Sunday, December 2, 2012

The John Cheese Incident

If anyone happens to stumble upon this, I humbly ask you to share it with anyone you think would be interested. I don't plan on updating this very frequently, especially after this crazy incident is behind us. The only reason I made this was to call the Cracked.com staff out on their very poor handling of this incident.

Here's a recount of the event. On November 29, the Cracked columnist John Cheese posted an article entitled, "5 Popular Jokes That Only Make People Want To Punch You." The article is pretty typical of a Cracked article, and even more typical of a John Cheese article. Most people found most of the article fairly easy to agree with. However, "derision" set in on his final points, which criticized memes and puns as a low form of comedy. Some of the more popular commenters like Darkstrolm and ConspiracyKeanu put on sad smilies to express their discontent. It was a joke of course, meant to bring humor to a somewhat awkward situation. From there, things took a turn for the worse. Many people were upset at John Cheese and called him out on it as commenters are wont to do. Most of the comments, while disagreeable, were civil, as most Cracked comments sections (contrary to popular belief) are. Some took it to a different level by posting John Cheese's personal information. Those who did were ridiculed vehemently by the rest of the commenters on the site. However, John Cheese took a different turn. He called the commenters names like "shit-smearing-toddlers" and "child-fuckers." To be fair, he probably had people shout worse back at him, but the problem was that he made a massive generalization and asserted that the comments section in general was like this, when it was clearly not. He would know that if he actually read the comments section, which he has asserted in the past that he does not.

If that had been the end of it, everyone would have moved on. But the worst was yet to come. People took to the forums to express their discontent with the situation. This resulted in David Wong banning nearly every user from the forums disagreeing with them. Keep in mind that the vast majority of these posts were respectfully disagreeing with John Cheese, not lambasting him. At last count, I could only see 2 posts that disagreed with John Cheese, and they were by popular Cracked commenters who could easily spread the word if they were banned for no reason. However, word got out anyways, with Wong calling the commenters "cockroaches." Because my IP address has been banned, I cannot check the forums to see what is currently going on.

Even then, everyone might have moved on. Then on December 2, the staff started taking down comments and banning people en masse. For simply disagreeing with the article! I myself got 2 accounts banned. One was ryanms92 and the other was rms92. On the article "The 6 Least Intimidating Military Logos Ever," I posted a comment that reads as follows:

"I apologize if I'm ruining anyone's enjoyment of this article, but I feel this is important. I was just banned from Cracked. My username is ryanms92. I did not participate in the forums and to my knowledge, committed no offense against Cracked's User Policy. The only thing I could possibly think of that would have gotten me banned was me making a dumb crack at John Cheese in the comments section. Not the forum, the comments. In this very article. I also have no access to the forums. I hope that this was simply a mistake, but if it is not, I am ashamed of the attitude of the people on this website. This place is becoming more and more unfriendly by the minute. I would like to see my account reinstated immediately or given an explanation as to why I was banned. I find this behavior completely unacceptable. I doubt my comment will last long, so as a last request, I humbly ask those of you reading it to thumbs up my comment so that anyone going through the same thing will know they are not alone. Again, I apologize for being so morbid on a Cracked article, but I feel this is very important, not just to me, but to all Cracked users as a whole. Thank you."

At the time of this posting the account has been banned and I cannot post comments, but the post surprisingly remains. Whether this is because they failed to notice it or if it's the fact that it's highly rated remains to be seen. Either way, this will remain as evidence of the fact.

Cracked is doing a great disservice to its readership here. I can only hope that this situation is rectified. In the meantime, we need to get the word out and call Cracked out on their despicable display towards the people that make their website the most visited humor website in the world! I will post updates as the situation progresses. I am busy so I don't know how often I will be able to update, but I plan to check daily to see if anything warrants an update. Feel free to add my ryanms92 or rms92 accounts as a friend. As of now, I think I can still send messages, so at least we have that. Stay Cracked, my friends!

EDIT: OK, now I can't send messages anymore. Never mind.

60 comments:

  1. I got IP banned outright (was formerly SilverSimithe). Here's what ticked them off:

    Delete it as may times as you want. I'm keeping count. Here's re-post number three:

    Two at once. Three comment deletions in one day. Three comment deletions in FIFTEEN MINUTES.

    This isn't how comment deletion works. You delete a comment when it displays clear bigotry, racism, sexism, or otherwise violently attacks a specific group or person with ignorance, death or threats of physical harm. You don't delete a comment or ban a person for expressing a view different from yours. We have a word for that. It's called censorship.

    When you put a lid on all dissenting opinion, you halt all discussion.

    Also, I'm banned from the forums now. I've never even posted on the forum. Guess I'll never get the chance. Big loss, I know.


    Yeah, just look at all the hatred in that post. Can't you feel the rage coming through your computer screen? I can't even explain how broken Cracked's pedestal is to me now. I just want everyone who's still posting to know I'm hitting the upvote button anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really honestly hope this isn't the end of Cracked as we know it. Look at what Digg did. People left the site en masse because of a terrible update (myself included.) I haven't heard anything from the site in over two years. Cracked doesn't seem to understand that this could severely effect their readership. I guess there's really nothing to do but continue to spread the word and see where things go from here.

