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.
Mike has also written a few essays on Star Trek.(regarding things such as racism, communism and philosophy). For the record, I don’t necessarily agree with Mike’s Star Trek essays, but disagreeing is one thing – Mike is entitled to his views, and he is entitled to express those views, and anyone is entitled to write a rebuttal of those views (a few of these exist), but nothing alters that Mike is free to post his views. I do not like censorship (which is why I tend not to block comments, even when they passionately disagree with me). It’s an ugly road to start down.