were a group of folks on a hockey board I used to frequent who fabricated a ‘hockey insider’ personality and used careful planning and organisation to make him seem legitimate.

Bob McKenzie, arguably the top hockey writer in Canada, even gave this person a shout out.

We’ve also had unfortunate incidents like when CTV Ottawa had reported that Pat Burns had passed away, only to receive a phone call from Pat Burns correcting them of their mistake.

More recently, there were the rumours regarding contract extensions for Ron Wilson and Steve Tambellini. Wilson’s eventual contract was nowhere near as long as the original, but folks picked it up and ran with it like it was the gospel truth.

I joked about Tambellini, but made note that this wasn’t confirmed and that it was very much a rumour. I had no idea of knowing, and no legitimate hockey press was corroborating my story.

Winter wasn’t happy that he wasn’t contacted regarding his story and that the speculation upon which the entire blog post hinged on, that he was the one who was griping about Hodgson’s icetime, wasn’t immediately diffused.

I love Pass It To Bulis. Harrison and Daniel are great guys who churn out a ridiculous amount of content. I have nothing respect for them, and the fact that Harrison’s taken on responsibilities at Puck Daddy is awesome. Makes me think I might be able to make something of myself one day.

I also love Ritch Winter. Anyone who can rip the Calgary Flames in the manner he did gets a gold star and a beer of his choice any day of the week. It makes for great reading material and copy.

So, in a situation like this, it’s like Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart, or CM Punk vs. Brian Danielson. Pitting my favorites against each other. Not cool.

That said, I have to agree with Ritch Winter.

The main complaint from bloggers is that they aren’t taken seriously. Damien Cox rails against ‘bloggers’ (like we’re a collective, organised mass, or an easily constructed, easily dismissed stereotype.) The Edmonton Oilers want nothing to do with bloggers. Steve Simmons, based on my experiences with him, isn’t a fan, either.

There’s a desire for legitimacy from bloggers. For good reason. In this day and age, we live in such an information rich society, newspapers aren’t really the gatekeepers that they once were. Information flows a lot more freely, and it’s entirely feasible that you could ‘compete’ with a legitimate organisation if you find the right niche or area to specialise in.

And I get it. Pass It To Bulis isn’t a 100% serious blog. There is a strong comedic element to their content (heck, in a discussion that’s going on AS WE SPEAK Harrison jokingly asked me if I even read his stuff when I asked if bloggers want to be taken seriously) and, to be entirely fair, the PITB Twitter account did acknowledge that they may be more careful moving forwards.

That said, when you offer up serious criticism about someone like Damien Cox (random note: I didn’t know there was a shout-out to me in the linked post until just now) or write the black players/Atlanta Thrashers story, and delve into ‘serious’ blogging, you can’t hide behind ‘we’re all about the Photoshops. Honest!’
A lot of people have been dismissive of Winter’s complaints, though, and I think it’s doing a disservice to the blogging community and the people who are cranking out solid content. When a blog like Pass It To Bulis gets a stamp of legitimacy from the Vancouver Sun, reader expectations rise. People may (arguably unfairly) put the Bulis Boys on the same level as the Sun and, as a result, have the same expectations.

And, unfortunately, legitimacy isn’t going to be handed over to you. Otherwise Eklund would be God-Emperor of the Internet and I would have ended it all in a tragic bloodbath by bludgeoning people to death with an oversized letter E. Harrison and Daniel have earned their little corner of the Internet by cranking out solid material that is well written, funny, insightful and engaging.

But getting that endorsement from a legitimate media outlet, you still have to be careful, in my estimation. You have to give Winter a chance to respond, mostly because that’s what a legitimate newspaper or news outlet would do.

The other issue is that blogging and online media is still very much a developing medium. I don’t think blogging-as-news (or as a substitute, depending on your views) has been completely fleshed out yet, and we’re probably one website or app or idea away from really solidifying things. So there’s still a lot of finding your way.

I’m not saying that PITB was doing anything intentionally malicious or duplicit. There’s no way that would be the case. I do think that there are considerations to be made and that it isn’t fair to dismiss Winter as being another out of touch ‘old’ person who doesn’t ‘get’ blogs.

It’s awesome that PITB is taking this in stride. I just think other folks out there need to be cognizant of this as well.

Sister, Sister
December 14th, 2011

Typical-CDCer

Earlier today, Chicago Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland talked some trash on Chicago radio, making fun of the Sedins by calling them sisters. Vancouver Canucks fans were, predictably, outraged at yet another public figure making fun of the Sedins. Honestly, it’s nothing particularly new.

Hilariously enough, the ‘Sedin Sisters’ name has a long history. One that originated in Vancouver. By both the media and the fans. See, these days, it’s very much the vogue thing to adore the Sedins and view them as being pretty freaking awesome. Unfortunately, there was a rather loud vocal contingent of Canucks fans who were very keen on jettisoning the ‘soft’ and ‘weak’ ‘Sisters.’Heck, even Mike Gillis wasn’t a fan when he first became GM of the Canucks.