      Delete
    2. I was on Cracked long before I had an account, and I'll be there long after so long as the funny/ informative articles keep coming. I can put aside my distaste of a person to admit they have a point/ talent/ whatever. That doesn't mean I'll respect them on a personal level anymore, since the other side can't do the same :(

      Delete
  2. While I don't wish for this to sink Cracked as a whole, I do hope that it will force the powers-that-be to reconsider having Cheese write for Cracked quite as often as he does. Since Wong and Cheese are old friends, pretty much the only way to get the message across that our opinions matter is to start affecting their bottom line, ie with page views and therefore with ad revenue. Hopefully the Cracked comment community has enough willpower to stand together and boycott Cheese's articles. I've been on Cracked since I was 15, 5 years ago, and it's gotten me through some dark times. Hopefully readers will continue to enjoy the quality content and steer clear of writers who clearly don't respect us, such as Wong and Cheese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is literally no way any of this will have any noticeable effect on Cracked.com.

      Delete
    2. Then so be it.

      It doesn't change the fact that Cheese is a massive asshole. Mark my words: there will be other "Cheese Incidents". There will be more innocent people hurt. And there will also always be people who will defend him blindly. It's just the way these things go.

      Delete
    3. Since it's happened before several times, I believe you.

      Delete
  3. I should point out that Cheese was calling the commenters "child-fuckers" and "shit-smearers" and David Wong called us "cockroaches" long before that one idiot doxed Cheese. It was Cheese's tweets about how much he hated the commenters that got the hate train rolling in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that's a pretty important point to make. Basically, it went like this:

      Cheese posts article => Commenters are hurt and have group-hugs.

      Cheese is being a dick to the commenters in his Tweets and on his Facebook => Commenters get angry.

      Cheese bans anyone who tries to negociate some kind of peace out of the forums => Revolution!

      It's important to note that it's only after the "revolution" had already started that some douche posted Cheese's personal info.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for doing this, Ryan. Even if only a couple of people see it, it's an important record of what's going on. As a few people have pointed out (on reddit, and on Cracked if those comments still exist), as the comments get deleted and users get banned, it becomes really hard for an outside observer to figure out what the hell everyone is so upset about. So I appreciate you taking the time to write up this account of it.

    Lauren, your SilverSmithe persona was one I really enjoyed running into in the comments, and your comments on this John Cheese article were reasonable and thoughtful. I appreciated them too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, and I also got banned and all my comments deleted.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I didn't get banned but I did have one of my comments deleted. All I said was that Cracked has a very good comments section and I don't understand why Wong and Cheese hate it so much. Anyways, I hope a lot of people see this. It's starting to get a little too Orwellian over there.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the comments guys. Keep them coming and make sure to share this. I wish I could respond to all of you, but I am busy studying for a test that will decide the future of my career, so this really could not have happened at a worse time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Made a post of my own with a few screenshots: http://autumn-brontide.blogspot.com/2012/12/broken-pedestal.html If you have more, I'll add them.

    ReplyDelete
  9. OK.

    Firstly - I'm not completely up to date on the minutia of the situation, so you'll have to excuse that. I'm a moderator on the Cracked forums, which I am telling you only so you'll know my perspective of the situation. I've never actually had a conversation with Cheese in my life. I'm also not a high ranking member, as in I don't get paid by Cracked besides them buying my individual articles.

    My first question isn't meant to be an insult - but I am genuinely interested in your ages. I'm guessing young, like below 20. The reason why I am guessing this is because you seem to have a high level of outrage for something that is out of your control, and the aspirations to inexplicably change it - something like that takes stamina and youth. Again - I'm seriously not trying to be condescending, but your attitude reminds me of myself when I was 16 years old.

    John Cheese is close friends with David Wong, who runs the Pointless Waste Of Time Forums that merged with Cracked.com. As a columnist, Cheese's job is to provoke his audience with rash, opinionated topics and viewpoints. That's his character.

    You see - it's not unlike pro wrestling when someone takes on a persona. And for some reason, a select group (probably not those reading this) took an extreme standpoint against this. Suddenly he is getting death threats and hate mail for something meant to be a trivial piece of entertainment. With this - the comments section to his columns were flooded with hate. Sure - that hate was mixed with calm, collected opposition - but that voice was heavily diluted.

    Now say you are running such a forum. You have a new book out, another book that will soon be a motion picture. You are the senior editor to all new submissions, and suddenly you have to deal with your good friend getting hoards of bullshit for an article he wrote that was simply meant to entertain. Is it so horrible to mass ban the people who were involved in the process? Keep in mind, most people who are banned usually get unbanned if they just send an apologetic PM to Wong and wait a few weeks.

    Is that worth setting up some big cause? Over a comedy site that is going through some harsh shit? My suggestion is this: save your strength, because one day there will be a time where you'll actually have to fight for something that matters. Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DB, did you even read the article? So, essentially, you're saying that it's just fine to mass ban people who are literally doing nothing wrong whatsoever. Keep in mind, we're banned! I have no way of contacting David Wong, Jack O'Brien or anyone else to ask for my account back. And frankly, I don't even know if I want it back. We did absolutely nothing to violate the terms and conditions. The fact of the matter is that this is censorship, pure and simple. There's no excuse for it, no defending it. The vast majority of comments were not death threats. And by vast majority, I mean 99% if not more. Very, very few comments were death threats. And yet those were the ones that were banned.

      Just because someone is selling a book or movie is no excuse whatsoever to silence criticism. That's the most ridiculous argument I've heard in this entire debacle.

      Also, it really doesn't take a whole lot of youth and stamina to type keys on a keyboard. Ono_Sendai is the most vocal of us, and he's 55.

