Don’t Listen to Their Hate

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Okay, the idea for this article came out of a kickstarter I recently saw for a climbing movie called “Lady Stoke: A Rockumentary.” Actually, it came from the comments on mountainproject about that kickstarter. Someone had posted a link to the project, saying basically “hey, this is cool, check it out.” Then, for no apparently good reason, people were tearing their idea to shreds. Sadly, this is typical behavior for the mountainproject community.

I’ve been there before – where these girls are now. You put an idea out there, maybe it’s not fully formulated, but it’s cool and exciting to you. And then you share it on the internet because, well, because why not? Because you are a creative person, because you like to get feedback, to engage in discussion, because you like to share ideas you have, and god knows there’s nothing wrong with that.  But, then, you find yourself recoiling in horror as the hate rolls in.

“This is to fund their climbing vacation? No thanks.”
“The whole description sounds a bit like an explosion in a cliche factory…”
“I’m stoked to climb and I don’t want to work either. Send me money!”
“A little bit more preparation would make a woman focused climbing video awesome, but not this one.”

It’s the typical mountainproject hate. A lot of vitriol, a lot of pessimism, not a ton of insight. Some of it is just downright mean.

Maybe the girls making this movie never even saw the mountaineproject thread. Or, maybe they just didn’t care. But if they are like me, and like I suspect a lot of people are, they probably let those comments really get to them! Like REALLY REALLY get to them. Enough that they could ruin their day, their week, or destroy their confidence as creatives, or even enough to dissuade them from going through with their project.

What I’m going to encourage you to do here is to just forget about these comments when you see or hear them. Here’s why.

  1. You’ve heard of sour grapes, right? That’s what this is. A lot of that hate is just thinly veiled jealousy. People can’t stand that these girls are probably going to get a rad trip funded and their start in the tough industry of climbing filmmaking to boot. But you know why these girls are going to get all that? Because they are TAKING THE STEPS to make it happen. Everyone that’s hating? You know what they’re doing? Making memes and trolling the internet. Coming up with and pursuing a creative idea = HARD; hating on a creative idea = EASY. If you’re on the creativity side of the coin, stick with it. It’s hard, but the payout is big.
  2. Haters don’t know shit about you, or your project; so their opinion of either is basically bunk. AKA, uninformed, useless, and of no value. Don’t let it sway you. Most of the negativity you get will be from people who haven’t spent more than a second or two thinking about your project. Sometimes, they haven’t even considered the project, and have just read the comments thread. Hating is a special kind of thickheadedness, and there’s probably a special kind of hell set aside for haters to all stew around in and hate on one another. Know hate when you see it, and don’t let it get to you. Keep an eye and ear open for constructive criticism, but above all else, trust in your initial vision.
  3. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretzky said that. I made a mixed metaphors joke about this in a previous post, but nobody got it. In fact, a lot of internet trolls hated on it relentlessly. The point is, let’s imagine for a second that the haters are right, and your idea does suck. You know what, at least you tried. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Ideas are a dime a dozen, hard work is priceless. If this idea doesn’t work, maybe the next one will. Maybe Rhiannon and Amy don’t hit their goal on this kickstarter; but you know what they will do? They’ll learn a lot and be much better suited next time around.
  4. There’s kind of a weird hidden irony to hate-threads on the internet, which is basically that old saying: “any PR is good PR.” If you need proof, just look up Donald Trump. Detractors and haters may wish with all their hearts to destroy your dreams, but if you’re trying to fund a project, all their hate does is draw more attention to the kickstarter campaign, or blog, or whatever it is. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s true; and ironically enough, it is a good thing. The thing to remember, though, is that out of the x,000 number of people who read or hear about your project, the unfortunate truth is that the loudest voices will also be the most hateful, and the most stupid. Do NOT consider them representative of the entire audience. For every hater, I bet you you have at least ten supporters nodding along quietly.

So there you have it. When you get that deluge of endless criticism and pessimism, shrug it off. Haters are jealous, they don’t know what they’re talking about, and they don’t represent everyone out there. Go forth and follow your far-flung dreams. They’ll never come true unless you stick with it; and if you don’t, you’ll just be another hater lauding ill-thought-out criticism on people visionary and stubborn enough to follow their own dreams.

