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Thank You,  Now Please Grow a Brain

Thank You, Now Please Grow a Brain

Saturday, November 14, 2015
PHUKET: More than 80,000 comments have flowed to Phuketwan since this online news site first allowed readers unfettered freedom of expression soon after launching in 2008.

The initiative was taken because of our core belief in open communication and transparency. It was, like so much that Phuketwan has done, a first for Phuket.

We expected to have concerned readers adding commonsense, experience and informed judgements to Phuketwan articles.

Another innovative idea even gave the editor the space to respond to readers.

And so today, to those mixed-up commenters who remain obsessed with the notion that the editor has to be wrong sometime, I am now prepared after eight years to offer this solace:

Yes, I admit I made a big one. Allowing readers to comment has been my biggest mistake.

While there are many readers who took the invitation to comment seriously, a few proved to be self-obsessed, warped or malicious - and sometimes all three.

These anonymous creatures - part human, part beast - were, sadly, unable to control their ''psychopathetic'' tendencies.

There, I've coined an appropriate new word. Psychopathetic.

At times, the feedback from readers was fantastic, especially during moments when we were all concerned at the turn of events.

We were thanked for our exceptional coverage time and again. When there were unexpected deaths, family and friends commended Phuketwan for its tact and accuracy.

At other times, we took risks. Perceptive readers knew what was at stake and thanked us for our risk-taking.

The self-obsessed few? Well, they continued to miss the point and preferred to maintain their ignorance, along with their rage.

The time even came where a thread about the editor was established on a well-known Thai forum.

There were more than 1000 messages, some of them sympathetic but most of them driven by the mindless rantings of one or two psychopathetics.

Journalists have thick skins and generally don't sue, even over obviously libelous statements. Yet with minds so bizarrely twisted and possessed, what sad, sad, people these forum freaks must be in real life.

Doomsayers also came and went, blathering mindlessly that ''nothing will ever change'' on Phuket, that all efforts to make people more aware of the problems served no purpose, and that the sky was falling soon.

As the site's only editor, I have had to read all 80,000-plus contributions. Quite often, I chose to highlight imperfections in logic.

Strangely, this proved to be a thankless task.

It appears to be a rule of the 21st century that some anonymous online commenters will take everything they say seriously, even when what they say is plainly idiotic and comes straight from the top of their head.

Yes, choosing to respond to readers in the interests of broadening knowledge was definitely the Phuketwan editor's second-biggest mistake.

That said, the puzzle remains: why do so many readers expect every item of news to be perfectly accurate and yet become indignant, alarmed and eventually catatonic when the editor never makes a mistake?

Is there a conflict here, Herbert and Sue? (No point in asking Kurt - he will file 15 comments anyway.)

To those who have always maintained over the years that the editor's responses are based on ego, let me say Nah. Don't have one of those.

Some readers may be driven by ego. Journalists tend to be keen only to distinguish right from wrong. If that hurts, I'm sorry.

As Phuketwan winds down towards closure on December 31, this editor offers his best wishes to all those readers who have said how much they enjoyed reading the comments and the responses.

I also suggest that the malicious few hold off commenting again until they grow a brain. Gimme a break, please.

First in a series marking the end of Phuketwan, which closes on December 31 after eight turbulent years.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Ed most original and progressive idea iv seen with media, the issue for you is you cant delegate reading and response to comments highly time consuming on your part for a small media outlet thus overburdened, the merit of the idea remains outstanding.

Posted by slickmelb on November 14, 2015 20:32

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Dear editor,
With interest I red your article.
Probably I am the first to comment?

First of all, PW is a fine medium, and with me many will regret it is closing down by end of December.

Secondly, below every article of PW is a written invitation to comment. And so people do.
Some in a open and respectful way, sometimes opinioned different from the point of view of PW.
And sometimes PW do moderations. ( when comments are not respectful ?)

Sometimes PW does not place certain comments, probably for professional editorial reasons. Which we can understand.
PW has been in the spotlights with the Rohingya case and probably needs to be careful when comments are negative about government officials/departments.

Perhaps sometimes you just want to protect the people who comments by not publishing their comment because they not oversee possible repercussions about their comments.
If that was the case with me than I thank you for that.

By inviting people to comment you get comments that are sometimes not parallel with PW thinking.
Actually, that is nice, it reflects different thinking by different people. That is a part of the vibrant success of PW.

You asked by name a few readers or there is a conflict here.
No Editor, there is no conflict. Not from my side anyway.
I always wrote with respect to you.
I experienced your comments on some of my comments sometimes not so respectful, but I see that in the framework of your cultural background. Yours and mine are different, your workload and the many hours work daily.
I did not hurt me.