      Is this worth putting up a big cause? No, it's not, which is exactly why we're doing this. We would love for this to end and get our accounts back. A lot of us had a large community completely closed off to us. A community that kept us sane while we worked and went through life. That can now never be brought back.

      The forums are feeding you false information. Many people have been duped by David Wong. I understand that's it's very difficult to find out the truth of the matter when everyone is being silenced, but we are completely innocent of wrongdoing. My first account was banned for no other reason than posting my opinion of what was going on at the forums. My second one was banned for simply replying to a comment. You cannot honestly make a sound argument that there was any conceivable reason these accounts were banned.

      So, in short, I don't know if you genuinely don't know what is going on or if you are being dishonest. I'll assume the former as you seem like you sympathize with the situation to some extent. Next time, you should read the article and see what's really happening.

      Delete
    2. You misunderstood what I meant when I talked about Wong's job and book deal, which kind of links to age. My point was that Wong has way, way more on his plate than us. I know this because I see everything he does in the writers workshop.

      There's a whole bustling system that YOU aren't seeing, people who are just trying to go about their day making comedy and money. Frankly, it moves so fast that after this message, I myself will be going back to forgetting about this whole Cheese incident (something that everyone else in the workshop has already done), not because I don't care or don't sympathize with your problem, but because I just have too much work to do.

      And that's why I keep thinking of age, because I basically keep hearing these outcries of "this isn't fair!" And my reply is that well, no one said it was. There seems to be a common misconception in youth that an organization will somehow cater to their every need, no matter how busy that organization is. Truth is, it's Wong's forum, and he is a really busy guy that a bunch of people pissed off. He handled it in the quickest way he could and moved on. It's shitty, I know - but once again, if you send a PM (or if you can't do that a polite email) to Wong apologizing then perhaps you could be let it. That is, if you want to be let it.

      There's really not much more to say about it, which is why to most people this outrage is coming across as a temper tantrum. No, it's not completely trivial, but you're only burning yourselves out with this outcry of injustice against an online comedy site that, frankly, is too busy making content than to listen to you. The best you'll get is me, and I hold no power over there. I'm not even very good looking.

      Delete
    3. Ryan covered this well, but I want to take this chance to talk to a mod also, and to add my own details so you can see who we are and what happened.

      I'm 34. I have a job, and a life.

      I originally commented on the article to the effect that I'd always kind of liked Cheese's writing, and I found it surprising, hurtful, and uncalled-for for him to make the kinds of remarks about the commenters that he does on fb and tumblr and twitter. He brought up the issue of his twitter account in the article, so it seemed like fair game. That is literally what my comment said and how calm the tone was. I got banned.

      I then made a new account, came back and posted a comment to tell people what had happened, and went to the forums and posted a comment to the effect that I thought banning people who had not said anything offensive, or threatening, or demeaning, but simply critical, was an overreaction. Within five minutes that forum post was deleted, and I was yelled at by a mod for daring to say that the site was overreacting when clearly they wouldn't have blocked me unless I was making death threats against Cheese.

      That's when I got mad. Really mad. I went back to the comments to update folks on what was happening, which seemed important at the time because so many comments were disappearing and people kept showing up and going "Huh? What's going on?" Those of us who were getting deleted kept trying to get the information out. Literally any comment I posted that revealed anything about what had happened in the forum with the mod, or any comment that said anything at all about how the mass bannings/deletions were working, was itself deleted. It was like they were trying to erase any record of what was going on. Anyway, after a few rounds of that, my IP address is now banned.

      So here are the things I'm pissed about:
      1. I got banned from a site I love, so I can't vote or comment.
      2. John Cheese, whose articles I've always read and thought, "Hey, a lot of this resonates with my life. Good stuff, buddy," felt the need to go out of his way to insult the commenters, which I still feel is uncalled for.
      3. When commenters understandably took umbrage at that, he and Wong went on a crazy rampage, calling us cockroaches and childfuckers and banning anyone who disagreed with them.
      4. Now the forums and the comments on that article are being reduced to an echo chamber of agreement, which is why it's important to me to have records elsewhere, like here, of what actually happened.

      Like someone else who commented below, I'd be OK with an apology and my account back. I didn't violate any policies or even any general codes of social decency. I just said that I thought the writer of an article was being unnecessarily mean-spirited toward me and my ilk. And you know what? Maybe this is where I get childish, but I cannot imagine PMing David Wong and groveling to get unbanned -- I cannot even imagine apologizing when I didn't do anything wrong. So I guess that account's not coming back. So add that to the list of things I'm mad about.

      Delete
    4. Wait. Sorry I hate to come back to this because seriously I need to get some work done. But you don't know why you were banned? In your words, "I didn't do anything wrong."

      Ever get tossed out of a bar? Whether or not you think you did anything wrong, would you get up from the street, turn around, and walk back in doing the exact same thing you did before?

      You say that you got deleted, got "really mad", and then came back into the forum and reposted for "a few rounds". How would that not warrant an eventual ban? It doesn't matter what you were saying - you were poking at a clearly sore spot in the forum when the mods just wanted to move on and calm the crowd. Of course you were banned. How is that not clear to you?

      This isn't Syria. Your voice wasn't being unjustly extinguished as you fought to "update" people on vital information. You were pissed that you got deleted and kept pushing it in a forum that clearly didn't want you to post in it anymore. You poked the lion one too many times and got bit. Now you are trying to blame the zoo. Either apologize or move on.

