Crossposted at Daily Kos
Yesterday, I posted a blog entry here at Daily Kos and a few other websites that was, to say the least, not my best work. In fact, it was a total FAIL. Some might even say EPIC.
In order to rectify the dis-service done to all by the first erroneous article I had published, I will be posting a full retraction here based on observations and analysis provided by credible sources, but before that, I thought it might be helpful and fun to explore the reasons why blog entries become EPIC FAILs, and what the publishing blogger and commenting bloggers can do should such a situation of EPIC FAIL occur while traversing the intertoobz.
So, before addressing the aforementioned corrections regarding the EPIC FAIL blog entry that I posted yesterday, lets first turn our attention to what an EPIC FAIL is, and how a blog entry might become one.
What is EPIC FAIL, Alex?
The following video will explain what exactly a FAIL is and what it takes to make a FAIL Epic, but generally speaking it is any time when one person, group of people or object can not achieve it’s intended purpose or goal. What makes that FAIL Epic is simply how bad the performance is.
With this in mind, a blog entry, whether a full diary/article or comment, becomes an Epic Fail under the following circumstances.
1. Not based on fact/reality
2. Off Topic
I think these 5 examples cover the universe of blog EPIC FAILure perfectly, and though an EPIC FAIL of a blog entry can fall into more than one category, for the ones that just make you shake your head there is always the fifth choice, other, which could just as easily be labelled WTF and no one would know the difference, but I digress. We will cover WTF at some other time, it is a big subject to deal with, and one at a time is enough.
So, now that you have identified EPIC FAIL in a blog entry, what do you do?
More below the fold . . . .
Well, first, it depends on who’s FAIL it is. If the FAIL is one the part of another blogger, here are some DO’s and DON’T DO’S for commenters who are responding to a possible EPIC FAIL of a blog entry/blog comment that will enhance the experience of any potential readers/bloggers who might also come across the bear trap of FAIL that has been left behind by some other, less careful person.
For commentators responding to an EPIC FAIL blog entry/comment.
1. DO: ask for other sources from the author of the suspected FAIL. Maybe the first party is simply mistaken or doesn’t have the facts straight. You might be able to correct them, and if you are respectful both of you will have a positive experience because of it.
2. DON’T DO: scream liar at the author of the suspected FAIL. Without the facts you will look like just as big of an asshole to everyone else. It helps no one and makes you look just as bad in the process.
3. DO: if you can, point out where the author of the suspected FAIL is mistaken. Again, the key is to be polite and respectful so long as the original party is being polite and respectful as well. It is a karma thing, if you give good energy, you get good energy.
4. DON’T DO: try to string this into other things you might believe about the author of the suspected FAIL. Odds are, you have no damned idea what they are thinking. Putting words in their mouths or assuming more than is obvious about their ideas/intentions makes you look bad at worst and is a waste of your time at best.
5. DO: give author of the suspected FAIL the benefit of the doubt if they are not trollish or insulting. Again, you enter the situation nuetral, but when you act you can make things more positive or more negative, but if you go negative, the FAIL will ened up being yours as well.
6. DON’T DO: be as equally offensive in your response. Hard to call someone an asshole and pull it off when you look like one yourself in the process. Take the higher ground and be the better person if you can.
7. DO: give people a pass if they do not have a prior record of trollish/inflammatory behavior. Everybody can have a bad day, even here on the internetverse. Maybe the author of the suspected FAIL is off their game or having a bad day, or more likely, merely misinformed and/or over passionate.
8. DON’T DO: hold a grudge. If you have had past disputes with a person online, let it go most of the time. Carrying fights with people is bad karma, a waste of time and energy over 99.99999% of the time. I imagine Karl Rove laughing whenever I see the pie fights online among the left, especially when I am dead center in one. I tend to forgive and forget when in a dispute with someone online. I advise others to do the same if they wish to have a more enjoyable online experience.
9. DO: ask someone to delete their possibly FAILed blog entry. If it is that bad/wrong/FAILed, you have every right to ask someone to delete/edit their entry if they can. This is actually the best way to tell whether someone is being false on purpose or not, because if they mean well they will probably edit to reflect the truth or delete, or at least post a lame, drawn out retraction like this. If someone is repeatedly proven wrong and they refuse to admit it they are simply lying or acting like a TROLL, but sometimes they just mean well and were wrong, and that is good because it can always be improved upon.
10. DON’T DO: HR someone without explanation or because you disagree. I am not one to set policy about HR’s but I use mine rarely, and I always leave an explanation of why when I do. In my opinion HR’s/wrong’s etc should only be dealt out in the worst cases, and always with an explanation/reason behind it.