I live on Phuket, some people who comment do not live here.
I feel involved with the welfare of this island and it's community as I am a part of it.
The last few years many things got worse ( Consuls and Ambassadors can tell you that).
Long period Consuls were ignored/not heard, that seems to change now with the new governor.
Most of the time the foreign community will be kept out of decision making when it concerns them. ( beaches, public transport, taxis, rip offs).
PW is than a excellent medium to express matters.
And many of us do.

That journalists are keen to distinguish right from wrong is normal.
However a journalist is human too, so it is a subjective and personal thing, and not always right.

Kind greetings, mr Editor.

Posted by Kurt on November 14, 2015 20:32

Editor Comment:

You are the second to comment, only because as usual you have chosen not to be brief.

The conflict I referred to Kurt was the conflict in the minds of readers between (a) expecting accurate articles and (b) wanting the editor to be wrong.

It's not right to say things are worse now. The island is more free of serious violence involving tourists, although most murders of non-Thais were committed by friends or relatives anyway.

Journalists tend to do their research, Kurt, which means they are wrong less often than most readers. Thank you for your greetings.

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Khon Editor
You do seem to attract this type. I admire your integrity, sir.

Posted by Pinot on November 14, 2015 20:57

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Have enjoyed the journalistic attitude of the articles, the bravery and the integrity. Have not enjoyed the cheap shots at the commentators in the ed's comments! Shows a lack of class and a thin skin. Will still miss PW however. Take care to the whole team!

Posted by Dave on November 14, 2015 21:08

Editor Comment:

Cheap shots? Never! Always deserved, Dave.

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Alan & all the team at PW Thank you.

Posted by Leigh on November 14, 2015 21:09

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Phuketwan will be missed.
Thank you for all your efforts.

Posted by Jakub on November 14, 2015 21:42

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No ego? Blimey ! :-)

In all seriousness it seems a shame to close the site instead of handing it over to someone else who might keep it going.

Posted by Discover Thainess on November 14, 2015 21:48

Editor Comment:

PW has been for sale for some time. No volunteers, DT.

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Mr Editor, thx for your reply.

1: Many of my comments are short.
2: I did give examples about what is worse. Violence involved tourists and murders was not among what I mentioned.
That is for your account.

Other thai English newspapers ( Bangkok Post and 2 more Phuket newspapers) also give room for comments.
But their editors never comment on the comment of their readers. Only PW does.

This interaction made your paper so successful, it gives room for exchange of opinions, also between the readers.
Readers with different education levels, different cultural backround.
Actually it is quite unique and part of the success of PW.

So, reading "Now please grow a brain" seems a bit over the hill. It can shock some of your loyal readers.

Posted by Kurt on November 14, 2015 22:52

Editor Comment:

It's satirical and not intended to be taken seriously, Kurt.The comment is aimed at the ''psychopathetics''.

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That's a shame, would be great for someone to take over the reins, the site has been a great source of interesting articles.

Posted by Discover Thainess on November 15, 2015 00:01

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(moderated)

Posted by ayjay on November 15, 2015 03:13

Editor Comment:

You know ayjay, we once had a reader who cut and pasted a whole article from another Phuket newspaper and sent it to us as a comment. How would you react to that?

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There was and is a simple solution. Do not post the comment if you feel it is inaccurate or idiotic. This is what other media outlets do. No one will know if the comment isn't posted.

Posted by Ryan on November 15, 2015 03:38

Editor Comment:

If you want all media outlets to censor comments, what are you doing here, Ryan? Readers have generally had plenty of freedom at PW, provided their comment was logical and not intemperate. ''No one will know if the comment isn't posted'' isn't quite true.

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having a bad hair day? Being opinionated as you are, naturally attracts comments. Everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion. But clearly you don't subscribe to this. Maybe you have been reading too many Kim Jong Un books, and dream that one and all will agree with you all the time, no matter what your rant is about.

Posted by Phil on November 15, 2015 07:49

Editor Comment:

The comments section is there to expand on the article, Phil. I only respond when readers get it wrong. Your daydreams about Kim Jong Un only make others wonder about the ease with which you can apparently be persuaded to believe anything. If it's an insult you are trying to deliver, let me say ''you can do better''. I suspect this is something you have been told all your life.

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Somewhat disappointing that our Ed would publish such a pointless rant..You did good mate..loved the pissing contests..time to move on and enjoy a less frustrating and disappointing ???retirement??? methinks.

