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virtual life - The Villages

Date: 2007-10-13 23:04
Subject: virtual life
Security: Public
For reasons which will become evident, I'm in two minds whether or not to post this. I actually think it's wrong to give this story legs when the person involved really needs to drop back into anonymity.
But... But...
I think this raises issues of integrity and I'd welcome your opinions. If you think I should delete the post, I will.

I was looking at Boing Boing this evening when I found this, which links to this article here.
After I read the article, which troubled me greatly, I went back to the discussion on Boing Boing and I found a link to this, which articulated my concerns about the original LA Weekly article a great deal better than I could myself.

Whatever the nuts and bolts of the situation, I don't think it was right for Josh Olson to write that article. If you have a friend and they've done something silly and you've helped them out, you do not then go on to write a newspaper piece about it.

Any thoughts?
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2007-10-14 03:38 (UTC)
Subject: a tuppence-worth
Well, ethics are no longer allowed to be taught or discussed in schools, at least here in the US. Situational ethics, maybe; but moral codes and consistent principles, no.

I've noticed that you do post and invite others to cogitate on journalistic ethics issues with some regularity. That such issues are dear to your heart and mind is commendable. I say that most sincerely. The Press must/should be held to a very high standard of conduct if only to give them a certain moral authority so that they can do their jobs in reporting and critiquing on society, governments, and their interactions. When the Press does not strive to be squeaky clean, their output can be more easily dismissed as just more palaver and manipulation.
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User: hundakleptisis
Date: 2007-10-14 10:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Isn't there supposed to be an objectivity in a reporter's report? I always thought, no matter how involved a reporter was in a case that the facts of the matter should be presented as facts and not as a biased opinion of the facts.

Certainly the reports should not be presented in a way which puts so many other people down and raises others, including the reporter himself, to a semblance of Godhood.

I guess the old school, that way I understood how reporting should be done, has long vanished under the needs of sensationalism and the desire to be "snarky and derogative" in order to harvest in those who love denigrating and gossipy columns.

They tell me research has shown that the majority of the public prefer "nasty" reports of things over "nice" reports because the entertainment factor is so much more satisfying.

Perhaps, truly, these kinds of reports are the fault of us, the readers, for craving the type of entertainment that causes others to suffer. Maybe we ought to reinstate the Roman coliseum, and a few thousand enslaved combatants to die for our pleasures?

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User: hutch0
Date: 2007-10-17 22:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's true that there are crappy, unethical journalists, just as it's also true that there are journalists who are extraordinarily talented and brave and totally ethical. But I think those are just the extreme ends of a huge industry, the vast majority of which simply gets on with its job quietly and efficiently and ethically without making a fuss and without anyone noticing it very much in small towns and little newspapers all over the world. The old way of doing journalism is still, I think, alive and well and just concentrating on getting on with it.

Having said that, Josh Olson, as far as I can discover, isn't a journalist. He's a screenwriter and director, and I think he approached his article from that viewpoint rather than a journalistic one. A journalist would have approached it differently. Olson's written this piece as a sort of urban adventure/suspense story and I can't criticise the bloke for writing the way he does, even though it did disturb me somewhat.

What concerned me was that he'd written and published the story at all. I was trying to put myself in `Audrey''s place and I thought, well, if something like that had happened to me I would definitely not want the good people of Los Angeles reading about it.
But I came across a link to `Audrey''s blog, and it seems that she knew Olson was writing the article and, presumably, consented to its publication - although she points out that he made a number of errors, which seems to suggest he didn't give her copy approval. All of which knocks the legs out from under my initial argument that Olson shouldn't have published the article.

In a discussion about this subject elsewhere, someone posted a link to this, which I found deeply, deeply disturbing, on many levels. Be warned, this is a very long, very detailed, insanely complicated story. I'd heard of trolls and sockpuppets before, of course, but this blew my mind. It also introduced me to a usage of the word `wank' which I had been hitherto unaware of.
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