Thursday, July 17, 1997 by Dave Winer.
From an a man named Carl, firstname.lastname@example.org, someone who works at Symantec, who didn't say what his last name is:
"I noticed that you corrected [site name deleted] on some time issues, but it seems like you don't disagree with the general point of the article which is that you are a petty and bitter man that unjustly screams as much negativity towards Apple as possible because they did not buy your software.
"You seem to be presenting yourself as an Apple lover, when in reality you are an Apple hater, and have been for years, because of a personal issue. You try to hurt not only the Apple company but also, indirectly the entire Mac community even though most or all of the people that personally hurt you no longer even work for Apple.
"Speaking as a person in the Mac community, I find this to be extremely offensive. I love the Mac and I am making my career in the Mac right now, so your innaccurate, wild, baseless, personal hate towards Apple is an indirect attack on me and my job.
"You are not alone, of course. There are thousands if not millions that are spreading half truths or even lies about the Mac, but I must tell you that I am a person (one of millions) that is being hurt by your hate. Personally, I would like it if you just went back to building good software and control your emotions and your hate. You also are one of the victims of your hate.
"Bitterness will eat your soul alive Dave."
I thought a lot before deciding to share this. This is fairly typical of the email I've been receiving in huge volume over the last few days. There's an organized campaign to send me this kind of email. For some reason the Mac attracts this kind of energy. I don't know this man named Carl, and I believe he doesn't know me.
A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with Stewart Alsop, venture capitalist and columnist at Fortune. He wrote a column about Steve Jobs's deal with Apple early this year. I agreed with Alsop's point of view. Steve Jobs raped Apple. He acted irresponsibly. He took advantage of Amelio's inexperience in the software business. Alsop was flamed the same way I'm being attacked now.
So, I'm not the only one...
Check out Carl's email. It's remarkably honest, if you read it carefully. It begins with "it seems like." It seems like you believe this, and therefore you must believe this, and that's unfair. He says how I seem to him, and then responds to that image. By the time you string the "seems" together, you can be talking to anyone. When you have to say "it seems" to support your argument, you're really responding to yourself, not the person you're addressing. I become the central person in their life who never listened to them, when in fact I'm a stranger.
Programmers gone astray. People who in their normal lives must seek the truth, but when they talk to another human, forget the scientific method. I recommend reading a piece I wrote in May entitled Programmers. It would give them some insight into my personality and philosophy. I am a programmer. I seek the truth. I do the best I can. Please get to know me before you tell me who I am. I am an unusually easy person to get to know because so much of my writing is publicly available. So many shortcuts. So many messages that must really be intended for their mothers and fathers. How sad!
I sent Gordon Eubanks, the CEO of Symantec, an email saying that I know that Carl doesn't speak for him or for Symantec. But I wanted to share this example, to spread it around, so I don't have to deal with it on my own. This stuff disturbs me, and for that I thank the people who send these emails. Clearly I can learn something from this experience, and I'm sure it has nothing to do with the Mac or the pain that some Mac users feel.
A new story on the MacUser website from Rik Myslewski. He calls me a chimpanzee. Wow! Takes my breath away. There's no respectful disagreement in his piece. He doesn't add anything to the discussion of what's to become of the Mac. He doesn't offer any new ideas, but he does invite people to send me mail, and I don't suppose it's going to be fan mail that I get.
I think this is totally irresponsible, and not consistent with the usually high editorial standards of Ziff-Davis Publishing. Even personal attacks are better than inviting email attacks. Mr. Myslewski says "Read Jesse's story, and then tell Jesse -- and Dave -- what you think." What do *you* think Mr. Myslewski? Other than name-calling, it's not in his piece. Shame on him, and MacUser and Ziff-Davis for promoting such vicious use of electronic media.
This won't get me to stop writing about the Mac when I feel it's appropriate to do so. And I don't appreciate MacUser using their good name to invite attacks.
A request to the spammers. Before you click on the Send button, call a friend and tell them why you're upset. Someone who knows you, who will listen to you. Your brother or sister, wife or husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, therapist or golf partner. Get heard. Open your heart. Let it out. After that, if you still have something to say to me, let's hear it. Thanks!
I wish everyone a peaceful and happy and productive Thursday!
PS: Many of the writers that the spammers attack are Mac users and are concerned about the future of the platform. This is a sensible place to be if you use a Mac. If the spammers used kindness and respect instead of attacks, we could work together and learn from each other. But when the attacks get so personal, people tend to tune out. Human nature at work.