      Delete
    5. I think I understand more where you're coming from now DB. I can understand them "controlling a fire", but the way they did was still unacceptable to me. I understand that all of you there work hard and that this was virtually a non-issue to all of you. That still doesn't make it right, but you point that out well enough. I'm not angry for being banned. I'm angry for David Wong's deliberate lies to simply bury the truth and move on. Again, I understand why he does it, but it still is abhorrent and unjust behavior to me.

      The fact of the matter is that if they had simply not banned people AT ALL, it simply would have been a non-issue. Everyone WOULD have moved on, and the angry comments, the Reddit, and this blog would not even exist. The fact that they do shows the poor handling of the situation. A comedy site is not important enough in my life to go begging on my hands and knees for my account back. And I suspect most people involved feel the same way.

      If they simply apologized and reinstated our accounts, everyone would be fine. But instead they're acting like this. And there is no excuse for that.

      Delete
    6. Cracked is a large website. Large websites often have the resources to moderate with some consideration. Large websites often have policies about acceptable reasons for banning, warnings, ect. Yes, they can leave us in the dark about everything as they have chosen to do, but it's hardly the default position to take.

      I don't see why you guys care so much about us moving on. I don't see why you care enough to delete our protests. I don't see why you keep downvoting our reddit page. What's it to you?

      Delete
    7. I was about to write a big clarification about how I only posted once in the forum, but it doesn't matter; it's not the point here at all.

      The getting 86'd from a bar example is an interesting one, and in some ways a useful model for what happened here. Is it a bar I liked? Did I warrant getting 86'd, or did I get rounded up with a bunch of people, some of whom were out of line, and most of whom weren't? The thing is different, though, in that if I were kicked out of the actual bar that my friends and I go to, I'd have my friends as backup, I know the owners and bartenders, they know my character and behavior, and there'd be the chance of having a reasonable, personal conversation about it. In this event, instead, you're right that what I and a lot of others did in complaining ends up looking a lot like repeatedly walking back into a bar where nobody knows us from Adam and complaining about being thrown out. And a ban is the clearest possible way of saying "We don't want you back" -- so all right. That feels shitty when you don't think you deserved the ban in the first place, but I guess in this analogy it's like getting thrown out of a bar for making one negative comment about the service (and I'm talking here about my first ban, the one that pissed me off in the first place and led me to walk back in and complain). It's their absolute right as the owners of the place, and it's my right to feel like they're dicks for being so brittle. Either way, the business relationship is ended, albeit on a totally unsatisfactory note. And it helps me see that I actually don't want my account back -- why would you even want to try to go back to that bar?

      Fuck it; you're right about one other thing. It doesn't matter, and I also need to get some work done. I was pissed yesterday. Now I'm moving on.

      Delete
    8. DB,

      1. Some people don't stop believing in basic justice just because they grow older. Thank God for that! I'm 39 by the way.

      2. I'll make this as simple as possible:

      You do not insult the people at the supermarket when you had troubles with the people at the post office.

      Do you agree?

      Then please tell me how it's all right to insult the commenters when it was on Facebook that John received death threats?

      I did not see A SINGLE death threat in the comments. Even Cheese said that the death threats had happened on Facebook.

      Yet it's the commenters he called child-fuckers.

      Please tell me how this is even REMOTELY fair and right.

      3. Cheese WANTED a strong reaction. He said explicitely on his Twitter that he posted this article to piss people off and that he was awaiting strong reactions. But then when he got them, he got all hurt? How does that work?

      And again: the death threats happened on Facebook, NOT in the comments section. There's no escaping this, except by lying about it.

      Delete
    9. "You do not insult the people at the supermarket when you had troubles with the people at the post office."

      Not unless that post office is in the supermarket. With all the respect in the world - that's a terrible analogy. The Facebook comments and the ones in that forum were about the same stuff, and for all Cheese knows, made by the same people.

      But I'm not here to make any call on whatever the hell caused the anger. I was just trying to explain how the banning process works, and why it happened. You can't press the issue continuously and be surprised that you got banned for it. The forum has a pretty strict rule against huge tangents, not unlike the one we are on now. In fact - if this was the Cracked forum both you and I would have had our posts deleted by now, not because of opposition but because it is counterproductive to go back and forth all day about one little squabble.

      That seems to be the thing people can't understand - usually, everyone involved gets their posts deleted in the effort to move on. It doesn't matter what side of the tangent they were on. If those people keep trying to restart it, they'll probably get banned. It's not that complicated.

      Delete
    10. You are absolutely right, DB! We DON'T understand it! You hit the nail on the head!

      I'm actually really grateful you are bothering to explain this to us. The utter lack of explanation has been frustrating. Wong explains it to others by saying we're emotionally stunted children, bad people, sociopaths, cockroaches, ect. However, to us, he offers no explanation. Unlike most websites, there is no official rulebook or FAQ for us to look up. Once we are banned, we can't check out the forums to find potential reasons why we were banned.

      This has nothing to do with the people of the forums working hard. Most of you just don't care enough to explain anything.

      Delete
    11. I am sorry, would you clarify what you mean by "pressing the issue continously"? Unless it means "posting a single civilized post about the issue", I don't think it explains the "banning process". Also, the person who posted on the forum is the same on the facebook? That was based on ... (guessing)? Among hundreds of thousands of viewers, the odds alone would be ridiculously remote, so I am not buying it.

      I am pretty sure people are understanding. In an effort to "move on", you censor everything related to the situation, ban everybody and try to force your own version of the facts.

      Delete
    12. DB,

      "The Facebook comments and the ones in that forum were about the same stuff,"

      You mean about the article? Well, duh! What else were they supposed to be about??? However, the death threats? ONLY on Facebook!

