Blog Herald responds to Andy Baio

Filed as General on May 22, 2003 9:42 pm

by Duncan

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As the publicity machine of the Star Wars Kid blog charity blasts its ways across worldwide media, a number of comments have been made at The Blog Herald, and emailed directly to the Blog Herald about our questioning of the possible exploitation of Ghyslain. Today we respond to Andy Baio.

Andy Baio states the following in his criticism of our questioning of his actions:
“I’m not sure why you continue to accuse me and Jish of evil-doing, since we’ve tried to be as transparent and accountable during this entire thing as possible.”
Well, no Andy you haven’t, it was not clearly indicated on your site from day 1 how long you would go, how you would be transparent, what steps you would take to assure full disclosure, these were posted on May 21. In you friend Jish’s defence he seems to have attempted to be more open earlier in the piece.

“There is absolutely no connection between your weblog and the end of the fundraiser”
Questions were asked, not only by the Blog Herald, but I now discover by a number of other bloggers, both privately and on the net, at the same time as the Blog Herald questioned your motives. Suddenly both donation sites run pieces on full disclosure….mere coincidence?

“I’m sure you’ll also be disappointed to see that I posted a spreadsheet with every donation that we received, complete with Paypal transaction IDs. When we buy the gifts for Ghyslain, I’ll post receipts for further evidence. I’m hoping we can get him to take photos of himself with his new toys once he receives them, and I’ll post those as well.”

No, actually, I am ecstatic, what it means is that you have understood the meaning of accountability and responded to the legitimate concerns of bloggers (including The Blog Herald) and I would hope that all of those hard working members of the blogosphere can now have some piece of mind that the hard earned dollars they donated to your site and your PayPal account will go to the right place. It does not, however, excuse you inability to provide a list of disclosure tools at an earlier date, however you have, we hope in good faith, moved in the right direction.

“I expect that you’re more interested in generating Drudge-style tabloid controversy than objective truth.”

Do I read Drudge, yes, and billions of others do and I think you attack on Matt Drudge is completely unfair. The truth is a follows: you ironically ran a donation service for a child you are humiliating by being the number 1 source for downloads of the “Star Wars Kid” video on the net. When running this donation service, you did not provide clear disclosure, to which we are happy to concede you now have.

And then the childish comment from Mr Baio:
“By the way, the code/design for your site was stolen from Movabletype.org. Pretty tacky”
Is the Blog Herald a Movable Type site, abso-bloody-lootly, blind freedy can see this. Is the design inspired by other MT blogs and sites, yes. After all, this is a blog about blogs, why reinvent the wheel. The Blog Herald are large fans of MT and may even sign up to Type Pad when its launched. I also note that your site is also MT powered?…….

Mr Baio, the Blog Herald applauds your efforts at disclosure; however we now call on you to stop adding to the misery of Ghyslain and remove links from your site to the video.
Also when looking at our questioning of your gaining publicity over the video and then raising donations for the hurt you have caused Ghyslain, look for the meaning of Irony in the dictionary.

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  1. By Andy Baio posted on June 4, 2003 at 6:28 am
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    Jish and I did everything we could to be as up-front and honest as possible with the fundraising process.

    We posted donations — along with the person’s name, donation amount and URL — to both of our sites as we received them from Paypal, along with running tallies.

    Originally, we didn’t know how long we’d let the fundraiser run when we first added the Paypal donation link on Wednesday, May 14. By the end of the following day, it had already exceeded our original goals. We decided to keep the fundraiser up until the middle of the following week. Around noon PST on Thursday, May 15th, we both posted the following update to our existing fundraiser threads:

    “Donations will be accepted until the middle of next week. If the donations exceed the amount required for an iPod, the surplus will go towards iPod accessories or an amazon.ca gift certificate.”

    We ended the fundraiser exactly one week after it started, as promised.

    As for the humiliation aspect, I’ve noticed that you’re now linking to the video also. Why? Because there’s demand for it! People want to see it, and they’ll find and view the video regardless of whether you (or I) link to it or not. But if you don’t link to it, you get people e-mailing you and getting angry or frustrated when you refuse to help. Now you know how I feel.

    (You might have noticed that I haven’t mirrored the videos for the last couple weeks. It’s served entirely through a peer-to-peer hosting program, so that it’s only hosted by users who volunteer to share the files with one another.)

    I understand why some people were initially suspicious and skeptical about our motivations for helping the kid out. There have been so many scams and hoaxes online, you’d have to be naive to assume that everyone’s intentions are pure. But Jish and I really, really tried to provide complete accountability and respond to everyone’s queries.

    I wish that instead of going on the attack, you had just e-mailed either one of us first, and all of this nonsense could have been avoided. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to talk about this more. Thanks, Duncan.

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