Jeff Pearlman, SI columnist and author of several sports books, has a column at CNN.com detailing how he recently tracked down and telephoned some of his “online haters” after receiving some particularly nasty responses to a piece on Jeff Bagwell. Pearlman reached one such person, who had sent Pearlman a disguised link to pornography, and found the link sender to be “meek and apologetic” in real life. This is, ah, a somewhat unorthodox, if interesting method of dealing with the mean people on the internet.
I wanted to link to this because this is a blog with comments — occasionally nasty but otherwise overwhelmingly civil — and I found the piece interesting. My opinion on dealing with the less fun internet folks has already been better said by someone else, so I’ll simply point to Carson Cistulli’s interview with Will Leitch on Fangraphs.com, in which Leitch says:
It’s amazing to me that people, intelligent people, actually get offended by what random strangers with fake names say about them. This is the Internet: You are writing for an audience, you are putting your name out there. You do not get to pick and choose your audience. If you cannot handle being called an asshole, or being informed that you know various members of your nuclear family in the Biblical sense, you have no business writing on the Internet. I’m sorry. This is what I believe. . .Those people have always been out there. It’s just that you can hear them now. This is WHAT THIS IS.