      "for all Cheese knows, made by the same people."

      Not. Enough. You do NOT insult the entire street because ONE of your neighbours vandalised your lawn. You just do not.

      As for my banning:

      I was molested as a child. My sister was "child-fucked". I will NOT let someone call me a child-fucker because someone else on a completely different site did something.

      So I went to the forum to explain to Cheese that we didn't post death threats and we're not bad guys.

      He banned my account.

      Because I would not let myself be called a child-fucker without protesting politely.

      You can twist it whichever way you want, but this is just not right. There's no universe in which this is right.

      Delete
    13. DB, if you're trying to envoke sympathy over these two gentlemen..I simply have no words for that. But..I'll try explaining what I think about that.

      The other one is god-complexed humorist whose days are filled with ways to keep reminding Cracked readers he made a book that got made into a movie while clocking in a couple of facepalm-worthy articles to remind the higher ups he actually does something else for this site other than just be a "You-can-make-money-off-of-your-formerly-freely-available-texts-in-book-form" poster boy.

      The other one is his friend who can't stand on his own legs with his life coaching bullshit, so he instead contaminates a dick joke site with it. His status as a Cracked columnist makes sure that there is one less talented writer in that site.

      So, you'll me for not, pardon my french, giving a rancid piece of turd about their supposed pressures while they use Cracked as their sandbox.

      Delete
    14. Goddamn lack of editing.

      *clears throat*

      Let me rephrase that last part.

      So, you will excuse me for, pardon my french, not giving a rancid piece of turd about their supposed pressures while they use Cracked as their sandbox.

      Thanks and godspeed.

      Delete
    15. Just to add another voice - I'm 27, and I have never commented on the cracked site but I have been reading the comments and enjoying them for years. As someone that wasn't even personally targeted by what Cheese has written about commenters on his twitter/tumblr/cracked forum, I still feel like he (and then David Wong) were being rude, offensive, and somewhat childish themselves. I've debated whether I should have signed up and joined in offering my support (as someone that watched the whole thing unfold, and saw what was a fairly reasonable comment section, although angry, get painted as the bad guys due to one or two assholes that the rest of them downvoted and disavowed immediately). The whole thing makes me angry at Cheese and Wong's attitudes, and at the opinions of those that actually don't understand and didn't see what happened, and just.. argh. Its frustrating and unfair, and I don't even comment there! So I wasn't even banned or affected in any way. I just feel like it was a display of what started out a simple disagreement (and John being kind of an asshole on his twitter) and then the internet being what it is, it all got blown up, everyone started being even more angry and John started being even more defensive and then offensive, and now its the mess it is :/

      I honestly have no idea how many people feel the same, I know there were at least a thousand active commenters (going by the upvotes on darkstrolms comment), and well... I'm one person who isn't a member there but still read the whole thing and didn't like what went down.. and I won't be reading John Cheese's articles in future. If there's me, how many others are like me that we don't hear from? Hopefully enough to make a point but I sadly doubt it.

      Delete
    16. Very interesting getting a perspective from someone who wasn't personally affected by the incident. Thanks.

      Delete
  10. Hey, guys. I've had little Internet access since the article was first posted, so I was not involved with the storm that followed. I can understand Cheese voicing discontent with people attacking him, yet I do think he is in the wrong here. Sure, people like Ono Sendai can be dicks, but most of us weren't, at least at first. Those tweets are way out of line.

    I'd settle for an apology, then we can move on.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi, long time Cracked contributor here. I read through a lot of the complaints here and I have some bad news; if you hold your breath waiting for an apology, you will asphyxiate and die before you hear one.

    The comments are a luxury that the site provides for two reasons:
    A) Most sites do
    B) A lot of useless posts wind up in the comments and never spill into the forum proper, so it's damage control.

    The comments give voice to a lot of people who frankly should never have one. Clearly that's not everyone, but it's a staggeringly high number over on cracked. Also, it's a privately owned website, so the right to free speech doesn't exist there beyond what the owners allow, they can and clearly will ban when they see fit.

    DB was being kind in his posts, but forgive me for being blunt; with tens of millions of visitors a day, the number of people actually posting comments is obscenely small, and out of that microscopic minority, a few were banned.

    It's a tiff between you and the people who run the site, and their attitude is likely that you represent a vocal minority that was worth banning to protect one of their paid staff, but not worth worrying about beyond that. Cracked doesn't owe you anything, literally, at all. The people/person who runs part of the site decided that you had abused the privilege they had afforded you and banned you. Your options are to tuck your tail and ask for forgiveness, or bite the bullet and accept exile.

    John has the right to think all commenters scum as much as you have the right to disagree. But he has clout and power at the site, so his opinion wins. When death threats started, all bets were off. YOU may not have initiated that line of attack or had anything to do with it, but look at it this way; when someone starts a riot, the cops don't look for the guy who started it at first, they arrest everyone and then figure out who was responsible because it's the easiest way to avoid casualties.

    You have the right to your opinion, but you don't have the right to force people to hear it. They exercised their right to ignore your complaints.

    Sorry guys as someone who's had his share of shit from the commenters feeling they have the right to say whatever they want, my sympathy is lacking. I would suggest you listen to DB and apologize and hope for the best.

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    1. You're right that the mods can technically do whatever they want. It's right there in the terms & conditions. The right to terminate, with or without an explanation. You're also right that we do comprise a minority of the site. Does it make this right or at all justified. In my opinion, a resounding no.

