Joshua Topolsky (the editor-in-chief of The Verge) responded to earlier criticism of a Verge post on his personal Tumblr. Overall it’s about what you would expect, but the opening salvo is a real gem and so I think we should break down the opening paragraph line-by-line.

I wanted to make this brief, because I have more important things to do with my time than respond to bullies who like to play-pretend that they know things they don’t.

This is an interesting way to start. He’s trying to discredit those that are speaking out about this, saying they are “play-pretending” that they “know” things that they don’t. Further, that even talking about these people are a waste of his time because this is very much a non-issue. Two of those people: Marco Arment and John Gruber. So I’m thinking this opening statement is a bit of a stretch, but heck, he’s upset.

I’m breaking the next bit up for better analysis.

But, just as I felt compelled to respond to Michael Arrington when he attacked the work I (and my team) did at Engadget,[…]

It’s one thing to have Arment or Gruber call you out, but Arrington? Ouch, I had forgotten about that.

[…]I am now responding to Marco Arment, John Gruber,[…]

I’m glad he didn’t pussyfoot around calling people out by names — when everyone knows who called you out, best to address those people directly.

[…]and anyone else who sets up a minimal WordPress blog and thinks that the ability to publish text onto the internet gives them insight into what journalism is or what I do for a living.

Wait, you have got to be fucking kidding me, this is the next bit of discrediting tactic he is taking? That somehow a minimal looking WordPress blog makes you a shit writer? How do the tools have anything to do with the writing talent?

Topolsky is using Tumblr for fucks-sake if you really want to start talking about platforms, probably not best to sling shit when using Tumblr — just saying.1

Further, this minimal looking WordPress blogger hack, looked into his RSS feed of ~600 tech minded sites to see who commented about The Verge — of those commentators I am the only one on WordPress that commented — so it must be me right? I mean it’s not like WordPress is that popular to blog on.

Give me a break.

That’s not to mention that Topolsky likely offended half of the people that read The Verge, but hey he needs to defend his site.

The Error

Here’s the thing, I would have loved for Topolsky to have posted this as an open “letter from the Editor” on The Verge. He could have clearly and calmly laid out the policies at The Verge. He could have went on record as saying why the topic was omitted, that they always tell the truth, and so forth.

But he didn’t.

Instead Topolsky responded on his smaller personal Tumblr site.

My point is this: when someone accuses this team of lacking in integrity, or being on the take for a company, or somehow perverting their work for the sake of some other party (readers or otherwise), I take it pretty seriously. I think it’s bullshit, and I won’t stand for it.

“I mean, not seriously enough to talk about it openly on the site that I am editor-in-chief of, but the next level down for sure. But really, as I said, I don’t have time for this shit — it’s serious — but I don’t have time for it.”


  1. I mean Jim Dalrymple has a minimalist looking WordPress blog, didn’t comment on this, and is ten times the writer/reporter/journalist of the entire Verge staff combined. Probably best to check the WordPress comment at the door. 


Posted by Ben Brooks