Here is a link for the Lady Stoke Rockumentary kickstarter. It has some shortcomings, sure, but nothing that any other mainstream climbing film doesn’t also have.
Here
is a link to the mountainproject thread for the Lady Stoke Rockumentary.
Here is a link to a mountainproject thread for a Fringe’s Folly article where I was just THRASHED; and yet, that article went on to be quoted in the NY Times.

17 comments

  • Don’t you think “hate” is a little over the top? They are asking for help. We would all like financial help to go on a climbing trip and maybe in the process create something that is thought provoking or fun for others in the process. In the context of starving kids, natural disasters, maybe trying to scrape a few pennies together for ones old age or even replacing old mank fixed gear, isn’t it reasonable for people to question whether it is the best use of their money.

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  • There’s a lot more hate in this blog than I see on the Mountain Project thread. Do you really think “hate” is an appropriate way to describe comments such as “No thanks”, “Me too”, or “This could be a great idea with a bit more preparation”?
    You’re pretty disrespectful of these ladies and their project by insisting on repeatedly referring to them as “girls”, even changing the name of their project from “Lady Stoke: a Rockumentary” to “Girl Stoke: a Rockumentary”. Are you intentionally trying to belittle them, or does your research for the articles you write not get as thorough as looking at the giant title front and center on their kickstarter page?

    In response to the 4 points you made:
    1. I don’t see any of these comments as hate OR jealousy, just questioning the legitimacy of their project. When someone asks you for money to fund a documentary, you have every right to question the legitimacy and the details of their project, in fact you’d be irresponsible not to.
    2. Nope, we don’t know shit about their project, I think that was the point. Again, when you ask someone for money to fund your project, you should be very forthcoming with all sorts of details about it. The main criticism was “nice idea, but we don’t know shit about your project”. Is your point that not knowing shit about their project is not enough basis to make this specific critique?
    3. Nobody told them not to try. In fact, the very first comment which you partially quoted actually says “This is to fund their climbing vacation? No thanks. Hope they have a lot of fun, though.” Other comments that were included with the (often valid and politely stated) criticism include: “Nice video”; “I wish them the best”; “Sounds like it could be a great idea”; “I’d say this documentary is way overdue”.
    4. Again, characterizing the comments on the MP thread as hatred is, from my point of view, a gross exaggeration. I can’t understand where you got the idea that anyone on that thread “wish(es) with all their hearts to destroy your dreams.”

    When you have a few respectful but critical comments and questions about a business proposition (yes, that is what it is when you are asking investors to help fund your creation of a product), if you perceive it as “a deluge of endless criticism and pessimism”, you are going to have a rough time. Rather than assume everyone who does not agree with you are “haters” who are “jealous, they don’t know what they’re talking about”, take it as a valuable opportunity to learn what you can. Try to be as open as you can to criticism, evaluate it as objectively as you can. The parts that are valid, learn from them and do better next time. The parts that are not valid, or not useful to you, yes shrug those off. And yes, by all means, follow your dreams. But if you do so with an open mind and a willingness to share your ideas, learn from others, adjust your plans when needed, and continually work to improve, you will get there much faster.

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    • Good catch on girl stoke! Wish I had a fact checker!
      On the other points, try to take them out of the context of the rockumentary. That was just an example and there are much worse ones. Let’s not just explain away any existence of hate or trollery on the Internet. It exists, it’s ugly, and the point of the article is to suggest that you just shouldn’t take it to heart. Forget the example, now reread.

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      • Chris, YOU are your fact checker, and this is not a particularly difficult fact to check – again it’s the title of their film written very large, front and center on their kickstarter page. And as Blake points out below, a typo is a typing error, and might look something like this: “Layd stoke” or “Ladi stoke”. Yours was a word choice error, not a typo. If you do not see the belittling nature of calling a full grown adult a child, perhaps you have some research and thoughtful examination to do on the subject.

        As to the other points, you used one single example to make your point, and used it in great detail – posting a screen shot of the mountain project thread, posting several quotes from that thread, and referring to those specific comments as hateful over and over again. You offered no other examples to make your point, at all. Your article was not about the existence of hate on the internet in general terms, as this most recent comment seems to claim, your article was about a specific instance of hate perpetrated by a mountain project thread against this kickstarter project. When your points are rebutted, you don’t stand by them – you seem to agree that this was not really an example of hate – so then why did you write it as such?