      Just because you have the right to do something does not make it just. I have the right to delete both you and DB's post, and I suspect both of you would agree that I do. However, I specifically made this blog to have open, unmoderated comments for exactly this reason. Just because I have the right to silence you, does not make it just. Your criticisms are fair and I would be in the wrong for pretending like everyone on this blog is a united front against the Cracked staff.

      But that is exactly what is going on now at Cracked and that is why it is wrong. It doesn't matter that we only represent a tiny minority. It doesn't matter that they have the right to do it. It is still wrong, plain and simple.

      Delete
    2. You are not the first person to try to explain to us how defeated we are. I don't understand why you think you need to do this. You think we don't know it already? If somebody was at least pretending to think our opinion mattered, we would not be as upset. People like you seem to have the idea that we are a bunch of spoiled entitled children who need to be instructed about how the world really works.

      It's not unheard of for administrators to warn people before banning them. It is also not unheard for for an explanation for the ban to be given. In fact, it's standard on most internet communities.

      Delete
    3. "You have the right to your opinion, but you don't have the right to force people to hear it. They exercised their right to ignore your complaints."

      So what are you doing here? We're just exercising our right to whine. Why are you arguing with that?

      Also, your analogy doesn't work, because when a fight erupts at Joe's, you don't go arrest everyone at the Blue Swan. The death threats happened on Facebook. There wasn't a SINGLE death threat in the comments. So why did we get blamed?

      Delete
    4. Of course Wong has the right to mismanage Cracked. Just like we have a right not to like getting banned on a whim, especially after providing that site with precious views. We are their customers and yes, that gives them the right to treat us like dirt as long as they don't break the law. Nobody has challenged that fact. Wong can be a dong and have Cheese lean on him all he wants. Maybe Cracked can stand to have a bunch of people get shat on.

      Ok..so what then? Whatever happens, you're not in a position to tell us that beforehand. We'll either let this go away or we will do what we can to make this bite Wongcheese in the butt. "The moderation" was selfishly motivated and it has changed many people's attitudes towards Cracked.

      Nobody's saying this is on a grand internet scala. It's simply jarring because of the nature of this site we have had so much fun with over the years. It's supposed to be in good humor and most of all, the authors need to have a thick skin and a dash of self-deprecating sense of humor. It so happens that David Wong and John Cheese have none of those qualities. They're hypocritical, vain and childish. Those are not redeeming qualities for employees of a dick joke webpage.

      Delete
  12. So nice to see the plants from Cracked come all the way here... you deleted 1000+ comments (more than 1 out of 5) and banned people for no reason at all. NOBODY made a death threat on the article's comment section (i've been there all day) but you say you had some on Cheese's facebook. What does that have to do with the commenters on Cracked? You just employed the most repressive tactics to bury this uncomfortable story, downvoting on reddit, deleting comments every 10 minutes for the past 4 days... are you scared? the shit hit the fan already...

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  13. Nobody made a direct death threat that you saw; there were threats in the comments section that were modded quickly. Also, just because you don't see a death threat in the comments does not mean that there were not death threats in the private messages. There were also comments in the section wishing for Cheese to relapse into alcoholism. Would you consider it in good taste to recommend to an anorexic that they starve themselves? So the comments, along with the posting of an address the commenter believed to be Cheese's actual home address, were deleted. And then people post to draw attention to themselves as the very assholes who posted vicious things in the first place, apparently having not learned their lesson about posting shitty things.

    Let me ask you: continuing the bar metaphor here for a minute, if the bouncer told you to settle down, and you didn't, would you be surprised if you got thrown out? Getting your comment deleted is the warning, the, "hey, dude, chill out." When you don't chill out, you're going to get thrown out.

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    1. Since you all seem to love this bar metaphor so much, imagine you're sitting at a bar. At one side there are the people drinking and watching television. On the other side there are a bunch of people playing pool. One of the pool players starts making fun of John Cheese, who is at a bar despite trying to avoid alcohol for some reason. I don't know, it's not a perfect analogy. Anyway, this guy tells John Cheese he was funnier when he drank. Another guy tells John Cheese he and his family will die. The bartender calls the cops and kicks out the two people responsible for the assholery.

      This should be the end of the situation, but then out of nowhere John Cheese turns to everyone playing pool and shouts that they are all child fuckers. He says the only reason we have pool tables in the first place is to keep them separated from the decent people. The owner of the bar, who is Wong I suppose, agrees with Cheese because they are best buddies. Wong calls all the pool players children and sociopaths.

      Of course, the pool players, most of which are decent people, start complaining. They don't like being insulted needlessly, they are hurt and confused by this sudden animosity. Every time they complain, however, they are accused to taking the side of the assholes who were kicked out earlier. This makes them even more hurt and confused. Eventually, many of the pool players are banned, and the rest are just bewildered.

      That's the end of the analogy. I, personally, made no death threats or anything of a similar sort. I posted in the forums asking if we could all just get along. I tried to make my post sound harmless. It was deleted.

      A post similar to mine was not deleted. It was by Buttchocolate. He basically said the commenters are mostly good people. I suppose his message was not deleted because he spoke to Cheese personally. Something the rest of us did not have the guts to do.

      Delete
    2. "Nobody made a direct death threat that you saw; there were threats in the comments section that were modded quickly."

      Nope. There was no modding whatsoever until the mass of comment deletions started happening. There was NO death threats in the comments - simple as that.


