In today's blogosphere blow up, we have Rogers Cadenhead, Dave Winer - and a bunch of reactions - ranging all over the map. The one that kind of made me think was Scoble's post, and some of the comments in it. It's not the actual controversy that caught my attention though - rather, it's the reaction to it. Let me pull a comment from Nick Bradbury's post - the idea was expressed to some extent by by a lot of people, and by a number of commenters (on various blogs:
These public fights and taking-sides thing is starting to creep me out...
Here's the thing: Life is about taking sides, so buckle up and get used to it. If you have kids, do you maintain a constant state of non-judegementalism? If so, please warn me now, so that I never end up in the same room with them. When you see something wrong, you can criticize it, in the hopes of improving things - or, like all too many people, stay silent and offer tacit support for the bad behavior. Why is Winer such a consistent jerk? Because he has enablers all over the web, ready to step in and say "but really, he's not so bad...". That's what Scoble's post is doing - offering tacit support for Dave's consistent - and continuing - bad behavior.
Non-judgementalism isn't some kind of higher plane of existence - it's acceptance of all things, good or bad. The only thing that gets you is more bad, piled high, with an extra topping of obnoxiousness thrown in. We've all seen children acting out, and wondered to ourselves "what's wrong with the parents? Can't they control that child?" Well, we have the same thing here in the blogosphere. Too many people have bowed down and worshipped at the house of Dave for too long, and he acts just as you would expect: badly.
Update: Shelly Powers doesn't pull any punches, and calls this one the way it is. There are a lot of people who are staying quiet about Winer's bad behavior, and Shelly names names. It's past time for Dave's enablers to stage an intervention.
Update 2: As to the various people who plead that they can't take sides - go read Rogers' post. Then read Dave's response. Now, at that point, you might shrug your shoulders, figure it's a he said/he said thing, and leave it alone. However - cast your mind back to this post from the RSS-Public mailing list:
And with that, I am banging the gavel and ending this experiment of
Tomorrow I will talk individualy with all the corporate members of the
"board" and ask them to resign.
Rogers may then wish to propose a new structure, one that is
consistent with the "come back to earth" message.
They may wish to join with him, or they may not.
If anyone else decides to join up with him on the terms of the old
"advisory board" I will talk with each of them individually, until
they see that it serves no purpose.
This process will go on until Rogers gets the idea that it isn't go to
I may at some time send him a bill for all of my time that he is wasting. [ed: emphasis added]
Good night and good luck to all of you.
Well. After that, Dave went and pressured the VC's behind a few of the people on the board, and got those folks to drop off. As Rogers said in his post, there's no one Dave can pressure to get Rogers to back off, so instead, he tossed what amounts to a SLAPP suit at him. Boy, that sure paints all the people who won't call BS on Dave with glory, doesn't it? Heck, I went back and re-read Scoble's post - and what a mass of ill thought out FUD it is. For example:
So, what does my philosophy tell me to do? Protect the inventor. Protect the guy who brought us SOAP, XML-RPC, RSS, OPML, podcasting, and a few other things here and there. Against the angry mob. Why? Cause if I don’t, then maybe some new inventor will say “this space sucks, I’m gonna go somewhere that they appreciate inventors.”
And if that happens I’ll lose. We’ll all lose.
Sheesh, what a mass of crap. Dave hardly needs protection. He's the one tossing a lawsuit, as a thinly veiled way to get Rogers to give up the RSS Board. If Rogers decides to let that go (and I'd hardly blame him for doing so), then you watch - this suit will disappear. What I'd like to see is some of the supposedly leading luminaries of the blogosphere - Scoble amongst them - step up and grow a spine.