A tale of two venues

One blogpost, published on two different sites, resulting in two wildly different comment sections. The difference? Anonymous Apple attack squads.

If you work with professional video you know Dan Rayburn. On Friday he wrote a post at Streaming Media, pointing out how many consumers wish to discount the costs content producers must incur to double-encode video and develop dual control interfaces. There were some objections, from screen names like “Bobby” and “James”, but only 13 comments.

Over the weekend the blogpost was republished at Seeking Alpha. This weekend copy drew 130 comments… after being linked from macsurfer.com. These comments were not only more insulting, but some kept on posting and posting half-a-dozen, a dozen times.

There are many stupid objections which have already been debunked — mouseovers, battery life, “apple=open adobe=proprietary”, and so on. Worst, for me, are the personal slurs on Dan and other proven video pros like Jan Ozer. Apple’s little attackers do not need to listen, they do not need to have any idea what they’re talking about — they only need to keep speaking to drown others out.

Crowds are directed to sites to shout down any opposition. Keep an eye on macsurfer.com to predict which “inconvenient truths” will receive abusive comments. We don’t need to publish the words of those who speak pseudonymously… we do not need to spend far more time listening to them than they to us.

The culture of Apple is flawed. They are secretive and authoritarian, and attract (among others) angry little submissives who then act out on others. We should listen to them, but not unduly, not more than they listen to others.

The Golden Rule has arisen spontaneously in almost all human cultures. If you believe some people do not follow it, then the usual reading is “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” But if you believe that all of us do, in fact, follow it — that the universal Golden Rule is descriptive, rather than merely prescriptive — then such abusive commenters are treating others as they themselves wish to be treated. Finding an ethical middle between these readings is our challenge to resolve.

My thanks to Dan, Jan, and all those many others who “speak truth to power” and are personally attacked as a result. The mob’s power, while sharp, is small and weak, and shall not stand. Truth will out.

7 Responses to A tale of two venues

  1. Mark Taber says:

    I’m an Apple fan (but not, in the dismissive term, a fanboi, nor an “angry little submissive.”) However, the personal attacks on you and others saddens me. I admire excellence in every sphere in which it occurs. So, keep up the great work.
    It’s so odd: I’ve been around forever, it seems, and people love either/or, black/white, taking sides. I’m all for both/and, when possible.

  2. jeffrey says:

    John, one concern I have is that lately in the news it’s been a dichotomy between the Apple party and the Flash party.
    The fact is that not everyone against Flash is on Apples side. The open source community and the open web community are concerned with the proprietary nature of Flash.
    Adobe’s defense of not open sourcing Flash have been weak at best:
    “We can’t open source because we don’t own all the code!”
    Then just open source the parts you DO own. Like Mozilla (Netscape) OpenJDK (JAVA) and Chromium (Chrome).
    “People would fork our code and our platform would be fragmented!”
    That’s highly unlikely. For a fork to be relevant at all it has to significantly improve on original project. This is why you don’t hear about a lot of Linux kernel, Mozilla platform or Webkit forks.
    Fragmentation is even more unlikely since any fork would have to compete with both the development tools and the players market dominance.
    [jd sez: Okay. But what do you think about how Dan Rayburn was treated?]

  3. jeffrey says:

    John, From what I can tell there were no verbal insults thrown at Rayburn. Most of the comments seemed to be mature although a little bias towards Apple.
    [jd sez: Having people hide their identities while calling proven professionals “ridiculous”, “ignorant”, “disingenuous” and “whining” while intimating graft is itself more ridiculuous, ignorant, disingenuous and whining.]
    I believe if Adobe made a open source version of Flash (Flashium?) then Apple and it’s fans stance would seem less honorable to the web community.
    [jd sez: Goalposts keep moving, as history shows… Slashdot had a good survey this week.]
    Otherwise your only defense can be that “Web Standards suck!”, “Apple is evil too!”, “Several sites use flash. You need us!” and “We are so not buggy!”.
    So if you want to deflate that open web vs flash balloon Apple is riding then make a open source version of flash.

