Sportswriter Tracks Down Rude Twitter Haters In Real Life

Illustration for article titled Sportswriter Tracks Down Rude Twitter Haters In Real Life

When Jeff Pearlman, a sportswriter, wrote a recent column, he received his typical slew of hate, slurs and rude remarks on Twitter. But this time, he didn't want to ignore it. Instead, he sought out his "online haters" in real life.

Pearlman ended up calling one of his "online haters" (one who sent him a nasty pornographic picture over Twitter) and turns out, the guy was a "meek and apologetic" college-aged student. Pearlman thought he would hate the guy but actually ended up liking him. The hater explained his actions:

"I was just trying to get a rise out of you," he said. "You're a known sports writer, and I thought it was cool. That's all. I never meant for it to reach this point."


And that shouldn't surprise any Internet veteran. It's crazy how some people can act over the Internet when they're protected by mystery. They don't know you and there's little consequence. We've all seen it, hell, we've probably all acted out too. What I find amazing is how different things used to be before the wild west of the Internet. Pearlman says:

Well, 15 years ago, when I began my career at Sports Illustrated, everyone within the magazine's office would receive a thick packet of that week's letters to the editors. Some of the correspondence was positive, some negative. But few letters included words like "stupid," "dumb" or "asinine." Certainly no one, to my recollection, ever directed my attention to hard-core porn.

A good read from a sportswriter whom, for the record, I enjoy many a good reads.

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John Griffin

Having perused various commenting systems, I have come to the conclusion that the original "Digg" version is best, with crowdsourced up or down thumbs.

Because - its not censored, or subject to the random wiles of random mods. If it's objectionable to more than three average posters, then it's hidden, but still easily accessible. The lazy reader won't be subjected to it, but the reader who wants to have access to every viewpoint can easily open it.

Whereas the BoingBoing version is subject to the random wiles of the mods, and further more is subject to the extremely juvenile system they call "devoweling". Which they claim is still readable (not really) but otherwise a punishment (yes, but not unarbitrary).

And sorry, Gawker site, but you too are subject to the random wiles of mods with your "star" system. Probably worse! If someone gets a star, they don't really know why. They can guess by the content of their latest post, but it's just a guess. And if they lose a star, all they can do is guess. I've found that starring and de-starring are subject pretty much entirely to the whims of mods, and not to any coherent and written policy.

Sure, the internet will be a natural breeding ground for haters forever more, but blog's commenting policies are partly to blame. When they work well, they train potential commenters to be fruitful. When they don't work well, they leave potential positive commenters in a confusing maelstrom of chaos.