      "Also, just because you don't see a death threat in the comments does not mean that there were not death threats in the private messages."

      In private messages is not in the comments and cannot be blamed on the comments section. Since when is it all right to blame people who don't know what a specific person is doing for what this person is doing?


      "There were also comments in the section wishing for Cheese to relapse into alcoholism."

      Nope. In fact, there was a post asking people NOT to do that. Massively upvoted and approved.


      "Would you consider it in good taste to recommend to an anorexic that they starve themselves?"

      Would you consider it in good taste to put the words "I fuck children" in the mouth of someone who was molested as a child?


      "So the comments, along with the posting of an address the commenter believed to be Cheese's actual home address, were deleted."

      Nope. That comment is still there. I just checked.


      " Getting your comment deleted is the warning, the, "hey, dude, chill out." When you don't chill out, you're going to get thrown out."

      We got thrown out BEFORE the comments started getting deleted. Without warning, too, so your analogy fails.


      In short: EVERYTHING you've said is wrong. You didn't get a single detail right. Think about that, and about what it means regarding your opinion of us.

      Delete
    3. "That comment is still there."

      This is a good fucking point. Why is the fucking address comment still there? Does Wong care more about banning people than he does about Cheese's safety? What a shitty way to handle this situation.

      Delete
    4. I have been watching the situation unfolding both in the forum and in the comments. I also know a bit about the comment-modding process. There are tons of comments that never get seen by more than maybe one or two people in the commenting public because there are folks that literally do nothing but read the comments constantly and screen them. I know this, because I know one of the poor unfortunate souls that does modding work.

      So yes, there are comments you never saw. And "we got thrown out BEFORE the comments started getting deleted" doesn't add up with the narrative on this blog, either in the story by Ryan or in several of the comments that have been made.

      Also: a death threat made by a commenter may not apply to the specific comment, but it sure as hell applies to the commenter his or herself, wouldn't you say?

      I've written for Cracked, and I received blessedly few comments and messages of a vitriolic nature, but I did receive some, and nothing in my writing was offensive in any way.

      My opinion of you collectively is that your feelings are hurt, and that you're directing those hurt feelings in an unproductive and, from my perspective, somewhat silly manner.

      Delete
    5. I'm a prolific commenter. I comment all of the time and I'm friends with other prolific commenters. This is the first time I have EVER heard that the comments are moderated. So much craziness goes on in the comments, I always assumed the comments were totally unmoderated. There are quite a few spambots constantly slipping through the cracks.

      Now that I have a better idea of what is going on, I feel better about this situation. Transparency is always good, in my opinion.

      Delete
    6. If EVERY comment is moderated, HOW did Cheese's address slip through the comments? Why is it still there? Is it there deliberately to make us look bad? This is such a shitty situation.

      Delete
    7. All right, I'll take your word that there were death threats and other horrible comments that got deleted so fast that most of us didn't even see them.

      But in that case:

      1. How do you explain the accusations that we massively supported and upvoted those comments? If we didn't even have time to see them, we certainly didn't have time to upvote them. So why are we accused of having supposedly supported them?

      2. Again: how does it justify calling ALL commenters "child fuckers", "cockroaches", and "shit-smearing toddlers"? How do a few posts by a few people justify calling hundreds if not thousands of people such horrible things?


      "My opinion of you collectively is that your feelings are hurt,"

      No kidding. I was molested in my childhood and Cheese thought it was all right to put the words "I fuck children" in my mouth. And then when I politely protested directly to him, he BANNED my account entirely. So yes, my feelings are hurt, and I think that's perfectly normal. If Cheese has a right to be hurt because he got death threats after he DELIBERATELY tried to piss people off (he says so on his Twitter and Facebook), then I have a right to be hurt when I was slandered in a horribly painful fashion for NO reason.


      " you're directing those hurt feelings in an unproductive and, from my perspective, somewhat silly manner."

      What else am I supposed to do? Swallow them? I'm hurt and I'm angry, and the people who hurt me are denying my hurt and insulting me some more. Ever heard of "adding insult to injury"? That's what they've been doing. And it hurts, because I never did anything to them to deserve to be treated like this. So yes, I'm whining where I can, because I need to let these feelings out, and to be heard, and to be comforted. Sorry for reacting like a simple human being but that's really all I am: a simple human being.

      Delete
    8. Del March, if you want draw attention to this situation, you could try contacting Jezebel. As a feminist website they take traumatizing people by triggering memories of rape seriously, and they love posting about online controversies. Just an idea.

      Delete
    9. Oh, good idea, Anon. Thanks :) !

      Delete
    10. "Also, just because you don't see a death threat in the comments does not mean that there were not death threats in the private messages."

      And the moon might be inhabited by invisible gnomes that don't require air or nourishment.

      Make up your mind. Who threatened Cheese with death? How many times? Where? What did that have to do with the comment section? And give us some examples of those, as from what you're saying, there surely must be many. We have an example of us condemning even the showing of Cheese's contact information on the comment section. Information, which, incidentally is freely and easily available to anyone who for whatever reason would care to know what Cheese's real name is and where he lives. Information, which the moderator(s) for some reason decide is fit to be allowed on the comment section while saying it's not to be tolerated.

      Think for one second.

      Delete
  14. Anyone that made death threats is acting in a completely deplorable manner. But why ban people that didn't make any threats of any kind?

    We also only have your word about the threats, which has been inconsistent, and even outright false at times. Why no screencaps to prove that there were threats?

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  15. There. It's done like shit, but whatever.