The best advice I can give anyone who is responding to a potential EPIC FAIL of a blog entry is to act in good faith. Try to help, don’t use it as an opportunity to hurt. You can help or hurt this person, because there is a person on the other side of the computer, and you probably agree on a lot of things since you ARE blogging on the same site, why not help each other instead of be snarky or mean. The person you show kindness to is your ally if they are respectful when they are wrong, we should not divide and conquer ourselves.
Now that we have covered what to do if you are commenting on a potential EPIC FAIL of a blog entry, here is what you can do to avoid making that EPIC FAIL of a blog entry yourself, or at least what to do next if you do actually publish the damned thing.
How to avoid making an EPIC FAIL of a blog entry
Using the same DO and DON’T DO style, let’s explore a few easy ways to avoid blog entry FAIL before posting your blog entry.
1. DO: research. As much as possible. Teh google is your friend, and before begininng to write you really should have at least 3 other CREDIBLE sources who can report/confirm the same material, unless you are the original reporter of the story and you have the confirmed sources to prove it.
2. DON’T DO: write angry. I know, I know, coming from me this advice may seem weaker than from others, but trust me, if you are real pissed off think it through first, let it simmer, than do your research so that you can make a more informed opinion. Anger can be inspirational and motivational, but it is blinding too, and when the truth is what matters most a good writer will not let it blind them or stand in their way, a good writer uses that justified anger as a sword to fight back with, but it is only useful with the truth as your shield. Don’t use one and forget the other.
3. DO: re-read and edit your work before publishing. Again, just trust me, thsi will save you a lot of aggravation, and if you re-read your own work and don’t like it, flush it and start over. Slowly I have learned this and I am still learning it. The faster writers learn this trick, the better.
4. DON’T DO: rush to publish. Unless you are under deadline and getting paid for it, there is no reason to ever rush to publish your blog entry before going through the first three steps I’ve included above. If you ARE a paid writer who has a deadline, well, that’s a different story with a different solution, but if you are not you should take as much time as possible to research, re-read and edit your work. The quality of your work will reflect the effort you have put into it, and it will decrease the chances of achieving EPIC FAIL in your work exponentially.
5. DO: be kind to your readers and other bloggers. This can also be applied on the same rationale as our final pre-publishing bit of advice.
6. DON’T DO: be a dick. By being kind whenever possible and avoiding being a dick as much as you can, you will offer an enjoyable, informative and hopefully mutuially beneficial experience to your readers while making the blogosphere, and thus the world in a small way, a cooler, more informed and more tolerable place to exist in and share with the various trolls, dicks, douchenozzles, Republicans and other EPIC FAILures you are certain to encounter on the intertoobz and in the real world.
By following this advice, you are almost certain to avoid EPIC FAIL in your blogging experience, but if you FAIL to follow these steps, here are a few things you can do to fix the situation.
So, your blog entry is an EPIC FAIL! Here’s what to do next.
1. Delete your blog entry if you can ASAP. If no one sees it, it never happened, but this only works if you catch your own FAIL first, which is unlikely.
2. Apologize and/or edit. Edit to reflect the facts and truth if you can, or post a retraction/correction, and point out where the falsity lies. By acknowledging the mistake and correcting it, one proves their good intention. A liar will not do this, but someone who has made an honest mistake will most of the time, as long as the truth is pointed out to them AND tehy are willing to acknowledge it.
3. While editing, add sources that back up your original reserach. Of course, this and No#2 on this list only works if someone else is kind enough to show you the truth respectfully, but, if they do, and you correct it, it is nice to give the first person who corrected you the credit they deserve.
4. After following steps 1-3, attempt humor and make a full effort to avoid your own EPIC FAILs in your blog entries in the future, and train your eye to see your own FAILs coming before they happen. Only YOU can prevent your own EPIC FAILS, after that, you have to hope others are kind enough to point it out for you.
In summation, unless someone is blatantly trollish or offensive, give them the benefit of the doubt. Try to show them the facts, and be cool about it, which you definitly will if you can help and mean well. DOn’t be a Dick whether the FAIL is yours or somebody else’s, because when people act like dicks baby Jesus starts to teeth, and then he’ll be crying all night and no one else will get any sleep.
By following this advice ( or any similar advice, really, it’s all the same crap when you cut right down to it, be good to your fellow man, don’t be a dick, yadayada ) you can help create a cooler, more edifying and better blogosphere, as well as a better world in general, which is lousy enough as it is what with the wingnuts, Cheney’s and Insurance Salesman that we have already got to deal with among other things. The last thing we need is MORE bullshit to add to that mess.
Regarding my own EPIC FAIL of a blog entry from yesterday, I am guilty of violating several rules, foremost among them would be the obvious lack of thorough research, writing angry and the failure to re-read and edit. The original title of the article was “SCOTUS legalizes TORTURE and creates legal “unpersons” was incorrect based on the facts. The later update was changed to 9th Circuit, but that was incorrect as well.