  4. Rosyna says:

    There seems to be a main point everyone is forgetting concerning the Apple/Flash argument.
    [jd sez: We’re not talking general “Apple/Flash argument” here. We’re talking about how dumb the comments get when a Mac aggregator points to a blogpost.]
    Apple is talking from experiences with the Flash plugin on Mac OS. All Flash releases.
    The Flash plugin has been the cause of the majority of WebKit related crashes on Mac OS X. Even now that Flash is in a separate process, that process often crashes due to the Flash plugin.
    [jd sez: And wasn’t that a cheesy tactic on Apple’s part? Citing such stats in public marketing presentations, but not substantiating them… shameful. Word I’ve heard is that most of these are when the plugin requests the browser for memory and the request is handled ungracefully. But at that point it’s dueling-claims, all without data. Compare that with the discreet handling employed when discussing how Core Animation finally permits a more efficient drawing pipeline.]
    Playing flash video on Mac OS is a huge battery drain. You counter by saying 10.1 uses GPU acceleration for H.264 (the actual standard) video. However, 10.1 isn’t out yet and none of released versions of the Flash plugin do GPU acceleration. As such, the flash plugin has always used a huge amount of CPU on the Mac OS.
    [jd sez: Dude, we’re talking about dysfunctional commenting tactics here. If you want to wrestle on battery life we can, but I think it would serve you better to not attempt to change the subject, and to focus. This flitting from topic-to-topic is one of the known problems with the commenting tactics under discussion.]
    The flash plugin for Mac OS is just unacceptable when compared to the Windows version. That’s without including the numerous crashes on the Mac OS platform.
    A flash blocker (Click2Flash) is almost required to use Safari on Mac OS X with plugins enabled due to flash-heavy websites.
    These reasons are why Mac users support Apple’s decision. [jd sez: There are reasons why the Flash lock-out is cited so negatively by so many more Mac users.] The plugin hasn’t done right on Mac OS X, and there’s no expectation that there ever will be a version done right on Mac OS X or iPhone OS.
    Frankly, Adobe needs to fix their Flash plugin issues on Mac OS X before even considering an iPhone version of the plugin.
    It’s not about HTML5 until the Mac OS X plugin has its biggest flaws addressed and resolved.
    PS: Am I considered someone that posts pseudonymously?
    [jd sez: I checked into you on a previous submission, and I’m satisfied you’re a real person betting their reputation and not just a hired astroturfer, thanks. But attempting to hijack a discussion by listing a series of flawed attack points doesn’t rate very highly in my book, either. Best wishes to you regardless… do good stuff!]

  5. Brian Lesser says:

    Oh dear, Dan Rayburn has done it again:
    I wonder what sort of reaction he will get this time?

  6. John says:

    everything has been said. all points have been made. anyone can see Apple is making their decisions for their own self-interest (admittedly, as does Adobe).
    so I have a recommendation.
    fight fire with fire!
    remove all support from CS5 and Flash Player 10.1 for Apple products! I’m talking everything. no more Mac versions of Dreamweaver. no more Flash for Mac. no more Illustrator.
    Jobs moans about how much trouble it is to support Flash. hell, I’m sure it has not been easy for Adobe to maintain dual codebases for Win and Mac all these years. and the Mac market is much smaller.
    I say drop em.
    (and if this sounds a bit extreme, well, at least bring up the possibility in a blog post so the community can consider it and maybe even appreciate that Adobe does NOT follow the Jobs playground mentality)
    [I think your last eight words contain the crux of the issue here. 😉 Let’s wait for the adult decision process to evaluate among the options, find a way forward. –jd ]

  7. Kevin Chen says:

    These so called “Apple attack squads” are just people who have become emotional about a subject. Maybe instead of complaining about people getting overly emotional about issues, think about why these people have become emotional. And rather than believe that they have all been brainwashed by a company to rally against another company, maybe look into their complaints about the issues. While it’s unfortunate that they have resorted to name calling, their issues with Flash and Adobe’s treatment of Mac users is very real. It’s also disingenuous to say the issue is only with name calling, leaving out the reasons for these actions.
    [ The difference between comments at the two venues is stark. There’s no “belief” about brainwashing, but rather the observation that such comments do not clearly distinguish themselves from astroturfing practices. Other comments are clearly abusive. My big plaint here is people who preach but never listen… the implications behind Core Animation are profound. –jd ]