Update on 11-25-15
The events of the past few days have brought to light, and to my personal attention, many new facts and stories I did not previously know about the person going by the name “Samantha Bielefeld” and because of this new evidence I have a much different take on the situation. I still believe many valid points were made by this person, and that gendered and personal attacks are never warranted — I stand by that.
However, given what I now know I cannot in good conscience continue to defend this person. I apologize for my misplaced trust and hope to elaborate on this more at a later time. I have a long standing policy of not deleting posts once they are published, and that policy still stands. Again, my apologies. You all trust me, and in this circumstance I have failed you.
Often, as writers, we end up with a mix of: good, mediocre, and sometimes bad stuff out there in the world for others to see. I know I have my fair share of it on this site. What usually follows the mediocre and bad, is a sense of regret.
I cannot stand to have something wrong on this site. Even if at the time I thought I was dead right, it bugs me knowing it is there, and regret sets in. That doesn’t mean I regret having ever written something, but that I regret being wrong. It’s certainly an egotistical view, but I think it is true for most who publish online, whether in tweets or on a blog.
With that in mind, I tried to bite my tongue this week. As I caught up on unread articles, I found myself filled with anger, disappointment, and regret towards people who I respect and follow on Twitter.
I say respect here, and not respected, because I think there is an easy way to handle this.
I urge Marco Arment, and others, to admit that the way they reacted to Samantha Bielefeld was wrong. I urge them to condemn the actions of their “supporters” (whether they want those supporters or not, those supporters look to them for guidance).
You don’t have to agree with what Bielefeld said, but don’t pull this kind of bullshit. It leads a new entrant into our community to regret ever wanting to be in the community let alone stay in it.
If you are pissed at what someone said about you, then allow me to offer you the one piece of wisdom I have picked up: don’t engage. It really is that simple.
Had Arment said nothing about Bielefeld’s post, it would have gone away in less than half a day. He knows that. I know that. We’ve been around long enough to know that even the stupid shit we have said over the years on our own sites, blows over pretty fast.
Arment has a chance to try to right a wrong here. I think this one is going to weigh on Arment if he doesn’t try to make it better.
Good people can and do say stupid and mean things. Arment did both. But good people always realize they fucked up at some point, and that’s when the regret sets in.
This time it is not the type of regret about being wrong over a blog — it is the type of regret knowing that you attacked someone undeserving of it, and that by saying nothing you passively condoned others piling on that person.
We need to work to grow the field of talented writers, who collectively push everyone to be better, instead of stomping on them the moment they dare to say something critical of us. Any of us.
Bielefeld touched a nerve, and we don’t know who she is. I don’t know who she is. So what?
I don’t care who she is. Bielefeld’s argument was fair, it was well presented, and it is valid. I talked to her briefly on DM when this happened, and for what it is worth, I don’t think she did anything with an ounce of malice towards Arment.
We need to set the example.
This is a moment that good people deeply regret. I regret not having jumped on this sooner, but I’m here now.
I’ll stay here.
As Matt Gemmell said, we have a responsibility here.