Nov 9 2011
Let’s all stop talking about That Guy.
While the phrase “that guy” has a coloquial meaning (and That Guy has most certainly gone out of his way to be “that guy”) I’m actually referring to a specific person, here. A former cyclist. You know the one I’m talking about, probably because Cyclingnews ran an article about him yesterday. That Guy is a polarizing figure, and once that article was published, the Twitters (self included), and a few notable blogs rose up, with disappointing predictability and fervor, to take the bait.
Regardless of your opinion on That Guy, that was the wrong response.
The simple fact is that That Guy does not deserve mention at present. Not on Cyclingnews, not on your blog, not on Twitter, not anywhere. He has done nothing—good or bad—of any relevance in years. Whether to crucify him or to facilitate his redemption, any mention of That Guy as things currently stand is unwarranted, and you undermine your own efforts by bringing him up.
If you do not like That Guy and would like to see him “in a ditch” (in the colorful and I hope figurative words of one Twitterer), I suggest you email Cyclingnews‘ Daniel Benson directly, saying that you do not feel That Guy is a newsworthy topic right now. I would be polite, well-reasoned, and succinct in your email, and I would avoid linking to the piece or clicking on any ads or paid offsite links on the article page. I would also avoid addressing or defaming That Guy on any of your online presences.
If you do like That Guy, I would email him directly, or leave a comment on one of his blogs, expressing your support. He has a track record of emotional fragility, a dark past to atone for, and could likely use some support. That said, I would still avoid mentioning That Guy directly on Twitter, or linking to his blog, web sites, or any news articles on him. He has shown many times that his thirst for the spotlight outstrips his desire to do good, and if he can have the first without the second, he’ll do it in a heartbeat.
If That Guy is—as he claims to be—truly interested in reform and advocacy, he will, of his own volition and without incentives from law enforcement or attention from the press, begin taking steps to advance that goal. Conversely, if he is—as many others seem to think—pure, unmitigated evil, he will turn to darker means to regain notoriety. If and when he’s done something noteworthy, we should once again feel free to voice our opinions; until then, let’s see if we can’t avoid feeding this particular troll any more than we already have.
Thanks for hearing me out on this, Internet.