Advogato and Hateful/Divisive Posts

Firstly for the benefit of people who haven’t heard of it, the Advogato FAQ and the Wikipedia Page describe what Advogato does.

Pete Zaitcev posted a strange article about me to Advogato. In it he accused me of “pumping hateful leftist propaganda into Advogato“, said propaganda being my regular blog posts. In an addendum he accused me of insanity, and said that my “attacks” were “divisive“.

I considered writing an Advogato post in response but first read the Posting Guidelines which say:

  • Please keep articles about Advogato itself to a minimum
  • Personal complaints, rants, and flames belong in your blog, not here

Both of those criteria rule out Pete’s post and any response that I might make would risk being in breach of such conditions – so I will use my blog as the Advogato admins recommend.

Pete’s ad-hominem attack on me claiming that my posts are hateful is bizarre. Pete, for the benefit of all the interested onlookers could you please inform us which of my posts you consider hateful and why you have such an opinion? As a general rule you should always cite articles that you reference. When you make accusations without any evidence to back them up it makes you look bad and prevents any positive discussion of the acts in question.

As for the accusation of being divisive, that only happens when people are forced to choose sides. For example when you encourage other people to rate me down on Advogato because of my political opinions that can divide the community (in a small way, neither you, nor me, nor Advogato is important enough to cause a serious problem in this regard).

The idea that I was intentionally pumping anything into Advogato was also strange to me. When I entered the URL for my blog into the Advogato settings page I didn’t even realise that it was being syndicated until I reviewed my web logs some time later. It seems that Advogato only has a small number of readers, a recent post about strange ZCAV performance included a graph and judging by the referrer tags it seems that 412 people read the post from Advogato out of 10468 total (so Advogato gets less than 4% of my readers). Planet Debian seems to get more than 15x the number of readers of Advogato. Incidentally if you don’t currently include images in your blog the reader tracking ability is one reason for including an image in an occasional post.

Another strange ad-hominem attack was the reference to “college indoctrination“. When I was in university I supported the Liberal party (the Australian equivalent of the Republican party in the US). The influence of Linux programmers (including some of Pete’s colleagues at Red Hat) had much more of an effect on my political opinions than that of my university experience.

I am not criticising Pete for disagreeing with me in regard to politics (I don’t even know what he disagrees with). Here are my specific criticisms of Pete’s behaviour:

  1. Ad-hominem attacks
  2. Encouraging mis-use of Advogato trust metrics for political reasons (this one may not have been deliberate)
  3. Non-specific accusations which do not allow me to either defend myself against the accusations or change my actions if he turns out to have any reasonable points
  4. Hypocrisy – he breaks two of the posting guidelines for the purpose of criticising my blog posts which supposedly break some unwritten rule
  5. Not reading the Advogato FAQ – it has a specific section about political disagreements

But I’m not going to advocate voting him down on Advogato. He does write some interesting things on occasion. Check out his page on guns for example.

2 comments to Advogato and Hateful/Divisive Posts

  • Also, if he considers your postings to be leftist propaganda, then I don’t want to see what he considers fair and balanced.

  • etbe

    He may have the same definition of “fair and balanced” that is a trademark of Fox News.

    But until he cares to describe such things we will all be guessing.

    It’s quite easy to make ad-hominem attacks on people who disagree with you. Explaining your own opinions and citing examples that support them takes quite a bit more work.