Posted by david on November 15, 2015 08:32

Editor Comment:

I am surprised that you confuse an explanation with a rant. But then in your case, I guess I am not very surprised. Life is, I assume, one long (or in your case) not so long ''pissing contest.'' Never had a moment of self-doubt, eh?

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What is your next venture?

Posted by Retirement? on November 15, 2015 08:56

Editor Comment:

Several options. Good to have choices.

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Ed - if you really had a thick skin as you mentioned in your article, you won't be responding to the comments made below by many PW commenters. You already made your point in your long article. You should just let it go. Responding back to commenters to prove that you are right only shows your desire to "always winning an argument", irrespective of whether the argument is relevant or not. This is not what comment box is supposed to be! It is not a "debate box"!

Posted by bizader on November 15, 2015 09:19

Editor Comment:

There is no single point. bizander. Journalists are obliged to sort right from wrong, repeatedly. That's why journalism has been a consistent force for good for centuries - despite readers thinking they already know it all. I bet journalists just told you what happened in Paris. Professional journalists don't ''just let it go.'' Nothing to do with ''always needing to win the argument, ie a pissing contest,'' which seems to be as far as the understanding of some readers goes. (Not very far, and all of it downhill). As we've often said, the comment box is not there for readers' opinions, but for people to add value in additional information or through their own experiences. Only someone who doesn't get it would see the comment section as a ''debate box.'' How sad.

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Hey guys ..could not agree with "Bizader" more and sums things up nicely. I will miss PW and the integrity of its journalists and the work they have done for the betterment of Phuket. Their hearts are definitely in the right places and when this nasty business came about there was genuine concern for you and your colleagues well being. I hope Nov 30th brings good news.
The ONLY detractor from all of this has been the ED's ongoing banter regarding other peoples commentaries? As has been said here many times if u don't like whats being said then thats the time to edit it, not include it and then trash the contributor?
Anyway it doesn't matter anymore right? just hope that you can take all of the positive comments onboard and realize that just maybe these guys are right? Because most of us mean well also. And wish u well too.
Good luck mate

Tom

Posted by Tom on November 15, 2015 12:59

Editor Comment:

It would be inconsistent to reject lies, misinformation and warped ideals in our reporting, and accept that same crap in the Comments section. If you're happy to accept lies, misinformation and warped ideals in your life, Tom, that's fine by me. They won't happen here. Once you accept that people can vent about anything and hold beliefs that are contrary to truth and logic, you might as well elect Donald Trump or Tony Abbott and lose whatever remains of your mind. You are welcome to your opinions, and I am reasonably content with mine.

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your big problem is obviously that you have an inability to separate debate and opinions with your imagined intellect,and never hesitate to throw out your insults to those who take the time to contribute,knowing that in doing so,they invite the inevitable bile from behind the cloak of faceless anonymity...also, mr ed,have to remind you that your case as per the thai navy is not yet cut and dried..so good luck to you ,but more especially,your young assistant..now...another chance to present your infantile comments as per your exalted position.. ps kurt for editor

Posted by edward mcgonigle on November 15, 2015 13:11

Editor Comment:

Even more tripe-filled than when you usually post as edward partridge. The problem with the Internet is that it gives people with no value to add the ability to add no value at will. Yours is just the kind of comment that proves I made a big mistake eight years ago in thinking that most people were capable of reason and logic.

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It`s a big big lose for Phuket when you close PW Web side :( But now you all can take a looooooooong holiday, Thank you for all PW.

Posted by Bjorn Ronningen on November 15, 2015 13:36

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All the best in your future endeavors Alan, got the troll's stirred up again I see, soon they will only be able to post on the fantasy forum where Georges/Lars Jannson's moderators will just delete the posts if they don't agree with them

Posted by peter allen on November 15, 2015 14:30

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I have to admit, often I liked the comment section more. More entertaining, sometimes even big cinema. I understand that it feels pointless to Ed but is one big part of the allure of this site. Thanks for your comments people, thanks for your live snarking these comments, Ed.

Posted by Lena on November 15, 2015 14:35

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Am I the only one to accept constructive critisism from Alan? I was judging people negatively and he set me straight. The rest of you need to downsize your massive little egos. This will be my final comment. Me too btw..

Posted by Farang888 on November 15, 2015 15:12

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Dear Alan

I would like to say thakyou for Phuketwan. You and your employees have done an excellent job. I have enjoyed reading your news website since I found your website nine years ago.

One of the best parts about Phuketwan is the comments, along with the editor's response. I think you have done a fantastic job as editor and I wish there was someone else that would continue your great work.

I am glad you won your recent court case. All the best for the future Alan.

