As some of you may already be aware, I am a member of the SD.net forums, posting as darth_timon. Prior to that, I posted as Sothis, before leaving the forums for a while. I’m hardly the most active member of that community, but I still feel like I am part of that community, and that’s what SD.net has become – a community.
The original purpose of the site (and forums) was to present a case for why the Empire from Star Wars would defeat the Federation from Star Trek in a war (it was a versus site). Anyone who has been involved with this debate down the years will be aware that the site’s author, Mike Wong, took a bullish, no-nonsense approach to it. He was at times aggressive, calling out those who made unscientific or pseudo-scientific arguments and he wasn’t afraid to name and shame people who he felt were being idiots.
Mike’s chief approach to these debates was that honesty trumped nicety. One thing I would dare say about Mike is that what you see is what you get – he doesn’t sugarcoat things and he doesn’t (if you’ll pardon the term) bullshit people. His style of discussion has certainly earned him detractors, but I dare say supporters too.
After all, honesty is a trait that seems rarer and rarer these days. It’s far easier it would seem, to paint over problems or issues with lies and deception. Sometimes you do need to be careful with what you say (little white lies to spare someone’s feelings are not, in my view, harmful), and certainly how you phrase something can have a big impact on how it’s taken by the other person, but substance is better than style (at least when it comes to this sort of discussion).
Now, this is not to say I agree wholeheartedly with Mike’s approach. It is possible to be honest without being aggressive. The two are not mutually exclusive positions, but that is a different discussion. What I wish to talk about here is a misguided campaign against SD.net, Mike and the SD.net community.
I’m not altogether clear when this campaign started, but an individual (who shall go unnamed for now) has been waging a one-man war against SD.net for years. It would seem that he is particularly upset by some of Mike’s essays on Star Trek (regarding things such as racism, communism and philosophy), and he has also made some broad remarks about the forum.
For the record, I don’t necessarily agree with Mike’s Star Trek essays, but disagreeing is one thing – to fly the flag of censorship, as this individual does, is another thing entirely. Mike is entitled to his views, and he is entitled to express those views, and this person is entitled to write a rebuttal of those views (as he has already), but he is not entitled to have Mike’s views rubbed from the web, just because he cannot handle them.
Before I go much further, I should mention that last year, I was engaged in email conversation with this person. I had come across his anti-Stardestroyer.net Facebook page and I’d decided (perhaps foolishly) to express my opinions of his comments. The situation escalated and for a short time I named and shamed his page on my old site.
The result of this (which included, among other things, negotiations around removing any mention of each other from our respective pages) was that we agreed to leave each other alone. I dutifully obeyed the truce, whilst keeping an eye on him to ensure he did likewise. During that time, he has continued to post a great many anti-SD.net rants and comments where he has smeared the SD.net community with spurious accusations of harassment and censorship (which, ironically, is an action he has undertaken on his DeviantArt page and on YouTube). Recently I discovered his Facebook page has a comment on it where a third party has made an extremely off-colour post, and this individual has not only been content to let a highly inflammatory post stand, but has suggested he will actually expand upon it at some stage!
I emailed him, suggesting to him he should remove this comment. He has oft-repeated his claims that SD.net is an aggressive, vicious community, so quite why he would want to risk drawing attention to himself is beyond me. My email to him was on 2nd July. As of this post, I have received no reply and seen no action on this post.
So, if I am being honest, I am breaking this truce (not directly, but certainly in spirit. However, this individual’s ongoing vilification of SD.net and its community is an attack on me as well.) He is happy to make grand generalisations about SD.net, repeatedly posts rants about how terrible we all are, and drags our name through the mud. In the past, when I contacted him about it (I made precisely one comment to a YouTube video of his), I wound up being accused of harassment, and he deleted the comment. He had created videos for the purpose of getting attention, but seemed incapable of handling criticism of his views. He attempted (during our email conversation last year) to have me delete the versus page of my old Wix site (including my Idazmi7 responses and my defence of SD.net). Yet when challenged on this, he insisted it was not censorship, but rather, a means of protecting himself.
From what I am not sure, but it would seem this individual has tremendous difficulties accepting criticisms of things they like. If I were to guess, I would say they use things like Star Trek as emotional crutches, so something that criticises Star Trek, or runs contrary to Star Trek as they see it, is harmful to them and they take it very personally (this has also happened with The Lion King).
Maybe this post is a bad idea. Maybe it will stir up a hornet’s nest of trouble. Maybe I should grit my teeth and stay quiet. I’ve done that for over a year and just wound up feeling more and more irritated, so I kind of feel that I need to get this out. To the individual in question, I would advise you to check your emails and consider what I said. At the very least, you should be prepared to have a dialogue.