Even as recently as 2009, there were serious thoughts being bandied around about not re-signing Henrik and Daniel. Insane thoughts, like signing Marion Gaborik and Marion Hossa, both players well known for their tenacity, were being seriously proposed by some…enthusiastic fans.

So if Canucks fans want to get enraged about other folks calling the Sedins ‘Sisters’, they really have no one to blame but themselves. It was a nickname foisted upon them by both the fans and the media and it’s stuck ever since.

The Canucks Enforcer
October 24th, 2011

So apparently the Kurtenblog folks have moved on and there is a void on the Vancouver Province’s website! Perfect, sez I, a journalism student who is looking for any sort of opportunity to showcase myself. And what better way than to dash my hopes and dreams as a journalist than right here, right now? Exactly! So, here is my most recent post up on here, addressing the Canucks enforcer ‘issue.’

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Wade Belak
September 1st, 2011

There’s not a whole lot that can be said about the death of Wade Belak right now.

It is known that he was found dead, early Wednesday afternoon. Beyond that, things are unclear. Speculation has abounded regarding Belak’s cause of death, misinformation that unfortunately found the ears of his family before the proper authorities could do so. There are rumours going around that Belak committed suicide or that his death was related to misusing narcotics. Regardless, Belak’s death is tragic and is yet another instance of a young man dying way before his time.

There is going to be a lot of talk in the next few days regarding enforcers, the state of fighting in the NHL and what the NHL, the NHLPA and the respective teams should be doing to assist players. Again, I feel that this is an important discussion and is something that needs to be addressed and, time permitting, I will attempt to share my thoughts on that specific issue if I have the opportunity to do so.

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The Dangers of Wikipedia
August 17th, 2011

So, there’s been a bit of a furor on Twitter regarding a recent retraction from the Toronto Star.

Yesterday, an article was posted dealing with the death of Rick Rypien on their website. In it was a quote that was attributed to Mike Gillis describing Rypien as being ‘crazy.’ A rather bold and out of character remark from Gillis, given how much respect and privacy he had afforded Rypien when he was with the Canucks organization. Also something that the local media in Vancouver would have been all over were it actually something that he had said.

Doing some digging, it turns out that the quote in question came from a Rick Rypien’s vandalized Wikipedia article. For those that aren’t familiar with Wikipedia, it’s an online repository of knowledge that anyone can contribute and edit. While there are efforts to make sure that all information on Wikipedia is presented as being factual, there are individuals who come along and vandalize Wiki pages. Stephen Colbert popularized it in a segment a few years back where he implored viewers to go and edit the Wikipedia article on elephants to state that the population had tripled in the past six months. Wiki pages for hot topics or recently deceased individuals are popular targets for vandals and are frequently targeted.

Wikipedia also archives all pages to guard against vandalism, which is how I found the offending quote. For those who are lazy or find Wikipedia confusing, here it is:

ryp-wiki

Another incidence of vandalism, the “nuttier than a fruitcake” bit can also be seen. As you can see, the quotation is word for word the same one that is used in the now edited article, but with the omission of the words “but crazy.”

Michael Woods is the person whose name appears on the byline, so it would appear that it would be he is responsible for it. He also appears to be recently graduated or currently enrolled in post secondary, so you would imagine that the dangers of Wikipedia would have been pounded into his head over and over. I know when I was in undergrad, I was continually told by numerous professors that Wikipedia is unreliable and it shouldn’t be used as the foundation for any serious research.

That isn’t to say that Wikipedia isn’t useful. It’s great as a jumping off point for information and as a collection of relevant news articles for certain topics. I use it quite frequently to get information, but I’m always careful about it. I’ll check the references section at the bottom and try and use the original material rather than the Wikipedia article.

I also find it a little insulting that Woods, who was tasked with writing this article, seemed to be completely oblivious about his topic. The secrecy surrounding Rypien’s personal problems is well documented and to call someone ‘crazy’, especially a very prominent and public figure like Mike Gillis, is insensitive and should’ve raised an alarm bell. This is assuming that Woods had actually done the appropriate research on the topic he was covering. Given the nature of journalism, where tight deadlines reign supreme,this may have been a very bad gaffe on his behalf. That the crazy remark didn’t register as unusual to Woods also shows a disregard towards Rypien’s situation, as apparently he found nothing wrong with the boss calling an employee who is going through a rough patch as ‘crazy.’ Insensitive and speaks to some of the issues I have in a forthcoming blog post.

But suppose Woods missed it. If Woods wasn’t aware that the ‘crazy’ quotation was in there, it speaks to an ignorance of his own work and gives an even lazier impression as to how he approaches his work. Some would say ‘that’s what editors are for’, but editors can’t be expected to check every quotation, every factoid. That’s the writer’s responsibility.

Either way, it’s a really bad situation and I hope that Mr. Woods has learnt a valuable lesson.

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