    HERE IS THE INFAMOUS ADDRESS COMMENT.

    http://i413.photobucket.com/albums/pp213/DelMarch/Cheesy%20Wongs/Cheeseaddress.jpg

    Go. Go and see what happened when someone posted Cheese's address.

    And please note: I just did this. Which means the post was STILL up until now. Make of that what you will.

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    1. The f...!? Grrr... Stupid Photobucket...

      Delete
    2. Does this work better?

      [IMG]http://i413.photobucket.com/albums/pp213/DelMarch/Cheesy%20Wongs/Cheeseaddress-1.jpg[/IMG]

      Delete
    3. Just use the link. At least this one is readable.

      Delete
    4. (I need to stop replying to myself...)

      Little detail: please note that I appear in this screenshot - as Del_March, which was my SECOND account. I had ALREADY been banned under my first account (DelMarch) by the time this happened. Banned, I repeat, for going to talk to Cheese on his forum to politely tell him that we hadn't done anything worthy of being called child-fuckers.

      Delete
  16. Thanks for posting this Ryan. My username on Cracked was "breakingbadly". I was banned without any warning and all the posts I've ever made were deleted. I've never posted in the forums.
    I have never been a prolific comment poster. I usually just upvoted clever posts or downvoted people posting things like Christine not being funny because she's a chick or somebody jew-baiting Gladstone. Or any other real dickwad comments like that. I even like Cheese up and even after his latest article.
    It didn't matter to me in the least if he doesn't like puns or memes. A writers got to write about something.
    I became upset with him after a commenter quoted something he wrote on his twitter page. I clicked on the link he(Cheese) provided and read his the stuff he said about us. I also read his Facebook stuff. I never posted to either of these sites. I don't even have an FB or Twitter account.
    Then I browsed the forum. That made me bitter enough that I decided whose "side" I was on. I also realized I shouldn't post ANYTHING there because I watched people posting things like " Can't we all just get along, commenters aren't so bad" get deleted instantly & the other forum members basically gloating and saying good riddance.
    I realized Wong was Cheeses's good buddy and despised us more than Cheese did. Referring to the cockroaches that they keep confined to the comments page. Children smearing shit on the walls, (I'm 52).
    He also maintained that there were only 10 or 12 "troublemakers" that he would ban & then everything would settle down. Later he would maintain that there were all sorts of death threats to Cheese. I was watching the comments very closely for about three days & I never saw one death threat. I only saw the "Real address" comment. I was one of the 1st to downvote it. The only power as a commenter I have.
    Anyway, I lasted much longer than many here, just getting banned today. I was snarky. Who knew Cracked disapproves of snark? For the record,(because all other records have been wiped), htis is the post that got me banned..(Remember, I've never been given a warning).
    In response to this comment:
    "That joke about Rihanna being a dead horse wasn't very subtle or funny, it was just insulting so the guy wanted to made the distinction between dead horse and the singer Rihanna."
    I made this comment:

    When John Cheese trolls it's funny dammit! In fact, prepare to be banned. Your post is an obvious troll of Mr. Cheese and it puts you in the camp of the "Death-threaters".
    Hundreds have been banned for far less than that kind of disrespect. All your posts, no matter what they we're about will now be vaporized.
    I hope this post is seen as placing me in a good light with the mods :-P
    I have no opinions, honest! Only those approved by the forum board. This is the right thing to say right?

    Terrible right?


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  17. LOL...so this is how it all started...

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  18. Hey, I just came upon this while trying to figure out why I too was permabanned in the IP.

    They did some shit where they posted the photoplasty winner as the thumbnail, and the usual bitching ensued (myself among them). I replied to someone who agreed, saying Cracked should eat a dick in response to the part about Wong not caring if the thumbnail spoils the winner. Then the same day I bitched about this one article on convenience stores seeming rushed and an example of how the site is operating on a money-first policy, mediocre content be damned.

    The only other comments I could think of that would illicit such an action would come from an article they ran on cities due for natural disasters, which ran the day before or the day of the Boston bombing, which they pulled for that reason. I, and many others, made a fuss, some more offensively than others, but the general consensus was that they were being way too over-sensitive. I was already through the first page, but when I clicked on the second page it had been pulled, and I expressed displeasure in a rather non-aggressive way over several comments.

    I won't ever know which one got me, as I can't even look at the forums to see if I made it into the abusive comments thread, and I can't message anyone to see if they can find anything. I would be able to accept a temporary ban, and perhaps an email saying why, as I admit I crossed a line perhaps and should see some "punishment," but an out of the blue, across the board permanent IP ban with no reason given just seems like a bit of an overreaction, and honestly I feel betrayed. I had been an active member for years, and my comments were rarely negative or offensive, and even then I wouldn't say ban-worthy.

    I don't know (and never will, apparently), but I was getting tired of them anyway. The regular writers weren't funny anymore, either because I learned their styles too well or they ran out of steam and half-ass their articles, and the editors have gotten in the habit of letting forum members pitch and write articles, so the humor levels are either low or same-old, with the good posts quite scarce anymore. The photoplasties too are low-quality in exchange for high-output, and the video player is so broken I watch them only when true boredom afflicts me. Any time I bring something to the attention of the mods or staff, the response is usually along the lines of "oh, well, it works for most people, I guess that's good enough"

    Anyway, sorry about the novel up there, but without any way to contact anyone there I have a lot of backed up ranting to get out. Just wanted to share my recent issues and let you know you're not alone in this. If you want to see my recent comments, my username was Lallapalalable.

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