        Here’s an analogy for you:
        I write an article about how Joe Smith murdered puppies yesterday.
        Someone comments that they were with Joe Smith all day, and he murdered no puppies.
        I respond by saying that the commenter should stop trying to pretend puppy murder does not exist.

        If you wish to write about internet hate in general terms, write about it in general terms. If you wish to use specific examples to illustrate your point, use the best examples you can find, preferably ones that actually depict hatred in some form. To toss around accusations of hatred is not something to be taken lightly, in my opinion. Hatred is a truly terrible and destructive thing, and it is disrespectful, unethical, not to mention journalistically irresponsible to call people hateful when they clearly are not.

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      • You know, I probably could have chosen a better example, I could have spent more time on the post. I could have fleshed it out a little more. But I didn’t, and I’m not sweating it. I write a ton, not all of it is perfect, and not all of it is fact-checked. It’s really easy to write one thing once really well; but it’s very difficult to write for like 40 hours a week not including your blog, and then to write your blog post and have no other eyes on it and do that once a week too, and have it always come out perfect. As a reader, you only have to cue in on the post that irks you (or that you love), and pay a ton of attention to that. As the writer, you have to pay a ton of attention to all of them. There’s a reason editors and fact checkers exist, and there’s a reason that any writer who gets paid for his or her work almost always has his or her work fact checked or edited by a third party. And there’s a reason that I don’t have that luxury for my blog. I don’t make money on the blog – I can’t even pay the writer.

        Anyway, I’m sorry if this post didn’t do it for you. I guess my suggestion would be, in all cases, to focus more on trying to understand what any author says in anything he or she writes, rather than focusing in on the weaknesses and pitfalls. After all, a writer is simply trying to communicate an idea. Usually, if we try to understand, that idea can get across. I think haters typically try to diminish, try to disprove, try to make fun of a creative idea before they try to actually give it the time of day. It doesn’t really matter, I guess, I just think it’s a better way to go about things. Try first to understand, second to discredit.

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  • Chris, When you’re composing your own post, on a website you own and run, with no deadline involved, and in response a very specific topic that you chose for yourself, and then you repeatedly and pejoratively use the wrong name for that chosen topic (“Lady” vs “girl”), I don’t think that wishing for a personal fact checker is the solution to your blogging issue.

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    • Blake, there was a typo in your comment but I get the gist of what you’re saying. I write a ton and sometimes I make typos. I looked through quickly and saw one instance of calling the movie by the wrong name. And I’ve never heard girls used as a pejorative for multiple females of any age. But if any females feel that it is, I’ll gladly change the wording, and apologize.

      Also, I don’t really feel like I have a blogging issue, but if you do, feel free not to read it 🙂 Any writer who doesn’t have an editor or fact checker and has had one before knows how nice it is to have one. I don’t see any problem in apologizing for a typo, and expressing that wish.

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      • Hey Chris – I should have written that comment more politely or not bothered with it at all, I’m sorry for coming across rudely. I haven’t been to your website since the dawn wall controversy, but saw it linked once again via a post on mountainproject. I know you love writing and want to improve and grow as an author. You’ll do that more effectively if you take full responsibility and credit for your own work and listen to feedback rather than externalizing it or ignoring it as “hate”. It’s not a lack of a fact-checker that makes you mis-state the name of the topic of your article. It’s just sloppy or hasty writing. And you’ll improve and fix those things when you realize that. It’s also not a mere typo. Your finger didn’t hit the wrong key (spelling your name “Klaman, for example”) but you were actually unaware of the name of the film that you were defending.

        But those issues aren’t as significant as the main one. You set up a transparent straw man by critiquing a reaction of “hate” that simply never occurred. You use “hate” 17 times in 1 page article to describe reactions to this fund-raising effort. But nowhere was the crowd’s reaction hateful. People offered generally skeptical (yet supportive) comments, including offering some very basic advise that honestly shouldn’t need to be given to adults with college degrees seeking a $15,000 investment from strangers. (If you’re asking for $15,000 for a climbing-related video project, why is there no description or information of your climbing or video-making ability, a schedule, a location list, etc?)