Posted by Doug on November 15, 2015 16:44

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Dear Alan, Khun Chutima and the entire Phuketwan team

Thank you for a string of informative articles and for your involvement in various documentaries and other news media.

Congratulations again Alan for winning an Anti-Slavery Australia FREEDOM AWARD.

Best wishes to all of you!

Ian Yarwood
Solicitor, Perth, Western Australia

Posted by Ian Yarwood on November 15, 2015 18:44

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Phuket Wan will be sorely missed next year I consider it the most informative and up to date site on the island from a long term expat Thank you both

Posted by Steve on November 15, 2015 18:53

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2016 a fresh new year. No Phuketwan anymore, could a year have a better start? No

Posted by Thomas on November 15, 2015 19:05

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"Dear Phuketwan Reader, Thank You for Your Contribution, Now Please Grow a Brain"
Congratulations,Ed,with so few words you have insulted so many people. I know according to PW I always seem to be wrong, so I probably will be again.
I thought the press was meant to report news impartially, not to tell us what is "right" or 'wrong". I believed freedom of the press meant that the press could print the truth with impunity, however that is not the case with your readers, you seem happy to censor them if they have a different opinion from you. As for the doomsayers, I'm pleased to say that you have never called me one, but truth be told, Phuket has gone downhill since I first arrived 16 years ago and the lights that you appear to see at the end of the tunnel is probably just a train heading this way. Having said that, I have always enjoyed reading PW and especially the comments and your replies.
Good luck in the future.

Posted by chill on November 15, 2015 21:35

Editor Comment:

It's a satirical headline, chill. Only anonymous commenters who are unable to tell the difference between the real world and the online world - in which they take no responsibility - would be troubled by it.(In other words, if you think it's aimed at you, then maybe it is.) Readers are moderated at all sites, and at this site the extremist views of some are certainly moderated, especially when personal insults become unpublishable and where facts are distorted. Your metaphor for Phuket is a cliche. Doomsayers would probably agree. Everybody else would just be left wondering. Comments from readers have nothing to do with the reporting of news. Your opinion and my opinion have no value.

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yea sometimes its time to move on, me,,, i don't know what good u did in those 8 years tho ... i hope that u find something thats suits you...

Posted by Niklas Blume on November 16, 2015 00:01

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Since 2008 you found out the hard way how low the lowest common denominator is. Low enough to ban andrewdrummond.com in Thailand.
It's time to move on, for all of us.

Best regards, Dean

Posted by Farang888 on November 16, 2015 08:41

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Independent voice now silent forever?
I hope you change your mind..
However THANKS for these eight years!

Posted by Martino on November 16, 2015 10:29

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P W I am going to miss your honest and up to the minute news stories.
There will be no more free nor open press in smileyland in the future.
Now is the time to take Oi and yourself to a better country.
Please keep somebody on the pulse of Phuket news.
Hang we are going to miss you.

Posted by Robin S on November 16, 2015 11:24

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Alan and the PW team

Having read PW daily now for years - I am distraught at the pure thought of not being able to get my daily PW fix after December 31.

A big thank you to you and your team.

Hamba Khahle (which is a Zulu greeting meaning - go softly).

Thanks

Posted by Irene on November 16, 2015 19:41

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Take it easy Alan. Thanks for all the news & entertainment provided over the years & I hope I've managed to make you smile once or twice to brighten up your days. (aka Sue Yu.) Good wishes.

Posted by Anonymous on November 17, 2015 10:03

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Howdy Alan,
Thanks for all the information and the entertainment. Hope the next stage of life brings you peace and enjoyment.

Most of all I think I shall miss Sue. I really thought we had something going until I realised his/her comments were becoming shorter, some articles with no Sue comments at all, days of absence. It became obvious. Sue was leading a double life and the attention was now focused on Herbert and Kurt.

Our best wishes for the future from Sues Mom???, Sues Dad, Sue Metoo, Sue Boree, Almost Sue, anoeyemoose, Caitlyn, Fat Old Ugly Fellow, Gregs Daddy, Herberts Mechanic, Kneely Sue, Nearly Sue, Never Sue, Rawonam,

Posted by Anonymous on November 20, 2015 20:22

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Dear Ed, I cannot begin to imagine what you've to put up with. As a casual reader, visiting casually, at times I can't fathom what on earth drive some of these people. It behooves and irritates me, and I don't even work here!

Anyway, I'm making a comment here if only to say thank you for everything that Phuketwan is. Cheers!

Posted by Rick on November 26, 2015 13:20

Editor Comment:

Thanks, Rick.

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all the best Alan ...

Posted by chris on December 27, 2015 09:42

Editor Comment:

Thanks, chris.


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