Please stop the social shaming of Hamlet Au

Hamlet Au is a human being.
Hamlet Au is a human being.

This might be the most unpopular post I write this year, but I don’t care. Can we please stop socially shaming Hamlet Au, or anyone else for that matter? Please? I’ve personally had enough of it.

I’m not going to quote the attacks made in several blog comments. I’m not going to post screenshots of tweets for illustration purposes. I’m not even going to link to the several blog posts attacking him that I’ve read, and seen reblogged..

I am sure I’m not alone in seeing Hamlet’s name dragged through the mud since he published the blog post that got so many people upset.

If you’re doing this, you know who you are, and you don’t need me to publicly judge you.

I won’t do it, because I choose not to add fuel to the fire. I choose not to shame.

Do I agree with the views he expressed in the post that sparked the furore? No, I don’t. Do I think he might have phrased things better or taken a different perspective? Yes, I do. Do I think he should do things differently in the future? I’d like that, but that’s up to him.

With all that said, whatever my personal feelings are on the matter, I’m not about to socially shame him. Not here on this blog. Not on my social media. Not even socially, when the subject arises, as it has several times over the past 5 days.

Why?

Because he’s a person. Because he is a fellow human being. Because he has feelings. Because he has faults. Because he makes mistakes and errors in judgement.

As we all do.

Like him or loathe him, Hamlet Au is not our digital punching bag whom we can just use to vent our frustrations in public, legitimate or otherwise.

Hamlet Au, like all of us, is more than the sum of his worst mistakes.

I get why people do it. If someone does something you feel is deplorable, you might ignore it for a while. If it happens again, you might speak out against it privately. When you have had as much as you can stand, you might even comment, get on social media, or write a blog post, and attack the person who did it. When you’re really, really at the boiling point, you might even do what you can to hurt the person – financially, socially, or in some other way – in the hopes that it will make a positive change in the world.

I get it: You get angry. You are human, too.

As a side-effect, you might get a lot of support. People will agree with you. They’ll commend you for your bravery and your willingness to ‘speak the truth’. They’ll add fuel to the fire as they pile on the shame, sharing their pet grievances, stirring the pot at a fever pitch. It’s all a bit glorious, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t. It doesn’t change things. It doesn’t add to the world. It doesn’t make you a better person.

Yes, there are exceptions. Racists and paedophiles come to mind. Rapists, are a legitimate target. Wife beaters, they’re surely fair game. Politicians who lie to us, business executives that wreck our planet or poison our children, tobacco and junk food lobbyists – yep, line them up too. Ready, aim, fire!

But as a thought exercise, let’s say you’re right:

  • Hamlet Au took issue with a positive article about Second Life he felt didn’t tell the story
  • Hamlet Au says Second Life is dying
  • Hamlet Au confuses Adult regions with pornography and extreme violence
  • Hamlet Au writes blog articles and post titles for click-bait
  • Hamlet Au only supports Second Life when it aligns with his advertisers interests

Even if all of that is true, can we get a little perspective?

None of the things, true or false, deserve 5 days of continuous public shaming. None of these things legitimise ad hominem attacks. None of these things make it ok to cast doubt on a person’s character or their personal attributes as a way to discredit his thoughts, ideas or argument.

It’s not right. And it’s already more than enough. News flash: you are not the moral police. Please stop, and start catching someone doing something right.

You know who handled this right? Drax and Jo. They invited Hamlet to come on their podcast. They had a civilised discussion with him on the topic. In the end, they agreed to disagree.

That’s how you deal with things you don’t like. Stop bashing what you hate. Seek first to understand. Disagree respectfully. Make a logical counter argument. Then, promote what you love.

Here’s another way: If you don’t agree with the way something is represented, or with a particular news outlet’s approach to what you care about, you can either bash it, or you can get involved. Pick up the megaphone and add to the conversation by addressing the issue, not the person.

And that’s what I did. As this storm in a teacup has been brewing, I approached Hamlet to be a regular guest columnist for New World Notes. My proposal to him is that I help show what you actually do, what you want, and how you really think and feel. How? By asking you, and reporting on what you tell me.

I start next month.

27 thoughts on “Please stop the social shaming of Hamlet Au

    1. Typo’s because of my mobile. But to answer your plead? No. You don’t get to shame me and my customers time and time again. There is nothing wrong with pixelsex. It is healthy, clean, creative fun. There is however something wrong with a man that need to frame all adult SL as bukkake bliss.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I eye rolled, I laughed, I cried, I give this blog post 3 stars out of 5 and 1 thumb up. Since when is NWN relevant? Hamlets always been part of the SLU cry fest crowd that has nothing to look forward to except SL ending. Purely because they have nothing else to talk about. I wish I could link the “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE” youtube.

    Hamlet succeeded in getting some website hits, good for him I guess, its the only way anyone is going to remember his name.

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  2. I will admit to cringing a few times in anxiety during the radio show but bravo to Drax and Jo for reaching out and having a great conversation (no debate, no food was thrown etc..) with Hamlet. I agree with you Becky, in that the initial fire has gotten out of the ‘comfortable’ and into the ‘rut-roh’ stage, but just like everything else on the interwebs, it’ll die down. How we all move forward will be the key to bringing Second Life the kind of positive coverage it deserves. And that’s where I personally would like to be anyway.. moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Wendz. And I’m all for positive coverage – hell, I’m part of that positive coverage! We need to move forward and promote this world to the nth degree. We need to be the change we seek.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am not surprised you would address this head on Becky…BRAVO! I don’t agree with Hamlet’s view of SL, and that is ok. We are all entitled to our opinions and you are quite right, attacking someone for their opinion is not the thing to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On a factual level, I don’t agree with his view of Second Life as represented in the post we’re talking about. I also don’t think that sex needs to be mentioned in *every story* about Second Life. Absolutely, I disagree wholeheartedly with the opinions. I just draw the line at going ad hominem.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am confident that he wants more page views – most bloggers want that. I’d argue with the assertion that he has no opinion, however. Isn’t that what so many people are upset about? His opinion?

