Duncan Riley> The attacks continue on scum-blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of The Daily Kos today following a post that the deaths of Jerry Zovko, Mike Teague, Scott Helvenston and one other in brutal scenes in Fallujah, Iraq, were somewhat beneath caring, with the words “That said, I feel nothing over the death of mercenaries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.” As much as I am tempted to join the chorus of criticism against Markos, I’ll leave my little dig at the scum comments and focus on the important lesson at hand: How quickly the mighty fall.
Now I’m not here to debate whether you support Markos or not. Free speech is one thing but pissing on the families of Americans slaughtered live on television, with their bodies desecrated in ways unbelievable in a modern world, is without doubt poor form. But with John Kerry and many others withdrawing support for the once well regarded site, it does go to show how one mistake can bring an entire reputation, and in this case, the entire credibility of a site, down into the gutter.
Now I know some would argue that Markos has no credibility to start with, but objectively the site was well regarded enough to have the support of most major Democrat presidential candidates through their blogs, and an impressive 3818 Links from 2612 Sources on Technorati. Big readership, well established. One post. This is all it takes.
As advertisers flee the site and many de-link as they try to distance themselves from the once mighty Kos, the lesson to be learned is
1. Let the dead lie peacefully: making commentary on a site is bound to upset some people but pissing on the dead is about as popular as an African American at a KKK rally. Leave them be.
2. Save your post as draft and come back later: if something is worrying you about the nature of your posts go with your gut instincts and save the post as a draft for later review. Come back at least half an hour later, of even better half a day or a day and review the post. Now that you’ve calmed down you might feel differently about pissing someone off.
3. When in doubt, try it out: still not sure, email the post to some friends for feedback, let them be the judge.
4. Still unsure, delete it all: if the feedbacks bad, don’t get sad, delete it all and head for the door.
5. No sad attempts at rhyme in blog posts!
6. Be careful: being controversial can bring in new traffic, but it also brings criticism and e-enemies, and your longer term success can be hindered.
If anyone has some other rules please feel free to add them.