The Supreme Court did NOT legalize torture. I wouldn’t put it past Justice Roberts to do so, but that simply wasn’t the case. The case cited in my article was the Rasul v Meyers case, where 4 Guantanamo Bay detainees sued the US Government because of the abuse that they alleged that they suffered while under US custody. There legal status is not that of an “unperson” because to action taken or not taken by the judiciary, but neither do they or others in US custody have a clear status under international law or American law as of the time of this writing. The Bush legacy lives on, and it is still confusing as hell.
Neither was torture legalized by any actions that were or were not taken by the judiciary. Though, by my logic, something done without consequences might as well be legal, since no one is stopping you, my logic is not perfect. The reality is that American law today and going back to our founding fathers are and always have been anti torture, anti abuse and in the favor of the accussed. That is what the whole “shadow of a doubt” means if one is to remain innocent until proven guilty. Torture can not logically exist where innocent until proven guity does, but no one ever accused the foreign policies of the Bush/Cheney Administration of being logical.
And yet the “problems” (which is putting it lightly by a mile) left behind by the Bush/Cheney Era of malfeasance, mismanagement, cronyism and EPIC FAIL still remain, looked forward at but never addressed or repaired, and I and many others like me are pissed about it and seemingly forgotten. That is my first mistake. Don’t write angry. Always a big mistake. Better to get made, think it over, and then spell out exactly what’s got you pissed off then to jump right at it. That was my first mistake.
In the frustration of dealing with the lack of accountability regarding the war criminals of the previous administration along with several other things happening in my life it was too easy to jump at what sounded like reality, but my second mistake was failing to fact check. I can NOT stress this enough. Major websites with huge traffic are just as likely to make mistakes as small ones, so it is important to fact check. I took the analysis provided by the main source in my article as truth and was mistaken, that was my second mistake.
A better explanation of what occured when the Supreme Court refused to hear Rasul v Meyers can be found here at jurist.law.pitt.edu
(h/t to Patriot’s Daily for the link)
I think the best possible explanation for what exactly caused the Supreme Court to choose not to hear Rasul v Meyers can be explained by the comment thread posted below form Daily Kos.
The Rasul case is about scope of employment
and qualified immunity. Given the employment law precedents on cite (finding, for example, that a delivery guy raping a customer was within the scope of employment), the court found that the torture was arguably w/in the scope.
Revolutionary Road was an awful, awful film.
by burrow owl
Sorry, I’m a layperson.
Within the scope of what?
Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!
Within the scope of employment.
The easiest way to understand this, and this is a little crude, but think of it this way:
There are seven statutes or causes of action under common law, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.
You file a lawsuit saying someone did something wrong, in violation of the law. Well, when we say “in violation of the law,” what that means is there must be a law to have been violated, and the document initiating your lawsuit (called a “Complaint”) must allege the legal grounds for your suit. You have to allege not only the facts that prove the case, but you have to identify the “law” that is being violated.
So what happened here is the lawsuit said that the officials could be sued under violation of laws A, D, and G. Well, the Department of Justice took a look at it and argued, essentially, that the plaintiffs did not have a cause of action — a basis to go forward — under the asserted causes of action. In other words, laws A, D and G were not the appropriate avenues to bring the case. Put another way, those avenues did not provide the court with “jurisdiction.”
Now there are lots of ways cases can be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Maybe the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to bring the case, because they weren’t the ones injured (for example, if I, a U.S. citizen never detained by the government as a terrorist, brought a lawsuit against Rumsfeld. There would be no jurisdiction, because I was never injured, and thus never had standing. A more simplistic example is: your cousin can’t sue your neighbor if your neighbor’s tree fell in your yard; your cousin has no basis to bring a lawsuit for something that happened to someone else, right?)
What happened here is the DOJ argued that the lawsuit couldn’t be brought on the basis of laws A, D, and G because those laws have certain requirements. One of the requirements being that the bad thing had to be done within the scope of employment. But the DOJ argues that it wasn’t done in the scope of employment. The court granted it on jurisdictional grounds.
That does not mean (1) that the Court ruled that the plaintiffs couldn’t pursue a lawsuit for violations of laws B, C, E, F, or H; (2) nor does it mean that the court made torture legal — because it never reached the issue of whether there was or was not torture!
Change takes time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Again, I am no expert on this matter or any other, and no one should assume that because the word “Truth” is in my screen name because I am an expert or a liar or motivated by anything other than the content of my writing. I am a human being just like you, prone to mistakes in judgement on occasion, mistakes I am glad to correct and address. It is how I, and we, learn. Trial and error. The FAIL is worth it if it helps you learn something new.
So don’t be a dick, be cool and kind, try to help, grab a mop, and for Ceiling Cat’s sake, check your sources, re-read and edit, and DO NOT write angry, or else the next EPIC FAIL that gets LOLcat’d may be your own.
Cheers to all,
Also crossposted at The Prgressive Electorate.com