        People aren’t jealously “hating” good deeds. They’re offering sound advice and constructive criticism that’s being neglected because it’s easier to ignore criticism than improve from it.

        I hope you’re having a good winter and getting in a lot of climbing out east!

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      • I’ll reiterate again what I’ve said before; forget the example that didn’t work for you. That’s fine, maybe you don’t read hate in that comments thread, whatever. Insert some other example of trolling or hating or whatever you want to call it.

        The specific example isn’t important to me; the kickstarter comments thread is just what made me start thinking about hate, how disarming it can be, and how any creative shouldn’t allow it to be so disarming, because of the 4 reasons I stated. If I made the article seem overlyfocused on the kickstarter, then that was just a failing on my part. All I can really say to that is “whoops,” and move on.

        Life out east is good, I hope you are doing well also!

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  • If you want some real vitriol head over to Supertopo.

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  • I donate money to adventurous Kickstarters all the time, but I won’t donate to *this* one…

    Projects I support have three basic things:

    * a loose budget breakdown,
    * something that demonstrates they can actually *deliver* a worthwhile product, eg prior work.
    * describe what will actually be in the film.

    This project has none of these at this stage. The *impression* it gives is they wish me to fund random climbing and generally pointing a camera at stuff… like we *all* do.

    I wish them total happiness and success, but as it stands I just don’t see a reason to give them money 🙂

    Does this make me a “hater”?

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    • I don’t think so. That sounds like constructive criticism. I know some of the comments on the MP post had constructive criticism. I wouldn’t insinuate otherwise. The point is just to encourage creatives to ignore the comments that are intended as hate.

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  • I have to say I agree with the basic premise of this article. I typically try to avoid the comment sections on most videos, because they almost always leave me upset. And the few times I have wandered into the MP forums I have been so disgusted at the negativity being thrown back and forth, especially over such minor things, and among a community that typically seems so tight-knit and supportive in the real world.

    I get what people are saying about their criticisms of the lack of budget breakdown and thorough project proposal, but in reality, many Kickstarter campaigns are exactly the same. The spirit of Kickstarter is to support ideas that you find innovative, interesting or worthy, not to trash the ones you don’t. If you don’t like it, don’t donate. If you don’t want to give strangers your money to fund projects that may not otherwise be funded, why visit Kickstarter in the first place? No one is interested in your negative comments. If you really feel that your comments are constructive, and you feel the need to share them, there is a link on the Kickstarter page to contact them directly, and you can share your feedback in a much less public and disparaging manner.

    And for the record, “girl” isn’t perjorative. No more so than lady, anyway. It’s a simple word switch, my brain does it all the time. I think that is yet another example of people immediately jumping to a place of negativity, and picking apart something minor with the goals of trying to tear someone down, when if you would have simply pointed out the error, he would have fixed it (which he did).

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    • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      Of course, I fully expected this article to arouse a lot of the same sort of overly-harsh criticism, or hate, that I was encouraging creatives to ignore; and of course, I knew I would have trouble following my own advice. It bugged me, even though I shouldn’t let it.

      Anyway, when people stand up for you, or whatever the creation is you are trying to share, THAT makes as big a difference as hating. So, thank you. You got the point. And you stood up for it among the typically louder voices in the room: the angry ones.

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  • No, you are right. It is hate. Some people are mean more often than not. I know this because I run a small online business (climbing related) and I try everything that I know and can do and it’s ethical in order to promote my products. Of course I got a lot of wonderful reviews and my customers are amazing people. But I also encountered the people that you talk about in your article. They are vehement in their comments just because they can. And it hurts a lot. Because maybe you try to do something beautiful. Of course you want to make money from this. We all need money in order to live. But you work a lot for this money, and invest your time and creativity and energy. We’ve got so accustomed to the way of life imposed by the corporations, that we no longer appreciate the ideas that come from individuals, we no longer enjoy peoples’ creativity and originality. And it’s even more sad to see reactions like these coming from mountain lovers. They suppose to be more … zen, more relaxed and friendly. Spending a lot in nature should smooth people.

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