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    1. That’s why it’s called free speech. He has that right, we have that right. With that right also comes responsibility to not cross the line from free speech to slander.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I do think that, in general, it’s healthier to debate ideas instead of attacking people (although in some cases it’s necessarry to examine certain people’s interests in order to fully understand what’s behind their ideas) – and from this particular episode, some interesting points where raised, even if, in a number of cases, they were mixed with more personal arguments. I tried to discuss those points on my blog by actually visiting the places rated as adult on the list provided by Hamlet and then elaborating on what I found. Having stated that, I’d also add that, maybe, this controversy hasn’t been bad for Hamlet. See, he got a new collaborator (you), was invited by Drax and Jo and has seen a measure of how important his opinion is. On this last aspect, I don’t know how that translates in numbers, if he has got more traffic on his blog or not, but, if he knows how to move in the debate, and my guess is that he does, he can reaffirm his image as one of the most influential voices on subjects related to SL. Personally, I’d like to see more “explore SL” articles on his blog – not necessarily like “hey, see this amazing region”, but he used to have, in the past, a good collection of interesting items and people that appeared on the grid. In other words, he used to cover interesting stories, more than he does now. I don’t know if that’s going to be the outcome of this whole episode, but, if it is, then maybe we all can have a win-win situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cannot edit the comment, I know, but just a small correction: I meant “interesting points were raised” instead of “where raised”. Me and my bad English! Hehe

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      1. What a thoughtful and positive approach, Ricco. Thanks so much for sharing your views on this. I agree with you on every point you’ve made. Yes, I think there is a case to be made for ‘reputational rehabilitation’.

        I am involved in some of the digital faces of that kind of work for clients in real-life, so I intend to bring up some of these issues with him in future. He may not listen to me, or he might – that remains to be seen. There is absolutely no doubt that there is a large and vocal group of people that currently don’t perceive him the way I imagine he’d like to be perceived. Again, I can’t speak for him, but time will tell.

        Personally, I take a great deal of ownership into the projects I am a part of, so I’m likely not going to be able to help myself in critiquing what I read and see. Let’s hope I’m right in my assessments, that any recommendations I make are also right, and that he takes them on.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Still, what I said above shouldn’t be an excuse for the fact that, being an influential voice in subjects related to SL, he should face it with responsibility and examine his methods. He stated that Eric Grundhauser’s article was a distortion when Eric described SL as “a fascinating and vital world that is constantly changing and pushing the boundaries of what a virtual space can be” – because, said Hamlet, actually “Second Life is [his emphasis] a dying world […] with a lot of outsiders and bronies […] who do often recreate pornographic impossibilities.” Well, if Eric’s description of SL is distorted, so is Hamlet’s. Hamlet stated so, based on a list that showed that half of the top 25 sims were rated adult (which means that the other half were not adult) and he didn’t even noticed that some of them (at least 2, which means between 10% and 20% of the 13 adult sims on the list) did not promote sex as their only main attraction. See, I’m not attacking the person here, but the method he used in order to conclude what he concluded. It’s not that he’s completely wrong, sex does have a significant importance in SL, but it’s false to state that SL is just that. I mean, Eric Grundhauser isn’t completely wrong either, because Second Life is also a changing world that keeps pushing the boundaries of what a virtual space can be. Both are significant sides of SL. And examining the top 25 sims, well… An escort agency needs to appear on the top 25 list, much more than an art exhibition, because the exhibition may be mentioned by a number of SL-related blogs, while an escort agency will most likely appear nohwere on those blogs. Who knows how many alts escort agencies send there to build traffic? Maybe none, but Hamlet doesn’t know. I think that’s the most problematic thing on his post, he based his observations on a series of prejudices, like making no differentiation between “pornographic” content and “extreme sexual content” (the former is what he wriotes on the text itself and the latter is what he writes on the top 25 chart about the adult sites, that they are “rated adult for extreme sexual content or violence”). Maybe some assumptions that he made are correct, but he clearly didn’t investigate them. For an influential voice, I would expect a more responsible method of making journalism. Again, let me be clear, I don’t want to personally attack him, my focus here is his method – but it would be a positive thing if he, himself, could think of how he can improve his work based on this episode.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Well said, Becky. As you say, it’s the ad hominem – the attacking of the person rather than the issue – which distinguishes all this from grown up debate and turns it into bullying. You can either be a bystander on things like this and become complicit or you can put your head above the parapet and say, “Enough!” Thank you for doing the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. William Randolph Hearst, through his manipulation of the written word, aided the US into going to war with Spain in 1898. He is known as the father of Yellow Journalism. He published what he wanted and won or lost lawsuits. Became rich and famous.

    Point is “Hearsts” still exist today and they will write (blog) what they want, when they want, and how they want regardless of the uproar caused. In fact it is the uproar that brings the profits. With the Internet this problem is like a virus minus a cure.

    If you have a legal voice to challenge and author for character assassination or slander, then it is your right to take legal action in a court of law. Any action other than that tends to blur the lines of who is harassing who.

    Don’t fall into the trap of feeding these people through battles on the Internet blogs, that’s what they seek. Either do as Jo and Drax did or Becky or just ignore.

    Remember “Freedom of Speech” is a very liberally interpreted constitutional right that expands and contracts based of the court one is in.

    Don’t Feed the Animals

    Liked by 1 person

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