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9859Re: [WWWEDU] Re: Any thoughts on how I should respond to Wired?

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  • Jenka Guevara
    Sep 4, 2007
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      Congratulations, Andy, for such a wonderful reply.
      (I envy your skill with the pen/computer)

      Jenka Guevara, Ph.D.
      The American School Foundation, Mexico City

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Andy Carvin <andycarvin@...>
      Date: Tuesday, September 4, 2007 8:57 am
      Subject: [WWWEDU] Re: Any thoughts on how I should respond to Wired?

      > Hi everyone,
      > Thanks again for all of the thoughtful suggestions you passed along
      > regarding how I should handle the story from Wired. I've decided to
      > take a middle-of-the-road approach, writing an open letter to the
      > author on my PBS blog, but not firing back with snark of my own. The
      > more I learned about the author, the more I concluded he was actually
      > a decent guy who just made a joke without thinking about the
      > consequences, so I approached my response from that perspective.
      > Here's a shortcut to the letter on my blog:
      > http://urltea.com/1e7z
      > And for your convenience, here's the text. -andy
      > --------------
      > To: Mathew Honan, Wired Magazine
      > From: Andy Carvin
      > Dear Matthew,
      > You don't know me, but I was hoping I could take up a few minutes of
      > your time today. I see we've got a lot in common; we're both writers,
      > Mac users, photographers; we've even both backpacked around Laos and
      > written travelogues about it. You seem like the kind of guy I'd
      > probably want to hang out with at SXSW or something, perhaps to
      > grab a
      > beer and swap travel stories. And that's why I feel I can be straight
      > up with you about something you wrote recently that really hurt a lot
      > of educators across the country.
      > You see, in my free time I volunteer as the coordinator of an online
      > community called Stop Cyberbullying. I founded it earlier this
      > year as
      > a way to give educators and parents a place where they could share
      > strategies to deal with the issue of cyberbullying. Don't get me
      > wrong; it's not intended as a place for primadonna bloggers with
      > jaws to complain about how they're being dissed by their peers,
      > nor is
      > it a community for humorless schoolmarms to demand that all un-PC
      > online behavior should be banned forthwith by Congress. Instead, it's
      > just a group of well-meaning, concerned people who in some cases are
      > trying to save the lives of their children or students.
      > I'm not trying to be melodramatic and overstate the situation
      > here, so
      > I won't waste your time throwing out dubious statistics as to what
      > percentage of kids get bullied via the Internet, text messaging and
      > the like. Depending on whom you ask, it's either a widespread problem
      > or small minority of kids. No matter how you slice it, though, the
      > fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of thousands of kids
      > are harassed by their peers on a regular basis. For some of these
      > kids, the bullying is so bad it basically paralyzes them, making them
      > fearful of attending school, going online or turning on their phone.
      > And for a small minority of kids, it's led to suicide attempts. Some
      > of them have even been successful.
      > I'm sure you had none of this in mind when you wrote a short article
      > for the latest issue of Wired Magazine entitled Beware These Six
      > Lamest Social Networks. As both a Star Trek fan and a cat owner, I
      > to laugh when you cited social networks targeting those particular
      > demographic groups; you definitely nailed those two, and rightly so.
      > But you also included the Stop Cyberbullying community in your list,
      > describing it as a place populated by "pussies" who will "gang up on
      > you mercilessly" if you call them that.
      > Now, I know you intended this as a joke. And like I said, if this
      > community were a place where whining bloggers or self-righteous
      > luddites came to commiserate among themselves, I think it'd be fair
      > game for some snark. Instead, though, you decided to go after a group
      > of concerned educators and parents who are just trying to help out
      > kids who are living in their own private hell. And by calling us out,
      > it led to the unintended consequence of having countless vandals and
      > trolls descend upon the site, for the sole purpose of - yes -
      > us. It left us with no choice but to put the community in lockdown,
      > removing it from public view and preventing new members from joining
      > unless they could prove they weren't there to cause harm. We now must
      > treat every prospective member with suspicion, rather than greet them
      > with open arms.
      > I know what you wrote was intended to be funny - and in any other
      > context, it would have been. But it wasn't, and it's demoralized a
      > of people who are already fighting an uphill battle against a problem
      > that all too often just isn't taken seriously. And I know writing
      > letter will probably cause us more problems - not from you
      > but from a small minority of people who will read this letter and use
      > it as an excuse to harass me and my colleagues, as usually happens
      > whenever I write about cyberbullying in a public space. That's the
      > cost of trying to help these kids, I guess.
      > Anyway, that's all I wanted to say. If you're ever in the DC area,
      > drop me and note and we can find somewhere to grab a bottle or two of
      > BeerLao and swap stories about tropical diseases and other
      > disasters. Thanks again for taking the time to read this.
      > Take care,
      > Andy Carvin
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